Enjoying the dull days

Having been gutted at missing Isaac’s investiture into Beavers last week, Bank Holiday Monday was a timely reminder that the joy of parenting is as much about enjoying the small days as it is the big ones.

After busy weeks at school and pre-school, followed by an exciting couple of days with energetic activities and grandparents visiting, yesterday was greeted with a universal sense of ‘meh’ in our household, with three knackered kids unable to summon up much energy. While Isaac went out to the cinema with Mummy in the morning, Toby immediately declared it a pyjama day. That pretty much set the tone on a day when the weather wasn’t particularly conducive to outdoor stuff.

Lunchtime was ordinary: freshly baked bread, accompanied by a variety of cheeses and cold meats. That’s typical for us, and it’s nice to get all five of us round the table at the same time, something that only ever happens on weekends. The conversation is long and loud!

After a couple of hours of pottering around the house doing, it must be said, not much, Mummy came up with the idea of firing up our old TV and Playstation 2 and digging out those dance mat games that were all the craze about ten years ago. All three kids took to it with gusto and giggles. Isaac being Isaac wanted to understand exactly how the game worked. Toby was happy improvising a crazed version of Riverdance completely unrelated to the actual music. (I’m pretty sure he hadn’t just taken a cocktail of Ecstasy, espresso and Red Bull, but it was hard to tell.) And Kara simply ran around the boys cackling delightedly out of the simple joy of being able to join in.

It was fun watching from the sidelines. Give our children something new to investigate, and they always seem to find a way to have fun together as a threesome. I hope they always stay that close.

Isaac demonstrates that he hasn't inherited his father's two left feet

Isaac demonstrates that he hasn’t inherited his father’s two left feet

After their tea, the boys and I cuddled up under our blankets on the sofa to watch an old episode of Top Gear. It’s one of those father/son bonding things in our household. Both Isaac and Toby are car-crazy. One of their favourite games is to play ‘Guess the Car’. It’s not enough to say whether it’s a Honda or a Volkswagen. Oh no, it has to be correctly identified as a Honda Insight or a Volkswagen Touareg. Obviously.

Petrolheads of the world unite!

Petrolheads of the world unite!

It’s not a big thing. but it’s our thing. We’d seen this particular episode often enough to know all the jokes and stunts before they happened, and laugh through the whole thing. As someone who grew up in a quiet and serious household, I like the sound of laughter. It’s little things like that which I look back on at the end of a day and think, “Well, that was fun.”

And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Of course, we all want the big days to be perfect. But how many of those are there in a given year – 10? 15? They are far outnumbered by the ordinary days, the ones where nothing special happens other than the minutiae of day-to-day family life. But they still matter. Maybe they matter even more?

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33 thoughts on “Enjoying the dull days

    • As my wife is constantly reminding me (and rightly so), it’s at these little times when they deserve our 100% attention, not just when we’re having big days out.

    • Thanks Laura. Since they boys stopped being so overtly mummy’s boys (from the age of 2-3 onwards), it’s been lovely to find a few things that they associate with me. Sometimes it’s little things like watching Top Gear, but I like to think these can be just as important.

  1. Sometimes ordinary days make the memories, they fire the imagination and lead to unexpected fun. – like the dance mat! How wonderful your children can all have fun together too.

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  3. It is the simple moments that are the best and most remembered. Hopefully one day when your boys are older they will look back and fondly remember those pyjama/ Top Gear days.

    After a busy few days it’s important to take time to recharge the batteries and I think you did it perfectly!

    • It’s nice to know that simple little things can work. And, of course, watching Top Gear with the boys is no great hardship for me … :-)

    • I’ve stopped feeling guilty about doing mundane stuff with the kids, not least because they’re often excited by things that I consider dull. Supermarket trips are voyages of discovery, half an hour in Costa is an opportunity to people watch and do one of those parental Q&As (you know, the ones where they ask you questions and you try to blag plausible answers). And if they can learn to enjoy the ordinary, it just makes the extraordinary that much more special.

  4. Your boys would get on famously with my little boy-he loves his cars and can recognise most models from their car badge alone (he’s not 4 yet!) Sounds like a lovely way to enjoy some time together.
    I had to miss my daughter’s investiture into Cubs, so I’m with you there.

    • I figure that it’s inevitable that we’ll miss the old milestone here and there, but I think Isaac also knows how sad I was that I did miss it – and he has the reassurance of knowing that we do lots of other stuff together as father and son.

  5. I think you are so right, I often find myself disappointed that we haven’t made the most of a day, then realising how much fun we’ve had just spending time together. These quiet days are so important x #letkidsbekids

  6. That whole dance mat thing looks like such good fun! We’ve got an Xbox Kinnect we never use which has a game where you have to pretend you’re standing in a dinghy as it rushes down through white water and you have to jump in the air at the right moment – I’m positive the boys will love that when EJ’s a bit bigger – just hope the bloomin’ thing still works!! I know what you mean about the big days and the little days though. I’m always fighting to find things to keep my two occupied (see my Truth About post this week :-) ) but the one good difference is that there is no pressure to hit perfection on the ordinary days. Sometimes the big days can be a bit of an anti-climax. Having said that your ordinary day sounds pretty perfect to me. Thanks for linking up again Tim! #thetruthabout

    • Thanks Sam. That’s the thing – by not setting a ridiculously high bar we can just enjoy a day for what it is. I think I know that Xbox game you mentioned – I’m rubbish at it!

  7. Definitely a lot to be said for the ordinary days. Sounds like this was a fun day. The dance mat thing brought back a lot of memories of my uni days – we used to have dance mat parties which were such brilliant fun. My hubby actually got the dance mats and PS1 down from the loft today – he needs them for an event but will have to have a go on them again when he’s done with them! :-)

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