Hazel has truly fallen in love with reading. She even tells everyone it’s her favourite thing-and that she’s a ‘reader girl’. If we are looking for her-she can generally be found behind a book on one of the couches. I have to admit-it’s a dream come true for me to have a little girl who loves to read. I was the only one out of the five of us who was a true book worm—it’ll be fun to have someone to chat about stories with. And yes-I’ve read a few of them just so I know what to chat about with her.
Right now she is slightly obsessed with the Animal Ark series. I bought her a set of ten of them for £10 last spring, and she has read them all a few times each. I suggested a couple of weeks ago that she might want to keep a book journal of all the books she is reading. She actually loved the idea, especially when I suggested we go look for a new notebook for the project. Hazel then decided to read all ten Animal Ark books again, and then write the journal entries.
I showed her a basic ‘template’ for her journal pages and explained what a ‘summary’ was. She liked the template and decided that it was the format she was going to use. A slight miracle-she took a suggestion from me and didn’t change it! Then she wrote her first ‘summary’. What does she write? She just copied the blurb on the back of the books! Gotta love her! Ok; it may not be original, but it is penmanship practice. The odd bit is-she is reluctant to put all the other books she is reading in the journal as well. She doesn’t quite get that it’s not just for the Animal Ark series. I tried to entice her to write them all by saying she could get another notebook when this one was filled. If she’s like me-any trip to a stationary store is appealing. I’m slightly addicted to notebooks.
When we went to the library on Tuesday she asked the librarian how many books she could take out, as I had forgotten what the limit was. The librarian looked at me and asked if I wanted her to tell Hazel the truth. I couldn’t quite believe that question-but I guess some parents do have people so obviously lie to their kids. Why on earth would you limit how many books your child takes out? People should be jumping for joy that their child wants to read 15 books! I was limited to 1 school library book and 7 from the town library—eight definitely wasn’t enough for a week. As Hazel already had one out-she could only check out 14 books. I did put one restriction on her borrowing—that it all couldn’t be Animal Ark.
As to the rest of the week so far-it’s been nice. We had our last day of watching Victoria on Monday. The kids opted to stay home and play-and I think they had a good time-they built a huge blockade upstairs. I should have taken a photo as it was very impressive-and actually taller than me. Victoria thought that because we weren’t babysitting her again that she wasn’t going to see Hazel & Kieran again! So we had to schedule a play date for next week-so she went away a bit happier. Especially at the thought that Carole will be off for most of a year.
The kids all let me do about two hours of Spanish homework for my class on Monday night. It’s going well so far-and I might just be able to say a few complete sentences before the end of term! I took it in high school, over two decades ago, but remember very little. We basically concentrated on conjugating the verbs in high school. It’s been so long since I studied it that the Spanish have dropped two letters, ‘ch’ and ‘l’, from their alphabet!
After Victoria left we headed to Irish dancing. The class was three kids short-and as it’s getting that bit harder for them the extra attention was good. I was a bit surprised when the teacher, very nicely, but firmly told two of the girls off for rushing through everything and not following the music. They do throw the other kids off, but it’s the first time she made a point of telling them to cut it out. The steps are getting harder and they all have more to remember-so any amount of messing about can set them all back. I was pleased that she did it-and was also pleased to see how ‘nicely’ she dealt with it. It’s always good to see how a teacher handles negative work/behaviour.
When we got home Michael had done the final stage of our dinner-the actual cooking of it! I know I’m home all day-but as I don’t get home with the kids till ½ hr before I have class, it helps if it’s ready when we get in. I prep all the food, and try and get all utensils ready and the table set before we go-giving Michael time to cook. We did a sweet pepper and potato frittata-very nice! I ate and dashed off to class-which has been enjoyable so far this term. I’m sitting in a good section-there are four of us on the one side-and we are all fairly decent at this beginning stage. That really helps as we do verbal practice with our classmates-helps to have someone on your level to work with.
