Thursday, 5 September 2013

What to do when the children are growing up?

With the children growing up and starting to be able to live their own lives, Edwin and I began to have some free time to pursue our old interests.  Edwin started doing some trips in the Time Travelling Machine again - as if worrying about Victor wasn't enough!

Although I will say that it's good that he came back with some new clothes.  His old ones were looking very tatty. 

I'd almost forgotten how I used to fill up my days when I wasn't running around after all of the kids.  Wilbur roped me in to a fitness regime that half killed me.  I'm sure I used to be fitter than this!  I might also need to think about doing some trips to replenish the wardrobe.  Please excuse the stains and tears!

Wilbur is quite the taskmaster.

I'm not sure if I'm that keen to go hardout for the lengths of time he would like me to.  I find the most pleasant part of the workout is the cooling off afterwards.

I will say that Wilbur doesn't hold back on his own exercise regime - he's out everyday pumping iron until he can barely move. 

In fact he complains that it's getting colder and that bad weather is driving him inside.  I've offered to let him move the exercise machine upstairs but he says that that would be too cramped and that he prefers to be outside where there are fewer distractions from the nearly sacred experience of building muscle.

No, I don't really understand it.

Victor understands him a little better I think, at least they seem to spend a lot of time talking about it together as Victor is another one that Wilbur has roped in to a stringent fitness regime.  Those two boys have become even closer since they grew up.  The very best of buds.

Tommy and Ron are also becoming very close.  Tommy loves being outside doing just about anything, so finds fishing a good excuse for just that. Ron, who is beginning to experiment with writing some short stories of his own often joins him and reads out what he's written so far.  I'm not sure if Tommy is much of a literary critic but I'm definitely not a literary prodigy.  In fact, I'm not sure where Ron gets it from. 

With the weather turning a bit colder Ron often has to retreat inside when his hands get too numb to hold a pencil.

I do actually sometimes wonder if Ron is really that interested in books and writing, or if it is just an excuse to sit down and not have to help out around the house as much.  My son is a bit of a coach potato.

Still, they are both harmless hobbies and my hair won't go prematurely gray worrying about the pair of them doing that. 

Now, if Victor would only be content with this:

My eldest has turned into something of a virtuoso.  Again, another trait that he definitely didn't inherit from me!

Bernice unfortunately is still caught up in her obsession with the departed Nemo. After reading everything I had written about my time on the island during the early days she now feels as if she knows Nemo personally.  She went back to visiting his grave.

Then once again she suddenly stopped.  This time though, instead of talking to me or reading any of my books, Bernice flung herself into chemistry learning, something which she had had no prior interest in at all.

As the weather truly turned cold she was out there until her fingers turned blue and I had to order her inside to the warm.

Edwin just smiled at me and said that I was exactly the same and as I wouldn't have been put off by anything so I shouldn't try to stop Bernice but just let her do what she feels she needs to do.

Sound advice I'm sure, but, I do worry about my little girl sometimes.

Still, she seemed to have a natural grasp of chemistry, in no time at all she was making potions.

And they looked rather familiar.

Suddenly it all become clear, and Bernice -

Recommenced her trips to Nemo's grave.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Children's Hobbies

I felt it was time to make a few changes to the house.  With Bernice becoming more of a young lady I thought that she should have her own room to give her a bit of privacy from her brothers.  Accordingly we partitioned off one section of the upstairs room and everyone pitched in to try to make a pretty little bedroom for our lovely little princess. 

I ended up really liking the result and vowing to redo the rest of the walls of the house in the same style, bit by bit. 

Everyone else is growing up as well.  I looked at Tommy the other day and realised that he's now a young man.  Where did his toddler days go?

He's turned out to be such an artistic soul.  As soon as he was past the age of shoving everything into his mouth he was scribbling pictures in anything he could find.  Ron nearly had a heart attack when he caught him decorating the pages of one of our Time Machine books.  But, then, Ron quite likes reading.  I think it gives him an excuse for lying around and not doing very much.

Once Tommy got a little older he moved on to making more serious art.

Victor would often keep him company which I was glad of.  My eldest (sort of) does have a tendancy to take things a bit seriously - it's nice to see him relaxing.

