ailbhe: (Default)
The house was a pit and a disaster, so we left it behind. We stopped at Elle's Baguettes for sandwiches ) and then posted some party invitations at the post office, and then I cycled us in to town and out again to ERAPA.

We went down by the river ) and then we arrived early for the home ed group. We had our lunch and the first people to arrive were people I already knew and so it was lovely and pleasant.

Everyone had a lovely time until Linnea came up to me sulking. I was non-pushily nice to her for a few minutes and extracted the fact that she doesn't want to play that game because it's "horrid," a word which, as Susan might say, "real children never say." Further queries elicited the information that the game was robbers and cops. And she wasn't allowed to be a cop, apparently.

Emer found a doll as large as herself to play with, which was disconcerting to catch out of the corner of my eye.

So Linnea didn't mind much when we had to leave early, and we arrived in John Lewis in time to get both children fitted for new sandals. It was a bit of a production. ) and Rob phoned as my transaction was ending and I told him where we were.

So I brought everyone back to the Parents' Room and while Linnea was sitting on the loo Rob came and found us. And we talked briefly about dinner and I made a couple of phonecalls to sort out money and we went out somewhere Linnea remembered going for Freya's fourth birthday, a little over a year ago.

They had a good, cheap children's menu so that was lovely. I had a brief interaction with neighbouring diners, because I am an interfering kind of person. )

After we had finished our meals - during which Emer demonstrated that spaghetti-twirling is easy really, but eating very hot food is hard - we had to cycle home without lights. Well, I had a rear light. I didn't enjoy that. Rob and I both had hi-vis vests on but he'd forgotten his lights and my front dynamo-light wasn't working. We must look at that soon.

Emer fell asleep on the way home and is in bed asleep even now. Linnea did some of her restaurant-kiddie-pack puzzles while Rob made up her bed and now she's gone to bed too.

My turn next.
ailbhe: (Default)
I'm going to post the following review of several books and flashcard sets on Amazon:

"I bought these for my embryo and read them every morning and night but when she was born she was unable to speak, let alone read, and we had to use [randomly selected set in the same category] to teach her to read. Now she is two and loves to read what she calls her "baby books" but most of her reading is other MORE MATURE AND CHALLENGING texts YOU THICKOS."

It'll fit right in.

(We're leaning towards Peter and Jane, because they are small and cheap).
ailbhe: (Default)
This morning I woke from horrible dreams about being alone and naked in Syria trying to attend a political meeting. I drank some orange juice and some coffee and got dressed and stumbled around walking into things and eventually took Linnea and went out.

We went to the post office and bought stamps for two letters, and then to the train station, where I bought a ticket for the train and as I pulled my card out of the ticket machine the train pulled into the station. So we raced up the hill and onto the platform and got onto the train with seconds to spare.

We went to Eclectic Games first and bought two copies of Chocolate Fix, and then we went to Strange Sweets and bought 200g of horrible coloured things for Linnea and 100g of peanut brittle for me. Then we had a look around the pound shop and then went to Argos for a TV bracket. We were less than halfway home when Linnea had a sudden need for the loo so we sprinted to Moondogs, crashed in, gasped "we urgently require your facilities," crashed through, and got there just in time. So then we had to stay for coffee, and Linnea opened her game, and she did seven puzzles before Rob and Emer came to join us. Rob brought the mei tai so V who makes the cakes took a pattern from it to make her own, and then Rob, Linnea, Emer and I left for the builders' merchants.

We bought plasterboard and nails. It's not the highest grade of plasterboard, but it's to go in the cupboard-spaces not the room-spaces so it will be ok. We really need to get at least the cupboard parts finished as quickly as possible. After we got home, we ate, and Rob and I lifted the plasterboard into the attic; we had to take the ladder out to get it up, and I really, really hurt my hands, but it's up there.

The lack of sleep and pain in my hands caught up with me and I came over all queer and PMS-faintish and took to my bed, after the first sheet of plasterboard was up. So Rob and the children had dinner and I languished.

