As the children grow up, I’m often struck by moments we’ve left behind. The ones that silently disappeared. No fanfare. They were part of our lives one moment, then slipped away with no one noticing.
Puddle jumping is one. The art of jumping into the centre of a puddle and making the biggest splash possible.
It seems like only yesterday I was buying wellies that gave the maximum leg coverage, to cope with the inevitable high water splashes of successful puddle jumping. Most parents of toddlers, when approaching a puddle, give a sideways look at their child to double check how they are dressed that day. A split second decision about whether a wet toddler fits in with your day or is a game changer. Still time for evasive action.
When did that change for us? I didn’t notice, but it has long since gone.
Puddle-meters and ladybird boots no longer feature in our lives.
(Banded demoiselle) (orange balsalm)
Strangely, puddle jumping has not vanished. Or should that be evaporated? Whichever it is, it still goes on, but in a different form. With different footwear. As I watched the children jump over a never ending series of puddles down the canal path, I saw the transformation. The objective has changed. No longer is it about the biggest splash. Now it is about the lack of contact. Clearing the puddle completely, in one, long leap.
We were impressed by their synchronised movements. (Hope you can see it in the animated photos above.) An Olympic sport of the future…..maybe. Points awarded for style,uniformity and challenging tricks. A point deducted for each mud splattering spot on their legs.
Did they stay dry? No. We were walking beside a canal in the rain. No chance. I had their waterproofs in my bag, but no one wanted to stop the fun and put them on.
Did they fall in the puddles? No. As if! This is the senior version of puddle jumping after all.
I’d say that is a plus.
To badly quote. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a child at the start of their summer holiday must be in want of a few days relaxation. It is certainly true of my merry band. They all pretty much collapsed and were beyond doing much.
The first proper day off, I took two of them to the library. One refused to budge, although she loves reading. So I sent photos of the library shelves from my phone. That was enough for her to text back the books she would like me to bring home for her. She ended up borrowing the most. Sometimes, slightly devious ways have to be adopted.
(library books read and ready to go back to the library)
Youngest is the only one who can officially join in the library challenge this year. (Read six books and collect a prize) It’s for eleven year olds and below. We do it most years. Mainly as it’s such a good way to start the holiday off as we mean to go on. The other two are providing moral support by picking books from the library (either in person or from a distance) and reading along with him.
There is a lot of reading going on. Partly helped by revisiting screen time rules. Initiated by the children, which…and you may want to sit down before you read this next part….means less time but spread throughout the day.
I know. I keep checking. There is no catch and they are sticking to it.
Apart from the reading, and less screen time, they have been drawing, going through the board games and playing cards. Most of the time nicely. On my summer list is to play more card games with them. This month, I’ve taught them a couple of easy ones. Go Fish and Old Maid. To get them started. We’ll move on to something a bit more involved next.
While the children have broken up for the holiday, I have not. Fortunately, I can shut myself away in my office, at the side of the house, and appear in time to eat the muffins they have kindly made and organize meals for my ever hungry
gannets growing children. When I venture back into the house, I’m greeted by a chorus of “Go Fish”, find they’ve retuned the radio from Radio 4 to Kiss, and turned the kitchen table into a card playing den.
They are growing up.
It seems my friends have kicked off their shoes and are relaxing. As I sat working at my desk, two of them texted to say they had recovered from the end of term and were in full holiday mode. Within half an hour of each other. Thanks.
My turn soon.
Having the children home has its uses. Apart from the supply of muffins. The Teen helped by taking photos of me wearing my latest handmade dress. Blue joined in too.
It is the one disadvantage of making clothes for me. I can’t be on both sides of the lens at the same time. It’s frustrating. I like the control. In the absence of a body double, I hand over the camera and hope. I think she did well. Apart from accidently making me stand on an ant nest, it all went without a hitch.
(spaghetti squash and cucumber in abundance in the garden, Blue keeping me company in the office, latest sewing and first apples nearly ready)
They’ve enjoyed a relaxing week. Next week, I’ll take more time off and hopefully it will be a bit more active.
Joining in with #wotw