So Much Good

Today was our first day of half-term. Lovely day. The girls and I spent the better part of the morning making lunch. We rolled out puff pastry dough then set up an assembly line to paint on milk, add sauce, onions, sweet corn, mozzarella and grilled peppers. Then we baked, cooled, and enjoyed. Lovely.

After lunch Katie had just enough time to dash upstairs, wash her face and mouth, and change into her matching best friends outfit for a playdate. She and her three best friends went to a giant soft play area for several hours. While she ran around with her friends, Buffy and I opted for naps.

At least I did. Buffy was quiet for an hour and a half, but based on her performance this evening, I'm not sure she actually slept. I certainly did, and I guess rested Mommie is half the battle won. At least I could handle what she threw at me this evening.

Actually, it wasn't all that bad, just a nightmarish ten minutes.

We were eating dinner. A rather impromptu affair built around Buffy's desire to have cheesy scones and my desire to do nothing at all. Then a call from Katie's chaperon that she tearfully refused to go to McDonald's, so she was coming home hungry. So I upped dinner to include cookies and milk for dessert. If Katie wasn't going to have junk food out, she could have it in.

Dinner was admittedly light, but I figured the dessert would fill the hole. Buffy wasn't keen on waiting, though. While I pulled the cookies from the oven, Andrew tried to engage our tired and still a little hungry girls in some familial conversation. Something along the lines of, "How was your day?" Buffy was not interested in discussing anything other than the new shoes she was just given. She wouldn't take them off... of the table. Andrew reminded her this was not the sort of thing one does. The same reminder we give her a few hundred times a week.

Really not wanting to take her shoes out of public view (admittedly very pretty shoes), Buffy kicked them up in the air. Andrew calmly got her to stop and I put the cookies onto plates. Still too hot to eat. Katie asked Andrew a question, and he tried to answer, but Buffy interrupted. He shot her a warning look, but she persisted. This resulted in a time out. Harsh? Not hardly, since we've been trying to get her to stop talking over us all the time. More than a couple hundred warnings a week.

The second Andrew turned his back Buffy started shouting at the top of her lungs, "SHUT UP, DADDY! SHUT UP!!" Andrew wanted to go straight back to her, but I convinced him to ignore it for the moment. By now the cookies were just about ready to eat, so I served them with a big smile to Katie. I plated up Buffy's cookies and served some more to Andrew.

Buffy had calmed down, so I looked back to see how she was doing. Well, not well. She was eating something off the floor. I made her spit it out and it was a tiny plastic bead. Not happy. Bead went straight to the trash. I told her she'd lost one of her two cookies. I looked back and she was eating something else off the floor!! I got it out of her mouth and this was a pencil shaving. Disgusting! I told her she'd now lost both cookies, but she could still have the milk.

She came out of time out and sobbed her way into the kitchen. She worked herself up into a lip-quivering, gasping, shuddering and hiccoughing fervour. Then she started shouting imploringly at us, "I'LL BE GOOD! I'LL BE GOOD DADDY! I'LL BE SO MUCH GOOD! I'LL BE SO MUCH GOOD!"

Bless her. She got over it a minute later and really enjoyed her milk. She fell asleep very quickly. I really wonder if she did have a nap today. Looking forward to tomorrow's version of So Much Good.

The Downside of a Great Imagination

Tonight Buffy's bedtime stories were "Counting Nursery Rhymes" and "Peter Rabbit". The nursery rhymes were all recognisable songs, so we sang a few of them. Very cute. Then we settled down to read "Peter Rabbit". We were only a few pages in before Buffy picked up on the currant buns old Mrs. Rabbit had bought at the baker's shop and was off on another song. As it was still early, and she was being adorable, I indulged yet another song. We sang "Five Currant Buns in a Baker's Shop" and everyone had to put a pretend penny in Buffy's hand and then take, and enjoy the currant bun.

When the song ended Buffy counted her pretend pennies and then magicked them into chocolate coins. A slightly wicked spirit overtook her giraffe* and he gobbled them all up. I admit to playing a part in this as he was attached to my hand at the time. Buffy burst into floods of tears. Heavy tears fell down her cheeks onto Peter Rabbit. She was devastated.

What else could I do?

I laughed.

Katie had a better idea and said, "I've got TEN chocolate coins for you, Buffy!" Tears stopped automatically and the sun spread across Buffy's face again. She picked up five of the chocolate coins, carefully unwrapped them and slowly savoured them. She was so convincing I wiped her mouth when she was done.

*giraffe's name is Baby Jesus. This leads to no end of hilarity. "I didn't want Baby Jesus to eat all of my chocolate coins!"

