You are currently browsing the archive for the Family category.

Making tea and drinking it was WAY better than a temper tantrum.

And we began a balsa wood model, no photos by request, and painted with acrylic, and baked, and briefly looked at baking powder, water, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Oh, and fractions.



I’m most interested in the 6yo and the 2yo teaching each other to read. The 6yo really cares about the rules and gets cross when books do easy to read texts “wrong”.

We were supposed to go to the hospital for a tedious checkup thing today, and I was going to enliven it with a visit to the Museum of English Rural Life again, but the toddler has possible chicken pox so that was out. I cancelled my appointment, the sun suddenly came out, and this happened:

Digging up our Grow Your Own Potatoes bag.

Finding a recipe…

… and following it…

… and finally, serving it to their adoring and hungry mother. It was delish, actually, and there’s more dressing left over for later.

I was so impressed and pleased that I decided to dig out their corner and make it nice again:

L(8) did a science experiment. Actually, it’s ongoing. She’s testing the effect vinegar, water and air have on chicken bones. The answer is “not much after 18 hours.” We’ve been getting along much better in general, and I’m learning how to tie her physical and emotional and mental stuff together to create a new wholeness for her, an integrated self-experience, or something. That seemed fine until I wrote it down and now seems really woo-woo and poncy. She has also recently developed an interest in cooking, which is great.

E(almost 6) has been cooking up a storm and is very competent at separating eggs, peeling and chopping, pouring, and so on. Not so hot on measuring. She relies on L to use the microwave for her, because it’s very high up. She’s also ploughing on with learning to read, and writing a fair bit.

A(very nearly 2) is walking, talking, climbing, dressing herself (can’t manage socks yet), using the toilet or potty, counting to two and sometimes three, and learning more about names and how they work – she can now answer “what’s your name?” with her own, actual name.

I’ve been painting and selling paintings at another blog for a while and then I opened an Etsy Shop and it’s very exciting, for me and for the children – they find the process of painting, selling, using the money to buy more canvas, etc, novel and exciting. E in particular is very vocal about it.

“Stop shouting!” I shouted.


Anyway, then I said “Nobody is to speak to me ever again until I have had three deep breaths and I can’t see what you want me to look at because I AM CLOSING MY EYES.”

So I took three deep breaths with my eyes closed and held my fingers up to show the girls the count.

Then I was able to handle interacting with the on a reasonably normal level.

The tricky bit is that this was all in a public place – a department store where we had been trapped for NINE MILLION YEARS failing to achieve proper errands because people were hungry and needed a wee and had a sore throat and kept tripping up over the scooter we were dragging everywhere with us and… But I didn’t lose my temper properly, I flipped out and caught myself and took my deep breaths and sorted the errands and got us the hell out of there and FED US FOOD and gave the in-pain child painkillers.

Somewhere along the line I started to lose my fear of looking like a numpty and gained an ability to prioritise being a decent parent even if I looked silly in public.

Maybe there’s hope for us yet.


We played a game of Settlers of Catan today, with the seven-year-old, me, and the five-year-old teamed up with her daddy. The children grasped it pretty quickly and enjoyed it quite a lot. It took a long time, because we hadn’t played it in about eight years and the children had never played it before, but it went well and we want to do it again.

We also did some spellings with Bananagrams tiles, which worked much better than doing them with handwriting; handwriting is complicated enough for the seven-year-old that it’s no fun to add another thing to the mix.

The five-year-old read to me from the Reading Eggs books we got in a package, and tackled one she wasn’t totally confident with and got it all right. She won’t usually tackle reading she’s not sure she knows.

And it turns out that the seven-year-old can quickly, in her head, work out fractions of an hour. I had no idea and it will be really useful.

And the 21-month-old can breathe, which is brilliant, and count to two, and recite to five sometimes.

It has been a satisfying day.

We were very lax about recording the baby’s speech development, but a little while ago we sat down and tried to think of all the words she knew, and yesterday I wrote some more down. Here’s a record. For interest, her pronunciation is better than either of the other two at this stage, but the eldest (now 7) had far more complex sentences far younger. I might have accidentally duplicated some words, because they’re not in alphabetical order, so feel free to point that out.

