This is where most of my free time disappeared this week! All finished and on his way to Oxford for little Bodhi’s 1st birthday. When I popped in to the sewing shop for thread I came out with some gorgeous blue linen/cotton fabric as well which will hopefully work its way into becoming some baggy trousers for Boy2 and some shorts for Boy1.
#1 This little monkey is always climbing, and swinging, and dangling. These bars at the university have become his new playground when Boy1 is at youth theatre on a Saturday morning.
#2 The woodland within walking distance of home always puts on the most beautiful bluebell display every spring. We took a walk up there on Sunday morning and the boys were knee deep. It really is special.
I found some crackers from last week’s submissions. I must remember to let these bloggers know I’m liking their captures; I keep forgetting!
Princess Eva; my goodness what a beautiful young lady and a gorgeous blog, too.
Little Lo hiding under the peak of her cap. I love the fresh colours in this one.
Amelie and Nate and those eyelashes! Lovely, lovely, lovely.
Oh Eddy, look at the light hitting those chubby rolls on your arm; scrummy.
Boy2 has been a biter for quite some time. It started as a ‘I’m so excited and love you soooo much’ statement, dished out occasionally for me, but reserved almost exclusively for Boy1. It usually wasn’t too painful and as a phase it was relatively short lived and manageable. But alas, the biting has returned recently in a nastier, tougher, more painful guise. Initially it was, as before, just big brother who took a hit (I have wonderful photographic evidence but since it involves a bare bum cheek I thought it best to keep that one to myself!). But this week The Man, myself, and our neighbours’ 4 year old daughter have bruises to prove it too. Not good. Yes he’s only two and yes it’s a phase and yes it’s happened when he’s been tired or frustrated by a situation. But he has such fantastic speech and conversational reasoning for his age I thought we’d bypass the violent stage of the terrible twos. It kind of makes going to toddler groups different; the fear that you child is going to take a chunk out of someone else’s is not conducive to relaxed parenting. He’s cutting his last molars at the moment and is generally more difficult than usual so I’m hoping (praying, in fact) that it’s a short lived phase. I remember Boy1 pushing other kids at the same age and after 6 weeks he decided he’d had enough of being aggressive and he’s been placid ever since. I have a feeling Boy2 will be a far tougher nut to crack plus biting; it’s just a bit more hardcore isn’t it?
Quite by chance (and just to prove we are never alone in our parenting dilemmas), I discovered one of my oldest friends is experiencing the same situation with her 3 year old. For her this week has been one of ‘those’, where she’s put herself under self imposed house arrest rather than having to deal with another play date managing her son’s naughty gnashers, as well as coping with a teething baby and the inevitable lack of sleep that brings. This got me thinking about the best way to deal with the toddler who bites. Is it best to stay in, prevention being better than cure? Or instead continue to go out and about but armed with some pretty clear tactics on how to anticipate and deal with a biting incident? I’m not one who finds it easy to stay in so I need tactics and fast…
Of all the articles I’ve read this one from The Natural Child Project has been most interesting. It gives several reasons for why toddlers bite, and clear instructions on how to deal with the situation from an attached parenting point of view. I agree with a gentle approach but can often find myself doing or saying things which are counter productive and don’t model good behaviour. I know I lose my cool all too easily and despite the best will in the world I’m not the patient parent I long to be. But here’s to trying just that little bit harder.
#1 Boy 1 went to an Ibiza themed birthday party; how cool is that? This shot is of him outside in the late afternoon sun just as the party drew to a close. I’ve added a couple of extra pics below just because I love them.
#2 Boy 2 had an all day trip to the local zoo with Nanny and Grandad G and they bought him home totally conked out. He is so in love with the gorillas.
My besties from the Project last week:
These 4 gorgeous photos of 4 equally gorgeous boys. 4. yes 4. That’s not a project, its a life challenge!
Magical pictures at Magical Days. These remind me of Pink Floyd.
Sammy in the garden picking daisies for his mummy; cuteness.
CrumbBum’s three captures because they made me smile, especially Milo’s wink (and where did you get that t’shirt – I want it for my boys!)
…this awesome UV picture was taken by Nathan Eaton-Baudains and edited using Snapseed App for iPad.
I had one of those internet moments yesterday. One of those moments when you stumble across something entirely by accident and BAM! I’m not even sure where I found it now…somewhere in the depths of Pinterest I think. You are my wild. The 52 Project is really good fun even if I’m still the same (completely novice and often quite crap) ‘photographer’ as I was 17 weeks ago. There are usually about 280 different contributors each week and a great many of them are really wonderful photographers though I’m sure I miss fantastic shots each week as there are so many to browse through. But this bunch, the ‘you are my wild’ mob, are something else. They’re following a similar path; a weekly photography project with children as their inspiration. Its a collaborative effort of 14 photographers all capturing how they see their children and each and every shot, every week, is just stunning. I challenge you not to be inspired by their work. Definitely one to follow (click on each picture to be taken to personal blog spaces to discover even more delights).