The Fate of the Fifth Mouse

This morning Andrew caught Fifth Mouse. This one was quite unlike his brother, Fourth Mouse, in that he was still very much alive. Hopping alive. Only caught by one foot, the rest of him tried valiantly to run off. Couldn't outrun Andrew, though, and Fifth Mouse is now an ex-mouse.

PS How many of these f#*%^!!! things are there?!

The Saga of the Fourth Mouse

When I was in France my family all pitched in to pick up my slack. Best of all was my mom flying over from America. I know. She's amazing. As if taking care of the children, the house, the cooking, the cleaning and everything I normally just about manage to do, she decided to complete some projects as well. She bought us a whole new bathroom suite and had it installed, finding us three very reliable workmen in the process. Was that enough for Super Gramma? It was not! She also discovered we had mice (again? still?) and set about tackling that.

Gramma checked through her now established reliable contacts and found the best traps and the best bait. The mice were very interested in a bag of birdseed, so she rather cleverly decided to leave that there. Both Andrew and I would have reacted by dumping the birdseed first off. Gramma thought it through, however, and realised the birdseed gave the mice, and subsequently the traps, a focal point.

They caught the first mouse almost right away. The first mouse had a saga of its own. It managed to only catch its tail end in the trap and spent the rest of the night trying to crawl around the kitchen. In doing so it crawled through a tight space and got itself on one side and the trap on the other. Such fun for Andrew and my mom. I'm almost sorry I missed it. Almost.

Mouse one-point-two gave Gramma the slip.

Mouse two was more straightforward. Andrew caught it and bagged it thrice, so it wouldn't get away.

Mouse three caught its head and lay sprawled upside-down in the trap. Very dead.

Mouse four was this morning. Andrew came down first thing to check the traps, hoping one would have worked. He was wrong. THREE worked. The silly, sad little mouse had managed to catch its head in one, its tail in another and his body in a third. I can only imagine how that came about. Whether the head was first and then some flailing ensued, or tail first and then suicidal tendencies occurred to the little guy. Andrew thinks he caught his tail and thought, "Well, damn. I'm caught. Still feeling a bit peckish though, I'll just move over here and... Oops!"

So yeah, I've been gone

Blog has been dead in the water for a long time, but I have a really good, and knowing me, a really long explanation!

First, there was this whole paper thing for college. I had to write 5,000 words on Social Constructivism. You heard me right. I had to constrain myself to a mere 5,000 words with only a 5% margin of error. The process of whittling down my words to the final 5,100 was exhausting. Writing I can do without blinking. Whittling? A whole other story. Still, I did it and the results will be in on Friday. I'll post them here if I'm proud of them. If I don't, assume the worst and send me Starbucks applications.

Second, there was that whole Christmas thing. That was kind of a big deal around these parts. You know, Western, Christian parts. With children. And families.

Third, there was the biggie. I went to France. For a month. Alone. You may have already seen some of the pictures from a place called Rodez. Don't worry, I'd never heard of it before either. I went there to teach French children. In French. For a month. Alone.

The experience was absolutely amazing and absolutely miserable. I am completely divided on it. The miserable half of me was alone, missing my family and feeling terribly guilty about leaving them to fend for themselves for the whole of the coldest month. The other half, though, was having a marvellous time. I suddenly found myself in a challenging situation with absolutely no distractions. I was old enough to understand my goals and know how to achieve them. I worked hard and I am really proud of myself.

In a little town just outside of the little town of Rodez, I taught 23 nine and ten year olds. At first I taught just English and PE. The second week I moved on to teaching English, PE, maths and science. By the end I was teaching French literature and art as well. It was amazing. The very best part was being told by a French teacher that I could move to France and be a teacher there. I'm definitely going to keep that compliment in my pocket for rainy days. I know I won't get to use my French as much teaching in an English school, but I'm still pleased as punch.

The hard part will be accepting that I could do as well as I did because I didn't have my children with me. I just can't achieve at the same level when I'm home. That's as it should be. My family is my priority. I do like other people's children, but I like my own best of all. I want them to succeed and be happy. I want to be around for them. If it comes down to a choice between making a fab new display for a classroom or Katie's costume for Book Day, Katie's costume will win. Every time.

Now I'm home and it's like I've always been home. The girls are a bit more cuddly than before, but I suppose I am as well. I missed them all so much. I am so happy to be home!

Harry Potter and the Freen Tane

by Buffy

Dumbledore kills Harry just a little bit. Then Harry gets back with Hermione and Ron. Snape goes in a tree and then falls down and he has lot of blood. Then he does, doesn't he? He dies. Voldemort kills Dumbledore. I have to sing my songs with this, k? (plays recorder badly) Then, um, Dumbledore kills Voldemort and Harry gets back to Hermione and Ron and that's the end.

---end---

What do you think, J.K.? Good enough for Book 8?