4 beautiful things…


I noticed the boys were getting louder and louder in the sitting room and cushions had started flying around. This is a pet hate of mine for 2 reasons 1. I make all our cushions and I get annoyed that they should be flung around so carelessly and 2. They shouldn’t really be chucking them around anyway. The play became rougher and I knew that from many past experiences that things would only deteriorate. I would hear whining, squealing and then the eventually crying as someone had hit someone just that little to hard way past the point of fun. I was in the kitchen hovering over the cakes we’d cooked as the recipe seemed to be taking way longer than the 35 mins it should so I really couldn’t (and didn’t want to) sit as a mum/referee to ensure the safety of my cushions. I looked about the kitchen for something they could do…

I came across the empty egg carton. As we’d almost quadrupled the recipe but just at the last moment managed to only double it we’d used a lot of eggs hence the empty carton. It was a dozen eggs box so I quickly grabbed the scissors and cut it into 3 groups of 4 and called the boys in to me. I said I had a challenge for them and I know my boys and the word ‘challenge’ always makes them sit up and take notice and this time was no exception. I gave them each their own small egg box and said could they find me 4 things in the garden that would fit in these pods that they found beautiful. They looked at the egg boxes, looked at me and all ran off enthusiastically outside.

They immediately set to work with a purpose scouring the garden with new eyes. They looked at flowers, stones, cones and the different shades of green in the grass. They hesitated in picking the flowers but I said that it was okay for today. They learned how to pick flowers and not the whole plant (including the root!) which was surprisingly difficult for them to do –had they never picked flowers before? Tobes picked all large daisy type flowers and filled his tray up quickly, Henry was much more thoughtful having a look around the garden, smelling the flowers –beauty comes in smells too not just looks – and just generally taking time before making his choices. Ollie got quite determined, as usual, and wanted a peach rose he’d seen but couldn’t reach. Ever the problem solver I saw him disappear out of sight then appear back with the wheelbarrow. He carefully positioned it so he could stand in it and reach over the flower bed to get the rose he wanted. I did think ‘oh no, he’ll end up being speared by the rose plant if he falls off!’ but luckily I was inside and he wouldn’t have heard me even if I did say it out loud. He wanted something and he solved a problem to get it and I really should just butt out.

I had finished getting tea ready and due to it being scrambled eggs which quickly lose their appeal when they are cold I was anxious to get them in but they were all still stuck in their own world. They’d seen passed the ‘challenge’ of the exercise and were totally engrossed. I had mistimed tea but maybe also under estimated how much they would enjoy what I’d asked them to do. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing to get them out of the house and stop wrecking the sitting room which, ironically, they call ‘the posh room’ but after a few dens are made out of the sofa cushions it looks anything but posh…

Yesterday I learned that boys can appreciate beauty from a very young age. They can look for, find it and tell you why something is beautiful. They can care about beauty ‘please can you put my rose in some water so it won’t die so quickly?’ and they are ecstatic when you delight in something they do too. They can take open ended tasks and make their own decisions as to what they want to do with it – not one of them said ‘I don’t want to do this’ which would have been fine. I learned that boys need beauty in their lives and beauty shouldn’t just be thought of as something that girls should be bothered about.

On our Honeymoon Hubbie was desperate to show me a painting in the National Gallery called ‘The Execution of Lady Jane Grey. It’s a massive piece of artwork that he thought was just amazing that he wanted to share with me. Ironically, doubly ironically you may think due to the subject of the painting and this being our honeymoon, after working our way through the galleries to find the painting -it wasn’t there. All that was, was just a little note telling whoever would read it that the painting was on loan for a few months. His disappointment was apparent. He wanted to share this with me. It was special to him and this was a special time…

I’ve never seen the painting, we never went back and that was nearly 9 years ago now. Hubbie still talks about it as being something he wants to do but life (and defending cushions) as got in the way. Seeing the boys yesterday in the garden and seeing how excited they were to show me what they had found I think I need to learn from them. In the not too distant future I want us to go up to London (it’s 30 mins away we have NO excuse!) and go and find the painting so Hubbie can finally share it with me but this time, with his boys too. I will, at last, see the something my husband finds beautiful and the boys will see their Daddy come alive when he shows us his idea of beauty.

Boys don’t just have to be playing DS’, killing each other with guns or shouting ‘POOHEAD’ at the tops of their voices though I do admit mine do that a lot. I hope to encourage their love of beautiful things –remember I said beautiful not ‘expensive’. I’m hoping this will spill over into that time they bring their partners home to meet us for the first time and I’ll see total adoration in their eyes. This will be their beautiful person that they will love and can’t wait to show to the world. The future’s quite exciting really when you think about it…

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About littlewhitecottage

Tales from a contemporay cottage.
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4 Responses to 4 beautiful things…

  1. michelle says:

    your posts are awe inspiring, not only an obviously amazing, caring mother, a talented and creative lady, a fantastic writer to boot x

  2. Jenny says:

    Emma, you write so beautifully. I was engrossed in your story and smiling all the way through until I get to the part about your hubby and that was so enchanting it brought tears to my eyes. I had to comment here to encourage you to put a date in your diary now to go see the painting and share in the joy with your hubbie and your boys. Looking forward to reading all about it.
    (My 3 are all grown up now and each of them has brought home their special person with shining eyes. Life is indeed exciting, rewarding but most of all Beautiful )

  3. Sarah says:

    My little man is 5 and he always amazes me by coming out with comments such as ‘look at that beautiful sunset mummy’….. my daughter (who is 8) rarely comments on nature and beauty the way he does.

  4. Lindsey says:

    I am proud to say that both my boys (6&9) have the word beautiful in their vocabulary, they use it to describe many things and take pleasure in sharing many beautiful things with myself and husband.

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