Friday, July 25, 2008

Princess lost her first tooth!

It hung on longer than I thought it would, but it came out yesterday! She was so excited, and amazed at how big a gap such a teeny little thing left.

She has asked all kinds of questions about the Tooth Fairy, and it;s really hard to tell if she believes it or not...but she wants to believe it! So, I am every bit as excited as she is. She got busy writing a note to accompany the tooth under her pillow, and spent a long time finding the perfect way to wrap the tooth.

I left her a little note in reply, with $2 in a tiny envelope...she commented that since it was such a good tooth, and her very first one- it was probably worth $10...I (and the Tooth Fairy) had a good giggle over that one!

I was out this morning when she woke up,and she came bursting from the house to tell me there was actually a note left behind from the Tooth Fairy!

Secretly, I think she fully expected one (after reading Dear Tooth Fairy), but it was fun to do. I tried (quite pitifully considering the hour I made it) to disguise my writing, but she must know...she's not letting on though, very caught up in the magic of it all- and wishing she has caught a glimpse of the glowing fairy...and trying to work out when her next tooth might come out.

As for me, I'm chuffed for her, and also reminded she won't be little forever.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tombliboo (20 months)

Learn Nothing Day!

Tombliboo is like a little learning machine…he can’t help it- it’s his age/stage…but the coolest thing ever is that it doesn’t end- he’ll carry on being as vitally interested in his world, just as his siblings have been before him. Curiosity is not only the domain of the toddler.

He pulled me to the freezer to get “I-Keem” after watching people eat ice cream on his Dora movie.

Princess came to tell me (also watching Dora) that “counting” and “helping” rhyme. We talked about that for a while- I wasn’t very convincing with my description of rhymes vs same ending. I told her she’s not meant to be learning anything today, to which she replied giggling, “Oh- you’re so silly Mummy!”

J-Man didn’t wake up until 11am, so I’m not sure if that counts as not learning.

I told him, “Good Morning! It’s Learn Nothing Day.”

“Well, we can’t have it Mum- it won’t work here…we can’t do it- noone can do it…not even a newborn baby can learn nothing all day”.

Later, he exclaimed, “Yeow- I think I burned off some of my tastebuds.”

“What are tastebuds?”, asked Princess. (Here we go again)

“They’re like tiny little bumps on your tongue that help you taste things.”

“Yes”, she replied, “Like pimples!”

“No,” he insisted, “Not at all like pimples”.

“I think I’ve got some under my tongue too- I’m going to go look.”

J-Man realised (I hadn’t) that it was his month day, and he was now 9 ½. We all sang to him, and he talked about the nuisance of having a birthday a month after Christmas when you just got everything you wanted. We talked about the possibility of him getting presents on his birthday from family, but we would give him his presents on his 6 month birthday…but he doesn’t think so :0)

He went through the day learning bucketloads…how to catch the Big Fish in the Club Penguin Fishing game, for one.

I asked Princess if she had been busy learning nothing, and she laughed and said, “Actually, Mummy, I’m learning to read! And, I’ve learned that Tombliboo is a big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, biiiiiiiiig Mischief-Maker”.

She painted, but had far more fun mixing colours. She was trying to make the perfect brown, and we really weren’t doing it at all well…I suggested we look on the internet.

“You can’t find out how to make brown on the internet?? I didn’t know that!”, she said. I was reluctant to show her anything new, but it was important to her.

And we made “perfect brown”- it was super-easy.

We have been experimenting (twice) with leaving J-Man at home to do quick errands. We left him today to walk to our local shops to return some DVD’s, and pick up a couple of things for lunch. When we got back, I couldn’t find him! I was trying to keep calm- he knew the “rules” about not cooking anything or answering the door…but we hadn’t talked about him leaving the house. I thought maybe he got bored, and decided to come after all.

I started to call him…and he called back. He was in my room folding the washing!

He said he wanted his favourite shirt out of the wash, and decided he may as well get it all in, and start folding it for me. So sweet…and people tell me children need to be made to do these things or “they never will”.

This isn't all the learning that went on- there's too much to record...We are hopeless at learning nothing :0)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mum has Issues!

2 things occurred to me yesterday, throwbacks from when I was maybe 7 or 8.

