I usually enjoy school holidays. I like slouching around, spending time with the boys and doing fun activities with them. And these ones have been good like that, we've done lots of good stuff like tennis, The Show, play-dates, bike-rides, swimming. But I don't know. This holiday the boys have been a little bit ... annoying. I think maybe we're all tired, which means Climber gets snappy with Cherub more easily, Cherub starts whinging at the drop of a hat, and then I end up getting cranky at the pair of them and looking forward to school starting again.
I mean, it's not that bad, but I am conscious that we're all not getting on as well as usual and I can see that it's mostly tiredness. Having said that, we still seem to be doing stuff every day. This week has been blog-related. Tomorrow Pea Soup and her boys are going to hang out with us at a bowling alley. And today we were supposed to meet with Sheeps Clothing and House & Baby at a park on the other side of town from me. Only next time we do that we are going to make sure we've all got each others' mobile phone numbers and that we've set a specific place in the park to meet, because the one we met at was enormous and so Sheeps Clothing never found us at all, and if House & Baby hadn't had my number in her phone I wouldn't have seen her either. That was because I went to the middle of the enormous park not the end bit which was hidden from view. Anyway, my boys were feeling tired and hot by the time we met up so although it was lovely to see House & Baby (in 5-minute snatches between Dangerbaby rescues, there is no stopping the very cute Dangerbaby) ...
... and although it was a terrific park, by the time we got home again after braving the hell-traffic on Punt Road, the boys were fractious and needed 5 minutes in separate rooms to collect themselves. They've been fine ever since. Fixit sang their praises to me when I got home from teaching tonight, told me how good they were.
There are no pictures of Dangerbaby's big brother, but he was there too. So sorry, Stacey. Next time, next time!
We went to the Royal Melbourne Show on Friday, and apart from the terrible weather (this is us leaving at lunchtime when the rain started, and just as well we'd got there so early)...
... it was pretty much a rerun of last year's visit, only with slightly bigger children.
As per the rules, no child was doing any of the fairground type fun until they'd had a Rural Experience aka Compulsory Visit to the Animal Nursery. The older two children enjoyed this, and spent a long time patting and observing.
But the younger ones had to be encouraged into interacting with the animals and spent much of their time standing aloofly in the middle, making each other laugh by talking about stepping in poo.
However, eventually the little city-slickers spotted a sheep they did like the look of and made a beeline for it.
(it's not a real sheep)
Also, Crafty had to accompany her youngest down the Giant Slide, and arrived at the bottom looking windswept and exhilarated. Ever since, I've been completely jealous, and have put it on my list of things to do next year.
Two holidays ago, when we did a school holiday tennis clinic, Climber came home the proud winner of movie tickets. We sent the Climber off again to get more tennis winnings for tennis-y fun, only this year we sent the little brother along too. Cherub tried his (left AND right) hand(s) at tennis for the very first time (he was better with his left) and despite the fact that his technique looked like this:
... it was he who brought home the movie ticket bacon. I think this was largely due to his being teamed with a child who could actually hit the ball back over the net, something I'm not convinced Cherub can do yet. But he had a great time so who cares?
Climber won everything in his group this year, he is the seasoned pro now..
so he won a hat.
Both boys also won a new shirt. Here is Cherub modelling his:
As you can see he has plenty of room to grow with this one.
The seed is planted when Pea Soup invites you to Craft Camp. Some shoots appear when Trashalou asks you if you want to be part of a Rainbow Swap. And then the next thing you know your craft plant analogy is in bloom, as you realise you are coming to grips with your sewing machine, and your blanket stitch is improving and you have a stash, some proper sewing scissors and about 5 crafty projects brewing.
Such as finally attaching the appliques you bought from Aunty Cookie at the Sisters Market last year.
And then, after playing games on Club Penguin that morning, the kids mention that they wish they had a toy puffle.
