Weekly roundup 20 April

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I’m writing Saturday through Thursday today on Friday. You’re about to be treated to a stunning example of how bad my memory is.

Saturday:

TMD still felt a bit rough, so we kept today low key. Snort went for a haircut, we bought some bread at the baker’s, and we went to a charity shop. Scored a giant Tupperware of weird little toys (littlest pet shop?) for a tenner. Came home, dragged a blanket out to the garden, and the kids played outside with the Tupperware toys for hours. Had both lunch and dinner outside. Was gloriously hot, and therefore the virgin wearing of the new Spiderman Crocs.

We also watched some of the marathon, followed by rapid channel switching when we saw some gymnastics championships were also on. Cue manic gymnastics ‘shows’ in the lounge.

Sunday:

Wickedly awesome. We have a medieval barn near us, and they were hosting a spring festival. We saw an old fashioned cider press, and the older guys near it were so pleased to have two children show an interest. They told us all about apples being pressed, where the juice was stored, etc. kids played old fashioned skittles and beanbag toss games, looked at vintage motorbikes and cars, and bought some chocolate cake to take home(yum) and their first marshmallows (both were disgusted by them)….and organic ice cream to be consumed while watching a ferrier at work. Learned about horseshoes – why horses have them, how they are put on, etc. Also taste tested cheeses and i discovered a passion for spring onion and sundried tomato cheddar. Amazing.

There were vintage tractors outside and Coco spent ages on lots of them, shifting gears and totally in her own tractor driving world.

The best thing about this place was the old fashioned engines and smaller machines. Kids loved it, especially Snort. Saw electricity generated, grain being ground, etc etc. Lots of them were steam powered and has Snort’s major love, pipes, so it was fascinating to see how they worked and the water being spit out.

I don’t recall the afternoon. I think we were out in the garden again, though it was not sunny or warm. Brr.

Monday:

Snort had gym this morning. There were like 6,000 kids there and it was vaguely unpleasant. If this wasn’t a fluke, we may consider other options. He really wants to join Coco’s class, and she is open to that, but I’m not sure. I think he had more instruction on the beam today, and the coach attempted a half hearted, ‘Hey, while you’re jumping on the trampoline, can you do circles with your arms?’ He was like, ‘No.’ Ha.

After we drove to collect Coco and then went over to Snort’s boy-crush’s house, a friend from his old football class. What shall I call this kid. Wonderboy. So Wonderboy, my two, and Shorty spent all afternoon running free. I’m noticing a change in the flavour of play dates, for sure, and I don’t know if it is that kids are ageing, or because these particular kids know each other well. The adults are left alone most of the time while the kids play. Wonderboy’s outdoor trampoline had a big pull over Coco, and Snort fell hard for his Spiderman soft toy.

Tuesday:

Best. Day. Ever.

Started with Snort’s dream, a trip to the post office to collect missed parcels with Grampy. He is very into ‘our whole family’ doing things together, and delights in having relatives around. Much talk about when my parents are coming, and when we will next see his Auntie. I mentioned to Grampy that I wanted to go out into nature somewhere – it was so sunny and beautifully warm. He’s all, hey, I’ll show you something.

And hell if FIVE MINUTES FROM OUR HOUSE isn’t a giant corridor of woodlands, with paths spidering off in every direction. Lots of hills, scary drop offs, apparently a river (!), and flowers exploding everywhere. I am never as happy as I am in the woods. I want to go here every day. I want to get rich and buy a big chunk of forest and live there. One of the best years of my life was giving alone at camp in the off season – five hundred acres of woods and only little old me there. It was amazing, except at night when I thought axe murderers lurked behind every tree.

We then dropped Grampy at home and went to, uh, a place with lots of horses and donkeys and playgrounds and magic. They both groomed a donkey, I gently brought up the subject of riding horses again (don’t ask), they spent ages in the giant outdoor sandpit, the soft play, etc etc. we bumped into TWO families from his old football class, and hung out with one for a long time. We also bumped into another home ed family that we see everywhere we go. They seem awesomely nice but I cannot remember the mum’s name. Clearly I need to ask her. I keep wanting to call her Nori, but I think that is the seaweed you make sushi from? They are vegan and she once talked me through how to make sushi, it sounds easy and delicious, I still have not tried it.