Firstly, I was jumping on the trampoline with Tombliboo- then got off asap…our trampoline is very old, and it won’t be long until it is defunct- I am too big for it. Oh wait- I have way more than 2 issues :0) There is also this issue of flashbacks, or rather flash-forwards…where I imagine a giant calamity befalling me or one of my children. It’s better now, but was chronic after my last birth- where I could barely take a step without imagining some disaster or other.

Right, so the trampoline is not a good place for (overweight already before the last pregnancy) me right now for loads of reasons. That’s not what I meant to say.

I was watching Tombliboo bounce, when I noticed a rather long worm inching along on our path…I called him down to see it, wondering (crazily) if this was perhaps the first worm he had ever seen…certainly it would have been the longest, and the most-easy-to-see.

He was so excited! “Oooh…oh-oh…oh-no…woah!!....ooooh…ssss.” “No-no,”I say, ‘Its not a snake….it’s a worm” He persists, and I assure him.

Then a sudden realisation that the worm was getting ever closer to him- he runs behind my back to peek out in safety.

Then all fear is gone, and he wanders up to it, crouches down low, waves and says ”Hello”, then stares a while longer (it really is fascinating!), then says, “Bye-bye”, and runs back behind me…then approaches again, and this time, I just *know* he is going to pick it up.

There’s my issue.

I don’t slimey things. Not one bit. I don’t like wriggly things either, and since a worm is both- and bears a marked resemblance to a snake (or which I am both fascinated and terrified), I don’t like worms.

I sued to like this book when I was little, like an encyclopedia…but the pages with different types of snake- I couldn’t touch them, not even a little bit. I had all sorts of rules about things like that, but the main one was the ritual I had of turning the pages just-so, so no part of my hand touched the snakes on the current page, or the turning page. I know, it sounds very weird- but it was very real to me at the time, so much so, that I remember it *very* clearly. The terror of maybe, perhaps touching a flat picture of a snake.

The first attempt at picking up the wriggly worm fails, but Tombliboo is not diverted. He tries again and again, and finally has the wriggly thing dangling from his little fingers. I’m trying not to put my fear (not sure that “fear” is the right word exactly) on to him, smiling sweetly, encouraging him, and thinking, “Please don’t make me touch it, please don’t make me touch it, please don’t make me touch it!”

I have a brainwave- “Let’s take it to show J-Man!”, and I make my way inside, calling out, “J- look what we’ve got!”…then rush quickly ahead to tell him Tombliboo is coming in with a surprise for him, and he’s really chuffed, so not to get freaked or anything.

“It’s poo, isn’t it Mum- he’s bringing me his poo.”

Much reassurance…”No, no, it’s just a worm, but I didn’t think you’d really like to see it.”

“Why not?”, asked J-Man, ‘I used to like worms- remember (no!) I used to wash them and bring them inside.”

The next one is teeth…Princess has a loose tooth. It is a *very* loose tooth. Her *first* loose tooth. She likes to wiggle it all day, and I am imagining how awful it must feel- only it mustn’t really, must it?, since she is doing it at every spare moment.

Last night she was upset because it was starting to hurt a little. I know that feeling, soooo ready to come out, except for maybe just one little bit. And it becomes uncomfortable, and it is hard to eat anything.

But, mostly, I remember when I was little…at school with a loose tooth. And, it getting to the point where you can nearly blow it out, but for one little teeny bit of gum. And then my mouth filling with blood, and that horrible taste, and my head swimming with possibilities.

And then I remember waking up on the bags in the cloakroom. I suspect I passed out.

I ought to have remembered that incident when I was going for my first job as a Dental Assistant, and my boss asked, “How are you with blood.”

“Oh, fine, fine”, I say, “No problems at all.” Of course I really didn’t think there would be an issue with dentists and blood. But I got the job, and I moved to a new city.

On about my second day, the word “Implant” was written on the schedule. I had no idea what that meant, and wasn’t bothered.

Wasn’t bothered, until I was holding a periosteal elevator on some person’s gum flap, staring at a titanium implant in her jaw.

“Whatever you do,” said my boss the fan-of-surgery dentist,”Don’t let go of that elevator.”

