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Archive for March, 2016

We live on a new build estate. It has a lot of troubles and negatives vibes due to the fact that the builders went into administration mid build during the credit crunch.

Because of that, the roads are unfinished, the street lights do not work, play parks were not build, community centres were very much delayed etc…

We also have a character who lives here who loves to cause trouble, who loves power and who also commits some rather unpleasant acts. I have proof of his past behaviours, but the police never investigated them even after several of us reported him. He also creates a huge amount of negative energy and vibes though our community.

Last year, a few of us formed a residents association. It has been extremely turbulent (mainly due to person described above) and nothing but a ball ache with little or no thanks for our efforts.

We decided we needed to change tactics slightly and began trying to bring the people back together. At Christmas we put up lights on the roundabouts which really did work to bring about some Christmas spirit.

Due to the positive response to this, we thought we should try and organise events though out the year.

One guy suggested an Easter egg hunt. Brilliant I thought. Yes I will help I said. A few days later it was pretty obvious I was organising it. The only help he gave me, was the purchase of some eggs. I did the rest!

Last night I was so nervous. Not so much for how the children would react, but more about would it work. Would it do what we wanted and just bring some happiness to a large group of people.

We had 70 children come, and most of them brought 2 parents with them, so it was pretty busy. I was worried about crowding so also set up a table of Easter crafts (they made bunny hats and did some colouring in), a bunny word hunt and we took along our miniature chickens (and he brought along his rabbit, I will give him that!) I also made a playlist of songs that included birds or rabbits in them! Some amusing ones got included including Chas and Dave’s ‘Rabbit, Rabbit’!

The weather was glorious, and the atmosphere was perfect. Feedback has been wonderful and I am so glad we did it!!

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This little girl, has had an absolutely wonderful birthday. She handled it with grace and beauty, made sure everyone else had a great time, was joyful and thankful and ended today falling asleep next to be on the sofa whilst I played with Charlie. She is so beautiful when she is asleep.

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As we are moving house, and money is tight, we had decided not to do a party for her. However, she talked daily about her party and what she ws going to wear, and who would be there…that we felt we just had to do one.

So on Saturday 12 little girls all played together, and ate cake, and giggled and laughed and got hyper on lemondade.

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Charlie was ever such a good boy at the party! It’s amazing how different he was when surrounded by so many girls! One of the guests brought along her older sister, who is also in his class, and he was chuffed to bits with this, and played with her the whole time.

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She had a beautiful ballet themed cake made by one of my friends. I actually paid nothing for it! I am paying her in a photoshoot later in the year for her daughter. Yay for talent swapping bartering haha. It tasted as good as it looked!

She received some well anticipated gifts as well as some carefully chosen surprises!

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Charlie helped her to read her cards, which was very very cute!
Happy Birthday my beautiful girl!

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Ungrateful!

You may remember one of my post about 14 months ago about Charlie being utterly spoilt and not taking any joy in random surprises or treats?

Well, it did get better for a while, but we are right back in the middle of him behaving so badly.

Today was Rosa’s birthday (post to follow). When I was a child, my parents always had one present for me on my sisters birthday. I decided to follow this tradition and as Charlie has been begging me for a watch for several months now, I bought him one.

As he opened the watch, he said ‘boring boring boring’ at the box before he turned it over and saw what it was. Then he realised it was a watch and said ‘oh, silly me’. He still didn’t react with any kind of joy, and there certainly wasn’t a thank you uttered from his lips!

Then, later on, when Rosa opened a parcel from one of my very generous friends, out fell a  present with his name on it too! How delighted I would have been to have had a surprise present if I had been him! He grabbed it and tore off the paper. Saw that it was a colouring book and put his head into his hands and a scowl on his face. I had been videoing the opening of this gift to put on facebook for her to see. I can not now do this. He ruined it. He grumped that it wasn’t a toy, and wandered off to sulk.

How did I raise a child so miserable? So ungrateful? It saddens me greatly.

Then, this afternoon we went around a friends house where he asked to play with same Hama beads. When it was time to go home, he was literally yelling that he wanted to take them home with us. I was saying no, and he was wailing ‘I want to take them home!’. I was so so embarrassed 😦

The thing is, Charlie has a lot of toys up in his bedroom and he plays with none of them. He won’t play with anything unless I come too and play with him. He won’t sit down and build with construction toys, he has never ever done imaginative play, he doesn’t play with cars, he doesn’t play with the mountains of playmobil I have collected for him. There might as well be no toys in his room. I have tried turning the TV off and sending him off to play. He just sulks under a table. He doesn’t have a tablet, hand held device or a games console on tap. Those things do exist in our house, but are used maybe once a week if that. He does like to draw, but I have to be near him, and I have to keep telling him what to draw. He does like to do craft, but again, he won’t do it solo.

I don’t know what to do with him 😦

Last week, in an attempt to change his habits, we took all the dining room furniture out of the house and put it in the garage. We set up a little table in there, and brought down some toys from upstairs. The idea being, that this playroom is adjacent to the lounge where I mostly am….and it might get played in. So far, the girls have played it in, but he is yet to. I’ll keep trying.

