I can't believe that baby Amara Rose is four weeks old already.
|Amara Rose, aged 4 weeks to the day.|
I am coping though.
More than that, I'm coping and happy. I am living with gratitude and feel extremely blessed. Amara has fitted into our family beautifully, with all five other children being patient, understanding and loving. Each of them adore her greatly and don't mind for a minute that their mama is having much of her time taken up with her care. I love that about them. Both of the teens and Tiegan are more than happy to offer another body to cuddle and are more than capable of caring for little one in times of need. Callum and Taisia clearly care about her greatly and are often seen offering gentle strokes to the head or the whisper of sweet words expressing love.
I am so fortunate that my older children are independent, both in thinking and doing. I can easily leave them to their own devices somewhat and as long as I feel I am on hand to offer any necessary support and time, I can relax and step back. What occurs at times may not be what is deemed to be normal learning experiences, but I know otherwise. For example today there were role-playing restaurant ventures with Taisia, Callum, Tiegan and Joseph playing various roles. Each took on more than one character and these included everything from different customer types through to restaurant manager and food delivery drivers. There were even scenes including a visit from an environmental health officer and health and safety situations. Now to some, such 'play' may be seen as just that - a game. They may be some readers who tut at the thought of such time wasting and silliness when they feel that learning experiences should be offered.
I see things very differently.
Because I am witnessing numerous skills being put into action. Valuable skills. Skills that no doubt will be useful to all in the future. I can see my children learning to work together as a team, improvisation taking place, planning and preparation. I hear negotiations occurring, interview techniques being rehearsed, and all important compromising naturally happening. Listening and communication skills are being practised and leadership skills enhanced. I see Joseph (aged 15) being a wonderful and much loved big brother as he happily joins in the game with the younger ones, and I can't help but grin rather broadly with pride at the scene in front of me.
It is one of those many moments that goes some way to ensure I am secure in our decision to home-educate and reinforces my love of my larger than average family. There is always someone to play with, always someone to speak with. Nobody need ever feel alone unless that is their chosen path.
Sometimes, during group games such as these, I find myself feeling rather like a spare part, not needed. I have to remind myself that that is actually a good thing, and naturally occurring independence should be celebrated. I could join in the fun of course, and often I am asked to take the form of a customer, client or patient, and I am happy to do so (I secretly love it when the girls (and Callum at times) play 'hairdressers' as it is the nearest I get to ever receiving a proper pampering session!), but I am also happy to sit back and listen, to observe, and I learn so much from doing so.
In recent days I have noticed a particularly closeness forming between Taisia and Callum. They are spending more and more time together. Now Callum is making steady progress with his reading capabilities he is happy to pick up a book and read to his younger sister, and Taisia loves him for that. She adores being read to and when tired especially she is often heard to be demanding "I want a dummy, a bottle and a story!" We went to the library yesterday and she picked out a handful of books she wished to bring home. We had a little bit of a 'moment' at home before we left when she decided she didn't want to take her borrowed books back. Taisia was most disgruntled and for the first time returning library books seemed to be a concept difficult for her to understand. She insisted that the books were hers and she didn't want to take them back. I explained how libraries worked, how other children would like to borrow the books too and we needed to return them to enable that to happen. I also made sure she knew she could choose replacements. Within moments she announced it was all ok and she merrily strolled across the room to pop the books into the bag ready to put into the car. I am often taken aback by how quickly her decisions are made and her mind is changed. Often it is just a case of taking a step back and allowing her to think things through for herself without hustling her along. Once at the library Taisia happily returned the books quietly without issue. She then flicked through the boxes of books, carefully looking over each cover and choosing to pick up those with pictures that appealed. She didn't ask what the books were called or what the stories were about, it was a quick snap decision made purely on the cover illustration only, declaring "That will do!" as the fifth was thrust into my hand.
When Amara was born I felt sure that she would just adapt into our way of life swiftly. To some degree this has been so. She is certainly an 'easy' child in that as long as she feels safe and with somebody, she is happy to do whatever the rest of us are doing. One thing I was eager to try to achieve was a daily walk, no matter how short. I get a big fat F for Failure for that one. I've felt too tired, been too busy, the weather has been too horrendous, etc etc. I really would like to try though as I do believe that time outdoors is invaluable for all of us. This is something that I want to rectify swiftly as I know that the colder the weather becomes the less inclined we shall be to venture outdoors unnecessarily.
A while ago Taisia received the fabulous "Autumn Workshop" from Woodland Children (click the link to visit their Facebook page) or click here to visit their website. Receiving this through the post did indeed inspire us to go for a lovely walk around the nearby lanes in order to pick up bits and bobs to use alongside the kit. We sourced leaves for various art and craft activities, acorns, conkers and pine cones, feathers, and took lots of photographs. Unfortunately life got in the way as it so often does and for various reasons we failed to complete the mission we had set ourselves - not because we didn't want to I hasten to add! Due to our delay we need to go out and about to collect the items again, maybe that is a task for tomorrow? The kit itself was fabulous. Taisia adores opening the boxes and seeing what goodies are inside. I'm sure it must feel like Christmas for her. In the Autumn kit there were jars of paint, Autumn themed shaped sponges, various templates, pipe cleaners, sticky back plastic, oil pastels, glue and paper, amongst other things. The kit also included instructions and inspiration. I like the fact that it is made clear that the instructions are just guidelines. Nothing has to be completed, instructions don't have to be followed, you can use them if you want them or come up with your own ideas. Everything is good quality too. So far, I'm ashamed to say we have only managed the sponge painting idea, something which perhaps surprisingly, Taisia had never done before.
She enjoyed it muchly, and her older bro rather enjoyed mucking in too.
http://www.woodlandchildren.com and the Little Atelier range come highly recommended.