Work life balance

We are a house of celebrations. Daughter two has already made her own Christmas decorations and counting down to Christmas arrangement with post-it notes and has been consulting the Argos catalogue about mini-fridges in her ongoing effort to turn her room into a luxury studio flat. Daughter three has been anticipating Halloween for months, has researched multiple recipes for gummy bears and, on the sweet-related theme, has also been updating her sleepover blog. Her latest blog begins with an important reminder that it may be a good idea to take extra sweets to your sleepover just in case there aren’t enough. This handy advice is followed by a list of things you should take on a sleepover. Sweets is there with [optional] in brackets. The whole blog is full of pictures of sweets so I am pretty sure that daughter three would be mighty disappointed if she went to a sweet-less sleepover, but it’s good that she’s open to other options. Theoretically. She’s been on a sleepover with her grandmother this weekend which included a lot of sweetness and a research trip to a Black History Month exhibition. She took extensive notes and photos and I think I can see another project looming.

Toddler boy is already singing Christmas songs with all the actions. “Christmas pudding, Christmas pudding, steaming hot” he shouts lustily as he pirouettes around the house in a manner reminiscent of Nureyev or Barbie Dancing Princess. The younger section of the family have become devoted to something called Dance Academy on Nickelodeon, which I rather enjoy myself given that it is an immense improvement on Peppa Pig. Every time the opening theme song comes on at least three of them start leaping and twirling in rather overly ambitious fashion. 

Meanwhile, daughter one is the only one who immune to celebration of any kind. She is barely communicating at the moment except to tell me I am lost in the 80s and will never fully appreciate pop punk. 

The only ones who are not in celebration mode are her parents, who are stumbling through the days, just about keeping it together because everything appears to have gone into overdrive since September. I had to work this weekend which brings a slightly strange clash between the reality of doing the washing, overseeing a makeover of the living room [care of daughter two], writing sleepover blogs and pointing pens at Dr Who yelling ‘expeliamos, aliens’ [toddler boy] with sitting listening to very interesting debates on developments in the Middle East over the last three years and sustainable cities. The debates were followed by a range of conversations on tuberculosis and HIV research, the future of journalism, the development of Kings Cross, child psychology, solar power and neuroscience. 

Daughter three rang from her sleepover just as I was exiting the event. She had found a Michael Jackson jacket in a charity shop which was perfect for her Halloween Thriller costume. I returned home to a slightly weary-looking partner, who was worried that he had left his front door key in the bag of second hand shoes he had donated to Sue Ryder Care, a debate over whether Kingsland Road really deserved to be in the sing-off on X Factor and concerns that the nits may be staging a comeback. Is this what they call work life balance? 

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