Category Archives: December

Spanish and Hibernation

We’ve gone into hibernation this week, which suits D: she has rediscovered the joy of Go Diego Go and Dora the Explorer, so she’s back on the sofa soaking up Spanish words and animal facts.

All our classes finished last week so we had a full free week. We’ve had a few pyjama days, which always go down well but mostly I think the girls (M in particular) have enjoyed getting into activities without having to stop to get dressed and go out!

On Saturday, Jeff took the girls to Box Hill for a run-around.

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Meanwhile, I spent HOURS in Wimbledon, finishing off my Christmas shopping. I also couldn’t resist buying a gorgeous book on colour which I’ve wanted for ages (our art shop is a dangerous place to go), How the Grinch Stole Christmas and some new posters for our bedroom wall. It’s a good place to put them as the girls are more likely to be mooching around and gazing at them at bedtime (I’ve already spotted M muttering bone names while studying the skeleton poster). I also got one on telling the time – which (to be fair) M had actually asked me if she could learn, but then had a melt down because (to be fair) the poster is badly designed and she was blaming herself for not understanding it.

On Sunday, we had Jeff’s Mum over for lunch: she is teaching him how to cook curry so while they were busy in the kitchen, we began listening to an audio of A Christmas Carol (thank you, Pru, for the idea!) while doing activity books.

On Monday, D began teaching Spanish to M! She made up a game where they would run round and round the bed and then jump while saying the corresponding Spanish words! :D. This was the beginning for M getting hooked on learning Spanish too and during the week she has even been spotted watching Dora the Explorer (a once hated programme!). D has continued with her story telling and has also begun singing made-up songs while playing air guitar, which are unbearably cute. Yesterday she told me she wants to be a singer and a cleaner when she grows up. I asked her what happened to wanting to be a scientist, so then she added that to the list. And then I reminded her that she also wants to be a bee-keeper so that was added too!

M made up two new biscuit recipes – unfortunately she has lost the first one she made up (could that be, perhaps, because it was on a silly scrap of paper which she refused to write up into a book?!!) so she has baked twice this week – and written one of the recipes down in a book :).

D spent some time on Reading Eggs but I had a feeling that the interest in it is waning so I’m not sure we’ll renew the subscription in January. She had a go on Teach Your Monster To Read instead, which was way too easy for her but I felt she needed a bit of a confidence boost so it did her good to sound out the easy words and she loved playing it.

On Tuesday, I pushed M to finish one of her Christmas presents (she loves starting projects but not finishing them!) so that we could get it into the post along with D’s present for Aunty S. They’re both fantastically well made – D was shown how to construct this tree in pottery. M figured out how to make Santa ‘spring’ from the page by using a piece of concertinaed card behind him, all by herself (sorry, I forgot to take a picture!). So we had a short bike ride to the post office and back and afterwards they made up another Spanish game!

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On Wednesday, J was playing YouTube videos of Nat King Cole and explaining to the girls how badly he would have been treated because of his skin colour. It’s always odd talking about racism and sexism or any ‘ism’ with the girls because they are quite naturally puzzled by people’s behaviour when it is so nonsensical! M made the link back to Nelson Mandela who J had talked about when he died recently.

It was the dreaded bath day today. D loves her baths and will spend hours in it just making up stories and playing with the water (in fact, I have to schedule it in to the day so I’m not forced to get her out before she’s ready); M on the other had hates it. Not the actual bath/shower, but the getting in and out. It is always a miserable time for her. I’ve noticed a lot of extra sensitivities creeping in to her life lately, and the coldness she feels before and after the bath is one of them. I made a decision that day to let her control her bath-times from now on. She is a little unsure about this as she knows she doesn’t want to be smelly but she also hates baths and showers so we’ll see what happens.

The girls’ Aunt Sh picked them up later in the day to take them to a Santa show at Wimbledon theatre. She took them last year and they adored it so she decided to take them again this year (she always takes them to the theatre rather than buys presents). They still loved it and were very pleased to be given colouring books so sat and coloured when they got home.

