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The Sound of Music, or how to reach a comfortable compromise

9 Mar

After much discussion, where my husband and I disagreed on whether we should go or not, we compromised and decided not to go to the theatre to watch the Sound of Music. I was the one rooting for ‘not going’. It wasn’t that I did not want to go – I love the theatre, any kind of show: ballet, opera, plays, musical, one-man show – but rather, it was the financial exercise that was more of a stumbling block. My husband calls me stingy. I like to think of myself more as a ‘conservative spender’.

Killian, baffled.

Killian, baffled.

My daughter and I have been to the theatre together before. We used to take her to the ballet every December, we went to Potted Potter last year (which we absolutely loved loved loved!!) and recently we went to Sleeping Beauty on Ice (freebie tickets, mind you) What a thrill!! But my boys have never experienced the theatre yet, except for children’s theatre. My reasoning for not taking them to Sound of Music was that I was not convinced I wanted to pay R300 for a ticket to take them to a two and a half hour play, and have them moan half way through the show because they are bored, tired or both. Call me stingy, I don’t really care!

Then, a friend gifted us with two tickets to go and watch the Sound of Music. What is that? Didn’t my friend know that we had found a comfortable compromise already? My husband and I had reached a decision to ‘not go’, but now the discussion was back on the table. “You go with one of the boys” I said, being totally selfless and loving and kind. No, the husband said. I really think we must take all the kids. ALL the kids? ALL the kids.

Matt, all dressed up.

Matt, all dressed up.

So reaching a new settlement in deciding to ‘ALL go’, we booked three extra tickets. Given that we couldn’t book the three extra tickets next to the gifted two, I nagged enough and we chose seats that were slightly more towards the back and therefore cheaper. I also convinced Phillip that the three boys should sit together while the two civilised girls will watch the show peacefully (thank you selfless husband).

I was so sure that this theatre experience would backfire on us him, that I even agreed to forfeit a previous bet prize if I was proven wrong in thinking that the boys would not cope. That’s right, my husband owed me – or so I thought.

Thursday 8pm came and excitement rose. Many questions were asked (what, where, when, how long, who and why), they were asked more than once (thank you ADHD child for testing my patience at every corner). And finally Artscape, here we came.

The show was amazing. The singing is breath-taking (the main nun… what a voice!), the acting is of a very high-standard, the decor is very well done and the story is beautifully arranged. We laughed, we cried, we clapped, we stood up and clapped some more. The boys’ first experience to the theatre could not have been better selected. I’m so glad my husband knows better than me, sometimes. Words can not do justice to the show and, if you can afford it, and if it won’t create discord within your family, spoil yourself, go and enjoy this show. You won’t regret it!!

Léa. Waiting in anticipation

Léa, waiting in anticipation and reading from the other spectators’ program.

Did I mention that I forfeited a bet?? Well for this time, I didn’t mind being proven wrong.

Just this time.

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The door in the wall

4 Oct

The-door-in-the-wall

 “If thou followeth a wall far enough, there must be a door in it.”

A door in the wall.

Doors can be mystical, revealing a secret or keeping it safe. We have a new door, a door in our wall. I’m not talking about the book but of a literal door.

Recognise the door of the mathematician by the equation, of the French by the, hum, french writing,  and of the children by the half-erased markings.

Recognise the door of the mathematician by the equation, of the French by the, hum, french writing, and of the children by the half-erased markings.

Seven years of living in our house and we followed the wall far enough to put in a door leading from our bedroom to our bathroom. The irony is when we moved in, there was a door. Maybe the lock on the outside (!!!) felt so oppressing that we removed lock and door together.

It is nice to close it when I want privacy, even though it doesn’t stop my children in their footsteps. It is also another artefact on which my OCD husband can (hyper)focus on. “Did you close the door?”, “Why didn’t you close the door?” are his famous last words in the evening – but I love him so.

Our door is back, the true door of an applied-science-of-mathematical-statistician (Is that right honey?), a french chick and a few half-bred children!

Valentine’s Day Poetry

14 Feb
It's today.

It’s today.

A good friend of mine wrote me a poem for Val’s Day. When I last saw her, I just shared with her how tough life can be with kids, work, homeschooling and bad hair days… And by shared with her, I mean poured out my own miserable heart selfishly without even asking how she was doing, but she was cool with that because she came, unashamedly, only to use my pool (her words, not mine).

