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Saturday, 9 November 2013

The joy of a list

I do like a list.

Monday was the last day of the holidays before the girls had to go back to school. After a lovely week away, it seemed like it was going to be a damp squib of a day. Daddy already back to work, and not a lot to do but all the practical jobs that had to be done because they hadn't been done in the week we were away.

I am desperately keen to encourage the middle girl to write. And read, for that matter. And, as with most things concerning her, these things happen on her terms. Getting her to do things she cannot be bothered to do is an exercise in deviousness of the highest order.

She wrote the list. Enthusiastically, too. And then she illustrated it. (There is never a problem getting her to draw. I swear I will one day catch her busy with a load of felt pens and bits of paper under her duvet long after lights out.) Why? Because she is smart enough to know that volunteering to write something on this occasion increased her chances of the day looking the way she wanted it to.

The list gave us all joy. And, pretty much all the mundane things that needed to be done got done. The toy hospital remained open all morning.

This was a case in point of children having a natural ability to turn jobs into a game.

I'd been putting off repairing their toys for ages. There was quite a queue of toys in the waiting room. Whilst I love making things, fixing things is not so much fun, is it?

How wrong I was. Even I thoroughly enjoyed myself, insisting the girls refer to me as the surgeon, as I tasked them with triaging which toys were in greatest need of attention. The biggest girl was adamant her rag doll's alopecia was serious enough to bump her up the list.

And the middle girl's favourite purple elephant needed significant surgery to repair a limb that was close to dropping off. I took the liberty of helping `Ella' with some weight gain whilst she was under the knife. She can now stand tall again.

Her parent was thrilled.

Until bedtime. When, she informed me that Ella was no longer nice to use as a pillow, and that she wanted her back the way she was. But also able to stand.

There is just no pleasing some people.

And finally, news just in. The husband has taken the older three out for pizza. He informs me that they have spent a good hour or so singing Wannabe rather loudly. I sense he is not entirely approving of this latest development in their musical education. Perhaps allowing them to watch plenty of YouTube videos of Spice Girls wasn't my best parenting move of the day. Then again, maybe item no. 11 is evidence that the joy of a list just goes on and on...

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