Thursday, September 25, 2008

children are wondeful

With the start of a new school year for the children I look after, has come a whole new set of clubs to join. Grace, being the enthusiastic little lass that she is, loves to be a part of as much of possible, so has joined the circus skills club, art and craft club and two choirs. Add to this her guitar lessons and the extra curricular activities of her other siblings, we have one busy timetable.

Wednesday is the busiest day of the week for them, so my afternoon went a little like this…

3pm: Take a shed load of books that Grace and I have sorted out in her room to the charity shop and double the size of my biceps in the process.

3:30: Collect Will from school, Chat with Kate & Emma from church and realize that while I have taken my eyes away from Will, he has been playing with another boy, and the father of this boy is now crouching down talking to Will. My immediate assumption – Will’s hurt this boy and I haven’t witnessed it because I’ve been talking. Not a good excuse. So I go over to get the down-low, and the Dad assured me it was all fine and he was just pre-empting the inevitable consequences of boys playing ‘games’ that involve kicking. No-one was hurt. Good good. 60 seconds later, the boys have gone behind a wooden structure so are out of view. I call to Will, saying we need to go home, walk towards the structure to find the other boy sobbing. Without even needing to ask, I look at Will and he says, with a fierce, solemn expression on his face, ‘he threw grass in my eyes.’ ‘So what did you do?’ comes my response. ‘I kicked him.’

I am finding that warning children about the inevitable outcome that you as an adult can foresee before it happens, just isn’t good enough. If you don’t want the inevitable to happen, you have to stop them, otherwise it will happen.

4pm Pop into Waitrose on the way home to pick up some butter to make caramel shortbread – Katie’s favourite.

4.15: Collect the horse chestnut’s daily offerings of conkers.

4.17: Listen to Will read his whole school book with great ease and great speed. Ever since introducing the incentive of 1 Gogo for every time he reads, it’s the first thing he does when he gets in from school. Brilliant.

4.20: Make Will his tea whilst simultaneously weighing out the ingredients for the shortbread base and giving Katie instructions about how to rub-in, how to grease and line a tin, and when to get the shortbread out the oven. At this point I’m realizing I should perhaps have held fire on the shortbread making, but I had planned to do it and was determined.

4.35: Leave to pick up Grace from her club and take her to her guitar lesson.

4.38: Realise I’ve forgotten her guitar and music and whizz back on my bike to get them.

4.30: (When I should now be at school getting Grace, I am thankful that I have a speedy bike, but am wishing I could fly or get to the school by teleportation. Am apologizing a thousand times over to Grace in my head – for being late.

4.45: Am rounding the corner to school on my bike when I see Grace with her friend and her friend’s Mum, who I have got to know quite well over the last few months. She had the common sense to start walking in the hope that they would find me, which they did. Thankyou very much, you kind, kind lady. Grace then presents me with a bunch of beautiful paper flowers that she has just spent the last hour crafting and says, ‘They’re for you.’ I feel very special.

5pm Get back to the house and make the caramel layer for the shortbread.

5.20: Struggle slightly to get Will out the door to pick up his sister, but he ends up being wonderfully co-operative and whizzes to Charlie’s house (the guitar teacher) on his scooter at break-neck speed. He most definitely set a personal record. What a legend.

5.30: walk home at a leisurely pace and start to make plans with Grace for her birthday cake. It’s going to be an elaborate affair – a bowling alley with 3D bowling balls and bowling pins, and muffins that spell out happy birthday, and some extra muffins too. (I had as much to do with the quantity of cake here as she did. What can I say? I love to bake and I love a baking challenge.)

5.45: Make Grace’s tea while she starts sketching out more detailed plans for the cakes. Start designing invites.

Bedtime antics ensued and the rest of the evening was spent bathing, doing Soduku with Grace instead of a bedtime story, melting the chocolate for the caramel shortbread which I had totally forgotten about, but Katie most definitely hadn't, running up and down three flights of stairs to get forgotten milk and blue cow for Will, going into the downstairs toilet to discover that Will had done a wee. In the bin. Fun times.

I should probably add that when I mentioned the latter incident to Will's Mum she said that they have a leaky cistern so it was probably that, but I thought the story was slightly amusing and more interesting, so I thought I'd tell it.

Oh yes, and here's the flowers that Grace made me....

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