Monday, October 26, 2009

The Beautiful Bus :D


Pictures as Promised..!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Crazy Weekend!

I'm so glad it's half term - a chance to just catch my breath a little - except not this past weekend! On Thursday night some good friends of ours (J&T, J, L&S) stayed overnight. They arrived late and left early (very early!) to catch a ferry to Ireland (from Holyhead), for a wedding on Friday. They then stopped by again for the day on their way home to Oxford on Saturday. Saturday just happened to be Taz's 11th birthday too, so the addition of great mates as visitors made his day :D We convinced them to take a walk round The Moss and the village, with a little stop at the brook and our lovely village pub - kids & all - and so, with a couple of pints down, they were obliged to stay the night again :D It was brilliant to spend some time with them. We haven't seen them since February (when we camped in their garden just after the really heavy snow). S is Lilo's very close friend: despite the miles they are soul mates. J&L are life-long friends of Bugs & Taz, and the whole crowd get on SOOO well - it is always such a joy to be with them :D
They left for home this morning at the same time we left for church (the extra hour was a real blessing this morning with so many in the house to be out by 9am!). After church we came home for bangers-and-mash (loverly!!), and just as P was dozing on the sofa (with numerous children on top of him) M&B with Taz's mate D arrived to collect something from us. M is another pastor in our church and she had some things she needed to discuss with P. Shame - he so rarely naps on a Sunday and when he chose to.... No sooner had they left when S brought back our two girls, having had them for lunch today to play with K. She stayed to chat for a bit...and as she was thinking of leaving our other expected guest arrived for the evening - our close friends H&G, who moved away just after we moved house. So they were around for the evening until about 9ish (as X-factor was finishing they left). It was lovely to see them too, I miss them so much :(
But it's been a couple of days FULL of people - I shall be glad to not have to do school tomorrow! I have Sunday School 'stuff' to do and I need to print some resources out for Stitch for next half term, plan out the week following and catch up on some marking! AND I need to have some fun with the kiddos :D I also have a pile of photo editing I want to get through for a couple of friends of mine who have been waiting several weeks now to see these shots I've taken... Where does time go?!
Forgot to blog too, that we got a new Tourneo. In the end we gained the consent of Ps M&D (while they were here last weekend) to bid on one on Ebay. It was a tough choice, but the only other one I could find on the net that was within our budget was the same age as this one, but with 25, 000 extra miles on the clock, an arm rest missing on a passenger seat, pictures that weren't as clear - and it just didn't FEEL right. I prayed so hard. This other one looked immaculate, but it was on Ebay (something P's parents do not quite trust I feel). In the end we bid and won - we got a 2003 model for just over £5000. P went down to Norwich on the train to collect it (half expecting to be getting the train home again) and it was as beautiful as I thought it was. He paid the man and drove it home! It IS stunning - silver, not a speck of rust even underneath or on wheel arches (as Tourneo and Transits are notorious for), not a scratch or a dent anywhere, the engine is clean, the inside is pristine, even with added rubber flooring to protect the carpet, the A/C works and the CD Player is GOOD! The only minus for P is that it doesn't have a headphone socket to plug his MP3 player into - poor man :( !! This car, sorry BUS, is SOOO much quieter than the last one - you can actually hear the music & each other whilst driving! It purrs contentedly under the bonnet and it's not slaving away at 4000 revs at 70 mph - in fact, it's not even working particularly hard at all! :D We are hoping now, God willing, we are set for the next 10 years!! By then the kids (maybe 3 of them) will be driving their own cars and two may be living independent lives (scary thought), so then we can downsize to a 7 seater!! :D
I'll post up some pictures when I've put them on the PC - P is on there atm and I hate loading them to the laptop as it takes forever to transfer them over to the big hard drive - much quicker to just wait a day and put them there to begin with, so tomorrow maybe :D

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Smoothly Does It!

I'm organised this week - and it shows :D Everyone is working smoothly (provided they start before half the day is gone) and stuff is happening :D
Yesterday the kids did these;

They draw around their shadows (we shone a torch on the whiteboard with paper attached) and then took them away to add all the details. I assisted only with the placement of ears, the shape of eyes, and the arrangement of their hair. For the older ones I just showed them with my finger, but they did them themselves. For the younger ones I added these features for them, but they filled everything in without help (if I hadn't have helped you might be able to work out where Lilo wanted to put her eye - we pretended it was a hair decoration in the end!!). I didn't want to do it all for them, as they so often want me to as they really do not like a poor result in their own eyes, but at the same time I wanted them to be pleased with their results - this time they really were! They are coloured with oil pastel (hence the smudgey marks) with the exception of DD's which is just chalk
. Top-Bottom, Left-Right they are; Lilo, TweetiePie, Bugs, DD, Taz & Minnie (stitch was busy playing cars somewhere at the time :D).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's School Ed', But Not As You Know It!!

