Monday, September 29, 2008

Goodness Gracious!

Today I walked with the children to the shops, as we do nearly every day. We waited in line at the post office for a bit, and Tombliboo was upset- wanting to feed and sleep. He started making a lot of noise, and I thought we would just leave and come back later. Then I thought Princess could handle getting some more stamps, so gave her the money and left her in the queue.

I took Tombliboo outside to a park bench ,and sat down to breastfeed him. There were a group of peopel nearby chatting, and I was alone on the seat. I noticed two teenage pregnant girls walk past us...andthen when we were finished feeding, Tombliboo got up to look for Princess, and these two girls came back.

One of them said, "You should show respect to the people around you".

I siad, "I'm sorry?"

She replied, "Show some respect to everyone around you! Don't breastfeed a baby in public- it's sad."

"I'm sorry?," I repeated again (unsure if she was serious, or having a laugh).

"Don't show your boobs in a public place", she yelled, and her friend said, "Haha- that showed her". They walked off, and I talked to the shop lady who had come out with Princess- she didn't want her to need to walk alone with change :0)

Princess had asked for the wrong stamp, so I was going to go in to swap them, when the lady said she woudl do it for me and I didn't need to come back in (very busy with Tombliboo).

She took quite a while, so I went in to see what the hold-up was, and the two teenage pregnant girls were in there with their mum/auntie.

This older woman said to me, "Disgusting! Pakeha have no shame".

I smiled, but didn't respond. She said, "Showing your breasts in public- Maori women have more respect for themselves and others."

I said, "I was not showing my breasts- I was covered up"...I pointed out my sling, and breastfeeding top. (Honestly, anyone who knows me knows very well I do not *try* to show my breasts!).

She said, "You should have some respect."

I responded, "You are not being respectful. You should be a role model to these young girls."

She said, "You throwing your boobs everywhere...Maori have more respect than that."

I repeated, 'I did not show my breasts to people."

She said, "Well I didn't see- I believe my girls. Whether they are right or wrong- I stand up for them."

I said, "Well that's silly- you weren't there, you can't know...I was covered up as best I could."

She said, "Don't you get smart to me- I'll punch your lights out!"

I laughed, which probably wasn't the best thing to do but it was more a nervous giggle. Ialso thought just briefly "Woud you seriously come and hit someone in a bookshop, with cameras and loads of people"...I also thought since she was smaller than me, that she was unlikely to do a lot of damage with her fists.

"Stupid Pakeha don't know how to behave". At this point, a pakeha lady with a baby turned aroudn and said, "Look now you've gone too far."

The first lady said, "Aw, maybe you're different then"."

I was shaking my head at it all, and nearly ready to leave, when she addressed me again, "Don't you come starting arguments with my girls in a shop...rude pakeha, breasts everywhere- feed your baby at home!"


I was so uspet, I was shaking, and could feel my cheeks red-hot. The owner smiled at me as I left in an apologetic sort of a way.

I got the children, and went to the next shop and rang dh. I was bawling by this time, and he said he would come and help.

I have never before been threatened like that. I have been told not to breastfeed in public (at a shop, when Tombliboo was 5 weeks old).

Dh thought we shoudl call the police, and get the footage from the security cameras at the shop. I was more inclined to think there is nothing anyone can do about it- but he is being super-protective and thinks the woman should be charged with threatening to harm. Meanwhile, I was feeling scared that there might be another confrontation, and very glad of his presence.

I am not seriously worried about any repercussions from the I said, I'm a larger woman- I could probably sit on her if she came to get me :0) But in this are, I am worried more about weapons, and revenge. Even as I type that it sounds silly- and maybe I am over it, but at the time, I was concerned that maybe she would come to "get" me.

We don't live in the best area, and violence is common place. Two days ago, I saw a small child (around 2) get whacked round the head by his mother/carer, and then verbally abused. Yesterday, I watched another teenage mum (perhaps 14) hit her younger sister/cousin. It was no small thing-more like an open-handed whack on her face. While the young girl (perhaps 9) hid her face and sobbed quietly, the other people in their group laughed and said, "Look at her crying, hahaha!" I tried to convey my disgust/sorrow to them, and to catch the eye of the girl who was hit- but none of them were looking.

While dh and the shop owner discussed retrieving the surveillance footage, I walked home with Tombliboo to breastfeed in the privacy of our own home. I don't feel much like going out for a while. I like it here, it feels safe and happy :0)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Natural Learning

We went to see was fun, well not really for Tombliboo (22 months) - but the rest of us enjoyed it.

At one point, he and EVA were floating in space, and J-Man (9) asked, "What is that Mum? Is it a vortex?" (Eeek, I have no idea!)

I had no idea...then Princess (6) said, "No it's a galaxy- the Milky Way, I think."

