The life changing magic of getting the kids to tidy up

The boychild is 100% obsessed with Halloween crafting.  He’s been getting up at the crack of dawn all week and ferreting about with coloured paper, lolly sticks and pipe cleaners before the rest of us are even awake. This morning it took so long to wrestle the scissors off him that I had to throw myself on the mercy of another parent to deliver him to school while I ran for my train.

The resulting decorations are mounting up on the mantelpiece and it’s only a matter of time time before I’ll have to start hanging them in windows.  I had to stage a minor intervention when he started planning spider webs made out of bin liners.

So… it’s been ages.  What else is new since July?

We’ve implemented a New World Order for family mealtimes. No longer are we feeding the kids separately in the kitchen – they’re now eating with the grown ups.  This means that their diet has gone up in the world (it’s less about sausages and ketchup and more about sea bass and Cavolo Nero). Ours has, alas, gone down (it’s less about poncey stuff and more about simple fare).  We’ve also become slightly more carnivorous as both kids seem to be partial to roast chicken Sunday lunches. Some days the craving for hot chilies gets a bit much and we have to cook a separate adult dinner in the slow cooker.  (The rest of the time it is churning out rice pudding like the magic porridge pot).

The hardest part of eating together in the evenings is getting proper meals on the table in the tiny window of opportunity between getting home from work and Hubble going face-splat in her plate.  G’s answer to this problem has been to introduce a weekly meal-planner that has become our lord and master.

THE REGIME knows which days require a 10-minute stir-fry and which days we can manage a 30 minute oven job.  THE REGIME requires matching Ocado orders every weekend and knows what we already have in the freezer.  THE REGIME frowns upon the parent who forgets to check it before work and thus fails to defrost the salmon. It’s been over a month now and there have been no uprisings against THE REGIME. It is proving to be a strict but benevolent leader.

The kids also have a REGIME in the form of listed chores for each child.

Boy’s daily tasks are:
– Make bed each morning
– Feed the cats before and after school
– Set the table for dinner
– Clean the place mats and table after dinner
– Hoover the flat (only at weekends)

I might teach him the art of good dishwasher loading next.

Girl’s tasks are more symbolic than useful:
– Make bed (poorly) each morning
– Crawl under the table after dinner and pick up all of the dropped peas
– “Help” mummy to pair socks and sort knickers (she loves this job)

Happiness, when you are three, is a multi-pack of Princess kickers. That and new shoes. When I told the girl that I’d ordered her some new shoes and wellies she went completely rigid and balled up her fists and literally shook with glee for 5 seconds before she could speak.

The reaction to my knitted Weasley jumpers was a tad less gleeful.  I finished Hubble’s jumper ages ago and she likes it but it only just fits.  It was then a slog and a half to finish the boy’s one (second jumper syndrome).  I finally finished it last weekend and his immediate reaction was “it’s itchy!

Er… yes, it is. I can’t deny it.  That yarn was a terrible aberration in my stash.  I’m going to try and soften it with fabric conditioner and then I’ll force him to wear it with long t-shirt sleeves underneath. Bah.  Pics later. My newly cast-on project is a Hubble hat made of gorgeous extra fine merino and I’ve remembered why I was a  yarn snob in the first place.

In other news, the boy dropped the big Father C Question over dinner the other day, right in front of Hubble. One of his little pals at school is quite a scientific sort of child and has been telling everyone in no uncertain terms “there’s no such thing as Father Christmas or the tooth fairy. It’s complete nonsense and the presents are all from your parents“.  So boy looked me in the eye and asked outright for the truth. You’d think G and I would have had time by now to come up with a prepared answer for this – but, er, we didn’t.  We sat there like rabbits in headlights, making indistinct noises and muttering “Well, what do YOU think?

G eventually saved the day by saying “Anyone who doesn’t believe in Father Christmas needn’t hang up their stocking on Christmas Eve“.  That seemed to draw an end to things but I’m certain he’ll ask again and I’m still no wiser as to what my answer will be.

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About Susan Flockhart

Bonsai lady-geek and blogger. I can hardly recall what I used to blog about pre-microbes, but these days I generally ramble about motherhood, nonsense and whatever's going on the world of tiny people
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