Play

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

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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”.

For ages twelve and up. This is our second attempt, since Emer is not quite six. It finished over an hour after bedtime.

Kaminarimon

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A sense of scale

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Snow

I had to call a child in from the garden at eight o’clock this morning to put some trousers on. Snow is irresistible, apparently. Soon I’ll have to call (dressed) children in for lunch. I expect protests.

Inspired by Susie Derkins, they have made a snow woman. I’m glad they started so early because most of the snow has already melted away, and only where it has been gathered in lumps is it sticking around.

They’ve broken icicles from the outdoor tap, too.

We might have a look at Miss Frizzle’s snow episode (Weather, not snow) later, if I can find the DVD and remember which one it is. Tinderbox told us about The Magic School Bus and we really like them.

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?
House!
I say again, January.

Honestly.

I’d like, after the slog of illness, Christmas, New Year, more illness, DIY, etc, to get back into blogging.

I thought I’d start by getting a little more up to date.

This week, we started Monday by doing Bananagrams before breakfast; the seven-year-old (L) mainly sees words I don’t, and vice versa, and the five-year-old (E) was fascinated by how many words she could make by going through the alphabet and sticking each letter in front of AT. It all petered out before I won, which was good.

We did some sewing. It turns out that E is a natural at cross-stitch. She also made a dress for a wooden spoon doll, hemmed and all. I sewed a sort of dreadful buttonhole around the neckhole, which may or may not stop it from fraying. I can’t tell. I’m not a good sewer (er…)

We made a menu for their café, where they priced things very oddly, especially E. Thirty cupcakes for the cost of one piece of cake, whole raw peppers on the menu, that sort of thing. But it depended on what we had in the play food baskets, apparently, and that was that.

In the afternoon E invited N from two doors down over to play, and they played separately but in the same room for a longish time. Meanwhile L was doing jigsaws – she’s sticking to really, really easy ones, and I’m not sure what she’s doing with them, but it involves telling stories. L has grandiose animation feature film plans. We Shall See; she has roped an adult friend in to help, so you never know what could happen.

Today we got up and tidied frantically, which ended up being great. E got breakfast out for us, which was lovely because looking at the kitchen before I tidied it made me feel completely stopped. The children made lunch (potato salad and tuna sandwiches) and sort of cleared up afterwards. They got out the air-drying clay to make iceberg models (?!) and later did a lot with Lego. There was reading. And writing. I can’t remember which day they spent ages with L teaching E how to write “POO-BUMS” but it took ages and the lesson, well, stuck.

Part of our evening pickup involves gathering all the piles of paper, sorting them into used and unused, and returning the unused to the paper drawer. I’m not sure how long this will continue before I get completely tired of it. We did find E’s map of the Pacific ring, so that was nice.

And the 18-month-old (almost)? She’s fab. She’s talking, more and more, though I don’t think many people other than me and the other two children understand her, most of the time. She dances. She hides and makes jokes. She’s very good at stacking toys and shapesorters. She, like her sisters before her, likes to be naked and takes all her clothes off at every opportunity, leading to… well, I’m glad we replaced the carpets with laminate. Very glad.

And I’m still learning huge amounts. If I could learn how to go to bed at a sensible time and get enough sleep, instead of Internet FOREVER, I’d be golden.

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.

Back to school

I almost got up and started in on housework this morning, but I heard the children playing a complicated game downstairs and forced myself to stay in bed until 10am. I drank my coffee and listened to the radio, though I can’t now say what was on it, and re-read a Georgette Heyer very slowly. Then I got up and did housework and child-cleaning and got them out to storytime at the library and so on.

It turns out that the game they were playing this morning, and again after dinner this evening, was Homeschool, and they want me to correct their homework in the morning.

Rightio so.

Emer is learning make-believe much faster than Linnea did, and it’s because she watches Linnea doing it. She copies what Linnea does – hard-legged plastic animals prickle their way up my shin and down my thigh and across the vast plain of my abdomen. Emer says her animals stop for mama milk; Linnea tells me to stop talking and be a lake.

Emer went from half a dozen words in daily use to thirty or more in less than a fortnight. She’s experimenting with little two-word sentences. She has hauled out all her old words (she used to learn a word, use it for a week or so, then put it away while she learned a new one) and is working on some more.
Linnea likes to read signs, when we’re out, and responds incredibly badly to criticism – correction or criticism (sometimes it’s hard to work out which I’ve perpetrated) can result in a total lockdown and refusal to attempt further academic-type work.
Emer doesn’t always want to learn what Linnea wants to teach. Linnea is learning to cope with this.

Learning, obv.

Mainly, learning stuff I didn’t know my kid could do. Like rearranging the jumbled letters of words to get the right spellings. She did “apple” for a friend recently.

And she counts. And plays complicated role-play games with numbers. And draws eyes with pupils, irises, and lashes. She repeats words accurately when asking strangers to explain themselves (today’s word was “concentrating” as in “Look! Look at my am concentrating!”) and likes to help women dress and undress their (usually sleeping) babies.

The baby kid – minnaun, máis é do thoil é – is learning to signal aye and nay, and said “Hello” to me today. It’s a word she hears often enough, I suppose.

“There was food in the kitchen of our rocket, and there was plates, and a table, and a bathroom, and a other room, and a dining room. Oh no! You agotten your space boots! There! Now, Emer’s space boots. There! There. That’s a only thing for a frog.”

Dressed in saggy, soggy nappy, and a sleeveless vest (undershirt for Americans): “You watcha me do my ballet?” Then she held her arms out in fourth position and her legs were – well, sort of like a plie from second position but with the left foot raised, very Indian Dance looking. Then she did roly-poly arms, then a drumming move. “My have two – three moves!” she declared.

We cruelly made her have a new nappy anyway.

In The Night Garden is a new CBeebies TV show, made by Ragdoll, who also made the Teletubbies. It is entirely incomprehensible, impenetrable, and dreamlike, and Linnea adores it so much that I have managed to find time to have her watch it four times in a day. Twice.

It contains the phrase “Isn’t that a pip?” which is apparently good, though in my lexicon to give someone the pip is bad.

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