I thought I’d start some posts about what our average days are made of. I chose Monday because it still feels like a minor act of rebellion not to wake up stressed at the prospect of the week ahead. Ever since my school years I’ve associated Mondays with either heroic energy or a slothful desire to pull the covers over my head and pretend I wasn’t there. By mid-week I would have found my stride, but Mondays often felt a little forced.
So, Mondays it is. What better day to observe the flow of life and not insist that anyone achieves anything overly heroic (unless they want to of course).
Waking up times vary a lot here, but I’m usually the first by a couple of hours, followed by E (11) and C (6), then later by D (13), who tends to be a night owl.
This morning, C worked on a cat house she’s making for our three cats out of a big cardboard box. It’s a cool construction, with pictures of animals all over it, and everything a well-loved cat could possibly need inside, such as a blanket, toys, and even a little light. Whilst looking for something for the cat house we found some activity and drawing books that C got for Christmas, so once improvements were made to the cat house and we’d lured a couple of cats inside, she spent a while on those.
We also came across a new skipping rope we’d forgotten about, so later we headed out to skip in the garden. This led to lots of skipping all day and, by the evening, C had mastered some new jumps. We also played some table tennis outside. None of us are very good at this yet but we’re playing a bit each day and noticing the improvement. Then we popped up to the orchard to have a quick game of hide and seek and check out the fruit trees. We’re hoping for blossom soon, but it was still looking very wintery (except for these wonderful lemons).
D and I had a long conversation about gaming. He’s a passionate gamer, and the knowledge he has gained through it has been eye opening to me. We’re planning to do an interview for this blog about gaming, and he wanted to think about what he’ll say. Then he got back to playing his new Assassins Creed game, which is set in Ancient Greece. He gave me a little class in this yesterday evening, and I was predictably hopeless, but he was patient and encouraging despite my attacking walls and running over random passersby. I’m due another class this week and I’m touched by his belief that his mother can become a half-decent gamer.
Meanwhile, E spent a while looking at revision books for GCSE History and English. He’s a long way from needing to think about exams at all, but he’s adamant that he’ll go to university to study politics and he’s interested in knowing how it all works. The English book had a list of the novels that students can choose from, so we took a look at that and talked about George Orwell, Animal Farm, and the writer’s links to Catalunya. He also asked what poetry is ‘exactly’. That was an interesting question. I’ve always loved poetry but wasn’t sure how to define it. I did my best then performed the first of the day’s many Google searches. In the words of Wikipedia it is “a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings”, so I was near enough.
This was followed by some cosy time on the sofa playing Sims 4, then he got out a water experiment kit he got for his birthday a couple of months ago. It was fun and messy but we weren’t sure we learned anything, though it did lead on to a conversation about atoms.
This afternoon, C and I popped down to the village. She loves to sing so we sang on the way. On the way back, we spent a long time with her current preoccupation, which is how old people will be when she’s a certain age. So, she works out how old her brothers will be when she’s a teenager, or how old she will be when her best friend, who’s a bit older, is 20. Numbers are generally a big deal right now. She’s realised that if you can count in tens, you can use the same logic to count in hundreds and thousands, so we play around a lot with that. She asks me for a sum then tries to solve it. I usually throw in a couple of really tricky ones, and she often surprises me by getting them straight away.
Before dinner, we sorted out lots of spices we bought last week. E has decided that our dinners aren’t exciting enough, so we’ve embarked on a journey around the world in food. His plan is to prepare a meal every Saturday evening from each country in the world. We’re going in alphabetical order, so we began this Saturday with Afghanistan. This involved buying lots of spices we’d never used before and a four-hour cooking session. The result was spicy and delicious. This coming Saturday it’s Albania’s turn. E is still looking up the recipes for the main course, but says he has dessert nailed (something like a chocolate éclair apparently).
Other things that went on today were watching Despicable Me, some Charlie and Lola, and a couple of Minecraft YouTubers who I’ve heard so much over the last few years that they feel like part of the family. They’re quite particular about who they will and won’t watch, and censor out anyone who swears or is mean, so our YouTube friends are generally fun, friendly types that I’m happy to share the sitting room with.
There were also varied discussions on things including death, Donald Trump, Brexit, qualities world leaders should have (and really shouldn’t), and why people get married. We also looked at discounts for various things on eBay and at a course D wants to do on Udemy that promises to give you photographic memory (he wants this so he can easily learn things that don’t interest him and outsmart his brother). D successfully dealt with getting a refund for something he had bought online and E demonstrated the Doppler effect to us.
And, in case this all sounds suspiciously harmonious, there was also a big old argument in the evening. Accompanying these explosions without losing it myself is a blog post all of its own. But, it ended in hugs and hot chocolate, and maybe everyone learned something about each other.
Amongst all this I also managed a short yoga practice (helpful for keeping calm during the arguments) and a few hours of work. Not a bad Monday at all.