Tuesday Toddler Tales

photo

Having these two little bunnies growing up together close in age is so much fun. Seriously. I know lots of moms who have littles with a much smaller gap, but considering Michael is a full 8 years older than Mason, the 2 and a half year gap between these two seems tiny, to us.

Mason seems to be a pretty well adjusted middle child and is quite happy to slot in and play big boy stuff with Mic and can just as easily play happily with little Mika. This is a huge win for me.

I often get asked how I cope and get through school / activities / playtime with all three boys everyday. Let me just stop you right there. I don’t. Not everyday, at least. Somedays go so smoothly and we are super productive and get through almost a whole weeks worth of activities in one morning and then other days I’m just lucky that everyone is dressed.

It can’t be all rainbows and unicorns everyday. Well not in my house, anyway. Somedays the 3 year old isn’t in the mood, or the baby didn’t sleep well the night before and is grouchy, or Mic has a homeschool social event or I have to desperately run out of the house screaming  to the store for milk or dog food (these are the two items we ALWAYS need urgently.)

BUT. On a good day… On a glorious day when I get to start the day with a hot shower, strong coffee and a bible reading on the mat with all my bunnies sitting close – those days, we get to accomplish a lot.

We are very lucky to have a dedicated schoolroom. Everyone has their own little spot to do activities / lessons and we have a large foam mat in the corner where we do a lot of together activities. The boys LOVE it when I grab a puzzle, a pile of books, coloring in things, building blocks, lacing activities – anything – and always come running to join mommy on the mat. And somehow they happily sit together and it just works. This makes it possible for Michael to do his reading out loud, or practice his memorizations or discuss his science questions while I am able to be involved and keep littles busy. It’s a great little trick to keep all of them happy.

My long winded post comes down to this :

1. Try and start every day the right way. When there is consistency in our mornings, our days are effortlessly smooth and productive. My boys need routine, it makes them feel in control. I need to give them that.

2. Mommy participation is essential. If I had to chuck a few activities at my littles, they would never co-operate. But sitting with mommy and doing things together is THE BEST FUN EVER. I remind myself daily that I might blink and these moments will be distant memories I cherish as I watch my highschoolers do algebra at their desks and wish for a snuggly boy or two on my lap at story time.

3. Let them be little. If my boys are not feeling it, and would rather be riding their bikes outside, playing pirates on the jungle gym, building LEGO or watching a movie together in the lounge, I let them. We ditch the activities or the books and we move on. They are so little and learning happens constantly. I want them to play forever.

This season of my life where I get to mother and teach, kiss the booboo’s and cuddle on the couch while teaching my boys to be the best they can be is better than I could have ever imagined. I want to savor and enjoy every day as much as I possibly can.

April Goals

 

photo1

I look forward to April with hope.

April is one of my favorite months.  Why? Because it’s my birthday month! Yay! Also the days are warm and sunshiny, and the nights have a kind of chill where we have to cuddle under blankets on the couch while reading our magical read-alouds or watching movies. And I get to wear boots! Perfect.

April is also a step closer to our “big adventure”. By the end of the month we will have a much clearer idea of a  timeline and details of what’s happening. You will just have to wait to know more when I know more :)

So my goals for April are:

1. Write often. As often as I can. Get back into the habit of recording everything and writing with the confidence I used to have when I didn’t care who was reading.

2. Finish 2 of the 5 books I am currently reading.  For me. Not our school books. Mandi books.

3. My 86 year old mother in law arrives tomorrow, for a month, and I want to make this the most memorable holiday for her and for my boys.

4. I want to take each of my boys on a date. Whether its going to a movie, or for an ice cream or just for a walk somewhere new and pretty – I want to make special one on one time for each of them. I do make an effort to spend alone time with each boy every day but I want to do some special mommy time this month.

5. Take more selfies! Hahaha. I kid. Number 5 is to be more strict with myself health wise : going full tilt exercising Monday – Wednesday and then doing NOTHING the rest of the week is not going to get me that healthy body I strive for. Neither is the Death by Chocolate Magnum my family twisted my arm and force fed me last weekend. Come on Mandi, you are stronger than that!!!!!

