I thought I would give you a little update on how my tea time idea was playing out. Sometimes I have these grand ideas, and they work for a while then fizzle out to be forgotten until someone says, "Hey, do you remember when... " I had no idea if tea time, even though we started out strong, would be one of these ideas.
Well, I'm extremely happy to report that it is still going strong. Part of the reason for its success is that I have had complete buy-in by all the children in the house. They start the day by asking if we are having tea today (because Mondays don't work, so we skip it), and then look forward to it for the rest of the day. They will even do some moderate cleaning up to get to tea. They are so committed to it that even if I might not be feeling as though I can take the time, I do because of their enthusiasm.
I have some ideas about why it is so popular. First, I do buy inexpensive cookies to have each day. Usually it is only one cookie per person, but it is enough to gain their cooperation. I did have someone ask me about the actual tea. While I have a large selection of tea, not everyone is a tea drinker. In that case, they have another beverage, or more likely, just eat the cookie. A couple of weeks ago, I found a sale on eggnog for 50 cents/quart. (Yeah, I know, it was an amazing price and I should have just bought it all as my children told me I should have. I only bought two.) Anyway, they happily drank eggnog for a couple of days instead of tea. The second reason is that the first book we read proved to be so popular. It has some terribly funny bits and at one point, K. was literally rolling on the floor laughing. It really helped to cement the habit. (It was Winter Dance by Gary Paulson. It required a good bit of on the fly editing mainly for language.) Our current book, The Emporer's Winding Sheet by Jill Patton Walsh, is a very different book. It's about the not-so-funny fall of Constantinople during the Renaissance. We are all feeling a little meh about it, but have come too far to just stop. I think everyone will be relieved when it is done and I will look for something a little lighter. The last reason, is I think, the most important one. Having tea time together really does help anchor our day. Everyone knows I will drop what I'm doing and sit and read to them. They know they will have a small snack. They know that very little will stop it. It is a predictable and pleasant part of the day.
I'm finding that this is even more important as we head into the next month. I spent some time this afternoon making lists... what needs to be done for Christmas, what needs to be done to travel, what needs to be done for the children staying here, what needs to be done to be ready for the new girls... I have it all plotted on a calendar and color coded. Really. It is the only way I'm going to be able to sleep. (I have been known to have insomnia at Christmas time anyway, just trying to keep track of everything, I imagine this will be worse.) So, whatever kind of crazy is going on in the next few weeks, we will continue to have tea together. To have a quiet moment where we can just sit with each other and relax. It will be good for all of us.