Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Uh oh, rain, but that didn't stop us...

After a half term week with both Mini (7) and Dollop (3.5) at home, we're back to our normal routine. Phew!

And because we're back in our normal routine, I have Dollop at home whilst Mini is at school. Yesterday was our first day together without Mini since before the half term holiday, so I'd decided we'd have a little adventure, in fact Dollop wanted to go on a bear hunt, so with a camera and a pocket of Barny Bear cake bars, off we went.

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...
Oh, no, rain! In the 5 minutes between getting home and going back out, it had clouded up and the heavens opened. Oh well, wellies on, brollies up and off we go...

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...
"Hang on mummy, I just spotted something pretty..." Oh, flowers! These caught Dollop's eye as we started down the road. The pink standing out amongst the dark wet path and the bright green of the plant.

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...
"Mummy I found some pavement spots!"
For as long as I can remember Dollop has enjoyed finding the 'spots' on the road and jumping on them. She races down the street, stopping outside every house...standing on their spot!
Come on, let's carry on Dollop.

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...
"Mummy, help it's too windy". A gust of wind catches Dollop's umbrella, but the wind drops as quickly as it had arrived, and we're safely walking on our way again.

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...
SPLASH! The upside of rain is...puddles. We can't go over them, we can't go under them...of course, we had to go through them!

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...
"Race you mummy"...At the rec already; a safe place to race and run, dotted with interesting blossom on trees, bare brambles where we'll pick blackberries later in the year, a jungle where the bear might hide...let's go and find him!

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...
Strawberry or apple?
We found our bears but these ones weren't scary. Dollop picked the new strawberry flavour, I had the new apple flavour, and together we walked home as the sun came out, happy that we'd hunted down some very tasty bears! (And we preferred these fruity ones to the original Chocolate and Milk flavours).

This post is an entry for BritMums 'Winter Little Adventures Challenge' sponsored by Barny, individually wrapped bear-shaped sponges with a hidden filling. Find out more about Barny here.
We received two packets of the new apple and strawberry flavour Barny bears to try before writing this post.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mini's special project

At school Mini's class has been doing a textiles and fashion project, combined with a bit of geography, history and design. This has involved taking in some of nanny's first wedding photos (with a few sniggers at the woollen shawls that the bridesmaids wore!), and some of nanna's old family photos (with some surprise at the expressions on the Victorian faces). There have also been fashion shows, and Mini's had to find some of his own clothes that were made in foreign countries - including his Aussie Rule Footy shirt and his Everton FC kit to take in.

It's really captured his imagination, and so, off his own back he decided to design some hats and make a booklet out of it. So he got to practise his writing, his drawing and together Mini and I designed and cut out hats and stuck them onto some family photos. His teachers loved it, and it was remarked upon not only at parents evening, but mentioned to our social worker recently when he went in to introduce himself.

I can't show you the family photos but here's what I can show you...

This is the first time Mini's cared enough about something at school to do something at home without being asked. And he was so proud of what he achieved. I'm, in turn, proud of him :-)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

5 things I'm feeling good about

I've been quite up and down recently and I think that's been reflected in my blog posts on here.
So today, I'm trying to concentrate on good things...

1. At Mini's parents evening last night, they were full of praise for how well he's settled in, made friends and has got stuck into school life. Feeling very proud.

2. Mini's school have (without me asking) set up an IEP for him, concentrating on 3 areas. They did this, then sought our permission to share it with Mini and to implement it. This is amazing after all the troubles at old school even getting an IEP, let alone sharing it, updating it and Mini never even knew about it.

3. I have been following a Slimming World diet for about 3 weeks now, and I'm feeling less tired and have definitely lost weight. (I'm missing crème eggs but I don't mind too much).

4. Mini has done some extra school work at home - he made a booklet about hats, then designed and made hats to glue onto some family photos. This is as part of their fashion/design project but was completely voluntary - he asked to do it. He managed to sit down and work with me without getting frustrated or bored, and even asked for help when he needed it.

5. The NC and I are going to a gig this weekend. The kids are going to their grandparents for a sleep over - their first together, and Dollop's first ever. I'm nervous, but looking forward to going out and having some time for us.

So that's some positivity to keep me going for a few days. If I get flowers (hint, hint) tomorrow, then maybe the positivity will last a week or two.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Spellings t-o-d-a-y

Spelling test day + child who can't cope with being wrong = disaster.

Up and out of bed was no problem today. The Lego Darth Vader started beeping at 7.20, and by 7.21 Mini was downstairs and in the bathroom.

