Archive for the ‘lookit’ Category

Overwhelmed.

July 11, 2013

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I’m sorry I haven’t written. In a way, this challenge of walking thirty minutes a day is taking over. It sounds silly, but I have a quick rest in the evenings, then walk, then write about walking. Then, blessed sleep. So I am over on the Facebook page I mentioned in the last entry. Please come like it because I think I am hitting the point where i need lots of encouragement! Drop a comment here if you can’t find it. And if you are on there, leave a message on the wall telling me who you are and I’ll befriend you from my real Facebook account.

The next thing?

Snort broke his collarbone today. I don’t have too much energy left after today, so perhaps I will write more tomorrow, but wtf. Poor kid. He’s totally happy and mostly fine, and was SO HAPPY he got to have x rays. It was like all his Disneyland dreams came true. You’ve never seen someone more geeked about a trip to the hospital.

He wasn’t so pleased when it happened, and thank god my friend Lauren was there. He was hurting so much he didn’t want to walk, so he got to ride in Jazz’s pushchair back to the car. But that’s it for now. More soon. Hope you are all well…

I miss you.

High tide.

May 21, 2013

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Oh, we have the time to see what it feels like for our feet to get sucked into cool, wet mud. We won’t cringe or scream unless we want to, but we won’t….we’ll be too busy laughing and figuring out how to move again. We will be hunkering down to watch sand swirling in perfect circles. We will be standing halfway between dunes and the ocean, in the halfway sort of place that is half land, half water.

And if we wander down to the sea, if we walk that long distance, no one will say no. We can get messy, we can explore, we can try it out. When we fall into the warm, brown water, our clothes will stick to our bodies and show the outlines of all that we are and will become.

We have the chance to watch the tide race in, fifteen feet distant to ten to rising to cover our feet. We usher the water in, it follows us and we stop now and then and let it engulf our toes, calves, knees. The waves are small and unrelenting, they rush us closer to dry sand, to the sandcastles waiting to be built, the sunshine wanting to drench us.

Oh, that water is so warm, so unbelievably warm, and it’s water we’ve never seen so high, the tide usually pulling it so far from our eyes we can only imagine the water at the horizon. But we tried, and we walked far, and we laughed and struggled through the mud. The water rewarded us, following us home like a puppy, lapping at our heels. We watched waves roll in, one after the other, spitting perfect small seashells onto the sand. We marveled at the millions of years that caused the sand, the many, many moments that led us to this spot.

And it was beautiful.

Your dinosaur bone is connected to your….

April 30, 2013

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Weekly roundup March 30 – 5 April 2013

April 8, 2013

Saturday:

TMD’s take:

After some early morning Shows and playing and some plants vs zombies we decided to go to a local soft play after picking up a package from grandma at the post office (snort’s favourite thing to do!) lots of fun was had before coming home for lunch.

Following their lunch I dumped some Lentils and rice in tray and they decided it made a good place to play with their playmobil – this lasted just long enough for me to eat a jacket potato. I’d hoped it would hold them for longer and it would have if they hadn’t started fighting over one brown haired playmobil girl and it all went to hell.

Coconut asked me to make Tom and the orange helicopter (which she’d wanted earlier(damn her memory)). One of our toy helicopters was not good enough as none of them have doors that open… However two yoghurt pots taped together with a door hacked in the side and propeller on the top seemed to suffice. Along with an orange jacket addition to a playmobil guy as Tom. This is all to go with her fire engine and fireman Sam obsession. Tom Thomas is the helicopter rescue guy. While this crafting nightmare was taking place Snort was looking at angry birds pictures on google images (go figure) and on finishing the “helicopter” I’m greeted with the question “we make angry birds?”. What could I say… I had to give it a go. These turned out waaaay better than the helicopter and if you’re lucky Existere may put a picture up for you to see. Anyway Snort was chuffed and Coco got in on the fun too.

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Having watched me do some making I figured it was their turn so I busted out the glitter glue/scrap paper eggs that I’d prepared earlier and they both got busy with these. They LOVE glitter glue and this is usually a Coco thing but Snort got really involved and was very proud of his egg declaring it was for Nana and Pops.

Coco and I played market while Snort played plants vs zombies with Mama and then I came up with a cool way to hit the green piggies off these plastic cone things we have with the birds. A hit with both kids. They watched some shows while I cooked dinner and then we all went out into the back garden, had a circus show, played hide and seek and generally had some fun. Time for a quick spiderman show before bath and bed.

