That's the morning milo line-up. Bunnies for JW, orange dog for J, papercut on pink for G and stripes for C. C gave me that mug for mother's day but I am yet to drink from it. They made chocolate mousse, filled a mug each, wrapped it with cellophane and made a beautiful card at pre-school but before we had gotten home that day C had unwrapped the mug, eaten the mousse (with her fingers! Such a mess!) and declared that she loved her new stripey mug. Every time I make milo or hot chocolate she insists that it comes in 'her' mug and is happy for me to have my standard white china.
I am not usually a supporter of people having allocated items in a family. I know it works for a lot of people but it seems too regimented to me and too fraught with potential to cause arguments. I don't even let the children have a place at the dinner table that they can consider to be 'theirs'. Each meal is a free for all and wherever you end up sitting is your spot for that meal but not forever. I am either helping my children develop flexibility or creating children who will grow into people intent on possessing things. I guess only time will tell.
One of my best friends when I was growing up had 4 brothers and sisters and they each had a colour that defined their 'things' within the family. Their cups, towels, lunchboxes, sunhats, plates, etc were all colour-coded. Guests also had a specific colour. I can't remember what the guest colour was now but I do remember knowing never to use someone else's cup for fear of serious reprisals. I suspect that never happened but it seemed like a cultural imperative that was alien to me and for a child prone to anxiety it added a veneer of stress to otherwise delightful playdates and sleepovers.
However, despite all that the mug thing has crept up on me and I think I quite like it. Parenting is a constant balance of things, I often think that being flexibly consistent is what I am striving for. Being consistent and predictable in my actions and words, and flexible enough to realise when things need to change. What about you?
Nobody makes pavlova like my mum. We ate ourselves to a standstill today celebrating my nephew's baptism and it was a very special day. I am pleased to say that my mum is recovering very well. Thanks for all your positive thoughts and kind words.