I'm resurfacing a bit now. While I was languishing I had a horrible, horrible almost-nightmare about an entirely textual pornographic story, which was very nasty and meant I felt very queasy when I woke up.
ailbhe: (Default)
around the tree, out of the rabbit hole, and off goes she.

Forty times without stopping.
ailbhe: (Default)
Linnea spent the morning using her new computer screen (no longer hooked up to the high-mounted telly) and doing maze after maze after maze; I assume she's done them all before because she makes very few errors208, but because I can't stand the TV screen for the computer I haven't watched most of her edubuntu use.

Emer did building and reading and getting dressed209.

When they were both finally ready to leave the house at the same time, after I'd done two loads of laundry et cetera et cetera et cetera, we went out and got the train to town. And they were lovely while waiting for the train210 and held hands together beautifully walking through the station211. We stopped off to check out meal deals in Boots and M&S and found that Boots had no non-dairy sandwiches and M&S had just changed the rules of the meal deal and confused their staff terribly. But the children waited beautifully while I got that sorted out212.

We brought the food to Eclectic Games and bought a copy of Uno213; Becky wasn't there so we left and ate our lunch on a bench on Broad Street. We could hear the pancake races while we were eating but they were over by the time we had finished.

While we ate we listened to a busker playing a piano accordion, and Linnea ran over to give him all my cash, which was about 38p. She was very pleased with herself214.

Then we went to try shoes on, because Linnea's outgrowing her current ones. The queue wasn't very long and there was an interesting thing on the telly while we waited215. The assistant was very helpful and we got canvas runners, leather Mary Janes, and wellies, all for less than the cost of Emer's patent leather Mary Janes. Hurrah for waiting until the sales for your feet to grow216.

On the way home, Emer and I saw some crocuses217, and after we got home Freya delivered a party invitation for the second Sunday in March218. Linnea apologised for her frankly hideous behaviour and I apologised for getting cross, so we were friends again219. And Emer had a nap220.

Now we are going to eat a small dinner and then go out for a pancake party. With any luck, tomorrow will be better.
ailbhe: (Default)
It snowed in the night179, and when Rob left this morning he woke me to say that both children were sound, sound asleep. I adjusted my position (which had been in don't-wake-Emer crampy style) and had a half-hour of quality snooze before Emer woke me up again, but this time, not with coughing or crying or scratching, but with a big grin and a demand that I drink my coffee.

So I had a mug of coffee in bed180 and she found a folded sheet of paper which she said was a plane, and we threw it around181, and then she found Little House in the Big Woods in a basket of books and she immediately said "Yéya book!" and took it to Linnea.

Emer had been able to see the roofs of houses from the bedroom window by standing on my bed. "Look! Sow a all de how-heh!" So she told Linnea it was snowing, but Linnea was more interested in reading her book (she still officially can't read, and stopped as soon as she spotted me). Then I followed Emer in to the girls' bedroom and we crowded around the window to look out at the back garden - and I saw mould growing black on the rubber seal. Ew. Vinegar has cleaned it up nicely182.

While Linnea and Emer had a little wash I hung the big red rug over the three-cornered clothesline in the garden, and that was how I found the rain. So we won't be making snow angels today. Since Emer was coughing all night (woke slightly more than hourly) and Linnea is coughing a little, that's ok. We have no visitors scheduled, so we can have a pyjama day. None of us is dressed yet.

Rob walked to work, bringing two spare inner tubes for the trike with him; hopefully he can put them on today and cycle home.

And Linnea and I are going to draw up a timetable for tomorrow. I need a website with lots of pictures of clock faces. She can't tell digital time yet - it doesn't register with her as a clock.

Min dotter

Sep. 15th, 2006 07:35 pm
ailbhe: (running)
Emer is the peacefullest, snuggliest, snooziest baba that ever lived. Except for the bit in the evenings. Today she started by spitting up a huge amount on the bus home from ERAPA, at about 5 pm, and since then she's blurped a few more times, nasty sticky white gooey blurp.

