A couple of people have pointed out I haven’t been updating as much lately as I did at first. I guess that is for lots of reasons, including the fact that things are not all new and exciting any more – my days are pretty much the same as they were at first, or if anything actually more boring as I’ve not been going to as many museums, and also because I figured it was kind of excessive to post every single day!
However, today was a nice day and this weekend a little different to usual because the Mother went away on Friday and won’t be back until Tuesday night. She left during lunchtime on Friday, when the younger girls were home, which meant they got to say goodbye but there were also lots of tears. It was quite nice in a way, though, because we played together in the garden, ate lunch earlier than normal, played more, danced around, and got back to their school early. Early is staggering. I have only managed on time a few times. Fridays are especially tricky since they hate having to go to school twice in one day.
Friday night went smoothly too, on the whole, although Daughter Three had a bit of a meltdown wanting her mum. She coped admirably, though, and everyone was in bed as usual where they discovered that their mum had left each of them a special card with a sweet little note to say she loved them. She is really great about doing that kind of thing, it’s something I think I’d like to do with my children too so they have a physical memento of how much I loved them during their childhood.
Anyway, Saturday I don’t usually work and although I offered to help out their dad he seemed a bit irritated with everyone’s assumption that he wouldn’t be able to cope (I feel that it is a reasonable thing to assume, considering that there are never fewer than two people around to look after the five children – five is a lot of children!) so I generally kept out of the way. I did take Daughter One to her piano lesson though, as it clashed with another activity the others were at.
Taking Daughter One to her lesson is odd. I don’t spend a whole lot of time involved in the logistics of the elder children’s lives, since they travel to school by bus/train. I sometimes pick up Daughter One by the metro, but even that is just accompanying her on a journey she would make anyway. So Saturdays are the only day I have to get her somewhere at a specific time, and we sometimes are at loggerheads because she is apparently incapable of being ready on time (I remember being like this at 11 too) and I am antsy that we will miss our tram and therefore have to wait 15 minutes for the next one. I do not understand why there are FEWER trains at the weekend but it’s very irritating.
On the way back, though, we had a lot of fun and chatted about all kinds of things. One thing of note was when I was recounting the tale of how I fainted in a Criminal Law lecture – including the expletive which Vicky yelled as I landed on her, as I felt an 11 year old probably already knows the word and it adds to the story – and an elderly man in front of us turned round and asked us to walk ahead of him because there was “too much noise”. I was talking animatedly, but not loudly, and we were on a crowded pavement full of other people talking, so we both felt he was being unreasonably rude. Anyway we crossed over to the ice cream shop at that point and had a bit of a giggle at the fact he was dressed like Sherlock Holmes.
Ice cream. I have given that up for Lent, along with all other desserts. I was thrilled to be told today that Lent does not include Sundays! So I had an ice cream after lunch, naturally.
We’re about up to today, other than the delivery pizza I ate in my room last night in the company of several internet friends who all also felt a desire for pizza. As usual I had church this morning and then hung out with my friend Rachel who sings alto in the choir too. We went off to La Defense for lunch with a guy called Johannes who we met at post-service coffee. The three of us went to Viagio, my new favourite fast food place, and sat for over two hours talking about religion, politics and cultural differences – he is Swedish, she is American, so we had quite a spread.
Then Rachel and I went to see The King’s Speech, which I enjoyed enough the first time to happily see again. It was really funny afterwards because I mentioned that I had driven through the Balmoral Estate and not once but twice met Prince Charles driving the other way. As an American she can’t get her head around the concept of actually seeing royalty going about their regular lives. We talked about what makes up our cultural narrative (for me, The King’s Speech and Made in Dagenham both were quite nostalgic because they touch on two aspects of life I find very familiar, although they aren’t my lives, whereas for her True Grit was closer to home) and how interesting the differences were.
I won’t go on much longer, but one thing from that conversation has stuck with me and I wanted to write it down before it drifted off through my sieve brain. A few weeks/months ago I was debating the worth of the monarchy and I had trouble expressing a thought in concise words. Something Rachel said at lunch about how the President has gone from performing a useful political function to spending most of his time trying to be re-elected helped: for me, the monarch’s purpose is to provide a figurehead who doesn’t have to worry about how political decisions will affect their image in society, or their likelihood of losing their job. The Queen is the knot at the centre of our constitutional system, and I feel that if we were to get rid of her in favour of an alternate knot that got retied every four years or so, in a potentially very different style, things would be less stable.
That is quite enough for now! Off to bed, as I am starting work even earlier than usual tomorrow morning to ensure the kids get off to school on time (they were late to bed so I envisage some difficulties there…).