Tommy didn't stay on the small canvases for long, in no time at all it seemed he was making some very decent artwork.  I'll be thinking about putting some of it around the house soon.

Wilbur's tastes were a little different.  I saw him talking with his father and Edwin shortly afterwards began spending time up at the mine again working on some project for his son.

They wouldn't tell me what it was but I wasn't kept in the dark for too long. 

Ah, something my athletic son will really enjoy. 

Other than a pulled muscle that is one hobby here that I don't have to worry about.  I can't see my son getting into much trouble while he's pumping weights.

Victor on the other hand...

Sliding down bannisters wasn't really going to cut it on the excitement meter; at some point I knew I was going to have to let him go. 

So, with a great deal of reluctance I watched as my boy finally got his dearest wish.

He didn't seem to feel any of my trepidation.  The over confidence of youth?  Or perhaps it's just his nature.  Either way he got a real taste for time travel and was always disappearing off there.  He nearly always chose to go to the future.  I don't know if he is trying to look for his biological father or quite what. 

He does seem to like the clothes there though.  Here he is, showing off his latest acquisition. 

Bernice on the other hand had other hobbies.  From showing no interest at all in reading she suddenly became almost obsessive in reading anything I had written from my early days on the island. 

Bernice grew absolutely fixated with finding out everything I knew about Nemo.  Which was precisely nothing. 

When she wasn't reading she would spend hours by his grave.  She told me how unfair it was to be so alone, to be cared about by no-one, to be loved and missed by no-one, to have no family, no friends.  Nothing. 

She would seem so sad and be so convinced that Nemo's personality was a sign of a soul that had been deeply wounded that I began to think we were talking about two different people.  Maybe he had a twin brother or something.

It was around this time that we also began to notice other things about Bernice.  She would often seem to be talking to herself, sometimes bursting out with passionate exchanges to people or things that we could not see.  She told us that she was speaking 'with the spirits'.  She seemed to think that there were a lot of them on the island and was surprised that we didn't know.

Come to think of it, even as a baby she would talk to herself, but I just thought it was baby behaviour and thought nothing of it.

Perhaps I need to stop her visiting Nemo's grave as often as she does.  Dwelling on the past may be putting an emotional stress on her.  With everything else that is bizarre about the island, I don't want my lovely young daughter lost inside her own fanciful dreams.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

What Bernice Found

A typical day in our household; I play chess with one of my sons while another works on the chemistry set and Edwin tinkers around with the stove.

And another one of my sons scavengers through the rubbish bin...

Honestly, you'd think he never got fed!

Well, fine then, THIS is a typical day.  I'm working on creating alchemic potions, my werewolf husband is playing chess with my time machine son and the only normal one amongst us is my daughter.

Who as you can see has grown into a lovely young lady.

I'm fairly accepting of how things are now and I have instigated an old tradition that I remember from my days at the orphanage which I think very appropriate for everyday life here.

If ever a place deserved a bit of Spooky Day celebration, it's here.

I don't even need to make stuff up, I can just talk about my experiences.

Honestly I wasn't even surprised anymore when I found my youngest doing this:

He has certainly developed the hunting instinct early.

No one else here bats an eyelid whatever happens. Bernice in particular seems particularly fascinated by stories of the strange and bizarre.  She'll often corner her father or Wilbur and talk to them for hours about what it's like to be a werewolf.  She seems to find it endlessly entertaining and they of course are prepared to indulge her in anything she would like to know or do.

Bernice's investigations into the strangeness around her wasn't just confined to listening to the stories of her father and siblings.   Her curiously led her a little further afield.  The island held no fears for her and she would often wander off by herself.  'Looking for buried treasure' she always told me.  Well, one day she found something...

Although it really wasn't the sort of thing I'd call 'Buried Treasure'. 

Nemo's grave marker from all those years ago.

I'd never spoken much of my early years to my children and Bernice knew nothing of Nemo and mines uneasy co-existence when I first came to this place; all she saw was an exciting secret and she spent hours there, just pondering and wondering.

She had found a mystery; one that she proceeded to have me unravel. 