She's not happy. And every moan and whimper grates on my nerves like a spoon in a badly glazed teacup. Rob is holding her, because one reason she's so lovely during the day is that I carry her in the sling everywhere; it's the only way to cope with Linnea around, really. (2-4 hours of slinging is normal now, in the ring sling, and I even sussed feeding her in the sling the other day, and I can replicate it at will. I slide her sideways and do it rugby-hold).

Rob tried walking her in the garden, which helped until the novelty wore off. Now he's holding her in the library with BBC Radio 3 on.

The day went badly; Rob woke on time, went downstairs with Linnea (who had wanted a feed from me at 6:30-ish), and then went back to sleep for two hours. So she didn't get a proper breakfast, and I ended up lying stuck in bed because I'm not very mobile when lying down yet; my hips still stick at me, and I assumed that he must be having some sort of important Linnea-crisis because normally he'd come back upstairs after he gave Linnea her breakfast and I gave Emer hers.

Anyway, eventually I managed to roll onto my side and get out of bed and made everyone eat toast, and we got out to the bus. Bus trips with a Rob who keeps zoning out are interesting too; we missed stops a few times and stuff like that. But we got to ERAPA in the end and it was pleasant; I walked around holding Emer, and sat and drank tea, and met people (*wave*), and talked obstetrics, and Rob followed Linnea around a bit, and sat around, and had a nap on the grass.

Linnea didn't like her packed lunch - nor did I, most of it was quite unlike what we'd normally pack, but fridge-pickings were apparently slim - so she had a sort of mini-series of mini-tantrums on the way home. I did get her to eat some more from the lunchbox, which helped, and then she fell asleep on the bus. She also ate a reasonable dinner, though not as good a one as I would expect her to normally. I know she's going to wake for a night feed tonight. She's going to be hungry.

So Emer has a tummyache and Linnea will be hungry. It's going to be another long night.

Tomorrow I hope to send Rob and Linnea to the allotment in the morning, and then when the library opens we can all four go there to do a book swap. Rob needs to put a new lock on the shed on the allotment, and maybe remove the old one if he has time. A lot will depend on how cooperative Linnea is being, which is why it has to happen in the morning.

We had so much unaccustomed rain that we ended up using disposables all day today. Bah.
ailbhe: (working)
I have two blogs - I think they're blogs - in their infancy, which may end up nothing or may be fascinating mines for semi-precious stones of wisdom. No idea.

[ profile] whoteacheswhom and [ profile] mamahastwo are about home education and tandem feeding.

(While I'm plugging syndicated feeds, I rather like [ profile] mydadsacommunis even though the title was too long for an lj username).
ailbhe: (Default)
I was talking to a friend of mine who happens to be a secondary-school teacher. We met in the library. In the course of normal conversation (she's off to Prague at the weekend), I mentioned that the Tadpole will need a passport form signed, and that the list of people allowed to sign Irish passport forms is very short and doesn't include teachers, and she talked about a student whose British passport form she had been asked to sign. Only the form wanted her to sign a statement that she knew the child's parents, and she didn't, because they never, ever came to parents' evenings.


I made a remark along the lines of "What hope does he have?" and she said that yes, he is constantly in trouble, and his parents are often summoned to meetings with the head or the year-head or whoever.
 The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall
 cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable
   (a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
   (b) to any special educational needs he may have, either 
       by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

I quoted that to her, and she didn't get it. I clarified: "It's the parents' responsibility to ensure the child gets an education, even if they get someone else to do it." She didn't seem to see how that tied in to the child's behaviour, though.

I was and remain baffled. It's obvious to me that this child's parents have seriously damaged his/her chances of ending up either educated or in a position to educate him/herself. Is this really so obscure?
ailbhe: (bigbed)
I went to bed about 11 last night, got to sleep about 12:30. Tadpole is lively. Then Linnea woke shortly after six. So we were all up earlier than we'd like. However, it was cooler than last week at breaskfast time, which was a relief.

