Over the last 3 weeks of farm sitting, my Husband and I have had functions on all but one weekend, considering we rarely have anything to go to, this was huge. It meant 2 weekends that the kids stayed with his parents Saturday night, and we could sleep in on Sunday morning...oh wait never mind, HE could sleep in, I had to be at the farm for 7:30 to do chores. This alone is probably the only downer I have from looking after the animals. Yeah sure there were moments in the day when I was wishing my folks were back, but that was it moments. I think the thing I've thrived off of the most is having a routine again; outside of snack and meal times, something other than cooking and cleaning and laundry, yes I still had to do all that, but there was those few hours a day that I could do something else, HAD to do something different. Sure it was still "work", and consisted primarily of feeding, and cleaning up after animals, other than the two legged ones I call my darling kids, but it was outside, where my kids are the best versions of themselves, where I, am the best version of myself.
My children have learnt so much over the last few weeks, from their vocabulary expanding, to the youngest finding her feet and the oldest learning to climb over gates. 'L' has learnt animal noises; something we'd been working on through 'Old MacDonald', but after a week submersed in the language she's now fluent in barnyard. She has discovered the fun of pouring, and was always eager to help feed the horses. The many early math opportunities; mainly with the ducks and chickens eggs, counting, colours and sizes, doesn't even scratch the surface of things 'M' has learnt, and experienced. Things like the responsibility of looking after animals, farm gate etiquette, and how to effectively herd animals are just a few examples. My children have always known the farm, we've always been involved with it, but the consistency of the daily chores overy a period of time, and actively participating in the care of the animals made the difference.
I'm going to miss the excuse to get outside and leave the housework for later, or a rainy day, my kids are going to miss the everyday interactions with the farm animals they have come accustomed to seeing. My son, in particular will miss his lamb Ruby, who he has been bottle feeding, but boy are we going to be happy to see "Granny" and "Gramps" again, and I can not wait to sleep in this Sunday morning (we have another function to attend). We are blessed in the fact that we don't live far away and can pop over to visit everyone anytime we like, but the reality of it is, my house and my garden keep me busy and they need some attention, especially after being neglected for almost a month. A month where it went from winter, to spring to summer, so lots of tidying up to do before the bugs, and that thing called "Spring Cleaning" should be done I guess. So I'm going to wean the kids off slowly, and neglect my homely duties for just a little bit longer... we just won't be showing up as early.