So where have we been? Ironically we’ve been more “in” than we have been for a long time but I’ve been spring/summer clearing out. It’s been quite exciting actually as we’ve managed to sort out all the boys rooms so that Anton and Dante have one of the bigger front rooms (although Joth sleeps with Anton there while Dante is with me) and Oscar’s stuff has moved to the front smaller room. He still sleeps with Lucas though in the bunk beds. I find that I feel so much more comfortable with how the upstairs is looking and the energy it’s given us has spurred us on to sorting out our bedroom too as it still has the bare plaster from 6 years ago. Joth has put the picture rails on today and we hope to paint it over the next week. I have decided to try a more feminine look in there. I’ve never done that before but I think maybe one corner of lace and lavender wouldn’t be such a bad thing in an otherwise all male household!
We even stretched to a new carpet in Anton and Dante’s room as there were holes where the old fitted cupboards used to be from the old owners. We found an offcut from Tragos for £65 and a bathroom carpet for £16 (yes it is the smallest bathroom in the world) and a carpet fitter for £60 (including underlay for the bathroom – I felt guilty not giving him more) and it has made a huge difference to upstairs. The boys keep gathering in Anton’s room and jumping on the bathroom carpet to enjoy the “squashiness!” Anton has been loving having access to all his toys and books (Joth was using the nursery as a study before so he couldn’t go in there while J was working) and Lucas has been enjoying doing jigsaws with him.
The boys have been playing with Anton a lot, especially yesterday as they had a screen free day which I loved. The day before that had become wall to wall Simpsons so I sort of challenged them to a screen free day and they agreed and at the end of it they said they had really enjoyed it, particularly Oscar. It was a lovely day actually as I felt we were more “together” than we are when the screen is part of the picture. For me it is the way the screen distracts us from hearing each other, and yes I get distracted by it too. Yesterday the boys made a lovely lunch: Oscar made savoury pancakes for us all (with buckwheat pancakes, pesto, cheese and an egg on top, all cooked and served by Oscar with a smile!) and Lucas made mystery muffins. It was a lovely idea as in the middle of each muffin was a different mystery filling (jam, blackcurrants, choc chips, banana etc) but what made us laugh was that whenever anyone bit in to one Luc would ask what they’ve got and then say “Oh, that’s the one I wanted!” and we’d all end up swapping with Lucas!
And talking of the new carpet, I’m not sure that potty training goes hand in hand with such things but we are on round 2 of it. Round 1 only lasted one day (a few weeks ago) as he got through all 6 pairs of waterproof training pants in the one day so I thought that was proof that he wasn’t ready! This time he’s doing much better and has nearly got the hang of it. I do feel it was easier with the older two but I think that is because the atmosphere was calmer then and I noticed when they needed to go whereas it’s all too easy for Anton to get lost in the noise. Toddlers just need 100% attention and nothing less quite does I think.
Still, we have been doing some lovely things in between the sorting and the decorating. I’ve taken the boys on a few trips, including one to Staverton. I put all four of them on the big swing this time! (and forgot my camera.) We also all went to a Family Sing Day at Dartington. Despite the title it was aimed more at older children and adults but it was still fun and the woman taking it was excellent. She spent too long warming up I thought and she lost a few people because of that who didn’t stay for the rest but I really enjoyed it. The boys looked reluctant on soprano so she moved them to sing bass with Joth which I thought was a shame because they are obviously not basses at the moment and I think they might have loosened up over the day. I feel really disappointed with myself that I have never managed to help them enjoy singing. I can’t understand why because they are both musical and they both sing to themselves a lot (Oscar particularly is always humming and miming playing the violin) but they just feel so self conscious and uncool to do it in any sort of group.
The older boys have been busking quite a bit too. They went with Sahila once to play Pachabel and earnt £20 each for about 1 hrs work and it made such a mockery of the pocket money (£1.50 a week) that I give them that I chatted to them about how they would feel if I stopped giving them pocket money but carried on enabling them to earn money by busking. They would obviously have to stock pile in the summer more but they can still busk through out the year. They could see my point and I feel comfortable in thinking that I am facilitating them earning their own money (by taking them in to town and being around in case of any trouble with the money or getting moved on, although that doesn’t seem to happen in Totnes).
They busked during the new Food Fair they are doing on the third Sunday of the month and I bought a Thai meal for that night with the older boys which was delicious. We played “Lifestories” while we were eating, or at least used the cards from the game to spark stories and memories. I am so treasuring this time where Oscar and Lucas just enjoy our company in a very uncomplicated fun way.