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Three children *** One big, grey dog *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”


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Not clock watching

Over half term, we have relaxed. I put it down to less clock watching. More time taken. Even after almost 12 years of doing the school run, I still struggle to be fully productive in the hours between dropping off and picking up. It’s not quite long enough for me. I check time. Estimate if I can squeeze one more task in. A feeling of constant interruption. It’s a pattern for all areas of my life.

So half term is bliss.

We spent longer doing activities. I’m not constantly watching the time, to make sure meals are on time or people picked up. Taking over to speed proceedings up. I’m reminded of their time at a Montessori nursery, where an activity was complete once the child had tired of/finished it. Not cleared away, to start break time. The children controlled the end point. Not the clock.

Over the weekend, I set up a science experiment. Secret writing with lemon, on different paper, with my youngest. It worked really well and lots of science was discussed.

While the paper dried, we used the rest of the lemon to make raspberry and lemon muffins. The muffin baking was my attempt to stop him wandering off and being caught up by another attraction. Screen or book. Either way, it would have resulted in a half an hour or more wait while he finished it. Plus I knew everyone would be pleased to see a tray of muffins.

It worked. He loved the science, as I knew he would, but it was the baking that he enjoyed the most. Taking his time, with only a little help from me.

This is new. His sisters weren’t elbowing him out of the way. They often over shadow him. I wasn’t hurrying him along. It was his project. He was going to see it through. He chatted away happily.

And I stepped back and gave him time.

Once the muffins were in the oven, we used the heat from the Aga hotplates to reveal the secret messages on the now dry paper. He approached it with maturity. Assessing the dangers. Taking his time. Innovating different methods. The writing appeared perfectly and no fires required extinguishing.

He has grown. Again.

At that moment, I heard a familiar cog clunk into place. It started a slow rotation of many other interlinked cogs. All moving in perfect synchonism. A thing of beauty.

I’ve been here before.

The process of realisation had begun. I couldn’t carry on feeling like I need to do it all, to fit in with the clock. I need to let go a fracture more. I’ve helped him grow into the person he is. Now it’s time to step back a little bit more and see what he can do.

In reality, most parents will tell you, that the growing up process happens all the time. The pendulum swinging from the adult leading to the child doing. Continuous. Hopefully effortlessly and with the smoothness of a well oiled machine. Just occasionally, you are present enough in the moment to experience a small jolt as they step up a gear. Changing the rhythm of growing up slightly.

So there you are. Spotting that they’ve outgrown their trousers is a piece of cake. Seeing that they are ready to take more on? That’s more sticky.

It will be interesting to see if my own production increases after September when there will be no more school runs. Will I give myself more time and see what I can do? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, anyone for cake?

Debs Random Writings
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20 Responses to Not clock watching

  • Anne says:

    oh yes please, those muffins look amazing! Thank you for reminding me about the lemon juice secret writing, we visited Bletchley Park yesterday which was steeped in secret messages, it would be a great activity to do with my kids. I know what you mean about the clock watching, that’s why I love school holidays so much. No time restrictions.

    • Craft Mother says:

      Oh yes! It would be a great activity to do with them. I dug out my old dial decoder too, which they had fun with. Must post it up as it’s another one that fits in with the theme. One day, I’m sure I’ll look back fondly, but I’m sure the clock watching will not be part of it.

  • Sophie says:

    I love the school holidays as a teacher and love the Relaxing pace of life. We all need it for sure. What I agree with you on is how does time go by so quickly? I have a 15 and 17 year old and I look at them and wonder, how? I miss those toddler snuggles and am very aware that the years are passing by very quickly, hold your babies close. Xxx #keepingitreal

  • Carol says:

    Science with you sounds fun – espcially if it ends with muffins. #KeepingItReal

  • What a fun science lesson! And baking cakes is always a good way to keep them focused. 😉 My eldest loves baking muffins and doesn’t stray too far whilst they cook as he can’t wait to eat them! I know what you mean about the clock watching. Even though I homeschool our boys, I still clock watch to an extent because I work from home also.
    It’s lovely to watch our kiddies grow isn’t it? I just wish they didn’t grow up so fast.

    Thanks for sharing with #MMBC. Have a lovely week x

    • Craft Mother says:

      I didn’t know you homeschooled. How do you do it all? Your eldest is very lucky to be able to bake so many muffins. I need to make sure my boy gets more opportunity to bake. I do have an image of us all clock watching our way through parenting. You are so right about them growing up so fast, but I do love to see them grow.

  • J says:

    I wish you had been my science teacher, raspberry muffins for everyone! Cool, writing with lemon, I think I remember doing something like that, what a pleasant smelling kitchen you must have.
    J recently posted..The Other Side of The CoinMy Profile

  • Debbie says:

    Hi Cheryl, your son did himself proud, those muffins look really good (I’ll have two, please). The experiment with the lemon and invisible writing is not one I’ve heard of before (that’s living on a rock for you!). I remember my sister sending over some ‘magic’ felt-tip pens for my two when they were small and they were fascinated by them. An experiment like this they would have loved, I’m sure… It’s not easy to know when to step back and when to step in, but if we don’t let them try have ago they will never learn. It’s a learning curve for all of us and as parents, we get that warm, fuzzy feeling of pride when our children do something for themselves (with a little guidance if needed). That feeling never seems to go away.

    Thank you for linking up with #keepingitreal.

    Debbie recently posted..Greek Style Lentils Cooked In The Slow CookerMy Profile

    • Craft Mother says:

      That is nice to know that it carries on being a good feeling. The lemon juice experiment is fun. We’ve used the magic pens as well. Something rather wonderful being able to communicate in a secret way.

  • What a beautifully written post. I really enjoyed reading every word of this. So closely observed. #thesatsesh

  • Sorry not #thesatsesh but #keepingitreal

  • Fi Anderson says:

    You’ve just described the way I operate every single day and it’s a horrible recognisation. I hope I can learn to relax and enjoy the moments more than worrying about the next thing on the list #blogcrush

  • Lucy At Home says:

    You’re right – they manage to grow up so much without us noticing sometimes and suddenly we realise how much more they’ve been doing lately. These muffins look yummy.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blo badge 🙂 #blogcrush

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