Anyway, she has now upgraded to my new very best friend forever (don’t leave me honey bunny!!) and here is what she had to say, thinking about me, late at night on Wednesday the 13th of February.

Valentine’s Day Sonnet for a Wonderful Friend

My Nutella I will not share
With those who have perfect hair
But my swimming pool is always free
For those who come to visit me.

My name is Ingrid and I homeschool
For that, some think that I’m a fool
But they just don’t know the joy
of learning like it is a toy

Unlimited interest, joyful sharing
Oh homeschooling’s all about caring!
We bond like families should
And bake for all our neighbourhood

Thank you Lord, you know what’s real
And carry me, however I might feel …

On my side, I didn’t write her a poem, because I’m just not that good a friend but also because I hate (oops, I said I wouldn’t use that word so often this year…) loathe Val’s Day.

However, I bought something for my husband. It combines his 2 most passionate loves.

Chocolate and technology together. It almost beats a hot session of love making (blush blush)

Happy Vale… never mind, I don’t do Valentine’s Day…

I went to his office and all I got was this lousy picture…

8 Nov

I need to back-flash a bit here to the end of October.

Phillip’s birthday happens to be a day after Killian’s one and, just to reverse the routine, I will first post about Phillip’s birthday before devoting my attention to Killian’s. I have to confess that more often than not, my husband’s birthday gets neglected, or at least overlooked and poorly planned. I have an excuse, some kind of valid justification why it is so (The humand mind is amazing when it comes to self-justification). Yes, after planning my last kid party for the year, I have no more mental energy to think carefully about what I should do for Phillip’s. The truth also is that my introvert husband would happily choose to spend his day with me and me alone (maybe the kids, on a good day) and the real bottom of the truth is that he tends to get reflective and self-examining (yes, even more than during the year, can you imagine…) on this day – which tends to make me feel guilty, assuming that his pensive self is caused because of my lack of attention to his special day. I imagine him thinking “What have I done wrong that my wife does not love me?” It is one of my worst feeling, to think that I’ve let my husband down…

This year, as I said, has been just about the same as every other year. How can I not learn?? However, this year, just after he left for work, I frantically scratched and searched my (thin) baking cupboard and whipped, mixed and baked some muffins, told threatened the kids to write a simple but beautiful message for their one and only father, and as early as 10 o’clock, we headed to his work and surprised him there. I guess sometimes the simplest efforts are the best ones. Under his oh-my-word-I-feel-so-self-conscious skin, I know he was quite happy and touched by this. From this whole outing, I managed to get 2 very blurry pathetic pictures to illustrate that special moment. The first one is in the office with the sparkles (The rest of the people are behind me, so it looks like it’s just him in the office but don’t be fooled) and the second one is taken when he is still in the entrance of their office, feeling too awkward to go in.

That is the office. I’m sure there’s a lot of confidentiality involved here but the photo is so blurry that not even Sydney Bristow will get any secret trading code!

Stuck in the passage, awkward, self-conscious and overwhelmed 🙂

And here are the letters from the kids.

Messages from the kiddies

From Matty (dictated): Dear Papa, You are the nicest papa in the world. I love you because you always play cricket with us and you’re always nice with us. I also like it when you are torturing Mama because then we can join in. I’m a little bit upset when you need to go to work and when you have a meeting in the night because I won’t be able to see you in the night. Happy Birthday, From Matt.

From Killian: I love being with you. you our are my best papa.

From Léa: Dear Papa, Happy happy birthday! You are very special to me. I love it when you play cricket with us (although saturday wasn’t that fun). I am very sorry that we didn’t make this morning very special. I told myself last night to say happy birthday to you and then I forgot! I love spending time with you better than anything else. 38 is so old, although it is not everyday you turn that age! So I wish you a very Happy 38th birthday! Lots of love, Léa.

What I liked about these letters is that they show a small window into their heart. Killian’s heart bursts out of love for his dad. He is his hero but his message is short for his spelling is poor. I would never guess that Matty doesn’t like it when Phillip gets home late. For him, everything looks juuuust fine. As for Léa, her guilty conscience for not having done the right thing was too overwhelming for her.

Another birthday gone. Another year to plan the next one.

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