I’m busy

I’m busy.

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.

12 responses to “I’m busy

  1. What lovely busyness! :)

  2. It all sounds like you have been the very best kind of busy.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about present parenting. We are very much present parents around here too, but my kids are still quite small so I don’t really imagine there are any alternatives for now.

    I am struggling these days with trying to imagine what the next years might hold for me. I feel quite sure that I do not want to be home all of the time, or that I at least want to be working or studying, even if it is from home.

    But I am also am certain that I want to be present, and reading this post just reinforced that for me.

    I feel challenged by the fact that school here in Argentina is only for half-days, so being present means really having very little time without the kids. (I am especially heartened by the idea of my kids eventually playing more independently and my presence being more of a background thing).

    Sorry for the rambling – thanks for the great post.

  3. Now that I think about it, I realise that I took Maia’s advice too, with respect to making the hearts stand out, and did them in garter stitch, instead of reverse stocking stitch.

  4. You are a remarkable person.

  5. OMG, knitting on your blog! :) It truly was a lovely afternoon, far too short of course, which will live on in my heart.

    And the cardi is very sweet.

  6. You know what’s best about it? Miss Eight the Elder loves it, and looks for any excuse to wear it, even when the temperature is 30 degrees.

  7. That’s what I regard as proper living!

    You can be very proud of your accomplishments, which your offspring seem certain to hand on down the generations.

  8. It surprises me, as a Bad Working Mother (TM) how much time I spend with my two. If I was more of an extrovert going-out sort of person maybe it wouldn’t happen but the kids and I are constantly, it seems, pottering companionably around the house. It helps that our net surfing/gaming/homework computers are on one large desk so we can swap LOLcats and music and conversation when online, working or studying. It’s more the Kid than Kids now as the bigger one has become a social butterfly uni student, but then again since this happened we have found more occasion to go out together.
    Meandering now, but my point is – yes I like the being-present thing, it seems to work fir us.

  9. Lovely cardy. You’re such a domestic goddess!

  10. Present parenting. What a wonderful phrase and wonderful experience for you and the strangelings – giving the gift of your presence, though not constant attention, to your children.

    I was going to say lucky them, then remembered a friend who prefers to say blessed rather than lucky, so they are blessed by your being presnt.

    But also lucky/blessed you because being present for our children brings rewards too.

    P.S. am greatly admiring of the knitting – I got to the last bit of a baby singlet for great nephew to be in a couple of weeks but that was three months ago and I’ve done no more in that time.

  11. You’ve been very “19th century” busy haven’t you!