Tuesday, 15 March 2016

March Madness

The girl behind the counter looked warily at her lone customer. Sunday morning, not long after opening, too early for one of those customers, surely. Apparently not. He had been shuffling around the shop for a good ten minutes now, seemingly dazzled by the bright cards, the glitter, the pinks and blues. And he was talking to himself, muttering under his breath, quietly chanting some deranged mantra. So she kept him in the corner of her eye, just to be on the safe side, and strained to hear what he was saying, half-intrigued, half-terrified by what she might hear. Then - yes - she caught it:

"...Mother's Day card, E to K; Mother's Day card, W to K; Mother's Day card, me to Mumsy Marsh; birthday card, E to K; birthday card, W to K; birthday card, me to K..."

You see, dear reader, that man was me - not a weirdo at all! (Please feel free to take a moment to make your own joke(s) up before continuing.)

It's been quite a busy week in our house, with both Mother's Day and K's birthday falling within a few days of each other. Like a lot of things from this time last year, I have no clear memory of what happened for K's first Mother's Day or her last birthday, so I felt like a complete rookie when it came to sorting things out. It all panned out fine, thanks to some forward planning, and cards and presents had all been bought with at least a fortnight to spare. I knew reading all those books on being organised would come in useful one day.

And for those of you thinking that I made my life hard by getting cards from each of E&W, rather than joint cards: if you'll forgive me a - hopefully rare - moment of right-on-trendiness, they're individuals, not a unit - we don't refer to them as 'The Twins', or 'The Children'. I sometimes feel a bit bad about lumping them together as E&W, but convince myself that it's a neat shorthand that still recognises they're their own little people. [Disengage right-on-trendy mode].

Mother's Day started off with cards and a small present...
...before we headed off mid-morning to the coffee shop in our new local Waitrose (I know, we're so rock n'roll!). It's a very pleasant place to go - not too busy, clean, comfy sofas and a bit of space for toddling around without invading others' personal space. While sat there doing a bit of people watching while K was being entertained by E&W's antics, I noticed a steady trickle of dads and their little people - hardly any mums in sight. Of course, mums are supposed to have a break on Mother's Day - what a bad husband I am! But then K pointed out that she doesn't get to spend that much time with them (or me, really) during the week, so this was a chance for her to have some relaxed family time. I'd not thought of it like that - but then she's always been the clever one in the family. And we scored +1 on the good parenting/husbanding scale when I overheard a lady at the next table pointing out to her daughter that K and I swapped places halfway through our drinks to allow the other to have some undisturbed sipping time.
Then in the afternoon we went out for one of our now-customary toddles around the block, and gave the toddle bikes our friends Stacy, Adam, Ellie and Freddie passed on to us (thank you!) a run out...
K took the day off work for her birthday, and we went to our local pub, The Fishes in North Hinksey, for lunch. E&W were little angels - they often are when we go out, possibly because there are lots of new things to look at - so we had a nice time and some good food (and a little wine.) Oh, and then K and I had bacon and egg toasted sandwiches for dinner, after E&W had gone to sleep. See previous comment about being rock 'n roll.

I like to think that although there were no grand gestures, no whisking-aways for romantic evenings, not even breakfast in bed (maybe next year, when E&W can be sent downstairs to cook a fry-up on their own - I joke!), we all had a nice time. I remember my A-Level English Lit teacher banning us from describing anything as 'nice', because it's a safe, soft, maybe even bland word, but there is a lot to be said for just doing simple, nice things. They're what families should do.

Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions, give feedback, or make suggestions for what you'd like to see me write about (I'll happily do requests!) below - and please share this blog with anyone you think might be interested in it. Thank you!