What is Silent Sunday?
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I’m sitting right outside The Smalls new school, right now. We’ve been sitting in the car already for maybe 20 minutes; I’m still learning the ebb and flow of the rush hour traffic. Noah and Isaac have just finished reading their school books to pass time, but I can tell their patience is waning. They’re keen and excited. They’ve watched loads of children going into the school, many of them carrying gift bags. They’re listening to the yelps and shouts of the children in the playground; we can hear them clearly from where we’re parked.
I’m trying to mask my own excitement and nervousness; I’m trying to gauge where they are at with it all. Me? I’m looking at all the MASSIVE expensive cars parked around me. Lexus, BMW, Mercedes – even the Ford I can see parked near me is twice the size of my car. I can literally smell the money. As a result, I wonder (as always) what else I can do to grow my business, to ensure that we’re secure, to give them the best education and learning environment I can afford.
It’s a bit surreal, because I’m also excited. So very excited for them. I feel they belong here, in a school like this. I feel they’ll slot right in with no trouble, make new friends, soar, excel. They still tell me of how children won’t play with them at their current school. How they are taken advantage of, the ways in which the other children have fun at The Smalls’ expense. How they get bored or frustrated with the school work they are given.
They need to be in a place where they can clearly see the values I’m striving to teach them. Well spoken, polite, well mannered, thoughtful, caring, considerate…so many things. They need to see the world I’m trying to hold on to. One in which people are aware of others around them. A world where we don’t give up so easily, where we learn values and beliefs and fight for them. A mind set where they see the results of what happens when they work hard for something, and work hard the right way.
I feel like I’m on the edge of a future which is very very blank, and that’s a bit terrifying. We never really know our future anyway, but here I feel even more uncertain. And at the same time, I’ve never felt more certain that I’m doing the right thing.
They’ve now gone into school with more excitement and enthusiasm than I’ve seen in months.
That’s a good place to start.
I’ve been super proud of Noah and Isaac lately. Actually if I’m honest, I’m always proud of them. They are Good Kids.
I always wanted to have kids who didn’t behave like assholes, who were polite, friendly and helpful, who were caring, funny, and loving, and didn’t scream for shit in public to get their own way.
Yeah, no pressure there, huh?
Thing is, I think I got lucky. They are all of the above, and it just seemed to happen. WHich is pretty amazing. Because not a day passes when I question my abilities as a mother, and of course I regularly question WHAY I became a mother in the first place. I am sooooooo not the motherly and nurturing type. But still, I seem to have these two frigging awesome boys, who are funny and stupid and clever and witty. My GOD they drive me nuts when I Have to tell them something eleventy bajillion times in the space of three minutes. And I swear to the baby Jesus, if they get any slower getting their shoes on for school, they’ll actually be going backwards.
But then they do things which make me realise how lucky I am. Perhaps not the sort of things others might appreciate,but my kids aren’t on the planet for the appreciation of others. They do things like, say good morning and ask me if I had a nice sleep when I first enter their room. They’ll have been playing quietly for maybe 20 minutes before I go in; usually colouring, doing jigsaws, reading, or making dinosaurs, Gruffalos and Nemo come to life on a desert island. They do things like, taking their plates and cups to the sink after they’ve finished eating, put rubbish in the bin, and tell each other they love each other, before asking if they can play with one of the many Toothless dragons. And would you like to play too? Because there’s a lot of dragons and I would like some help.
They give each other a cuddle every single bedtime. Every single morning when they go separate ways at school. Sometimes just because. They play together most lunch times and break times; they get sad when the other isn’t around for whatever reason.
They tell me they love me, almost every day; sometimes it’s because the other is being naughty and there is a need for reassurance. Sometimes they just want extra ham, sugar snap peas and tomatoes for their snacks. And maybe a red pepper. And then maybe they’d like that Easy Cheesecake Dessert I make? The one with the crumbled biscuits/Weetabix and then custard and maybe some fruit and of course, some sprinkles?
