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A little rest

21 Jun

I haven’t checked my emails in over a week. My dirty laundry pile is way above the top of the hamper. I just washed dishes for and hour and a half. My chemistry final was yesterday, so all of my spare time leading up to it was spent studying. Next semester doesn’t start until the end of July, so I get to have a little rest. If you can call hanging out with an almost 5 year old rest. She too has a break between semesters. This will be the first time she’s been home during a school break. During the last one, she had 3 weeks off and I had only one, during which there was an intensive 3 day chemistry workshop.  Needless to say, she went to holiday care at school.  Daniel goes to daycare 2 days a week year round (and loves it).

I’m soooooooooooooo glad chemistry is finished. Down Under, you only need 50% (in most subjects) to pass the class, and I had 49.2% before the exam (which is worth 50% of our final grade), so I know I passed and won’t have to redo the class, which is nice. Of course I’m hoping to do a fair bit better than 50%, but chemistry is hard, and I didn’t know some of the stuff on the test, so I don’t want to get my hopes up too high.

The Australian marking/grading system (some schools differ a little bit)

The Australian marking/grading system (some schools differ a little bit)

Hannah and I already have heaps of plans for the school holidays: baking, cooking, gardening, clothes shopping, shoe shopping (her feet have had a sudden growth spurt and she no longer fits into her shoes), a trip to Costco with Romana and Violet, play dates, riding the train to Daddy’s work and eating lunch with him, making Violet’s birthday present…. I think that’s it for now, but I’m sure the list will grow.

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I would suggest there will be more blog posts during the school break, but since I won’t be by myself, I highly doubt that.  Sorry.

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Friends

14 Jun

Hannah LOVES prep (like preschool, but it’s at school and they have to wear school uniforms (which is what we do down under, at all schools, public or private) just like the rest of the kids). She likes it so much that she can’t wait for kindergarten to start.  That might be mostly because she gets to wear a dress everyday though, rather than the school’s sports uniform she has to wear in prep.

Every time I pick her up, I ask her how her day was.  She is so incredibly shy that it took her a while to make some friends.  Probably because her response to people saying hi to her was to put her head down and stare at the floor instead of answering them.  I can’t imagine that many 4 year olds would know how to combat such shyness.

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Despite not having any little friends in the first few weeks, she was still having lots of fun and was excited every school day.  She soon started talking about a girl we’ll call Kid1.  “Mommy, Kid1 and I played together all the time today.”  She told me when I picked her up.

I know Kid1’s grandma from the gym and heard similar stories from her.  “Kid1 talks about Hannah all the time.  They are so cute.”  Her grandma told me.

It was like that for a couple of weeks, both girls raving about each other and playing together all day.

But then it started to change.  “Kid1 and Kid2 told me she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.” Hannah told me sadly. I asked her some questions about it and found that Kid2 befriended Kid1 which for some reason meant that they didn’t like Hannah anymore.  Of course we’re talking about the view of a 4 year old, so it could be very different to reality.

Every school day it was the same.  I picked Hannah up and she told me that Kid1 and Kid2 told her they didn’t want to be her friend.  She said they played games where Hannah was in jail and they would laugh at her or they would pretend she was dead.

“Did you tell them you don’t like playing those games?” I asked Hannah.  She is so shy though, so of course, she said no.  “When they are being mean to you, why don’t you go find some nicer kids to play with?  It’s important to be nice to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you have to play with people who are not being nice to you.  If they are always mean to you, it’s better to find some new friends who won’t be mean to you all the time.”  I told her.

My sweet little shy girl

My sweet little shy girl

“I really want to play with Kid1 and Kid2.”  Hannah told me.

Why does she want to play with girls who clearly don’t like her?  Why not find some friends who actually want to play with her?

I didn’t think I’d have to have to deal with such things at 4 years old.  Maybe she was making a mountain out of a mole hill.  I was only going off one side of the story.

I decided to speak to the teacher who told me that lots of the girls have been saying they don’t want to be friends with the other kids (but that Hannah hadn’t said it to anyone).  At least they weren’t singling Hannah out, but that doesn’t make it any better for anyone.  The teacher said she has been talking to them about it and telling them multiple times every day that they can’t say that but that they still do.  She asked them why they were saying it and found that they said it when they don’t want to play what the particular child they say it to is playing with at the time.

“Hannah is more advanced emotionally, so she seems understand the severity of their words better than the other kids.”  The teacher told me.

It’s true, Hannah emotionally advanced.  She is so sweet and compassionate, which is great, but can also mean she gets hurt more than the other kids.

The teacher said she’d keep an eye on it, and didn’t know that Hannah was upset by it (which is not surprising since she doesn’t say anything about it).  Apparently a lot of the kids had been taking turns being in jail and also playing dead.

“If they tell you they don’t want to be their friend anymore, tell them that’s not nice, and walk away.  Go find other kids to play with.  You can tell the teacher if they are mean to you.  You don’t have to, but you can.  And you don’t have to play things that you don’t want to play.”  I told Hannah.

She still tells me that Kid1 and Kid2 are mean to her.  I still don’t know why she wants to play with them.  “I’m not inviting them to my birthday party.” Hannah told me when we wrote out her party list.  She is only inviting 10 kids to her party (my limits, gymnastics parties are expensive), and only 5 from school.

“Kid2 played with me all day today because Kid1 wasn’t at school.” Hannah told me the other day.  I didn’t let my frustration show, but I find it so annoying that when Kid1 and Kid2 are together they are mean to Hannah, yet when one of them isn’t there, it’s Hannah they go to for a playmate.  “I want to invite Kid2 to my party.”

