Elma Family Kitty Motherhood Pip {the ordinary moments}



Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Silence is golden so the saying goes but I’m becoming convinced that that’s not actually true. Or at least not true for me.  I know I love, ok crave, moments of peace and quiet in our daily life, but I’m not sure I want absolute silence, more just the gentle hum of a contented family.

In the last week our whole family has had a stinking coldy virus.  Elma copped the worst of it on top of her ear infections and tonsilitis (from which she is now thankfully completely recovered) but we’ve all gone down with lesser versions and for all of the last week I’ve had a really nasty tickly cough.  The sort where any sort of speaking brings on a ten minute coughing fit.

It’s unpleasant and rather annoying but nothing more than that and we’ll be over it before we know it but for a whole week I could barely talk.  All instructions were given in an urgent whispered monotone which I think made me sound perpetually grumpy and that was as good as we got.  There was no singing, no telling of “from my head’ stories, no snuggling down in the twilight to read book after book while we wait for H to come home.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s very corny to say you don’t miss it til it’s gone but it’s so true.  I just hadn’t realised how much of a cornerstone to our days the singing and storytelling had become.

We sing The Grand Old Duke of York to climb the hill up to the playpark, and on the really windy days we shout half remembered verses of Sea Fever into the gusts as they swirl through.

There’s the singing to start the day, watching Kitty try to teach us the latest song she’s been learning at nursery or trying to pass down to both girls the songs I loved in my childhood, the action songs to get rid of excess wriggles in two little girls sometimes prone to cabin fever on long drizzly winter days, the stories you read where one or two scamper off on their own ideas half way through and you set the book aside for another time, and the stories that we read before bedtime, one head already drifting off to sleep on a pink spotty pillow which the other cuddles in under my arm, curled into my side with her ever faithful blankie tightly clasped in her other hand.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It sounds really silly to say that I think singing might be part of my parenting technique but it turns out it’s true; when I can feel that I’m getting wound up by making the same request time and again with absolutely no impact I sing it to a silly tune and somehow it both lets out the annoyance and nine times out of ten it catches the girls’ attention and the books finally get put back on the bookcase or everyone at last locates their shoes and we can get ready to go out.

And I don’t know whether it’s because we’ve all been tired and feeling grotty or whether having a cold and a sore throat and a hacking cough just made me perpetually slightly irritated but everything just felt like such hard work.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Even when I could look back on a day and know that we went to the park and we played with the glitter glue and we danced around the kitchen to Christmas music and got the cutters out and made biscuits and everyone napped and went to bed as and when they should and that on paper it was a great day it felt like the effort required to keep my temper, to keep everyone happy and ticking along had made it a bit of a failure.  It’s that feeling that everything you have achieved has been done unwillingly and as a result of gargantuan effort on your part that rather sucks the joy out of it.

In my heart of hearts I know it wasn’t, just as I also know that it’s just a tad unrealistic to expect every day to be ushered in by sunshine and unicorns, and there’s every possibility that it was just one of those days regardless of whether I could speak or not, but I also know that the first day that I could get through the whole of the bedtime story without having to go and get a drink and take a break while I coughed up my toes just felt wonderful.  It was so perfectly normal and routine, and I think we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

So despite all my threats to have the bathroom soundproofed it seems that silence is not good for Mummies and as if it’s coming from the children it usually means they’re up to something that requires immediate investigation, I think I’ll choose noise every time.

PS I know the pictures are a bit of a tangent but have you ever tried to photograph singing. While doing it? So instead I bring you cookies, which it seems are almost as good for restoring family equilibrium, but not quite!