And I didn’t…but I did pass out, and clonk my head on the nearby cabinet. I woke with my boss grinning over me trying to get me to drink a (nasty) glucose drink, and the rest of the day quite bewildered about what I had seen, and listening to his jokes about his “down to earth nurse”.

I fainted many times after that. Not *every* time I saw blood, more like- every time I imagined that blood was my own. Nearly every time we pulled wisdom teeth, knowing my turn was imminent (and they were badly impacted).

Sometimes I could feel the familiar signs, and leave the room with enough time to avoid it…crisis averted. Sometimes I left the room, splashed water on my face, steadied myself, went back in…and still fainted.

Back to Princess…I don’t like watching a tooth wobble. I try to be excited, but really I don’t like watching it. And last night, I really didn’t like watching. I must have been here before with J-Man…well, I have been, and I do remember. I remember the point where I think a tooth probably needs a little help in coming out, and not knowing how I will do it without flaking. I also wonder how other parents manage, or are they without my issues?

Saturday, July 19, 2008


We had a family lunch yesterday for (Great) Nana's birthday...the kids enjoyed being with their cousins, then M11 came back to stay with us as planned...and Princess went to stay with P9 and A8 spontaneously- with nothing on her but the clothes she was wearing. She was delighted :0)

M11 and J-Man had a proper WoW time, staying up until 3am, and getting up and back in to it fairly quickly after pancakes for breakfast.

I was thinking I would add that (as I kinda supposed) Princess would put her interest in reading on the back-burner, since that was how it seemed...but she just read a small book to me now, and I observed that without any practise (that I'm aware of) she was quicker at deciphering new words.

As though there wasn't enough washing I needed to do today, dh noticed the box of 6 month baby clothing had been upended in our leaky garage, and was water-logged. There was also a mouldy box of linen, which I will sort through and wash. And yet another box of books that looked like they would be ruined. Luckily, all but 2 were salvageable, and we also foudn J'-Man's Capsela construction building toys. Princess has had a lot of fun with those.

I sat down with her to show her a Pyramid card game, seeing as it appears to me that our exemption mind map is light on Numeracy (lol)...she observed for a minute or so, then picked all the cards up,m and announced, "I have a better idea".

We built card-houses together...I remember (a very long time ago) doing just that with my brother on a cold, wet, school holiday. J-Man joined in, and was chuffed to find he could make them as well as I can.

Tombliboo(20 months) is hugely interested in sharks and crocodiles ("crocka"). We have spent time watching You Tube videos about them, and he plays with toy sharks and crocodiles...sometimes they kiss each other, which is very cute- usually they bite each other, or he (the ferocious toddler) will bite *them*!

We're looking forward to a quiet night in, folding washing no doubt, and keeping warm. I've been reminded anew how much *time* school takes. Not just the 6 hours every weekday...but the time *getting ready* for school. The need to get an early night the day before school gets back, and reorganise the bags, etc.

I remember it well, including the dreariness of knowing the "jig's nearly up". Our very adorable cousin M11 has asked if he could please come here every 3 rd weekend, and maybe stay every 6th. I could fill a whole post on the sweet things this kid says, but I have to record this one.

J-Man (as I'm setting Tombliboo up with a DVD), "Oh no Mum, please not *more* Dora!"

M11, "J- you don't understand what it's like to be your Mum! Being a mother is really hard work- she needs to be able to get a break so she can do all the other stuff that needs doing."

Bless him :0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The other night, we were all busy doing our own thing…J-Man playing PS2, me catching up on e-mails, Tombliboo playing with animals, Daddy watching Rugby, and Princess felt at a loss. I suggested a few things to her, but none of them took. She wanted to be with someone, and she wanted to do something “new”.

I dropped some Phonics cards in her lap, with the promise that I would be there in less than 5 minutes. She hasn’t touched them for many, many months, but has in the past liked them. They’re quite lovely to look at, but you don’t really have to read the word, since the picture is so obvious.

After she’d finished with them, she wanted “more”. So, I found some little easy-readers we have from when she started to sound out words (before age 2). They are rather hopeless too- the kid of teeny “books” schoolkids bring home…where the parent is to read them once, and the child remembers it, then “reads” to back…then has to do so again and again.

