Tag Archives: Love Bombing

Focus on D

I didn’t realise it was so long since my last post!  I just haven’t been in the mood to write lately, even though I’ve had lots of ideas swirling around my head.

Leading on from my last post, we got up at 3am to see the supermoon lunar eclipse – it was a beauty!  We managed to spot some constellations we’d never seen in real life before too – Taurus (D’s favourite), the Seven Sisters and the square of Pegasus!  We managed to stay in the garden for 20 minutes before we all decided to go back to bed.  I tried not to think too much about where we would all be the next time there’s a supermoon blood moon in 20 years – that sort of thing gives me the heebie-jeebies. 😀

As I mentioned last time, D is coming out of her telly phase, and is often looking for activities.  I’m at a bit of a loss with her to tell the truth, her interest in space is waning and we haven’t yet found an interest to fill the gap.  D is quite hard to strew for since she doesn’t readily try new things so there’s been quite a bit of boredom lately!  However, this morning she came up with an idea to make a large golden key (inspired by The Secret Garden and an atmospheric puzzle app we have called ‘The Room’).  She has plans to make a keyhole with a matching symbol next!

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Lately, D has also become interested in competitive games – they were always avoided before because of her fear of losing – I’m impressed by how well she can now play Connect 4, all learnt from observing me and M play I think.  She’s also learnt a lot of Super Mario skills from watching M play.  She loves to watch and learn: I think it feels nice and safe to her.

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I’ve focused on M a lot over the past 2 years of home edding: working through her anxieties and helping her to blossom.  I think I can safely say M is ‘there’ – or at least, she’s in a place where I feel satisfied she’s open to learning and new experiences, her anxieties are low  and she has excellent social skills.  Further down the line, I think (and the paediatrician thought) some cognitive behavioural therapy could help her with some strategies to deal with her anxieties, but she’s not ready for that yet.

So now I’m looking more closely at D (sorry, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to multi-task as I approach 40 – one issue at a time!!).  I recognise a few Asperger traits in there, but nothing as debilitating as M’s.  I don’t feel she needs a diagnosis, partly because I’m pretty sure she is borderline and partly because she is generally more robust and able to express herself better than M: meaning that it’s easier for me to iron out anxieties and issues rather than fumbling around in the dark as I do with M.  I won’t go into the ins and outs of D’s issues now, I’m sure I’ll cover it in future posts.  Suffice to say, I feel as if D has changed quite a bit over the last few months and my focus will now be on calming her anxieties and expanding her horizons.

Now a few snippets on what we’ve been up to:

D has been playing on Room (an iPad app) and we’ve just downloaded Room 2.  She has some totally out there ideas about how to solve the puzzles and I’m learning to shut-up and let her get on with it as she’s generally right.  She’s also been playing on her favourite maths appTeach Your Monster to Read and the Arithmasticks have been out again.  She also made a rocket, a Christmas bauble, baked cookies and played on Minecraft.  This weekend we had a lovebombing day, although I got the feeling we were just biding our time until M returned from Brownies!  We did lots of sewing together for her bunny’s outfit, as designed by D.

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M has been for a day out with the Brownies (she chose not to spend the weekend there), and loved all the activities.  I had to make a mermaid outfit for the mythical creatures theme – it tested all my abilities since I haven’t made anything for about 10 years!  I could have done a much better job had I had time and patience but M was very pleased with it.

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M has been trying to finish off old projects, like the Fimo set she got last year.  She also made her first Christmas decoration and has started learning to touch-type again.  She has mainly been occupied with Super Mario on her Nintendo DS – she has completed 6 of the 8 worlds now and has shown perseverance way beyond my level – I would have thrown the machine through a window by now!  It has also meant that she has begun looking up the ‘walkthroughs’ on YouTube on her own!  She’s never dared to do that before.

We’ve given up on Minecraft school.  Freedom to quit and all that.  The subject matter wasn’t enthralling M and the stuff we had to learn to pass a quiz was exceedingly dry.  As it happens, the course creators sent out an email to say they’d had complaints that the course was too hard so perhaps that was another reason why we weren’t feeling drawn to it.  One week, there was a cartoon about the space race which showed JFK sitting at a desk with a picture of Marilyn Monroe on it… cue half an hour lost while we looked up videos featuring her!  Anyway, M loved the idea of a Minecraft school so I’ll keep an eye out for future courses.

They’ve both been having fun with friends too.  We had a glorious afternoon at the common, we were there for over 4 hours in the end and only left because the sun was beginning to set!

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We also had a great time at our Curious Minds group.  This week, the kids played with boxes and made dens out of them.  In the end, D made a ‘kind monster’ out of hers and we brought it home – she has been decorating it every day since!

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Birthdays and Special Days

As usual, we’ve been doing all sorts of activities and I’ve been fielding all sorts of questions, from ‘why is the sky orange at sunset?’ to ‘why do meteors burn up in the atmosphere?’.  M is definitely showing more curiosity and eagerness to learn these days which is a clear sign she is leaving her school days behind her.  She even managed an explanation of how the sun shines on the earth (complete with a demonstration using a lamp and a globe) without getting angry at all!