But how did she know? I am reasonably certain I have never even mentioned it (feeling suddenly like there are a million things I haven't mentioned and should have).

"How did you know that, Honey?"

"I know lots of things...some things I don't remember learning- I don't know how I know them", she told me, "Some things I have always known, because I am 6 now and 6 is very clever...and some things I learn from movies.

J-Man and I had a long discussion about the world now and in the future, peak oil and the depletion of fossil fuels. He doesn't normally want to discuss it, and his solution to the problems the world faces wasn't one I had considered (buy swords!). I wonder if Disney and Pixar meant to introduce children to important facts aout our future. J-Man thinks not, that it was just a new spin purely for the sake of making money. I doubt it somehow.

Maybe it was all a bit far-fetched (just a little, lol) but the basic idea- that we are not looking after the planet, that we are filling it up with garbage, and one day there will be no room left for people (and they will therefore need to leave Earth in a space ship) isn't too far off the mark.

After all, it's the children of today that will probably find the answers we need...and a movie is such a cool/pain-free way to get a glimpse of some important concept.

Got it!

Thank goodness...the exemption has been issued. No questions asked, just approved the day after it was sent. Easy-Peasy...why didn't I just do that in the first place?


Broad Curriculum Areas

Princess will learn at home, in the company of her mother, older brother J-Man (exemption received, Jan 2005), and younger brother Tombliboo (nearly 2). Her father will also play a major role, as will various family and friends, and members of the community.

We see education as a marathon rather than a sprint, and are focused on Princess’s long-term education. It is our hope that at the end of her homeschooling, she will be able to happily do whatever it is she wants to do with her life.

Princess’s education will be flexible and able to be adjusted as her needs change. She will be involved in the construction of her own curriculum, based around her particular interests.

We believe that life is not compartmentalised in to subjects and neither should education be. All subjects overlap and are inherently intertwined. However, for the purpose of this application we have included 6 subjects below, and how we believe they will be learned.


Our goal for Princess is that she be able to communicate on all levels, and that reading in particular will become a life-long pleasure for her.

We also hope that Princess’s reading ability will become such that she is able to understand and enjoy all forms of written material.

Princess will become competent in Literacy in the following (and more) ways:

Conversations with us, and others
Being read to
Reading for herself
Listening to books on tape
Writing in her journal
Writing notes, cards, and signs
Watching movies based on books
Creating new endings to stories we read
Playing board games
Playing with words (rhyming, alliteration,
Acting out parts of stories
Re-telling stories
Telling stories in different forms, eg: suitable for a toddler
Writing her own stories
Illustrating her stories
Writing/talking/thinking about characters in books
Writing letters, addressing envelopes, and writing in cards
Writing on competition entry forms, and bank slips
Making lists of things to do, or items she would like
Writing stories, poems, and captions for artwork
Making books herself
Visiting the library regularly (our library is in easy-walking distance from our home, and we visit the library at least once a week)
Choosing and buying books
Reading newspapers and magazines
Reading signs and labels

We have a large, ever-increasing collection of books. It is our usual practice to check out 40-50 books from our local library at each visit.

We also have access to the National Library and that of the Auckland Home Educators.


Our goal for Princess is that she will enjoy mathematics, that she will have good number-sense, and become competent in all basic areas. We also expect that Princess will have an understanding of how mathematics is woven in to our everyday lives.

Numeracy will be learned in the following (and other) ways:

Baking and cooking (fractions, measurement)
Noticing patterns, symmetry and shapes, etc
Shopping (currency, arithmetic, measurement)
Counting objects (eg: ponies) or counting time (eg:hide and seek)
Counting Pocket Money and working out ways to use it
Playing Board Games, eg: Monopoly (currency, addition, subtraction, value)
Playing Card Games, eg: Rat-a-Tat Cat (numbers, addition, logic, statistics)
Playing Dice Games, eg: Yahtzee (addition, recording)
Constructing Lego models from Instructions and imagination
Playing with Cuisenaire Rods, Math-U-See blocks, tangrams, linking cubes, counting teddies, Weigh and Play, pretend money, dice, dominoes, magnetic numbers, rulers, calculators and other mathematical resources we purchase
Observing times, dates and seasons
Playing computer games online, and on cd-rom (eg: Reader Rabbit Math)
Discussing Math and math concepts
Reading math books (eg: The Grapes of Math)
Doing puzzles and mazes
Doing Sudoku and other mathematical puzzles


Our goal for Princess is that she will develop a positive interest in science to develop her scientific thinking skills. We want her to be competent and comfortable with all aspects of technology, and to find enjoyment using them.