Side note: this home ed thing is socialising ME. I have to get over myself and ask people for phone numbers all the time. I’ve never done this in a dating way as I’m a serial monogamist and people have always approached me, and I’ve always been someone to have a small but very close circle of friends. So this faux hitting on families is a new experience and going well!

We tried to make this recipe for one minute chocolate mug cake. It was not a success. Ha. Instead we invested cheese and veggie sausage tacos and had dinner in the garden.

When TMD came home we all played in the garden awhile. Bubbles are a constant delight to the children.

Wednesday:

I wanted today to be an at home day. Those hills and treacherous, yet beautiful, hours in the woods were like a full body workout. All my muscles hurt. So why I allowed the kids to talk me into taking them to soft play, I don’t fucking know. We were there almost all bloody day until I called uncle and begged to go home. They made lots of little friends of all ages, including some adults who Snort utterly charmed, and it was nice, but damn. Sore muscles!

Really noteable thing for me is Snort’s determination. The kids were in the toddler area, and one of them decided they were pirate and the ball pit was the sea. So they dived for treasure, which was balls. Treasure was thrown out of the pit today’s me, who was the land. Snort eventually determined he would empty the ball pit and worked like a fiend. I felt a bit of uncomfortable social pressure because, shit, ball pits are not ‘supposed’ to be emptied, but we knew we would clear up afterward and I was not going to quash him. Soon other kids came to help. Soon older kids (in school uniforms) came to tell him off and immediately try to tidy. It was an interesting dynamic and gave me much to observe.

Think more garden time in the afternoon, largely consisting of me sitting in a comfy chair inside and counting down for them to have horse races. Yeah.

Thursday:

Okay. Second best day ever.

We started a pottery class for home educated kids this morning. Was amazing! Coco was pleased there was a ‘teacher,’ and I was pleased he said this would be a self-directed learning experience. He was on hand to offer helpful techniques and answer questions, didn’t talk down to the kids, let the, use sharp knives which mine loved, and was just chilled. Lots of familiar faces, and lots of new faces. Look forward to the next session very much!

Afterward we walked to a nearby square for a picnic with Catgirl, and a new mum and her two slightly older boys joined us. Snort and these two kids were like fucking hooligans (aka like every home educated kid in a park, when did he get so old?!), brandishing sticks and chasing pigeons while screaming with abandon. I found myself totally immersed in chatting with the adults, only having to occasionally check on him. Then our other friends we see every week, let’s see, we shall call the kids …I don’t know….came. The older boy, who struggles with aggression, shoved Snort really hard into the ground. Sigh. This happens every time we see these people, and Snort in general is so sensitive he often falls prey to this sort of thing. Whereas the boy tried to shove Coco, who shifted her body weight away and gave him such a cautious, menacing look he stopped dead in his tracks. Snort in generally is very joyful and trusting and open, and can’t understand why anyone would purposely do anything to hurt someone. Coco is more guarded with new people or people that she knows can be rough.

Catgirl, Artiste, and us decided to head over to the science museum, and on the way we bumped into another home ed family we know. Had a quick, nice chat. (Also, the quiet joy of always seeing people we know, feeling we belong, it is nice.)

Science museum was deeply awesome. They had a new exhibit with giant Lego blocks, hard hats, diggers, and construction jackets. Saw ANOTHER home ed family there, and I spent ages chatting with the mum because her kid has severe allergies as well. Going to meet up with them soon. Again, it hit me how old the kids seem because they were able to play and run around to find Catgirl and I trusted them. That simple act of trusting my children pays off hugely.

Snort had a devastating moment. He’d been working with a group of about nine year old boys on a school trip to construct an absolutely massive house, and was totally captivated with it. Of course, once it was built the older boys knocked it down. He cried so hard and so noisily that staff came over to make sure he wasn’t hurt. My sweet boy.

