Tuesday, October 30

Life skills

A life time ago, before I had children and therefore all the opinions in the world, I believed that education was the most important thing to give children (after love of course).

Now I believe it's freedom and safety to play and explore their world, and also life skills through imitation.

In the early years, these include, cooking, basic cleaning, self-hygiene, tidying up.

We don't do 'chores' we simply keep our home clean and tidy. She will never receive money for helping keep her home in nice order. We all live here, we all help. It becomes a seamless part of daily life.

Last week she begun washing the cutlery after I've done everything else. Then I've added small bowls (which I give a quick scrub if food has dried on). She definitely washes what she uses. We would have begun earlier, but living at the grandparents' meant chemical-ridden washing-up liquid. Now it's Ecover and little hands can enjoy the suds.

Water play is big on her lists of loves, so it's work + play! And the 10mins she's in there gives mama some online time. And if she's feeling reluctant, a little transitional washing-up/tidy song, or some silliness and play, gets her re-motivated.

In our daily rhythm, washing-up happens after morning snack (around 10amish).

Monday, October 29

Last week...

Demonstrated her favourite rope swing at school.
Played sweetly with baby dolls while I took my turn to clean her classroom.
Made loo-roll puppets.

Did inspired art, side by side.
Started to wash up the cutlery, for real.
Got excited about our 5-a-day chart.
(national recommended fruit/veg daily portions in UK)

Offered to vacuum.
Threw leaves into the air and at each other.
Painted the puppet story I told that morning.
(boy meets ducks in Autumn woods and helps them build their nest)

Made a Halloween banner.
Discovered the joy of a cardboard box.
Made bread.
Went on a river walk with little neighbour and parents.

weekending with Amanda

Friday, October 26

joy pockets #41

The real...

The stress of the school situations is out of the way, due to half-term, but I struggle still with this thing we'll call child-led domesticity. Just me and Miss4, and such a social, chatty child she is, with such a silence-desiring mama. What a mix. But despite it all, there have been many sweet moments... I need to recall them.

The joys...

Our forehead-kissing-denting game
Her yippee at me opening up, immediately after paying, wait for it... a mini cheese
Seeing her inspired by me doing art
My surrender to purposeful rhythm
She's started to eat seeds - pumpkin and sunflower for now.

Thursday, October 25

Bread making

We've made a few cakes together, where she basically cracked eggs and mixed batter. Now that we're settled into our home and working on a weekly rhythm, I decided to introduce bread making.

Miss 4 loved the feel of the flour and the dough. She chose to add sunflower seeds to her little rolls.

I used the basic recipe on the flour packet. And with no measuring equipment and one small bowl (new house, belongings elsewhere still), it was certainly, er, rustic methodology.

Basic Rolls

2 1/4 cups strong bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
15g soft butter
7g dry yeast (I use allison's easy bake - UK)

Add flour, salt, sugar, yeast, stir well.
Rub in butter.
Knead for 10mins on floured surface until smooth and elastic.
Form into rolls (about 9).
Place on tray.
Leave to rise 30-45mins.
Preheat oven to 230C.
Bake 10mins, then reduce temp to 200C, bake until risen, golden, and hollow on bottom.

Bread Kneading Song

This is the way we knead our dough
do it with rhythm nice and slow
First we push with the heel of our hand
then turn it 'round and do it again.

She was thrilled about the rising.

I lathered on the butter, she preferred hers as they were.

Wednesday, October 24

joy pockets

That's right, they're returning.
On Friday.

5 senses tour

Peek at this page for details.

Monday, October 22

her first 2 weeks

I wish I could record here that it's been fantastic. That all has gone smoothly and it's been all smiles.

But I can't.

The great stuff...

She loved school from day 1, and even better, she still loves school now.

The challenge...

A little boy in her class has been physically hurting her. I can't say bullying, because he's only 4, and he's not making a point to find and attack her. Rather, he's provoked by Miss4 correcting his 'naughty' behaviour, or getting into his space when he's said a firm, 'no'.

Miss4 has a need for order and correctness, as well as a need to communicate all that. She believes she's been helpful. Technically has been so, such as when he almost closed a door on a smaller child. With this kid, he ain't taking it. She also has a belief that we should always share. However, many times, you have to give people the right to their space.

