Saturday, February 23, 2013

In which I find Minty slightly disturbing...

I left Minty alone with the stereo for a few minutes this morning.  This is what she created… a homage to all her favourite artists.

In case you can't read the five-year-old handwriting - 'Duke Ellington, Eskimo Joe, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, Evanescence, Diana Krall'.  Her taste is nothing if not eclectic.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My little valentine...

I have a horrible sinus infection.  I've got nearly two weeks worth of photos and stories to blog about but I'm having trouble putting down my tissues long enough to type anything.  So instead just a little photo of Minty on valentines day.  She turned five last week and honestly I'm beginning to feel like I'm struggling to keep up with her.  There's nothing like the quick wit of an irrepressible 5-year old combined with the incessant whining and intermittent screaming of a 3-year old to make you feel like someone has been slowly picking your brain out of your nostril with a toothpick.  There are times now that I feel like she is one step ahead of me in an argument  and on days like today when my brain is sluggish and groggy she makes me feel like a dullard.  We've been butting heads and pushing each other to the limit.  But no one can make me laugh like she can and if I had to choose someone to be trapped in an elevator with it would definitely be her (and not just because she has the bladder control of a camel).  

She spent Sunday night in the emergency room with croup and during the long hours waiting for drugs to work, x-ray results and monitoring sats, she kept us all entertained with amusing renditions of I-spy.  'I spy with my little eye something beginning with z… zero tolerance for violence and aggression sign!' (breathless hilarity ensues).  

While I've been writing this she has been dancing uninhibited to a selection of music of her own choosing - Madonna, Cabaret, The Lion King, Evanescence and Swan Lake.  I miss the days when she didn't know how to operate i-tunes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Conversations with Minty and Turi...

Turi modelling a headband he made.

Turi [softly to himself after breakfast]: ok I'm off to change the world!


Whilst watching an animated Disney film…

Minty: they always fall in love in these movies and then they all fall apart.


During a conversation about the slave trade (I realise this may seem like an odd thing to be talking about with a 5 year old but somehow the conversation segued while we were doing a puzzle about Dr. David Livingstone!)

Me: it took a long time but eventually slavery stopped altogether.  There aren't really slaves anymore

Minty [thoughtfully]: well… sometimes mums are slaves

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In which we gorge ourselves Catholic style...

Happy Shrove Tuesday everyone!  It is one of my favourite days of the year.  Although I'm not a practising Catholic anymore I still cling to the traditions as a way of marking out my days.  Shrove Tuesday is like one last hoorah, using up all the eggs and butter before the 40 days of lent.  I talked today with Minty about what lent means for us, a time of reflection, eating simply (honestly I am never voluntarily going to fast!!!) and working on bettering ourselves.  She decided she would work on not calling people 'idiots' anymore… instead she has resolved to call us all 'fools'.  As for me, Minty suggested I should work on not shouting so much.  I think that's probably a worthy goal!  We enjoyed our pancakes this morning, with freshly picked blackberries and a sprinkle of sugar.

Today's photos come from a little project we worked on this week.  We have been reading 'Silly Billy' by Anthony Browne.  It's a sweet story about a little boy who can't sleep because he worries too much.  His grandma suggests that he makes some worry dolls so that he can tell them his worries and get some sleep.  Minty was really taken with the idea of making her own worry dolls.  I did a bit of googling and there were plenty of complicated tutorials that I really didn't think the kids could manage.  Luckily I ended up stumbling across some mini wooden dolly pegs at the $2 shop, along with a cheap packet of cotton embroidery floss.  I gave these to the kids along with some fabric scraps and a black marker and let them get creative.  Both the kids really loved this activity and I think the dolls they made are very sweet.
The dolls (left to right): Violet, Teddy, Una, Bobby and Patrice.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In which Minty pities my foolishness...

One of the best things about living in a semi-rural area is the wildlife.  It's not uncommon to find a cute little frog in the washing basket or see a kangaroo hop past the back fence.  We even have a resident blue tongue lizard who I like to call Colin.  And yet, sometimes the worst thing about living in a rural area is also the wildlife.  

This week we've been celebrating Chinese New Year so we've been talking a lot about the year of the snake.  We made red paper lanterns and paper chain snakes.  So when Minty called out from the living room that she could see a snake I just assumed she meant one of her crafty creations.  Luckily I was having one of my finer parenting moments and decided I would play along with the game.  I had a flash of that annoying inspiring quote that is all over Facebook and Pinterest…

'if you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big because to them all of it has always been big'

So I stomped up stairs and boomed in my big theatrical 'pretending' voice, 'where's this snake?!', ready to leap onto the paper snake Steve Irwin style.  Minty rolled her eyes and gave me a pitying look, 'no mum a real snake' and gestured out the window.  Sure enough, slithering amongst the kids' bikes was a large red bellied black snake.  Alarming to say the least.  Our reptile visitor has since been relocated and the yard has had a major clean up.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

In which there are bodily fluids and literary allusions...

I really should be doing some work tonight but I'm somewhat sleep deprived.  The kids have both taken turns being sick so I've basically spent my entire week channeling Florence Nightingale.  Turi did a particularly spectacular vomit all over my pillow in the middle of the night, sat up, surveyed the mess and said a little sadly, 'Franken-soup'.  I can always trust Turi to add a little levity to any situation.

Minty is now fully recovered but has been cooped up in the house while Turi is comatose, so I've been entertaining her with some literacy games.

I used white crayon to write Minty some hidden messages.  When she painted over the paper with watercolours the messages were revealed.  She's just starting to read a little so this was a fun activity for her to be able to read the little notes.  She then spent some time making her own little resist paintings.  Turi even managed to resurrect himself lazarus style from the couch to join in the fun for a while.

This is another little literacy game we've been playing lately.  I give her a tub of small objects, along with all the corresponding beginning letters (I use coko bricks).  She matches the objects and letters and then uses this as a starting point to match the objects with a list of written words.  I try to include some easy words that she already knows along with some trickier ones.  I usually set this up the night before and she can do it independently while I get some housework done.

Last but not least, today I gave her a word list of things that could be found around the house.  I asked her to cut them all up and try to find the corresponding object and tape the label on it.  When she had finished I asked her to show me where she'd put them all and I helped her fix up any she couldn't figure out.  She had lots of fun doing this and even went around the house suggesting other words I should have included.  We've left all the labels up so hopefully this will help her remember them when she encounters them in other situations.