This week I was entirely disorganised (again) and didn't have those boxes sorted at all, but the kids are so into this now they just HAVE to fill them! So each morning I jotted on a piece of paper the things that were 'must-do's' for that day - each of them slotted those in and filled in the gaps - easy!! I must confess they did fill in the gaps with a lot of computer orientated learning, but it was all learning none-the-less :D The discovery of TutPup was a GOOD thing - I'm hoping this will be an ace learning tool for TweetiePie as it has speed & accuracy practice with the two areas she struggles most with; spelling and 'number families' (the lowest level of algebra) - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!! (Thank you Merry :D). Minnie likes it too.
Here's some pictures from our week - just to show you that I can do it even with my hair down ;D!!

(this last shot was Jake practising his photography skills!)

Despite this week being a result of me not being organised it IS a good thing to do this every now and then, because it has a couple of positive effects; it means the children plan their day and that is an excellent thing - they are taking responsibility for their learning, choosing whether they wish to work together or alone, choosing how to arrange their day and when they want to do the 'hard stuff', hence learning what does and doesn't work in that regard (like leaving maths until just before we need to leave for Little Drama Group is NOT a good idea!), AND it teaches certain of them (Taz in particular) how to build some flexibility into their lives. Taz is such a little creature of habit and routine and any change is difficult for him - he can do it, but he takes a while to adapt. He is the only one who seems to want to fit the Workbox System back into his old timetabled way of doing things. He gets quite agitated if he has to skip forwards or backwards to work with someone else (because they weren't ready at the same time as him), but he can't bear waiting around 'wasting his time' either (not that that's a bad thing). He is often first to finish in the day because he ploughs through his work and being held up by someone else, or some 'group' activity is a simple annoyance to him!! Get used to it my son - that's life - and if I have to not fill the boxes some weeks to help you learn to adapt and bend then that is what I will do - nobody else really minds!! :D

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Consultation Response

I am number 2841 - looking like we might hit 3000 afterall :D
It took me HOURS!! I'm not going to paste it here, but here's link I hope you can all get into;

The House of Commons - Children, Schools and Families Committee Reports

Here is a link to the transcripts of the Select Committee meetings - scroll down to 'uncorrected evidence' .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dear Ed Balls & the DCSF – no thank you!

I'm pretty sure this won't be as eloquent as Helen, Jax & Merry, but I had to say my piece!

I, Mr Ed, am already registered with my LEA, of my own FREE will and choice, but don't get me wrong I didn't do it so you could count me in your numbers, check up on me annually, or so you could consider yourself at liberty to enter my home & interview my children. I did it because I wanted to be a resource for those who might be starting out on the road of EHE and need a friendly welcome to the community! I did it, so that IF I should ever require your services I would not be eyed with suspicion for having never registered before. I did it because that is what I CHOSE to do. BUT I have friends who have not made this same choice and for whom I now choose to stand for. It is for reasons such as this report/review, whatever you want to call it, that my friends chose not to register in the first place.

So, you want to know numbers - but why? What business is it of yours?
I hear you when you say "so we can plan for services to support the EHE community." - but guess what - WE DON'T TRUST YOU!! - and with that in mind it is likely that many would not choose to use those services you are just now paying lip-service to. Your review makes sweeping assumptions that we actually WANT your help. Agreed, there are many things that I am sure Home educators would LOVE more ease of access to, but NOT with all these strings attached. If given the choice of access or freedom, I know what I and many of my friends would choose... FREEDOM wins hands down! Why should we have to prove we are providing an adequate education - by your measures - in order to have access to these things? I have yet to see you deny examination access to those schools that fail our nations children year after year! Do you go in and interogate school children one-on-one to hear what they have to say about their education? I think you might get a nasty shock if you were so to do! I don't mean interviewing the ones who are high fliers, high achievers (who are likely well supported at home also), but the ones who are struggling, the ones who are 'at risk' of failing to achieve, the ones with behavioural problems, the ones with Special Educational Needs - ask them whether they think the education system works for them, or against them! I dare you...
And then I challenge you to go set your own house straight before you go poking around in mine!!

