We've been trying something new the past two weekends to help us get over the long winter slump. We get up and do something. Seems simple enough, but it wasn't to begin with. Everyone's tired from a busy, structured week and we usually just want to sleep in, sit around in our jammies, watch telly, eat crap food and do nothing. But by Saturday evening the little ones are stir crazy and us parents are fed up dealing with petty fighting, Foo is out of sorts because his routine is shot and he doesn't know what's happening next and we're all caught up in the inertia of it all.
So to avoid the stress of getting everyone out the door when we actually do decide to do something, the Chief and I agreed that we'd get up and get ready like we always do during the week, without the early rise and rush to get out the door. So we still take turns having a lie in, but not a super long one unless there are extenuating circumstances like Pudding waking me at 4am and insisting on going downstairs. Then we get everyone fed and dressed, ready to go out.
Just this simple getting everyone ready calms Foo down, even though he tries to resist he really needs that bit of structure in his morning. And if Foo is calmer, we as parents are calmer. It's amazing how one person's stress feeds the rest of the family.
Mouse was going to start skating and swimming at his school soon, so I decided since he knew how to do neither of these things that we'd give him a crash course in both. So 2 weeks ago I ran around getting skates for all the kids, getting them sharpened (who knew they had to be sharpened?) and getting guards for Mouse's skates.
Then on Friday I took the little ones skating for a half hour. It was bitter out and Pudding woke too early from her nap, so it wasn't an easy session, but I managed to get the boys in their skates and let them loose on the ice near Mouse's school. Foo needed just a few minutes to remember his technique from last year.
Mouse wouldn't try skating last year, but he was so keen to learn this time. I let him push Pudding around with the buggy for a few minutes until he got his balance and then he was off. He was only just walking around and falling alot, but he was enjoying it and eager to learn. This is my boy who hates new things!
I managed to get Bump's skates on, but she was so unsteady and Pudd was screaming that I called it quits and bundled everyone back in the car. On Saturday we all set off to go skating again bright and early in the morning, but the car's battery had died, so I took the kids sledging nearby while the Chief sorted it.
By the time that was ready the Weans were hungry, so we went home for lunch. The Chief then took Mouse skating on his own as the little ones were tired. They were out for 2 hours and came back champions of the ice. Mouse had learned how to stop and was starting to get the drift of gliding. By the time he went skating with his class on Tuesday he was the second fastest on the ice. He absolutely loves it now and wants to go all the time.
On Sunday we went out as a family and Bump had more of a chance to practice and learned to walk around just holding one hand rather than dragging us down. The ice was more slippery due to a light snowfall, so Foo wanted to just climb around in the snow.
And this weekend we kept up our get up and get ready to do something mode and we went swimming as a family and that felt like a huge accomplishment with 4 kids. Again the kids loved it and Mouse had a chance to learn how to get around the pool doing the dog-paddle, so I know he'll be more confident with his friends today at school. I'm hoping to get him, Foo and Bump into classes this year so they can finally learn to swim. Not many photos this time as I've been busy holding kids up while skating or swimming. And it was cheap, swimming cost 10 euros for all of us because the 3 youngest go free and once we got the skates sorted skating cost nothing. The Chief is hinting he wants skates now too as we've just been in our boots due to needing our own balance to be steady for the kids.
We're all enjoying being more active and it shows in our weekend moods. We don't have to fill the whole weekend, but one activity even a short one, a day seems to make everyone more relaxed. We might get into this Finnish winter thing after all, maybe even start liking it a little bit.
Who am I kidding? I have to do the school run in an hour in a mess of snow and slush soon, I still hate it.