Princess will study science and technology, related to her personal interests and surrounding environment in the following (but not limited to these) ways:

Watching Science-related documentaries and DVD’s (we own a set of Magic School Bus dvd’s, and all enjoy watching documentaries on Sky TV)
Reading Science books (from our own collection and the library)
Visiting the Zoo, Motat, Kelly Tarlton’s, the Museum and Observatory
Exploring our backyard and garden
Assisting in the garden. Princess loves to plant and care for seeds, and watch them grow
Attend Transition Towns meetings, and community awareness events with family
Discussing environmental issues with family and friends
Conducting science experiments
Making and recording observations
Visiting Science Fairs and roadshows
Exploring at beaches and on our walks
Observing the world around her
Meeting scientists
Being involved in recycling and composting our waste
Using technology in the home and beyond

Princess’s father works in the IT industry, and will have many opportunities to impart his knowledge. Princess has free access to our computers (and a laptop), and is encouraged to make use of them as often as she likes. She enjoys playing on various websites designed for children, and using some of the programs on each pc (eg: Word and Paintbrush).

Her older brother also has a particular interest in this area, and loves to share the information he gleans. We expect to see Princess’s typing skills improve as she uses the computer more.

Princess will read various scientific and technological publications as her interest leads. She enjoys using the tools in our home, and watching them being used.


Our goal for Princess is that she understands the necessity of a healthy body, and to continue to care for her body’s needs. There are many opportunities to learn about health in a home environment, and many ways for her to be physically active.

Princess will learn about health in the following ways:

Discussion with family and friends
Shopping for and preparing food
Discussing the essentials of a healthy diet
Discussing various diets around the world
Reading books on health and disease
Being prepared in an emergency
Participation in fire drills, and drawing up escape plans
Discussing self-esteem
Discussing her own health issues and those of the rest of the family
Visiting family and friends in hospital, or when sick
Discussing various stages of life
Attending homeschool classes such as gymnastics, swimming lessons, sports groups, as her interest dictates
Walking regularly- we have made the decision to do without a car during the week, so we walk everywhere we can, and take buses when we need to go further away.
Learn to ride a bike
Play on our various outdoor structures- geometric dome, bikes and trikes, trampoline. We plan to buy a slide shortly, and plan to build a large play structure in the next year
Playing with balls, and sports equipment
Swimming at our local pools and beaches
Watching documentaries about the human body
Cuddles and care, having fun together
Discussing personal safety


Our goal for Princess is that she will continue to enjoy being creative, and develop her own style. She will have an opportunities to develop her creativity every day, and will learn more about Art and Music in the following (but not limited to these) ways…

Painting, drawing and creating at home and away. Princess has a particular interest in arty things. She likes to make an incredible array of things out of paper, card, and masses of cellotape and glue
Doing craft kits, and copying craft/art activities out of the books we own, and those we borrow from the library
Dancing, singing at home and away. Princess sings every day, usually songs about her day or what she is feeling at the time
Listening to the radio or CD’s (various genres)
Watching musical events on tv or You Tube
Princess has attended a Drama class, and may do again
Princess is listed with a talent agency, and has been filmed for a few television commercials, which has been a wonderful learning experience for all of us
Attending concerts and community events, as her (and our) interest leads
Attending music or art lessons, is Princess is interested
Learning about famous artists and composers
Entering competitions, eg: from newspapers, shops and tv
Making music with the various instruments we own, and those we make/invent
Experimenting with playdough, clay, plasticine, fimo, etc
Creating things at the library, museum, etc
Making cards for family and friends


It is our goal that Princess will gain a firm understanding of her place in the world, both in location and time. We expect that she will have a fair understanding of how events unfolded to shape the world we live in today, and a possible idea of how things will look in the future. It is our hope that these subjects will enrich our daughter’s life, and not (as so often happens with children) be a bore.

We feel it is important for Princess to understand that “history” happened to people like us, and we will shape the “history” that future generations of people will study.

We expect that an understanding of History and Geography will be infused naturally, in the following (amongst other) ways:

Looking at wall maps (and smaller maps, and map books) of New Zealand and the world
Reading and being read to from various encyclopaedias (People, Histories of the world)
Looking on maps when family or friends are travelling
We are members of a groups of homeschoolers who send postcards to each other from all over the world
Looking at a globe
Visiting Motat and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and other museums of interest outside of Auckland
Playing Trivial Pursuit and Around the World
Watching Sky Channels such as National Geographic, Discovery and The History Channel
Discussion of customs and food of other cultures
Trying and creating food from other places
Watching television programs showing different geographic locations
Reading historical fiction, biographies, books about different countries, children’s atlases and accounts of various events
Talking to other people about their travels, and memories from when they were younger
Talking about, and looking at photos of when Princess was younger
Noticing places we visit, and the routes we take
Travelling to other parts of the country, and possibly beyond (one day)

Curriculum Coverage for the First Year

Our curriculum will remain the same as it has done from Princess’s birth. We will continue to enjoy each day with her, watching her interests change and develop, and introducing her to new ideas and concepts naturally and without coercion.

