Posts Tagged ‘friends’

That sense of possibility. It never gets old.

June 13, 2013

There is something special about being in that time of life when everything is sexy and full of possibly.

As a teen, one of my best friends was very different than me. She went to a state school and I went to private – there was more to it than that, but that seemed to be the major difference. Her friends from her school called me ‘Mary’ as I went to Catholic school.

I had my first alcoholic drink with her. She was fucking daring; she mixed my mother’s Peach Schnapps with orange juice and we drank on the balcony off the kitchen. She knew people our age who had kids. She took me to parties where people smoked pot. We sometimes bought Coke just to drink a bit and pour rum in the bottle. This was serious shit, very real and different and risky.

Her windshield had a big crack through it, she knew tonnes of cute boys, I helped her stalk ex boyfriends. We drove around for hours, listening to her country music – some songs I have such a deep nostalgic fondness for because of the hours spent with her.

As it turns out, both myself and her male best friend ended up being gay, which is neither here nor there, but in those heady days it was about flirting and drinking and just seeing what it was like to not be me. Her friends thought I was cute. They found Catholic school girls a challenge and sexy and odd, but in an alluring way. She was ballsy and loud and amazing, and it rubbed off on me a bit.

I did a lot of kissing, a lot of stepping outside my comfort zone and discovering I was actually a lot more comfortable when I was outside of the box I’d been raised in. Most of the time, anyway.

When we were about fourteen, long before the drinking and kissing and stalking began, we were at camp. I remember a late night in the counselor’s tent, talking about sex, and we both vowed there was NO WAY we would have sex before marriage. We both broke that vow, but the spirit of it? Two young women so sure of themselves and their beliefs? The beauty of it all was that even when our world views shifted we maintained that sense of self and rightness and boy, did we laugh.

Proof I’m not crazy.

May 31, 2013

I received an email from a friend who shall remain nameless. Her family is on holiday abroad, and they accidentally locked one of the children in the rental car.

No help was forthcoming, so she started grabbing bigger and bigger rocks to smash a window. Se finally ended up going Crazy Mama Bear with a huge rock slammed into the window.

And you know what she was thinking while this was going on?

Boy, I wish I had one of Existere’s window smashing key chains.

See, people, it has more uses that just breaking windows that are underwater . It can break landlubber windows, too. Let this be a lesson to you.

Home education ‘school trips’

May 9, 2013

We are lucky to live in one of the best places in the country to home educate – there is a huge and varied population of home educators, including more than a handful of mamas from Country A. We have home education classes/groups/social meet ups available every day of the week, with everything from drumming to rock climbing to ….well, anything you can imagine. If it doesn’t exist, you can create it. We also have regular family meets on weekends throughout the year, a large not back to school picnic in September, and lots of other stuff going on.

Including trips.

Now, we have avoided the trip circuit as I felt the kids were a bit young, but now they are a great age. We went on our first trip yesterday. These are basically the equivalent of a school group having a field trip, and yesterday we visited a working farm. We were so not what those farmers expected.

Our children were not all one age. There were kids there from babies through to teenagers. Our ‘uniform’ was whatever individuals were comfortable in. We didn’t stay in strict groups and keep quiet.

The bit that made me laugh was the opening tour. None of our children are trained into staying in a neat, orderly group. As individuals and families, we are all very used to doing our own thing. So while some people stayed right with the farmer, a few children would be looking at nearby stuff. Whenever we moved locations, our group strung out into a huge, rambling, evolving thing, as children asked questions of each other, the adults, and the farmers. It was fantastic. A day that really reinforced our decision to home educate.

And we get to have every day like this, if we want, not just once or twice in the year. That’s awe inspiring to me. We can do what we want….whether hours of play at home, or out exploring the world. That is empowering.

On a side note, we met our first real live person who appears to replicate school at home. Of the hundreds of people I’ve met, no one uses a curriculum or makes their kids sit round the table for formal lessons. This seems a more common approach in Country A, where this lady was from. It was interesting to chat with her….albeit while Snort was covered in blood from a trampolining incident!

These trips will further open up our world. Because most home ed families are fairly autonomous, they give us a chance to meet people we might not otherwise know. An interesting thing is the influx of three and four year olds who would be starting school next September – people new to the idea of home educating, and lots of new potential friends for the kids. Coco made a particular friend of a four year old boy who apparently liked being bossed around, and they stuck together like glue all day. Snort played with older boys, got upset with them, and the six year old ringleader came over to sort it out with him, so he and Snort ended up playing together for a long time.