Tuesday was a fairly quite day here. The kids and I went to town for a trip to the library. We parked at the local supermarket and walked over. We spent almost two hours there while they picked out their books. Kieran took out about 13 books-good thing I made them take their rucksacks! I forgot that it was toddler story time at the library. There were so many there-that we had to go through a maze of prams to get to the back section.
Kieran was a bit fussy about his selection of books. I showed him the level 1 section-which he deemed to ‘easy’. Mind you-he still hasn’t gotten all the way through the Dick & Jane book-but never-the-less, he was slightly insulted by the selection as he wanted to ‘learn things’! I haven’t done much reading practice with him over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been letting him dictate what he wants to read-and it looks like he wants to read everything. He is doing it all very much like Hazel did at this stage. Trying to read everything on his own, asking what certain words spell, trying to write his own notes—he’s really getting a good feel for the world of words. So he picked out most of his books from a pile I selected from the shelves. A much more eclectic selection than Hazels!
After the library we went to the shop and got in a few provisions. When we got home, the sun was blazing so I decided to have some tea outside. We chatted to the neighbours on both sides for a bit each, the kids rode their scooters, Hazel and I read and Kieran played with his remote control cars. Then Kieran wanted me to read one of library books. It was about the first monkeys to survive a space flight-we all enjoyed it. I had to keep reassuring Kieran it was a true story-he marvelled at it all. Of course this meant we all had to have a discussion on why scientists use animals to test new things on. I think the jury is out on exactly how they feel about it.
I then made the fatal error of telling them to let me have some time to do my reading for Geology class. They were in and out, Kieran must have interrupted me 100 times (ok-more like 20!), then Hazel got a bit fussy with Kieran (who was being a tad pesty)-and I had enough. So I asked them to go to their rooms and play/read for a ½ hour to let me finish the reading I had to do. Hazel took a mighty disliking to that! Argh! What is so torturous about reading upstairs as opposed to downstairs? You would have thought I sent her to a rat infested, smelly dungeon without food for a month! She is an absolute angel 99.9% of the time—and yet for that minor, itsy-bitsy-bit of time: goodness she can be a hand full! Tempers are really a rare occurrence-and I feel as if I never handle it right. Probably because I haven’t had
enough practice in dealing with naughty kids! Poor me, huh?
Of course, by the time I finally got her to go upstairs I couldn’t just sit down and concentrate on my reading. I did the next best thing-made a cup of tea! Oh well, I’ll catch up with the info eventually! I then decided to get dinner started. We had yet another new food. I cooked cabbage. I like cabbage, actually, we all do. But, we’ve only ever had it at someone else’s house-I’d never cooked it before. I’m so not a natural cook-I get ‘intimidated’ by cooking new things. Pleased to say I think I did a fairly good job at boiling a few leaves! We’ll cook that again. I had actually only gotten it as Waitrose was selling a bag of five autumn veg in it for £4-couldn’t pass that up, even if it meant cooking cabbage.
Class was good-it was a review of our walk and then on to new things. He actually did a 20 minute lecture, just for my benefit, on one of the topics. I so love when he points out the things I don’t know! J I actually got two gifts in class as well. One of the women gave me a brand new Jewellers loupe-a mini magnifying glass to check out stones. I sat with her the night we did that in class-so she knew I didn’t have one. She had thought she lost hers and ordered a new one-but then she found her old one-so I got the new one. Wasn’t that nice? Then-one of the men actually took the time to piece together the area where we walked last weekend-from two different maps-so I could see the overall view. It was even laminated!
Wednesday turned into a bit of a walking day for the kids and I. We decided to walk into town and go to the small market. On the way though I had to lose my sweater for a bit-it was absolutely gorgeous outside! When we got to the market I was pleased as my jewellery was there-and I still love it. She also had the pj’s Kieran had ordered for his Raggedy Andy doll. The kids did the rest of the shopping-they got themselves some bread pizzas for their lunch, they picked themselves out some cakes for treats, and they got a dozen eggs-while I chatted. Then the two of them very unceremoniously rushed me away from my Tesco voucher conversation-I love meeting up with someone else who takes full advantage of the vouchers!