On the subject of inspiration, the choir I belong to gave a little performance this evening in our local wholefoods cafe. Boy 2 stayed at home with Grandad G, but Boy 1 came along to support me with Nanny G. When I finished my first little solo I looked across at him and he was beaming at me and every time I glanced in his direction he was singing along to the songs he knew (he’s particularly partial to our version of Lady Gaga’s ‘Edge of Glory’). Afterwards I asked whether he might like to take singing lessons sometime with Lemon, our choir leader. He seemed pretty keen and I know he has a lovely voice already, even without any coaching. He’s already asked to come to the next performance (‘and every performance you ever do after that, too’). I think if we do take him out of school from September then one of the great benefits could be trying things out like music lessons during the day rather than trying to cram ’extras’ in around the edges of a typical school day. I think he’d be awesome.
While we’re talking about homeschooling again, its not off of the radar by any stretch, but things at school have been changing. Following their Ofsted and the sudden departure of the Head, the school recovery team has been really proactive in getting things moving for us, and other families I know with kids who have additional needs. Its been just over a week since I first met with the new SENCO and she has now received a recommendation from the Clinical Psychologist that Boy 1 should be assessed by an Educational Psychologist. This should happen within a few weeks with the view to putting in place appropriate interventions and differentiated learning strategies. She was very honest, which I appreciated massively. She explained that a lovely long list of ways to help our twice exceptional leaner will be the outcome, but just how many of these recommendations can actually be resourced in a little school may be limited. I confessed that we’re seriously considering homeschooling as a better way of learning for Archie and, rather than the reaction I expected, she thinks it would be a really good option for him. She believes that I understands his needs thoroughly and would do an excellent job. I was almost (almost) speechless!
#1 and #2: I think this week has been my hardest so far in the 52 Project. I didn’t feel hugely inspired to take photos. When I did try they weren’t really working out, and the one’s I’ve chosen are not that exciting (or even that good – damn, why is the focus only on one eye in #1??). But, they do kind of sum up the sort of sombre, Sunday mood I was feeling at the time and despite being taken at quite separate moments from one another they do sit together nicely. Notice the scratches down Boy 1′s cheek? Yep, inflicted by Boy 2. It was that sort of week.
Last week these others really made my heart sing:
Ruby, Cole and Elliot; there’s something magical in the light and colour in all three shots, but particularly of Ruby and Elliot.
Harper and Sawyer; lovely light in both. I also adore geometric patterns and quilts so these are ticking several boxes for me!
Not for the first time, little man Atticus gets my vote in this super lovely B & W shot.
and these retro-esque, quirky pics of Piper, Lily and Heath are just plain cool (and I love that someone else is choosing their phone pics on occasions, too!)
Earlier this week I took a trip up to the 38th floor of the Gherkin with three others from the free school steering group. We had a meeting there with someone who might support us to achieve the goal of establishing our ‘dream’ school. A school which will take the pressure away from our children and their teachers, that will delay the start of formal learning, that won’t measure its pupils by tests designed for one size and shape of learner. An inspiring, creative, inclusive community project. Its a truly exciting proposal to be involved with and the team are great but we have so, so much to do. The application process is incredibly rigorous and so we’re looking at other organisations who we can collaborate with. So, up the Gherkin we went. The others were nervous anticipating the meeting. Meanwhile I was absolutely cacking it in the lift on the way up because I hate heights. I failed to walk across the Clifton Suspension Bridge as a child, and had a panic attack on the London Eye (both times), made a fool of myself many moons ago on the platform at the top of a windmill…and stayed at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower on a springtime romantic trip to Paris. I was, however, pretty cool when I went up the Empire State Building. So with that major player under my belt I went for it and was, just about, fine! It was a gorgeously sunny day in London and the view was great. The curving corridor around the side of the building to get to the ladies was a bit epic but not awful. I even managed to take some pictures.
