Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our house, in the middle of our street

After repeated requests by Evi (Hi Evi!) here is the Grand Tour of our house. This is about as tidy as it ever gets... Tidiness is not one of our strong points. I'm using a new method lately though, trying to stay on top of things. I allocate a room to every day of the week and try to focus on that room (on top of the usual picking up toys, doing dishes etc maintenance.) I know, I'm sad.

Anyway... Here it is:

Our living room.


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That sewing machine table was my grandmothers... The armchair too. (Apparently my uncle used to have to sit on it on timeout!) We had it reupholstered before moving to the UK, but the cats have been using it as a scratching post...
The photos on the wall are all family photos and that poster was found for me by Evi, days before we moved to the UK...


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Our kitchen table. The bookcase next to it is a permanent mess-magnet... Trying to work on it, not succeeding!


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Aaaand the other side of our kitchen, with Matilda's artwork on the cupboards! The "curtains" over the cupboards are a favourite, allow me to stash all sorts of things back there.


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In the interest of full disclosure, this is where we keep our coats and shoes. The cat litterboxes are there too.

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Our bathroom.

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Our main bedroom. The little single bed next to ours is Matilda's. I love these duvet covers, they make it look like one giiiiiant bed.


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And the kids bedroom. Philip sleeps in the bottom bunk now.


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I love that old school desk that we rescued from the curb! It's our art desk now.

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The cot is functioning as general storage at the moment! Hopefully it will be used soon... If the child we adopt is too old for it, I also have a toddler bed ready in the loft that can go in the same space.


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And there you have it... Our house!

Monday, November 09, 2009

I know what I did last summer

...because I can read it on my blog! What I did last autumn is a whole other story...
Between trying to adjust to Matilda going to school (hate it hate it hate it!) and nothing happening on the adoption front (hate it even more!) I didn't much feel like blogging. Actually, when I finally sat down and went through the photographs I've taken since the last time I posted, I realised I didn't much feel like taking photographs either. So, dear readers, I'm afraid you are about to be treated to a measly update with a small sample of photos. Sorry!

MATILDA:

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Matilda and I flew to Edinburgh in late August to visit Marilena (who will probably not realise I'm writting about her because she doesn't like reading the small black marks on the screen. Natch!) Marilena lives in a house over a pub, with two spanish housemates, and the various other people that come to stay with them from time to time. One of the housemates is a hairy bearded spaniard called Molly (really!) We had a great time (but no photos taken!) It was our last chance for some mother-daughter bonding before school started.

Here is Matilda on her first day of school, wearing her uniform:

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School is largely the reason I went so long without a blog post. So, all I'm going to say at the moment, is we're both having a hard time getting used to it, and I'm seeing some behaviours emerge I'm not happy about. Let's hope we find some way to fix things, and soon.

Academically she's doing very well, (but she could read simple words like cat and could count to 30ish and recognise numbers 1-10 before she started.)
Here she is, reading a book we got from the library. This is the first time she had seen this book.


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Socially, she spent the first couple of weeks saying she wanted to stay with me. No tears, but she was thinking up various arguments trying to convince me. She could be persuaded quite easily to go in, but she always said she didn't have a good time, and that she missed me. Eventually, about a month later, she grew fond of a couple of other children and has become happier about going in. (We still get times that she doesn't want to go, but they are the minority, although quite frequent.)On occasions I went to pick her up earlier, I saw her playing quite happily with her friends.

However, she has become extremely clingy at home. She wants someone to be with her almost always, and we have to have a major discussion to even convince her to go to the toilet on her own! If she wakes up and I'm not there, she gets very distressed. She has also started getting quite angry very easily, and every time she is cross she starts saying we are not a proper family, she doesn't want me to be her mummy any more, she doesn't want a brother, etc. We have had countless discussions about how hurtful this is, and have tried various methods to deal with it; I'm suspecting at this point she is doing it largely for the attention, but it still bothers me that she even came up with it in the first place. She has also had some instances where she has wet herself at school. (She had been completely clean day and night before, for almost a year.) She is starting to become quite manipulative and will start with the stomping, crying and "you're not a proper mummy" every time she is told off.

In all honesty, right now I wish we had decided to home educate her after all. I am very upset by the personality change, and unfortunately, because of the adoption pending (and every social worker potentially carrying their own opinions about home educating,) we can't risk changing things now. I am going to disable comments for this post because I get very wound up about this, and I don't want to start over reacting to anything any "anonymous" says. (No offence, but this is an -over-sensitive issue for me. If you know me well enough to know my email, you can comment by email if you like!)

