Quiet Day In

Fridays are usually adventure days around the Sutherland household. I’m home from work, the kids are home from nursery, and we tend to go out and find something fun to do in town.

For two reasons, we didn’t do that today.

One: Disease Girl

This little darling was up and down between 3:30 and 4:30 am, coughing her wee tiny throat out. Even cough syrup couldn’t settle her. I finally got her back to sleep by lying in bed with her singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and my own version of Rockabye Baby. She was no better in the morning, moving slowly and eating little.

Two: The White Stuff

Lovely, isn’t it? First snow of the year, falling thick and fast in the midmorning. The chilly air meant that it lay on the ground for several hours, looking peaceful and bright. I love the snow and the light that comes with snow, particularly from inside a nice warm house.

So we stayed in and watched Harry Potter DVDs. It was kind of a disparate day, one I would like to remember because it was so unfocussed.

I took snow photos out the windows.

Alex needed a quiet day, too. It’s been a busy and exciting time for us lately, and he decided he wanted to lounge around in his pyjamas for most of the morning. He wasn’t in the mood to be photographed, but I got some good shots of him as he watched the climax of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Fiona watched the snow.

About midmorning I popped popcorn.

This is a fine art, by the way, popping on a stove. My mother taught me how years ago. You cover the bottom of a pan with kernels, then pour enough vegetable oil to well coat the kernels. Cover the pan and heat it over a high flame, shaking the pan constantly. The trick is knowing when to stop, so that all the kernels are popped and none burned. Like this!

In the afternoon, while Fiona napped, I made Alex a new shield, as I’d been promising for ages. (He loves playing with swords and shields, and just got another wee sword in a parcel from California. Thanks, Trish!) The shield is made of medium-weight bookbinding cardboard, with coloured paper over it and a leather strap. The whole thing is protected with sticky-backed plastic. Alex loves it.

In between all these activities, I got some cooking in – goulash for dinner tonight, and a chickpea soup for Saturday. That recipe, from the ever magnificent Oswego Tea site, has been tempting me for weeks. Unfortunately, it came out bitter and bland at once. I think I’ve rescued it with some sausage and some balsamic vinegar, but the soup was the point of the day when things started to turn.

In contrast to the rest of the day, dinner was decidedly not peaceful. Alex decided he wouldn’t eat the goulash (though he had promised me he would earlier in the day). I decided I was tired of his fussy eating. So I took him upstairs and put him in his bed. He apologised, came downstairs, and still wouldn’t eat it. So his dad took him upstairs, forcibly dressed him in his pyjamas, and put him to bed. It was an epic wrestling match, with screaming, hitting, and numerous bolts for freedom. He shouted and carried on for 10 or 15 minutes after the bedroom door was closed, too!

Having Alex get that fussy took much of the joy out of the memories of the day. But our lives are rarely unmixed tragedy, any more than they are unmixed comedy. The light relief in this case was provided by Fiona, who decided, halfway through Martin putting Alex to bed, that she wanted to go to bed too. She climbed down from her seat, toddled upstairs, and clambered into her bed on her own, barely attending to the tantrum going on a few feet away. While her brother howled and carried on, she laid her head onto her pillow and pulled up her duvet (my offer of assistance was spurned with an “I do it!”). By the time Martin had left the room, she was asleep.