The circus we did was collassal, y’all.

Sunday:

Woke up to eggy excitement. We have sold Easter as being a celebration of spring- sort of celebrating the pagan side but keeping the secular/Christian name. So the kids were informed of the Easter Bunny (okay, not exactly pagan, ha!) and were off egg hunting. TMD organised it all – small plastic eggs had mini eggs in, large plastic eggs had stickers in. There was a large poster hanging on the kitchen door labelled ‘Snort and Coconut’s Easter Egg Hunt Picture,’ and a drawing of some hills by water, sun in the sky, nice big tree. The kids then placed their sticks on the drawing – both LOVED this and got very into it. They then found their actual Easter baskets and ate a freakish amount of chocolate.

We then played/hung it/did weekly online grocery shop/etc. After lunch we headed into town, as an art gallery apparently had a great installation for children. We got there and it wasn’t actually on till 6 pm, so we went off for a wander and they had ice cream. Nutrition for the win. Found some temporary stuff set up for the weekend, and the kids got to try those giant trampoline things. You know the ones. You are strapped in, and your harness connected to high poles on either side. The kids FLEW in the air and both absolutely adored it. Pure joy. They then ‘rode zebras,’ these weird bike/soft toy hybrids that are propelled by you bouncing up and down.

We then happened upon a street performer playing drums and xylophones, much like the first concert we attended a few weeks back. Well, SHIT. The kids stripped off their backpacks and jackets and just boogied down. Lots of exuberant, free dancing and twirling along the riverside. Twisting around gates, leaping along the cobblestone, spinning. I took a video and cannot wait to watch it.

Afterward we climbed onto a smallish boat for an hour long ride. Went along the water section we had been down before, and then a huge trip through the city, under bridges and into areas i didn’t even realise had water near them. I LOVED it. So did everyone else, particularly Snort.

Monday:

Late start due to the clocks going forwards yesterday so they’re still on a lag! Coco up first so we did my last prepped craft (I’ve been so organised this weekend!!) a chick made out of a paper plate with orange concertina legs. Snort did his once he woke up and used up all the eyes and feathers making quite the masterpiece.

Also today we (writing this a week later so is a bit sketchy) went to the shop and bought sunglasses, had a snack in the cafe, came home and had lunch, got the marble run out, snort made mama an angry bird card (“I had an idea and I made it!”) made refrigerator cake (coco’s idea) then had a birthday party for mama! We watched the ballet of ugly duckling which they both really enjoyed and then Grampy arrived for some wild play time before bath time.

A lovely end to a lovely weekend.

Tuesday:

Much of the early morning was TMD’s dad being Cushion Man, a baddy who has the ambition to smack small children about their bodies with a cushion. Spiderman and Tree Fu Tom delighted in this game…..right up until the point we had to leave and Bunny could be found nowhere. Consequently we missed half of our monthly storyteller near the water, but at least Bunny was safely recovered.

Both kids took their pushchairs – Coco with Bunny and Giraffe, an old toy new to being carried around, Snort with a baby doll. Storytelling was like a home education reunion, with us knowing loads of people there – and we were particularly happy to see Catgirl and Artiste, FreeSpirit and kid, and SushiMama and children. Snort practiced writing the first letter of his name a lot during the colouring portion of the hour, something he hasn’t been very into but loved this morning. After the story we played out in the sun and freezing wind with Catgirl and Artiste, before heading onto the ‘pirate ship.’ Totally awesome to navigate tight spaces and stairs with two kids pushing toy prams. I was totally that parent, but luckily I don’t think we annoyed anyone.

We then had lunch in the cafe – I left the kids at a table while ordering, as it was the last table. School holidays are so shit! The world is so crowded and unpleasant. Afterward we mated the executive decision to go on an ‘inside boat ride.’ Imagine a giant greenhouse that floats, and you’ve about got it. What was amazing was the twenty two feet wide stairs with no handrail and a straight drop to the icy water. Luckily an older couple adopted us for the trip down and back up the stairs. They were totally lovely and helpful and we had a nice chat with them.

Snort passed out on the boat, Coconut toyed with her new sunglasses, I tried to not let the burning sun melt my face off. Quite a temperature shock after the chill of outdoors! We then came home and played in the front garden – away from the water and wind, it is actually quite perfect outside. After lots of playing, Coconut managed to slice her finger open on a hunk of glass obviously left in the flowerbeds when new windows were put it, so that smashed the joy out of spring. We are inside now and the kids are chilling with a bit of telly.