I can’t help feel he is wasting his childhood.

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Religion in Education

Charlie went on a school trip on Monday to a local church. He was soooo excited about it, and talked about it for days in advance. I did say to Stacy that I hoped he wasn’t too disappointed. He came home telling me all about how Jesus died, but how it was all ok because he came back to life again.

Considering we spent the weekend learning about death through Rhonda, this was more than a little confusing for him.

Parents are often invited into the school for show and share assemblies. Whenever I have been to these, a prayer is always said at the end. Something along the lines of:

Dear God. Thank you for giving us families that love us. Thank you for looking after all the people in my family. Thank you for the food that we eat and for keeping us warm in our houses. Amen.

The first time I realised they were praying at school I was annoyed. Why are they practising religion alongside education? What possible benefit does collective worship bring to my child? Still, I wasn’t too bothered by it and stopped thinking about it.

Then Charlie started talking to me about God and Jesus and stories from the bible as if they were facts. This is an understandable mistake for a 5 year old. You go to school to learn facts. They are telling him these things. They must be facts right?

I then started trying to undo some of this religious claptrap by trying to explain that they were stories, just like his stories in his picture books, or from one of his cartoons. Not real. He found this hard to absorb. He is a very black and white child, and he likes to follow rules and instructions to the letter.

I popped along to chat to his teacher after school today to find how just how they were presenting these lessons. She told me they begin by saying ‘Christians believe’ before learning something. I asked her, ‘Does he know what a Christian is?’ to which she asked him directly. He shrugged his shoulders and said no. I said, ‘does he know what a belief is?’ to which she again asked him directly, and was met with the same response.

So prefacing a lesson with ‘Christians believe’ to a child who has no idea what a Christian is, or what a belief is, is certainly going to lead to him thinking what follows is fact.

She also said that when a prayer is said in assembly, that children can choose to use this time as personal reflection instead if they desire. I’m sorry, but a 5 year old child does not have the ability to reject what a teacher is saying and replace it with something of their own creation at very specific points of the school day and not at others. The whole situation is very confusing and quite frankly I am annoyed by it all!

It’s about time that education and religion were not combined. I don’t mind RE lessons as a completely separate lesson, where several religions are compared and contrasted, but not any active worship thank you very much!

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Learning about death

I have a lovely happy post in the pipelines, but the thing I most feel the need to blog about is death.

Charlie spent a period of time quite obsessed with death, when he would die, when I would die etc.. thankfully this had seems to have dissipated…and I know it is normal, I remember worrying about it too as a child.

However, a few days ago, our favourite ex battery chicken Rhonda, (rescued moments before her death 3 years ago) became poorly. We will never actually know what was wrong with her, but we weren’t able to make her better. We brought her inside for her last few days and kept her warm and comfortable. We gave her warm porridge oats, lots of cuddles and kind words and a warm comfy box to sleep in.

None of it worked, and today she was a very very poorly chicken. It is hard to know if she was suffering, or in pain…but if she had been a cat, or a dog, the decision to euthanise her would have happened by now.

I looked out of the window where she had been wandering around in the garden, and her legs had given in. She could no longer stand herself up from a fall, she was cold, and when picked up, she fell asleep within seconds of feeling secure.

It was time for Rhonda to go.

The children came and said goodbye to her. We were all crying.

Stacy then took her outside and did the deed. I was very proud of her for doing it. I could not have done it, even knowing that it needed to be done.

It is a very strange thing death. One  minute alive, then one swift movement, and then not alive. Life is so fragile. Death is so final.

Charlie requested to see Rhonda once she was dead and we allowed it. It’s all a good lesson about the world and the natural flow from birth to death. He said he wanted to draw her to remember her and we kept a few of her feathers.

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Charlie is struggling at school. He is a very sensitive child and his greatest fear is failure. If he doesn’t think he can complete a task, he won’t start it. He won’t gave a go at stuff. He hates the unknown and it stresses him out.
He is being marked at below age norms for English and Maths.
I chatted to his teacher who said I need to work with him at home to help him catch up.
He comes home from school tired, and he just wants to chill. I have 2 other children, I have dinner to make on my own, and I have housework to do. I am also a really crap teacher in that I get frustrated very very quickly when he doesn’t get something. I SUCK BIG TIME at being a teacher.
However, he needs us to step up and support him. So on Friday Stacy and I spent lots of time doing games with him and trying to get some concepts in that he is struggling with (time, doubling, number bonds, addition of small numbers, counting in tens)
Today Stacy spent all morning doing things with him, and this afternoon I took over and we did some things too.
(I made a dinosaur footprint number line, and we drew lines to show how numbers doubled)
By the end of today, he had totally cracked through some invisible barrier and was *getting it*.
He was beaming with pride, and so was I.
Hopefully the benefits will be two fold. He has learnt the material, and he has gained some confidence.
I hope his teacher notices.
It has made me really wish I could home-school him. I could adapt things for his way of thinking and could concentrate on his confidence. I think he is getting a bit lost at school.
I have just ordered some more games that centre around Maths skills. As long as we keep the home part of things fun, I think he won’t mind the extra work involved.

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