Where to begin?
So starts another year. So maybe the writing can start again.
A couple of days back, Dan brought some photo albums down from the attic. He’d promised to show the kids some pictures from a particular trip; a few more albums made it downstairs with him.
Some of this was filling-in work: that’s Grandpa .. [who you didn’t get to meet], or Auntie..
That kind of thing.
Today I looked again at an album with a mix of pictures that Dan took and others that are mine. A varied selection: lots of places, lots of people, across a wide range of years.
We took a lot of photos as students, Dan and I. No iPhones, no Facebook, no Instagram, and still, lots of images, now corralled into an album. (Lots of albums, actually.)
If we wanted to share them, we posted off the film to Tripleprint and handed round lots of tiny photos – to parents wanting to find out what we were up to, to flatmates wanting to keep a shared memory.
Today, I look and try to remember the details: of group shots; of where a particular photo was taken. I peer in on the extra social details that emerge as I look back at a distance of more than a decade.
There’s a post on Facebook at the moment, a jokey one that sums up some of the quandry of the whole memory capturing thing.
The idea is that someone walks around, acting out all the tropes of Facebook: taking photos of everything, doing big thumbs up if they like something; running around telling everyone what they had for breakfast.
By the end of the story, people are looking to lock them up. You get the idea.
All these things we now expect to share, all this scrutiny of minutae. We surely don’t need all of it.
I don’t want to get into telling you what I eat for lunch, day by day, nor even taking photos of it. I figure you don’t need to know, and you are fully capable of making your own lunch decisions.
But still. A bit of capturing of the moment can be good. Because we don’t know when we’ll be looking back on it, and wondering what life was like then; trying to reconnect with the feeling of it.
I look at these old photos, and it feels good. Some we can share with the kids; parts of our lives-before-parenthood that they sometimes hear about.
Others, I may want to look at with Dan, and think back. Who was that person in the back row? Why did we go there? (How long did I get away with wearing that jumper? and so on.)
So in the interests of a future self, I’ve decided to go back to a few little snapshots. By blog. And if you want a riffle through, that’s fine too.
Who knows, 2016 may even be the year I finally get some photos on the blog.
(I realise I’ve been saying this for a long time. So don’t hold your breath.)
Enter the weekly snapshot.
The T-shirts turned into cushions make a comeback. I started on some of these a while back. Now it’s Mini’s turn to get a few.
The idea is that particularly favoured T-shirts don’t just get passed on; they find a permanent place at the end of the bed to prop up the soft toy collection, or maybe offer a few moments of snuggling.
In short: sew up the bottom of the T-shirt; unpick the arms and resew along the armhole; maybe cut off a bit of the neckline to make a flatter top.
I discover that you can pretty much get through a whole T-shirt, start to finish, in the time it takes to watch a feature film, plus a bit more. And it’s quite fun to let Mini come through for breakfast and find a new cushion on the sofa, waiting for attention.
We have passed the stage of Eating up Deli Items. (This happens between Christmas and New Year; use by dates on cheese and all that.)
We are now into the stage of Eating up Cake. And very pleasant it is too.
Having gone through a whole stollen before Christmas (ahem), thankfully we were given another stollen as a present. We’ve managed to eke this one out a bit more. (It’s all about marzipan, but the cake helps out.)
I’m sure there could be the potential for fresh ingredients, fresh ideas, that kind of thing.
But it remains to be said: there are Things to Eat Up First.
(And I know there’s plenty of soup in the freezer still, to balance things out a bit.)
On the same attic-roaming trip, I rediscover a few things, including a magnetic calendar.
Both kids are very taken with it.
(It needs talking Mini out of a grump, when I confirm that the calendar needs to live in the sitting room, and cannot just be annexed to one person’s bedroom.)
Now, of course, there is a new area of breakfast-time bickering to be had. Who will change the day of the week? Who will change the date? How many times a day can we update the weather picture?
We’ll see how long it lasts. Whether it needs an Official Parenting Decree: child A shall be tasked with moving the month ONLY. Child B must wait until xyz until moving their element on the calendar. And so on.
I am reminded, again: not too much change at once. At least, not in items that make up the daily landscape.
It’s back to school week, and we have to tackle the expectation that everyday is a film-watching day.
Junior and Mini have had lots of days at home over the holidays, which makes it very easy to fit in a film. If you cut out going to school, doing homework, wearing uniform (getting dressed, even), then you are pretty much down to:
- eating (several times, of course)
- playing (lots)
- watching a film.
You see their point. (There is obviously also space for a spot of sibling annoyance; a moment of disgust when asked to do something like putting away clothes. Everyone needs a little variety.)
Sadly, when you put the school-time things back in, you can’t quite fit in the film slot.
Unless you are a parent, trying to comfort yourself over the gradual reappearance of the alarm clock in your life. Then you put the kids to bed, engage in some sparring over what to watch, and settle in with a film.
It’s also a great excuse to avoid doing anything with the Christmas cards.
The main thing to tell you, of course, is that I have a new set of felt-tip pens for colouring.
And I’m not afraid to use them.