This is the kind of weekend I like.
Saturday, after a good session of tennis, was spent at home with the kids. They played together without fighting (too much) and without troubling me (too much) while I studied for a good two hours in the morning – without falling asleep. Amit was out chasing up on the electric work that was pending from last weekend, so lunch was more peaceful than usual. I got some more studying under my belt in the afternoon, and then retired for a nap – something that’s almost completely unheard-of for me. The kids woke me up at 5, and we all went out cycling – that is, they cycled, and Amit and I walked next to them, as usual. Friends dropped in for an ordered-in meal, which is as it should be on a Saturday evening.
Sunday was, if possible, even better. We should have gotten up early and gone for tennis, but we slept till 7.30 instead. We went out around 11-ish, did the grocery shopping and had a long, relaxed lunch at a small, expensive restaurant with a nice patch of lawn for the kids to run around in. Then we went to a sports shop and bought a small football for the kids. Then we went home and the kids slept while I tackled some more archaeology. They got up around 6 and went to play football in the lawn with Amit, while I tidied up the house and organized the kitchen (and, of course, baked a cake). After dinner, we played ball.
Mrini has shown amazing interest in playing ball. She has been taking her tennis very seriously and now manages to make contact with the ball 80-90% of the time. This is in our living room, with the glass-fronted bookshelf at one end, the TV at the other, and two large paintings with glass over them on two walls. “Tennis” involves Amit chucking the ball at one of them, and them swinging valiantly at it with a tennis racket. The tennis racket is a genuine Babolat (miniature), not some toy thing. The ball is a genuine Babolat, too, life-size.
Tara has less conviction about her when she swings the racket at the ball, so she misses more often, but even she makes contact about half the time. Additionally, she has this cute little act where she crouches in the receive-of-serve position and twirls the racket in her hands in imitation of Roger on TV. It may not win her too many points, but it sure gets her all the applause in the house.
Apart from tennis, the girls have been playing vigorous games of football with Amit too. They usually use a child-sized basketball, but sometimes the kids prefer to play with a gigantic, inflated watermelon ball (which was intended to be an inflated chair, but somehow lost its shape and became a ball). A day or two ago, Amit gave the watermelon a few solid kicks and it slammed into the wall like a missile. If it had encountered one of the girls along the way, it would have cleaned bowled her over. Luckily, the next morning, it was flat. With great relief, I dumped it in the garbage bag.
And now we had this football. It was a proper football, albeit slightly smaller than standard. It was properly inflated too. In other words, it was dangerous. Thankfully, even Amit realized that and decreed that it should only be used outdoors. But now that it was dark, the kids couldn’t play outdoors any more.
When we bought the football, we’d also bought a pin, used to inflate the football with. To my delight, I found that the same pin could be used to inflate the two soggy basketballs as well (we already have a foot-pedal air pump that we use for their cycles). The kids were equally delighted to find that their dusty old basketballs had got their bounce back. So we spent an hour playing catch in the living room. First we did one-bounce catch, which they both got, but Tara didn’t really figure out how to throw it back that way. Then I tried to show Mrini how to tap the ball, which she almost got, but not quite (and Tara didn’t want to try). Then we progressed to throwball-style, up-in-the-air catch, which Tara (very wisely) opted out of, choosing to sit in Amit’s lap with his arms around her instead. Mrini wanted to play, of course, and she did quite well, too, though she mostly caught with the ball clutched against her body, not away from it.
It was the most relaxed, easy, and fun way to spend a Sunday evening. In fact, the entire day was the kind of day that makes you feel so good about yourself, your kids, and life in general.