Just as a side note: If you have not eaten any form of sugar for roughly 10 months and then have a double chocolate, chocolate chip, dipped in chocolate giant ice cream at 9pm on a Saturday night – your body thinks its a PARTYYYYY and you won’t sleep tip midnight the NEXT NIGHT. And then you will want to DIE. Just saying.

Do you have monthly goals? I’d love to hear them.

xxx

 

Please just teach me to read, Mommy?

As homeschoolers, we don’t usually follow the regular school terms and prefer to take our holidays when Daddy is home.  Also, one of the perks is that we don’t have to visit the Zoo / bird park / ice skating / ten pin bowling / watch a movie with thousands of other kids on school holidays. It’s awesome! This week however, our nanny’s daughter is here for her holidays, and my mother in law is arriving on Friday and I decided we should all just take a school break.

Michael who is doing Grade 6 and is definitely hitting that pre-teen stage, thinks it’s awesome and is quite happy to ride his bike or skateboard, play endless hours of Xbox games or veg in front of the TV.

Mason who is 3 started Sonlight’s “Kindergarten” this year was keen to have a holiday on Monday. Tuesday he was restless. This morning, he climbed into my bed with tears in his eyes and begged me “Please just teach me to read, mommy. PLEASE?”

photo

The boy is just so desperate to learn to read. He can recite the well loved stories I’ve read to him, flipping the pages eagerly and pointing out the characters. He is incredible with his bible memorizations every week and looks forward to learning new ones. He mastered the alphabet before he turned 2 and can recognize every letter both with its name and phonetic sound. He can spell his name. He can sound out and read a few words like FOX, MAN, CUP etc.

I have been very relaxed with his schooling, encouraging him to play more and just be little. Just because we homeschool doesn’t mean we need to be pushing the toddlers to do algebra and I want them to learn when they’re good and ready. But Mason is ready and he is hungry to learn. He watches his brother get lost in a chapter book, or sit’s on my lap while I read aloud and he just wants to read too.

I taught Michael to read when he was 6. It wasn’t as terrifying as I had thought it might be. He caught on quick and it was pure magic watching him read his first book. In fact, that was when I knew that homeschooling was meant for us. Up until then we were totally “winging it”.

But teaching a 3 year old to read? Seems scary. Also – do we REALLY want our 3 year old to be able to read all the things?

Have done a bit of Googling and found that this book is a good place to start. Any moms have any experience with it? Something better?

Wish us luck xxx

For the Mothers…

I watched this clip today and it brought tears to my eyes. Because sometimes we need to be reminded that we are significant. That we are heroes. That we are champions.

Even in the mundane every day when I have picked up the same 15 books from the floor and put them back on the bookshelf because the baby insists on chucking them down 20 times a day.

When I have done spelling tests, read alouds and made lunch with that same baby on my hip because he does not want to be put down today.

When I have washed crayon artworks off the walls, attempted to show my 3 year old how to ride his bike, searched high and low for a well loved toy that has somehow gone missing in the house. When I have changed nappies, wiped noses, changed my own shirt thanks to a small boy trying to grab my coffee out of my hands.

I have kissed and doctored a split lip (for the second time in two weeks and keep pinning him down to check his teeth are ok). Defrosted dinner, planned my shopping list for the next day, monitored screen time, ensured they all drink enough, get enough sunshine, have fun, play with each other and laugh.

I wrote the above piece earlier today, and then closed my laptop to join my little boys outside for a game of hide and seek.  I was greeted with squeals of joy and hugs from all 3. Just because I put my stuff away and put them first. To them I am the coolest mom on the planet. I am significant. I am loved. I have glory in my ordinary.

Do you hear the music of motherhood? Such powerful words!

I went straight to Amazon and purchased this book, because this video spoke to my soul. And then I found out that Lisa Jo Baker is a South African! I can’t wait to get a chance to get stuck in.

Surprised by Motherhood