15 July 2011


The children are spending most of every day outside right now. And Martin being at home meant the hedge finally got its summer trim (now that the nests have fledged!) so the girls spent two days making nests and generally flinging the trimmings around until we got it all picked up.
The broccoli is coming on, the first courgettes are getting fatter, and the peas are delicious and not *quite* over yet. No sign of what happened to my poor little garlic plants though...
Oh yes, and the potatoes are *just* about to flower!
The garden is a complete jungle. I keep having to remind myself that I wanted it to be like that, and that each year it gets a little more productive in spite of the chaos, and that nettles and dandylions are much-maligned and under-used food sources. ;) The willow tree though, oh how happy I am that it is nearly big enough to climb! :)

The main current garden game though, is constructing elaborate rickety "playground" thingies. Part of me thinks it's such a healthy, fun, normal thing to make junkyard towers in the garden, climb them, fall off, rebuild in a different way. Part of me thinks that planks and old wardrobe doors and a stepladder and bits of rope are ideal toys, and that the world is totally crazy for not agreeing with me and letting all kids loose with tools and torn trousers and bloody knees and a sense of real adventure.
Part of me quakes at the thought of how many near misses they have in this healthy play. Part of me tries hard not to keep looking, or I'd want to go out there and make it all safe and nice and give them a talking to about safety.

In the Good Mummy stakes, I felt muffins for breakfast were a small gesture of apology for being out of action for so long. ;)
We have been actually Doing Things together this week. It's so nice. I mean, it's also nice that they have all got pretty good at occupying themselves while I've been really ill. But now it's nice to play cruise director just a *little* bit and suggest fun things and actually carry them through. This is the big ones making a map of fairy land. Rowan spent the entire time emptying glitter onto the carpet, her sisters, her feet... Martin chased. I supplied bits of collage material from my posessively hoarded crafting box. :)
We did watercolour painting another day. I could pick out which child did which with barely a moment's glance, they say such a lot about the girls and their approach to making art!
Yesterday and the day before Jenna had a sudden passion for maths, and started sorting shells and counting them, making up problems for herself in sorting and counting. She wrote herself a long page of hard addition problems, then set about working how many different ways she could make a sum add up to 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - and 10. Then she wanted me to help her make a chart to show how she had sorted them by shape and texture, then by colour. We spent nearly two hours straight making different bar charts and Venn diagrams. My goodness.
I look at her handwriting and am torn between "wow, she taught herSELF how to do that too!" and "aw she is such a Little Kid still, this must be Big Stuff to her". After I got tired of the shells I tried to encourage her to get an easy board game out instead (*I* wanted a break!) but of course she chose a grown-up one with a heavy sorting-and-classifying component LOL.
I won. Barely.

So, to today. They were all outside all morning, and I'm pleased to say I have no idea what they have been doing after an intensive two days of helping out all the time! They just all trooped through and informed me in passing that they are going upstairs to play dressing up because it's getting too warm out there.

Six months ago, I was worrying that I was leading too much, not giving them space to make their own discoveries, and *always* needed to play with them. A month ago, I was feeling like I was totally neglecting them and never able to assist when they asked me for help with things. Maybe we have a little middle ground here this month, or maybe it's All Good, all times and seasons. Anyhow. We're feeling contented, busy enough, and fairly peaceful.

(Though a lot of that might be down to Rowan sleeping 11 hours last night for the first time in, well, a long time!)

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