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Monday, 28 May 2007

Save it for a rainy day

It's been an archetypal British bank holiday weekend: glorious sunshine for the week preceding it; torrential rain and freezing cold all weekend. My first reaction to this weekend's weather forecast was probably typical of mothers all over the country - disappointment, even horror: "How am I going to keep my kids entertained / happy / from killing each other whilst cooped up inside all weekend?" But the combination of recuperating from our respective lurgies, the rain and rather severe end-of-month-cashflow-crisis has conspired to keep us indoors for most of the weekend. And I have to say it really hasn't hurt us one little bit. The kids have been more than happy just 'hanging out'. There's been a lot of drawing, colouring (resulting in Nathan sporting an interesting purple and black spotty hairstyle), reading, lego-tower-building, dressing up, camp-building ... and a great deal of sitting around watching telly. Eden and I made a proper old-fashioned sherry trifle to take to friends for Sunday supper. Paul read the entirety of the weekend newspapers for the first time in years. I even read two book reviews! Sitting on the sofa with my feet up!! Sometimes it's good to take time out just 'to be' as a family. And may I just recommend dandling a baby on your knee as the best (and cheapest) therapy in the world.
It's not a very original observation, but I'll make it all the same: it seems to me that today's (middle-class, especially London-based) children are generally over-stimulated brats. I was talking to a Mum-friend the other morning about some friends of hers for whom a typical bank holiday weekend would involve at least two trips to kid-friendly play parks (the hugely overpriced Legoland and Thorpe Park were mentioned), outings to the swimming pool or cinema and generally much racing about according to child-oriented schedules. Result? Spoilt children who don't know how to amuse themselves or simply how to hang out and relax. It's all too easy to fall into this trap and it's actually quite difficult to slow down, stop and reappraise priorities sometimes. Taking some proper time out, releasing yourself from that sense of urgency to be 'doing', hanging schedules and 'to do' lists out to dry for a couple of days - that's what a bank holiday should be all about.


Kate said...

That's astute. Does us all good to remember!


spymum said...

I have to confess, when I heard that we were going to have a deluge i panicked as well! but we've had a lovely time, snuggling, reading, watching 'Night at the Museum'!

Thorpe Park and Legoland? No thanks - my idea of utter hell - especially in the rain! ;-)

Mum-to-be said...

Having spent Bank holiday Mon with working mum's brood - I have to say I thought she had taken me to a themepark/panto anyway...why entertain the kids when they can entertain you??