30 June 2009

Morgan sings:

"Baa baa bwack eep,
yes sir, yes sir,
fwee bags full.
One for the dame anda ittw boy...
Baa baa bwack eep,
ONE TWO FWEE bags full!!"

I love it when she sings to Rowan. Her language has come on enough that you can tell what all of the songs are supposed to be, and her whole body belts out those words with love and passion - every song is a gift from her deepest soul! Watching them is incredible, the love they have for each other and the way they have picked up every gesture and expression of mine in caring for them!

They attachment-sibling each other!

29 June 2009

Book Sharing Monday: Dancing Nadine

One of our fab charity finds, an old school reading book that we have really fallen in love with! It's a 1970s Magic Circle book from Ginn. I remember the series actually, though I'm young enough to have been in school when these were firmly out of educational fashion.

So, the story, deceptively straightforward: Nadine loves to dance. She dances for a new friend:

"She does a dance of the grass""of birds""and of trees"...

When she leaves her new friend behind, he discovers his own dance. Charming, simple, perfect in every way. Jenna can't read this book often enough!

28 June 2009

My week in pictures...

What a lovely week we have had. :) In no particular order...

Another post-partum mummy pic, albeit in the guise of a much more attractive sleeping baby picture.

A letter from Jenna to her grandma Clark, still waiting on news about further cancer treatment. She asked me to write for her to copy, and this is how her handwriting was. I was so shocked at yet another sign of how fast she is growing. In other news the same amazing child read the first page of The Sun Egg to me, getting almost every word right - and I know she can't memorise THAT much text. She also swam the width of the swimming pool on Saturday!

Clothes swap party goodies for the cost of a donation to charity. Can't wait for the next one (thanks Jeni)!

Lettuces, yay for home grown...
Button box play!

This ancient rocking chair was gifted to us by a family at church. Oh how I love seeing my children use and enjoy something that has been treasured by so many children before them.

Life is so so good!

Solstice celebrations

More assorted pictures from the turning point of the year.

Did you miss me?

Ten days without an entry must be my record for the whole time I've been blogging! Once again, just too busy to turn the computer on at the moment. I don't know where the days go, but the summer weather is keeping us outside from dawn til dusk a fair number of days. Other fun things too, but will leave that to the mega picture post I'm going to try to get up in a minute.

Also, have maybe been avoiding putting anything new up in emotional self-defence. I don't want to talk about my kitten!! :( Charlie (yes, the children named him) had to be relocated after our cat tried to kill him and then refused to come back inside the house AT ALL until he was gone. She wouldn't even come in to eat! Insecure creature - anyway, she was here first.

So we said a very very tearful farewell to Charlie. The children didn't seem to mind much, though Morgan keeps saying, "Where Charlie gone? Charlie come back ME house!!" I am heartbroken.Oh goodness, I'm too tired to think of all the things I want to say. Apart from this: the day the news was full of reports about health and safety in schools, I snapped this picture from the other end of the garden without the children seeing me. *grins* Health and safety be damned!

18 June 2009

All smiles...

Today is a brand new day.And we have charity shop books (yay).Also, I have adopted another cat. Actually, a tiny quivering ball of kitten, to be precise. It was found by some teenagers we know, and seems to have ended up living here, because I am a sucker and it was clearly out of its tiny wits.

I have no idea what our other (evil, needy, insane) cat will think. Or my husband, come to that!

In fact, I have no idea about a lot of things - including what gender the thing is because it is currently a little heap of terrified ginger fur under my computer and it won't come out for anything. If my computer dies, we can safely blame the new addition to the family for peeing on the wires...

17 June 2009

Itinery for a really really bad day

- Cry on woman from income support who won't let me talk about our claim for Martin's parental leave.

- Argue with doctor about vaccinations.
- Have doctor worry about baby's head circumference because the tape measure slipped.
- Refuse to continue to argue with doctor about vaccinations.
- Remove two children from doctor's cabinet where they are unwrapping sharps.
- Spend rest of appointment fending off Morgan's requests for milk.

- Try to do shopping with two children who have been shut in GP surgery for over an hour. With last £3 to take us through to monday.
- Nearly lose Morgan, who runs out of shop and right into front of moving vehicle.
- Get down the street, in tears from fright, let go of octopus-struggling toddler who doesn't understand what the fuss is about, only to have her walk out into the road.
- Grab toddler and practically throw onto pavement as car turns into road and nearly hits her. Second near miss in under ten minutes.
- Lose Jenna in someone's driveway, where she is disassembling their beautiful white pebbled path.
- Nearly lose BOTH children because they are trying to reach a foxglove before I realise what it is and forbid this activity.
- Nearly leave Jenna behind because she is now trying to poke a wallflower and I am crying again and don't notice she has fallen behind.

- Get back inside house, insist on naptime, take a break for a while. Drink fennel tea (yuck).
- Cry on woman from council because housing benefit claim has been cancelled due to income support delay. Have children wake up and go crazy so I can't hear what she's saying anyway.
- Send children outside, cry on different woman from income support, who agrees that we ought to have been paid by now and she will sort it all out - on monday.
- Problem solve row between Jenna and nextdoor's child.
- Clear up (clean) cat litter that Morgan has discovered.
- Problem solve row between Jenna and nextdoor's child.
- Fix bike that Morgan has enterprisingly tried to take apart.
- Problem solve row between Jenna and nextdoor's child.
- Remove Morgan from side of swing frame, where she has climbed and got stuck.
- Problem solve row between Jenna and nextdoor's child. Shut own children back inside house to prevent further shouting of "I'm not your friend any more!"

