Take our winter holidays for instance. I was fairly content to fill our days with happy outings, delicious snacks and fellowship with friends. With all that in mind, and the need to get everyone out and about (okay, I'll admit it, we were getting cabin fever) the kids and I did a shop trawl for new scooters. The old ones had been outgrown, given or rusted away.
A few jobs were undertaken by the kids in order to "earn" making a contribution towards the new toys. Sometimes the whinging that accompanies "doing jobs" makes these efforts seem hardly worth the angst. But it is worth it, to make them see that new things should be earned, not always just given.
Life lesson - tick.
It seemed like we were heading for a win-win all round.
Arch was happy with a 3-wheeler CARS scooter from the op shop.
Mim was ecstatic when she found a scooter with flashing-light wheels.
Jesse, showed admirable restraint and chose an inexpensive one that looked sturdy and suited him just fine.
Eleanore, not usually too fussy, couldn't find one that suited. Either the scooters were too small, or too expensive, or sold out, or too green/blue/red…. Eventually, out of desperation (yes, Mum tearing hair out) we bought a whizz bang scooter (on sale, but still overpriced) that was supposed to create sparks from the back wheel.
I should have known that sparking thing was a bad omen.
We had one semi-successful trip to a park with friends and scooters. Mim got a big blister from wearing twinkle toes sneakers on a light-up scooter. She was torn between the physical pain and the visual triumph of her scootering neon lit self. Unfortunately the pain, and moaning, won out.
On the second day of new scooters we walked to our local park with some good friends. There is a semi-steep footpath down in to the park that the big kids were very excited about riding their new scooters on. Apparently by the time I arrived (lagging at the back with Arch, as usual) Ellie had already been down the hill twice.
Oh, did I mention that the sparking thing had failed to produce anything resembling a spark? Who knew if we weren't doing it right, or if the thing was a dud?
As I walked down the hill I turned to see who was whizzing down the path behind me. It was Ellie.
I had one of those parenting LIGHT BULB moments. Okay, so it would have been way more helpful to have such a moment five minutes earlier, but these things never quite work out that way.
LIGHT BULB MOMENT: Daughter on scooter. Going too fast. Has taken her jacket off. Has no protective clothing or helmet on whatsoever. Is going WAY TOO FAST!
"Oh Ellie." I said, as I added up the risk factors in my mind.
And that was enough.
Ellie looked at me, caught my panicked eye, and lost control.
I think we all know the rest...
If I fast forward the next 11+ hours, which involved endless hours in waiting rooms (you can quiz me on any celebrity and I can tell you the very latest - our magazine reading time was immense!), you would then find Ellie and I finally settling into beds at the children's ward of the hospital the kids were born in. After a night of fitful and limited sleep, Ellie went to theatre the next day - to realign a bone and set a broken wrist.
Anyway, we had another week of holidays to recover from the trauma, lack of sleep, broken dreams. This was good, as the break is in Ellie's writing hand, so the upcoming school term was looking challenging.
Due to the wonders of social media, word about Ellie's accident spread fast. I can't tell you how heart warming it was to receive so many messages of care and concern. Ellie allowed the (above) photos to be shown, in order to keep friends and family updated.
On the Sunday, relieved to be home again, we were delighted to receive a knock at the door from one of Ellie's school teachers. She delivered chocolates, flowers and a card, assuring us that Ellie would be found things to do at school and wishing her a speedy recovery - what a blessing!
And here are the sisters, on a modest outing we took a few days later. We didn't return the scooter - but it was tempting!
Other happy snaps:
BOOK SHELFIES - Okay we are trying to win a competition from our favourite Children's Bookshop. You just have to like our photos on their Facebook page.
Oh and a mouse update?
Yes, the mouse says hi. He walked (yes, I said WALKED!) into our TV room the other night while J and I were watching TV. I'm almost positive I saw a look of disappointment in his little brown eyes when he saw that we weren't watching The Voice or some other reality show.
I went to make him a coffee while he wandered (not ran) off behind the lounge before settling into one of his many homes, underneath our immovable television cabinet, for the night.
I continue to clean and declutter, but the mouse has told me not to knock myself out. He's happy with our house just the way it is. He also told J not to bother with the peanut butter and other myriad of culinary snacks we've been placing in the traps. He's fine getting his own food. No, really.