Put the knife down

My children are always surprising me with things I didn’t realise they could do. I found out that my eldest had outgrown her cot when there was a bump and a yelp in the night. And I realised this week that my youngest can now reach the kitchen counter when I found her wielding a kitchen knife. My heart nearly stopped as we stood in a silent standoff. No baby book I’ve ever read has told me how to disarm a toddler. So instead, having recently I am embarrassed to say watched Midsommer Murders, I found myself thinking, what would Inspector Barnaby do? Not wanting to alarm her by dashing over in a panic, I tried to stay calm and advanced slowly forward, saying what I never thought I’d be saying to a baby “Katherine, put the knife down.” Fortunately she didn’t put up too much of a fight and I managed to swiftly pluck the blade from her grip. While my children seem to be busy impressing me with their new found abilities, I have been reading this week about all the things I should be able to do, but can’t. Recent research claims traditional “mum skills” are on the decline. While nine out of 10 mums under 35 don’t know how to starch a shirt, half can’t sew and three-quarters can’t make gravy from scratch. While I did sew a button on my coat last week, although it feel off again later in the day, I didn’t even know why you would need to starch a shirt, so I thought I would look into this mysterious lost skill. I was going to ring my mum to ask her why she had forgotten to pass on this pearl of wisdom, but then I thought it would be quicker and easier to use that modern invention the internet. And to be honest I was pretty disappointed. I thought it was going to be some elaborate technique that would possibly require a YouTube video, but instead I found you buy starch spray from the supermarket then “hold can at 45° angle and spray.” I think I might be able to manage that. I do wonder about these lost “skills”. Do people go around asking what happened to the lost arts of reaping, haymaking, rabbit skinning, or weaving? I don’t think I’ll be rushing off home tonight to make some jam, but I think trying to learn a new skill of some kind can’t be a bad idea. Hopefully something a bit more taxing than starching a shirt.

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