- Hold screaming baby for one hour. Drink fennel tea (yuck).
- Cook tea with storecupboard random ingredients and find it is inedible.
- Feed family cereal for tea. Try to get screaming toddler in bed.
- Hold screaming baby for another hour. Drink more fennel tea (yuck).
- Look around at mess and realise that nothing can be done about it without a flamethrower and biohazard suit.
- Put screaming baby down on floor and retreat to computer with cold fennel tea (double yuck) and hope that silence upstairs means children and husband have stopped shouting at each other.

- Next step suggestions anyone? :S

16 June 2009

Today's artwork: watercolour experiment

Walking to the park to play and collect long grasses and clover...Painting set up ready to go. Diluted watercolours mixed in pretty muted shades (yeah yeah OK so I wanted to do this one for me lol).Results of playing. Mine.And Jenna's. She has written on it: seed, petal, leaf and stem. The flowers are roses and buttercups.

Had to share...

...this picture of a bat by Jenna. She truly astonishes me EVERY SINGLE DAY. :)

And look at this little munchkin. Lovingly knitted baby clothes an added extra cuteness...In other news, have been to the park, baked bread, painted with grasses and flowers, played farms, done some writing (Jenna had an important letter she needed to write, she told me - to grandma it turned out) and worked on some surprises for fathers day. It is gorgeously sunny and the garden is calling to me but I'm still busy looking for someone else official to rant at about the Badman thing...

15 June 2009

Parental memo...

...try not to swear...

...or laugh...

...or cry...

...when your beautiful blonde two-year-old daughter climbs up to the top of the bathroom cabinet before anyone else is awake...

...and finds the scissors!

She is now a little pixie boy, and there's not a thing I can do about it! Well, you can see what she thinks of it. She thinks it is very funny and clever. "Me cut hair done it own!!" I'm still a little shocked, and in mourning for the pigtails - though I suppose they were false advertising... *sigh*

I just know we're going to be stopped by at least five people in town today to ask what happened to it, and I'm going to writhe with parental guilt the first time and get thoroughly cross by the third!

When Jenna came down she just couldn't stop laughing. "Don't worry," she said, "it will grow back!"

Stay calm, breathe, it will all be OK. At least she didn't cut her ear off...

Book Sharing Monday: Butterfly Children

Jenna has been interested in life-cycles for a few weeks now, and this was part of the big Amazon order recently... Another really gorgeous book!The illustrations are perfect and the theme is just wonderful for all through spring and summer (there's always a butterfly theme around here anyway lol). I wish I'd got this one sooner as I like it much better than the Story of the Wind Children.As usual with these typically Waldorf-y stories, the lovely pictures are really the most important thing. The story is more sound in this than many (many) others, but I still find myself telling more from the pictures and editing the style and grammar of the language as I go... I think these particular ones are old rather than translations, but anyhow!

If you already have the Story of the Root children and Pele's New Suit, this should definately be your next Waldorf book purchase.

14 June 2009

Wet-on-wet painting and waldorf thoughts

Having finished Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer, I have been slowly ruminating what I read there about children's art. I will freely admit that I pulled faces at a lot of the Anthrosophy etc though I think generally I would recommend this book (it would just be down the list somewhere lol) but nowhere did it bug me quite so much as in the creativity section. Now why would that be? ;)

I think the Waldorf views on children and art are very, um, pretty. I think using this method strictly you will get a small number of "quality experiences" and some very pretty pictures. If you have a naturally very dreamy and reflective child who follows instructions carefully then maybe you won't get annoyed... Here is the rub.

I believe in children messing about freely with the materials. Sometimes (when I'm in a really good mood and can stifle my inner control freak) they ought to be allowed to mix up all the colours and make brown. Sometimes they should be able to draw on a big stack of paper recycling and just scribble and mess about with colour and scrunch the paper up - even when they are nearly five (and above). Sometimes, in short, we should stop looking for the product! Physical OR spiritual!

I rejected right off the notion of only giving one colour to paint with for three months at a time. This might "immerse them in the colour experience" and it might even teach them to respect their own work and take their time, but even for a tiny this HAS to be frustrating their natural impulse to grow up on their own timetable, to develop in the way of their own choosing.

And then, I told myself that if I'm going to reject something totally with no evidence that it's harmful, I have to at least give it a chance first. So we did wet on wet painting, with one colour a week. This week, with those two colours together. I wasn't going to give it a whole season (lol too impatient myself I guess) but we have really loved it!Alongside screwing up bits of scrap paper, turning out hundreds of crayon drawings of whatever we see fit, using all the crayons at once, playing with felt pens and covering ourselves with stripes and spots, and basically making Steiner turn in his grave I suspect. My newly incarnated children (sorry, sorry, I can't help the occasional sarcasm) develop in ways that ignore every book I've ever read. So as usual this area of this book gets a resounding Yes AND a resounding No.

On the positive side I've been reading a lot about developmental milestones through art, and how children's drawing styles progress through recognisable stages, and the stages she provides are pretty accurate and very interesting to know about. The girls have art folders in which I keep each new step and some examples of what they are interested in doing in between, which is something I picked up from my artistic-creative-teacher mum.I think we'll carry on being sort-of-waldorf-style kind-of-unschooling with child-led parental nosiness and co-operative-but-with-rules-low-coercion discipline. Invent your own label week!

13 June 2009

How my garden grows...

With spinach and broccoli and lettuces...And baskets of muscial instruments and beds of nettles and assorted weeds and wildflowers and children on swings...Tiny irridescent green spiders and big brown voracious slugs and stripey long grasses and lots of mud... Creativity and joy and movement and colour.My first apple in four years, appearing on the lazy apple tree!
Space for climbing and jumping and playing. Space for family and friends and time together.Washing on the line, colours in the sun, a thousand little stories of everyday life...Our own little patch of heaven. Food for the kitchen and the heart.