Luke 6:42 NIV
"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

One more thing... Mr Badman talked about the 'Tasmanian model' of monitering, where it is home educators who monitor home-educators. This looks to me like a formalised, state organised & controlled* version of what home-educator naturally set in place for themselves here in the UK. It is for THIS* reason that I suspect Home-Educators reject the idea (which despite knowing it was not widely accepted in the HE community Mr Badman put forward as an example anyway!) - we do not wish to be state controlled!! We do not believe the state has any RIGHT to control our lives! Believe me, there are not too many Home-Educators out there who chose to go it alone. It's not easy and we need support - but we CHOOSE where that support comes from and for the most part we are HAPPY with the way things are. THIS POT IS NOT BROKEN - DO NOT TRY TO FIX IT!!

For a supposedly intelligent man Mr Badman appear to me to be making incredibly ridiculous assertions. Lets look at his figures...
0.2% of the general population are 'known to the DSS' - or if we are to believe Mr Badman, that is purely the figure of children under "section 47" of the at risk register. OK - let's assume that's true. According to Mr Badman (and his meagre statistics) 0.4% of the KNOWN EHE community are likewise under that section 47 of the register (although I do recall the original questions put to the LEA's did not make it clear what 'known to the DSS actually meant and so I doubt if this is an honest promise). From these figures he makes the assumption that EHE children are doubly at risk of abuse. On what planet does he live? Is it not clear that IF his guestimated figures about the UNKNOWN EHE community are anything like correct (which I suspect he has severely UNDER estimated) then his 0.4% is going to drastically drop! Is it not pertinent to assume that IF a child were at risk in the community they would already be known to Social Services (and therefore counted in the 0.2%) - I mean lets face it - it's not always schools that pick up these issues and report them in reality is it? HE children are the ones out there in the community, mixing with the folks in their locality all day, every day; not hidden away in a classroom full of children their own age, who are unlikely to notice abuse, even less likely to report it. HE children are 'known' to the neighbours because they always about - they are noticeable - and you can bet your bottom dollar, if anything untoward were suspected there would be enough people in any location to think the worst, and that family would very quickly come under scrutiny - justly or otherwise. Please tell me then, why do you feel the need to vest MORE powers of interference in the EDUCATION Authorities than you currently do in Social Services? Currently it is only the POLICE - with warrant - who have the power to interview a child and only then are Social Services involved IF NECESSARY. How plays it that suddenly EDUCATION authorities are being allowed to make calls on SOCIAL welfare grounds?! Just supposing for a minute that the 0.4% were an accurate figure, surely these are the families where your focus needs to be - and these are already known to you, so no need for registration!? These and the 0.2% of the rest of the population. WHY do you feel the need to inspect and interfere with the lives of those of us who are quietly getting on with our God given responsibilities as parents of our children, to raise, love, protect and educate them as we see fit (at school or otherwise). YOU do not have a "duty of care" towards our children - WE DO!! YOU do not have responsibility for their education - WE DO!! YOU do not have the right to strip us of our duties and responsibilities until you can prove that we are shirking them - and that's what this review is all about - setting out to prove that we are not doing our job and thereby vesting the state with parental status - YOU WILL NOT WIN!! Try as you might but you cannot prove something that simply isn't true!

What I see developing before my eyes is a twisted woven web of Government control of our lives. BIG BROTHER is watching you. If you don't learn to think like we want you to think and know the things we want you to know, you are of no worth until we have kicked into shape and forced you to conform. And if we can't catch you in one web, we will spin another.
So what if my son is a NEET for a few years - I am not training him to be useful to you - I am not training him for puplic slavitude - I am training him to find his joy in life. My ambition for my son is that he is happy and fulfilled - and I'm sure his happiness won't be tied up in what he knows about "ancient oriental history!" IF my son chooses that as a topic of interest then we will look closely at it, if not we will probably touch on it lightly at some stage - just as they would in school (where nothing is learnt in any great depth though many things are covered as token gestures). I want my son to spend his life in a vocation that he loves, not one that he feels trapped into through a need to earn and contribute to public productivity. I love my son - I have more ambition for him than THAT! IF he needs to take his time to get to where he is going, that is fine by me - his age is not the issue.
Like I said I am already registered, but I do not follow a prescribed curriculum and have no intention of doing so. I tweak my schooling according to the needs of my children year-by-year, month-by-month, week-by-week-, hour-by-hour, even minute-by-minute if necessary. I have NO intention of writing down learning goals and objectives for the upcoming year - this would be a waste of my time! In our house I might set a goal and it can be met in a week, or it might take two years. It's not that my educating has failed, it's that my goal was not well aligned with my child's needs and therefore needs changing. But under your proposed system I would be deemed to be failing if I did not reach my original goal that year - and what would befall me then? Prescribed State Curriculum? Enforced state schooling? LEA 'support'? - I can see the thin end of the wedge already!! Am I then to stick with that goal even though it has already been achieved/I got it wrong, just because it's what I said a year ago that I was aiming for? THIS would be crazy!! THIS is where it's all gone wrong in schools. Teachers are no longer free to use their initiative and change the goals according to the needs of the child and/or class - they have to stick with the goals laid out before them, or woe betide! NO WAY am I getting into this in my home. We have already seen the impact of your trying to enforce the 'early learning goals' on childminders. These are people caring for children in their own homes, in a large number of cases, because parents have chosen to send them to a less constructively educational setting - a setting where the children are more free to play as they would as home, and yet BIG BROTHER believes it is only right that ALL children should be squeezed into their mould from as early an age as possible - let's get at them even before they can talk!! THIS IS WRONG!!!

