Archie and Rissie are in bed by 6pm. Most people I know find it hard to believe that I still have the kids in bed by that time. As much as I say it is because I think all kids, and in particular my kids, need a lot of sleep, that they are up at 6am on the dot for an hour’s walk, that it is good for their brains and their developing minds, I am probably not really focussing on the reality of why I continue with this routine. I continue with it because it stops me from turning into an arsehole. I do it because I like my evenings. I do it because I often work at night and if the kids are in bed by 6pm it means I have a few uninterrupted hours of me time. Whether that is filled with work, with cakes, with watching hours of Netflix I don’t really mind. If I am being 100% honest with myself I know that I would really resent any encroachment by my children into my sacred evening time. So my kids still go to bed at 6pm because it suits me best, keeps me happy and maintains my inner Pollyanna. Pollyanna is always preferable to Gollum.
We follow a pretty rigid routine. Regardless of what is happening in the afternoon by 5pm I like to have dinner started. Also by this time either Archie or Rissie are in the shower whilst the other one feeds the dogs. Dinner is over by 5.30pm and then it is story time. Usually we read a few chapters, if we finish early it is a few minutes of reading time, if not, it is straight into their bedroom where we all do a guided meditation together and by 6.20pm they are generally snoring and I am doing a little happy dance down the corridor. However I feel that I am slowly, losing control. Something is telling me that soon my 6pm bed-time will be a thing of the past.
This afternoon for example was a late session of swim club as it was the final night of the season. As the kids were swimming with the big kids rather than the mini fins it meant starting at 5.15pm rather than finishing at 5.15pm. My routine was out the window. Which meant that I got increasingly tense, said fuck a lot in my head and had to do silent deep breathing exercises. I watched the minutes creeping by and by 6pm I could stand it no longer. I had to get the kids home to save some of the evening for myself. As soon as they had swum their last lap, I told them we were going home and stressed to them in the car that as soon as we got home it would be shower time and straight to bed. There was no time for stories and no time for meditation. Funnily enough they did not seem to be disappointed. They were in bed and asleep by 6.45pm so I had not lost all of my evening. It was all going to be ok. Finally I could relax.
It made me realise that I really need to address my need for a routine. Because in the not so distant future, routine is going out the window. Possibly going on a 12 month trip around the world with no itinerary and no real plans will be something that will cause me moments of anxiety as I ‘wing’ it round 4 countries. There is a surprising absence of any routine in my plans. There is a surprising lack of plans. This would possibly be the most unplanned thing I have ever planned on doing. It makes no sense to me at all, knowing me like I do. It might possibly be why I am having problems sleeping at the moment. It is something I will ponder on in the coming 4 ½ months. I am sure there will be some plans that will evolve at some stage.
I have been promising the kids pancakes for ages and finally got around to it on the weekend. This mixture made so many that Archie got on the phone and Nanny came and joined us for brunch. These were incredibly fluffy and delicious – the kids want them again this weekend. So bloody good that you would never know they are vegan!
Pancakes with Berry Coulis
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups almond milk
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bit of oil to lightly grease pan
Mix all ingredients until a smooth batter, try not to overmix. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Heat pan to medium heat and then put ¼ cup measure onto fry pan.
When bubbles appear usually time to flip the pancakes over and can be golden brown.
Serve with Maple Syrup, Banana and easy Berry coulis.
1 cup Blueberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
Combine all ingredients after mixing the batter and simmer on low heat until pancakes ready to serve