But the kids were right-they hadn’t practiced recorder since Thursday-and needed a good practice before class. I basically put it off over the week as they each had that yucky cold. They did fairly well, and the teacher was pleased with their progress. When we got to class she had an electric keyboard set up for them. They had fun playing different sounding notes to a couple of songs. Her eyes nearly popped out when Hazel suddenly played most of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. She wanted to know how she learned that-to say it was a complete fluke seemed cruel-but that’s pretty much what it was. The only other time we did that was on her small Little Tykes coloured key-board. So-she basically played it by ear.
When we got home it was so sunny I decided we’d go to the lake. We drove down as I wanted to cook dinner early as Michael was going out in the evening to play skittles. They played for awhile and then we went to feed the ducks. I had some tea and read for a bit. While we were there we ran into some neighbours of ours. I don’t think the three year old has cottoned on as to where we live yet-she can’t actually see over any of the hedges yet! After a brief chat they headed their way, and my two and I went off in search of the turtle we saw during our bird walk. I don’t like walking along steep embankments through brush-but that is where Kieran led us! Unfortunately we didn’t see the turtle.
When we got home I made a meal that I’d only done once before-a vegetable curry. It wasn’t too bad-and is a lot less work than I remembered. I could have used a bit more spice-even Hazel said it could go up another notch or two. We then all relaxed until the kids bed-time and then Michael went out. I was going to sort out the desk-but I did the usual-made a bigger mess than what I started with! How on earth do I always do that??
Today was very quite! I didn’t sleep very well-our favourite neighbour, Edwin, was taken to hospital again at about 11:30pm-and I was listening out for her phone call. If she was called and needed to go the hospital we (Michael) would have taken her. The kids were very lovely this morning and each made him a card. Hazels was gorgeous-it had trees and all sorts of birds and animals-and she even wrote him a song. Kieran did a drawing of the neighbour being taken to the hospital-Edwin was lying on a trailer attached to the outside of the ambulance! (Edwin has a trailer for his car) Hopefully it’ll make him laugh! We then spent the rest of the day mooching about. We all visited our neighbour’s wife, then we read a bit, I cleaned the car as Kieran dropped his bird seed everywhere yesterday, they played and we even watched a little TV—some animal safari show.
I made the kids dinner and then Michael was home in time to take them to badgers. Michael called me to let me know that the mother of two of the kids in their set was the woman who had been killed in her home last week-more than likely by the dad. His body was found the other day-he may have committed suicide. Michael called as the leader was going to tell the kids about it-but I so didn’t want mine to learn about murder and suicide today—especially before bedtime. The leader asked for the parents to stay, just in case the kids got upset. Most of the other kids already knew as they went to the same school. The leader handled it well-and just said that they had died. Then Michael called to say they did it as the two kids went to the class tonight-their choice.
I knew I knew her ‘face’ from the newspaper photo—but couldn’t place her. She was also one of Victoria teachers-so we’ve all actually have had a ‘connection’ with the family. I felt odd not realizing who she was-but we don’t really get to know the parents at these classes-especially when you just drop the kids off. Their children are staying with relatives in the area, and they said the kids are trying to deal with it as best they can. The class they have badgers in is the same one where their mom taught; must have been very hard on them tonight.
Michael decided that he’d get a small portion of chips after class to distract our two. It worked-and it took them over ten minutes to tell me about the deaths. They seemed to handle it well as they didn’t know the parents and they know my parents and grandmother all lost parents at a very young age. It can never be a pleasant or easy thing-but it is manageable. We then all started to watch the Burt Bacharach concert until Kieran decided to call his Grandad. The kids both chatted on the phone until well past bedtime. While Michael put them to bed I made us a mushroom risotto-was actually very good!