The joy of repetition

If you can read that title without having the Hot Chip song “over and over” in your head for the rest of the day; well, congratulations (and definitely don’t listen to it on YouTube).

I digress. The joy of repetition.

I’m not sure whether Google is listening in to my conversations (recently a charming montage of “listen to mummy or I will have to put the Halloween treats AWAY”); but lately I’ve had a lot of images with ‘inspirational quotes’ popping up in my Facebook and Instagram feeds. You know the kind.

This kind of quote. Image credit @positivemindsetdaily and I definitely don’t follow them but they definitely do keep popping up in my suggested profiles (and I would suggest only trusting journeys that you understand, but that’s probably what a background in research will do for you)

Perhaps Google read my last blogpost about spending money to feel better (presumably also privy to my 2am feeding-the-baby-online-purchases) and decided it was time to stage an intervention.

Whatever the reason, these inspirational quotes keep popping up – and I side eye them and keep scrolling, endlessly scrolling, but with words like “be the change you want to see” ringing in my ears.

And, Google, as a casual FYI, I disagree entirely. There are times in one’s life for great change (mr tMatM and I like to think we approach life with a series of Bold Moves). Yes, there are times in life for great change; and then there are times to indulge in – even appreciate – the joy of repetition.

Searching for images to convey repetition. I mean my camera roll is about 95% baby, so that would probably count as a little repetitive, but also this summer was the second summer we visited Utah, pictured here. Does that count?

Of course it goes without saying, a change is as good as a rest (let’s keep the quotes coming) – and indeed there are infinite good reasons to embrace the unknown. But sometimes sticking to the known, with five small children, is quite the relief. Sometimes life is just too busy to start striking out from the routine.

Sorry Jamie, not everyone could be as dedicated.

Let me give you some concrete examples – and I don’t mean eating exclusively at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant for four years of date night drinks and meals because I think that might be a quirk peculiar to our marriage alone – let me give you some concrete examples of repetition reaping great reward.

Baking repetitively

This might come as a great surprise, but I used to be terrible at baking scones. I tried every recipe out there and they all yielded nothing but deep disappointment.

Then we moved to Canada and I realized that I couldn’t be a bonafide British expat who couldn’t bake scones – what a national embarrassment (possibly not as embarrassing as Brexit, but there we go).

Hate to compliment myself but these are bloody good scones (British enough for you?)

So I baked scones – and again and again – we are talking multiple times over a period of weeks, and as it turns out, my GCSE math teacher was right. If you just apply yourself a little more diligently, you can scrape an A grade GCSE and no one will ever know you spent a jolly couple of years giggling at the back with your friends. And, of course, you can learn to bake the perfect scone.

Baking, then, the perfect storm for repetition.

Storytelling repetitively

So too, reading with children. I talk about children’s literature a lot because if your children are anything like mine, then when they enjoy a book they want to revel in it for as long as possible, reading it until they can chime in with every word.

Five children and ten years of parenting = reading Tiddler more times than you can imagine.

Some of us have been known to dream about this book

Important, then, in this regard, not to be reading something that makes you want to run screaming into the next room after the third rendition. Wilf sat with me today and as we read one of his favourite books I left out every fourth (or so) word, a favourite game for him, and he happily fills in for me as we go. If I – hilariously – replace a word with the wrong word – he laughs and corrects me.

This sort of thing – only possible when they know the book absolutely inside out – is such a brilliant way for children to enjoy books and develop all the pre-reading skills they need to be great lovers of literature. So storytelling, too, fantastic breeding ground for repetition.

Singular wardrobes

Baking and books, sure, but how about clothes?A capsule wardrobe might simplify lives, but just imagine how much simpler life is when you dress almost exclusively in black.

Life with five small children is busy, but this kind of streamlining repetition is remarkably useful, if somewhat devoid of excitement, in the clothing arena.

I’m not saying a life of repetition alone is the life I’d like to live. I wholeheartedly embrace change in many guises – big trips to the Grand Canyon for example, or moving internationally – but there are also moments in life where taking a step back and scaling down is no bad thing.

I did say that my camera roll was 95% baby. And anyway, Hugo agrees with me.

Food, literature, fashion – you might have great expectations of experimentation in these areas of life, but consider this a little public service reminder that they are, in fact, excellent fodder for a life of repetition. At least when you have toddlers, that is. Google can come back to me with all the quotes on change in a couple of years when I’m getting a full night’s sleep.

tMatM x

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