It’s not my favourite month, to be honest. It’s such a tease.
One day you can walk through the park without even a jacket, admiring the snowdrops and daffodils that are poking their heads through the earth, and lifting your face to feel the warmth of the sun. It can really feel like spring is within touching distance. The next day it’s back to hat, gloves and scarf, and you walk through that same park cursing the slap of wind and rain on your cheeks. As I type this morning, there are several inches of snow on the ground, and those poor daffodils must be wishing they could tuck back down into the soil.
So February is a month for patience, and not getting ahead of yourselves. It is a time for staying close to home and appreciating the small things.
More often than not, the simple pleasures and comforting routines in our house are food-based. Saturday mornings mean leisurely cups of coffee in bed, DorkySon wombling through in his pyjamas and carrying a pile of books he wants to read with us. That’s followed by a family breakfast of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup, which we prepare as a team while listening to music in the kitchen. DorkyDad always likes taking the time to make something special from scratch for dinner on Saturday night – this weekend it was ribs with a delicious spicy rub, and homemade coleslaw. A Sunday breakfast of bacon and eggs is always accompanied by orange juice that we have squeezed ourselves. Sunday lunch is hotdogs while we watch football from the sofa.
So the days we spend together as a family are always punctuated by happy mealtimes, by making and sharing good food with each other. That together time is really what keeps us going at this time of year. Even DorkySon has an understanding of the difference between weekdays and weekends. At the start of last week the first thing he said on getting out of bed was “I hate Mondays.”
On weekdays we all get up at 6.30, and DorkyDad leaves the house at half seven or so, when it is often still dark. Every day I stand in the bedroom window as he walks up the road, and we wave goodbye to each other. It’s an early start, but it means he can leave the office on the dot of five and be home to in time to do DorkySon’s bath, to let them chat and catch up on each other’s day. In recent weeks, a new tradition has started and just before bathtime they snuggle up on the sofa together to watch Old Jack’s Boat – a lovely new series on CBeebies.
Yes – hurrah! – DorkySon has finally been persuaded to leave behind the hideous commercials of Nick Jr and Cartoonitos, and is now a loyal fan of the children’s shows on the Beeb. I love the fact that he is now enjoying shows that I watched myself as a wee girl – Postman Pat still seems to be going strong – but I also love that they have all introduced him to a new range of concepts. From gardening on Mr Bloom, to wildlife on Andy’s Wild Adventures, to science and engineering on Nina and the Neurons… He rarely gets plonked in front of the television and left alone, but when we hit that tired middle-of-the-afternoon slump, it is lovely to sit down with him, watch something together and discuss what we see.
DorkySon has become preoccupied recently with the notion of ‘becoming a man’ and what that means. He asks if his voice will change, and has to be reassured that even when it does, he will always sound like himself. He wonders how it will feel to wear ‘man clothes’. He thinks he would like to live in a camper van, or on a houseboat, and go to work every day driving a cherrypicker.
His favourite snack at the moment is a smoothie made in the blender with a banana, a handful of strawberries and a splash of vanilla yoghurt – he is in the middle of a growth spurt, and can easily put away two or three of those a day, along with several ‘snack plates’ of pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, slices of apple, crackers and breadsticks. It is now wonder he is growing so quickly. He is finally getting more interested in doing things for himself too. His attempts to dress himself are a lot less halfhearted than they used to be. Last night we switched his trusty IKEA high chair for an ordinary dining chair, and, entirely of his own choosing, he now wees standing up.
But we are in no danger of forgetting that he is still just a three year old (or three and three quarters, as he has started to say). One day this week he announced at the start of the day that he was going to be a carrot instead of a boy. Another day he decided, for reasons known only to himself, that DorkyDad should be rechristened ‘Bottom’. He treats the house as a jungle gym – jumping, climbing and crawling under and over anything he can. I keep finding his little step in strange places. He has the bruises – from forehead to shins – that tell the world he is a little boy, an explorer testing every boundary there is.
I have a feeling that when the snow goes, and spring is finally here, the flowers won’t be the only things that blossom. I am hoping that the Dorkys do too.
There is one week of voting left in this year’s MAD Blog Awards. Last year I was chuffed to pieces that your support saw me end up as a finalist in the Best New Blog category. If you’d like to see DorkyMum nominated in another category this year, such as Best Blog Writer, you can do so on the MADS website here. Thank you so much for your support xx