Friday, August 15, 2008

And We Did It All!

oday went according to plan and was very lovely! Paul & I awoke late (about 9) as P doesn't work on Fridays and came down to find the children watching Cheaper By the Dozen 2 (they watched No.1 yesterday morning). Later found out they had also watched The Wild this morning, so I have no idea what time they all got up, but hey, they left us be J. So once they had all eaten a rather late breakfast, and got themselves sorted out we headed off to the sweet shoppe. P said he would get the bits I needed in Morrisons, for which I was grateful as the thought of Morrisons and 7 kids does not thrill me! I also picked up my new glasses while we were in town, which Big J took great pride in telling everyone he picked for me - all credit to him, he did and they look nice - we think! Also made Joel an appointment while we were there as he needs new glasses after standing on his (ho-hum)!

Mission accomplished in town and children happily chomping of sweeties, we wandered along the river to the park. Paul had agreed to meet us there so we spent a lovely hour or so just playing around there. The boys managed to fight even whilst playing football though! Natty has really discovered his feet and was all over the park - walk,plop,side-step, walk, plop, etc… He was quite comical to watch, but even funnier was his experiment with the roundabout. He decided to stand in the middle to begin with, but then got sillier and sillier and was trying to crawl around and kept lying down on his back, then his front, then trying to walk around on it and you could see the amused puzzlement in his face when he simply could not find his balance, or control his movements. It really was very funny, but maybe you had to be there!

After the park Paul had a pastoral visit to do, so back at home with the kids we had lunch and then embarked on our cooking session. I was grateful that not all the children wanted to take part. Little J wanted to play on the 'puter for a bit (he is not into 'messy' - art, cooking - not really his thing!), El's went to play busily upstairs and N & C crashed out. Boo went off to best friend R's to play. That just left me with two mini-chefs to work with. Big J was the one who really wanted to learn to make cheesecake, so I encouraged him to follow the recipe. He did pretty well, but I had bought enough to make two - one with cream cheese (how P likes it) and one with Cottage Cheese (how I like it), J made one and P and I made the other alongside. It's great because there is no cooking involved, so they can safely make it without me now - at least that is the theory! I loved their faces when I held a bowl of double cream upside down over their heads J Phoebe said "that's magic!"

Once the cheesecakes were in the fridge, Big J went off to join Little J at the 'puter and Boeph (pronounced 'Beef' - my nickname for Phoebe : Phoebe = Boephe = Beefy = Beef!) and I continued baking. We made some choc-choc-chip muffins. I think she was more thrilled about making these than the cheesecake J They too came out very lovely - light and yummy, although not as gorgeously gooey as Katy's (please Katy can you email me that recipe - yours were stunning!). Meanwhile Paul had arrived home and was cutting the grass with the 'assistance' of C!

By the time we were all done it was 4.30pm. The boys were happily playing on Mini-clip, E was still playing upstairs and N was still sleeping. P, Boephe, C and I all veg'ed out watching the Olympic Gymnastics on TV, accompanied by lots of exclamations of amazement from Phoebe J.

I cannot say that, despite this being holiday time, our days have been completely non-educational, especially today…I simply don't seem to be able to stop myself ;-)

I think just lately the world is suddenly 'waking up' in Phoebe's eyes and she is beginning to be 'amazed' by it. Whilst cooking today she was asking me all sorts of interesting food-related questions - intelligent ones that required thoughtful answers. I enjoyed spending those 45 minutes of Muffin cooking time with her. I seldom get chance to just be with her. She is always so busy playing games with her sisters that she seldom wants it. Today made me think that maybe I need to schedule in some cooking time for just me and her (or something else she might enjoy doing). The other thing she was pleased with herself about today was a little 'maths' problem. She knew we had to use 4oz of butter. I told her that the whole pat was 8oz and then asked her how much of the pat we needed to use. She just 'knew' it was half J She hasn't done any multiplication, division or fractions 'in school' yet so I was a little surprised she knew that - and very pleased that she did. It encouraged me to think that at last she seems to be absorbing life around her more than she has seemed to in the past, and that things are beginning to 'make sense' to her now.

Big J, on the other hand, seems to want to avoid learning anything when it's not official school time! He had to find 6oz of butter from a pat. I asked him how much of the pat he had to leave behind. He told me 2oz. This of course was a right answer and I think he thought I was having a laugh asking him, but when I said, " so what 'fraction' of the pat is that?" he tried to duck out of answering me, with… "Oh Mum, do we have to do maths..?" To which I answered - "Yes!" After a couple of seconds more he answered that it was a 1/4 left behind. Later he told me he was thinking about the answer while he was protesting and it wasn't as hard as he thought! I then explained to him that the whole purpose of Maths is to make our lives easier. He is a very 'box' person; Maths in this box, Cooking in that, English in another, Games in another, etc… He would not consider digging into one box to help with another unless it was suggested to him that he might find it useful to do so. So, when I said to him this evening that we do not learn Maths simply just for the sake of being able to do clever things with numbers, but to help us out in 'real life' - you could see the "seriously…is that what it's for? That makes sense!" look on his face. It's scary that my son has got to 11 years old and never realised that Maths is meant to be useful - that it is meant to give us short-cuts and tools for life! Maybe I really do need to de-school him for a while…

So, all-in-all, a happy, successful day. Boeph & E were both heard to say - completely independently of each other - "it's been a lovely day today." I like it when my children say that J - and when they are right!

A snip of Natty toddling!

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