Hattie and Joe have been hard work over the past few days. We think it’s mostly to do with the disruption of the past couple of weeks: finishing at kindy; staying at different places; having meals out (many of which I’ve written about on my new blog, Kiwi Café Kids); and generally not following any kind of routine. However, going by past experience of these kids of ours, I feel confident that I’m a contributory factor.
I’m really busy at the moment. I had my only exam in mid-November (three of my four papers last semester didn’t have exams, but they had huge assignments instead because life is awesome). The exam was on a Saturday, I took the Sunday off, and then I began work as a research assistant for one of the uni lecturers, taking part in a big piece of research to which she’s contributing. Until 21 December, when we left town for Christmas, I spent most of Monday to Friday on campus, undertaking huge literature review about how children access play opportunities in suburban neighbourhoods (and we all know how much I like to talk about playgrounds…)
For the last few days before the start of our Christmas break I was locked away in my bedroom, writing up my findings. I discovered that the scope of the work was enormous, and I couldn’t finish it before Christmas, so I’ve been writing more or less non-stop since we returned home last Wednesday.
Anyway, I know that the busier I get, the more Hattie and Joe play up. It is a horrible vicious circle, given that the busier (and more tired) I get, the less capable I am of retaining my perspective in the face of children’s bullshit. Tristan has heroically shouldered 95% of the parenting burden over the past few days, but he’s also worn out and fed up. And – just to compound things – our current au pair, Laura, finishes this Wednesday.
When I put the kids to bed this evening I explained that I knew they were really sick of me being so busy, and that I’d do my very best to finish this writing tomorrow, so we can spend a lot of time together. I explained that the work was important for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it will (hopefully) help me to find a good job, which will eventually enable us to save lots of money and go on lovely holidays. This resonated with them, but the best news seemed to be that I would soon spend virtually all day, every day with them. Their faces lit up – it was a glorious reminder of how much kids really just want to hang out with their parents, when everything is said and done. I’m so lucky to have these lovely children!
But I told them that this is my job at the moment, doing this work, and that I had other jobs to do after I’d kissed them good night: getting the washing off the line; going to the supermarket… all those things that have to be done on a regular basis. And then we talked about what their jobs are:
- Be good kids
- Be kind to everybody
- Try hard at everything they do
- Listen to Mummy and Daddy, and teachers
- Have lots of fun!
They agreed that they’ve probably got the better end of this whole ‘jobs’ deal at the moment…
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