Day 128

Level 2 Chi Kung.

Saturday, with the usual round of Stagecoach and guitar. Lately, Katie has been less than cooperative about getting ready in the mornings. Implementing Katie’s suggestion of getting her her own alarm clock appears to have helped on weekdays, so I was unprepared for a re-emergence of problems on the weekend. On weekdays she has to get up quite early and the problem is that she doesn’t want to wake up and get out of bed. On Saturdays, we don’t have to leave the house until 0930 and today the problem seemed to be more that she was lying around the living room playing with her iPhone and didn’t want to stop! My normal approach with the children (within reason!) is to allow them to experience the consequences of their actions. I don’t take it as far as my mother. When we were young she had a small wood burner in the kitchen which flickered most alluringly when lit. Crawling children were inevitably fascinated by it and, as each of us crawled across the floor towards the fascinating flickering, Mum said: ‘No’, ‘Don’t touch’, ‘Hot’, ‘Burns’. Inevitably the child would ignore these warnings and, reaching out to touch the stove, would burst into outraged sobs, having learned exactly what ‘Hot’ and ‘Burns’ meant. Mum would then pick up and console the infant, probably by putting butter on the burned fingers, knowing that they would never touch the lit stove again.

I don’t have a lot of flexibility on school days – I am legally obliged to deliver Katie to school on time. On the weekend however, while I would always prefer to be everywhere on time, that is more a value rather than a need. It doesn’t really matter if Katie is late for Stagecoach – it doesn’t matter if she goes at all. She has been complaining recently about not getting enough sleeps-in, so I reminded her that she can give up Stagecoach anytime or, if she still wants to go, she can transfer to the afternoon class. She didn’t want to do either of these things as she has friends in the morning class. Anyway, there she is, lying on the sofa, declining to get dressed, and I realised that I could just relax about it – there are no consequences for being late to Stagecoach that are worth stressing over. So I pointed out that we needed to leave very soon if she wanted to be on time, and then went into the kitchen and did some cleaning up (sadly hadn’t internalised the ‘relax about it’ approach to the extent of being able to sit down and have a cup of tea, but hey – baby steps!). Katie eventually got dressed and I brushed her hair. She then announced that she hadn’t had anything to eat so Nick made her some toast. We finally left about 20 minutes late but, thanks to Sherlock setting a blistering pace, we made up 5 minutes on the journey and delivered her at 10:15 for a 10am start.

Home from dropping Katie and just enough time for something to eat before it was time to take Dash to guitar. A good lesson – he has been practicing conscientiously lately – though at one point when he was trying to explain what he was finding difficult and Mr Baulch kept on joking around, he put his hand out in a ‘stop’ gesture and said “Please, just let me speak.’!

In the afternoon, Nick took the boys for a haircut and then for a post-haircut treat at Costa coffee.

Almost forgot in the chaos of Saturday that I had a ticket for the Met Live screening of Mozart’s Le Nozze de Figaro. I was kind of regretting it – all cosy at home and then suddenly remembering that I needed to go out – but it was so worth it. Wonderful music and voices, gorgeous costumes. and moments of laugh-out-loud physical comedy. On the bus home, I found myself wondering if Wodehouse wrote the first Jeeves and Wooster story after a night at the opera. It’s all in there: the clever and endlessly scheming valet, boys dressing up as girls, men hiding in wardrobes and jumping out of windows, mistaken identity, the need to avoid the terrifying prospect of an undesirable marriage…

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