I had a very bleak week, with one night of dark dark thoughts. Including thinking perhaps I ought to pull her out of school (for those who don't know, I had originally hoped to homeschool her, and the only reason she's in school at age 4.5 yrs, is because it was supposed to provide a gentle home-like environment, as Steiner schools do). I questioned everything. A night where I crawled into bed with her because of a primal need to hold and protect my 'baby'. I felt I had let her down.

The good stuff...

Both teacher, the parent of the boy, and myself, are working together to solve this issue. The teacher is very pro-active.

Also, on the other side of the dark thoughts now, I can accept that Miss4 is dealing with it really well. Both in how she responds to the boy - doesn't retaliate but is very firm about what's not okay, saying, no, stop, stop that - and although there have been signs of stress, she's otherwise really okay. I think I'm the one emotionally scarred!

And finally, it's given her a chance to deal with adversity, as well as us a chance to talk through some social issues. For her part, understanding other people's boundaries, and letting go of worrying about other children's behaviour. We chatted together, and decided together, that her 'job' at school was to have fun, be helpful, be kind, and have more fun. And the teacher can take care of the children. In a way, I believe that this also frees her of some anxiety, as she feels she ought to be taking care of bad behaviour. Too much of a burden on a small child, even if she wants to do it.

And building compassion. Talking about how that little boy is frightened about so many new children and such, and that's why he's hurting her and shouting in class. And that she can help him by not making him more scared, such as listening when he doesn't want her to play near him.

So... I'm accepting all this as an experience that will make her emotionally stronger and yet also a more other-aware person.

Oh how reasonable and positive I am! But 2 days ago you would have found me in a puddle of my own tears.

Thursday, October 18

Four and a half

'Mummy, are you going to have another baby?'
'No sweetie.'
'But I want you to have two.'
'Can you have twins?'
'One of you is just enough, just right.'
'But I miss myself!'


Learning to play chess on and off for the last month.


Asked me to leave immediately on the 2nd day of Steiner school.


'Mama, what happens if we throw water on the sun?'


Most little girls ask for dolls, don't they?

'Mama, when will you eat chicken again?'
'Er, don't know, why?'
'When you eat it, can you not throw the bones and wash them and get all the yucky stuff off and give it to me?'
'Yes, sure'

Yup, it's all about anatomy books, body functions, organs, and skeletons at the moment.
I love that she worked out herself where she could get a hold of a bone!


Dealing so well with an aggressive boy at school - setting her boundaries but not retaliating.
(teacher, other parent, and I, working on this)


Trying many new foods - spinach, noodles, raisins, raspberries, barley, creamy pasta sauce, sweet potato soup - and not worrying about bits!
Importantly, she's, this finicky kiddo, is eating well at school. Although still turning her nose up at seeds.


She's the helpful one in class.


A visit to the library is still considered a good day out.


She loves being outside in nature. And calls our forest or river walks, going on an explore.

Thursday, October 11

first-aid our way

aloe vera
tea-tree oil
home-made 'bug-off' essential-oil roll on
chickweed ointment
chamomile lotion
rescue remedy
home-made 'boo-boo' essential-oil roll on for the handbag
witch hazel
marshmellow cough syrup
plasters (band-aids) and bandages
cotton pads

+ a separate essential-oils box.

Monday, October 8

breaking away

I shed tears with no shame, all the way back to the car. My little girl, my clingy, need-regular-cuddles, rarely-been-parted-from-mama little girl, was away from me, at school.

Every day, rain or shine, is begun outdoors. Hence top-to-toe water-proofs and wellies.

I had gone prepared to stay until 10am (Steiner schools allow parents to hang around, apart and quietly, for an easier transition. I took a crochet project to keep busy), after which they go inside for lunch. But they went off to the 'big' playground due to a lot of muddiness in front of the class, and she popped back with the teacher to grab a tool for digging.

Teacher suddenly suggested, "Are you ready to say bye to mummy?"

What, huh, now?

"Yes", was Miss 4's simple reply. With a smile.

So off I was sent after only 1/2 an hour, and with a mere peck on the cheek. After all, there was a sandpit!

From 8:20ish until 12:20pm, for three mornings. So a very gentle beginning for the children. I have 3 hours ahead, of ME time!! Woohoo! All those projects waiting!

And yet, I can't focus on anything. So here I am, just blogging, working through my own side of the transition... seemingly less smooth than the child's.

p.s, and for those laughing along with me on facebook, at the thought of ME embroidering, well, the results (free-hand and on difficult terry cloth mind you) are nothing to be ashamed about - held at a distance and squinting. But, that'll do me for fiddly thread work.