Last night my parents turned up with a swing set for the backyard. I put the girls to bed while my husband, J, helped them put it together. Almost together. These things never seem to come with sufficient instructions, or be as straightforward as they should be. I went out to help while Bella had a story with Grandma and we worked until the steps for the slide wouldn’t budge to be slid into place and then called it a night. J is about to head out now to finish – Bella kindly offered to help him, so it may take all day. 🙂

We’re enjoying the warmer weather. Trips to the park are almost a daily occurrence now and Bella is becoming more steady on her balance bike.

I love the spring. Growth and change and a whole summer ahead of dirt and chalk, paint and sunshine. I glanced at Joy sitting in the pushchair last night and thought I was looking at her big sister. Her hair is turning more and more fair with all the sunshine – I hadn’t realized how much they really do look alike. It took me back to the summer Bella was this age. A warm summer, too many moves ago, with a little paddling pool and the sand pit I love-hated. She pushed her dolls along in the little stroller, stopped to smell every flower, and I learned to walk at her pace and enjoy exploring at her side.

It was a good lesson in slowing down and one I could do with re-learning.

As a family we try to prepare well in advance of leaving the house so that we don’t sweep our kids up our last minute rushing. That precious few minutes’ grace is the difference between a gentle walk to the car with a kiss and cuddle, and the harried ‘put your coat on now, we’re late’ that so often results in tears and delays. Yesterday as we trooped through a doorway in a hurry, Bella stumbled and fell. Because we were moving too quickly, her foot was caught between the step and door and she was hurt. Thankfully not badly – there’s not even a bruise. But it was a heavy door and could have been much, much worse.

It’s so easy to forget that kids are people too. How often do I expect them to drop what they’re doing with no notice and change gears, happily, politely, even gratefully. While when I’m interrupted I ask for a minute to complete my task and expect them to wait. I was conscious of this when Bella was little. I always tried to give her warning a couple of minutes before it was time to wrap up one activity and move on to the next. She had no trouble waving goodbye to her toys (or the ones at the store) and walking away because I’d previously given her a minute or two to prepare for leaving. I’m not doing enough of that now with Joy. Or Bella. Mealtimes are probably the worst.

Today I will endeavor to give them a few minutes notice before I expect them to appear at the table, hands folded and ready to eat.