The school holidays were busy.
We baked buns and entertained friends. We made about three batches of buns over Easter. I made the first batch, Ms Eleven made the second batch with a fair amount of assistance from me, and she made the third batch more-or-less on her own.
We planted sage, lettuce, broccoli, bok choi, peas, beans, rocket, brussels sprouts, chives, coriander, spinach, lemon thyme and apple geranium in our gardens.
I made pickles.
I met friends for the first time, which was a delight. I had a very pleasant afternoon gossiping, in the richest sense of the word, with two fabulous women.
The strangelings starred in their drama school’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I’m sure they were the best Oompa-loompas ever.
We stacked firewood. Winter is allowed to arrive now.
The younger Miss Eight exploded into independent reading. This has been a great concern for us, because she was not reading with ease, nor choosing to read for leisure, yet this is a reading and language rich household, and has been ever since it was formed. But suddenly, seemingly overnight, she is reading. Tonight I pointed out that she was losing valuable reading time by hanging around gossiping with Ms Eleven, and she scarpered off to bed, book in hand.
I finally finished the elder Miss Eight’s heart cardigan. Many thanks to those who gave me helpful advice on how to make the hearts stand out. I took Daleaway’s and LeslieEileen’s advice, and picked out the edges of the hearts with a simple chain stitch. Now I’m starting on a jersey (jumper / sweater) for the younger Miss Eight. Expect a completion report in about a year.
And now that the girls are back at school, I am busier than ever, with my own work, and with helping the girls to manage their homework and music practice and social lives. I’ve never quite managed to theorise a philosophy of parenting, but through the practice of parenting, I seem to have developed one, which I characterise as present parenting. I’m here with the girls, at home with them after school, at home with them during the holidays. A lot of the time I’m not necessarily doing things with them; I’m just present in the house while they are doing their own things. Most of the time they don’t seem to need me – we just do a standard after-school debrief – but sometimes, they have something that they desperately need to talk to me about. And I am able to be present for that. Mr Strange Land is very, very good at being here for our daughters too, ‘though he does not spend as much time at home as I do. However he nearly always gets home for family dinner, and I find that often the girls will tell him something they haven’t told me. He’s very much present in their lives too. I know that not all parents are able to, or want to organise their lives this way. But for the time being, this suits us, and we are able to do it. I hope we are able to continue to be present with our daughters as they grow.