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Thursday and Friday were both very similar (I had planned to meet an HE friend at Wimbledon Common on Friday but the early morning rain put me off and her car was in the garage so we cancelled) in that there was LOADS of Spanish going on and lots and lots of writing being done by M. She baked some lovely cakes and wrote the recipe down in a book and she also began a Spanish Dictionary!!! D has been helping her by telling her the words she doesn’t know and yelling from the sofa when a new word comes up in Dora.

The only other thing of note that has been happening this week is the girls learning all about mating and instinct from the bunnies… from Morris in particular…

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Storytelling & Lego

There’s been a whole lot of creativity going on this week and it feels like a few sparks have been ignited which is always lovely to see!

We had a fairly busy weekend, with a family lunch out for J’s parent’s 60th wedding anniversary on the Saturday, and then two play-dates on the Sunday.

As the week has continued, there has been noticeably less telly on D’s part and much more creativity going on.  On Monday there was a lot of Lego building, then some painting and then D made a ‘story chair’ and told us a story in it (and then I had to have a go too).

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Then we were off to pottery in the afternoon.  It was the last session of the term, and the last one for D entirely, unless she decides to return.  As usual, we had our interesting chats in the car: today I had the news on and I felt myself tensing up as there was an item about a man being imprisoned for child abuse – strangely though, neither of the girls commented on this!  M was more interested in the following item about hospital cancer wards, and we had a good conversation about cancer and what the different wards might be in hospitals and why they’re separated.

That evening, J was home and watching Wild Weather with Richard Hammond.  D was already asleep and M sidled in with nothing to do so we all ended up watching it together.  I was surprised to find that M was really interested by it and she asked some really intelligent questions which showed she understood what she was watching and had some knowledge of how vortexes work already.

A spark was lit again the following day when we went to the Art of the Brick exhibition in east London.  At the start, we watched a really inspirational interview with the artist and M was glued: we sat through it twice.  It was almost like he was speaking to M: all about how you can make your own art with anything and it all it takes is one small brick to start.  We were all fascinated by the sculptures and reproductions: M in particular was asking what each piece was called, what it was about, what it meant etc etc and even doing her own interpretations.  It was really heart warming to see.  I urge you to go if you have the chance!

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It was a very long journey for the sausages to cope with and they did amazingly well with two train rides and a very cold walk.  They were understandably pooped on the train home so I read A Christmas Carol to them (an Usborne Young Readers edition).  Usually D would have been too scared to listen but they were both really interested by Scrooge and why he would love money so much, why nobody was sorry he was dead and D was trying to get her head around a future that may not happen.

Of course, the Lego came out when we got home!  The girls’ favourite sculpture was the ‘Yes Pencil’ so we set about making our own.  I made the pencil, while M did the ‘paper’ and letters. 🙂

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M has also been working on a the story of her Christmas play, and has finished one of her presents!  She copied a holly sprig we found on the street outside our house.  All I did was help with bending the leaves a little to shape them.  She also used the hot glue gun on her own for the first time!

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We also watched a very very VERY cute video about orphaned baby bats, and another on making honey.  D said she would like to be a bee-keeper AND a scientist AND a singer when she grows up. 🙂  She drew these pictures this week:

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We also had a preview of D’s Christmas play.  This is one of her lost boys (they’re wearing animal onesies in the Return to Neverland film, hence the strange outfit on the puppet!)

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We also got our Christmas delivery of Aquila this week and funnily enough it was all about story telling!  And funnily enough, D wasn’t interested in listening!  But M listened to how story telling was important in ancient times (of course, she had to check whether this was before I was born…) and all about the life of Hans Christian Andersen. However, she did stomp off because she didn’t get 100% on the Christmas quiz.  At which point D came wandering in and was chuffed to find she could answer the crossword questions!

And finally, today we had to go to the vets to give the bunnies their first vaccinations. The girls were full of sympathy for what the bunnies had to go through and the process of just being at the vets was an education in itself: looking at the clock with Roman numerals to see how long til our appointment; asking about vaccinations; seeing a vaccination being injected; what the bunnies might be feeling etc etc.

And now I can still hear them playing upstairs and it’s 10.30!  So I’m off now to be a kill-joy…