On Saturday, my eldest son joined his brother and me at Bedfont Lakes parkrun, a 5 kilometre time trial, part of a national series. My middle son does it every week and, since my illness, runs on his own, without my ‘gentle’ coaching. He has taken nearly 3 minutes off his personal best in the 13 runs he has completed. My eldest is not so sports minded but he has marshalled a couple of times and was keen to give the race a go. I ran with him and offered him support and encouragement, occasionally allowing a quick walking break but keeping him jogging most of the time. It is a two-lap course and he had the option to stop after one but wanted to keep going. He found it tough and I was not a very sympathetic running partner. He made it to the finish in a very respectable sub-35 minutes but swore that it was the worst experience of his life! After a couple of days to absorb the experience and to savour the achievement, he is now considering having another go in a couple of months.
Monday morning sees our biggest hit of what would look to an outsider like ‘school work’. All three children have maths workbooks and do some writing practice and the boys do some work on their book-reading project. It isn’t working very well: it is too much in one go and has driven my middle son to tears nearly every week this term. I am finally wise enough to encourage him to stop, to have a break, to have a snack and to come back to it, but he is adamant that he wants to finish, to get it done. Often this means that he makes rushed or angry mistakes, slowing the whole process down, leading to more tears.
Yesterday it was me in a sobbing heap. I had the washing to put away, the house to vacuum, a blind to fix, my blog to write, all before quarter-to-ten because I wanted to take the children swimming early so that we would be home in time to read two chapters of our chapter book which we won’t have finished in September unless we get a move on. It all just felt too much and I was yelling at the children for not getting on with their chores and so taking up my time by making me nag them. I am not sure where I feel all this pressure from but I know that it has a bad effect on us all.
I have declared today a day off. The children have been released from their chores, including getting dressed and brushing their hair (we’re not going out so I don’t have to worry what the neighbours will think.) I’m hoping to get the paints out later and I’m going to bake some gingerbread so we can have a poetry tea. They have just been in to find out if I really mean it: I do. But we have agreed that they probably still need to brush their teeth!