Going to start a weekly post of the highlights of every day. TMD wants us to keep track for various reasons, and I know I forget everything easily, so here we go. This week has been insanely busy! The key bits are mentioned, in this week mostly going out, but we also spend large chunks of each day at home. These times are full of free play, practicing writing, reading books together, YouTube, more play, building crap from other crap, etc etc.
Saturday: Went to the science museum. Spent a good few hours playing and learning there, including the kids’ first experience in a planetarium. We specifically went to the show designed for young children, which they both loved (especially as a little boy they’d been playing with sat with us!) until the very end, when the whole place was properly pitch black for about two minutes. Coconut was very alarmed! Afterwards we saw our first ice cream van of the year and the kids were pleased to eat it outside in the cold, like the ice cream gods intended.
Sunday: low key day. We did go to pick up an affordable(ish) playhouse (recommended by Liv, thank you!). Other than that, lots of free play at home. This includes making a train from two big cardboard boxes, complete with wheels. The kids had maps and Snort said they were going to Grandma and Papa’s house. Then realised he needed a plane-helicopter, so wings and rotor propellers were added. He was saddened when we said we had no real engines (though now empty butter tubs are taped under the wings as engines!), but rebounded and said it was actually a boat, and could he please have some water to sail on?
Monday: Snort had football, and Coconut came along as we were all going to one of the kids’ houses afterwards. Coconut wanted to join in with football, while Snort begged to sit on the sidelines. Okaaaaay. Playdate was lots of fun. The other mums are inexhaustibly amused by Coconut standing up for herself and being the bravest kid in a roomful of boys. Yes, she’s a girl, but why should it provoke such amazement that she is strong, not easily intimidated, and wears Spider-Man shirts? Snort was in heaven as he spent about forty minutes dressed as a skeleton (after relinquishing the spiderman costume to his very tearful friend) and play fighting with the aforementioned friend/spiderman. Snort loves play fighting and always thinks he wants to do it, but as soon as other boys join in he tends to get scared or hurt. This other little kid and he did some hardcore fighting in a strangely gentle and respectful way, so Snort was glowing. When we came home we played out for awhile.
Tuesday: The first Tuesday of every month we go see a storyteller. She is fantastic. Totally fucking weird, but amazing. This month was a creation legend – earth being formed by a goddess, magic lady dragon, and a bunch of the lady dragon’s multicoloured eggs. We bumped into another home ed family we know while there. Afterward we went on the very large dry docked ship, rode a ferry back and forth across the water, had lunch at a cafe, went on a massive walk along the docks, and collected an insane amount of pinecones. It was so gloriously sunny and warm, we only had sweatshirts on! (And clothes, but you know what I mean.) Came home and their Grampy was still here, so we played in the back garden, then front garden, then spent like two hours riding bikes…..Coconut LIVES for bike riding and her balance is terrific! A ‘big girl’ down the street joined in, and the kids thought that was cool. After the rest of us were asleep, TMD went outside and built the playhouse alone in the freezing dark, at ten pm. Dude.
Wednesday: Spent the morning at home – Coconut borrowed my camera and took about six thousand pictures. She’s always liked photography. Snort watched some Tom and Jerry on YouTube (a show discovered at Monday’s play date) and played with toys. We also had a satisfying pretend cafe/picnic experience. In the afternoon we went into town with their Nana to see a free lunchtime concert of Ghanian music. Both kids were blown away by the drumming and xylophones! It really was awesome. Briefly saw another home ed family we know (weird but nice to see people we know wherever we go!) before heading to a local oddball market. Wandered around before catching the bus back to the car. Come home, both watched Tom and Jerry for twenty minutes, before more picture taking, playing, and dancing to Ghanian music in the kitchen! Coconut set up a bunch of kitchen tools as her own instruments. After dinner we went into the garden to play with the playhouse and a bouncy ball discovered in some bushes. Stayed out till well past dark, sliding and driving and bouncing and singing and throwing planes around. Felt like summer, except I was wearing warm fleece pajamas and a scarf. Ha.