Then the realisation that it's spelling test day kicked in, and so did the delay tactics.

So first comes the indecision about what to have for breakfast. "I don't know what I want, but I don't want you to choose either" was the theme.
Whilst everyone else continues getting ready, unfortunately with daddy on the phone as he's on-call, Mini decides to get his own lunch ready. Requests for him to leave that to me, and just make a decision about breakfast fall on deaf ears.

"I know you're probably thinking and worrying a bit about your spelling test today Mini, and perhaps you're hoping that if you don't eat this morning then I won't send you to school, but you do have to go to school sweetheart, so best you eat something instead of being really hungry in the middle of your lessons." I venture.

There follows a bit of huffing and puffing, then crossed arms, then eventually Mini decides that yes, breakfast is good but...he wants to get it himself. He gets his step, and reaches up into the cupboard, where there is little chance he'll reach the box, but he HAS to try. Surprisingly he does reach the box today, and overfills his bowl, but hey, we're not sweating the small stuff and need to crack on so we let it lie.

But, because there is so much in the bowl, Mini now has a reason to d-r-a-g out eating. And because of the anxiety fuelled mood he's in, eating is punctuated by 'she's looking at me', 'she smiled at me' and 'I don't want to share a table with her'. And so 25minutes later, when I'm putting my shoes on to get out of the door, Mini is still eating, and struggling to scoop up the remaining jungle bites onto his spoon.

Tempers start to fray a little. I remind Mini that we have to go - now, and he still hasn't got dressed, so can he please leave those last 3 little bits of cereal and the last half-gulp of squash and just come and get dressed.

"But I'm still eating, and she's still looking at me".


I get the home-school book out and make a note... 'Mini is stressed today, we think it's related to the spelling test (like the week before last)".

"No, don't write in my book, don't write in my book I don't want them knowing I was naughty."

I gently explain that he's not being naughty, and we understand why he's trying to delay or cancel going to school, and I'm just writing that he's feeling stressed and anxious. But the fear of his teachers believing anything bad of him is enough to kick start the dressing process, albeit like the rest of the morning...v-e-r-y-s-l-o-w-l-y.

By this point it's very clear that we're going to be late and Mini will have to go in via the office. So I ask the NC to call school and let them know Mini's having a bad day - I'm going to take him in through the office, but I want him to let them know I'm escorting Mini to his classroom.

Eventually, we make it into the car, have a chat during the 5 minute drive about how we know he's worried but we don't mind if he gets all his spellings wrong, as long as he tries his hardest, and no-one will be disappointed if he makes a mistake, he asks to just run through his spellings once more which we do on the way (g-r-o-u-n-d, a-b-o-u-t, d-i-s-p-l-a-y, t-o-d-a-y), then we get to school, park half a mile away because the world and his wife were also late today, and somehow manage to get Mini into his classroom just before his name is called on the register and I'm grateful that his teacher (made aware by the office staff) doesn't fuss about him being a bit late.

Phew. I feel rushed and stressed again just thinking about it. I don't think this is the last time we'll be late for school on test days, but I'm pleased the school didn't fuss, and I know I'll be less stressed next time knowing they are understanding.

Monday, 3 February 2014

The things we do: A softer space

Until quite recently we had one of those coir type kept our feet warm from the cold laminate floor during the winters, and was softer to sit on too, but it was never cosy, and after a few years it got worn. Helped to it's death by little fingers pulling holes in it during destructive tantrums.

Our new rug is lovely and soft, and feels nice under our toes

It's great for sleeping (sheltered by umbrellas of course)...

Somewhere soft to sit at snack time...

Lovely to lay on and rest...

or chill out...

A nice place to sit and do homework

Somewhere comfy to sit and watch tv

Our rug was chosen because it was soft, and in a house where we only have laminate flooring, wooden boards or tiles, softness underfoot was essential. It finishes the room off; it is a safer space for Baby Whizz to play; it covers up the nasty laminate we inherited when we moved in.
But our rug has unexpectedly become more than just a rug, it is a place for activities, cuddles, picnics and playtime. And it's fluffiness is providing a wonderful sensory experience for Mini, who is now rather picky about where he throws himself during a tantrum. The warmth and soft pile comforts and soothes him, the feathery strands stroke his face. We lay together like spoons on a carpet of woollen froth - warmth below and all around him.
The more I understand Mini, the more I understand how simple pleasures and simple measures can make the world of difference to him, and to us as a family.