About 9:30 it became obvious that Linnea was exhausted, and we went to bed in my room. In the end we got about an hour's sleep from 10-11. I feel fabulous and Linnea is transformed.

She enjoyed her weekend away. Didn't miss me a bit, which means we must be doing something right, and was pleased to see me when she got back, but not as pleased as she was to see the trike. Her sentences are clearer than they were on Friday - she's grown some more grammar. And on Friday we were having salad, and she said "I can't eat the rice."

"It's not rice, it's couscous."

"I can't eat the couscous eeether."

I thought that was impressive, but I'm not sure why. I think it was the use of "either" but I have no idea what that development represents. Anyway, she has also started answering "How are you?" with "My's fine," which is cute and useful, because a huge number of adults randomly ask toddlers the social non-question "How are you?" and I've seen Linnea and other toddlers hopelessly confused by it. I'm sure I've asked it myself, inflicting needless bewilderment on toddlers talking to me on the phone or whatever.

On Friday we did gluing and sellotaping with boxes and lollipop sticks. She's not keen on sellotape; it's more difficult to use than glue, though it does produce more instant results. She has expressed some interest in making things for the baby, or for Dave, but never follows through :)

Today I think we mainly need to assemble all the library books she took out the other week and get the bus to the library. I can't wait until I can walk again. By the end of the day, seperating my knees enough to climb the stairs hurts like bejeepers (what useful swearwords I know when I try!) and lying down doesn't help much. "Mammy take a baby out a you tummy now!" as Nea says.
ailbhe: (Default)
Linnea seems to be having a day off. She woke in a good mood, but refused to eat even the breakfast foods she asked for, having milk instead (incidentally, I like sitting beside the jasmine in the morning cloud-filtered sunshine feeding a toddler who is getting visible comfort from it and who can say "thank you" afterwards. We must trim the jasmine more often so it flowers more). She was then a bit whiny and subdued, but refused bread and butter, bread and jam, porridge, bananas - all her usual foods, nu-uh. I suggested television, and she was pleased by that; she's sitting quietly watching telly now.

Soon I'll try to feed her some solid food again, and take her to the co-op and the library on the bus. We need to swap books over, and I want her to have another go at buying something; she's done handing-over-money-and-giving-me-the-change only once before, as far as we know. She seemed to enjoy it. She also likes giving the librarian the books to get checked out, though actually letting go of the books can pose problems.

I'm hoping that the time vegetating in front of the telly will rejuvenate her enough to go out. It's very unusual behaviour for her unless she's ill. Normally if she wants quiet she'll take cuddles or drawing or reading or being read to. Still, it's about a week since she last watched TV so perhaps she just wanted to. Who knows?

She has started choosing wordier books from the library, and she tends to learn them off by heart after only one or two readings, where it used to take a lot of repetition. She still mainly reads to herself, except for bedtime and occasional cuddly reading sessions. If I want to read to her I need to produce a book she hasn't seen before :)


Jul. 14th, 2006 07:45 pm
ailbhe: (step out)
Today we went to the Home Ed group by bus, which was fine; interesting, but fine. We rode upstairs and Linnea hugely enjoyed looking out the windows. She was also extremely good about coming carefully down the stairs to disembark.

When we got there, Linnea seemed mainly to want to play on her own, for most of three hours. She did intermittently try playing with other people but she spent a lot of time sitting with a group if children reading to herself, or playing alone in the sandpit outside. That was fine; I spent a lot of time sitting listening to other peoples' conversations and drinking tea.

It was interesting though, because many people assume that the reason I go to this group is to provide Linnea with a social group, much the way nurseries and preschools do for other children. And that's broadly true, but it's access to a social group I'm providing. I want her to choose whether or not, and when, to socialise. And with whom, from a hopefully broad range of people. She doesn't get on well with the large group activities such as Storytime, or Singing, or whatever; we've even stopped going to the library's Rhyme Time sessions entirely because Linnea actively dislikes them half the time. She almost never sits through the story and song at Tigglers Togglers. Group behaviour appears not to be her thing.