I do hope and wish that what I'm seeing is largely down to adjusting to change and being overtired. We'll see how she does in the next few months.


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PHILIP:


Philip has gone through a bad phase too (probably adjusting to Matilda being gone,) but he's been very good in the past couple of weeks. He has adopted a stuffed Penguin as his favourite toy, and if you want to get him to do something, you can generally ask Penguin and it's sure to get done! His speech is continuing to improve. He has quite a slapstick sense of humour. A recent joke he likes is coming up behind you, tapping you on the shoulder and dissolving in giggles when you turn around. He also likes grabbing hold of my shirt or trousers and following me around up and down (train style.) Oh, but he doesn't like it if he things you're laughing at him! He will say things like "Not Funny!!!"

Here he is repeating something from a tv programme he was watching. (How to stop the hicups.) Watch out for him getting offended when we laugh. He says "Stop Silly" and "Stop Funny."


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I'm asking him if he's cute because he has taken to saying "No" to anything we ask him, but when he really means "yes" he says it in a very funny way... I'll have to try and catch him doing that.

Deleted scenes from "28 Days Later:"

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's been HOW long?!

Yeah, sorry for the delay! It hasn't been so much due to nothing happening, more like lots of things happening but very very gradually, so that I kept thinking that if I wait just a liiitle bit longer, I might have some news. No news, as it turns out, so you'll be treated to a bog-standard update (with adorable photos thrown in to make it worthwhile.)

PHILIP:

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Philip is now 2,5 years old. He is getting a lot less baby-ish and it's so much fun to see him evolving into a little boy. He still has the knack of falling randomly asleep in the middle of other activities:

The butler did it:

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Or was it the Cat?

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Here he is again, he's found a comfy spot and getting ready to drift off:

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He is talking a lot more. We've been to the GP recently, who confirmed that Philip's speech is now safely within the average zone. (I don't remember if I had mentioned this, but at some point about 6 months ago we had some concerns that Philip's speech was...well...not so much. The GP thought he was on the low side of average, and suggested we come back in a few months. Philip's speech has gotten a lot better since then, and is now squarely within the realm of average.)

Speaking of Philip being less babyish, this little guy is so easy to underestimate!I'll go about my day thinking of him as mostly a baby, and then he'll do something and blow me away! For example, a few days ago Peter and I were having a conversation about how when Matilda was Philip's age we were trying to potty-train her (with very little success, I might add!) but we think Philip is completely unready for it. He doesn't wake up with his nappy dry, he doesn't acknowledge when he is doing/has done a wee or a poo, he can't take his trousers down himself... No sign at all that he might be ready, apart from the fact that he's 2,5 years old. Then today, this happened:

Philip walks up to me, looking playful.
Philip: Mummy!
Me: Philip!
Philip: Mummy!
Me: Philip!
Philip: I need a wee!
Ooook, off we go, take his nappy off and sit him on the potty. Where he proceeded to do a wee. Yea.

Not sure exactly what we're going to do with this yet, but at the very least he'll be given a lot more chances to sit on the potty. This is very typical Philip though. He sort of sneaks up on you with his achievements.

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Things Philip loves:
* Little plastic farm animals. He has a vast collection of these, and he gets really excited about them. He especially likes shouting out the sounds they make (really loudly,) or making them walk on me. Philip will approach you, wave a tiny cow in your face and holler "MOO!!!! Like a COW!!!! Incidentally, if you make the mistake not to acknowledge him, he sure knows how to get your attention. (Insert scene of Philip following you around, repeating very loudly: "It's a COW! It's a COW! It's a COW! It's a COW! It's a COW! It's a COW!")
* Jigsaws. He loves them. He's surprisingly good at them too. He picks them up very quickly and does them without much help. The ones we've got, he knows so well that you can give him a box of 5-6 puzzles of 4-9 pieces each, and he'll just empty the box, sort out the pieces and do them all on his own. Oh hes, and when he's done, he puts them away. Which brings me to...
* Order. He certainly didn't get that from MY side of the family! Philip will almost always put things back in their place. He puts his toys away when asked, picks up towels from the floor and hangs them, and he knows exactly where everything goes!
* Tickling. He flops on his back, and says "I want tickle" or "How about... tickle!" He's like a puppy.
* Singing. Loudly and slightly out of tune ;)
* Counting. He loves counting. He can count to ten (the numbers,) and he likes the things he counts to come to 10. If he is trying to count less than 10 things, he finds a way to solve the problem... Have a look:


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Philip not cooperating with me, but being cute anyway."


