Well I’ll start with a heartfelt Gah. Gah! It’s been a while since I last posted. The sunniest week of the summer so far and I sent Zeph to a rainy Cambridge and trapped myself in the house with a toddler building furniture, de-moulding, painting, and making curtains. With tonsilitis and only one functioning hand.
Joy, joy and more joy I assure you. My sister came for a few hours and helped me clear the room. A mercy mission if there ever was one – adrift as I was upon a sea of mysterious Lego pieces, broken plastic trash, dusty unidentifiable junk modelling, happy meal toys, bottle tops and empty crisp packets. Under his bed he had a hoarded supply of Bonjella and two tubes of my old mascara. Should I be worried?
Also Steve came through on the construction side of things. Not his natural strength so I am overwhelmingly thankful. Moving everything around means that some of the animals painted on the walls are covered up and other bare patches of woodchip revealed. To please Ida and make her lower bunk as exciting as the top one I promised her some animals of her own. Predictably she asked for an owl and as I got the paint out she upped the ante by asking for a family of owls. She’s at the stage where she translates what we see into her family. So there has to be a Daddy ant, a Mummy ant, a Zephie ant and an Ida ant… Ditto la Owls.
So late at night, occasionally doubled over with a hacking cough, in a humid twilight I did some painting. I worry, often – as parents do, that the kids miss out on stuff. We barely scrape by at the moment and I say, more than I would like, ” Sorry we can’t afford that sweetie”
On calm reflection I think this is okay. I grew up in a home with very little spare cash but a great deal of affection and attention. I have no regrets about that aspect of my childhood. I want the kids to share my values. I would love not to have to worry about money constantly and I daydream at night about being able to afford without worry the piano lessons, car trips, adventuring experiences Z yearns for without always having to choose and juggle.
The one thing I remember about being little is the magical way my mum could conjure up beauty and wonder out of nothing. Sleeping in the garden, star watching, building a Lego world in the bath and then flooding it, painting our walls, digging fortifications in the mud, dressing up, turning our own bunkbeds into a pirate galleon. This is what I promise myself to never stint the kids on. I’m rich in this stuff and I want to spend it lavishly. I can’t afford the beautiful transfers I saw online but I can paint my own. Wonkily. She’s two and half, does she care about it being slapdash?
No – she loves it. LOVES it I tell you. I dread her teenage self despising me but right now, I can spin fairy tales out of nothing and she makes me feel miraculous.
I’m off now to hang the patchwork curtains I finished last night. I’ll be back with pictures and I promise it won’t be a another week away. Looking back over the last few posts they’ve been very kid-centric. That’s just how I feel at the moment. I remember being obsessed with Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson one childhood summer. Alice and I would range over the house gathering everything important onto my top bunk then staying, washed up there for the rest of the day. We’d have two minutes to run hysterically around filling our arms with what we wanted to rescue then we’d hurl ourselves and our bounty onto the bunk. I feel a little like that this summer. Spending half an hour holding her asleep on my lap tracing the arch of her eyebrow. Reading exhaustively the workbooks he’s bought home from school full of his stories and ideas. Trying to memorize them both.