After a gentle start to the month, molar teething, the four month sleep regression and a week-long heatwave combined to make a tough finish. Still, we made it!
We made lavender sugar and rose sugar. Pick lavender just as it’s opening and rose petals in full bloom. Look over for any insects or dirt. Place in jar with sugar. Shake ‘n’ seal. Wait. If you put them straight in, the sugar clumps, but I don’t mind.
I ordered two perennial nine star broccoli plants! And got six strawberry plants for free off trashnothing.com, which are already going mad putting out runners! We’ve been eating wong bok, raspberries, beetroot tops (ew), actual beetroot (yum), basil and tragic woody radishes. Remind me to just not grow radishes again. The slugs have rampaged and finally finished off our pea plants, and half of our beans and kale.
The alternating rains and searing heat have kept us indoors a lot. One of my new year’s resolutions was to spend more time outside. This has, uh, not been going to well. Partly due to reasons out of my control! But Mr Two Year Old and I have invented a new game: We’re Going On A Slug Hunt.
I did a lot of sewing – face masks, oilcloth laundry bags; a slimline pencil case; a coin-keys-and-card purse. We bought a length of fabric to make blind for our old house, and out of the cuttings from the side I have made handles for the laundry bags, the pencil case, the purse, a sunhat for me and a recycling bag. And I’ve still got a little bit left! It makes me happy to go round our house seeing the same fabric being used for so many different things.
We have an adorable little white sailor suit that is just perfect for baptisms…except both of our children have grown too big before we got round to getting them baptised. We’ll just gloss over our first-child disorganisation, but we thought we were so sorted this time – and then the pandemic hit. Good news, though: I’ve made a proper baptismal gown and cap out of an old cotton slip I was given yonks ago. I bound a neckhole and two armholes with bias binding, gathered the neckline with thread and gathered under the arms with a bias binding channel and some elastic, added some fastenings and hey presto! The cap is, uh, made out of the, um, cups and shoulder straps. But you’d never know! Anyway, if the pandemic goes on long enough that we can’t get her baptised in this, we’re really in trouble.
We bought 16kg of plain flour and 16kg of bread flour…and 1kg of walnuts because it got us over the free delivery threshold. And a galvanised rubbish bin to store the bags in. I have no idea if this is worth it but it feels better than just stacking them on the kitchen floor.
I’ve been on a big toddler independence kick lately. I think it’s good for children to be able to do things for themselves, and it’s pretty good for adults too! You can read about how I reorganised our toy storage here: A So-Simple-It’s-Probably-Boring Toy Storage Revamp. I listed the excess toys and some clothing on trashnothing.com and they disappeared within 24 hours.
My husband volunteered for a three hour shift at church each week to oversee social distancing when it reopened for private prayer. He wore the cloth mask I had sewn to travel there on the Tube, then was given a mask and gloves by the church when he arrived.
I somehow read a lot of books this month. I’ve started listening to an audiobook after Miss Four Month Old and I go to bed together through our library’s BorrowBox. I listed to Educated by Tara Westover* (seriously intense, not recommended for bedtime!), Raising Boys in the 21st Century* (I don’t think I’m the intended audience as I am neither a deadbeat dad nor a single mum) and started First Bite: How We Learn To Eat*.
As the physical library is closed, I also bought some books I have had on my list for a while:
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers* (Little House on the Prairie but a boy and more death)
The Road to Nab End* (it’s grim Oop North in the mill towns of the 1920s – didn’t love it but I think I’ve just read too many like it already)
Cheaper By The Dozen* (nothing like the film – more like My Family and Other Animals)
Oh Crap! Potty Training* (really about adults’ hangups, but clearly something I needed to read – we’ve set a date and crossed our fingers!)
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee* (haven’t finished it yet)
Thankfully the library is opening again for a reserve and collect service soon so my bank balance won’t dip too low!
Book of the month: Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
I had expected this book to have more actionable steps on how to teach your children to do various things, like take an infamous nine-year-old subway ride or cook dinner for the whole family. Instead, it was more of a pep talk. Initially I was disappointed but by the end, I did feel like a different, braver, enthused parent – so I think it did its job!