I will not bow down to your totalitarian state, where everything I do is watched and controlled and I will train my children to stand up and be counted also. I will change my goals as often as I see the need to, or even not set any in the first place - that is MY CHOICE! I WILL NOT conform, or fill out forms or allow you to interview my children without me there. WHO do you think you are!?! I do not want or need your 'support' and I will not use it even if you offer it to me - I would not be foolish enough to fall into the snare trap you are setting - and I think you will be surprised just how many of us can see right through you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Going Potty!

Quick update & a 'few' pics :D

Bugs' completed Lego creation

Minnie's Greek Pot (outside)
& inside

Taz's Greek Pot (outside)

Bugs' pot (outside) - painted with Gouache, hence the sheen

Tweetie's pot (outside) - she decided to leave hers grey.

Lilo's pot (outside)

Early Victorian style puppet theatre - playing Cinderella :D
...And here's the evidence you've been after...

So not only do I now have 7 children to look after, but one is an invalid (with a far too good reason to spend plenty of time SASSing) and one (Stitch) is sooo rough with his cold he wants to spend every waking moment on my knee or in my arms - or Daddy's when he gets home! Problem is, I don't feel too grand either and I can only get to about lunchtime before I feel like I need to sleep for about 10 hours - not sure what's up with me :(

If anyone was wondering about the IS a right off. We are desperately trying to track down a 9-seater through a dealer now before the insurance pay out / our 21 days courtesy car runs out. With Bugs incapacitated a car becomes even more essential! Problem is there just doesn't seem to be too much out there within our budget - so if anyone spots a nice looking minibus in their local garage for around the £6000 mark please LET ME KNOW! We will go near enough anywhere to collect if we can get it quick!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Drama in the house!

Tonight my Bugs has returned from A&E with a plaster up to his knee! He was dancing at his youth club on friday night, landed funny on his foot (in new shoes) and limped through the weekend. I had a look at it last night and decided I thought it might be broken, but to leave it one more night to see... His foot was pretty swollen this morning. Stitch is not too well with a heavy cold and feverish, so he, Bugs and I stayed home. This afternoon Lilo and DD were booked for a party I didn't want them to miss and as Bugs was happy just lying on the sofa with his leg up, we decided to take him down this evening. Obviously being a nice Sunday afternoon and rugby season A&E was busy, so they only just got back (nearly 5 hours later). Bugs has broken his 5th metatarsal (correct diagnosis on my part - grin!), but the tendons that connect are twisting his leg a bit, hence the mega-cast & crutches. Pictures to follow in the morning! Let's see how much he milks this then ;-) He's already tried the "Well, I can't do school then!" - to which I replied, "it's your foot that broken, not your brain!", but to be honest sometimes I'm not so sure!! :D
Stitch is non too well - nasty barking cough and he really looks rough, bless him :( Hoping we don't all get it.
I can't get motivated this weekend at all, so I haven't planned the week yet. I have a vague idea in my head of what the week needs to hold, but the boxes are empty - again! I really do love this system Monday -Thursday, but I dread the hours of prep on a weekend. It aches my brain trying to organise 60 activities and make sure everyone gets their fair turn at the fun things without stepping on each others toes too much. I think I need to try and be creative about how the boxes get filled. I could ask the kids to do it just as they finish each day, but I feel they already do quite a lot of stuff that eats into their free time (chores and all) and I want them to have time to be kids, BUT I am aware that they do it in about 5 minutes a piece and somehow it takes me so much longer than that when I'm doing them all of an evening. More thought required on that one. I certainly don't want to get into a 'rut' again, with the same things in the same boxes each day (which is how I know a lot of folks use it), because that would just feel like a timetable in boxes - and we've been timetabled for way too long. At least with this there is so much more flexibility built in and a lightness about it that allows me to feel things can pass-over to the next day if we've simply run out of time. The next day can be juggled and nothing is being missed out - unlike when we did timetables and things frequently got squeezed out.
Right now I need to go an make up a temporary chore-chart so that my invalid son does not just skive out of every chore there is for the next however many weeks!

