Dinner table conversations

Some nights I wish I could record the things said around our dinner table. It really is one of my most favourite, albeit noisy, times of the day. Second only to when they are almost asleep and you sneak in to have that last kiss and hug.

For context:
Yesterday Mignon tells me on the way home that they had to be separated in class because ‘Isabel spat on her head’. Isabel retaliated with ‘and then Mignon tore up my picture’.

Spitting is a complete no-no, so as punishment there was no tuck shop money for them today (Tuesday’s their class-tuckshop day). I also mailed their teacher to let her know that they had told us and about the subsequent punishment.

At dinner tonight, when we were doing our usual ‘Best/Worst part of your day’ thing, Isabel tells us, beaming with pride, that the teacher (bless her, I love her) made them get up in class and thanked them for telling their parents what they did yesterday. I’m sure there’s some kind of reverse psychology going on there, but Etienne and I giggled into our food.

Next up, randomly, Mignon says that she can’t wait! Tomorrow ‘she’s getting Waterpokkies’. We were beyond baffled until they told us it was the title of a book they’ve been waiting to read. I love how into reading they are. All those nights of reading the same books over and over again are hopefully paying off. It’s such a beautiful thing to see all 3 of them so enamoured with reading.

And Daniel? He talks up a storm with them. Today it was a tale about a run-in with the local chess-hero in chess class.

They usually all talk at the same time and often about three things that are completely unrelated, it’s sometimes hard to keep up.

But. It’s always, always entertaining.

How did we get this lucky?

The Bookshelf

I came across this article this evening that rang very true.

When Etienne and I started dating after we had been friends for a long long long time (since primary school) he had to pass a couple of tests. I wasn’t going to open up my heart to just any guy in a hurry, I had just had it trampled on in a rather public and spectacular way, so I was reluctant to say the least.

There was the kiss test – which he passed with flying colours. The food test, the conversation test, the music test (a big one!) and lastly, the book test.

It’s like this you see, I could have married someone that doesn’t love music, but I could not ever marry someone that didn’t love books as much as I do. So I made him read some of the books that had moved me the most at that point in my life. I can’t remember all of them and I took myself very seriously back then, but amongst them were The Bridge Across Forever (Richard Bach) and The Celestine Prophecy (had a good giggle at that one). Granted, a lot of them were tough going for a sweet guy like Etienne, but he read every single one of them and then some.

In turn he introduced me to writers that I have fallen in love with since and opened up genres to me that I never would have bothered with otherwise.

I’m such a lucky girl.

What was the one thing you would not compromise in a relationship?

For the Love of Kindle

A very kind and generous person (whom I shall not mention by name purely because I refuse to share her) gave me a Kindle Fire as a gift recently.

We are by no means a technologically challenged household, but there is not a tablet in sight at Casa Roux, purely because we have some other pressing financial commitments (bond, food, clothes, childcare) and we just haven’t been able to pinch off the money.  So you can only imagine how completely beside myself I was when I received this gift!

What I didn’t realize was how it would change my life.

For starters I no longer have to hold a book on cold nights.  I simply stand the kindle on its side against Etienne’s arm (he lies reading on his stomach) and only a finger has venture out from under the cover to flip the page.

It’s small and light and I can take it with me wherever I go, so I’m never bored.  Fair enough, it is vying for space in my large bag with my phone and crochet bag, but hey.

I feel a lot better about killing trees.  Yes, I know that I’m reading on an electronic device and someone somewhere will be able to prove that it’s actually worse for the environment, but still.

I have consumed shlurped up read more in the last few months than I have in years.  I have read cookbooks and sci-fi and vampire books and those dreaded 50 shades of whatever and Nora Roberts and Michael Robotham’s Suspect and most recently John Greene’s The Fault in our Stars. (Spoiler alert: it should come with a box of tissues or a roll of toilet paper, what an awesome book!)

It’s generally speaking a lot cheaper than buying hardcover books.

I do however find some things harder now that I’m reading on a kindle.

I find it harder to memorise book and author names if it’s not someone I’ve read before.

I miss being able to quickly refer to something on the back of the book about the promised storyline.  The outside of a book is a little like getting to know a new person.  You flirt with and remember the cover and the picture and if you come across the book at a later stage your memory is easily jogged.

I miss giving someone a book to read that doesn’t have a kindle (such as my Dad).  I can’t just be sitting at a dinner party chatting about a book and walk to the bookshelf and pull it off and hand it over.  (this might actually be a good thing, it might force people to buy the book online for less?)

I worry about the future of writers and how being a writer will be redefined in many ways.  How will you be noticed in the throng of on-line voices?

I worry about our neighborhood bookshops.  Not too much, remember the trees, but people that love books work there.  Where would those people go?

I wonder about how it will change bookclubs.  There’s something ritualistic about dragging a box of books with you to book club once a month and scratching around, looking for something that catches your eye.  How will it work in future?  Will women huddle around their kindles/iPads in their own lounges in future? Isn’t that a bit lonely?

Will we still have book clubs, or will it all be an online affair?  I despair for all the wine that won’t be drunk.  (not that I’ve belonged to a book club in a while as things are just too hectic, but plenty of my friends do)

How do you read books?  If you read on a device, how did it change your relationship with books?  Should we still be calling them books?

Fun and games

Etienne and I take turns to read to the kids at night and make lunches for the next day.  It generally takes longer to prepare lunches, but the chance of injury is considerably less.

This is how it goes:

At the appointed time we have a race down the passage to the bathroom where we fight to brush teeth and end up wiping toothpaste off every available surface.  After shouting because Daniel scraped his dropped toothpaste off the floor with his toothbrush.  Or because someone tried shoving their toothbrush up the spout of the tap.

But I digress.

We then arrive in the girls’ room where we put their pillows on the floor.  (At this point I need to add that this whole lying-on-the-floor-reading-thing was not my idea.  I blame Etienne for this incredible lack of judgement.)  We then have an extended negotiation about who wants what book.  Followed by another extended negotiation about who gets to go first.

And this is where it gets dangerous.  Reading to the child in question entails the child being read to lying on Mommy/Daddy’s back.  Which is more of a bouncing repertoire of knees to the parental kidneys on a good night.  This is after hopping up and down on your back.

The children that are not directly being read to ask where things are in the book.  They specifically ask about things that are in plain sight on the pages of books that they have read approximately 400 000 times before.

The children that are not directly being read to are also always keen to brush hair. Specifically the hair of the parent that is trying to read whilst being used for a trampoline whilst fielding questions on the picture content of the book.

You know what’s the saddest about all of this?  I absolutely love the chaos of reading time.  I love being in such close proximity to my kids so I can rub my cheek against that of the child lying on my back or tickle the back of one of them lying next to me.  I love that they love books and don’t fight about being read to. I love that they love being with us.  And I love their clean just-bathed-ready-for-bed smell.

So, much as I whine about chaos I love it.  Do I really want angelic children that sit quietly whilst being read to? Hell. No.

Just a quick pic share for posterity even though they were posted on twitter and FB:

Yesterday morning in our bed just before the morning chaos
Mignon asked for pink nails so we had a little pamper party before bedtime