As I was saying in my last letter, life is marching on. I blink and Fraser is another inch taller. I've lost an entire month since... well, since about a month ago actually. Where are the days disappearing to? I can't believe it's time to rebook the kids' clubs for the next session again.
Except I had that thought at the beginning of October. Now I've finally got round to sharing it with you, it's time to rebook them AGAIN. Drama, swimming and gymnastics are all badgering me to sign my children up for another twelve lessons after Christmas. Each child does a couple of activities a week and every class costs around four pounds a time. I don't really want to think about what it all adds up to over the year but I suspect it's somewhere in the region of a very large telly.
I suppose I have to look at it as an investment in my childrens' development. They're learning new skills, meeting new people and coping with new situations. They're getting exercise and gaining knowledge. Marie even enjoys her classes.
That said, the boys would prefer the big telly.
Ho hum. Maybe one day they'll be grateful. Maybe one day they'll fall into a large body of water and be glad they've learnt to do something other than sink like a fridge. Unfortunately, they're not convinced by this argument at the moment. After all, they say, why would they be out and about near a large body of water if they had an enormous telly at home that they could be watching instead?
It wouldn't be so bad but, besides the cost of the courses themselves, there's the incidental expenditure - bus fares for us all, chocolate for them and an occasional cup of coffee for me. This quickly adds up. I try to take snacks with us when I can but the kids don't always let me. Getting to put coins in a vending machine, press the buttons and then watch Daddy hammer on the glass in frustration because the Maltesers have got stuck again is one of the highlights of the trip.
Thankfully, however, they don't like fizzy juice so they're not so fussed about drink dispensers. I can save one pound fifty by handing round cartons of own-brand blackcurrant I bought in a 3 for 2 deal at the supermarket.
If I remember them that is...
I should really make a list. Every Friday lunchtime, I find myself packing a huge pile of towels and swimming costumes, goggles and leisure cards into a backpack and every week I zip it closed and immediately think, "I'm sure I've forgotten something..."
Usually it's the hairbrushes. Sometimes it's the drinks. Once it was the goggles. (The last one was a real disaster. Lewis only put his head in the water a single time during the whole lesson and kept complaining his eyes were sore. In essence, I spent four pounds for him to bob about in the corner of the pool for half an hour, looking glum and shivering. Not ideal.)
If I had a list, I could just go through it and make sure I had everything I needed. It would make life easier. I don't, though, for a number of reasons:
- I wouldn't look at it. I'd be halfway through putting stuff in the backpack before I remembered I had the list and by then it wouldn't seem worthwhile going to find it. This thought process in itself would probably be enough distraction to make me forget something.
- It's a bit late now. It's four years since I first took Fraser for swimming lessons and I've done OK without a list so far. Writing one now would be acknowledging defeat. I'd be admitting that all the broken sleep and Teletubbies I've endured since then has finally turned my brain to sludge. What next? I might get to the middle of a sentence and.
- If I started leaving handy, fool-proof lists lying around of what to do and when to do it, someone could steal my job. I'm not really expecting this to happen but I used to work in IT. Old habits die hard.
Bottles, baby sleeping-bags, bibs, nappies, cloths, slam-stoppers for doors, toilet seat(!), bath thermometer, rubber spoons, breast-pump, two of the carseats, microwaveable steriliser...
You name it and we don't need it anymore or we could live without it for a few days. Somehow we still seem to end up with about ten items of luggage but these days they mostly contain clothes, washbags and a surprisingly large number of electrical chargers.
Yes, what we've lost in baby equipment, we seem to have gained in gadgets. Two phones, four handheld games systems, two cameras and a laptop. Then there are the kids' torches, random toys and the rechargeable batteries to go with them (plus charger and a screwdriver to open stubborn battery compartments).
Life moves on. How long before Marie insists on packing earrings, crop tops and a boyfriend? Time is scurrying past. Maybe I really should begin thinking about all the things I'm going to do next year when she starts school.
Now that I'm going to need to make a list for...
Yours in a woman's world,