Wednesday:

Early morning was Coconut singing to herself while playing with the alphabet magnets and other magnets, while Snort pottered around.

As soon as TMD left for work, the serious birthday present making began. We hauled tonnes of craft supplies into the kitchen. Snort had his very own, very definite idea of the present he wanted for Mummy – making superheroes for her. He worked for almost two hours with total intensity – I cut shapes, he coloured, drew, and directed me in future shape cutting. He used his figures as a guide for how to make them, and they do look FAB. Coconut made a sparkling butterfly, a bunch of drawings. I want to make little books about why Mummy is loveable, and we did make two covers.

The kids also spent some time wearing bowls over their heads and ridding horses made out of stethoscopes. Astronaut cowboys for the win.

Coconut then decided we NEEDED to make cookies as I said it was too early in the week to make Mummy a cake. Cue them elbow deep in flour and sugar. It’s still coating their pyjama arms – yes, it’s 10:19 and they are still in their fleece monkey pyjamas. The recipe was vegan, and I think for sugar cookies, though it didn’t specify. Odd. Still, we added chocolate chips and dipped the dough balls in sugar. Most everything we cook is totally fucked during the mixing, playing, pouring stage, and everything tends to turn out edible. I think these cookies should be harmless, if not gourmet delights. They’ve said ‘Mummy will be SO HAPPY,’ and that’s the main thing.

Well, screw Mummy, apparently. Kids most of the cookies, then played superheroes for like an hour. Both dressed a superheroes and with the little figures. Had a bit of lunch, not the homemade pizzas I’d envisioned, then repeated science experiment/homemade crazy straw that’s ten feet long thing. More playing, wild chair dancing, kids writing and taking turns taking cafe orders from each other, five minute group tidy, and are now playing with our wooden fire engine together.

Let’s not forget that I led zombie exercises. Yes, they were zombie babies and I was their zombie mama/zombie football coach. We alternated arms reaching and growling for brains, stomped our energies into the ground, shook aimlessly like a confused zombie, and did facial grimacing. Healthy living for the win?

We played plants vs zombies for a bit, and then all cuddled up in my favourite chair where I read ten thousand of those shitty little board books. You know, the tiny ones where the stories are heavily abridged and the book is so small it’s tricky to let two kids see the pictures without your normal sized fingers obscuring the entire book. Also watched a cool YouTube video on how to make ketchup. If you go to YouTube and type in, ‘how to make….’ you can find anything. We also watched some Olympics coverage – synchronised swimming, swim races, and diving – both were into it. Snort then watched a bit of male gymnastics and was glued to it.

Thursday:

Lots of two knights attacking me. Lots of marble run, including a nice discussion about how the big round bit has the marbles swirl around just like poo does before going down the toilet. Pipes are always a fascination to Snort, and Coco joined in this am with a song about wee and poo. We also did a weird spot of Snort and I being teachers, with pointers and everything, while Coconut say at the little table and wrote notes/drew pictures on what we were saying. Kids have now taken off all their clothes, bar underpants, seconds before friends are coming round. They’ve said my blue circle chair is the beach and they need their clothes off to swim. Fair enough, I guess.

Catgirl amd Artiste came round from 11:30 till 4:30ish. Playmobil, garden fun (hide and seek in the snow, freezing hands from shovelling in our ‘pond’ AKA sandpit full of water and dirt and gross stuff), Angry Birds cartoons that are newly discovered and will ruin both households’ lives, lots of talk abut hoarding and craziness with Artiste, three naked children swimming in the pool AKA blue chair, discussing screen time and home education, etc.

Friday:

Frosty, sunny walk to the pharmacy. Lots of shadow play on the way – stepping on each other, doing shapes from gymnastics, watching the effect the sun has on them. Then went to the shop the kids believe is the source of all things good and bought Spiderman crocs, boy short underpants, cards for TMD’s birthday, etc. Snort was over the moon to find chilli pepper seeds, as he wants to grow real chilli peppers like the ones from Plants vs Zombies, which we play every single day. Coconut chose tomato seeds. Had nice chats with various people while out in both places, and a lady on the shop commented on how confident the kids were!

Came back and I blew up six thousand balloons, to the peril of my lips and lungs. They are scattered ‘artfully’ throughout lounge. Kids then played for about an hour on their own…I wasn’t watching them, not really, but I did manage to see a hell of a balloon based dance party. I was then drafted in for the weird throwing stuff for them to fetch as they pretend to be dogs game.