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  • Seychellesmama 30/11/2014 at 7:31 am

    Haha I loved the end bit of this, the cookies are a bit of a tangent but look scrummy and the girls look like they are having fun!!
    I love that singing is such a big part of your day and to describe it as a parenting technique is so lovely!!
    Glad you are all on the mend and sing a longs and stories are back in your household once again! Xx

    • Carie 30/11/2014 at 10:37 pm

      Me too – and yes the cookies are awesome – and definitely the next best thing to singing 🙂

  • Life as our little family 30/11/2014 at 8:07 am

    Wouldn’t it be nice if every day was filled with sunshine & unicorns! You can’t beat a sing song and spot of baking to restore balance! X

    • Carie 30/11/2014 at 10:38 pm

      Sunshine and unicorns sounds good to me 🙂

  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 30/11/2014 at 8:48 am

    The cookie making does look very fun. Love that you guys sing so much, sounds lovely xx

    • Carie 30/11/2014 at 10:38 pm

      thank you – it’s very silly and a lot of fun!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 30/11/2014 at 2:59 pm

    Cookies are just as good as singing, in fact both are pretty special. I completely agree with you Carie, singing is a big part of our lives, as is story telling and making up adventures. Most of it nowadays coming from Mads who just doesn’t be quiet for even a second- she constantly uses her imagination to create fun into our days. Sorry you have all been poorly and glad you are feeling a bit better, there is so much going round at the moment. I look forward to reading your post every week, you just capture the ordinary so well and I adore that. x

    • Carie 30/11/2014 at 11:23 pm

      Aww thank you – the big girls’ imaginations are just fantastic at the moment aren’t they – Kitty comes out will all sorts of stories for us to act out at the moment; a lot of them role playing being a mummy which is so sweet – and slightly worrying seeing myself in her mirror!

  • Not A Frumpy Mum 30/11/2014 at 6:59 pm

    It’s awful when you’re poorly isn’t it? And sounds like you’ve all had a pretty rough week. Glad you’re feeling better and the pictures are lovely xx

    • Carie 30/11/2014 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you – we’re definitely on the mend which can only be a good thing 🙂

  • Merlinda Little 01/12/2014 at 10:48 am

    So true! I worry when my son is silent. Thats the time when I will stop what I am doing and check up on him as silence gives me worries.

    This is such a nice read. You really dont know what you got till its gone. Get well soon to everyone.


    • Carie 01/12/2014 at 12:41 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper 01/12/2014 at 12:23 pm

    Oh Carie, sorry you’ve had a crap week, I feel your pain with family illness, we’ve had the same here this last week, it really sucks, huh?! I think you are entitled to feel grumpy and irritated every now and again- you’ve been ill with two toddlers and a new baby to look after. I find I spend some days growling at my two, which makes me feel rubbish but I remind myself that these periods come and go. Hoping you get your mojo back this week! x

    • Carie 01/12/2014 at 12:44 pm

      I think we’re already starting off on a much more even keel now that everyone’s on the mend. I think last week was the week for horrid bugs, so many people’s Me and Mine posts talk about everyone having been sick!

  • sustainablemum 02/12/2014 at 7:48 am

    I am sorry to hear you have not been well, it is really hard as a Mama to be able to find the space to rest and recooperate when we are ill. Glad to hear you are on the mend.

    It is very true that we miss what we love when we don’t have it in our lives. Hope this week is full of sound and singing!

    • Carie 03/12/2014 at 2:55 pm

      Well we’ve got off to a good start so far – lots and lots of We Wish You a Merry Christmas around here!

  • sally 03/12/2014 at 12:46 am

    We’ve got a bug just like that here too, I’m getting suspicious of these computer things, perhaps they transmit germs. Hope you are all feeling properly better this week. And I do love how so often you write what I experience as a Mum too, it’s good to know you’re not alone! We sometimes have those good on paper days, so completely unsatisfying. And singing works here too, definitely gets their attention and so much better than me shouting. Unfortunately the boys have got a bit too old for it now, but the girls love it.

    • Carie 03/12/2014 at 2:27 pm

      Yay it’s not just me that sings to get attention!! I think just about everyone I know has been felled by something or other recently – hopefully we’re all getting them out of the way to be able to enjoy Christmas fully!

  • Amy 03/12/2014 at 3:02 pm

    Aw poor you I’ve been feeling really off lately too but you always do such a great job having fun with your littles! The cookies look amazing 🙂 x

    • Carie 03/12/2014 at 3:08 pm

      aww thank you very much 🙂