From 17th March

Lide (slide)
limb (climb)
Wok (walk*)
Dump (jump)
Leep (sleep)
Wake (wake)
Beed (feed)10
Ead (read)
Go back (go back, return)
Ang (hang, as in up a coat)

Eema (Emer*)
Luce (Lucy)
Nea (Linnea)
Mum, Mama
Dad, Daddy
Ava (Ailbhe)
Me 20
from books
Jip (Chip)
Flop (Floppy)

Boy (child, baby)
Jair (chair)
Bayble (table)
Bow (bowl)
Bodgy (porridge) 30
Bed (bread)
Gake (cake)
bork (fork)
Dzhoo (shoe)
Way (away)
Boosh (boots)
Daw (door*)
Baw (ball) 40
Dep (step)
Deedee (DVD)
Dee (tree)
At (hat)
Gah (scarf)
Goat (coat)
Ouse (house) 50
Ba (bath)
Billow (pillow)
Monst (monster)
Hoss (horse)
Digah (tiger)
Nake (snake)
Gow (cow)
Baa (sheep) 60
Onk (pig, oink)
Jahf (giraffe)
Nyang (milk)
Ahm (arm*)
And (hand)
Dock (sock)
Doot (foot)
Leg 70
Bot (spot)
Maint (paint)
Mants (pants)
Ink (drink)
Baste (toothpaste)
Dow (doll)
Light 80
Not (snot)
Nigh (night)

Other words
heah (here*)
Bause (paused, of DVD etc)
Lou’ (loud)
Ti’ed (tired)
Noun (down) 90
Goad (cold)
Pease (please)

28 March
Shoda (shoulder)
Ebbow (elbow)
Go there 100
Over (turn over)
Boo (blue)
Onj (orange)
Noo bike (New bike)
Goota (scooter)
Lulu (Louis)
Leelo (Leo)
Wee 110
Goffee (coffee)

Lucy instead of Luce
Nappy instead of Mappy

(*native South-East-English people might think this isn’t babytalk)
Edit 29 March to add
gen (again),
‘mon (come on),
bate (plate),
Ninna (dinner),
Wobboo (wobble), 120
Gin (chin)
millllllk (milk)
digga (digger*)
dand (sand)
bush (push)
boota (computer)
baypa (paper) 130
digh (tights)
danda (sandal)
gahdah (garden)
og (frog)
angle/anga (hungry)
pup-pee (puppy)
appoo (apple)

I used to proudly announce that L, now 7, was really really clever and brilliant and super bright and way ahead of her age. And then I stopped.

I’m not sure why. It’s difficult to think about. I think it’s partially that she wasn’t reading fluently until she was almost six, in spite of reading at least a bit from age three. It’s partially that people can be quite nasty when one says one’s child is bright. Some of it is that she has never been as visible in her achievements as other children – she tends not to write cute angry notes, or do sums I can point at, or tell everyone everything she knows obsessively, like some other children. I’ve never had a nice clean progression of her academic achievements to draw on. When she’s consciously learning something she denies all knowledge of it – even what she used to know before she decided to learn more – until she reaches a level of competence she herself is comfortable with.

And the late reading thing really got to me; I can’t remember being unable to read, and I know for sure I was reading ok at three and very competently at four, though my handwriting was atrocious and got me into a lot of trouble until I was seven or so (after that it was just impossibly tiny).

Then I had E, now 5, and she wasn’t as obviously miles ahead of the curve, and is also temperamentally much easier in a billion ways, though less independent and outgoing and so on. And I got less and less comfortable with the comparison inherent in “gifted” as a description. E is gifted at being easy to get along with, but still hardly reads at all – almost no whole words – even though she writes a lot.

And A is 18 months and she’s more like L, though less extreme, and using words like “gifted” or even “clever” makes me very uncomfortable at the moment, because compared to other children – which is what “gifted” and “clever” do automatically, they are comparisons to the norm – I might be mislabeling them.

And I worry that they’re not gifted enough when I see other people’s children discovering the cure for cancer etc. Mine are discovering what happens when you soak all the cardboard pieces in a board game and send the plastic bits for a ride around the bathroom in the pirates’ dinghy.

It’s here. Which is frankly weird, because it’s JANUARY, hello? But nonetheless…We had a busy morning, in that not very busy way; it was low key and unrushed, but people seemed to be getting a lot done.

Reading maths puzzle books. I like that they don’t need to be written in, so we can hand them on or lend them to others.
Using acrylic paint to colour air-drying clay. I have no idea what the shapes are supposed to represent.
Pick up that green shovel and DIG, woman!

So I pottered around the garden recording signs of spring.

No idea what’s going to surface here. Tulips and daffodils and crocuses and things. The thing is, it’s JANUARY and the place is bursting with little green shoots.
Fuzzy buds on the apple tree.
And on the fruit bushes. Fruit twigs, really.
JuniperJasmine berries. Wasn’t that a Body Shop fragrance?
I say again, January.


We’ve had a good time lately. We did lots with fractions – L has been adding fractions in her head for a while without being clear on how she did it, and we did it on paper so she could see what was going on. We finally made it back to the library and got some new books, and somewhere there’s a diagram of clementine segment skins under a microscope. Pocketmoney maths is big but complicated.

And we had haircuts, to cover up the look of the most recent self-cutting attempts. I don’t much mind them cutting their own hair, any more; my biggest objection was when one of them cut the other’s hair, but since I cut my own hair, and theirs, I don’t care much if they do it too.

But it’s nice that I didn’t have to, this time. And they all enjoyed the unaccustomed use of a hairdryer.

« Older entries