Pros and cons of independence

Christmas is coming! I know this because we all have Christmas jumpers! The kids were very keen to choose one and I joined in too. My latest plan for cheap maternity wear is buying big sizes from Primark. It’s not quite as flattering as the range from Mothercare, but at the rate I’m expanding I’ll need a few more things without breaking the bank! Here’s my latest ‘bump’ selfie:

271120132090

My festive bump has been out and about at our usual activities this week including our fortnightly favourite, the Adventure Playground Home Ed meeting. A had plans to meet up with a friend afterwards for a few hours which gave Jessy and I a bit of time to spend together. I asked him what he’d like to do and he instantly said ‘Richmond Tea Rooms!’ so we went for cake. Jessy insisted it was a date to which I kept specifying ‘a Mother and son date!’

Jessy tried and loved a coffee and walnut cake. I had my favourite :apple and rhubarb crumble with custard.

Jessy tried and loved a coffee and walnut cake. I had my favourite :apple and rhubarb crumble with custard.

Jessy is still rather interested in the whole concept of dating and relationships, mostly because there is quite a heavy focus on those topics in the later Harry Potter books. We’re half way through ‘The Half Blood Prince’ at the moment. Hermione and Ron are just starting to recognise their attraction to one another and there are themes of jealousy, attraction, insecurity, revenge and all sorts of complicated feelings that come up as a teenager (and beyond!) Jessy is keen to understand it all and I feel the discussions we have about the characters behaviour and motivations are useful for him.

Continuing the theme of cake, we had an amusing cake disaster this week. I’ve had a cold and on one day I felt so drained that when I went to get dressed I fell asleep again and just couldn’t seem to wake up. It feels as if all my physical energy is being spent on baby growing and although I didn’t feel terribly ill I was just wiped out. The kids had a lovely idea to make me surprise cupcakes. A was feeling confident as she bakes with her Mum sometimes. The concept of measuring ingredients didn’t come up though, so although they used the right combination they ended up with this:

The cake explosion!

The cake explosion!

I was touched by the thought and they even did a pretty good job of clearing up afterwards and it was quite funny! We picked at the crusts and talked about how we can often learn the most from our mistakes and how it was certainly an important lesson about quantities being as important as content when it comes to baking! I put on the old musical ‘Carousel’ and we all watched it together. Old films often make for interesting chats about gender roles and changing cultural trends. Back in this time it brought shame on the family if you were even seen kissing somebody and you’d most likely be expected to marry them. The expectant father also sings a song imagining his child as either a boy or a girl and we talked about the different standards and expectations for boys and girls, particularly around issues such as teenage dating, and how many people still hold those double standards today.

I’m hoping that by the time Jessy and A are teenagers they’ll have developed plenty of useful skills around the home and it’s something I keep working on. A is quite resistant to doing things for herself when she’s with me which does cause a little conflict. She seems very quick to give up and declare herself incapable which I get frustrated by as I know she’s actually very capable indeed! Jessy is a bit unpredictable. Some days he will flat out refuse to even try doing something new for himself, where as other days he will happily embark on something unprompted. This week he decided to make himself an egg toastie for the first time, as I was very clear I wasn’t feeling well at all and was doing the essential things that needed doing but no more. Although I always cook a shared meal at dinner, lunch is a more ad hoc affair and I often make three different things. I felt very satisfied today as A got on with making herself a sausage toastie (after we’d overcome the initial phase of ‘I can’t’) Jessy chopped himself fresh mango and I did some noodles. Jessy went on to make himself a sausage toastie too although he forgot about it for several hours when he rescued a rather brittle, charred lump from the toastie machine! I take pleasure in seeing them achieve new things, they get a new sense of competence and it also makes life easier for me. It feels even more important with the baby coming as the more skills they have the less bumpy the transition will be if I need to expect more from them in the early weeks.

Sometimes, however, independence and confidence can go a little too far, such as this morning when Jessy happily declared that he’d gone to post a letter before I’d even woken up! I now let Jessy go to the ice cream van and the post box without me as he’s back from both within a couple of minutes at the most. He enjoys this new found freedom, but I honestly didn’t think he’d go without telling me! It scared me somewhat but I calmly made it very clear that he must not leave the house if I don’t know he is going and explained how frightened I would be if I woke up and discovered he wasn’t there. It honestly hadn’t crossed his mind that he shouldn’t do it!

This morning the kids made toys for the hamster and the gerbil. Jessy made a little hiding tunnel and A made a whole collection including a see saw, ladder and little hideouts. She’s planning to put them in the home made cage we are still investigating and planning. We will get there in the end!

031220132109

They also made wonderful whistles at Wood School. They were so effective I had to declare them as outdoor only toys!

It may be small, but it's loud! (Hmmm, a bit like Jessy!)

It may be small, but it’s loud! (Hmmm, a bit like Jessy!)

Today at Circus skills the kids tried some new things and carried on practicing for the show they’re performing in later in the month. The pets were cleaned out which seemed to result in a worse mess than before hand and did leave me wondering if I’m crazy thinking about new pets for Christmas!! We’ll be over run by critters! That’s all for this week.