Yes, I am another year older! The waiter at my birthday meal asked in all seriousness if it was my 15th birthday and refused to believe I was 36 until several of my friends verified it. This has been happening for so long now that I just find it annoying! It was my birthday on Friday and I decided to celebrate with a day of delicious food! I met a friend for lunch at Richmond Tea Rooms (with the kids of course) It’s one of my favourite little places to go in Manchester and even though pregnancy has diminished my love of both tea and cake, I still wanted to go as it’s so lovely. I treated myself to the Queen’s Tea – a platter of finger sandwiches, mini cakes and pastries and a big scone. Delicious!
We went home to watch a film (Sister Act 2, which incidentally is rubbish which was a bit disappointing as I love Sister Act.) In the evening we walked over to the Nawaab – an excellent Indian Buffet that often caters for wedding parties. The staff kept pestering me about people being on time which stressed me out as I am a very punctual person – lateness makes me anxious. However, my bunch of Home Ed hippy friends (as I affectionately call them) don’t seem to have this problem and usually arrive in dribs and drabs at various times only vaguely relating to the actual time agreed! Eventually I had to stop wringing my hands and looking at the door and just go and get some food! They all got there in the end and the latest one did have the very good excuse that she’d been baking me a cake. Every year she bakes me one of her amazing Guiness Cakes and this years was a particularly fine vintage!
I was surprised by how many wonderful presents I got. Someone even got me a pink suitcase to take them all home in! One friend bought me packets of jelly and jelly babies which really made me laugh. Anybody following my secret jelly saga on Facebook will understand! The first baby clothes arrived too – my favourite was the cow print babygro. I think my best present of all though was my friend Peej coming home from Canada. I was so excited to see her I just squealed and jumped on her!
Anyway, enough about me! I feel as if we’ve taken things easy this week although the kids always seem to be busy at home. A has been creating a play pen for her hamster. Unfortunately the hamster doesn’t seem too appreciative and simply climbs out as soon as he’s put in! She’s working on constructing higher walls! Jessy and A both did a little bit of sewing, making little toys with button eyes. Jessy managed to thread his own needle this time which is progress.
They gave me a lovely surprise the day after my birthday. They’d been working hard on tidying the playroom and that morning they cleared it completely and then A hoovered the whole room. Thy did a really good job and it was a genuinely lovely surprise as the mess has been getting on top of me recently and I do feel more relaxed when things are a bit tidier. Mess really is an inevitable part of home education and I wish it didn’t bother me quite as much as it does!
I made the most of my one days off while both the kids are at Wood School. I forgot to say last week that Wood School has found a temporary place for A on a Monday which really helps. I browsed round charity shops which is a favourite ‘day off’ pass time of mine. I found sticky toffee cheddar on a market stall which I adore but very rarely find. I also decided that if other people have bought me baby clothes I can get some too. I found a little babygro with stars and a robot on and a little hoody jumper which says ‘Think Outside the Box’ on it. I’m not a fan of designer clothes, but even I couldn’t resist the TK Maxx bargain of something with an RRP of £70 reduced to £7! I met my friend M for lunch and very much enjoyed the adult conversation. We always seem to have interesting and in depth chats. Today’s topic turned out to be how you would feel if you fell in love with someone of a different gender to the one you are usually attracted to. It obviously only works if you are pretty much monosexual but we enjoyed mulling it over!
We played ‘Destination Hogwarts’ one afternoon. Jessy and I have only played it once before and A had never played. It’s a fairly simple game based on working out the quickest route to your various destinations collecting house points and hoping to stay out of trouble. We decided to take out the two cards that result in someone leaving the game as we just don’t think it’s fun.
A seemed amused that when she won Jessy and I sung ‘Congratulations and Celebrations!’ to her and she asked why we do it. It’s something I developed with Jessy years ago. It can be hard for young children to enjoy others winning, however a poor loser is no fun for anyone. Whenever someone else won the game I would clap and cheer and say ‘Congratulations!’ with a big smile and it developed into singing a song. It puts a pleasant and fun atmosphere at the end of the game, whoever wins, and gives something fun for the losers to join in with. It’s become a habit now and it’s one I’m happy to keep.
The other thing that stands out about this week was out evening of silliness. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of silliness and how much children enjoy it when you join in. After dinner one evening A created some spontaneous art with her leftover sauce. It was a portrait of Ron Weasley but we soon all started giggling because Ron’s eyes did look rather a lot like boobs! We came up with silly names for him!
That set the tone really and then Jessy started making silly faces with his chips while A messed around.
In the end the kids were almost falling over laughing as they dropped the contents of the fruit bowl into the hood of my jumper one by one! I then pretended to be annoyed and started running at them pretending I was going to throw various objects at them. The more I put into my role the more they laughed – I think Jessy’s favourite was the kitchen roll holder complete with unravelling kitchen roll! By that point they actually were on the floor rolling around laughing! It felt good to all be silly and laugh together.
I’m happy to say that A has had a lot more energy for fun and laughs since being out of school. Sometimes I think the times where it seems the least is happening – the days like today where they didn’t get dressed until just before dinner and spent all day playing with crocheted monsters and watching The Sound of Music – those are the days that refuel you, that leave your mind refreshed and happy and ready to keep thinking and working and figuring out the world.