The Small's friends were dropped off shortly after Grandma left this morning and they have had a great day making magazines (check out the photos and see how they made identical front covers all their own idea,) painting the pictures for them and asking me how to spell the words they wanted to include. You can be sure if when they had arrived I had suggested that we all make identical magazines no one would have been that keen but because the initiative and ideas were all theirs they settled into the idea with gusto! As a consequence of all this extra activity we now have two tables in our kitchen. In home ed land I think that must be a status symbol. At one point I managed to sneak to the toilet and when I walked back down stairs this was the sight that greeted me.
We took the friends back to Goring mid-late afternoon and had a little play at their house. We are back down to the coast tomorrow to see some more #welovehomeed friends
Tuesday is Grandma day and after breakfast we were all gathered round the kitchen table. S working on her Mermaid story book she started yesterday, O doing some of his abc book and E doing some magnetic word reading with me when Grandma spotted a hot air balloon out the window so we all went outside for a closer look at the flames.
In fact since I blogged yesterday I feel I have hardly stopped, but all in a good way.
Baby Small did a slip and left some of the skin from his arms at the park :-( Coupled with his black eye he must be feeling pretty sore, it hasn't stopped him from being super cute all day though. Picking flowers for Grandma at the allotment and using please and thank-yous ands pardons totally unprompted.
And this afternoon a new family who contacted me ages ago about home educating in West Sussex (when they were living outside the area) came over for the first time following their move to our neighbouring village at the weekend. I am so excited about a family with young children living under 5 miles away from us and even better The Mummy One is Italian.
Regular readers will know how fond I am of my Armani treats and pasta and pizza and ice cream and mozzarella and parma ham and Parmesan and nectarines and Gucci handbags and how in my earning days I built a collection Gucci loafers, I have corrupted The Daddy One into my soft leather ways too but he prefers Tods. It wasn't hard to corrupt him, he has been a Ferrari fan in motor racing since the age of 7 I think. Regular readers know how Middle Small adores the Romans. We had coffee (Italian of course in Alessi cups !) and a tiramisu I made and my new friend offered to show me how to make lasagne, told me about her salsa dance classes we talked about phonics and whole word learning and it was just lovely to meet a virtual friend in real life and find out they were even nicer than I had expected them to be.
There are two beautiful children in the family and The Bambino One (13 months) told me he wanted more raspberries over and over using his baby signing for more until he had eaten more than ten!
Whilst they were over E was asking for some new words to "glue in his head" he is so close to getting it he can sense it. I recall when S was at this point with her reading. It is great to watch.
On our Italian Gallivant last year we had these great Usborne Books of Italian words - we even used them to explain nido d vespa (wasps nest) to the owner of the Villa we stayed in. I must find them before we meet up again on Friday.
Baby Small and I went to the allotment to water the tomatoes, they are ripening fast, I am gearing up for a major skin removal and roasting session before our holiday. Well, once I have cleared a space in the freezer. I love this time of year, watching the orange lights from the tractors flash up and down past my bedroom window. The end of the growing season and the preserving for winter.
There was a time when singing "My favorite things" lulled Middle Small off to sleep now he likes my Star Wars Harry Potter made up fusion stories where it all merges in The Dark Side.
S&E have been playing so nicely I have been listening to them giggling away and Baby Small has singing to Grandma.
I popped to the local shop with E tonight and bumped into a local Mum I originally knew from singing at the library when S was small and she said to me "So, do you do summer holidays then?" and I said "We are going on holiday on Monday" and on the way home it occurred to me that I had completely misunderstood what she meant.
......."they'll be no accusations just friendly crustaceans, under the sea." For a long time I was a major Simpsons fan but I haven't watched it in years, I can still remember it though. Testament to a great show.
S has had a mermaid day today, she started this morning making one of her books this time about mermaids, she asked me for spellings of some of the words as she wrote them down then she drew pictures around them.
The page in the photo says "Now, this Mer Princess longs for an adventure." I'm keen to read on, are you?
Then The Daddy One took them to Fittleworth Park and S did a slip and hurt her knees so she came home and we snuggled up together and watched Little Mermaid 3 and just a second ago she told me that is not how you spell Aerial it is Ariel!
The story line of the film is about Ariel's father banning music as a way of coping of the death of his wife and trying to control his children and greeting a failure of control with more control! I could see some of my mistakes up there on the screen.
Of course banning things never works (unless you control the supply chain) and so the animals, desperate to sing and dance, set up an underground cave in the style of a 1920s speak easy. S and I had a good chat about prohibition and how things become secret when you ban them. It was one of those conversations where although we were talking about a film I could think of 4 or 5 current situations around me in real life that follow the same pattern.
I haven't blogged about Middle Small's behaviour for quite a few weeks now and that is for the simple reason that I haven't needed to. I won't tell you he is a perfect angel 100% of the time that is because, unlike an angel, he is alive and he is a 4 year old boy.
But, he has been heaps better. I credit the homeopathic remedy he had a course of and a change of approach. All of my most desperate blog posts read with us as adversaries rather than partners and talk of separation based solutions not attached ones. We are together in this not apart. Conditional love terrifies him to his very core and causes him to lash out. Hunger and tiredness debilitate him a way I would not believe had I not seen it with my own eyes.
