On Tuesday, Talia had her two year check. It was a bit twilight-zone-like. The health visitors are lovely, and enthusiastic about my sweet family, but Talia was really not sure about being in a play area without her sisters (she kept burying her face in me to hide from the other children, and taking me to the door to see if her sisters were still outside). Poor funny little fraggle.
We'd planned to head to Nottingham in the afternoon, maybe visit an art gallery or just take a wander around a less familiar place. We've never really taken the children in to Nottingham city centre before, only to specific places away from the shopping areas. Our first stop was lunch, followed by the market square where the children wanted to play in the fountains in spite of the freezing weather. We'd left their bag of spare clothes at home so we improvised a bit and spend a small amount in the Primark sale to make up suitable warm dry outfits they could change in to when they came out of the water!
As soon as they were dry and wrapped up warmly, the sun came out! They had such a wonderful time in the water, though, and it was another time I was so glad we could find a way to say "yes". Lots of people stopped to watch them play and laugh, and almost every single one smiled to see them.
We couldn't remember exactly how far away the art gallery we wanted to visit would be, and the children weren't wanting to walk far, so we visited The Token House (my favourite quirky little gift shop and fixture of my own childhood) where the children found hearts made from shells, beautiful boxes, reels of ribbon, soft fuzzy toy animals, a gorgeous map book, and rainbow egg cups. We rather wished we could afford to bring it all home with us!
Martin remembered how to get to the gallery from there, just around the corner, so off we went. There was an exhibition of paintings which was rather poop-themed, a giant latex alien-bug creature, some post-apocalyptic dioramas, a papier mache temple with a golden cat-goddess head inside, and an actual Cat Bus filled with squashy rainbow coloured cushions to sit on.
The beans were ready for another drink by then, so we relocated to the cafe inside Waterstones. After chocolate muffins and warm milk we washed hands, looked at a book about tropical fish and another about big cats, and went up and down the escalators (which have their mechanisms on display under glass).
Then back to the car, through the main shopping centre!
On our walk we found street musicians, and a lot of beautiful painted elephants. The children were particularly keen on one inspired by the rose window at York Minster, and I loved the one decorated in the style of Japanese lacquer-work. :) Morgan was interested in the artist's descriptions, and played hunt-the-signature. Rowan liked the brightest colours the best (she liked one painted all over with sweets, and one with iconic English birds and mammals).
Wednesday, we were all so tired we opted for the quietest day possible, which is never really all that quiet. The children spent a good couple of hours "duelling" (shouting Harry-Potter-accurate spells at each other brandishing knitting needles and chopsticks), and playing an elaborate game in which they were sneaking food from the house elves (ie my kitchen cupboards) and trying to get it past me and up the stairs as I in turn tried very hard not to see (or laugh at their antics).
Talia was so fascinated with her new melamine Elmer mug she insisted on almost hourly cups of tea (alternating between chamomile, peppermint, and english breakfast with milk and sugar!) and so tired from her very busy day that she breastfed and dozed quite a bit of the rest of the time.
The Sylvanians and the Ostheimer mummy and baby wolf shared the doll house nicely.
We painted. Had showers. Pretended to look after Pygmy Puffs. And watched Star Trek (TNG).
The house started off relatively tidy in the morning, and now beautiful evidence of life and living and learning is, well, overflowing somewhat. It took me hours yesterday afternoon to write this, with breaks to facilitate for children, and fetch snacks, and read stories, and hand over the laptop for Jenna to do some design work, and pick up the tired unhappy toddler again, and spell out a few words, and find a silver pen for Morgan. It's taking a good while this morning to edit.
This is what unschooling looks like, for us, right now, at these ages and stages. Lots of "yes". Lots of trying to keep up. Lots of running late. Lots of laughter and art and colour and snuggling on the sofa and watching the rain. :)