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Funny boy:

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MATILDA:


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Matilda is *gasp* FOUR! Her favourite animals are pigs and cats. Her favourite things at the moment are Numberjacks (anything to do with them,) and pretending games. It's a very abstract form of pretending games though. Mostly, she'll find a prop, clutch it, and then run up and down, telling herself a story. And I *do* mean run up and down. She has a very busy mind, and she wants to tell herself a story, but her body has all that energy that needs spending... So she runs in and out of the lounge, in-out, in-out, lost in her story. Oh, and if the radio is on, she complains. "Turn it off, I can't hear my story!"

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Here she is, on the beach. She refused to get anywhere near the water, and had an absolute scream-fest if you tried to make her get her toes wet. "I'm scared of the sharks!" After we explained there are no sharks in this water, it's not deep enough, there is no space for them to swim etc: "I'm pretending!" "But Matilda, why were you crying then?" "I was scared of my pretending game!"

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She is very compassionate and tender. She's grown out of the phase of not linking Philip, and now she says he is "the best brother in the world." (Yes, I brainwashed her into saying that!) She also says "Philip is annoying me... But that's ok, that's what families are like. We still love each other."
She loves swinging and climbing, and she has learned to swing herself without being pushed.

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For Matilda's birthday, we went to visit Nanny and Pop-Pop and had a party there, with Mia and Alex as the guests. Nanny made a fantastic Numberjacks birthday cake
(The only way I would have made that would be if the round cake I was trying to bake accidentally came out looking like a four.)

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The birthday girl, opening presents:

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Matilda and Philip, doing some brother-sister bonding:

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Misunderstanding...
Philip zooms in for a kiss, and Matilda pretends she is a cat.


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Generic Photo Update

Matilda just finished her 3 "introductory" sessions to her new School. All the little ones starting Reception in September got to go in once a week for an hour or so, to get used to the classroom and their new teacher. She seemed very happy to go in, so that was great. While she was in the classroom, Philip and I hung out in the playground. (Or Yard? The outside area where the children have their breaks.) I don't know why there weren't more Reception mums sticking around, I really enjoyed the chance to "observe" the atmosphere of the school. What I saw were children that looked very happy and relaxed, and seemed to find it easy to go talk to the teachers about things, both complaints and little brags. This school seems to have a very happy, nurturing air about it. I could be wrong, of course, and I'm happy we considered home-schooling. (We'd still do it if it becomes apparent later on that it might be a better option for Matilda.) But at this point, I'm very happy with the choice of school... Just very nervous about my little baby growing up, and hoping that she'll make friends and have a good time :*( Watch this space for a photo of Matilda in her school uniform, she looks so smart and grown up!


Matilda eating her ice cream...

Lick!


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Yum...
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Ice-creamed out

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Supermodel Baby!

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Philip is growing up so much recently... A couple of days ago, Peter put down a bowl of water for him to play with (yes, we do this frequently... I love my lino kitchen floor!) A while later Peter returned to the room to find that Philip had had enough water play. He had opened the drawer I keep the clean tea-towels in, gotten some towels, mopped up the water on the floor, AND hung the wet towels on the back of a chair to dry. Philip that is, not Peter.

(I just wrote an embarassing story demonstrating that Matilda is not as independent as all that, but changed my mind and deleted it... I really shouldn't embarass her like that on the internets...right? Right?!) Actually, Matilda is getting a lot more independent. She's much more helpful around the house, follows instructions well, and will herd Philip in when asked :D But she has a lot less of a natural drive to independence, compared to Philip. It's funny, when she was Philip's age she seemed older (because she was cooperative and had a very good vocabulary,) but in some ways she was a lot more babyish than him (Took much longer to stop riding in the push-chair, wanted to be fed for much longer, and was generally slower to "grow out" of her baby ways.) It's funny, how different they are...

Philip is also mostly using three word sentences these days... Sooo much easier to handle! We hear things like "Let Go Feetit!" (Let go of Philip!) "I Want Milk!" (Sometimes even "I want milk tleese" -"please") My favourite words of his are "Beebaff" (Giraffe) and "Opopus" (octopus.) Aah... Remembering Matilda's "Dinosaucer" now... (Dinosaur.)

No recent photos of him(he just won't sit still!) so here's a couple of older ones:

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I saw this little gem at the bookshop:

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Notice the detail?

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Now I REALLY want to buy this version, just so I can show it to people 30 years from now...