But oh, does she like people or what! She loves them all. She hates leaving them. She remembers them and talks about them after they're gone, or we're gone, or whatever. She just... likes to be able to choose whether or not to interact with them. On her own terms.

My goodness me, I appear to have produced my daughter.

(More later, perhaps, on tomorrow's Social Dilemma).
ailbhe: (linnea in a dress)
Linnea walked out of the dining room, closed the door on me, and has been playing in isolation in the library for over 20 minutes. I'm really quite grateful, as I'm exhausted (though my pelvic pain is greatly lessened by doing nothing at all and walking with my knees together and only sitting on hard, flat surfaces) but it's a bit strange, how much time she chooses to spend entirely alone, when she clearly adores the time she spends with other people too. I suppose this morning we went to Tigglers Togglers and then had a mother, toddler and baby visit with us afterwards, so she was in constant company from 9:30 until 14:00. That could be it.

She's happy, whatever she's doing, and the stairgate is in front of the door so she can't run out onto the street. I'll leave her to it.
ailbhe: (reading)
Today Linnea further developed her understanding of cooperative play, sharing, putting your toys away, storytelling, showing other children how to do something, arguing for a compromise, putting on and taking off shoes, socks, and sandals, and giving an adult precise instructions to get her needs met. She also demonstrated her ability to undress and give a nappy change to a doll, and to negotiate chair-ownership with a cat.
ailbhe: (playing in the grass)
We trikled to the library, pedalling in the rain, and we brought some books to Carol and we took more out again, and we trikled to the river, and we triked along its bank, and we triked behind some buses and a lorryload that stank, and we stopped to feed the goslings (who were bitten by the swans) and we didn't stop a-throwing till the bread we'd brought was gone.

We triked up to the playground and we stopped and ate our lunch and we played with many children and we liked it very much and we slid along the gravel and we sat and drank our tea and we tried to steal a toddler's shirt and we soothed another's knee, and we found a boon companion and they want us to come back and we triked back into town again along the cycle track.

We went into a toyshop - in fact, we went in two - and we tried to buy a coffee and we rushed to find a loo. We looked for clothes for baby and we didn't find a thing and we sat inside the trike and taught each other how to sing.

We ate a pleasant dinner while we strung a string of beads and we built a 'normous tower and we had some snuggly reads and we shared milk and a cuddle and we trundled off to bed and if we're e'er again this busy, I am going to lose my head.
ailbhe: (reading)
I received an article in this morning's post from A Well-Wisher about Home Education. It's the one that was in the Sunday Times this weekend, which many of you who are already reading all the Home Ed mailing lists and communities will know all about :)

What it boils down to, as usual, is that people who think formal schooling is the best way for everyone think that many home-educated children are at a serious disadvantage, and that people who think that formal schooling is always unhealthy think that all home-educated children who are not in abusive situations are better off than schooled children, and some fuzzy thinkers in the middle think maybe there's no One True Way, but they think it much more quietly than the other two groups.

And what I boil down to is that different ways of doing things will suit different families and, importantly, different individual children. I think home education as I believe my family is able to offer it (since we live where and how we do) can offer my children everything they're able to take with both hands. We have a lot of personal and social resources available to us. But I also believe that if my children - individually - express a desire to go to school, we'll send them. I find it hard to believe that they'd choose it long-term, but they might, and as long as they're ok at school, we'll work around it.

It probably helps that this is my heart's desire. I may have to start my own Plumfield once I run out of kids of my own to raise.
ailbhe: (step out)
We have two bicycles propped against the wall and each other outside the back door. I just lifted Linnea down from the saddle of the outside one. I have no idea how she got up there. She did it with less noise than making the plastic duck have a swim in the watering can. First I knew of it was when she called for me to come and get her.

