Is every battle worth the fight? Sometimes I decide it’s not. When Leo told me he wanted to wear his wetsuit in the bath, for example, I didn’t feel like arguing. “Why did you let me have a bath in my wetsuit?” He said indignantly as he got out. “It wasn’t very sensible.”
The battle for meal times is ongoing. I want us to sit at the table and talk to each other. My children want to stand in front of the TV, mesmerised by Scooby Doo, grazing occasionally on some part of their dinner, much of which they disintegrate onto the rug and sofa.
Tonight Flora has eaten one grain of rice before leaving the table and flouncing to her own devices. She is two, and therefore terrible, although also adorable.
Leo sat down at the table without even suggesting eating anywhere else, and we are having an informative conversation about Apollo 11. Leo can’t help but be informative on this subject; I literally know nothing about it, and he is interested. He eats all of the home made chilli con carne on his plate, and I am quietly congratulating myself; excepting the absence of one child, this is how it’s meant to be.
Meanwhile, Flora has taken off her clothes and her nappy, and desecrated the Monopoly box. I take her to the bathroom to clean her, and while I’m upstairs the cat eats what’s left of my dinner.
Later, both children lie horizontally on my bed, pretending to be asleep. I’ve told them to lie still so that we can try and tick off one of the independent learning homework suggestions from this term’s theme, ‘mountains of the mind’.
The instructions read:
‘Listen to You Raise Me Up by Westlife. Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the top of a mountain. Draw or write what you see and hear.’
I press play on the YouTube video, and somehow both children remain still and quiet through most of the song.
“Hey wait,” says Leo, as the song ends. “Hang on a minute. Was I meant to be imagining a mountain? I was imagining what it would be like if Germany had won the war.”
“Oh, wow, well that’s an interesting thing to think about too…”
I don’t feel like trying the excercise again. I’d have to listen to the song again, for a start, and it didn’t seem likely that Leo would remember the thing he’s supposed to be imagining however many times I try.