On Coconut’s gleeful suggestion, we decided to bake birthday cake cookies. Aka We know how to make cookies, and despite all the amazing cake memes on Facebook lately, we stick with cookies. Talked about solids and liquids, as the recipe called for melted butter. Couldn’t find the candles, so the kids shoved in Christmas cake decorations, tiny football players, a bottle cap, and other assorted crazy shit. They’re sort of adorable. I’ll post a picture soon.

We then had a joint dance party with naked-but-for-underpants-and-old-lady-dress-up-hats. Some
seriously rocking moves. Then Snort found baked beans in the fridge and requested them. So we had a weirdo snack time – bowls of baked beans, and then the kids made cheese tacos and consumed their body weight. Used the opportunity to talk about wholes and halves again, and introduced quarters.

Marble run!

February 22, 2013

Lookie what TMD & Co did while I was lying in bed, commanding an army of plants in their epic battle against the living dead:

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I heard lots of excited, happy voices. I think custom marble runs may be an ongoing love. God knows I get all jittery and glowing looking at examples of home crafted ones online.

Awesome things you should get right now!

February 13, 2013

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I have a lovelie bestie who lives too far away. She regularly sends me postcards of herself in various silly hats, and they adorn my kitchen cupboards so thickly it looks like a shrine…or like I am a stalker. Thank you, Cookie!

Our most recent joy was a package full of finger lights (which you should also get. They fall into the cheap but AWESOME! category for sure!) and water beads. We requested the finger lights as my mother previously sent us four (ha) and they were used every single day till they died, but the water beads were a total surprise. Water beads have been on my list to get for about a year, so I was overjoyed to get them.

We dumped some in bowls of water. They are supposed to soak for five or six hours before they obtain their water beady shape/squish, but the kids played immediately. For AN HOUR AMD A HALF. They watched them change, counted them, made them dance and swirl in the water, used spoons to pretend bake, mixed colours, and Snort did some crazy ass game where they were being attacked by a spoon and had to run away.

These things come in all colours and are very cheap. They are awesome for sensory play and learning, though of course I believe a child’s work IS playing.

I have a feeling these things may be able to dry out, shrink, and be saved for future play….but even if they can’t, they are totally worth experimenting with. Completely Snort and Coconut recommended!

Because why should it surprise me?

February 8, 2013

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How easy it is to learn, as easy as it is to breathe. With no pressure, no expectations, no forcing studying of subjects children aren’t ready for or interested in.

Coconut has quite an academic bent, being excellent at both maths and literacy. She is drawn to literacy – loving written books, oral stories, always asking what signs mean, reading some words on her own. She also carts a notebook and pencil everywhere she goes and can often be found poring over it, doing her ‘writing’ and daydreaming. You can imagine how this makes my heart swell.

Maths, though, is everywhere. You can’t escape it. Building with Legos, noticing patterns, counting, using money, measuring, comparing sizes, shapes….your child is exposed to math whether you are consciously trying to do so or not! Coconut does like math games on the iPad, and she chooses to play the ones for 5-6 year olds, as the others have been outgrown. Maths is a casual thing to her, just something she knows how to do.

When she was two, she did her first oral addition. ‘This doll has one bed, and this doll has another bed. That is two beds in this dollhouse!’

This last week, she did her first oral subtraction – first I’ve noticed, anyway. TMD was off sick, and planning to sleep while the rest of us went off to Nana’s house to play. Coconut assigned meaning to placeholders, in maths speak. In real person speak, she used her fingers to represent members of the family. ‘This finger is Mummy, this is Mama, this is Snort, this is Coconut, this is Nana. There are five of us. But Mummy will stay home, so I will put this finger down and then there will be just four of us.’

This shit really struck me – look! She’s learning! She understands addition and subtraction, she is able to do math on her fingers and not just the iPad! I felt amazed. But thinking about it, why the surprise?

She is left to her own devices most of the time, follows her own interests. Of course I guide her, we talk about what we are doing in real life, I answer her multitude of questions. But maths is real to her because we use it. Maths is real because five of us were going to go somewhere, but only four went because one was ill. Girls often do well in maths and science in school until about puberty, though girls are often less confident in these subjects in general. I’ll leave speculative and researched reasons aside to say that in THIS house, in our life, girls live and breathe math and science and they triumph.

We can all make skirts, we can all read together, we can all build structures and do experiments together. We can do what we want, when we want, without being made to feel that we ought to do more, that we aren’t capable enough.