I noticed Princes knew “are”, “is”, “and” and “it”. She finished the books easily, and still wanted more. I looked for more, and couldn’t find any, so I got out “Go Dog, Go!

She began reading it, and it was beautiful to watch. She needed to sound out “d-o-g” so many times, I felt sure I might blurt something out ridiculous. The really cool thing was that she was self-correcting…if she realised that something hadn’t made sense, or was the wrong word, she would get it right, then begin the page again.

I’ve noticed (and disliked) watching kids learning to read, who struggle over so many words in a sentence, that all meaning is utterly lost. Princess was getting all the meaning, but completely without being told she ought to…after all, for her the point of a book is to read a story- not read words, disconnected and all jumbled together without sense.

She was also *very* insistent she didn’t want help. On a couple of occasions I could see she was getting really frustrated (part of this is to do with mixing up “b” and “d”). Once, I inserted the word for her- and earned a frightful scowl for my trouble. “Muu-uum! I want to do it myself!”

She was very persistent, and determined…I loved watching her. She didn’t finish the whole book, but she kept at it for well over an hour.

Now is where I have to chill-out and not bounce up and down trying to work out when she will become a fluent reader. I’ve been here before, when it seems she is on the verge of something huge, only to find it peters out as quickly as it came on- and there are no clues any progress is being made for months and months.

Time for me to sit back, and keep watching how this will unfold.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


This is Tombliboo, Princess and our friend Z5 at the Dora Live Show which Princess won us free tickets to go to.

And here is our little fellow- who very proudly pulled out my sole (and teeny) broccoli plant...then started to eat the florette, before pronuncing it "Yuck" and taking the plant to the rubbish.

We’ve had a busy week! Princess was a way in Kerikeri with Grandma and Poppy for 5 days! She has only ever stayed away from home for one night once. It was a big thing for her, and she was terribly excited.

By all accounts it went very well- she had a blast. She missed us of course, and she had some moments when she was keen to get home. She slotted back in at home far better than J-Man had- possibly because she was really keen to get home, whereas he would have been happy to stay another day or more.

While Princess was gone, I tried to spend as much time as possible doing what J-Man loves to do- gaming. We were playing alongside each other, and doing jobs, and being with Tombliboo in-between times. I’m one recipe away from finishing all the current sets in Packrat. It is a giant waste of time, and yet it has been a tonne of fun for me ;0)

Tombliboo must have watched Finding Nemo 15 times this week…he loves it. I’m amazed he can sit through a full-length film. He turned 20 months on Friday. We all sang “Happy Month Day” to him, which is our custom, and J-Man made him a lovely sign out of Lego.

When Princess arrived home on Friday night, Tombliboo held her for a very long time. He is not overly-cuddly, and in many ways is actually quite prickly- but he just held on, and it was very, very beautiful.

J-Man stayed the night with his friend J11- its’ the first time they’ve pulled it off. They have been trying to organise a sleepover for at least 2 years, but never quite accomplish it- both boys preferring to host the event, and neither boy particularly keen to leave his family. They had a fabulous time, then we got to see them for a good part of the next day and evening as well.

So, for the first time *ever* dh and I had only Tombliboo one night. It was so nice- the little fellow loved it, and it was great to be able to hang-out and just talk. Well, mostly we were nattering whilst cleaning the lounge, but it was fun. It seems a long time since we have been able to just discuss things and have fun together without constant interruptions. We were interrupted, but mainly for piggy-back rides.

We went to visit our friends J and M, and baby (I probably should stop saying “Baby”) J 18 months. We arrived to late to play Singstar as planned, so watched episodes of The IT Crew instead, which we all find rather hilarious.

Yesterday, we met up with Auntie A, and our cousins H8 and P9 at the museum. That was a lot of fun for all. Daddy and J-Man went to a cool sop in town where they have loads of x-boxes and PS3’s etc, and all the games you can think of. You pay a set amount and can play what you like for an hour…heaven for little (and bigger) boys.

We had no internet for 2 days, and I thought last night would be hellish with boring rugby on tv and no computer. But, I enjoyed doing a Killer Sudoku, writing in Tombliboo’s baby book, and reading a little of my own current book, Chocolat. It was a very nice evening, followed by an horrible night with Tombliboo (just like the one before), with him up every half hour. Not entirely sure of the reasoning, but guessing I’ve had far too much chocolate in the last couple of days.