So you spend most of Sunday morning -while Fixit is off on a motorbike spree- making some Puffles from scratch. The white one is the prototype, the red one has all the errors (shh! don't tell Cherub) but the blue one is actually not too bad.
It's not crafting of the first order, and the red one's hair already needs repairing, but it made the kids happy and made me feel slightly craft-competent.
Show and Tell contributions/ homework / notes / library books
Play-dates / sporting activities
New student inquiries
Routines for tap classes
General knowledge of location of everything in the house etc
Extra stuff in my life that I have to organise over the next 2 months
Rainbow swap items
School holiday activities including going to the Royal Melbourne Show
Cherub's birthday and birthday party
Print run of t-shirts for my tap school
Performance at the Station Street Fiesta
The roster and general running of the Champagne/Strawberries & Cream Stall at the School Fete
Performance for a book-launch
Performance for a Kinder Fundraiser
My first ever Tap School End of Year show with outside venue and equipment hire
My poor sister rang me to discuss bringing her kids and herself to Melbourne to stay with me, -maybe once, maybe twice- within this period, (with the added request of some babysitting favours while she photographs the horsies at the Spring Racing Carnival) and received a more-than-slightly hysterical response. Sorry sis. Mostly I think I'm on top of my to Do List but it doesn't take much to knock me off.
These pictures are from Climber's Open Day yesterday. Almost the whole class embraced the theme of Crazy Hair, via wigs and gel and hairspray, and they proudly showed us their very impressive dioramas inspired by the book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. Climber's group all sprayed their hair pink and wore ponytails to perform the poem they'd co-written and choreographed, and they were completely gorgeous.
And now, for everyone who hasn't been following the saga over on Facebook, let me tell you about the Troubles At School. This is a slightly tricky blogpost to write, given the ever-changing landscape of childhood friendships; today's worst enemy could be next year's best friend when maturity and tastes evolve. So I wasn't really sure whether I should record the whole affair, and this is partly because it's hard to know who is reading and who might be hurt by it. But given that this a family chronicle and what's been going on has had quite an impact lately, I thought I would set it down for posterity and just be as diplomatic and fair-minded as I can...
Young Climber has been having a very difficult time at school lately with another child. The other child, at this stage of his life, is a persistent type of boy, not one who takes no for an answer. He and Climber started out as friends but Climber got progressively more uncomfortable in his presence and tried to extricate himself. He didn't feel himself as an equal in the friendship because the other child was, as Climber put it, always right or if he was wrong, you were too. Climber tried walking away (the child followed) and using his words (the child ignored him), but the niggling continued and in the end it came to blows. Not just the once, either. It also came to Climber feeling very angry indeed and really lashing out at the Other Child, and then feeling absolutely stressed out because he felt very uncomfortable for having reached those peaks of temper. I found out piecemeal through various discussions with my stressed and distressed child that the two of them had been involved in as many as 8 scuffles. Then last week they had such a blazing physical fight that other children felt the urge to step in and break it up. None of their fights were ever seen by the Yard Duty Teachers.
So I told his teacher about the Big Fight - I'd already talked with her about the ongoing tensions - and this resulted in Climber and the Other Child (plus the 6 other witnesses for part of it) being hauled in to have a big session with both the Principal and the Vice-Principal. They were very good and from what they've said to me have been very supportive of the Climber who they recognised as a gentle child, and one who had been provoked and moreover, one who had been trying, up to a point, to do the right thing. Our school has a No Hitting No Fighting policy which I'd pretty much forgotten about (shows you how closely I read the Student Code of Conduct when the kids sign it each year) so they took the incident very seriously indeed. Both boys had to write an apology to each other (Climber's said I am sorry for fighting back and not tell the yard duty teacher) and the Other Child is only allowed to play in a Restricted Area for the next week so that Climber doesn't have to encounter him in the schoolyard unless he chooses to. And it has also been made clear to them that the fighting is Not On.
