looking back, looking forward

autumn-walkSo, half term approaches!

I’m not sure how I feel about that really, it’s been a funny old six weeks since the kids went back to school. It’s been busy, really busy – one of those times when all the different aspects of my life need attention – and I’ve been floundering a bit trying to keep on top of everything. A feeling of mild bafflement and a low level sense of ‘WTAF is going on?’ have been my stalwart companions.

I was saying to a friend on the school run this morning that I’m only just starting to feel like I’ve got a handle on what our new daily routine is and knowing which books need signing, which homework requires parental comments and who and what needs to be where, when and why. Of course, only seconds after making this announcement I realised my son had left his P.E kit at home… then, when I went back to fetch it, I realised he must in fact have left it at school last week (all damp and muddy and festering… ) because it isn’t anywhere here. So I guess we haven’t *quite* reached a stage where we’re sailing perfectly along. I’m still prone to getting caught off guard by a gust of wind and having the boom crack me round the back of the head.

But progress has definitely been made. I mean, I made it to the school harvest festival on time (despite a dash home for a forgotten swimming kit, and a disgusting dog poo emergency), I’ve finally met my son’s teacher (middle school is so much more ‘hands off’ than first school!), I’ve written copious comments in various reading journals and even spent a very happy couple of hours yesterday helping my eldest create some 3D art for some ‘enrichment homework’ that we thought was optional but turned out not to be quite as optional as we thought!

On this basis I’m sure that after half term we’ll have all our rigging in order* and just sail seraphically along until Christmas. Because I’ve got this school thing nailed now. Oh yes. No more capsizing for me.

So I now have three more days (mornings) to try and do all the things that I can’t do while the boys are around. Then it’s a week off from the school run (yay!) during which we’re off to Harry Potter Studios! But shhhhh don’t tell the boys – it’s a surprise!

My plan is to tidy the entire house (clearing out all the junk that’s been building up for years), complete another module of my illustration course, research agents and send my picture books off to another batch, submit some work (that I haven’t written yet) to a competition that’s caught my eye, return to my novel and write another ten thousand words, write some more limericks and… oh, ok, probably none of that.

I have three mornings. I’m going to have coffee with some friends. I’m going to do some hoovering. I’m going to draw some pictures. It’s enough, I think.

I’ll leave you with a drawing I did last week as part of my course, the next module of which is on illustrating poems. One thing I really struggle with is speed – I’m an over-thinking slow coach – so I decided to have a go at illustrating a poem without any planning at all, just to dive in. This is one of my favourite poems. It’s by Elizabeth Jennings. I (re)read it then drew a picture. This is what appeared on the paper:a-child-in-the-night-poem-illustration

Writing Bubble


*I don’t know why I’m sticking with the sailing metaphor… I don’t even know why I’m using it at all, I know NOTHING about boats!


18 thoughts on “looking back, looking forward

  1. suz

    I love your picture – would make a great inspirational print.
    You are as bad as me for thinking – I have three mornings a week free. I can fit 6 years work into them and still have time for coffee lol. Do your best and forget about the rest.
    Wishing you smooth sailing all the way to Christmas (just to stick with the boat metaphor – which I know nothing about either)
    Oh, and I look forward to your report on Harry Potter. I’ve always fancied going there but never got round to it.
    suz recently posted…Are you teaching your child NOT to read for fun?My Profile

  2. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Oh yes, this is me! I feel just like that about the new routine, we are just getting into, and then how on earth did it get to be nearly half term!!! I just realised after reading Renee’s post this morning that I am just not cutting myself enough slack (is that a sailing metaphor???) and life is really busy at the moment. But it sounds like you have exciting plans for half-term (it’s DIY and hopefully not feral children for us!), I hope you all have loads of fun. xxx
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…Gratitude Journal SeptemberMy Profile

    1. Maddy Post author

      I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack. The thing I’m realising about being a parent is that it could totally occupy all your time – there’s so much to do and, with you and I, the needs of three little people to consider. To do that alone is enough and yet we are doing so much more too – no wonder we spend lots of time only just (or not quite) keeping on top of it all! Thanks Alice and I hope you have a lovely half term too. xxx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week ninety-threeMy Profile

  3. Chilli Regina

    It’s a whole new routine when school starts, I know. I had to make a big schedule that is on my fridge, so I don’t forget who is having what at which hour:)). Sometimes I feel like a broom would be perfect transport for me;) Btw, really nice piece of art – love the drawing you made. reminds of my “crafty days”, back in the days without kids..;)

      1. Marija Smits

        Tee hee! I noticed the ‘hovering’ typo too. If I could hover, I would be delighted!

        Your illustration is lush, Maddy. That blue is so rich. I was just wondering how you did the writing/lettering though? Before or after the background? I’m intrigued… Hope you have a lovely half term. I’m really looking forward to it. :-) Sending my best wishes, M x

  4. Cara

    I suspect that just having the inkling of the thought that perhaps one knows what one is doing is enough to bait the gods into switching things around.

    I love that you still have middle schools. I went to a middle school and think they’re brilliant. Apparently they are not a thing in Scotland and never have been. That said, my boy is currently in the last year of primary (they’re awfy big compared to the little ones), and I’m glad he gets this chance to be a big kind fish before he gets chucked into the (terrifying to me) pool of the Academy!

    Also, that picture is amazing, and I’d love a print if you were thinking of setting up shop. :-)
    Cara recently posted…Red: a poetry postMy Profile

    1. Maddy Post author

      I grew up with a two tier system so the whole middle school thing is new to me! In one way it makes them grow up faster I think because they get more independence at a younger age (my son is a summer baby so he’s still only nine) but on the other hand, at least they’re not teeny 11 year olds suddenly in with 18 year olds!

      Thanks for your lovely comments about my illustration. The feedback I’ve had has sent my brain off on a whole new angle of creative exploration…. watch this space! xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week ninety-threeMy Profile

  5. Sophie Lovett

    Totally hear you on the whole adjustment thing… I have had (rare) moments when I feel like I am totally on top of things, but they have quickly been replaced by rising panic as I realise I’m STILL not managing to get everything done. And I don’t even have school runs to deal with! Ho hum… I guess we just have to roll with it and be kind to ourselves and the new rhythms will come. Love that poem and your illustration by the way :) xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…The joy of travelling with a three year oldMy Profile


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