It is a constant dilemma. Not how much to do housework. For me there’s only one answer to that: only as much as is absolutely necessary. More, how much to devote my time solely to the entertainment of my children. At four and one, they would be played with and read to the whole day. There’s a big part of me that would like to spend four out of five days doing that. The bit that loves that precious time, and knows how quickly they grow up and how soon they won’t want me to play with them or read to them. Thing is, what I do with them isn’t about what I need. It’s about what they need. And they don’t need to be entertained all hours of the day. What they need is good quality time with me every day, and good quality time with themselves and each other every day. Time to play and to occupy themselves. Time to learn and explore independently and without adult direction so they really can find things out for themselves.
That is how I first discovered my love for knitting. There is something special about mornings and about knitting. I discovered that on pyjama mornings (the kind where you don’t get dressed until lunchtime because you’re not going anywhere and can do whatever you like)Red loves to play, with me sitting in the room with him. I don’t have to be playing with him, he can get on with his game as long as I sit with him, knitting. Then his game is creative and develops into a great adventure. I can dip in and out of his adventure as he allows me to without it becoming my adventure. I get to come along for the ride. That is really special.
There’s some other things I want to teach them too though. That it is good to be industrious. That relaxation time doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of the television. That it’s worth learning new things even if they are hard at first and when not everyone always expresses an appreciation for what you are doing. That you can keep learning your whole life, maybe more after you leave school than while you’re still there and tied down by homework. Sometimes Red gets his yarn and a needle (he believes he has discovered a new one needle knitting technique, and maybe he has…) and sits by me and we both sit and knit. Often one or other of them come and sit by me at the spinning wheel and hold some roving or spin the wheel for me. They are really precious times when that happens and I hope there will be long term benefits for them. I hope they can see that grown ups still play and still learn just like children, and that it’s really fun to do that together.
I think this is the answer to my dilemma. That making isn’t a solo activity that I get on with while they do something else. It’s something to do with them there, joining in as they are able to. Learning and working together. Now that is something precious.