The flexibility of ages, interests, and abilities means that getting together with large groups of home ed families is always enjoyable. Even when your kid is bleeding everywhere – the immediate concern and support of other parents and children was awesome. It’s a group of people who are ultimately very accepting, and we are a collection of individuals accepted and celebrated for our quirks and joys. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Next week, assuming chicken pox doesn’t hit us up, we have our second trip ….to a fire station! TMD is so excited for the pottery class in the morning and the fire station in the afternoon she’s taken the day off work! I really hope we make it, but suspect the pox are on the way. Soon.

Weekly roundup 27 April – 3 May

May 7, 2013

Writing this a week and a half after the start! Wish me luck.

Saturday:

In the morning we went over to a friend’s house for a chicken pox playdate. The baby brother of one of Snort’s football friends has it, so we will see if the party if successful in a few weeks, I guess.

They had stuffed Angry Birds toys, so even if they don’t get all poxy, at least they had that joy.

We went out for family lunch, then spent the afternoon deep in the woods. Kept walking till we hit the river, and much gleeful (and scary, for me, as the banks were so high and steep!) rock throwing into the water.

Sunday:

I have no recollection of this day. I think I was achey from yesterday so spent much of the day resting. TMD no doubt did amazing crafts with the kids, and garden playing, but I guess this day is proof of why it’s best to update the log daily. I have no memory.

Late afternoon I had a very bad SPD relapse indeed. Couldn’t walk or even roll over in bed.

Monday:

Kids went to Nana’s as I needed a day of total rest for my pelvis.

No idea what they did, aside from going playmobil shopping. Apparently lots of little stones were brought in from outside, and a beautiful garden was created from stones, blue paper for water.

Tuesday:

We were supposed to go to the pirate pool with Grampy, but I was still sore and he was a bit ill, so we stayed in. Kids had fun helping him do some gardening, reading loads of books, playing in the front garden, talking to neighbours, etc. I spent some time in bed and can only imagine it was his hour of babysitting which meant he couldn’t stop sleeping in the afternoon. Whoops.

Snort and Grampy did walk up to the chip shop, while Coco and I set up a nice picnic in the front garden. Lovely, relaxed day.

Wednesday:

Met up with Lauren and Jazz at a city farm first thing in the morning. The kids were entranced by the baby goats, cows, etc. Another home ed friend, let’s call her Activist, and her daughter Rambles, also met us. We walked through an amazing area to an outdoor stay and play. The kids were ENTRANCED by compost toilets. Like beyond in love, especially with sprinkling sawdust down the hole.

This place reminded me of camp, and was a total hippy fest. Even danced around a maypole, which was extra special as it was Beltane! Everything was great right until Snort’s face started swelling up and he broke out into a crazy rash. We beat a hasty retreat. We went back to the farm’s playground with Jazz and Lauren, and after they left we ended up staying all day. Loads of sand, awesome tunnels, and opportunities for independence in a smallish playground. Snort was nude except for pants. Every child was jealous of him.

When we eventually returned home, the kids played out in the front garden. I think this is the day we had a picnic dinner? Not sure

Thursday:

Met up with our mini home ed group, as is our Thursday wont. Us, Artiste, Catgirl along with Driver and her children Roman and Octonaut. We went to a large aground/park we’d never been to before. Loads of zip line fun, picnic time, sand play, trampolining, etc. The others left mis afternoon, and we stayed the rest of the day. Much like yesterday, it felt like a perfect holiday day. I wanted to go explore the neighbouring cemetery, but we decided to wait till another day as my pelvis was grumbling.

Kids rolled down some pretty big hills, then we headed back to the car. Stopped at a garden centre we always mean to go to on the way home. Came to a unanimous decision that we need a chiminea when money permits, as long as someone strong is around to carry it into the garden! Had snack in the cafe then headed home.

Read books outside in the front garden – Slinky Malinky and Hairy McClary are current faves, along with Room on the Broom.

Friday:

No words can describe how fucked up this day was. Took both kids to my as we had to miss it on Monday. Had promises from Artiste and ….shit, does Chuckles’ mum have a nickname? Maybe Drama, as that is what she studies…..Drama to help out, as gym is fucking tricky with more than one child.

Sure enough, he fell on the trampoline and injured his knee. He couldn’t weight bear or stop crying, and even his robot lady of a coach was concerned. I cuddled him most of the session (when I wasn’t dosing him up with antihistamine for another swelling face, fuck you hayfever), which actually ended up okay for Coconut as she disconnected herself from me and went off with Artiste and Catgirl.

