A wet Christmas holiday, spent at home. The biggest challenge to our status as out-sourcing parents: no school, sports clubs or music lessons. There were large quantities of screen-time, but in between we managed some fresh air and games.
Most difficult was finding activities that all three children were happy to participate in. On Christmas Day, sons no.1 and 2 headed with me to the local park for football in their brand new boots. The 1&onlyD came along to play on the exercise equipment. Earlier that day, no.2 son had taken his new World Cup football to the back door and drop kicked it over the fence into our neighbour’s garden. This turned out to be fortunate as our game in the park was brought to an end by a dog running off with our ball between its teeth. We are not a family of dog lovers.
Other outdoor action was engaged in by the kids singly or in pairs. The back-garden, boasting a pristine, new “colossal” goal, sustained a few skirmishes with the boys before the grumpy groundsman (me) took umbrage at the damage to the sodden lawn and cancelled play.
No.1 son and I, on days when parting from his PS3 had been just too difficult in daylight hours, went running through the dark, wet streets of our town. It’s interesting how he can manage 70 minutes of football (which I cannot), but the steady exercise of jogging brings on stitches.
Back indoors, no.2 son developed abdominal muscles of rock. Practicing with his mother’s weighted exercise hula-hoop, first he completed one minute of continuous gyration. The next target achieved was five minutes. Taking a short break, he then set out to scale ten minutes. This he did and did not stop, until after 25 minutes of continuous hip-sway, he was persuaded to let the hoop drop for his own safety.
Less physically draining, the 1&onlyD learnt card tricks to fox us with. She practiced the piano conscientiously, particularly Chim-chim chiree. Even no.1 son played some piano when an audience assembled.
On a visit to friends, the boys and I crossed the road to a park and took on England’s 10th ranked girl sprinter (aged 12). We must have been hampered by the cold and the wind, which strangely didn’t seem to hold back our opponent.
The arrival on New Year’s Eve of cousin F (age 5) did unite the kids. While the adults ate and chatted, they occupied themselves with games of hide and seek teddy. And a trip to the pool, accompanied by a couple of friends, also occupied the three – in ferocious battles to control a foam float.
Tomorrow brings school, football practice and a return to the routines of finding uniform and kit, giving lifts and entrusting our children to the hands of others.