Princess is a happy girl, and we have no concerns about her progress so far, nor do we expect any problems in the future.

Our programme is child-centred, with plenty of room for direction from parents where we deem it is necessary. Princess’s natural curiosity seems to lead her, very organically, in to every possibly curriculum area.

We endeavour to make her life as full as possible, not with multitudes of activities…but with interesting events and discussion. She has plenty of time to be alone with her toys and her thoughts, as well as plenty of time to be with her family, and exploring the larger community.

We offer all manner of activities, and she suggests those that are of interest to. Hardly a day will go by when Princess doesn’t come up with a plan for some new thing she would like to try.



The Aim: To expand Princess’s knowledge about the Kiwi. She noticed kiwi at the zoo, and began to ask many questions about them.

Resources: Encyclopedia (from home), books from the library about kiwi/birds/nocturnal animals, look for a dvd (or upcoming documentary on Sky) about the kiwi or birds in general; the Auckland Zoo, Art Supplies.
Method: We will answer Princess’s questions about the kiwi, and impart whatever further knowledge we have. She naturally wants to draw the kiwi she saw, and we can encourage her to make pictures of kiwi in other ways (eg: collage or with labelled parts). We can also make kiwi out of playdough, or items from our recycling bin.

There is a place we have driven to in Kerikeri (on the way to Opedo Bay) where there are signs up to beware of kiwi walking across the road at night. We would love to take her there in the night with a torch to see if we can see a kiwi in the wild.

We can talk about endangered species, and ways we can help the kiwi (in particular) to survive. We can discover together what kiwi like to eat, and where they are likely to be found. We can look at maps about where they are most often found, and make pictures of how many kiwi are thought to be in each area. We can go back to the zoo to watch them some more, and if possible, compare how we notice them behaving at the zoo and in the wild (if we should get to see them).

We can talk about how the kiwi came to be one of our national icons, and all the different places we might see kiwi alluded to (eg: the National Rugby League team, on NZ money)…we can go on a kiwi hunt, at home, and out. We can look in a tourist shop for all the items which have something to do with the kiwi.

We can talk about the kiwi’s predators, and the ways it protects itself from them. We can find out if there are any kiwi in other parts of the world, and talk about the national birds/animals of other countries.

Evaluation: We will know how effective the learning has been by the questions Princess asks, and comments she makes. We will also hear her discussing what she has learned with her brothers, and other family members, and in her solitary play.

Resources and Reference Material

Computers with broadband internet access, and many software titles
Large Collection of books, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, magazines, comics strips, encyclopaedias, atlases, dictionaries, thesaurus
A Map of New Zealand, Map of the World, Globe
Magazines, including Net Guide, Taste, Life Learning, Natural Life, Healthy Food Guide, PC World, Disney Adventures, Princess, Kidzone, Whacky But True
Calculating and measuring tools
Art & Craft Supplies, including: various colours and sizes/thicknesses of paper and card, acrylic paint, tempura paint, water colours, felts, opens, pencils (coloured and lead), chalk, glitter pens, water colour pencils, paint pens, glitter, glue, ice block sticks, permanent markers, whiteboard markers, pastels, play dough, scissors, guillotine, cellotape, double-sided tape, string, nails, wood, stamps, punches, stencils, easel, art and craft and drawing books
Musical Instruments, including: child s-zed guitar, ukelele, recorder, castanets, mini drums, large (and small) keyboard, tambourines, whistles
Music- large selection of tapes and cd’s, stereo, mp3 player
Sports Equipment, including: tee-ball set, geometric dome, bikes, trikes, ride on toys, tennis racquets and balls, rugby balls, soccer balls, softball gloves, cricket sets, trampoline and rebounder
Kitchen Equipment
Gardening Tools
Home Maintenance tolls and equipment
Playing Cards, and large selection of card games, and learning cards
Math Manipulatives, including: Cuisenaire rods, buttons, counting teddies, linking cubes, Math-U-See blocks, dominoes, geometric boards, number charts, rules, wooden shapes, Brainy Blocks (plastic shapes)
Board Games, including: Cranium, Cranium Cadoo, Settlers of Cataan, Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo, Pictionary, Kids vs Grown-Ups, Trivial Pursuit, Around the World, Hungry Hippo, Tumblin’ Monkey’s, Pop-Up Pirate, Trax, selection of cooperative games
Large Selection of children’s dvd’s
Sky television, including 4 children’s channels, The History Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, The Documentary Channel
Lego and Duplo
Large collection of plastic animals, Polly Pockets, My Little Ponies
Large box of wooden blocks
Play Food, train set, collection of Little People, cash register, lots of containers of small toys, Pirate Ship, Sand and Water Play Table
Large number of puzzles ranging from 30-1000 pieces, including 2 Triazzles, Rush Hour, and The Global Puzzle
Magnetic letters and numbers
Loads of toys
Family in Auckland, Kerikeri, Christchurch, Sydney and London
Friends all over Auckland, New Zealand, Canada, and worldwide (that we haven’t met other than online)
Play Station 2, DVD player, digital camera
Local and city-wide homeschooling support groups.
National and International Yahoo Groups (e-mail support)
Easy-walking Distance to library, community centre, skate park and several shops
Annual (unlimited entry) Motat Pass
Museum, art galleries, swimming pools, zoo, beaches, parks, Chipmunks, bowling, ice skating, airport, mini golf, pet shops, Observatory
Manukau Libraries, one if which is open 7 days a week
Community events
Movie Theatre
School fairs and galas
Homeschool group trips/events
A bach owned by the children’s Great-Nana
Supermarkets and malls
Garden and Yard
Local Newspapers
Kelly Tarlton's Membership (unlimited access for a year, and invites to behind-the-scenes events)
Anything else we hear about, or can think of that is interesting


