Last week I ended up buying a smartphone. Believe it or not, it's the first smartphone I've ever owned. My husband is a techie guy (it's part of his job, but really, it's an essential part of his personality) but doesn't buy into the hype surrounding All The New Things.
This means he knows how to sniff out a bargain. He settled on the Motorola Moto G as the best under-£200-phone on the market, with a top of the line screen and most up to date Android OS. And that's as techie as I'll ever get on this blog, because I really don't know what that previous sentence meant. I was just parroting my husband!
Anyway. Shiny things. It's fun, having a phone where I can touch the screen and make things go. It's like a grown-up's toy, isn't it? But after a few days, I kind of got bored. It's a phone; it makes calls and sends texts; that's all I really use it for.
Oh, except for the pictures. Now THAT'S fun....
As can be seen by the last picture there, my eldest officially needs glasses now. Both my husband and I wear glasses, so it would appear that our kids have no hope. Her eyes aren't bad (yet), but it was bugging her that she couldn't see the board at school or the numbers of hymns at church.
She's super excited. She chose some bold, funky style glasses. Gotta love that kid's style. She's pretty awesome - at ten years old she is confident and proud of who she is. I seriously need to follow her example.
However, I have a feeling that she's going to find wearing glasses a bit more of a hassle than she thinks it will be. Hopefully they won't slip down her face or pinch her temples or anything. We'll see how it goes!
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the baby seemed to have some tummy troubles. Lots of poo, the wrong colour, etc. She didn't seem particularly upset by it all, but I was getting tired of changing so many nappies. As an experiment, I thought I'd try a bit of elimination communication with her. It's an interesting way of baby raising - the parent (in this case, just me) keeps an eye out for any signals the baby sends out when she needs to void bladder/bowels.
I even went an entire 24 hours without changing a single poopy nappy! Got 'em all in the potty all day long! That was fun. Now that her tummy has settled down, she doesn't poo as often, but she's starting to get used to me pottying her. She squirms around or cries when she needs a wee, or gets upset when I don't get to her in time and she's in a wet nappy.
Sometimes I can't be bothered to strip her down and hold her over the potty, but then I feel guilty because she's clearly signalling the need to "go" and she's looking at me with a significant gleam in her eye, waiting for the potty. I know that sounds kind of crazy if you haven't done it, and believe me, this is my fifth baby and I've never thought in a million years that I would do this with a baby, but it really works. It's a real thing. She can wait long enough for me to undress her and pull the nappy off - she's rarely in the middle of a wee while doing this.
The need to poop is a bit harder for me to gauge, especially since she doesn't do it as much anymore. Sometimes I miss and she goes in the nappy, sometimes she's just starting to go and I manage to get her on the potty for the rest. Oh well! I often don't wake up in time in the morning for her early morning ablutions so we get half in the nappy and half in the pot. But I'm cool with that. It's a learning process for the both of us, but I'm hopeful that we can encourage her to use the potty independently at a younger age. Maybe. That's not my main goal for now. Right now, I'm just focusing on the communication part and finding it pretty cool when I get it right.
So we're no longer a home educating family! It's totally weird, but I think it's the right choice right now. My two middle children started school in the Autumn term of 2012, but my eldest was adamantly against going back to school. For a while, this worked fine. We managed to get her to different home ed activities, we did things at home together, she worked independently and we had tutoring. It all started going downhill during the latter half of last year, when I was too tired in pregnancy and then had the baby. My husband's offices changed location which meant he could no longer use public transportation to get to work. We only have one car, so we were carless during the day. This wouldn't have been so bad - the bus into town is regular and easy to use - but with the baby having feeding problems in the early weeks, I was kept home because of pumping schedules and the need for transporting milk in bottles. It was just too much of a hassle.
My attention on her education slipped considerably, and we finally decided that school was a better place for her to be right now. She started a couple of weeks ago and is enjoying it so far. She is attending a different school than the other children, so she has to make her own way there and walk home alone as well. This is exciting and fun for her, so that's good. She is finding it challenging in some ways, being back in a school setting, but overall it is a positive experience. I'm happy that she is happy - she is meeting new people, getting fresh perspectives on life, and isn't bored by the limited scope of our daily life with a baby and a three year old.
I feel refreshed by the change as well; I feel like I can focus on more toddler/preschool activities for the three year old without worrying about boring the 10 year old. We can go to the local library singing time and have fun together, bake fairy cakes and do all those fun things that my older children have long outgrown. (well, to be fair, everyone else likes to bake, too, but they don't need much help anymore!)
I'm still keeping a toe in the Home Ed community because we don't plan to send our 3 year old to reception this year. She's a summer baby so will barely be four by the time the government expects her to attend school full time. No thank you. We're going to send her to a local preschool as an alternative, probably just a couple of days a week and see how it goes. I'm taking her to home ed activities and events and just carrying on as always. She is looking forward to preschool quite a lot.
We'll probably send her to school eventually; my 7 year old never went to reception and settled into year 1 very quickly. I'm sure the 3 year old will do the same.
I could blame my lack of consistent blogging on being busy with five children, which is often very true, but I think it's more down to lack of brain space. I just don't have anything particularly interesting to say, beyond a couple of paragraph's worth! I could blog about our parenting choices, but *yawn* everyone does that. I could blog about home education, but that part of my life is kind of finished right now. I could blog about crafting, but I don't really do that anymore these days....
To be honest, a lot of my free time in the evening is taken up with washing dishes/laundry, straightening up, and then passing an hour or two watching old episodes of Star Trek. We started with Voyager, and I'm just now finishing up The Next Generation. Next is all the TNG movies, then I'll start Deep Space Nine. I admit this makes me totally nerdy, but when the entire series is on Netflix, it's difficult to pass up the opportunity. These shows are mostly harmless, inane entertainment. I sometimes watch with the kids, too.
I lead a glamorous life, I tell you.