I just recieved an award from Sheri over at Homeschooling on a wing and a prayer.
I am honoured! Thanks Sheri :)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Select Committee witnesses

If you haven’t seen the list of witnesses for the select committee the phrase read it and weep comes to mind.

From Home Education Forums

The Children, Schools and Families Committee will be taking formal oral evidence as follows:

Monday 12 October 2009 at 4.45pm
Wilson Room, Portcullis House


Graham Badman CBE;
Ms Diana R Johnson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, and
Penny Jones, Independent Schools and School Organisation, DCSF.

The purpose of this session is to examine the evidence base for and recommendations of the DCSF commissioned review of elective home education in England.

Wednesday 14 October 2009 at 9.30am
Wilson Room, Portcullis House

Witnesses: (At 9.30am)
Jane Lowe, Trustee, Home Education Advisory Service;
Fiona Nicholson, Trustee /Chair Government Policy Group, Education Otherwise;
Simon Webb, home educating parent;
David Wright, home educating parent, and
Carole Rutherford, co-founder, Autism in Mind

(At 10.30am)
Colin Green, Chair, Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee, Association of Directors of Children’s Services;
Ellie Evans, Head of Children Missing Education team, West Sussex County Council;
Sir Paul Ennals, Chief Executive, National Children’s Bureau, and
Phillip Noyes, Director of Public Policy, NSPCC

No Paula Rothermel. No one from AHEd, or AEUK. The two home educating parents are both men, which doesn’t strike me as desperately representative of the demographic of home educators as a whole?

If you feel like dropping a complaint in (and I really feel you should) the email address is

The Members of the Committee are:

Mr Barry Sheerman (Chairman), Labour, Huddersfield
Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat, Mid Dorset and Poole North
Mr Douglas Carswell, Conservative, Harwich
Mr David Chaytor, Labour, Bury North
Mrs Sharon Hodgson, Labour, Gateshead East and Washington West
Paul Holmes, Liberal Democrat, Chesterfield
Fiona Mactaggart, Labour, Slough
Mr Andrew Pelling, Independent, Croydon Central
Mr Andy Slaughter, Labour, Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush
Helen Southworth, Labour, Warrington South
Mr Graham Stuart, Conservative, Beverley & Holderness
Mr Edward Timpson, Conservative, Crewe and Nantwich
Derek Twigg, Labour, Halton
Lynda Waltho , Labour, Stourbridge

so if any of them are your MP, suggest that it would be a good idea to stick a flea in their ear too.

Please spread far and wide.

(I stole this post from my friend, but she won't mind - let's get the word out!!!)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Brain Dump!

It's all happening here - and I have a headache!!
Yesterday we did:
  • Tux painting
  • Maths (online and off)
  • Art (painting our Greek pots) - just the red-clay colour
  • Spelling tests - with varying degrees of success this week ;)
  • English (Galore Park at various level & 'Just Write' for Minnie)
  • Lilo did some more Starfall work - she is doing really well with it and loving it atm)
  • Typing
  • Education City & Moshi Monsters
  • DD & Stitch spent some time on Poissonrouge
  • A few of the kiddos had some Wii time
  • Minnie chose to get out the Moonsand - which I regretted saying yes to when I was sweeping it up from all around the house half an hour later. It's great stuff - outside, or on a weekend when I can supervise better, but when little ones get their fingers in it (which of course they do the minute it comes out), just like any sand, it goes EVERYWHERE! And because it's sticky it sticks to feet very well indeed - and therefore spreads around rather nicely!
  • DD did some fine-motor work with paper clips and colour cards. He stuck with it for a little while, but was not that enamoured! Paperclips were a new skill though and he understood how to work them after a little practice and verbal guidance, so that was good.

Sure there was more too, but I forget what!