We spent hours there, loosely doing our own thing and then joining back with Catgirl. Had a big talk with the kids about blood – red blood travelling through the body to feed it, then turning blue when the air is used up, so it travels back to the lungs for more. This was really mainly Coco and me, so imagine my surprise when TMD came home and Snort gave her a big explanation about the blood, and he had all the concepts right and was so enthusiastic. Also had a good look at the brains, saw blood being pumped through our veins (Snort remembered the word ‘veins’ from a few weeks ago!), made giant bubbles, and Coco made another stop animation movie. She concentrates hard when doing these movies, loves taking the pictures, and is generally more interested in the process of creation than the final project. She’s amazing.

Snort was very interested in the movie set lighting controls (a famous series of shows and movies are made here in the city, and they donated some stuff to the museum).

Again, we could have stayed here all day and basically did, but I was achey. Unfortunately we missed seeing Jazz…..I thought of inviting ourselves to her house but thought that would make me an ass. Little did I realise that Lauren had texted to invite us. Whoops. Hope to see them soon!

Late afternoon we watched 101 Dalmatians for the first time. We all enjoyed it. It was literally the first tv/DVD they’d seen all week. Guess they overdosed on it when they were ill!

Friday:

Kids made a giant ‘bed’ filling the entire upstairs hallway while I was in the shower. They took care of their babies for a long time, then gradually wandering downstairs. I stayed upstairs listening to the radio and writing this post (bliss) and came downstairs to an elaborate toy layout. No wonder they’d been so quiet. Every small toy they owned was neatly laid out on the floor in a giant area. If you’re my fb friend you may have seen the pic!

Snort has been carrying around a picture his friend Walnut made, so we decided to make some pictures for Walnut (Aussie’s boy) as we decided we quite like mailing things to people. Coco picked Halloween stickers and therefore followed a bizarre conversation I never expected with a three year old, whereby I explained Frankenstein and vampires (which she was particularly interested in), along with candy corn and ghosts stuck in bottles. I helped the kids write their names on their respective pictures, and they were SO CHUFFED.

Ten minutes later and Coco is using a blue circular laundry basket as a pool. Bunny is under her shirt. She proceeds to climb into the pool, have a water birth, and then put Bunny straight to her chest with a cloth over Bunny. Can you guess what sort of YouTube videos we have been watching lately? Ha.

At gym the coach wanted to see Coconut on the balance beam. She froze when the coach held her hand and backed off. She agreed to do it with me holding her hand and coach watching – interesting as Coco always does the middle of the big beam by herself but wouldn’t with the coach watching. Yet she was confident enough to run up to her and ask her what a piece of equipment did. We then talked about how Coco loves handstands, and the coach showed her a great thick pole to put her feet up against to help her balance. She absolutely refused to try it, and from then in just wanted to sit. Coco is definitely a perfectionist and I found the whole thing interesting, and also from a schooling point of view I wonder what it would have done to her self esteem.

Catgirl randomly said to Coco while at gym, ‘I love you!’ This is a pretty big deal and I’m happy the kids are fostering a close friendship with her.

After gym, Catgirl and Artiste, Chuckles and Actor, and Coco and myself went across the street to the playground for a picnic and a run around. I texted another home ed mum who we had happily ran into before gym, and she came over to join us. Snort’s footie friends invited us to the zoo this afternoon, but I’m just not feeling it and Artiste and Actor were like my booster club, encouraging me to remember that this journey involves me and I’m not a martyr. They are correct!

Instead the kids played together inside for quite some time, before we spilled into the garden. snort was bottomless. Neither kid had a sweatshirt on. I was wearing a sweater and a scarf. Our internal temperatures do not match up. They pretended they were angry birds for quite some time, and I was drafted into being a bad piggy who got chased around. We had dinner outside, and then I brought music outside and we gave quite an elaborate dance show to anyone who happened to be overlooking our garden. Keeping it classy. We also read graphic novels/comic books. Ironman, of course. Snort loved it. Coco was more interested in some new medical apps I downloaded, kids ones where you pretend to be the doctor for animals or babies. Though she also loves one for medical students that has detailed pics of the body.

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