There is something about the peace and quiet of days when the furthest we venture from home is a trip to the park, first thing in the day. We all need that early morning walk - we have tried moving it in our daily rhythm and found that we couldn't function without the benefit of an hour out in the fresh air before starting our lessons.
And heading to the park in the snow, with Mouse's sled dragged behind us (it is very important never to forget that he made his own sled and that it is the best sled in the history of the world) is the pinnacle of Mouse's year. He lives for the few days we can expect to have snow.
I've been struggling a bit with anxiety. Or a lot. I spent too much time on Friday with my face crushed against my husband's chest groaning "why do I feel like this? why do I feel as if it is the morning of my execution?" Oz thinks the snow adds to my anxiety levels. It is one other thing that could cause disaster - what if thoughts swirl as thick as snowflakes, that is for sure - but I think it is also protective because it enforces a slower, home-based pace that can allow for some space for healing.
(There is something so tempting about these little icicles...I wanted so badly to snap one off and eat it!)
I've been using the time to try and think some issues through. One thing on my mind has been seeing the children playing so eagerly in the snow and wondering "how can I increase the amount of play and exercise the children get on our walks?" Sometimes we take their bikes and they ride about like crazy things, sometimes we take a ball to throw and kick, sometimes we take hula hoops to roll, jump through and skip with. But I feel that we can and should do more.
Having the dog with us on our morning walks means we can't go into the play areas at the park, where the swings are, so we just need to find things to do for fun on our own - like their beloved tree climbing. I know that many of the skills it would be fun for them to acquire, such as skipping, bat and ball skills, football skills, throwing and catching, are hard to do in our small garden with other people on either side of us. Since the sports group shut down, it is up to me to help them achieve those skills but I also want to make their time outside about engaging with the natural world and not just having PE lessons.
I've also been trying to find a workable rhythm for our weekends, because when I let go of the reins I've been holding all week and try to enjoy simply letting it be and finding a more relaxed pace, the children (one in particular) can't cope. If I can get back into a settled, ordered rhythm I will find it more relaxing than when things spiral out of control and I respond to the whirlwind of out of control emotion by getting stuck and floundering about helplessly. I have a child who needs to be "held" very firmly and calmly, and if I don't or can't give that then life becomes very challenging for us all.
The other big thing on my mind lately is managing my anxiety-related sleep issues better. I've been trying to come up with ways of soothing myself during the evenings that don't involve junk food binges or junk telly binges, and to come up with a good way to ease myself calmly into bed rather than letting anxiety build up and then staying up until 2 or 3 - or, as I often do, staying awake all night and maybe dozing for an hour between 6 and 7.
I'm nearly forty and I ought to be better at managing all this rubbish by now - or does this mean that when my mother was my age and I was a teenager who thought she was the fount of all wisdom that inside she was as much of a muddle as I am? It's actually so good to be looked up to by my little ones, called their queen, described as the best mama in the world, told all my dinners are like they should be on a cookery programme, and so on. It gives me confidence in me, that they believe in me.