On Wednesday, we went into Wimbledon to get M some sandals and go to the library.  M rode her bike, D scootered and I ran along behind them.  It’s the first time we’ve been into Wimbledon without any ‘I’m tired’ moaning, which was great as it means we can do it more often now.  D began getting fed up in the library but soon cheered up after I read her a few stories.  I found The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for M and we’ve been reading it every night since (we’ve finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix and I think this Narnia book is much easier to read!).

We celebrated D’s birthday on Thursday, with a small gathering and a few party games at home.  She was delighted by M’s birthday card, which was lovely to see!

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On Friday their cousin came round to take them out before heading back to university this weekend.  They went to South Park Gardens and played football and climbed trees.  He tired them out so much that neither of them wanted to go out to our social group, Curious Minds, so we got busy at home instead.

M got going on her crystal mining, which she still has a fair amount of work to do on… it’s hard work but suits M down to the ground: lots of careful scraping, dusting, peering and then excitement when a new crystal is uncovered!

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D drew a picture of a rocket and then decided she wanted to make a 3D one, so I began showing her how to measure the rocket she’d drawn and transpose that onto a cuboid net.  I failed miserably and was starting to get quite cross about it so I announced that I was going outside to get some fresh air before having another go at it.  When I came back in, D was merrily doing it herself!  I was amazed because careful measurements and details aren’t really her forte – just goes to show that I shouldn’t pigeonhole the sausages.

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D got a pack of Frozen Top Trumps which has been played a few times – excellent for her reading, though she still struggles with competitive games as she can’t bear losing!

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On Saturday the sausages were back at Judo: they both gained another stripe on their belts last term.  In the afternoon, their aunt and uncle threw another small party for D (her 3rd party!) and they cooked chapattis and had some cake.

Sunday was supposed to be D’s lovebombing day. I say ‘supposed’ because she got a bit upset at the thought of spending the day without M!  So in the end we had a ‘special’ day whereby D got first choice with everything and M said she would be her slave, ha ha.  Amazingly, they managed to stay friends all day!  We started on some papier mache party bags, which D had seen being made on Creative Galaxy.  Then we made chocolate biscuits.  Then D wanted to read her Maps book (tagline: travel the world without leaving your living room = D’s delight) and then they spent some time sticking glow-stars onto the bedroom wall.  The afternoon was spent watching The Lion King and playing lots of board games with J.

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This morning has been crazy so far – by 9.30am we had done another papier mache layer, made more chocolate biscuits, got dressed and cleaned the kitchen.  The plan is to get out of the house and enjoy the weather while it lasts but the girls have just settled down to a lovely game with Sylvanian Families so we’ll see what happens next!

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We’ve had such a varied and happy week!  I feel so proud of their attitude to learning, to each other, and to our general family life.  Part of me wants to march back to their old schools and stick two fingers up to their old headmistresses, ha!

We’re still battling the nits unfortunately.  M managed to pass them on to me and I unwittingly passed them back to M again!  Who knew that nits don’t always make you itch?  I didn’t!  I’m all clear again but I’m still having to regularly comb through M’s hair.  It has meant that she missed out on a sleep over at a friend’s house (his Mum didn’t want to risk it just before school starts, fair enough) and an HE meet up.  So we’ve pretty much been in quarantine ALL week.  And it’s been lovely!  The girls have been engaged, occupied, laughing and learning.  I would have expected cabin fever to kick in by now but it hasn’t.

During one nit session, D was marching up and down chanting the 10 times table!  She’s really getting a grasp of numbers and how to manipulate them.  It’s amazing to see, especially as it’s mostly mental arithmetic at the moment.  She will just go quiet for a while and then say ‘Mum, did you know that 3 lots of 4 is 12 and 2 lots of 6 is 12 too?’  So this week she’s just starting to get a handle on multiplication.  I downloaded a Numberjacks Times Tables app which she loves.  Minecraft is really helping too – lots of blocks placed on blocks so she begins to see patterns: she said “so 3 lots of 3 are 9?” after a making a square window!

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She is also soaking up knowledge through Netflix – it is incredible what she has absorbed from watching Go Diego Go: she keeps spotting animals and saying “hey, that’s a red eyed tree frog!”.  The other day we were reading a book with a parrot in it and she said “that’s not a parrot it’s a scarlet macaw”.  I’m just waiting for her to start speaking Spanish now…  We started watching The Magic School Bus today, which is fantastic too and right up D’s street: the children in the story travel into space, into someone’s digestive system, under water etc etc.  Even M was pulled into watching it.

For D’s Love Bombing day she chose to do have a space themed day but today she decided she couldn’t wait for her special day and she wanted to do the activities now!  I had two prepared already.  The first is this book, Older Than the Stars – it is fabulous!  As you go through it, you learn how all the particles that were present at the big bang are part of us now.  M really enjoyed listening to it too.  We had a great conversation about death afterwards (no, really).