Later that day the Vice-Principal called me in for a chat and I felt reassured that the problem was being dealt with properly. I also felt that they were looking out for Climber and had a good idea of the character of both boys. I had this pathetic moment when I suddenly got a mental image of Climber telling them his version of the events and maybe breaking down in there as he'd done many times when he'd discussed it with me and found to my embarrassment that I had started to cry. But the Vice-Principal merely handed me a tissue and told me that beyond getting slightly wobbly at one stage he had held himself together very well.
The Other Child was adamant that he didn't want his father informed of the trouble, and although the Principal was not in favour of this, (in her own words she said she was not as soft as the Vice-Principal) they agreed, after leaving the decision to Climber, to give him One Last Chance to improve his conduct. But Climber is under strict instruction to inform the Vice-Principal should the other child ever lay a finger on him again.
I think the Climber is feeling much happier about the whole situation and we'll just see how it all washes out.
98: percentage of correctly answered questions achieved in Fixit's exam result for Electrical Fundamentals. Now he's trying to tell me all about Aeronautics. (Fas-cin-ay-ting). *Oops I mean Aerodynamics, see how I don't listen?* I got my own back by telling him how I learned to fold a Masu Box, the first time ever that I've successfully understood an origami instruction sheet. He rolled his eyes at me.
11: number of different coloured Masu Boxes made yesterday in a rush of blood to the head.
104: number of triangles I have cut for my various bunting projects. Two strings of bunting have been completed, and two are waiting for me to build up steam again.
8: weeks since the cat disappeared. Yesterday I looked at a couple of Burmese breeders sites and wondered if we could really afford another purebred when we'd squandered the one we had.
(thank you to fellow cat-person Stacey for sending me the photo frame)
386: photos taken on new camera at the kiddies tap classes on Saturday.
90: the percentage of said photos featuring me where I wished I'd sucked in my stomach. No, I'm not publishing those ones.
21: sleeps till the Cherub's birthday. Countdown has been in progress since before my birthday. Which was in June.
(He's left-handed, can you tell?)
4: items created by me for a forthcoming swap. One more in the pipeline.
4.01: GB available on my Mac's hard drive, meaning that I can't download any new photos from the fancy camera to the Mac until The Guy comes to my rescue.
(one of the photos not downloaded onto the Mac; fortunately the Aldi PC is still going strong and has lots of room)
1: photo per day to be added to this site for the next year. Not sure how long I'll last, she said confidently, but I started yesterday and it is all going very well so far.
Climber had his school concert last night. His class did a bird theme. They started very chirpily (!!) with Rockin' Robin, followed by the girls doing The Tennessee Birdwalk. Then Climber's group, as alleged birds of prey, shuffled around to Three Little Birds by Bob Marley; their costume was grey/brown/black clothes with some rasta stylin's on their heads. This is how he looked when he came off stage:
which is pretty! But this is what we saw from out in the auditorium ..
... and I swear to God I missed half of Rockin' Robin because I could not recognise him even though I knew what he was wearing.
Anyway, after the concert while I was out dropping Nell home, he got upset (about how much homework they're expected to do this year, Fixit found mistakes in his maths when they got home and it all spiralled from there), so when I got home he slunk out of bed in tears and I had to soothe him for a good half hour (this finally worked) and he wouldn't have slept till 10pm-ish.
This morning his eyes looked like this, only worse:
So I kept him home from school for a mental health day. We did some chores then I bought a fancy camera.
So then, natch, I had to take photos of flowers:
And Climber wanted to have a go, so he took a photo of me:
And we baked a cake:
Then we picked up Cherub and I continued to try out the fancy camera on the boys.
NB. All photos featuring the children are now classified as "private" on Flickr and can only be seen by my Contacts (that is, if you click through to Flickr for a better look at them). If I know you or your blog I am happy to be friends with you on Flickr . Joining is free and easy, and you can store up to 200 photos there.