It’s been almost a week since I came to stay with my sister and her family, to meet my new niece and help with child-minding duties while my sister and brother-in-law do other (non-child-related) things. Not everyone’s idea of a restful holiday, but if you’ve worked where I do, you might understand (not to say I don’t like work; it’s just frickin’ tiring sometimes).
As a guest, I’ve been following the routines of the household. Well, most of them. My nephew (who is two years old) has breakfast at 7am, but I don’t sleep anywhere near as early as he does, so I get up a bit later. Still, everyone has lunch at 11am, and then dinner is served at 5pm.
I once read that you should try to keep all of your meals within a 12 hour window. I forget the reasoning/logic behind it because I thought it quite impossible when I first read it. Probably something to do with metabolism [insert shrugging emoji here].
Anyway, now that I have done it – and for several days too – I realise it’s actually do-able, and not so bad. Since I don’t know what health benefits I’m meant to be looking out for, and considering it’s only been a week, it’s too soon to make any sort of judgement call on this, but this is also an unexpected tangent, and irrelevant to what I was intending to write about.
Forgive me, I think it’s been so long since I sat in front of a computer to type anything, that my mind and my fingers are quite running away with this. (My last post was written and published on my phone, which is something I think I’ve only done once or twice before.)
Anyway… I’d meant to say that it’s been good to have this kind of simple routine: get up, eat breakfast, play with nephew, hold niece, attempt to read, eat lunch, hold niece, play with nephew, realise it’s futile to attempt to get any reading done, eat dinner, do all of the things once nephew is in bed.
Ah, to be a kid again! (but also not)
The other very pleasant thing about spending time with young children is the chance to read children’s books i.e. picture books. I’ve come to appreciate that it’s no simple task to write and illustrate a children’s picture book to a parent-approved standard. And while the stories aren’t quite substantial enough to satiate my biblio-appetite, I delight in them all the same, particularly the ones with clever rhymes throughout.
The Hairy Maclary series by Lynley Dodd are a favourite of mine.
I expect some people might be surprised that I’m content despite the seeming lack of intellectual stimulation, but that all comes after nephew is in bed: I do a bit of Farsi study, and read a chapter or so of Little Women. Today I even went for a run in the evening.
I had originally wanted to go for my run before dinner, but I soon realised that that wasn’t going to happen. But it turned out ok because the sun doesn’t set until almost 8pm, so I still had plenty of time to venture out after nephew’s bedtime and before dark. I needn’t have worried at all. It was much better to have spent the afternoon with nephew.
I’m not very far into Little Women, but there seems to be a recurring message about counting your blessings and appreciating what you have, particularly non-material things like friends and family, and a warm home (in every sense of the word “warm”). To be honest, it seems a bit overdone – every chapter seems to have some new scenario to illustrate the same point – but if there’s going to be a recurring theme, it’s not such a bad thing to reiterate.
It seems a common lament that babies and little children grow up much too fast, so I want to appreciate this time, even if all I’m doing is watching my niece fall asleep, which is actually quite a beatific sight to behold!