The other space activity I got out for D was this constellation geoboard.  I didn’t have time to print the constellation sheet off so we just started on our own.  She loved it!  Here you can see she’s made Taurus, The Big Dipper and Polaris, Orion and the Sun using pins and rubber bands!

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After D had finished we went straight off to her new swimming lessons, which she was initially scared about but was ecstatic after the lesson because her teacher had chanted her name while she swam :).

Now for M, who has been going from strength to strength this week.  She’s had to battle with nits for starters – highly frustrating and boring but she’s managing really well and is beginning to understand the importance of regular combing (she doesn’t seem to mind the itching and didn’t really grasp why we had to get rid of them!).

The biggest thing in my mind this week is to do with a book about pet rabbits that she borrowed from the library.  She tried on two separate occasions to read it and each time struggled with the words and got too angry to continue.  I was amazed that she even tried twice.  I was astounded when she picked it up a third time!  This has NEVER happened before.  I sat and offered to help her read it and both girls were rapt the entire time.  You can see where this is leading… M has now made a lovely list of the type of rabbit she’d like and what we’d have to buy to keep one.  There is a strong possibility that we will be getting pet rabbits.  I made sure to praise M afterwards for overcoming her anger at the book and she beamed at me :).

The other rather large story for M this week is that she now knows the truth about Santa.  One morning she asked me “why are all the Christmas presents from everyone we know and not from Santa?”.  I told her it was a long answer and that I’d talk to her about it later.  Meanwhile, I rushed off to consult like-minded people on Facebook.  Little did I know it would spark a thread that went on and on and on… Anyway, I gleaned some good ideas from it and had a little chat with her about it.  To be honest, I’ve never wanted to do the Santa thing but when M was 2 or 3 she insisted that he was real even when I said I didn’t believe in him.  Tsk.  So I probed further with M about her thoughts on Santa and she guessed herself that he wasn’t real, she didn’t even seem too bothered.  A great big cheeky smile appeared on her face when I told her I bought the presents and hid them around the house… wonder what she is planning…

In other news, I have been spending a lot of time with M creating food cans for Sylvanian Families,  Good God it’s fiddly but we’re getting there…

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M’s also been setting up obstacle races for D…

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And playing dominoes…

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Making a floating island in Minecraft and playing on an Escher inspired app called Monument Valley.  M has solved all the puzzles and finished the game in a day!

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What, I think, has helped the most in our family life this week is that we’ve had a re-jig of our structure.  Not that we really had much structure, but I realised after 4 nights of D not being able to go to sleep that she really needed a later bedtime. However, this also meant that M would miss out on her special evening time with me because they’d be going up at the same time, and D would miss her morning special time because she’d be getting up later.  So we’ve now arranged it so that they both have an hour to spend just with me each day, doing whatever they want.  D doesn’t seem too fussed about special time, probably because she is more vocal when she needs attention than M, and also because she’s younger so is used to sharing me anyway.  However, M is really thriving on it.  She beams whenever I mention it and I think it’s also helping her anger.  So perhaps lack of attention was the problem all along…

Love Bombing with M

Love Bombing sounds a bit like some sort of porn but it isn’t, honest.  It’s the title of a book written by Oliver James that I read recently.  The basic premise of Love Bombing is that for a day or two (or longer if you wish) you hand over control to your child and you shower them with attention.  This enables you to reconnect with each other, which is often difficult to do in our busy family lives.  No one else joins in – no partners, no siblings.  Just you and one child.  Your child has complete control over what you do/where you go during this time.  After reading the book, implementing Love Bombing plus daily half hour top ups pretty much sorts out most behavioural problems occurring!

So I explained all this to M and her little face lit up :).  I stipulated she could have a day with me (some do an overnight too but there’s no way our budget will stretch to that at the moment) and she could choose what she wanted to do, as long as it didn’t cost too much.  After thinking about it for a few days she decided she wanted to go foraging for berries!  So this Saturday we went to Morden Park!  D was a little wobbly at the thought of both of us going out without her but she rallied at the thought of having her own special day another time, and at spending the day with J.

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We spent two hours walking around Morden Park, picking haw berries, elder berries, blackberries and rosehips.  M adored every minute! She became very good at berry spotting too. She chose to have two doughnuts from a bakery for lunch and then believe it or not, we were too tired to forage anymore.  M tentatively asked if we could go to a toy shop so we headed back to Wimbledon but then M decided she’d rather play Minecraft for an hour so I sat beside her with a cup of tea while she played.

After that we both felt refreshed enough to head out again (M gorgeously bursting with joy at the prospect of sitting on the front seat in the top deck of the bus!) and we spent a long time window shopping in Ely’s jewellery department before heading up to the toys.  She obviously didn’t intend for me to buy her anything but I thought I would as it had been such a cheap day out!

On our way back to the bus stop we spotted the library and M asked if we could go in and choose some more books for her reading challenge… eh?!  So we made a quick dash in there to grab two books before it closed.

M was so full of joy all day that I felt quite emotional at times – it was so lovely to have her all to myself.

A glorious day!