The boy who was labelled the Fussy Eater, tries everything and anything you put on his plate. He couldn’t eat certain foods for a long time; there are still some he can’t eat. He’s not fussy, he’s texture sensitive. And I grow tired of those who roll their eyes at this. Explain to me: he can’t eat cooked spinach – it goes all limp and eventually slimy. But he will eat an entire plate of dry fresh spinach, preferably with some pasta, and maybe some basil, and throw in some meatballs while you’re at it. No cheese though; it’s a bit too weird and it makes him gag. Also, he’ll have that large bowl of deep fried crispy chilli squid you’re eating, but no mussels thanks; that texture is weird. Isaac can have those. Isaac, who will devour an entire adult portion of mussels, and fries, knock back a smoothie and then wonder what’s for pudding. After he’s asked if he can touch a crab or lobster, and then request a chunk of it to eat.
The staff in Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant are quite familiar with my two, now.
Lately Noah has come home from school with a packet of Haribo almost every day. I see him take one from the tub as the teacher sends him on. He’ll run halfway towards me, then turn and run back to ask the teacher a question. He points at Isaac who is already with me and the teacher looks up and shakes her head. He’s asking if he can have another packet of Haribo for his brother. His sad self comes back, but he reassures Isaac; “It’s ok, because we’ll just share this packet instead. But I don’t want to eat them yet, because we can still trade for pudding.”
If you eat your Haribo now, there’s no pudding with your dinner.
“That’s ok Mommy, I think I just want pudding today, no sweets.”
Ok dude. That’s cool.
Isaac loves to make jewellery out of string and cereal hoops and loops. If he makes one he’s particularly proud of, he’ll make another one the next day for his brother. A bit bigger, carefully made, so that it will last.
There are lots of things we don’t do. I don’t often take them out for walks.Though, if the weather is really good, we’ll ride bikes out the front. I have to watch them; not because I’m scared of someone taking them, but because cars come flying round the corner. I don’t want them to get hit. Although if I have to pop in and there’s an accident, one suddenly becomes an ambulance for the other. Stays with his brother until I hear the cries and get out there to soothe and comfort.
I’m not a crafting mom, no chance. We do crafts maybe 4 times a year, despite the MASSIVE tub of glitter and glue and paints and stickers, hidden in the utility. But I will go to the local furniture shop and source the biggest box I can find; big enough for them to stand up in, without stooping. Said box lasted 4 months in the garden. It was a house, a boat, a ship, a den, a rocket, a car, a garage. I gave them chalk to decorate it; I toed string to create a door flap which would stay open.
And I pretty much left them to it, while I carried on editing or doing admin.
This year they’ve learned to skip and hula hoop; Isaac has learned to whistle and ride his bike without stabilisers, Noah has learned to do great cartwheels, and ride his bike standing up, and one handed. Their knees and elbows are scratched and chopped to buggery; Noah still howls when he hurts himself. I make him laugh a bit, he cheers up, he carries on. He’s still sad inside and keeps coming back for reassuring cuddles. I only give quick ones, before shoving him back on his bike or whatever. I’m not a mean mom, I think, I’m just the sort of mom who doesn’t want him to give up too easily, and become too reliant on me. I reassure him, but I move him on.
I’m a bit colder than most moms, I guess. It’s not intentional, and I’m not an asshole. It’s just how I am. It’s how I’ve always been. but they’re still Good Kids.
They make me cry, they make me hate myself, they make me question everything I say and do. They make each other laugh and smile, they tickle each other until I’m pretty certain they’re going to throw up. They throw toilet paper to each other when they both need the bathroom at the same time. Noah corrects Isaac when he gets the odd word wrong. Isaac corrects Noah whenever he gets the chance, which is rare. They praise each other on their achievements, both in and out of school.
They are Good Kids. I don’t say it often enough, but they really are Good Kids.
(All photos: Mamiya RZ67, Portra 400. Dev and scan UK Film Lab.)
1. I bloody LOVE film. Especially expired film. Especially the weird shit it does with colours. Especially when you team up that weird shit with The Smalls and a sunny day. And water pistols.
2. I bloody LOVE Desperados beer. Especially Desperados Verde. Om McFriggedy NOM.
3. I bloody LOVE summer. I’ll have more of this, please.
Dev and scan: UK Film Lab