The weather is happening to us. It always does, I know, but when its this dramatic, you realise that the weather just happens to us. Any plans you may have had to work outdoors, travel here and there etc… are just stopped because we have been happened to. Apologies to you lovely folk in places of the world that get real big snow for several months a year, but for us here to have our whole country covered in snow for over a week is, well…quite a happening.
It has made me think again about this balance between what you can and can’t control. By and large the weather is out of our control (though I spent a lot of my childhood in a grape growing region of Italy where hailstones was the dread of land owners for its ability to decimate the grape crop. To combat this, small yellow cannons dotted the vineyards, disrupting the post-lunch siesta with their intermittent ‘boom’ of chemicals being fired into the clouds to prevent hailstones forming. Did it work or was it man’s attempt to feel in control when he wasn’t?).
It’s the same when I am making a mosaic. I am currently planning a few commissions and am at the sketching stage. But I know that I cannot plan how it will turn out – that the materials and the process somehow take over and shape the work rather than my attempts to map it out and control it. As I mature in my mosaic making I am more aware of the design choices I have as I make (grouted or ungrouted? andamento? focal points? material choices? positive and negative space? balance? repetition?…) . Being aware of these design choices has helped me experiment and trust the process – going with the flow rather than trying to control too much from the start.
Control…ehm?! Then there is the question of little ones – raising them and remaining in control of the daily ‘happenings’ as the parent. Not being afraid to set boundaries even if it leads to major strops, whilst also being attentive to their uniqueness, needs, wants and what their sometimes vexing behaviour is signalling. Boy oh boy, what a challenge. I guess, with two under the age of 4, we are in the prime of that ‘glorious’ developmental stage (the first ‘teenagehood’) where the boundaries are being pushed, set and reset. I have to confess that over Christmas I got quite burnt out with it all and saw myself turning into a grumpy mummy at times – not too cool.
Things have settled again and we have attempted to gain some positive control over toddler happenings by using a start chart. The idea is that each child has a rocket with their photo in it, and we acknowledge and praise good behaviour (such as using a normal voice, not a whine or shout; doing what mummy and daddy ask; being gentle and kind…) by moving them up a star. When they reach the moon they get a little treat. When they reach the planet they get a big treat. The rocket idea was adapted from the Supernanny website. I cut out and laminated each rocket and put a magnet on the back (the chart is on a magnetic board from IKEA). I like it because it is simple and links behaviour to a consequence. I am still not 100% convinced by how it will work…the jury is out.
In the meantime, we finally made it out into the snow as a family and the camera came too of course!
Loving the snowball fights, the snow men building (don’t laugh but we only got about two inches so Isabella’s snowman is a miniature!) and coming home to hot chocolate and pop corn. Also loving how, because we are limited to how far we can go out due to the very icy roads and pavements, we are in and out of our neighbours houses more often than usual for a change of scenery and distraction for the whole load of toddlers who live in our street. Whoever said London was a place with no community has not visited our neighbourhood!.