Do you ever find yourself getting back into things you used to love when your children start to enjoy them too? There have been a few occasions recently when my husband and I have been struck by the realisation that we weren’t setting a good example. Asking a child to do something you rarely do yourself never seems to go particularly well, so it was time to do something about it.
Libby has been learning the piano for 18 months now. She loves it and is progressing well, but like all children she is reluctant to do as much practice as she should. I’m not one for pushing her to practice every day because I don’t want her to end up resenting it. But by the same token, I’ll end up resenting her playing it if her lessons are eating up my hard-earned cash and she’s not practicing.
So, I had to come up with another solution. When I first got our piano after seeing a sign in a shop saying it was free to a good home, I learnt to play it a bit. I had a few lessons, but mostly taught myself. As the years went by and children invaded our house, I struggled to find the time to play.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to though, it’s a beautiful instrument and I’d love to be able to play it well. So, I decided I’d make sure I could always play the pieces Libby was learning. This has been easy so far, but I can see that her new book is going to be a little more challenging. So, I’ve been playing some pieces that I enjoy to get in some practice of my own. And lo and behold, Libby has started practicing without being asked. This sometimes means that she commandeers the instrument when I’m trying to play, but that’s fine with me.
As with the piano, both girls enjoy reading but actually getting them to do it can be a challenge. My husband commented that they rarely see either of us reading for pleasure. It’s definitely something we don’t do enough, because it seems like an indulgence when you’ve got things you should be doing.
Since the girls broke up for Christmas at school though, I’ve been making more of an effort to read books. I’ve always loved reading and went through a stage where I listened to a lot of audio books whilst out walking. But the girls needed to see me with a book. So, my husband and I have both started reading more. We watch less television in the evenings and read instead. This makes us get into the book and compels us to pick it up in our spare moments when the girls are around.
Thankfully, this seems to be rubbing off as well. Libby has moved up a reading stage and can now read to herself rather than to us. She’s fallen madly in love with some ballet stories by Darcey Bussell that she had for Christmas. Every day, she finds some time to read to herself. It’s usually grabbed snatches of time here and there, but it’s her choice. Lia is also willing to read regularly and more inclined to ask me to read to her, which she hasn’t done for a while other than at bedtime.
It’s amazing how children model our behaviour. If only they could copy us having a lie-in at the weekends. That’s definitely the next aim.
Thursday photo #246
On Saturday, we decided to explore a National Trust property we hadn’t been to for a while. We settled on Croft Castle, which is about an hour away in the car. It wasn’t the best weather but we managed to spend a decent amount of time outdoors and these two adored the natural playground.
This photo captures their personalities perfectly. Lia rarely wants anything more than to have a laugh, whereas Libby is an inquisitive little explorer. In this photo, Libby has a compass in her hand. She carried it around all day and insisted on telling us which direction we were heading in every time we turned a corner. I do not recommend allowing a child to carry a compass. In terms of irritation value, her commentary ranked up there with Lia’s constant singing of Baby Shark.