“Sorry, you can’t.  Remember, I said 1o kids only, and that once we got the invites out, we can’t add anyone.”

Judging by the fact that Kid2 handed out birthday invitations the same day as Hannah, and Hannah didn’t get one, I think they really do mean they don’t want to be Hannah’s friend when they say that, not that they just don’t want to play with her right then.

It’s heartbreaking to see my little girl not have any good friends at school, but I know that some of it is her own shyness.  We saw a different girl from school (who is nice to her and whom she invited to her birthday party) at playgroup the other day, and Hannah wouldn’t even say hi.  The other girl kept saying “Hi Hannah!!” all excitedly but was met with a downward head and eyes staring at the floor.  I’m not sure how I can help her, but I really hope she can overcome her shyness.

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The cage of doom

18 Feb

Remember that caterpillar we caught eating one of my heirloom organic Australian butter beans?

The bean eating caterpillar

The bean eating caterpillar

Yes, that one. I’m pretty sure it’s a looper caterpillar. Well, he/she has made a silky cocoon and is pupating.

Yeah, I know, it's very hard to see

Yeah, I know, it’s very hard to see

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The caterpillar tried to hide the cocoon, so it’s quite hard to see.  It’s the green thing inside the furry looking thing under the stick about mid photo on the right.  I couldn’t open the cage to get a photo or the vegetable grasshopper probably would have escaped.  As you can see, taking one through the plastic didn’t work out so well, but you get the idea.

I thought Hannah’s class might like to see a weird looking grasshopper and a cocoon, so I asked one of her teachers if they’d like me to bring it in.  I don’t think most kids around here have seen such bugs up close before.  They probably don’t have weird parents who stick bugs in cages when they try to eat their vegetables.

The teacher was very excited and said she’d love me to bring it in.  It’s been raining the last few days, so on the way out this morning, we saw an obnoxious snail about to munch on my strawberry plants (they are in big pots at the front door), so I stuck him in the cage of doom with the grasshopper and caterpillar cocoon.  At least there is a live snail in the cage now, rather than only empty shells.  Never again will any of them taste freedom.  But at least they have shelter and food. And won’t be eating my crops.

Speaking of my strawberries, they are making runners like mad, and have already infiltrated the garden bed next to their pot.  I also have a native finger lime tree in a very deep pot at the front of my house.  When I got it, it was so small that it looked ridiculous in it’s pot.  I left a couple of inches between the soil and the top of the pot, and the tree didn’t go past the top of the pot. That was less than a year ago.  And if anything is crazy enough to brave the long thorns and attempt to eat my finger lime tree, it too will go in the cage of doom.

In the top left is my peanut plant that is in the garden under our front window.  Below are my strawberries, and to the right is my finger lime tree which has grown by leaps and bounds since I got it.

In the top left is my peanut plant that is in the garden under our front window. Below are my strawberries, and to the right is my finger lime tree which has grown by leaps and bounds since I got it.

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A lesson on unicorns

15 Feb

Hannah LOVES prep.  When she’s not at prep, she wants to play prep.  First we dress all of her dolls, then we sit them down together somewhere in her room, and then she pretends to be the teacher.

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Yesterday, she taught them about unicorns:

“I’m going to tell you about unicorns.  Unicorns are real.  They are pink with white horns,” she told her class of dollies confidently as she held up a plush example.

“They eat lettuce and butterflies.”  At this point, I made sure my giggles were well stifled.  She was doing such a good job of thinking on the fly, projecting her voice, and speaking confidently, but I wasn’t expecting her to say they eat butterflies.

“When unicorns see other unicorns,” she continued, “they bite their tails.”

“That’s all we know about unicorns.”

Thanks Hannah, now we all know a little bit more about unicorns.

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Hannah’s first day

3 Feb

This morning I dropped Daniel off at daycare, the same as I always do on Monday mornings.  Except this time, all the carers/educators/whatever daycare workers are called, told me cute Hannah looked in her school uniform.  It’s true though, she does look adorable in her way-too-big-for-her school uniform.  I still think it’s kind of weird having school uniforms, since I didn’t grow up with them, but it works well here, so whatever.

Hannah before we left home this morning.  A yellow dot via photoshop was the easiest way to cover up the schools initials (in case of internet weirdoes)

Hannah before we left home this morning. A yellow dot via photoshop was the easiest way to cover up the schools initials (in case of internet weirdoes).  The kids like colouring the bricks with chalk 🙂

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I didn’t have to drop Hannah off until 9:30.  A lot later than usual, but for her first day, each child had a different drop off time so that each got a personal welcome from the teacher to make them feel more comfortable there.  We’re near the end of the alphabet, so we were almost last.

We had a bit of time to kill after Daniel’s drop off and before Hannah’s, so we decided to go to the shops and get her a special starting school treat of hot chocolate, which she spilled all over her brand new school shirt when the cup was down to it’s last dregs, and banana bread.

Carrying her hot chocolate and banana bread.  She sat in the trolley and ate/drank it whilst I bought some new thongs (flip flops, not undies) because Rosie ate my other pairs.

Carrying her hot chocolate and banana bread. She sat in the trolley and ate/drank it whilst I bought some new thongs (flip flops, not undies) because Rosie ate my other pairs.

I only had the one shirt with me, so I had to send her to her very first day of prep with a soiled shirt.  Maybe no one noticed.  Or not.

Multiple hot chocolate soil spots with arrows for your convenience

Multiple hot chocolate soil spots with arrows for your convenience

How embarrassing.

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