Friday, February 10, 2012

Loving routines

This week it’s back to routine in the House of Barr as term one commenced with our usual Monday morning frenzy. Henry headed out the door alone to the uncharted waters of Year Four at Barham Primary School, Sam and Max struck out together for Barham High School and the untold adventures of Years Seven and Eight. …and not a moment too soon I might add.
I know I said only a couple of weeks ago how much I was loving the lack of routine that school holidays bring but I’m over that now. I want our routine back, it’s comforting and I’ve missed it… that and the six hours from nine till three that I get to work in uninterrupted peace and quiet.
Some routines can be soothing amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, well, not our morning routine as that is pure chaos but we have other routines during school term. For instance, Tuesday night is Cheesy Pasta Night. There is no need for the boys or I to wonder what to cook for dinner on Tuesdays, as it is always the same, give or take a few ingredients. The base meal is cream; eggs and Parmesan cheese stirred through a large pot of cooked spiral pasta. When we’re feeling more imaginative we add some steamed broccoli or green beans with mushrooms and bacon sautéed in butter and garlic.
Later in the week (Thursday night to be precise) along comes PAGT night. An acronym that stands for Pancakes, Abba, Gin & Tonic. This little tradition began about six years ago when I discovered an over-supply of limes on my lime tree at Hay. Not wanting to waste them I poured myself a gin and tonic and added generous slices of lime and then thought how nice pancakes would be for dinner with butter, sugar and lime juice… and then I remembered how much I liked listening to the Abba Gold album while drinking gin and tonic and flipping pancakes. Needless to say the night was a huge success all round and we’ve been enjoying PAGT night ever since.
Our favourite routine however, is the nightly bedtime story read by yours truly. Not long after Max was born in 1998 I delved into the world of children’s books and reading aloud to Max, later Sam and later still Henry. 
More than fourteen years on and I’m still reading aloud and getting as much pleasure out of the books as the boys. Along the way we’ve progressed from The Hungry Caterpillar, Where is the Green Sheep and The Cassowary’s Egg to The Roald Dahl Treasury, The Jungle Book and C.S.Lewis’s Narnia series to A Fortunate Life, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Jack Bradford’s Young Samurai series (our favourite – we are eagerly awaiting the publication of book seven in March this year) and our current Harry Potter phase. This week’s bedtime story is book four in the series; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We are aiming to read a chapter a night but with 37 chapters and 636 pages it may be the bedtime story for many weeks to come.
Some routines can be stressful and abandoning them for a period of time can be refreshing but other routines are reassuring and having them in our lives gives us a sense of stability and control. Hooray for the start of another school year!

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