(Should add here that my sister is coming Friday and it is all Snort talks about. Tuesday morning he woke up and asked when she was coming; when we said the weekend, he cried. Wednesday we walked past a store with greeting cards outside, and he picked a lollipop one and said, ‘We should get this for Blondieondieondie. Also get her presents? And a card for Grandma and Papa?’ We had also been telling him we would put the playhouse up on the weekend, when Blondie was here. This morning when they saw the playhouse was up, Coconut was all dancing and excited and wanted to play. Snort was like, ‘IS BLONDIE HERE?’)
Thursday: Last night I think I lost a filling, so this morning we had a mad dash to the dentist. A chance for the children to learn firsthand how shockingly shit dental care is in Country B. Then the kids, myself, and my unfixed tooth went over to a friend’s for our Thursday home ed meet. This house was amazing. Full of resources, brainy toys and games, and it was SO BIG. My dream home. While there they made cupcakes out of homemade play dough, with straws on top as candles and play dough flames. They built with magnets and metal, played pirates, cooked food in a cafe, made wooden bean necklaces, played with one of those awesome wooden rainbow things I’ve wanted forever and now really add to my wishlist, Lego, etc. The older boy has autism and found our invasion a bit much, but at the end we all snuggled up and watched an episode of the Octonauts together, which was lovely. Snort particularly likes this boy, but they need to be watched quite closely when together. Coconut and the little girl played merrily together and had a splendid time. I totally want to be this woman – she made homemade potato wedges for us, orchestrated the play dough with actual muffin tins and cupcake holders, and we even chatted about spirituality/religion. When people come to our house I can barely remember to offer them tea!
In the late afternoon lots of playing, including a very focused hour of the kids working together to create the most elaborate wooden train track layout ever. That shit snaked around everywhere. I’d show you pictures but they were both bottomless! After tea, Coconut wanted more nighttime garden time, and she went out for ages. Snort got cold quickly and came in, and we were entertained by Coconut’s various pouty faces through the window.
Friday: Very low key morning. People played and watched youtube, and I could barely get myself in gear to get them ready. Luckily three and a half year olds are easier than any other age we have been, so got both kids dressed, medicated, brushed and flossed, lunches made, etc in a record twenty minutes. Snort went to Nana’s, while Coconut and I went to gymnastics. It is an amazing pleasure to see joy overtaking her. Since her return to the gym after The Broken Arm, her confidence and happiness has crept back slowly. And today she was laughing, playing with her friends, and the next thing I know Bunny is trying the rope (the apparatus she broke her wrist on). I say, ‘Hey, do you want to try it too? I’ll hold you. I won’t let you fall.’ To my shock she said yes, and she swung and laughed and taught her friend Catgirl how to do it. She jumped up and down and shouted, ‘I LIKE the rope now!’ Other parents and her coach were all mouthing shit at me, ‘Wow! My God! Look at her,’ and waggling their eyebrows and watching. She was oblivious, joyful, intent, content. Her joy was contagious and I am still buzzing now.
We arranged a play date with a gym friend for a couple of weeks time, then went to the playground for picnics and muddy playing with Catgirl and her mum. Catgirl discovered crocuses, and when we got home we realised we have them growing in our front garden. We took pictures then sent some emails to Catgirl before coming in to play/snack/watch Numberjacks. Snort came home wearing a crown with loads of feathers attached, and his borrowed Mr Benn DVD from Nana. Coco and I watched Mr Benn, Snort played superheroes for aaaaages. Short intermission for the near clawing out of someone’s eyes, then we all had a big snuggle under blankets with more Mr Benn. Very sleepy, slow afternoon -think this week has tired us all! I fell asleep at 6:30 last night …
Late afternoon spent colouring in Blondie’s card Snort bought earlier in the week, playing in the playhouse, etc. Me blowing giant bubbles in garden for the kids to pop with various sticks was a major success. Good thing I have the kids as a think tank, because I doubt the violent slaying of bubbles would have occurred to me, particularly not in the rain and near dark! Culminated in a massive water fight – kids used their fishing nets to fish in our bin turned rainwater collector (aka disgusting muddy water with mysterious shit in it), then used nets to ‘rain’ on each others’ heads, then went full on splash mode and were totally soaked. Hopefully the real sky rain washed off the worst of the water borne contagions!