Packed lunch dinners

Elise has always had school lunch but with Yumo joining soon, we will soon be paying for 3 school lunches probably. With that in mind, last night we trialed packed lunch for dinner. Actually, surprisingly, improbably, it was a huge success. I did ham and cheese pin wheels with added broccoli.

Elise gave it a two thumbs up and her comment was that it didn’t need 2 biscuits, one was enough.

Yesterday I was grateful for a less stressful bedtime.

Thing is, the kids were just as troublesome I just didn’t let it get to me.


The few hours Lyra and I just had were just what I needed. A chance to reset my mindset and for me to start again.

I’ve found it difficult when I’m either with my own children before and after work and other people’s children between 6am and 9pm. Much as love my own children and I do enjoy my teaching other people’s.

It’s one of those things about teaching that, when you’re working, yes you’re in charge but your time is very much not your own. You can’t leave the room to go to the toilet or go speak to someone, you can’t sit and have a think. While we do get some ‘free’ time during the time, it’s incredibly difficult to switch off. When you’re teaching them there’s a million other things to do.

Anyway. I feel very much better for the evening off of parenting and teaching.

Best thing you can do for your children sometimes, is to be away from them!

Elise at 6:50am: “Why do cereals need milk?”

It’s too much art for these sort of questions。

We tried to lie in but it’s tricky with small children climbing on you.

Zen Shorts

Zen Shorts and it’s follow up Zen Tie, Zen Ghosts and Zen socks by John J. Muth are some of my favourite children’s books. I think I picked it up one day in the school library when my class was visiting. It’s about a panda called Stillwater who meets 3 children and tells each a Zen tale.

I’ve been reading them recently with Elise, I’m not sure how she takes from them but I’m reminded how much I like them.

I think it’s the pictures but it’s also in the way Stillwater speaks. I find the books very calming.

Rereading, I’m also reminded of the benefit of repeated readings even of children’s books.

One of things I find hard as a parent is the weekends.

What’s a good weekend?
What do I want/need? What do I feel I should do (with the kids)?

Today, we’ve been up since 7 and didn’t stop till 11. We went to a book shop, had a nice lunch, went swimming and had dinner with friends.

It’s been full on. Just being with the kids is a lot. As well, we’re working hard with our eldest on choices and her dealing with things she doesn’t like or want to do.

So, it’s been good in some respects. We’re working on things that are important. I’m spending time with my family.

And yet, I’m aware that work on Monday is looming and needs preparing for and that just makes me anxious.

exercise plans

In theory it made sense.

I want to exercise more regularly but I’m also aware that when I exercised straight after work it impacted on the kids and my wife. Since I was getting home late. I didn’t like it and always felt guilty for working out so it never felt like ‘quality time’ and, honestly, it wasn’t enjoyable as a result.

Over the summer, we joined a gym and while the equipment selection was dire it was better than nothing.

So the idea was that I could go to the gym after the kids went to bed in the evening. I could come home straight from work and spend more time with them and help with cooking dinner etc.

In theory it made sense.

Except, unsuprisingly, after being at work all day and then coming home and dealing with that stuff, picking myself up to go to the gym and work out is proving tricky/difficult/impossible.

I did it once last week.

And today is the same.

I like the time I get with the kids but I also would like to exercise - for my emotional and physical health. I don’t know, I don’t have answers honestly. Just lots of questions. Should I put myself first more often? What about my wife? Or is always that my children come first?

Do. Not. Know.

A friend came around this evening so Elise could give her her birthday present.

Elise and Yumo were very excited to see her and help her unwrap her present. Elise didn’t stop talking.

I felt like I saw Elise through different eyes today. It’s the wood from the trees isn’t it?

Nervous flyer

I remember the first time I was nervous flying.

Growing up, it’s not that we flew a lot but when we did it was relatively long flights. So i’ve always been fine flying. It’s the safest form of travel! All the same, you’re pretty high in the air arent' you often over boundless stretches of water,

It was after Elise was born and suddenly everything was different. The first time we flew a shortish flight and I was suddenly nervous on take off. It wasn’t about just me anymore.

I think this thought popped up because I was in the hospital today and that’s always a good place to get you thinking about things.


Our youngest likes to see the light rail trains.

We always point them out when we see them. Yet, we don’t ever take them even though the station is only 5 minutes walk from our flat. It’s easier to drive or take a Didi (Chinese Uber). So this afternoon we took the kid on it. Lyra found a restaurant near* a stop that’s 6 stops away. So we donned our masks since it’s one of the few places that you still have to wear them and we went.

It was nice. It felt like an adventure.

We walked (and walked). We saw things. We explored a new area a little. It made us realise we didn’t do this much. We drive and and we go to the same places a lot. We said, we should do this again soon. Admittedly we also said it would be easier when the kids are bigger too!

Then we found the place, a Korean bbq restaurant, that was busier then we expected but was worth the wait. We’d bought some baozi (steamed buns) for the kids on the way to keep the kids occupied a little. I had a couple of beers, Lyra and I shared some plum wine too. The place was busy in a good way. I started to feel a little drunk, in the best kind of way.

Here’s to next time.

*It wasn’t near.


We travel a fair bit. Partly, I think because of our location - which makes Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam relatively short flights away but mostly because of our global family. We travel a lot to see family. The joke is that we couldn’t be further apart. We’re in China, Mum and Dad are in Mauritius, sister is on the West Coast of America and my brother is in the UK. Mum and dad buy round-the-world tickets to visit us all.

When we had just had our eldest we travelled a fair bit with her because 2:1 is a decent ratio for childcare but we’re finding that with a second child that ratio ain’t so grand. It’s a holiday, but not as you know it.

We’ve just got back from 6 days in Sanya on the island of Hainan on the south coast of China. I realise we are lucky to have gotten away in the current situation.

It was very up and down. The pools were lovely, obviously hotel breakfast is great but the much smaller space of a hotel room made things more difficult sometimes and stressful.

I am glad we did it though. I am back and feeling a little calmer about things generally. Now to start put my computer down a little more, spend a little more time with the kids and wife, exercise a little more and read a little more.

Have been promising to make this out of the back of the book Tiddler by Julia Donaldson for a while. Finally got around to making it this morning.

Episode 21: “You Eat Your Head”

Elise reluctantly talks a little about school.

Episode 20: “Elise Talks A Little Bit About Going Back To School.”

TLDR: See the title.

Episode 19: “Pizza Talk.”

Elise presses buttons, Yumo wants to join in, I put it online regardless.

Episode 18 - “helicopters “

Elise talks about her new toy

Episode 17: Dinosaurs Eat People

Elise talks a little about dinosaurs.

A morning routine Darling children all around Everyday a storm

Having small children awake from 5:30 when work is stressful is the worst way to do a morning routine.

Episode 16: “The Family Gets Nicknames”

Following straight on from the last episode. Lyra learns what scruffy means.

Episode 15: Mr Tiny Man

Elise gives her brother a new name.

Episode 14: “Zog And The Flying Doctor’s” By Julian Donaldson. Retold By Elise

We’ve read this a lot this weekend. She did pretty well!

Episode 13: “Are we An Incredible Family?”

Bit noisy this.

Episode 11 - “Hi Natalie.”

The audio of a video I took of Elise talking to a friend about a book we’ve read called Journey by Aaron Becker. Which I highly recommend.

Still need to read up on how to use Wavelength more effectively though.

Episode 10: “汪汪队”

Elise and Lyra talk about Paw Patrol.