Being Mom – at Home

1am this morning was not what I expected 1am to look like. It began with Amber-Mai crying and before long she began throwing up – again, and again and again – every 15 min or half hour for the rest of the night. During which time Nate joined her in their midnight adventure. Dozing in and out of broken sleep I was dreading the first rays of dawn…

The day did however unfold in the most gentle way. Em rushed off to write an exam and Kadin had to go to a 2 hour violin rehearsal, Amber-Mai fell asleep and Nate lay relaxing on the couch.

Nate not up to doing anything today.

Poor girl – not even a clean sheet left for her to sleep on.

So suddenly I, Mom of 6, found myself alone with the twins. Interestingly they had decided to pretend they were going to school for the day and were needing a snack for their lunch boxes. So we grabbed the moment and the 3 of us quickly cooked up a storm! What a special time it was cooking alongside these special girls – with no interruptions! We made the most delicious fudge-choc biscuits and they designed their own colourful treats.

While we measured and mixed I managed to squeeze in an impromptu “lesson” on how to work out half and quarter cups. They were fascinated that 2 halves really filled the 1 cup and that 2 quarters made a half etc… We then mixed only red, yellow and blue dough before I had to rush out to fetch Kadin and they were left to create orange, purple and green dough. Hmm, suppose that counts for art 😉

The twins then had the most delightful picnic outside in the fresh spring sun – with their “school” lunch boxes – while I dashed around sorting lunch and other children needing me again.

Nate looking for something to do sat reading a whole reader and listened to Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery – before he fell asleep too. The day was spent juggling medicine, dry toast, meals and snacks for my healthy kids, saving cookies from the hot oven, rushing to extra-murals, checking temps and yet the day was one of the most peaceful we have encountered in ages. We did so many things we never get around to doing – the boy even played a board game together this afternoon.

Maybe it was because all else – outside the home – had to fade away and I was forced to focused purely on the immediate needs of my family.

Let’s Vote

Today was a special day here in South Africa – it was time to once again vote for the people we see fit to lead our nation.

20 years ago we stood before a land mark decision for South Africa to become a nation in which all are recognised, acknowledged and valued. The past 20 years have faced many challenges. There have been many amazing advances forward but still many disappointments and disillusionment have filled many, many lives. So today as we look upon yet once again a restless nation we all fell hopefully empowered to yet once again help make a difference in this beautiful land.

Our children have not missed the hype and excitement building up around them. Time spent in the car, at breakfast and dinner have been bristling with discussions about different parties, what makes a good president, how one votes and how having a seat in parliament works. Today we were able to take our children with us to vote, they were allowed to stand in the hall and watch how it all came together. Their excitement has been so tangible all day. So yes this vote of ours today may mark a change in South Africa’s history or it may not. It did however begin a shift my children’s minds and hearts toward their love for our land, their future right to vote, their voice in the country, their place as adult citizens and how they too have a responsibility to make a difference in the future of this amazing country.

This could not have been summed better than just after we voted Nate comes to us and says, “When I”m an adult I won’t be voting – because people will be voting for me!”

Nate’s own political party’s badge – Rainbow Nation Freedom

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Just a Few Ways We Do School

Just for fun I thought I’d quickly share with you just a few pics from around the house on how you may find us “doing school.”

Doing Spelling

Doing Maths Bonds and Tables

Handwriting

Desk Work

Long division – yes that is on my passage floor!

Geography

Science usually happens by accident.

More maths made for lunch.

Self discovery and explorations.

Baking

And lots of Books.

I could just keep going all evening but that gives you a quick glimpse into how you may see us “doing school” on any given day. Enjoy the ride.

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Ssshhh Listen

We all live in such a busy society that we have very little time to just stop, look and listen. Yet it’s in these quiet moments that a child is able to ponder, which is so important for their overall physical, emotional, and spiritual development.

Often we think we need to create special moments for this to take place but instead we need to just grab moments when they arise. A lovely time to slip this “stopping” into our day is in the early evening, just as the sun is about to set. Take five minutes to crouch down, ask your child to close their eyes and whisper to your child to “Shhhh listen.” Then slowly whisper “what can you hear?” In a town they may hear the traffic heading home, boats hooting or someone yelling. Away from the city it maybe birds singing or leaves rustling. What they hear doesn’t matter – just that they hear it! This 5 minute activity stimulates all sorts of auditory skills in your child’s life. It helps develop their auditory discrimination, figure ground discrimination, constancy skills and analysis and synthesis skills. Our world is so full of visual stimulation that we often forget to just stop and listen. 

Shoulder Girdle Game

Developing the shoulder girdle is vital for a child’s preschool development. Children with weak shoulder girdles will battle with a number of activities including handwriting. This is initially strengthened through crawling – so if your child walked early try play crawling games with them a few times a week to help strengthen this – otherwise drawing on upright chalkboards will help with this. If you don’t have a chalk board simply stick some paper on the wall and let them draw on that!

 

Nature’s Natural Lessons

Take a few minutes today to take some time to really look at an object today. It may be a flower, a shell, a garment of clothing or a toy.

Take time to look at it, feel it and smell it. Afterwards talk about it. Tell each other what you like best about how it looks such as its colour or shape. Talk about what you think it smelt like and how it felt and what this texture reminded you of. This shouldn’t be school type discussion or a sit down activity but just something you draw into your day when you notice something you think looks interesting. It may be as you are carrying the groceries in that you see a weed pushing its way through the drive, “Wow – look how strong this little flower is. Have you seen a flower like this before? Look at those petals what do they remind you of…..”

It’s at times like these that make children form a relationship with and an interest in the world around them.

 

Valuable Vocab

Isn’t it wonderful to hear someone use a large, colourful vocabulary. This is however not developed at the age of 20 but it begins in the preschool years. Take some time to write down some words you’d love your child to use in their speech and help them learn these. You can’t however sit them down and drum the new words into their heads. Firstly you need to start using the new word – just do one at a time – and then when they use a similar you simply repeat the word you would like them to learn.
“Mom look at this nice butterfly.”
“Yes, it’s beautiful!”

Visiting a friend this week I noticed that her 7 year old was covered in scratches. I asked her what had happened to which she replied, “Oh, I fell into a thicket of thorns.” This wonderful explanation reminded me just how important it is to use “great” words when speaking to our children. When they learn to talk they can learn to say “the yellow bit of the egg.” Or just as easily learn to call it the “yolk.”

By extending their vocabulary they can more easily understand the world around them, access it and relate to it. By using baby talk we are in effect causing our children to have to learn to speak twice. Right from when they are tiny babies, instead of saying their nappy is “yucky” why not say it is “disgusting?”  We need to remember that children are simply little people and love to have the correct vocabulary to express themselves as well as to understand what others are saying. So the challenge for today is to use colourful, descriptive and exciting words with your child. Let us know how it goes….

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