This past week has of course been mostly about missing Joy. The kids are surprisingly cheerful though; life goes on and even though we miss her, talking about our lovely lost fuzzball doesn’t bring on distress, as I feared. Also very good news: Venus is stepping up very well to the demands of being an only cat and getting double cuddle rations. She’s always been shyer and more skittish, therefore we’ve pestered her less, but to my surprise she now seems pretty happy with the pestering. And is no longer always only in C’s room. So this morning, for the first time in a week, I woke up with a warm bundle down by my toes. Very welcome.
Other than kitty pestering, I’ve been looking after sick M,* which is obviously far less stressful when not under work pressure. I don’t have much freelance work atm (and am quite happy to keep it that way) and have chosen to step back from design too, so there really isn’t any stress, except that of trying to learn how to use my time when I’m not (a) working for pay or (b) at all interested in being a domestic goddess. No, I will not spend my child-free hours cooking and cleaning, thank you very much. Obviously I have many things I want to do with my time, including just reading and knitting, but somehow it’s incredibly hard to allow myself to sit down and knit, or to concentrate on anything without a clear and immediate goal. So I end up faffing about doing nothing very much, but not actually enjoying it. I’m working on this.
On the domestic goddess front, although I haven’t tried any new recipes this week, I can report two very gratifying cooking victories: first, finding that my kids have suddenly discovered that actually, broccoli and cauliflower are delicious (you don’t say!), and I’ve found a way to cook rice that even M enjoys. (Melt a little butter in pot, add finely chopped onion and rice, stir over heat for a minute, then add water, salt and boil as usual. He’d be horrified to hear about the onion but he’ll eat it in happy ignorance.) I’m not a big rice fan myself, so this isn’t a transformative moment like being able to put mushrooms (and cauli! and broccoli!) on the A list, but it’s definitely helpful.
It fascinates me that my kids firmly believe me to be an excellent cook. They believe this even though they object loudly to half the things I try to feed them, and even though my efforts regularly fail. I’m a very inconsistent cook. I have a short attention span; I forget steps, or burn things, or just somehow can’t work out why something’s come out differently to how it was last time. (This is partly the motivation behind #52recipes: more actual technique, less improvising!) So yeah, sometimes I make deliciousness, but quite often I fail, even when it should be a slam dunk. And yet, they are both quite proud of my cooking (and especially baking), and this makes me really rather happy. As does the answer C gave in a school exercise: what do you like about your family? “Wir haben es sehr lustig.” Which translates roughly as “we have a lot of fun”, but more with the connotation of general good humour rather than doing fun things. This pleases me. It’s exactly what I would want, but one can’t be sure that’s their actual experience, especially when mommy has been going through a rather depressed and grumpy phase. So, I am reassured.
* Only a tiny bit sick, but in plague times it’s extra important to keep him home from school if at all symptomatic, so. He is of course delighted. Bored stupid, but still delighted.