I guess she had to learn at some point so I sat my daughter down and gave her the abbreviated version of my shipwreck adventures and then took her to the bookshelf where I'd deposited my written memoirs.  I'd always wanted to leave this as a record for my children and now it was her turn to learn about my past.

Perhaps in time she will leave a diary for her children as well.  If she is ever fortunate enough to find a loving partner like I did.  For now, perhaps Bernice will find my story interesting.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

My Ever Growing Family

After that things got really hectic. Five minutes later I fell pregnant again and Edwin and I soon had another lovely little boy called Tommy.

Tommy was a baby who seemed to be born to be on the island; he loved being outside and the heat never seemed to bother him. I could leave him outside for hours at a time and he never grizzled. Which was fortunate because with three other children and a husband having spare time to spend constantly tending a newborn baby wasn't really an option. My house projects are now definitely a thing of the past. Maybe once the children are a little older.

Of course even busy as I am there is still always time enough for a cuddle.

Victor grew up without much fanfare but he didn't seem to mind.

I remember when he turned up he nearly turned our lives upside but I can't imagine life without him now. He's picked up the mantle of 'big brother' and seems to take it very seriously. As well as being adored by Wilbur and doting on Bernice (well, we all do that) he helped a lot with the new baby as well.

He doesn't spend all of his time in 'big brotherly duties'. His brave adventurous temperament hasn't changed at all and I just know he's itching to use the Time Machine but I've forbidden it until he's a bit older.

He also has a love of music which has begun to express itself in the guitar. It certainly comes more naturally to him than it did to me. He must take after his father, whoever that is!

Having help became even more important because just when I thought we were settled in our family we had another little surprise...

Meet Ron, another one of my little time machine adventures apparently. He might even have the same father for all I know. Good grief! I sometimes get the feeling that someone is laughing at me somewhere.

Ron settled into family life much easier than Victor did, perhaps because I was almost used to it by now 'Oh, something totally crazy and unexpected just happened? Well, it's been a while, I was almost expecting it'.

Ron was definitely less of a trail blazer than Victor was. He'd enjoy having a play but really he was a bit of a clumsy boy and had a tendency to come flying off the horse if he got too enthusiastic.

After a few of those he seemed just as happy to laze around on the most comfortable seats in the house. He does keep odd hours though – maybe it was the world he came from but he definitely likes to stay up late. Oh dear, he is such a grump early in the morning. In the end we learned to just leave him alone, he'd get up and join us when he felt like it.

Other than that, just like Victor fitted right into playing with his siblings. As seems to be obligatory in this family he fell madly in love with Bernice and would spent hours and hours playing with her and catering to her every whim. I swear never has a little girl had so many adoring brothers.  When I think of my lonely childhood and I watch my brood of children all playing happily together....  Some kind fairy has been watching over us I think.

Wilbur grew up as well and his inner werewolf nature started to shine through a little more. He had always been an athletic boy who loved the outdoors and now he started joining his father during his
hunts on the full moon.

He also started doing other activities with his father than I was even less approving of.

Apparently this sort thing will make 'a real wolf out of him!'. Thank you darling but I quite liked my son as he was. Two crazy wolves tearing things up every full moon? My poor furniture!

Victor is expressing himself in other ways.  I told him the story one night of my extraterrestrial  visitor and it seemed to capture his imagination.  He's always been such an adventurous boy and the island, although a lovely home, I am beginning to think just isn't big enough for him.  Victor also seemed fascinated by my stories of the alien technology and seems rather wistful of the primitive setup we have here.

I did try to hint as delicately as I could that it was likely that my green skinned friend was a vision caused by inhaling too many chemistry fumes but it didn't seem to sink in.  Victor is now convinced that we are not alone and has started a collection of strange rocks of the sort the alien seemed to be scanning when he was here in an effort to attract their attention.

 Yes darling, those large ones are probably going to break the shelving.

Hmm, I'm so very happy here, but is this island going to be too small for the happiness of the rest of my family?

Author Note:  I'm so sorry for the delay for those reading my blog - I've been on a long holiday in Thailand and my first week back has been catch up at work.  Things should be back on track although I have 3 exams coming up and I'm due to pick up a dog in about a month so things are still pretty hectic.