We consider the whole world is available to Aimee in her education. She is not separated from the rest of the world, but very much a part of it.

We are always on the lookout for interesting happenings in our community and beyond. Virtually any trip outside our gate is used to “extend and enrich” Princess’s education (as well as nearly everything inside our gate).

We have made many visits to interesting places so far this year, and this will continue. We plan to visit Kerikeri for Labour Weekend, and also the family bach in Port Waikato when the water warms up. We will also be heading back to Kerikeri for Christmas.

If we can get enough spare weekends, we would also like to visit homeschooling friends in Coromandel, Raglan, New Plymouth and Fielding and Wellington.

We will visit the museum again, and swimming pools, beaches, Motat, and we hope to have a visit to a recycling plant and to Rainbow’s End. We would also like to take the Scenic Rainforest train ride, and visit Model World.

We have just purchased a year's membership at Kelly Tarlton's for Aimee, and she is keen to go as often as possible.

We will get to as many homeschool get-togethers as we can manage, particularly as the weather improves.

Social Contact

Princess has constant social contact with her mother and two brothers. She also sees a great deal of her Daddy, as we organise our lives to make sure he gets to spend as much time as possible with the children while they are awake.

She sees people every day, from neighbours, to friends, to check-out operators. Princess is very friendly, and enjoys people of all ages.

We see family regularly, and Princess enjoys playing with her cousins, and talking to her grandparents, uncles and aunts.

We have several friends that visit our home, and get together with other children/families as often as possible.

Princess also writes to a few people we know, and some we have never met (via the internet, or postcards) and enjoys keeping in touch in that way.

She talks to family on the phone, and sometimes friends as well. We see this increasing as she gets older.

She is with her brothers all day, and they are rarely separated.

It is very important to us that our children be able to get along with people from all walks of life, regardless of their differences. To this end, we believe we are providing for them very well socially, and will continue to do so- adjusting our schedules and acquaintances to reflect their ever-changing needs.

Assessment and Evaluation

We are able to assess Princess on a daily basis, as we watch her discover new things, and observe her skills improving.

We have the privilege of being “on the spot” when “a light turns on” and she makes a new discovery.

We don’t have any timetable for when Princess will learn each new skill, and trust that she will learn everything she needs for her life in her own time.

Consequently there is no need to asses or compare her to others.

We are able to describe in great detail where Princess is at in every subject area, due to the constant contact we have with our daughter.

We are endeavouring to keep a blog about our family’s learning. We also keep nearly everything Princess produces (except that which is made for someone else), and she as a journal she writes in as well.


Princess’s education is very important to us, and we believe she is learning no matter what activity she is engaged in. Therefore, she is learning (or being taught) all her waking hours. It would be very difficult to separate when she is learning, from when she is not. We believe living and learning are inextricably linked.

We believe Princess is being “taught” at least as regularly in a registered school, but probably more considering she is with us (awake) for 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Our weeks are filled with interesting activities, which we think provides an exceptionally rich education for Princess. Our days are structured around ordinary routines, and the necessity of meals, though there are never two days the same.

Every day we are committed to Princess's well-being and education, and endeavour to provide her with a memorable and excellent foundation for her future.

We are always learning, and have read some excellent resources on home education, and how children learn. Shell in particular reads about education and child development on a daily basis. We make great use of the internet in learning new information, challenging assumptions, and assessing our curriculum.

Our routine is changeable- we see this as a positive thing- being adaptable to the needs of our children. Our love for Princess is not, however, and what is best for her is always at the forefront of our minds. We are very proud of our daughter, and plan to help her have the very best education she can possibly have.

We sincerely hope this is enough information to assure you of our commitment to teach Princess “as regularly and as well as a registered school”, and look forward to receiving her exemption as soon as possible.

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I got so much done today! I was like a housewife extroadinaire...and I also got to be with the kids here and there.

I tidied the lounge, and vacuumed in there and the kitchen, stufdy and hallway. I cleaned the toilet, and the bathroom. I tidied the lounge again- because you must know that a tidy lounge is like an invitation for children to come and "fill it up"agian.

I tidied all the garbage off the table, and cut loads of flowers to put in a vase and make it look nice. I did 3 loads of washing- one ordinary load, and then 2 extras because Tombliboo chucked all over us (and the bed) in the night.

I helped Tombliboo water all our seeds (tomatoes, lettuces, parsely and corainder so far), and he helped me get some exercise on the trampoline.

I tidied up all our outdoor toys, and weeded the garden just a tad. We all walked to the supermarket and the bank. We got a few groceries, and Princess helped enormously by looking after Tombliboo (who was remarkably well-behanved...yay!). The only hiccup was at the checkout where he was insisting on a packet of bubbegum, which wasn't a problem exceptthat he likes to chew it a little then give it to me...since I don't have anywhere to put it, I tend to chew it until we reach the rubbish bin at the exit...but today I bit my cheek...hard (400 pounds per square inch!). I kept myself together and didn't cry...but then I bit the same stupid cheek again....yeeeeow! Tears came unbidden, and I got through the payment, and packing (they seem to struggle with reusable bags) with 3 children, got outside and wailed. I dutifully showed the older kids the damage to my cheek which grossed them out considerably.

We walked home via the library where Tommy amused the kids (and the security staff) by feeding hire-cd's in to the returns box. I got the book Power Down which will be very enlightening, if only I can keep my eyes open to finish a page (Tombliboo has been waking everyhour for the last 2 months). Princess found yet more fairy books which always delight her, but I am convinced there is only one plot (they keep writing more, and they now number well over 40 books). We started reading them when Princess was 3.

We got home, ate lunch, then Tombliboo fell asleep watching Diego. I discovered a whole extra shelf in the laundry, and rearranged the whole cupboard to make better use of the space. I even had a cup of tea, worked on the washing a bit, then went to see if I could play with Princess.

She is so funny- at the moment, she likes to play alone and looks annoyed at the interruption if I check in with her. Last night, she asked if I could be a fancy lady, and she would be my maid!

I've never had so much fun. She was only obliging if I treated her like a maid (roughly), and she did all manner of things she wouldnt normally do (even putting socks and slippers on...Daddy regularly asks her every day, but she doens;t seem to feel the cold).

I ran out of things to ask her ot do, so I gave her än hour off. Later, dh asked if I would put away the bath toys, and I sent the little maid off on another job. She was looking rather scowly when I went ot give her a hand, and I asked if she was fed up with being a main.

"No", she replied, I'm creeped out by it!"

I laughed and asked for an explanation...."Well, one minute you're rough with me, then you give mean hour off, and then you're back to bossing me about!"

I was pleased to noitced today that Princess thought it was hilarious that a character on tv was "so stupid" because he didn't relaise that the three pencis he had were still three if they fell on the floor. I haven't checked this out for quite some time, but the last time I did- Princess did *not* get this important mathematical principle either. Or perhaps she would have if I'd used 3 pencils rather than 7.

She didn't really believe me that she didn't used to understand that either, but reminded me that I *am* 6 now Mummy, and six is very clever you know.

I checked it properly, and she needed no thinking whatsoever to realise that 7 straws in my hand will still be 7 straws if they are on the table, or dropped on the floor, or fed through a hole in a box.

Princess found a caterpillar in the cut flowers, and we set about making a habitat for it so we could, hopefully see it turn in to a butterfly. Tombliboo was convinced it was a worm, and terribly "shunny"as it crawled along my hand...but he did not want to touch it himself. The habitat was quite elaborate- a shoebox with windows so we could watch the caterpillar.

Our first ever box of organic fruit and vegetables arrived in a giant banana box...which Princess felt was in need of a steering wheel. I made one whilst making the dinner. Tombliboo enjoyed his box very much, but Princess was not happy- it needed to be a fire engine. She set about making hoses and sirens, and wheels as well.

Lots more happened today, but I am bored of recording it (lol), and tired (soooo tired) and need to take Tombliboo off to bed- he's just fallen asleep at last, on top of his Daddy (whos'gone to sleep as well).

I'll try to add photos tomorrow...the camera is munted, as is the computer...oh dear.

Exemption Nightmare

Some of you will know I planned to do an unusual Exemption from Enrolment (from school) for Princess. I did a mindmap of all the things she did for a month, split in to a few "subjects"which we don't follow- but just to make it easier for someone from a teaching background to understand.

I added a cover letter, which I felt answered (briefly) the various questions mentioned in the guide they provide. It took around 5 minutes to write, and the mindmap hadn't taken much time at all (just writing the odd sentence through each day).

I suspected it wouldn't get approved "no questions asked"as my first exemption (for J-Man) had...but I reasoned that a second exemption, for a fmaily who have been successfully reviewed by the Education Review Office need not be as comprehensive as hte first.

I was wrong.

It was declined.

I wasn't even asked for further information, which I understood was their usual was simply declined, with a letter saying as much, and that Princess was required to be enrolled at, and attending a registered school.

What the?

The whole thing has been very stressful, and after much deliberation we decided to send in a rewritten applicaiton. J came over to help look after Tombliboo so I could write it quickly.

It took 2 hours, with distractions to write, and now we are waiting to hear from the Ministry of Education again.

My general feeling about the matter now, is that there are certain hoops we must jump through in order to have the lifestyle we most want/enjoy. Naturally, I'd rather not have to, but 'this is how the law stands right now, and I am not prepared to thwart it at present.'

All of this came at a bad time- with Tombliboo's eardrum bursting for the frist time since he had grommets put in at 9 months. Fingers crossed it is over very soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Princess is 6!

She had a lovely birthday, starting with a "Champagne" Breakfast (sparkling grape juice, pancakes and bacon).

We gave her the Polly Pocket she particularly wanted. It was quite a dilemna for me, since I don't think the world needs any more plastic (and we have more than enough already). But, I also know what it is liek ot have your heart set on something, and not get it.

I did wrestle with it for a long time, and offer large numbers of alternatives (even suggesting she might like to buy it herself when she is paid for her ad- basically just to alleviate some of my own guilt)...but it wouldn't do. If she could have *anything* in the whole world, apparently, it was a Polly Pocket Boat.

We also got her a wooden dollhouse, a few years late probably, but she enjoyed putting it togehter (kitset), and has begun colouring it with her new feltpens.

She spent the next 2 or 3 hours mostly in her room with her new Polly Pockets (one from Grandma and Poppy as well), which was a good thing since we (unforntunately) had a landlord inspection on the same day.

Daddy took the day off work to be wiht his Princess (he always takes the kids' birthdays off), and because it was too good an opportunity to miss- I booked an appointment with our new bank, so I could leave Tombliboo at home. That took longer than I expected, and I was left with not very long at all to make the birthday cake.

I normally make the cake (at least) in advance, and put it in the freezer...this saves time on the actual day and also makes it easier to ice. Sadly, this was about our "poorest" week ever, and I didn't have the ingredients to make the cake ahead of time. I didn't really have time either, since Tombliboo's eardrum perforated early on Monday morning :0(

I spent far too long deliberating over *which* cake to make- mostly, whther to make it dairy and egg free (to suit one cousin), or dairy, egg and wheat-free to suit both cousins.

I decided I didn't have time to come up with alternatives, and it would be much easier (and nicer for our little guests) if everyone could eat the cake. I won't do that again, lol.

By the time I made the cake, I had 20 minutes to ice it...not cool. Consequently, the pony I planned looked far more like a dog, and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it. I am not much of an artist when it comes to cakes, even though they always look stupendous in my head.

We went to our cousins house for a very early (Chinese takeaway) dinner, and playtime with hte chidlren after they got home from school. Then, Daddy took the "big" kids, J-Man, Princess, P9 and A8 to the ice skating rink. This was the celebration Princess requested. She has only been ice skating once beofre- on her 3rd birthday.

They all had a fabulous time- Princess didn't leave the side of the rink much, but J-Man got in to it- even learning to skate backward (though he says he had to go rather slow so he didn't fall down).

They came back for birthday cake, and it went a bit downhill from there.

For starters, Princess (bless her) asked, "Thank you Mummy...what *is* it?"

Oh dear...well you have to laugh really!

Then, for the taste-test, and it turns out (well, I epxected it owuld be so) that it tasted repulsive. J-Man and Princess ate the icing, but couldn't "take the cake". Our cousins enjoyed it well enough though, and had a second helping!

Daddy *loves* cake, but he apologised saying that he really couldn't eat it.

So...lessons learned...make the cake in advance, spend more time icing it, and don't susbtitute more than 2 ingredients.

The children played while the adults chatted, and we left (hopefully) with enough time for our cousins to get enough sleep for school the next day.

We got home, and found a surprise package on the doorstep. Princess was delighted with a new dvd she had hoped for (Enchanted, from Nanny) and a new fairy book (Shannon the Ocean Fairy, from Nan & Grandad) and lots of hair accessories (from Uncle B) as well.

Princess got busy playing with her Polly Pockets again, and we ended the night reading another fairy book- and me telling her all about the night she was born. I turned out her light 3 minutes before she was born at 11.06pm 6 wonderful years ago.

Happy Birthday Princess :0)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Princess (nearly 6) was playing with the magnetic numbers, and got very excited when she discovered they would stick on this part of our wall.

She has been playing around with numbers a lot this week, mainly with counting. She was very keen to count to 100, and did so with a little help. She finds it difficult to remember 30 comes after 29, etc.

She didn't want to stop once she got to 100 either.

Tombliboo (nearly 22 months) is counting progressively more items- up to seven now. He will count by rote much further, and amused me by counting (4) steps in Spanish the other day.

J-Man has always had very good number-sense and gets most of his maths skills from World of Warcraft these days.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Tombliboo (21 months) continues to delight us...we've finally clicked that he cannot say the "f" sound. He says "sh" instead.

So all the times he has said "Shinna", we now know he means "finished". "Shunny" is funny, naturally...well, once you know the code- it's easy.

He is in fine-fettle tonight, after using the toilet unassisted for the first time. It seems *everything* is terribly "shunny". He's just come along to drop a wooden box loudly on the floor. It gave us all a fright, and I yelled, "Fudge!"...


Thursday, September 4, 2008


Tombliboo went inside to wake J-Man. They enjoyed a nice little snuggle (playing with J's torch). I never recorded it here, but J-Man cracked me up a few weeks ago...we had wanted to go to a movie, and when I went in to wake him up (we were takign a bus), he said, "Aww Mum, why do you need ot wake me up so early?"

I replied, "It's not early darling, it's just after 9am- most kids your age are already sitting in school."

"Yeah", he admitted, 'But they're all still tired!"

Princess often finds unusual things to do with different objects- here she is playing some sort of family game with the Trivial Pursuit pieces.
Here's our lovely boy (9yrs 7 months), who finds the taking of photos terribly boring. He tells me repeatedly (lest I forget) that he is "only doing this for the money".
Contrast that with Princess (very soon to be 6 years old) who I took over 100 photos of, without any fuss whatsoever. She loves it! I don't know where she gets that from. Unfortunately, our camera is not very happy just now, and while the photos looked amazing through the viewfinder, very few of them are well-focused.
Completely impossible to take a modelling photo of Tombliboo...meringue mix smeared on his otherwise-clean top, stamps all over his head (and arms and stomach), very hard to caputre him actually being still.

Besides, he is probably not the type of kid they look for...he is highly unlikely to do something he's asked, though now having said that- when I was stuck this morning and needed scissors, he did get hem for me when asked.

He also doesn't like to get dressed ;0)


Changes :0)

Like a bolt from the blue on Tuesday night, I decided to limit my computer time.

I don't think I was consciously considering such a radical step, though I have often thought about ways to lessen my time online. (Funny too that it came just two days after I decided I really must get back to blogging more often).

And, just like that- I ended my love affair with the computer.

Well, not quite- I do still love the computer- a world of information at my fingertips, a growing family of people who understand where I am going, and why.

But it had taken a larger chunk out of my life than I wanted. I was also playing a game (I don't normally play games) which was fun, though annoying at times- and I toyed (often) with the idea of just letting it go...and then I did.

Wednesday morning arrived, and instead of turning the computer on- I didn't. I got in the shower, and then started the washing (it was on the line before 8am). And so the day went on- I told myself my computer time will be when Tombliboo falls asleep, *if* Tombliboo falls asleep.

I got so much done, I wondered if perhaps it wasn't 3 kids and a not-very-enamoured-of-housework mother that was the cause of our constantly-messy house...but rather, how long I spend on the computer. And it's not even "how long", but more "how many times"...because my computer time was always interspersed by plenty of other things, but it woudl be like- read e-mails, go put the washing on, come back and read e-mails or reply to them, or look something up, or play my silly game, and then get food for everyone, then back to the computer, etc.

As well as cleaning up little piles of junk that have accumulated over a long time, vacuuming, cleaning the toilet, lots of washing, dishes, tidying the kids' rooms and general putting things away, I also read to the little ones and played Polly Pockets with Princess (2 activities which have been missing for too long). We also went for a walk to the shops and the library.

Did I miss my game? Not in the least. Did I miss the computer? Not at all. When I did get on, when Tombliboo fell asleep in the sling on the way home from the shops- I made good use of the time, and still managed to send 30 e-mails in one day! I didn't stay on for the whole hour he slept either- there were other things I wanted to do.

Thursday meant a little bit more time on the computer, but only because I wanted to get photos of the kids sent to their modelling agent. Certainly nowhere near the same amount of time.

And, now I'm on in the early morning, but only because I have been meaning to write on my blog for 2 days now. Tombliboo and Aimee are absorbed in The Doodlebops (surely the most annoying programme on Playhouse Disney). J-Man is still asleep, and I know I am only sitting here because I have a goal in mind- where I really want to be is not here.

What a difference!