Here's how today looked;
  • Bible study (four bigs) while I printed out a few bits I forgot last night .
  • Lego Challenge for oldest 4, joined by younger 2 and later by stitch - build an aeroplane to be judged by Daddy later, on effort, design & strength - great fun - took AGES!! Actually Lilo decided to build a train & station, and Tweetie built a plane & airport :D. DD had a major strop because he couldn't do it (even though he didn't actually try), but in the end he built a wall and was quite happy with that :D

  • Whilst Lego was happening Stitch was downstairs amuzing himself with 'Push' - a game that requires all it's 26 balls to be there and whenever he has asked for it in the past I have said "no!", but I was upstairs doing Lego with the others, so, sneaky*(see later story) as he is, he got it out and when I spotted him I decided to leave him as he was playing so nicely with it. I just WISH I could trust him though, because just as always, when he was done (and of course I was called away else where), instead of tidying it or even just leaving it, he threw the balls everywhere - WHY does he do that with EVERYTHING!?! So now, I am missing a ball of course - rrrrr!
  • Various combinations of Tux painting & maths.
  • Watched the tractor with giant hedge-cutter attachment as it massacred the hedgerows along the footpath beside our house (very entertaining for small children).

  • Taz did something on the Wii for a bit
  • DD practiced his name (getting very good now) and did a tiny bit of his colour sticker book. I'm not sure why he doesn't want to do the sticker book atm, maybe because it doesn't involve ME!
  • DD also threaded some foam shapes on a nylon thread - independently - and enjoyed that - phew!
  • Lilo made a felt shape 'ribbon' bracelet with a LOT of help from yours truely - the instructions were SO unclear and it was very fiddly for her, but it's pretty so that's good! :D
  • We learnt a bit about the Roman Army and made shields for the project folder - which also took AGES and needed to be finished after drama/prayer group.

  • Bugs, Taz & Stitch went to prayer group (chauffeured by Dad), whilst Minnie, Tweetie, Lilo & DD walked to LDG (Little Drama Group) with me - in the rain!
  • Home to judge the aeroplanes and finish off the shields, clear up and now to eat tea :D

  • I took quite a few photos! :D

    The workboxes have been about half completed today, but hey-ho, it was a busy, fun day & there's only so much one can squash in! :D I have a headache, because, although the kids have been good on the whole, they can still be incredibly noisy and when it's this busy I find it all a little too much. I like that it's productive, but at the same time, it's exhausting! It's exhausting when the children seemingly refuse to think for themselves - I seem to be the first port of call before they tap into their own brains, even just a little bit: "Muuuuum, what shall I do with this tiny scrap of paper I cut off (that is obviously no good to anyone any more)?" - seriously - how bright does one need to be to work that out!?! It's also not helped either by DD being rather screechy rather too much of the time of late - whiny, in a high screechy voice about sooooo many things. And Stitch is also a bit clingy and whiny some of the time too, but only in a normal 2yo way - it just all adds to the intolerable noise levels/pitch/fuzzy-head at times.

    OK - moan over!!

    * Sneaky Stitch ... this boy is SOOO sneaky! Bugs gave him the tiniest piece of bread from his own sandwich at lunch time. Stitch took this as being enough, and, while my back was turned to make food for the others, helped himself to a chocolate mouse from the fridge, sat down, opened it and proceeded to eat it (with his fingers) before anyone noticed what he was up to. We NEVER have mouse at lunchtime - he knows this and you should have seen the twinkle in his oh-so-mischievous eyes!!

    This boy is SOOOO sneaky that often, when I go to get Jaffa Cakes out at snack time, I find a black (high)chair in my pantry and an empty Jaffa box (or two!!). This boy is SOOOO sneaky he will pinch chocolate snack bars, open them and sit on the bottom stair with it and his drink (like a table), minding his own business and you won't notice him until the misdemeanour is almost accomplished - and he looks so innocent (and quiet) that you seriously have to consider if it is worth the hassle (and noise) of reprimanding him. This boy is SOOOO adorable that he is extremely difficult to tell off as he smiles at you with twinkly eyes and huge dimples, and so intelligent that it's hard not to clock his mischief up to pure 2yo genius, but my-oh-my am I gonna have my work cut out with him in a couple of years time!! He does NOT rule the roost, by any stretch of his imagination, and he DOES know the boundaries (and push them constantly), but he is a force to be reckoned with, no shadow of a doubt!! I do and will have to pick my battles carefully with him because I think he will be libel to grind me down - and I cannot afford to let him be the winning side in a battle that I have chosen to pick!