Thursday, 16 October 2014

Am I really that disorganised?

I used to pride myself on being pretty organised when it came to the kids.

Not to the point where I'm arranging their clothes in matching colours, or booking playdates a couple of months ahead or signing up for things like schools several years in advance. No, that's just scary.

But I write things in a diary, I've never yet forgotten a meeting/playdate/appointment, and I'm generally not late for things.

Recently, standards have been beginning to slip though. Since September I've doubled my working hours, and balls are getting dropped left, right and centre.

Two boys at the same school was fine in America - they had their own personalised backpacks in different colours, wore different clothes and didn't have to take much, other than their homework and lunch.

Now, they have identical backpacks, identical games bags, similar looking music cases and both have violins. Their scehedule, with each playing two instruments at school, is so complicated that I have a chalkboard in the kitchen on which I've written what each boy needs to bring each day.

And still I get it wrong.

Over the past fortnight I have packed piano music instead of violin music, sent Littleboy 2 to school with his brother's games bag, and failed to pack a snack on numerous occasions. I even set myself a reminder to pack a special themed snack for Littleboy 2 (which I'd bought and put in the fridge, but knew I'd forget) but failed to hear the bleeping go off on my phone as we left the house.

I've also on several occasions put the wrong homework in the wrong bag -- potentially a more serious crime as Littleboy 1 can now get into trouble for not bringing it on the right day. As I result I've emphasized to the kids that they now must check their own backpacks before school in case I've got something wrong.

Iota blogged this week about people who let their kids come out of school and simply dump all their belongings on their long-suffering parents. I know I've been guilty of this before. But I feel duty-bound to try and sort out the family kit in the mornings, not trusting the boys to do it all themself.

I'd feel awful if one of them got into trouble for me not signing their homework book or leaving their football boots behind. But at what age can I let it go -- and let them take the rap?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Tears Before Bake-Off time

My two boys love The Great British Bake-Off. And I'm wondering. Am I alone?

Nine-year-old Littleboy1 in particular seems to be fascinated by this show, which in itself is strange as, of the two, he is the more traditionally "boyish".  (His brother, meanwhile, has been known to say he wants to be a girl, and prefers drawing pictures to football.)

Although I'm not a big fan of baking, we happened to watch it a couple of times in the summer, and now, despite the fact that it's on at bedtime, he wants me to record it so we can watch it together the next day. He then sits down and solemnly watches people baking cakes for an hour. It's quite funny to watch him; he doesn't get any of the Mel and Sue smutty references on the show, but laughs like a drain when they try to sneak some of the food. So I suppose I have to hand it to them for appealing to audiences of all ages....

Last week he burst into tears when Chetna, (his favourite), was voted off the show. I think he finds the whole voting-off procedure quite traumatic -- we don't watch The X Factor or anything like that with the kids, and it's the first time they've experienced that particular aspect of reality TV.

But he's clearly fascinated by the show and it has caught his imagination. Having last week said his ambition in life was to become a Bake Off judge, he's now decided he wants to be a baker when he grows up, and open a patisserie. Never mind that his mother is one of the world's worst bakers and the extent of our (joint) baking repertoire runs to crumble, a blackberry cake a few weeks ago and several batches of chocolate brownies. But his eyes lit up when I suggested making a cake next weekend to take to a Harvest Supper.

I have an inkling that there might be other small boys out there who are addicted to this show (his-10 year-old cousin apparently watches it in cookery class at school). Although I have no idea if he ever discusses his Bake Off passion with any of his mates. Anyhow, we will solemnly be sitting down to watch the final on Wednesday night. I might even bake something in celebration.