And when I look into my daughter’s eyes, when she casually points at words at age two and reads them, well, I confess I feel relief. Learning is happening, whether I am conscious of it or not. We can’t help it. I just hope the lessons, morals, and ideas we learn continue to be as amazing and productive as the years go on. It’s amazing to see their minds blossom, the connections they make on their own, the mathematical and literacy related leaps they make. I am always surprised by how much they know….which means I have to continue growing and learning and trusting.

Even if I have to use my fingers to count all the ways we develop.

Life is a great big adventure just waiting for you to climb aboard.

February 6, 2013

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They have the whole world to explore. It’s kind of magnificent.

I don’t know whether they will stay close to home or roam far away, but all their adventures will be big. We are trying new things, on land and on sea, we are learning that every day is full of possibilities. Even Tuesdays in the grey month of February.

You never know when you will be surprised by sunshine, by a boat you never thought much about, by laughing and crying and just being.

Yeah. It’s magnificent.

A superhero hero house, complete with a birthday party room.

January 26, 2013

It’s still a work in progress. The outside paint has dried, most of the rooms have dried, but two very colourful rooms are still wet. One of them is the elaborately colourful ‘birthday party room.’ I am intrigued to see how this little (okay, GIANT) house will develop. It’s already got a helicopter landing pad on the roof.

I can’t help but think….if Phoebe Buffay did superhero houses, it might look like this:

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When superheroes are homeless.

January 25, 2013

Google ‘wooden rescue station.’ Do it. You need the visual before we can carry on, folks.

This is pretty much Snort’s dream – his friend has it and it is referred to as ‘the superhero house.’ You all know Snort (and Coconut) love Cars, but a good few months ago (actually, maybe a year ago. Woah) he suddenly burst into a Spiderman love. Keep in mind he’d never seen any show, movie, etc. This is also how his Cars love started – he thought cars with eyes were cool, just as he thought grown men dressed in flaming costumes were awesome.

My mom sent he and Coconut little two packs of the Fisher Price/imagnex/playskool Spiderman and Green Goblin last summer. Snort has now co-opted both Spidermen and holds them All The Time. That was the start.

Fast forward to the original 1967 cartoons, which TMD’s dad bought on DVD….the first three DVDs of series one. That was when it began to bloom into obsession.

He worships Spiderman. He makes me call him Peter or Spiderman or sometimes even Peter Spiderman, as if he is a Jewish good guy. If I pretend to be The Green Man (generic baddie) he brandishes his wrists at me and shouts, ‘Spin the web! I spin the web!’ His aforementioned friend has opened Snort’s eyes to the fact that there are MANY superheroes and many bad guys, a la Superhero Squad.

He has been earnestly saying that my mom, Grandma, is going to send him ‘all the guys.’ On the phone the other day, he explained that she needs to go to a shop, buy them, put them in a box, and then post them to us. He then told me the superhero guys were definitely on their way. Cue my mom being guilt attacked into buying a few of his dream guys – on the phone with me, looking at the Toys R Us website while freaking out because she doesn’t know how to use the Internet. Cue me being guilt attacked into suggesting that she get Coconut some Playmobil because it isn’t fair for Snort to get new toys without Coco getting some.

Yes, dudes, I KNOW it was just Christmas.

That is why, despite the fact that he would use the HELL out of the wooden rescue station, we can’t justify purchasing it. It’s really more of a birthday or Christmas gift, money wise, though his fricking birthday isn’t till August and that SUCKS. I did find one on eBay for okayish money (no, not really okay, but still a deal) but it is not in our city. I also found a super cheap new one on a certain website (Country B people, think of the most common children’s toyshop, usually abbreviated to three letters, the first one being E), but they are out of stock. And on Amazon or new on eBay this mofo is mind numbingly, heart stoppingly expensive.

So we are left with this:

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Some boxes. TMD is desperate to help him make a Superhero House from them, and I am desperate to let her do so. I’m trying to distract him from the allure of the boxes today. It’s hard because he says his friends need someplace to live.

His friends:

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I drew these yesterday, when he asked me to make him paper superheroes for the temporary superhero house he built on his Nana’s chair.

I love the idea of wooden toys, paper toys, using imagination to create things. Or building things out of junk. I do.

I just wish I could get him the fucking superhero house, you know? Nevertheless, TMD is pretty hardcore and will probably make the boxes awesome. I’ll share pics of Spiderman’s dream house once it is complete.


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