Today has been a happy mixture of being with he children, and getting jobs done. Princess and I went for a wander to the shops, and later for a drive up the roads to the carwash place. We cleaned the car as well as it’s been done since we first got it, and I cleaned the outside windows, and caught up on a mound of washing- didn’t do any yesterday, and it was also about time the sheets got washed.

Dh cleaned our mouldy bedroom ceiling- it looks incredible. I can’t imagine how bad it must have been for us breathing it in…there is a gap between the house and the (badly-made) garage. The wall is constantly wet, and we have lost boxes of books as a result of having them in the garage…but that is not as terrible as the mould growing on the (bubbly) wall paper, and ceiling.

I've started to think about Princess' exemption. In NZ, a child is legally required to be in school from age 6 (though most go at age 5). We need to get an exemption from school for her form the Ministry of Education. It is a bit of a process, and one I'd rather not bother with again. I think it probably should be enough that we had one approved (for J-Man) and have been favourably reviewed by the Education Review Office (who also review NZ schools). I plan to make it as short as possible. I have begun a mind-map of all the learning she is doing. It;s impossible to write everything down, because it's happening all the time, and I forget stuff as well. But it does look impressive. I might just send the mindmap in with a cover letter and see what happens :0)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Learn Nothing Day!

The First Annual Learn Nothing Day will be celebrated on July 24th.
It's a holiday for those who learn every single day.

We've attempted a few mini-trial-runs,. but it seems we can;t even get out of bed without learning *something*.

I'll be sure to document how we go about ensuring noone learns anything. One unschooling Mum had the idea that perhaps we could spend a day in school- which is really too funny not to record somewhere!

Rainbow's End!

We'd been waiting for the longest time, and the day finally arrived..complete with dodgy weather, and a trucker's protest over petrol taxes. We visited Rainbow's End with several other homeschooling (and some unschooling) families. Daddy came too, as requested by Princess who, along with Tombliboo, had never been to a fun park.

You can't tell from the photo, but Tombliboo loved the Carwash Convoy and didn't want to get out of the truck. The ride-operators were amused...every time we went near him, he re-closed the door, and so they let him go around and around and around.

J-Man went off with Daddy to go on the rollercoaster (Corkscrew), and he got very upset with himself for still being too scared to try the Power Surge. Daddy was very understanding, and said it was no problem at all- J-Man could just wait and watch him go. Daddy got himself on to the ride, and looked up to see J-Man had joined him! J-Man loved the ride so much, it became his favourite and he ride it at least 8 times.

I had no interest in going on it, but he really wanted me to- so I couldn't refuse. It was terrifying! I screamed nearly the whole time. Then, we went on the rollercoaster together (twice), and J-Man wanted to go on the Power Surge again before going back to the others. I wasn't keen, didn't feel well, and thought I could possibly be sick. I'm not normally a person who vomits, but I thought it was a mild possibility.

We got to sit across from some friends, and I didn't scream at all...that was because I was certain I would throw up, and I was trying my darndest not to have it happen all over our friends!

I felt very green afterward, but wasn't sick...I felt awful for a good 2 or 3 hours after though, and declined any further (rough) rides.

Princess loved the Carousel more than anything else...

Though the Dragon was a close second...

J-Man indulged Tombliboo's desire to try out everything. Princess thought the Jumpin' Star looked "boring, and just plain weird".

The Rocket Ships (in the Cadburyland little kids' area) were fun for the little ones, but a bit blaze for J-Man.

Tombliboo didn't want to get out of his ship, and we realised after a while that the reason was because he wanted to go to sleep!

We all had a game of Mini Golf, which was won by Daddy- a bit of a foregone conclusion really- but the kids wanted to play :0)

Tombliboo liked searching for balls, and dropping them in the holes. We had to change his pants for the first time- not because he'd peed in them- after jumping in puddles, he decided to sit in one!

Daddy went on the Fear Fall with our friends E and M9, and it looked so easy (or at least- quick!) I thought I would try too...but didn't make it.