On a smaller scale we’re going upwards at home, too. The stairs into our loft are in! The first really tangible sign that this attic conversion is actually happening. When you’re married to someone who does all of these things themselves it seems to take forever. But it is at least happening. Trying to keep Boy 2 safe and out of trouble while the work slowly takes place is one thing, trying to stop Boy 1 retrieving long forgotten toys from boxes up there is another. In the spirit of less is more, according to Kim John Payne’s Simplicity Parenting, I stashed pretty much 90% of his mountain of stuff up there ahead of last year’s summer holiday. He barely noticed their absence, with the exception of Buzz Lightyear. In the meantime I’ve failed to get around to sorting it between a charity bag and a car booty pile…and now he’s getting his mitts back onto it. He doesn’t really want it – he’s grown up so much in the meantime but Boy 2 is all over it like a cheap suit. Looks like I’ll be battling the clutter all over again but in the meantime, The Man has put wooden bars on the stairs preventing any more loft-foraging – ha!
Tonight I’m on the cusp of entering the last decade of my 30s*. Oh. How did that happen? I disctinctly remember my own mum having a 39th birthday party (a big one, one where the three of us were allowed to stay up late, and all because she was adamant there was no way she was going to be having a 40th). How can I be one thing and feel another? OK, physically I think I’m probably older than my years but I can blame that on having Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a 2.5yr old who still doesn’t sleep through. But emotionally? Mentally? I am years behind, decades even!! I’m supposed to think and act like a grown up but really, I’m not even close. That’s my confession so keep it to yourself, hey?
*actually by the time I posted this it’s the next day and I can confirm that I am still the same as before ( only now I have a lovely new iPad!)
#1 Boy 2 is so persistent. He was tying a piece of string he found to a post and it wasn’t working out but he just kept on trying, his concentration was palpable.
#2 Boy 1 came out of school really upbeat and cheery so I took the opportunity to take some happy shots. I can only apologise for the shocking state of his crusty nose; I have no photo editing software of any type and this is the child who flat refuses to wipe, blow or even pick his nose.
Usually I holler to The Man to assist when trying to pick my weekly favourites for the Project. We tend to agree most weeks on which are the best shots, and if we don’t I go with my favourites…this is my baby, after all. But tonight he is working away and I’ve found it hard to choose. So in honour of his absence, and my indecision, I’ve included a few more below which might have made his cut.
#3 Lego, Lego, Lego
#4 a very truthful Archie smile
#5 See that gap between his teeth at the bottom? His first wobbly one has shifted position…
#6 Such determined concentration. I hope this will always be a part of my littlest man’s make-up.
Now less of mine and more of some others who are joining in the 52 Project with Jodi at Che & Fidel…my favourites from week 15:
Madison & Noah; what utterly gorgeous faces.
The eyelashes of Ellery Sage.
Beautiful B & W shots over at Tea With Lucy.
and the awesome light framing little G’s face and hair. Stunning.
So I lost a post here last night. Truth be told it was a bit of a moany, self defeating post so perhaps my computer knew better than I did? I was ruminating on the fact that here we are, just about a third of the way through the year and so far I’ve really done nothing hugely fundamental in turning things around. Yes, I am headlong stuck into my part of establishing the freeschool, and yes, I am out once a week singing my heart out at choir (been tonight, I love it). I am keeping up with the 52 Project but haven’t yet taken my camera off automatic; I always seem to get something better out of Instagram which to me equates to cheating. And I am sewing, albeit a little under pressure right now which kind of defeats the original point. So yes, on my new years tick list I can claim to have achieved a few things.
But what about the really important stuff? What about being a nicer, smilier, more patient mummy and partner? What about straightening out some of my thoughts and fears? What about the meditation? I feel I’ve had a bit of time of it recently. I feel a little overwhelmed with my to-do list right now and it makes me want to run headlong into a desert and bury my head in the sand. I’ve been the classic crappy mummy over the past few days, peaking with the bedtime routine. How is it they drive you to utter madness, you lose your cool, and then BAM! you feel as guilty as hell (once they’re asleep and you’re staring at their utterly gorgeous faces)? Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Here’s me trying to convince The Man that I’ll do a great job of homeschooling Boy 1 when my patience has upped and left on a typically average day.
Tomorrow is, as they say, another day.
#1 Another serious capture, I know, but his frowny profile really shows how he’s changing from a little boy to a bigger boy…and it makes him look so much like The Man.
#2 Littlest rascal in the wendy house at Nana and Grandad’s. He braved the spiders and the cobwebs in there; no mean feat for someone terrifed of creepy crawlies. He is constantly pushing himself to be bigger and braver.
Once again I couldn’t choose just one favourite from week 14 so here are a few which really caught my eye…
Little Antonio looking cute, cosy and a little bit vintage.
Gorgeous pussycat Olive – face painted whiskers like my boys last week
Super sweet face over on Malt Memories – please don’t cut that hair!
Still loving the challenge of Jodi’s 52 Project!