Sally McLaughlin took a 10-year break from a career in sales and has gradually built her...read more
It’s the Easter holidays and people are doing constructive things.
We’ve broken through the “I’m bored” barrier and people are actually starting to do constructive things – of their own accord. I feel that this is some sort of parenting success despite me putting in no effort whatsoever.
Perhaps I’ve been doing it all wrong so far, organising outings and activities. Leave them to their own devices and they do stuff like tidying their rooms. OK, in daughter three’s case, it was for pocket money, but only son caught the bug and has rearranged his section of the room and gone into a frenzy of tidying and cleaning. What’s more, daughter three has started painting in a bid to convince her art teacher that she should definitely take GCSE art and definitely not GCSE drama or music, which she hates. In fact, she has always loved drawing, but lately she’s been consumed by Netflix rom-coms. The other day she got out some pastels and drew a beautiful beach scene with palm trees. So beautiful in fact that only son copied her soon afterwards.
Only son has become a bit of a Picasso. Every day he makes new artworks. The first day of the holidays it was Stone Age art. I am sitting here with a page of Stone Age rock [a page painted brown] at the side of my computer. Only son did his page and thinks it is only right that I do one too. Next to it is a snowflake mask and a huge multi-coloured heart which says “Mum, don’t get stressed about work” [for work read technology malfunctions which make work last longer]. There is also a giant bright Easter egg and a painting of me in which I look not so much stressed as stoical.
Inspiration has not only gone one way, though. Only son has been doing 25-minute reading sessions next to the oven timer and I went upstairs the other day to find daughter three reading an actual book. I have spent much time trying to inspire her to read something other than her phone. I’ve been round every library in the area searching out books she might possibly lose herself in and all it took was only son with the oven timer.
People have also started co-cooking, if there is such a thing. Daughter one has been guiding only son in the art of chicken nugget making. Daughter two has been giving him tips on veggie mince.
Only son has also been creating amazing bubble baths and putting his goggles on to dive into them. And he’s been planning his birthday in June. “Would you like to go to the theatre to see a musical or something?” I asked. Silly question. “Mum, I only want to go to the theatre if it is on the Disney cruise ship in the Cayman Islands with Evantube,” said only son. This Youtuber thing is giving him delusions of grandeur. Instead we went to see a film called Shazam! which didn’t sound too promising – “it’s a superhero film, mum” – but turned out to be really enjoyable. I had been planning a brief nap, but managed to stay awake for the whole film.
Meanwhile daughter two is revising. Well, sort of. She seems to have run out of steam of late. It’s a long haul to the GCSEs. I’ve decided she needs to break it up with some Davina McCall video sessions. Only son is limbering up to lead them as we speak.