Yesterday everyone seemed a little bit off. My strategy for the day turned to “just say yes.” So when Keats asked if he could make the shrimp and hot root soup from The Redwall Cookbook for lunch, I said yes. I think it’s good to turn kids loose in the kitchen with cookbooks if they are interested. It’s messy though. Later, hoping that it would allow me the time I needed to finish a math lesson with one of the boys, I said yes to Larkspur and Beatrix when they asked if they could paint. I made a point of insisting that they both maintain eye contact with me as I instructed them, “Do. not. paint. your. bodies. Do you understand?” They promised they wouldn’t. My math student became ill shortly after I introduced multiplication for the first time. It was just a coincidence; he really is coming down with a cold. I sent him to bed and then joined the girls. While they weren’t technically painting their bodies, they were tracing their hands on paper using paint. They are good at finding loopholes. The painting situation deteriorated rapidly and I resigned myself to that. Then the mess grew as Beatrix decided to carry a tray of paint into the living room while I was looking the other way. I don’t know what she was thinking. I do know that she intentionally starting rubbing her toes in the spilled paint while saying, “Oops!” Grabbing my camera is my version of counting to ten. I’ve been using that calming technique for many years and I have plenty of photos including one of a three year old Keats sitting naked on the toilet covered in ivory concealer to prove it. Back to paint covered Beatrix: She needed to be plopped in a bath. Silas was asleep in my bedroom where our only bathtub is (until Jonny finishes tiling the downstairs tub surround.) We made do with the tiny downstairs bathroom sink. Jonny finished his work day around this time and we took an afternoon walk after all the paint was cleaned up. I needed that walk. It was still chilly outside but I could feel the approaching warm front on the breeze and it was amazing. To feel that shift in the air as the weather begins to change is one of my favorite things.
Today we’re going on a picnic. I baked Squirrelmum’s blackberry and apple cake, also from The Redwall Cookbook, to bring along. We’ve never taken a cake with us on a picnic before, so this makes it feel extra special.