We're busy today tidying up the homestead. I think it's actually a Japanese tradition but I got it into my head one year that I must have a clean house for the start of the new year. It's always too difficult to do it for the calendar year, what with Christmas only just being over and the house full of new toys and the body recovering from the over-indulgence. Chinese New Year (CNY) seems a better time to start. And when I was growing up my father always took the day off work on CNY, with the idea that you shouldn't do any work that day or you'll be working your butt off for the rest of the year... And what you do on CNY you'll be doing for the rest of the year. So no fighting or arguing or boring housework!
However this year I'm not as stressed out by it all, unlike other years. I think the main reason is that I've finally bitten the bullet and HIRED A CLEANER! And they're coming tomorrow! For years I've thought about it but could never justify the expense - paying for someone to do something I can do myself. But I've come to a point where I'm fed up with the mess. I am working full time and I don't want to spend the weekend cleaning. I don't want to be embarrassed and stressed if I'm having guests over. Of course there's still a fair amount of tidying involved with cleaners - more than I initially imagined...but I'm paying them to CLEAN, not pick up after the kids. They're certainly old enough to pack away after themselves.
Speaking of which, it's ridiculous how quickly those three munchkins have grown up. I'm way behind on posting photos (on flickr). You wouldn't recognize them. I'll see what I can do.
For the record... Dante is nearly 11 and about to start year 6! We are in full swing preparing for the Selective High Schools Entrance Exam... So frigging competitive these days. He's got the smarts, just needs the exam technique and to put in a bit more hard work. It's rough going, to say the least. It will be an interesting year for him - his closest friends in the last couple of years have always been in the year above him and that means this year they're moving on to High School. Hopefully they'll manage to keep in touch - it would be sad if they lost contact, although with the way they email each other I don't think there's too much danger in that! At least it's cheaper than the billion phone calls I used to make when I was a teenager!
Atticus will be 7 next week! He's such a different personality to his big brother. Much more easy going and has an in-built coolness about him. In a trendy way, not a standoffish way. Minecraft is his poison. Utterly addicted. Will play for hours if he's allowed, and then will happily watch his brother play for hours, if he's allowed. That computer game has caused much woe in this family, what with my efforts to and limit how much they play, through to fights over each others' constructions. But as Dan says, at least it's a constructive game. You don't go around shooting creatures or blowing up stuff. The basic premise of the game is to BUILD. Very much a plus in this Lego-obsessed family.
And the little miss is going to 5 in a few weeks. Starting Kindergarten in one week. Very quickly catching up to her next brother in height! Always singing, eager to help, especially my mother with the cooking. She's certainly very ready for school - and we have no doubts that she will be completely fine and settle in easily. Last year at pre-school was a huge plus. Nearly half of the 60 kids (3 classes) will be staying on at the school this year. And she is not lacking for friends!
And now I'll leave you with a photo of all the grand kids, taken last week at our pre-CNY Eve dinner (as one of my brothers won't be coming for dinner tonight). Look at these larrikins, aged 4½-nearly 18!