Monday, 13 June 2011

Quiet around here

After the hurly burly of half term it was time for the big send off for Folly 3 on her Year 6 residential to France. I have dutifully labelled clothes for every eventuality apart from snow and provided spares for the spares.  We saw her off on Sunday and my four young follies became three for one week.

It is always strange when one of the follies are missing as the dynamics among those left behind changes and there is a slight shifting of position.  The absence of folly 3 left folly 2 without a fighting mate so she moved to form a closer bond with folly 1 resulting in lots of sharing and conspiring between the two of them.  Folly 4 turned her attention away from the family and sought out friends from school who came back home for tea or were telephoned to make plans and plots together.

I found my week simplified somewhat as there was only two school runs to co-ordinate rather than the usual three.  There were several afterschool activities which could be forgotten and I didn't seem to be needed as referee quite as often. Things were quieter too and maybe our neighbours found that as well, for Folly 3 likes her music at volume.  However, there was a spirit missing. There was no-one to join me in the kitchen early in the morning as I made the lunches, no-one as eager to pop out with the dog to give her a run on the field.  There was no voice questioning my decisions and suggesting other ways I might have approached things.  There was no-one challenging my parenting in her own particular way and forcing me to question my handling of situations.

At times I felt guilty for enjoying a simplified life or for forgetting to think about what Folly 3 might be up to at any given moment.  Yet, now that she is home with her presents and tales of her exploits, I see my job more clearly.  I parent in order to send my children out into the world. I need to be confident that I have done my best to equip them not simply to cope, but to participate and delve in, able to make appropriate choices and evaluate risks.  I should not be continually thinking or worrying about my children for it is right that they and I should have our individual lives. I think back to my Montessori training and remember that our children are striving to be independent right from the beginnning.  Though I have no control over this vast and rapidly changing world, I can control how I prepare the follies to take on the challenges they will meet when they leave my side.  As they grow the follies will leave this home little by little until finally they have their own home and it is that they visit me.  So just as I enjoy the fun and chaos I will enjoy the quietness too and not feel bad about my own independence.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Best in show

Had a fun family morning during half term at a local dog show held in the grounds of an ice-cream parlour. It's hard to say whether it was the idea of ice creams on a hot sunny day or the chance to see cute puppies which attracted the follies most.

There was a list of possible categories Bess could be entered into and we managed to find 4 vaguely suitable so that each of the girls could take her for one event.  We started with waggiest tail which is hilarious considering Bess had her tail docked, but Folly 1 did the best she could to encourage the stump to wag. The dog next door did get a rosette so we felt pleased by association.  However, it was downhill from then on with the prizes (even for the dog next door). Each of the Follies took Bess into the ring (fenced area of grass) and led her round beautifully, they instructed her to sit and stay, and they answered questions from the judge but our dog was not up to the grade.  I just don't think we found the event most suited to a dog that puts up with this.

Sunday, 5 June 2011


After a lull of many years we find ourselves with invitations to a few weddings this spring and summer.  Of course just like the personalities of our friends and family they are very different in formality and occasion.  Today as a friend takes her vows and we are unable to join in their celebration I find myself thinking about these rites.  There is something extremely powerful about the moment in which two people willingly marry together.  I see such a sign of optimisim and hope whether in the pomp of a royal wedding, the intimacy of a family gathering, or in wedding photographs of those that we do not personally know.  I remember at my own wedding the strange feeling that everyone gathered at the church and reception was there sending love and good wishes to us. I think back to all those times we have attended weddings and feel so privileged to share in such a special moment. And so tonight as my friend and her new husband dance, eat and drink in celebration I send out my love to wish them a special future together.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Summer at the follies

The lack of rain and relatively warm temperatures here in the South indicated that summer was here and today we got the sunshine as well. It was gorgeous weather here in Hampshire and with the girls of the house currently home for half term holidays we were able to enjoy.  All friends from the previous days (and nights) sleepovers had left and all our appointments done, so today had a real holiday feel.

We put the splash pool up early in May thinking that we might have a repeat of last years hot weather.  There had been sporadic use especially from Folly 3 who loves the water, but today the girls were in and out all day.  We had synchronised swimming shows, handstand competitions and mermaid games.

   All our meals were outside today and after a full day of activity what better way to head into the evening than with a game of cards.