I love having older children.
Whilst I did, and did well (if I do say so myself!) the early years stuff with Davies and Scarlett and did all of the sitting on the floor playing with brio and glitter and 10 piece jigsaws, and sat through more bathtime splashing and bubble blowing sessions and hours of cbeebies and watched back to back Peter Pan and Toy Story and only listened to certain cds in the car for hour after hour of drive time and sat on bedroom floors until they had really, really gone to sleep and sang endless rounds of ‘Old McDonald had a ….. dinosaur / tiger / rollercoaster / fire engine / flamingo’ in order to keep nearly asleep but if you sleep now you will *never* sleep tonight toddlers awake in the back of the car, made my own playdough, cuddled through colds, chicken pox, nightmares, upset tummies, didn’t just take them and drop them off at badgers, rainbows, beavers, but ended up roped in to be an adult helper or leader….well you get the picture. I did it, we did it, me, Davies and Scarlett. And we have the memories, the photos and the anecdotes to revisit those days, which we often do.
But I love having older children. I love how they are so interesting and different to me, with their passions and interests and personalities. I love their sense of humour and their take on the world around them. I love the relationships they form with other people and seeing them through others’ eyes. I love their company, their sense of fun and up for anything-ness. I love their enthusiasm but most of all I love their promise. The boundless, endless possibilities still ahead of them in their lives, all those choices, none of them closed doors or blocked avenues – all open, all available, all still for exploring.
But at this time of year, when the days are short and the Christmas lights are twinkling and the magic of Father Christmas has all but gone I sort of miss the glitter in the carpet (and hoover, and sofa, and bath, and everyone’s beds and the car!) and there is part of me that is a bit nostalgic for the days when it was mostly me suggesting activities for the day. I miss trying to fashion reindeer from toilet rolls and using bubbles to make santa beards every bathtime. I secretly might quite like to turn thumbprints into robins on Christmas cards and create hama bead baubles and fill the fire grate with tiny little bits of paper cut out of our snowflake crafts.
So today we reclaimed a bit of our old Home Ed lives, the kids stayed in pyjamas, I made a couple of batches of mince pies and Scarlett ‘painted’ them with the milk to glaze and then I presented everyone with a square of foil wrapped cardboard as a base, a stack of gingerbread stars, a big bowl of lurid green icing and several bowls of decorations (which Scarlett helped with, crushing up lollies with the pestle and mortar when we realised they were the only suitable boiled sweets in the house for the stained glass window tree biscuits we also made) and we had a ‘gingerbread Christmas tree build and decorate competition’.
It was a fantastic return to the lovely at home days of old, festive music playing, steaks of flour and sugar on cheeks, a manic undertone thanks to too much sugar and not enough time outside, general silliness and a feeling of being with the most wonderful, important people in the world.