Head & Heart #45: From a distance

Finding some time and space as the kids return to school....

The kids went back to school/daycare last week and I’m really appreciating the distance and importantly the perspective that this brings after seven weeks of hanging out together at home. Austin Kleon wrote about this recently and I couldn't agree more - “I’m keeping everyone else in the world at a distance, but the people in my house have never been closer. It’s hard to get any kind of perspective.”

Seeing people I love from a variety of perspectives allows me to notice and appreciate them differently (and flaws and quirks seen up close tend to fade with distance). When doing focused work on the computer, we're often told to rest our eyes and prevent eye strain by looking at things in the distance every now and again. I wonder if the same kind of exercise is good for our hearts too?

The five

(Five things that are bringing me joy, comfort, wisdom or relief right now….)

Idle parenting. More goodness from Austin Kleon who recently reminded me of the manifesto of the idle parent. Idle parenting is my favourite parenting 'philosophy' and feels particularly relevant at this time when we're all feeling a bit stretched and strung out.

ANZAC biscuits. ANZAC Day seems like ages ago, but we made some biscuits using this recipe from Monique Bowley that was getting a lot of love online. Definitely worth bookmarking for next year.

Brene Brown's new podcast, Unlocking Us. So much wisdom here - delivered in Brene Brown's usual kind, smart and accessible way. I especially loved the interview with David Kessler on grief and finding meaning. Another recent podcast find (for kids) that E has been enjoying is Pants on Fire - a kind of game show where a kid asks questions of two grown-ups (one an expert and the other pretending to be) and has to try and figure out who is lying.

Wooden toys. Given that we're spending more time at home we had a little splurge on some new Grimms and Grapat wooden toys. While they seem very expensive the quality is amazing, they look great, and there are unlimited options for how they can be used. If you have a little person in your life (from baby to primary school), I think these toys would be a much appreciated gift. While it might not get the immediate enthusiastic reaction that a noisy, colourful, branded toy might have, it's more likely to be one that they come back to over and over again. Another recent purchase that is bringing us joy is new gumboots for me and the kids from Demar Boots. Now that we're living in the 'country', I think these boots will be our staple winter footwear!

Banning TV (again). A few years ago (when Lincoln was just a baby) we did a one-week TV ban for Ella that was so successful that it ended up lasting about 7 months! I can’t remember why it ended but, for whatever reason, TV crept back in and over the last couple of months of social distancing it was becoming an increasingly prominent part of our lives. I could see the (not so great) impact this was having on my kids' behaviour so, as of last week, the TV ban is once again in-force (with the exception of family movies on Friday & Saturday night). I've been surprised at how quickly the kids have adjusted (after an initial period of complaints and questioning). It's reminded me that for me abstinence is often easier than moderation - having the blanket 'no TV' is easier for me to manage than having to do an ongoing assessment of how much screen time they've had, what their behaviour or my mood is like etc.

Photo: Our wonderful outdoor ‘classroom’ over the last seven weeks, and a VERY VERY rare moment of sibling harmony! @ Carrickalinga

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