Afterwards myself, Artiste, Drama, and children en masse went for our usual picnic at the playground. It was awesome, except for all the poop disasters I can’t write more fully about because my kids will hate me one day if I do. But let’s just say that neither kid ever had an accident in public, ever, but when a certain child refuses to poop for a week, eventually it’s going to come out no matter how badly you try to keep it in.

There were a host of other mundane disasters this day, which is why at two o’clock when I got a text from Activist inviting us to a barbecue at her house, I threw in the towel and we headed home. Because as TMD said, we were likely to add scalds to our list of injuries.

Played out in the front garden all afternoon.

Figuring out what authentic means. Motherhood and me-ness. Just being.

April 18, 2013

I read a status update on Facebook by an unschooling page I follow. It was essentially all about how difficult it can be to support others, to inspire them, and always have to push your own dreams aside. That it is okay to never achieve your dreams if you help others. The line that really hit me was something like, ‘Sometimes I feel I will always live on the edge of a black pit, helping others climb of their black pits.’ That resonated. Strongly.

The author finished the post by saying hey, that’s okay! This is the good life.

That bit didn’t so much resonate.

Parenting requires, no, DEMANDS more squashing of self than I could have ever prepared for. Of course, I transform, I submerge myself with abandon into this new life, mostly. I want my children to be more courageous and creative than I am, and I feel that I play an instrumental role in allowing them to explore, to be who they are, to experiment and wonder. I want them to be curious and engaged and philosophers. Scientists. Artists. Literary giants.

I don’t begrudge them these things. Sometimes I question myself and my own motives, wondering if I am already trying to live vicariously through them. I pull myself back. No one deserves that pressure, we all need to be our own selves in the most authentic way we can. And that doesn’t come from other people telling us how to live or what to think.

So this status update made me angry, and made me sad, and made me THINK.

Then a lone sliver, a wisp as white and frail as anything else, floated across my mind. That one of my happiest and most fulfilling times in life was at camp. And my job, my life, was about inspiring children, young people, and adults. To help foster an environment where children could play and learn how to be themselves and take risks in a supportive environment. My life was all about helping others, and fuck, was I happy.

But I can’t lie. The campers at that place fucking loved me, and that fuelled me. I was able to be more fully, authentically me there than I had ever been anywhere else. The crazier I dressed, the weird impulse to shave my head, the outrageous singing and making a fool of myself – the more me I was, the more people loved me. And so, of course, that sweetest of lessons helped me grow and be joyful.

I feel on the cusp now, but it isn’t the same cusp I know and am old frenemies with. This cusp has that black pit on one side. I don’t know about the the other side.

The grand dreams, the feeling of factual endless possibilities, I don’t think it is there anymore. Those things may actually be in my own black pit. I think of my best friends I’ve known fifteen years, longer. How we all started with big dreams, and the certainty they would come true. I’ve watched people’s dreams deflate, and I’ve mostly felt sad about that. Because I know what we are all capable of.

But now a quiet voice says, find a third way. You don’t have to always give of yourself so constantly and consistently, this is a season in your life. When that voice is pushy, it asks uncomfortable questions about what sort of model I am being for my children. When it is melancholy, it asks what sort of life I am living for myself. Can I look up to me?

How am I so good at inspiring others, at believing wholeheartedly what I say, but then I sit here, in my tattered and comfortable slippers, perched on the edge of a black pit?

Maybe it is the time to look for an overgrown path. It’s small, dusty. Meandering. I’m not sure where it leads, but I do know it is away from that pit.

Or maybe it is still the time to sit here. Trying to rest and regroup when I get small moments, stretching my neck and checking my supplies. Casting my eyes about for that path, debating if I even want that path, or something else. I’d like my black pit edge to have a stream for my feet to rest in, but then I don’t want it to be too comfortable.

So I sit here, helping my children be and believe in themselves.

While I wonder who I am. That old me, who is still in Country A, laughing in thunderstorms and driving golf carts wildly? Eating ice cream in the summer twilight?

The impossible me who was brave enough to move across the world for true love?

The new and older me, who is often achey and short tempered?

I think I’m all those, but I feel I’m something else, too. Maybe my dreams have shifted, maybe I don’t want to chase them, maybe I’m just taking a breather. Maybe it’s easier to try to forgive myself for not trying at this moment in time. Maybe it’s okay to not know. Maybe it’s fine to let the sun warm my back, to sip water, to extend a hand to others. Maybe it’s not my time. Not yet.

Maybe it will be, soon.