I am not an expert on children but if The Daddy One and I are not the experts on our own children I am unsure who else is queuing up to take the job. If you accept the analogy that we are on a road less travelled and I was trying to use mainstream motorway methods to solve my problems you will see why I felt like I was thrashing around in the wooded undergrowth that separates the two.
The suggestion that I re-read Steve Biddulph really helped, attention deficit means he needs more attention and if he doesn't get it now look out in the teenage years.
Now, you can scroll back through the photos on the blog and form your own conclusions about the state of our tardis Edwardian terrace of a home and read what I have written before but basically what we did in 2010, with the help of Grandie, was have an epic clear out. The garage door that hardly opened because the garage was so full has gone, the garage is empty, so empty in fact that we can park our bus in it.
We don't use the loft other than for boxes from toys we will later ebay because they sell for more with the boxes.
Technology has really helped too. The sonos and media centre have removed the need for CDs and DVDs which were previously a source of mess.
And it has really helped. I know people who suffer from depression say a messy home can be very overwhelming and I do empathise with that feeling.
That doesn't mean that to get from front door to back you don't need to jump over: brio, duplo, wooden cherries and shoes but the theory goes that if you wanted to tidy away you could.
I read this quote - "We don't tidy up to have a tidy house. We tidy up so we can make a mess again." Take care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves
S has had a creative burst of her own today desiging and making a Barbie television from a tissue box with a slit in the top to raise and lower the picures. She is way ahead of me, at six I am sure I still thought tiny people lived inside the big box in the corner of the room! Her first screening is 'Sleeping Beauty' and she is drawing out each scene. We had to measure them to make sure they would fit the oval. I especially like the one of the baby in the cradle with the King and Queen and the fairies flying around up above.
At one point today S said to me "If you had a choice would you build a mansion or a hospital?" I have no idea where this question came from and whilst I was thinking she said "It is difficult isn't it? One would be nice for you and one would be nice for other people."
and later on she said "How is wind made?" I love our autonomous investigations.
Middlle Small and I stayed up late together last night and watched "Young Victoria" and earlier on in the evening he helped make a cheesecake.
NB The Star Wars book does not recomend petals but E wanted to add his own touch.
When Big Small (6) was the age Baby Small (2) is now Middle Small (4) was already a sitting up six month old and when Middle Small was the age Baby Small is now Baby Small was born. We having been talking maths of ages and how E is double O's age and has been on the planet twice as long and S is 3 times his age and how E+O=S (early algebra?) and how we need to remember that when sharing and adjust our expectations accordingly.
NB That "Baby" in between O's legs is S's Baby Robert. He's a berenguer and does look pretty real, he has fooled a few visitors.
All of our birth stories are here and are much more readable since Sandra Dodd kindly showed me how to put paragraph breaks into blogger
S was thrilled to see their pets. A dog and a guinea pig. I had a chat with The Mummy One in the family in between making brio track and lego space ships. When the rain finally stopped we headed to the zip wire park next to the beach for a run around.
In between showers The Daddy One has given our 70ft of privet hedge its annual hair cut.
Whilst I was clearing up this morning I found this picture that The Smalls friend who was over yesterday had drawn of our house and our staircase. The attention to detail of the banisters and metal stair rods is amazing, especially as he is only 5.
The new Sticker Dolly Dressing "Fancy Dress" arrived in the post today for S, I haven't seen her since she opened it. I forgot we had it on pre-order so it was a lovely surprise.
Am really starting to look forward to having our world back and visiting all the places we have avoided for the past month due to crowds and business. We have a fun list of Autumn gallivants lined up.
On Monday afternoon he set his heart on green shoes, on Tuesday I found some on ebay and today they arrived. Beautiful green lego kickers. E has discovered that actual lego fits on the fasteners, So, S has purple converse and O has kickers both brands of shoe I owned when I was 17! The Smalls bestest friends have been over for the morning, their arrival was delayed due to a fatality on the A27 at Arundel, I normally look at the news in the mornings but for some reason today I didn't. They came bearing gifts, some hand crafted playmobil money for E, a necklace for S and some puzzles for O. We landed up having an impromptu feast of scones, cream and jam. I wish they lived next door.
O was pretty humorous as we walked to the train station to meet our friends. Long term gas main road works at the double roundabout at the bottom of our road ensure stationary queueing traffic (which is why we decided walking would be quicker than driving.) At the open car windows he was saying "One, two, three, GO! No! No Go!" The motorists weren't laughing. I think he thought it was a Grand Prix formation. The large number of drivers who appear not to know the several possible shortcuts to avoid the queues tells you everything about why our little village could do with a bypass.
Always nice to spend some of the day with a fellow Home ed Mum, one day I will be able to eat a whole meal without interuption, I guess!
The Big Smalls are playing lego shops so beautifully right now and have just been to the allotment with The Daddy One, their relationship seems unscathed by the events of the day.
Ps Give the video a chance to get going - it is pretty rough and ready. The Daddy One is usually pretty handy with the camcorder but he recorded this on his phone as he had no idea his children would be chosen to go up on stage. S also gives home ed a great plug as well.
PPs I am not really in charge - To quote Bill Cosby
"I've seen the bosses job and I don't want it."