We waited patiently for them to finish, then went on the Log Flume together. After the Log Flume we did the Bumper Boats, which was a tonne of (wet-bottomed) fun

J-Man went with E and M9 to Cinema 180 while I stayed with the littlies, and Daddy went on the Bumper Boats, and back on the Power Surge.

J-Man and M9 went on the rollercoaster together, with E and I in the next cart. That was fun. They announced it was the last ride of the day, so I got them to hold-off while I swapped places with dh so he could have one more turn.

We were heading for the exit, and decided to stop at the Power Surge one last time. M9, who had been adamant she would not be going on it, changed her mind and went with J-Man...though she said she wouldn't go again.

Our perfect day was finished off with dinner at our favourite family restaurant, Gengy's, with our friends deciding (spontaneously) to join us. They came home with us afterward as well, and we all enjoyed further friendly, relaxing time together.


We went to see Prince Caspian...we loved it!

Afterward we were going to go to a Hangi, but we arrived late, and they had started early- so we missed it! Apparently it wasn't a real Hangi anyway- so we will savour that experience at a later date.

We went to Oporto for lunch instead, then to visit friends- J-Man saw J11- for the first time since his birthday. They had a fabulous time, with another friend we hadn't seen for ages M9.

Tombliboo (19 months) was a menace, and I thought we needed to disappear pretty quickly- then hatched a plan...dh picked J-Man up after work, so I took the little ones home, and allowed him to have a big, long play with J11. As is always the case with these two, they wanted t oarrange a sleepover.

Normally, they go back and forth on that one, because neither really wants to stay over, they want the other one to come to their place. But, after 2 successful sleepovers with Jerry, J-Man was happy to stay.

It couldn't work though, with the the car in at the mechanic the next day- so we have booked it in for next week...and both boys are very happy about that.

J-Man and Princess spent many happy hours that evening ,and the next day playing gameboys side by side.

J-Man is Home!

J-Man came home on Tuesday. I held him for such a long time. He cuddled with his siblings, and we were all very happy.

He got to his room to find the Nintendo DS he has been wishing for. A courier arrived, and we discovered Princess had won tickets to the Dora Live show on Saturday. We couldn't believe it- she had only entered the day before it was drawn, and with tickets nearly $40 each (and 3 of us wanting to go), it was looking like a very unlikely possibility.

So, J-Man was home, he had his DS, we got free tickets for a show fro the littles, and everything seemed right with the world.

I nearly got on the computer to write about it.

Then it all changed.

I'm not sure what it was over exactly...ordinary sibling stuff. Princess and J-Man argued, at then yelled, then I stepped in before it got really ugly, but J-Man had already seen it coming, and stormed off to his room.

I let him simmer down for a bit, and cuddled Princess and reminded her (as I had done in the morning) that J-Man was going to take a bit of getting used to us all again, and we needed to be patient. I went to see J-Man, and he was upset about several little things.

I had been trying so hard to really be with him, I'd missed him so much, and I wanted to be utterly there...but it was impossible with 2 other children. He missed his Grandma and Poppy. He wanted to go back. I felt devastated. I could see what the attraction was- they are very good to him, and there are two of them, and they are not pulled hither and thither by two smaller (and usually louder) children.

I thought he would be upset, but it hadn't been that way initially, and when things changed I was surprised. We talked plenty, and he talked to Grandma (and later, Poppy) on the phone.

I remember an unschooling mum saying that it was not her responsibility to make her children happy. I had thought that sounded harsh, and I didn't know if I agreed...but I saw on that day that I could look for ways to make J-Man happy...but they would only be temporary. he was sad, really upset, and feeling mixed emotions, and he didn't know what to do with them all. He desperately wanted to see us again, but he also missed his grandparents. He wanted to be with his sister, but she drove him batty. He loves his little brother to bits, but he breaks things, and sometimes won;'t leave you alone.

He didn't need to be made happy, he only needed me to understand he wasn't.

Daddy got home, and there was more excitement showing the DS, and discussing all that he had done while he was away. We ate dinner together, and he announced he really did require the same sized plate as us, since that was what he had at Grandma's...I've served the kids' dinner on side plates for ages since they seemed about the right size.

Things started to feel more normal, and J-Man became happier as the evening went on.

By Wednesday morning, he was nearly back to his usual self. He still missed his grandparents, but he knew he would see them again soon enough.