Weekly roundup 16 March – 22 March

March 22, 2013

Saturday:

After my fall down the stairs yesterday afternoon, I was terrified my pelvis would throw in the towel. So I virtually spent all day in bed. Hoping TMD will add her thoughts in here, and from now on I will italicise whatever she writes so you can tell us apart. I think they just did loads of playing all day, and a bike ride may have happened. I know post dinner they played in the (endlessly rainy) garden, though.

The only noteable thing I was present for was Snort’s discovery of some small change on my nightstand. He took it, asked for a pot, and says he wants to save up for the Spiderman house we saw last week. TMD and I aren’t sure about the whole pocket money thing yet, but I guess this bear watching as he is deadly serious about trying to raise money.

Ah, the other lovely thing was in the morning – the kids were sitting on the stairs (I used to love playing on my stairs when I was little, too!) and said they were a plane. They decided to fly to Grandma and Papa’s house, then to see Blondie in Big City. This was a vivid and detailed game – looking out the plane windows to see our house as they flew over, etc. Super cute, and the sheer number of games focused on seeing Grandma and Papa makes me feel sad we aren’t physically closer to them.

Saturday:
Kids watched Mr Ben and Spiderman
Dressing up: coco as spiderman, snort as knight – play leading to wrestling!
Coco writing, snort playing with superheroes
Decorating birthday card for Gnome
Plane trip playing on stairs
Visit to Gnome
Ate lunch then watched some shows
All out in garden stomping in mud and general fun but cold stuff
Did stickers and scrapbooks for ages. Snort really got into his knight sticker pictures
More dressing up while watching Mr Ben (well obviously!)
Playing being at gymnastics (all couch cushions on floors and lots of scary jumping)
Superheroes
Playmobil
Sword fighting with wooden spoons (it’s been a knight themed day apparently!)
“Helping” me wash up after dinner
Bath and bed
Playing the bedtime game we’ve played all week: they pretend to sleep and I have to be Santa and bring them gifts
Books
Snort would not sleep so ended up back downstairs with mega blocks and superheroes

No bike ride on Saturday, that was Sunday and I think we went in the garden earlier. But I might be wrong.

Sunday:

A morning of free play for children and various getting stuff done for adults. I managed to bbbbbbbbbbbb trttttttttt b bbhhhhhhhhbbbbbbvzzuuiopitt Sara’s,&@@&@@@@@@@@@@&&&&&&& mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm mmm nmnnnnnnmnn (

(okay that was snort helping me while we discussed letters!)

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm,,,,,,,,,,,,,. ..,,……………l.ll’

( he wants to send this to Mummy’s friends)

Anyway, I managed to finally burn some CDs, upload pics to Facebook, etc. We then went to a friend’s house – one of TMD’s oldest friends, who has previously been mentioned on this blog as Gnome. The kids adore her, particularly her magical skills in pulling stickers out of ears.

In the afternoon I was treated to some alone time while TMD took the kids for a bike ride and trip to the playground. Coco apparently crashed into a bush, and managed to slice her neck open on the aforementioned bush. The story has been told to everyone (we were bike riding in the park, I crashed into a bush and cut my neck, mummy had to get me bunny ) we meet, and it never varies. It reminds me of her broken arm story (I was at gymnastics with nana and fell off the rope, I had to go to hospital with nana and mummy and get an elmo arm plaster).

I was also treated to a new game of Snort’s invention. Both kids, naked of course, pretended to be dogs. I had to throw their toys for them to fetch. They were panting and barking and I had to keep petting them and calling them dogs. We played this for FORTY MINUTES. Children amaze me.

Also had a lovely little discussion about electricity in the evening, again Snort’s idea. We were looking out at the streetlights when he earnestly told me it was electricity making them work. We talked some more about things that electricity powers.

Monday:

Lots and lots of morning free play, with a bit of Yo Gabba Gabba background noise for some of it. Coco then went to Nana’s, and Snort and I trundled off to gym. He had some individual instruction on the trampoline and the balance beam, where I learned a better way to help children along it (I was a hand holder, but actually standing behind with my arms under armpits or near armpits when more confident encourages better balance). Snort had the best time. Afterward he ran up to the coach to say bye and kept saying, ‘I had a fun day! Thank you for my fun day!’ He’s very open with his affection, and I think she was taken aback because Coco is pretty much the opposite.

We then came home, and Racer, one of his football friends, came over. Snort was overjoyed, because he always wants ‘JUST Racer. Not curly or Crabby or…..etc. JUST RACER.’ As it turned out, only Racer was available. Coco was happy to come home and play as well – lots of superheroes, musical instruments, time upstairs in their room doing god knows what, etc. Of course, Racer’s mum failed to put the kids seat back on the toilet when she was finished, which led to ear piecing screaming as Coco fell in the toilet! She was totally trapped in it, butt in water (she was naked with a tree fu Tom leaf on top, very Garden of Eden) and so terrified and my first thought was, ‘Shit! I wish I was holding the camera!’

She also made a gorgeous card at Nana’s. Racer’s mum was all, ‘What a nice Easter card!’ Coco scrunched her face into one of her many gurning positions and said, ‘It’s not an Easter card! It’s a baby chicken hatching out of its egg card!’ Oh, she is too cute.

After they left, more random free play. Largely naked, wearing pastel coloured old lady hats and calling themselves cowboys. Did some Bendaroos stuff, some tv, and just more play. After bath, Snort came in to show me a cloud he made out of a wedge of toilet paper he got wet. He carried it around all night, and when it tore into two pieces he said they were Tom & Jerry and played with those for a good long while. Love it!

Tuesday:

I think we should stay in today, as Snort has had a cold and was up coughing much of the night. Coco also had a weird spell that almost required an exorcism yesterday, so she may find a more restful day good, too. We will see. We have a busy rest of the week, so some time in might be nice! Snort slept in while Coco hung out with Grampy. When everyone was up they wanted to do more Bendaroos, and while I was hunting for an aluminium foil substitute (we are out!), they set up a scene with old winter cake toppers. We moved it into a shallow box and added gold glitter, fake snow, and red food colouring. It’s like a tiny massacre has happened. Or maybe just Christmas festivities in Blood Town. Either way, I hear them from here and they are totally engrossed – their small people are making snowmen, snow angels, etc. Also some serious talk about a snow factory.

The kids then watched a show their Grampy made while recording at the zoo, and of course Grampy watched as well. Twice through, while we talked about the different animals and dinosaurs. Then played the ‘ball game’ they play every week – kids at top of stairs, Grampy at bottom, they throw balls at each other. Kids now happily playing with superheroes, sandwiched between the play garage and batcave.

Loads more playing with Grampy, largely consisting of torturing his limbs into various contortions and driving toy cars on him. He then took us out for lunch (where Snort had a bad allergic reaction…note to Grampy, don’t touch an egg allergy kid with your mayonnaise fingers!), and we had a quick trip to the library. While there, the kids played on the computers for the first time. Home we came, where we greeted the postman and got a package from Aussie! Then a bit of time in the back garden before coming in to warm up, eat, etc. Started The Mouse and the Motorcycle, our very first proper chapter book!

Coco made me pretend to be a sick baby, and sang a song to me that essentially channelled my thoughts from their babyhood.

Go to sleep
Go to sleep
Please go to sleep.
I love you but please go to sleep.
Sleep and think about my song.

Lots and lots more playing, some tv, more playing, etc. After bath time, Coco said to me, ‘I washed everything all by myself. With no help. Smell me and you will smell how clean I am.’ I love kids.

Wednesday:

Some time for free play and tv this morning, but had to leave pretty early to get into town. Had a bus ride and wander along the water before meeting Lauren (does she need a blog name if she uses her real name in her blog?) and her daughter Jazz at our usual museum haunt. Looked around the museum a bit, had lunch at the cafe. Then had an epic walk back to the church for concert. We are talking chasing seagulls, examining fountains, playing under sandwich boards, etc. Fun!

Went to a guitar and flute concert – kids were very interested in the flute and the names of the performers. All three did some fairly groovy dancing, and I adored Coconut’s ‘slow music dance.’ Kids were a bit unruly/exploratory for my comfort (still don’t know if that if a good or bad thing, and maybe I need to chill out!), so we went out into the church garden and the kids enjoyed running around, cuddling each other, big sticks, and mud. A cool side benefit was bumping into – is friend the right word? It feels like it – a nice guy from our church. Ah, perhaps a post on atheism and our cool new church to follow. This guy is just very sweet and I like him a lot.

Came home and I blogged while the kids watched Sarah & Duck, a new favourite. Played a bit of the Cars app with the new car from Aussie. Kids then played superheroes for ages – Snort dressed as Spiderman, Coco playing with the little figures.

Thursday:

Art & bagels morning. So lovely I want to do it all the time. We all ate our body weight (and then some!) in bagels….and 57 plums for Snort. We then got out paper to practice writing/tracing, which morphed into colouring, stickers, etc. Both kids did quite a few pictures, and there was just a glorious pile of stickers and markers all over the place! Coconut is getting really good at writing her name. She’s not tried without tracing, but I reckon she could probably do it.

Kids now playing a game where it appears Snort is a baby horsie and Coconut is his trainer? And the next couple of hours are glorious. The kids made a ‘cosy house’ in the front entryway, built an entire pretend city a bit further into the lounge. Loads of cooperative imaginary play. Lots of designing little spaces tailor made to their ideas. Filling my big blue circle chair with stuffed sea creatures and fishing with string. And in the final minutes before friends arrive, both are playing with superheroes.

Catgirl and her mum, Artiste, arrived first. We had a grand time playing with various toys, having lunch, making hot chocolate with the ‘help’ of a four year old and two three year olds, etc. The other mum and two kids arrived a couple of hours later. Coco and Catgirl played in the garden a bit, in the dismal and dreary rain, and the rest of us just sort of did our thing. Some of our thing was Snort being a zombie and telling me which plants to be to defeat him. Some of it was Coconut and Snort dragging a blanket downstairs so they could hide under it and pretend to be in my tummy. The other family left first (you guys, that mum took another toy of ours and i had to call her out and it was MORTIFYING even though it was a genuine accident this time) and Artiste and Catgirl weren’t too far behind.

We then head over to spend the late afternoon at MIL’s. The kids are sleeping over for the first time, and they helped set up the baby monitor, unpack the bag, and check out their new Spiderman blow up beds. Then TMD and I went to dinner; we were in separate cars and I have to say, I have missed the awesomeness of driving alone in the dark playing music very loudly. Sheryl Crow, a CD my friend Brian gave me years ago. It. Was. Awesome.

Now at home and half waiting for a call saying we need to go pick up Snort. I’m a bit nervous, but here’s hoping the night goes well for all.

Friday:

No call last night, but a rather panicked call this morning asking us what Snort meant when he asked for a stripey cucumber. That sorted, I luxuriated on the couch with a thick blanket and early morning tv. Fucking luxury.

Then went to pick up Coco for gym – she asked if she could live at Nana’s (after I jokingly asked her if she’d want to). Snort gave me some huge hugs, but otherwise wasn’t bothered. I’m glad we waited for this first sleepover – and that the kids are so securely attached. No tears, no problems. Coco was grumpy though, as she explained she didn’t get enough sleep. As I understand it, they didn’t sleep till 8:20 which is well past when Coco usually sleeps.

At gym, Coco had individual instruction on the beam and trampoline. Her coach took Bunny and put her at the end of the floor beam. Coco started at the far end and had to come get Bunny. Then her coach did it on the full height beam (but it is textured and still has mats piled up to beam level for the middle bit) and Coco did it totally on her own, even the beginning bit where it is a straight drop to the floor. When she got to the far end – and me – she asked for hand holding. Still, pretty good, though.

Her coach also got her to let go of Bunny on the trampoline. Normally she suggests holding Bunny while Coco jumps and scares Coco off. Today she handed over Bunny and took instructions. But god bless her, she can’t make her arms go in big circles. She sort of does mini circles by rotating her elbows, so it’s like she’s doing a double Arsenial Hall whoop whoop thing with her arms. Every week I think, Oh, I’ll help her with that at home, but then I forget until the next gym session. Bless us both. It’s a similar situation with clapping under your leg as you kick. I need to take videos of these things, because before I know it, her tiny girl gymnastics cuteness will give way to more precision. And I don’t want to forget how earnest she is about trying the clapping, even holding up her trousers so she can slap her hands on bare flesh to get the same clapping noise. She’s just so short!

Our post gym picnic park play date with Catgirl and Chuckles was called off due to the hardcore rain, so we came straight home.

In the car we listened to the They Might Be Giants CD ‘Here Comes Science,’ inspired by our HUGE LOVE AFFAIR with the very funny ‘Snacktime’ album by Barenaked Ladies. I’m going to post separately about these CDs and others, as we would like to do a swap and get ahold of Beth Neilson Chapman’s ‘Mighty Big Sky.’ So stay tuned! Coco chose to listen to the science music, and requested the blood song several times. It’s no surprise she picked the medical track from an album of electric cars, elements, and palientology, as she adores diagnosing and treating anyone who walks through the door!

This afternoon has featured a group plants vs zombies session, playmobil, another chapter of The Mouse and the Motorcycle, picture book reading, and individual time doing a fun literacy app called Endless Alphabet, I think. It’s free and both kids like it a lot. Then some Tom & Jerry, more playing together and on their own, etc. A friend sent Snort a particular little toy he wanted (CHEWOO, apparently a little squirrel guy it is impossible to live without) and he’s played with Chewoo and company a lot. He has been carrying a bucket of superheroes around and a basket of Chewoo and friends.

addendum:

Snort just becomes more and more a storyteller every day. He recounts long conversations we have had, creates huge stories out of thin air as we are walking along, verbalises very complex and ongoing stories with his toys, etc. It is a joy, but when he talks fast it can be hard to actually pick it all up! Can’t wait till he’s a bit more clear, because I am prepared to be blown away by his imagination.

Coconut’s vocabulary seems to have had a big leap. She’s randomly throwing out words like ‘realise’ and…well…other words I don’t think I’ve heard her say. And talking about shit like icebergs. Where the hell did she learn about icebergs?!

Dodgy week’s sleep for both of them, particularly Snort. Very dodgy.

Transitions and gymnastics.

March 4, 2013

Well, it’s that time again: the end of term is in two weeks, and we need to decide now if Snort will continue with football. For a long time it has been apparent that he goes for his friends, not the sport (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Increasingly he just wants to sit on my lap and wait for the class to be over so that we can get to the good part – all having lunch together before playing for a good hour or so.

Snort has mentioned he wants to go to gymnastics, but he wants all his football friends to go with him. During preliminary discussions today, I’ve tried to explain the choice is football and old friends, versus gymnastics and new friends. And he is saying gym. He so badly wants to start gym that he doesn’t want to go to the final two weeks of football.

I’m a bit sad because I’ve struck up good friendships with the other parents/grandparents, and because Snort really loves his friends. I know part of life is moving on, and all bar one of these kids is starting school next year so we will be ‘losing’ them anyway, but I am still wondering if this will cause major upset when he understands that football is properly bye bye. But on the flip side, a key part of my parenting/educational philosophy is being child led. If he wants gym rather than football, so be it. The way gym is set up, it’s more difficult to make good friends there, but I’m sure there will be other regular attenders. We will continue talking about it this week, but I do believe some desperately sad friendship times are ahead (though of course we will still try to see his friends, but it certainly is unlikely to be with such regularity).

On the gym front, well, I have a lot to say that is Coconut related. But we will leave it with saying that she is getting back to pre-broken arm enthusiasm. She asks most days if we can go do gymnastics, and this last week she decided she didn’t need Bunny anymore (Bunny being a constant since she broke her arm, though she never had Bunny before her accident). She is thrilled that one of her home ed friends has joined her class, and in fact she has made two other good friends from the gym….one of which I am going to invite for a play date when we see them this week.

Early last week we watched some floor routines on YouTube and she spent the rest of the week doing naked floor routines on the lounge floor, then asking for medals (no clue where she got the medal thing, as we only watched the routines!). She calls herself The Amaaaaaazing Coconut.

Coconut literally spends most of her time at home upside down. We are talking headstands about 90% of the time. As it happens, the grandad of one of Snort’s football friends has a daughter who trained and competed with Coconut’s gym 25 years ago. His daughter competed internationally, and at age twelve was preparing to compete in the next Olympics, when she was sixteen, and in fact went to the Olympics at twelve as an assistant or something. THEN SHE BROKE HER FUCKING NECK.

She was okay. Not elite gymnastics okay, but she actually carried on with smaller competitions and taught gymnastics throughout her university years. Apparently when she was a kid every fucking second was spent at the gym – the expectation was that she would formally train every day from 6-9 pm and all day Sundays, plus self directed training at school. Her schooling was all jacked up, she was very perfectionist, she developed an eating disorder. I suppose home educating eliminates one of those factors should Coconut (or Snort) have the aptitude and enthusiasm needed to train at that level, but talking to him had me worried.

He was all, ‘Yes, from the time my daughter was about three, she was always upside down and throwing herself around.’ Given that Coconut taught herself forward rolls when she was one – a mere few weeks after learning to walk, and as a baby was often trying to stand on her head, it made me feel cautious. She is definitely a big perfectionist already, and that is certainly a trait I am trying to help her tone down. Listening to this dude talk about eating disorders and broken necks was an eye opener…..though equally, he said his daughter loved the gym and felt joyful there.

So, I guess all things to be aware of. Given that the kids are only three I know all of this probably makes me sound like a crazy, overachieving stage mum, but still… I will wait and watch with interest.

The longest post ever?

February 28, 2013

I have been sort of AWOL, lost in my own misery of intense chronic pain and the accompanying fears and despondency. It’s fun.

I am back in the land of the walking, but am in pain every second of the day. It’s not excruciating anymore, but it’s not great, either.

So that’s me.

We spent a lot of time at home last week, as I felt I needed a break (maybe I knew my body was about to collapse?), which sort of sucks as this week we had to spend a good chunk inside as the pain has been so bad. But as I said, I’m mostly physically functioning. We even went swimming yesterday.

I am scared, though. My last lot of pain injections were on the kids’ second birthday. I think they must have worn off by now, but recent pain is making me worry that they have only just worn off, and this is my true pain baseline, and I’m going to be like this forever.

I feel like this every single time I have a relapse. Like crippling hopelessness, terror, deep exhaustion from coping with the pain. Every single time I worry that this is forever.

And every single time I recover.

This painful blip has been going on for almost two months. It’s the longest it’s ever happened. I’ve also had recent pelvic instability – we are talking my pelvis full on wobbling around, with the gross accompanying clicks and cracking noises. I’ve not been like this since pregnancy.

So my blues are a little more blue this time. I think that’s okay, I think that’s expected.

But it sucks as I have little to no motivation to do things that need doing, especially as it exacerbates the pain. Tomorrow is our third social worker visit, and normally I’d spend a Thursday morning cleaning bathrooms, clearing the dining table of the assorted crap it collects, randomly dusting, etc. It has become an ongoing joke that if we had a social worker visit a week, the house would always look fucking amazing. Though I must say, as nice as the social workers are, I can’t wait for this shit to be over.

The forms are incredibly discriminatory and insulting to families like ours. Questions about what makes TMD qualified to raise children, asking other people and herself how she keeps them safe, and on and on and on. I am only angry about this in small doses, and the social workers are apologetic and very understanding, and on the whole the process is very smooth and straightforward. Hopefully we have tomorrow’s visit, then just one more (four in total)- excepting the court date where the kids get formally adopted. Maybe we will go out for cake afterwards.

But right now, the bigger picture for ME is thinking about how I hope I can walk into court without crutches, without pain, without having to always be conscious of how my body moves.

This afternoon we are going over to a friend’s house. We have started a tearaway rebellious new home education meet, a small group of families who rotate houses on Thursdays. We want our younger children to build up good friendships and have regular contact with the same kids, especially as these children will be some of the ones they grow up with and attend various classes and groups with. It’s an interesting group as two of the children have Asberger’s, one more severely and probably leaning towards full on autism. All in all, I like all the people, children and adults alike, and look forward to all our friendships growing. I’ll probably write more about this group in future, especially as I need advice on what to do if a fellow mama steals a toy from your house. Ha. No shit.

But today a family is ill, so it’s just us and this other family. I love the mum, love her to bits, and it is always a quiet relief to hang out with like minded people. Especially when they are all creative and shit, and there is no tv in their lounge, and you can see water from their back windows.

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!

Tribal wanderings.

February 4, 2013

I have so much I want to say. But I’ve been hit with this brutal combo of having a cold and having insomnia. Not very conducive to me being coherent in the evenings. I want to write about playing piano, the social worker’s visit, dead people, my kids’ first job. But I’m just too damn tired!

Part of that is also being I am so damn busy. My lacklustre motivation has faded somewhat, leaving behind a parent who was only in the house for two days last month. How is that possible?! Of course we still have lots of free play at home, but we have been increasingly going out and doing things. It’s nice.

The other nice thing is the creation of my tribe. Considering we haven’t even lived here a year yet, I feel pretty plugged into a network of like minded people who also happen to be parents. I’ve met people from my blog, local home education groups, the kids’ sports classes, and even Facebook. Today we met a family who basically lives round the corner – we became friends on Facebook as we lived in the same city and were both in the same facebook home education group. They came over today and it was good times.

So we now have some families we really like. We live in an area ripe with things to do, if also somewhat more rainy than the surrounding areas. I can even navigate to a few basic areas without needing to rely on Debbie, my sat nav. Life seems good.

I am regaining the spirit of adventure (and skills of survivorship) I had before we moved, more willing to venture out to new places further afield. I will soon be trying to meet up with Lady and babies, though I have not yet asked her, despite the fact that they live a whopping two or three hours away. And once my sister moves to Country B, well, I hope that is as awesome as I think it will be. I really want to soak up her Blondieness while I have the chance, before the wandering bug bites her again and she is off to Germany, to Colorado, to Brazil.

As our last official year school-less comes to an end (though our first year of officially not being in school is just around the corner!), I want to help my children and myself explore the world and our potential. I want to get out in the mud more, to hear other people’s stories more, to learn from the world around us and the people we meet. And how lovely to be able to do these things with a growing network of good friends by our side.


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