Tag: play (Page 1 of 3)

unschool monday :: one on one

Small Z is no longer much fazed by big groups of kids in, for example, a kindergarten situation. She’s also not bad in situations such as one we had last week – waiting at the health care centre, she went into the kids section. There were quite a few kids there. She bowled up to one who looked around the same age and said, “What’s your name?” The other kid, as they inevitably do unless they are a little older, just looked at her mullet eyed and said nothing. Small Z looked at me questioningly. I couldn’t help myself and said, “Oh dear, maybe she doesn’t have a name…”

Oops. Anyway. It’s her ability to even ask someone their name that I’m in awe of. I was stupefyingly shy when I was a Small. Would not speak, answer the door, answer the phone – hated groups of unknown kids. Myself and SWWNBB spent a large chunk of our childhoods hiding behind my mother’s legs, snuffling into denim or corduroy.

I desperately wish for Small Z to avoid that. It is paralysing. It plagued me pretty much all the way to the age of about 20 when I began to play proper gigs and also interview people for my radio show. I think I finally shed it after I had Small Z – because I felt then like I could do anything and front just about anyone. But enough about moi…

Today we had our second ever proper playdate with someone we have met at playgroup. The mum, whom I will call Jacinta, has a super-verbal and confident two and a half year old, and a baby about two months younger than Small DB. It was lovely to see Small Z and the two and a half year old sharing swings and trampolining, breaking away to do things on their own, and then coming together again over playdough or their plates of fruit.

She gets very little of actual one-on-one interaction with other children outside of a group situation. This time and the other time we had another little girl her age over for a playdate I was so happy to see her just getting along and enjoying having company. For all her confidence and tallness and awesome vocabulary that makes her appear older than she is, she is easily intimidated by other kids who get in her face. But with the two different little girls that we’ve had over, a few months apart, there has been general harmony and an easiness that makes me sigh with relief. Because she was relaxed, I was relaxed and not poised for meltdown-a-rama…

Also, Small Z gets to see me taking a semi-break from parenting and chattering away with someone my own age – something that is fairly rare. We have people visit now and then, but rarely just one person. So that is good too – learning how older people interrelate, swap stories and generally natter.

What was great about today is that Jacinta and her two kids live in the next street. Oddly, they turned up with an identical Sophie giraffe (a present to Small DB from her uncle), with their baby wearing an amber teething necklace…just like our baby… and their baby was also in cloth nappies. It did feel as though we were beginning with a fair bit of common ground!

This post is part of Owlet’s unschool monday

Colander art

I will post here about what a really lovely day we had on Friday, and not mention the godawful afternoon we had on Saturday. (Oops – it just slipped out, my tiny vent.) But anyway, I began Friday with the intention of being PATIENT and SLOWER. I find myself racing around for entire days just constantly either cleaning up crud, doing endless washing/dishes/sweeping/cooking…

I set up Small Z with painting and gave her a whole lot of toilet rolls to daub, with the aim of doing this with them. I don’t know that this will eventuate as they are now her little toys to play with. Anyway – this was a success, and I made a small quiet resolution to try and be more proactive about setting up Things To Do.

And in that vein I introduced the idea of a colander sculpture – something that I also saw over at TinkerLab. (I have been finding lots of amazing sites lately and will post a list of them separately some time this week.)

Of course, Small Z went about it in a way that had never occurred to me. I assumed she would go for a porcupine kind of approach, but no – it was all about bending them in a certain way….

making a colander sculpture

…but this did mean that the end result was cool from both the top…

colander sculpture top

…and the bottom.

inside the colander

“It’s a carnival ride for three-year-olds and zeros!” she chirped, “For Daisy and me!!”


I asked two playgroup mothers that I’ve become a bit chatty with to come over on Tuesday – that’s the day we usually go to playgroup, but it wasn’t on due to the long weekend.

So we had three mums and six little girls ranging from six months to four-and-a-half. We had a ball. The three older girls ran around playing hide and seek, trampolining, doing songs on the piano and making things with fabric, while we sat around with the littlies drinking tea. Very civilised. And they both live in streets a block or two from here – there’s hope for my social life (and Small Z’s!!)

Mini playgroup at home

unschool monday : get OUT!

Today was one of those days I don’t have too often. For which I am thankful. Exhausted and grump-laden. And it was raining. What to do? Small DB is a little reflection of my mood. She was unhappy because I was flapping at the end of my tether. Sometimes I feel like I spend my whole time just constantly clearing the f@#cking floor of crap.

I set Small Z up with an activity I’d read about over at the Imagination Tree – salt dough. A cup of plain flour, a cup of salt, and enough water to make it doughy. I helped her with some of it, but she was gloriously happy for almost HALF AN HOUR.

Meanwhile I ate peanut butter toast and drank a cup of tea and then did some rare therapeutic piano playing, while Small DB, feeling that peace was restored, played with lemons and ate her own stick of toast. Vastly soothing.

We cooked our salt dough for a few hours. After Small DB slept the wheels began to fall off it all again. I didn’t even think of it as a Good Thing To Do, I just thought that if I didn’t get out of the house I was going to do some damage.

I stuffed both Smalls in the Pram of Wonder under the raincover, put on a coat with a hood and set out. I planned to trial leaving Small DB at the childcare room for 20 minutes while Small Z and I had a coffee in the same complex. My hope was that if she was cool with it I might be able to start taking Small Z to swimming lessons…but – it was closed.

So we hit the cafe, all together. It was better than I’d expected.

Chasing. Playing 'baby mischief'
Tall and small

We were there for at least an hour. Then the rain let up a little and we hit the park…

On the climbing wall
On the climbing wall
Playing the dingalings

And admired the new artistic additions to the adjoining skate bowl….

Hastings Skate Ramp
Hastings Skate Ramp

One more…


I spent some of today thinking how HARD it must be to home-educate. How do you get away? How do you get time for yourself? How do you not go i-n-s-a-n-e? And I spent other moments thinking; “This is how it could work…”

Todays lesson? If things aren’t working – change your environment, even if you think it might be a rained-on disaster. In the end the Smalls played happily, I got a walk…and only had to carry Small DB half of the way home.

I’m posting as part of unschool monday over at owlet, where you can read more

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