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Slack Mummy

Boy, have I neglected this blog!

Mr. D has been learning up a storm and mummy has had trouble keeping up with the documentation for the first time.  It doesn’t help that quite a few of the photographs I would normally used are actually stored on hubby’s camera and/or computer system and I haven’t had time to ask him to ship them out via thumb drive.

Therefore, for now, there will be no shots of the wonderful cooking Mr. D has undertaken.  We stick with recipes we adults know or we go with Jamie Oliver; his recipes are generally easy to follow and he is just “easy peasey, wibbly wobbly, chubbly bubbly” enough to appeal to kids.  Looking forward to having a chance to check out Alton Brown on YouTube – his kid’s recipes are apparently a real treat.  So far, Mr. D. has helped with lamb roast – including sliding the large knife between shin bone and flesh to add seasoning; cooked roast chicken, again creating cavities along the spine and over the breast and pushing in butter and herbs; he has cooked Spanakopita and salad from scratch and there are more but I can’t think of them without the photographic prod.  All cooking has included the use of a new utensil or knife of some sort, reminders about hygiene and raw foods like chicken, safety instruction, independent measuring, and new cooking techniques.  If Mr. D. can easily handle pastry at 7, I am confident he will be able to take care of himself when he is older.  The biggest bonus?  He LOVES it.  He loves being in the kitchen, he loves cooking itself, and he loves having a product he can not only show off but that can “do what mummy and daddy do”.  To feed us gives him great pleasure.  Yay.

During this time, Mr. D. has made great bounds in reading.  Using the RAZ reading system (online and paper) he finally conquered Level AA, which has taken 2 years.  Then he completed Level A in one day!  Now he is powering through Level B.  His increased confidence is wonderful to watch and he delights in reading between 2 – 4 books to us and his little sister at bedtime each night.  Now he is not only tackling the graded books but last night took over reading “Aliens Love Underpants” – one of the underacknowledged classics of kid giggles.

At the Courtenay Museum and Paleontology Centre, his class has completed a 4 week study of Octopus, including a lot of classification work and are now nearing the end of their study of Light and Luminescence.  Now that he is in the Advanced Science class, he is feeling a lot better and more confident at answering and participating rather than just trying to dominate.  Improved social skills – yay, Mr. D!

At home, we have been continuing our study of the human body by using the Magic School Bus Germ kit and doing an experiment with growing mold.  We’ve also had great fun with the Glow Germs kit and using the black light to see how effective our hand washing is.  Mr. D. was surprised to see my hands were a lot cleaning after washing – this led to me demonstrating a full surgical scrub.  A lot of hygiene videos from BrainPop and Discovery Streaming followed and the upside?  Mr. D. now washes his hands when asked and has taken a full interest in actually brushing his teeth (flossing and gargling) every night now instead of once per fortnight!

Gymnastics is wonderful, although we are missing today because mummy isn’t well.  He has the right size and shape for gym and has developed amazing muscle control; at 6 he was using the rings apparatus and is able to fleetingly do that nasty-looking cross thing they do that looks as if it will rip your arms out of your arm pits.  Balance beam is a doodle, swinging on the uneven bars is progressing to using both bars, and straddling is becoming easier and easier.  Mr. D’s favourite activity is the rope swing – grab the long, long, rope with arms and legs, hold on for dear life, and swing across a 30-40 ft gap, landing safely on the other side (eventually, Mr. D. likes the swinging).  Not all the kids, especially the smaller ones, have the arm and leg strength to do this, but Mr. D. is at it repeatedly!

Guitar is progressing.  He is learning slide technique still, at his teacher’s request, because his hands are still quite small.  To keep it interesting, the teacher brings in percussion instruments and concentrates on guitar classics like the theme from Spiderman and Marsupial Sue.  I don’t think his playing is improving much – he isn’t there developmentally – but the exposure to music in a non-judgmental environment (teacher is also a music therapist) and the chance to listen to instruction are both priceless.  Like most things, Mr. D. will amble along, not seeming to be paying attention or learning, then, out of nowhere, BAM!  He’ll master it in what seems like nanoseconds.  Just the way he is.

Latin is leaping along.  On the day that Mr. D. completed his A level in reading, he also translated a who page of Latin for me and read it!  Never ceases to amaze me.  Ms. E is having fun showing off her French and Mr. D. is showing off his Latin so they are both learning a lot.  Minimus the Mouse continues to amuse with Latin and both kids have enjoyed learning “mus, exit” when the mouse runs away from the cat!  Random times during the day you can hear one or t’other saying “mus, exit” out loud.  Three cheers for Minimus the Mouse.

OK – have to get lunch happening for hungry lad so I will post more of the photos this afternoon, if given a chance!

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Regressing

No, not my kid.  This blog.  Th0ugh I sometimes wonder about the kids……

It has been a while – had all good intent to blog but not enough hours in the day or enough muscle strength in my back to get down the stairs (lower back injury – very boring) to my main computer.   Now that I am finally here, I have to think about what we’ve been doing.

Going back a week (maybe a little more) a saw a listing for a late-night TV show called “Cedar and Bamboo” about when the Chinese first arrived in British Columbia and how they integrated with the First Nations people that they met.  Not so surprisingly, this show was really about how the children of mixed relationships had trouble knowing which world they belonged in.  Anywho, taped it because of Mr.D.’s increasing interest in both China and First Nations.

The same night, there was an episode of “Ravens and Eagles” on CBC – Reg Davidson from Haidi Gwaii explaining how and why he became a wood sculptor and how his heritage changes his art constantly.  I knew I would be interested – part of my background being at Museum of Anthropology at UBC studying these type of issues – but I wondered about whether a 6 yr old would get into it, even a boy who loves museums and all these cultural things.

Not sure how much he took in of these programmes but he again stated his wish to be a First Nations person and we had another discussion about why that wasn’t possible.  He also wants to learn to carve cedar in First Nations style.  I spared him the conversation that asks “Which First Nation would that be – they’re not all the same, y’know” and instead, using very simple words, we discussed cultural appropriation.

Now I did not think this was a concept that he could grasp – I was just testing the waters.  Surprise.  He got it.  He doesn’t like that it limits his things he would like to do in the future but he understands about ‘stealing culture’ and why culture is important to identity and community.  Wow. 

My boy blows me away.

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Teaching a 6 yr old about Art with a capital A….

The lovely (I presume, I have never been) folk at the Cincinnati Art Museum have provided a way into the world of art appreciation for the school-age set.

Mr. D. and I gave this our first go this week – even though I forgot to give his NIDES teachers a copy of the art we looked at!

Very simple really:  get the best reproduction of an art work that you can, have your child look at it, then ask a few questions.  Such as:  What did you see first?  What colours do you see?  Is it a portrait or a landscape?  Do the people look rich or poor?  How are they dressed?  Is this a farm or a large estate?  There really is no end to the questions you can ask, because, the first step in art appreciation is really, really, really looking.  Something we don’t take enough time to do in our busy lives.

We’ve done something similar with classical music at dinner times.  We’ll play a piece and ask the children what is happening.  When they create their own stories to accompany the music, it is wonderful.  When the magic isn’t there, Mummy steps in a creates stories of fairies and toadstools and thunder claps.  Even the youngest child will listen intently to the music if there is something enchanting to be imagined within it.

So, without further ado, Mr. D. decided these rich folk had their portrait done to show off their wealth.  Who knows – he could be right.

By Hals (c1665) Portrait of a Dutch Family

by F. Hals circa 1665

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