The summer holidays are here.
This huge break from routine must disturb the rhythms of any family and we are no exception. The adult members of our unit are not predisposed to domestic organisation (I can hear my mum raising her eyebrows at this understatement of reality), but when children must be delivered and collected from school at certain unwavering times, needs must.
But as term ends, we transition from being a lightly-oiled machine, marching to the beat of alarms, school bells and early tea, to a sprawling, idle, messy puddle, frantically deschooling and uncoiling. For the first week or two, moods are unpredictable. The boys kick against doing anything beyond the gentlest of excursions or the most casual of activities. There is way too much iPad and YouTube. I've learned to go with it. I try and get them out of the house each day, I set up a couple of enticing, creative things to do, we do a small amount of letter and number "work" and we watch movies. We find our equilibrium.
Spike often finds balance in nostalgic revisitations of early childhood favourites and, recently, he rediscovered one of his "educational" baby DVDs. He is entranced by the climax of the video, where different colour inks are dropped into water and the camera lingers over the swelling, octopine plumes. It reminded me of paper marbling, which I'm sure I did as a child. Proper marbling is a messy thing requiring specialist resources, but there is a great homespun process which produces similar results and I was inspired to set something up for the boys.
It will print more than once, so re-swirl and go again! The results would make great wrapping paper or an interesting backdrop for an underwater scene or sunset silhouette.
Spike and Oscar both enjoyed doing this. I love watching how differently they approach this kind of process. Spike tries to be neat and precise, and replicates my actions as closely as he can. I always labour under the misapprehension that the activity will be all tidied away with the swift wipe of a damp cloth. But then Oscar gets stuck in, and we end up here: