Monday, March 9, 2009
What a Lovely Day!
Today was a fabulous day- I don't remember feeling exasperated even a single time. I wish I *never* felt exasperated with one of my children, but I do...I read so many blogs and posts about mums who I can never imagine feeling (or behaving) the way I do on occasion.
We planned to bus in to Manukau and meet another family also using public transport through the week. They plan to home educate their children, the eldest of whom will be 5 next month.
As we were getting ready to leave the house (really frantically as usual), the phone rang, and it was another lady who hopes to home educate and was keen to meet us. It hasn't worked so far, so I asked if she would like to join us today, and she was keen.
I managed to get a load of washing on the line, and lunch partially made for the 4 of us, a bag packed, and everyone up and breakfasted (well, I had breakfast, and I made it for the kiddos- but they didn't eat, since none of them seem to like food first thing), and out the door at 9am. That's really early for us, btw.
It was made easier by the fact that J-Man got up as soon as I asked, even though he had placed a hand-written sign on his door..."Please wake me up as late as you possibly can" (and I did, but it isn't usually as smooth as that).
We didn't catch the bus we intended to catch, but it didn't matter because we had plenty of time, and I wanted to return some dvd's anyway so it wasn't a big rush on our way home when Tombliboo was likely to be tired (or asleep).
We ended up needing to wait over 20 minutes, so I got the kiddos (and myself) a hash brown from the McDonald's next to the bus stop. They were very tickled by that because they all love hashbrowns. The kids, even J-Man who can be rather shy at times, chatted to a man who was waiting for the bus, and then when an elderly couple came to wait too, they sat on the concrete so the new arrivals could sit on the seat. After a while Princess went to tell the older man that there was a seat there for him, and led him to it- it was terribly sweet. When the lady didn't come, she went and got her as well.
We got on to our bus, and as has been his habit the last few weeks- Tombliboo insisted on sitting alone. I think it makes him feel big, or something. I also think it is really cute.
J-Man told me that after I had gone to bed last night, he and Princess had visited London, Paris, the Empire State Building and the Egyptian pyramids, courtesy of Google Earth. He also said he would like to visit Moscow with me when we got home.
I got out Matilda to read to Princess, and J-Man was enjoying the story too. Actually I got the feeling from the looks roundabout that the whole bus was enjoying it, lol, and so they should- it really is a cool story!
The half-hour trip took no time at all, and we got off the bus as fast as possible since Tombliboo had already exited.
We went in to the mall to get across to the park we were heading to, and when we got nearly there, it started bucketing down. I had gone out without anyone's cell-phone numbers, and I realised we might be having a day by ourselves. I took the kiddos to a little cafe-type place, which was very cosy. I got the kids a snack, and a hot drink for Princess and I, cold drinks for the boys.
When the rain stopped we wandered over to the (enormous) park, and looked for our friends. We found a neat duck pond that the kids enjoyed for a time, and we eventually found the friends we had come to meet. The kiddos played around on skateboard ramps, and we mums chatted when we weren't being pulled away to look at this or that new thing.
It was so cool talking to these mums of 4 year olds, and remembering when I was the mum of my first 4 year old...I so remember being asked at every turn which school my son would be going to, and never knowing quite what to answer because I coudn't imagine him in a school, but his Daddy thought it was weird to do otherwise. I felt like I had no idea where he would be when he was 5, but I knew I wanted him nearby, and he certainly had no interest whatsoever in going to school.
I reassured them that it stops, and eventually people don't even ask. That fact still amazes me- I guess most people assume J-Man is having a day off school, and noone *ever* has asked me why Princess isn't in school.
We talked about our (shared) first experience of meeting a group of homeschoolers, and how we were all amazed that the children of all ages just played together, and noone minded playing with little kids...in fact, they were as welcome as anyone else.
We talked about all sorts of very normal concerns one might have about choosing a path that is so unconventional (nowadays, but so very normal not that long ago). One mum commented that my children obviously had a fabulous relationship, and I was bursting with pride, but also felt compelled to say it really isn't always like that- I'm not entirely sure why it is at the moment- but it is, and it is wonderful. Actually, we used to get those sorts of comments all the time until J-Man was about 8...that was when it popped in my head one day "Oh, he's growing up", and I was astonished. It seems as silly now as it did then- but it was almost as though I wasn't expecting it...and really it did seem to happen so suddenly, that I really *wasn't* expecting it. It also coincided with the arrival of Tombliboo, and I was basically absent for so many weeks caring for a little baby who just wasn't happy.
And just as suddenly (well hopefully), J-Man seems to have grown again, and is more patient, more inclined to join in with what Princess is doing, less inclined to sit at the computer by himself.
Anyway, the children were all having a fabulous time. One family needed to leave to get a toddler off to sleep, and J-Man was tickled that she gave him a big cuddle when she said goodbye. We ate lunch, and then went exploring with the other family. We headed back to the duckpond, and the boys (J-Man, and G4) went off to play on a bike track. Princess went looking for field mushrooms, and found a heap of them.
An elderly lady walking a dog came to ask us if we might have found her lost keys, so Princess and I started helping her look. She told us about the place you usually find the mushrooms, and confirmed for me that they were edible...apparently they grow in circles of darker, longer grass, known as a Fairy Circle. Well, of course that appealed immensely to Princess.
The boys loved playing in the dirt, and long grass, and noone seemed to want to leave...but we did eventually, and went our separate ways. We had to walk through the mall to get to our bus, and Tombliboo went running in to a cheap-and-nasty shop and opened a box of motorcycles. I felt I had to purchase them which was very annoying, but today I wasn't annoyed. J-Man chose a teddy bear puppet, because he has become interested in ventriloquism, and Princess chose a puzzle of some description.
The next part of my plan was to get them busy with sorbets so I could (hopefully) buy a sports bra...that all went off amazingly well, and I got a bargain to boot.
I was so impressed with my bargain, and how well the children had waited, that I took them for (yet another) treat, and then we got a bus home.
Tombliboo hopped on board before us, and demanded, "Man! I need a ticket! I need a ticket, Man"...he didn't want to sit by himself this time, choosing rather to breastfeed and go to sleep. Unfortunately, he woke up 5 minutes after he fells asleep, when we needed to get off the bus and walk home.
I thanked J-Man for being so good with the little ones, and he said there was no need- he had loved it.
J-Man cracked us all up saying Tombliboo sayings, and we all walked home very happily, even having a slight diversion so we could walk through two little tunnels.
The rest of the day went wonderfully as well. Tombliboo helped me make macaroni cheese for dinner, while the big kids built cities with Lego. They all played outside with the hose ,and Daddy came home early. I went for a run, and when everything settled down as it got dark, I watched An Inconvenient Truth (the Al Gore documentary about global warming). Princess snuggled with me and couldn't stop crying over polar bears who had drowned looking for ice.
I felt terrible that she had seen it, but touched by her sensitivity, and concern for all creatures. I felt that as harsh and horrible as it was to see her distraught that it is exactly the sort of thing that might have a lasting impact on a young child. We talked about ways we can help the environment, ways we are already helping....goodness knows she is none-too-subtle at the supermarket when someone dares to give us a plastic bag! She eventually fell asleep in my arms.
Tombliboo went to sleep on me as well, and when the movie had finished, I carried Princess to bed, and then took my toddler with me. J-Man was busy visiting the Kremlin, and talking to his Daddy, and everything was right with the world (more or less).