We promised ourselves that this year we’d be less busy. Standing at the end of the summer term we were all exhausted in that way when you can’t remember the last time you just had a quiet morning to potter around at home. Which is probably because we couldn’t. With school five days a week and church on Sunday that only left Saturday and the girls had back to back ballet classes starting at 9am. It was yet another day when we had to get up and out of the door and it made it feel like so much more effort than it had in the preschool era. By the end of the term Kitty was needing serious persuasion to actually go, though she enjoyed it when she got there. We looked for other classes within the ballet school trying to find an after school for Kitty and an after nursery school for Elma but there was nothing that would work with our timings. And it made it a horribly hard decision; do we take the girls out of ballet basically just because we’re tired?
It sounds really selfish when you write it out on paper like that doesn’t it. If it’s something that they take pleasure from, surely we should be encouraging that interest? And how hard could it be to get two children a couple of miles down the road for 9 when you usually leave the house before 8?
When you’re shattered from working a fairly intense job, in what at times feels like every waking moment during the week, and faced with prospect of moving to two classes now separated by half an hour, but still starting at 9 as Kitty moved up and Elma stayed put, the answer was “too hard”, and we withdrew them from their classes.
Darling daughters if you read this in years to come and you secretly harboured ambitions of becoming ballerinas then I’m very sorry.
The summer holidays are unbound by time constraints by their very definition but as the calendar flipped over into October and term got underway I know we made the right decision. The girls dance around the house just as before and if they miss their ballet class, it’s not showing. We all have that one precious morning where John or I can sleep in; where we can take our time getting up, and we can decide to do whatever we want, and however slowly we want. Of course being us, we never do take things slowly and September has been full of visits with friends and family, birthday parties and my wonderful trip to the MADs, but it’s felt good nonetheless.
Now we’ve made it to October and we’re starting to settle into our routine for the hockey half of the year. If John has a home match in the afternoon we all go to watch unless it’s absolutely bucketing it down with rain, and sometimes even then, and then we all go back to the club afterwards to catch up with friends and watch our children run around with everyone else’s children. It’s usually noisy and fun, and it’s been the autumn/winter half of my year ever since John and I met.
The away matches we rarely bother with. Those days are my days. Days to have my three little ones together, just like the days when I was at home with them all the time. We’ve not spent so much time apart since that we don’t just fall back into the old routines, just with ever larger children. And so last week, after we’d waved John off we already knew what our plan would be. A beautiful sunny day in the autumn always means the park, and preferably the park with the conkers.
While the conker trees at the hockey pitches are still in full fruit, the ones at the park seem to be a little further on in the cycle and to start with I thought we might struggle to find any; it all seemed to be a sea of empty brown shells. But then something caught Kitty’s eye nestled in the grass and then another and another and we realised that while the biggest conkers may have gone, all the little ones were hiding in the long grass. And with that they were off.
I’m not sure Pip exactly realised what were supposed to be looking for, but Kitty and Elma kept him well supplied, and as long as he had one in each hand he was happy, while they scampered about filling their pockets to overflowing.
And when there was no more room in any pocket, we set off for the playpark, scattering a shower of conkers every time they flew around the roundabout. It was lovely to see Kitty’s increased confidence and having seen her swinging off all sorts of things I can completely believe that she can do the monkey bars at school. Pip and Elma ran around together, a fair match for each other now, such is the change from last year’s barely toddling baby.
It was just what we needed after some busy weekends, and just exactly what our ordinary Saturdays should look like; simple perhaps, but pretty perfect too.
(no I’ve no idea why she’s making that face either!)
Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for The Ordinary Moments