What next?!
ailbhe: (reading)
We joined Education Otherwise, the UK's home education charity organisation support network thing, on Friday night, filling in an online form. The members' pack arrived today. It's a very good pack; I was impressed. We have a membership card, a list of local contacts, a list of national venues that give discounts to home educators similar to the discounts they give to schools, the newest edition of School Is Not Compulsory, a little handbook about the law and useful information for dealing with Local Education Authorities (where "dealing with" doesn't mean "being unnecessarily confrontational towards" but covers everything from "being benignly ignored by" through "working with" and on up to "fighting in the courts") and other stuff, and a newsletter - with a whole section by and for children.

That was a very very fast turnaround, I think. Mind you, the person in question processed our application at 00:42 on Saturday, so perhaps she got it posted Saturday morning.

So! Now we have a support network in place, which is nice, and I can get familiar with it before I actually need it much, and also we got a free book.

(On the other hand, we're not going anywhere today, because I overdid it at the weekend and caused my knees to swell up, my shoulders and chest to get sunburnt, and I think I strained my eyes in the sunshine. Linnea seems quite content to practice her Independent Play in the cool, dark indoors, though; all the windows and curtains are closed against the heat, due to get up to 32C today, and we're usually hotter here than the local forecast predicts).
ailbhe: (step out)
Play hall includes a soft playroom,craftroom and music/library room. Outside structures accessible to wheelchairs including roundabout and swing. Special needs groups welcome. Please book. Outside has 24 hour access. Playgroup and tooddler group. Youth club.Use for childrens' parties.

(None of those typos are mine, they're from the council website).Anyway, that's where we were today - the Berkshire Home Educators group hires it on Friday afternoons for get-togethers and we went and had a go. It was great. From 12:30 to 4 pm Linnea played with kids of all ages (up to about 14, I think) and a wide variety of backgrounds, in a safe, challenging environment. she took to it immediately, much more enthusiastically than the groups of kids her own age we usually go to, though she does enjoy those as well and we won't be skipping them for a while yet.

The downsides... their electric equipment is regularly safety checked and the kettle didn't pass this month, so we had to use an urn for hot water. The fold-down changing mat in the disabled loo is too high for people as short as I am. It was hard to choose which tea to drink because there were so many options. Not all of the children were lovely all of the time. Man, life is tough.

The upsides... the children were incredibly well-behaved and sensible, and the adults were lovely, and everyone was welcoming and pleasant. They had decaf Earl Grey tea. I can cycle there in 40 minutes the long way along the river. We saw a heron, and loads of swans and geese and ducks and cygnets and goslings and ducklings. Neither Linnea nor I got sunstroke.

We're going to go again, I think.
ailbhe: (linnea in a dress)
Yesterday, she was abandoned cruelly at the creche, which is remarkably willing to take drop-ins with warning, and adored it. She cried as we were leaving, but more because she wanted us to play too than because she didn't want to be alone. When we went to pick her up, she didn't want to leave. Then we dropped her off with Nicky, while we went to the hospital, and when we came back she was happy enough to come with us.

So she now quite likes being left without us, which is useful, though I suspect she'd walk off with anyone friendly who knew her name, which is less useful. I'm looking into getting her a place in a nursery one morning a week, because she'd enjoy it; it's difficult to find affordable places that aren't very regimental though.

This morning when I went in to her (after being woken a full hour early by someone beeping madly at an empty car abandoned in the middle of a one-lane one-way street, like that was going to help anyone) she grinned at me and rolled around luxuriously in her bed, saying "Oh, good sleeping!" Then she insisted that Rob and I go back to bed so she could have her usual morning play with us there, which today included climbing onto me and saying "Oh, your hair is neat!" (er, no, darling, but thanks for the vote of confidence). She was so pleased with the reaction that she said Rob's hair is also neat, which is at least true, since it's a blade four all over and can't currently get untidy.

Later, she asked Rob if he was going to work, and when he said he was, she sat him on the floor, fetched his bike helmet, put it on his head, fastened it under his chin, and said "You say Bye Nea soon," sadly.

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