Thursday, February 20, 2014
Since forever Chips has been waiting,in great anticipation,for snow.
November came and he was certain it would snow but it didn't. Then December came and Chips knew for a fact that it would snow...it had said so on the news and it was obviously Christmas time and we all know it snows at Santa time....he waited and waited but it didn't snow. January came and by now Chips was getting a bit desperate,he still was hopeful though as it was now winter and it always snows at winter time...January came and went....without snow,plenty of rain but no snow. This was getting Chips down. Where was the snow?! It just wasn't on!
And then one day at the beginning of February it started to snow.
It was about ten o'clock. I was at work,listening to the readers,when all of a sudden someone spotted snow falling past the classroom window.
Well you would not believe the pandemonium this caused! As the word of snow spread around the room the children were whipped into a frenzy. They all stood gazing out of the window,watching the snow fall. And even better still it was playtime and the decision was made to let the children play in the snow. They were beside themselves!
And it happened to be my playground duty.
So that was why I ended up in the play area supervising thirty,six year olds. It was magical.
The children were all bundled up,zips done,hats,scarfs and gloves on. And they were buzzing,ready to get out in the snow.
Once we got out in the play area,that was it,there were children,movement and noise everywhere. Exited shouts of
"Let's make a snowball"
"I'm making a snowman"
"Can I make a snow angel?"
echoed around and as I looked at the play area not a single child was stood still. Lots of the children had their hands raised up in the air trying to catch the snow and at least 95% had their tongues out as they tried to catch the snow on their tongues.
Some children were scrapping any snow they could find together and then holding it in their hands and gazing at it. Even the smallest bit of snow caused great excitement and big grins.
The snow began to settle on the childrens coats and in their hair. One little girl had the most pretty snowflake fall on her coat,it looked just like a star,a pretty little sequin star but it was a real snowflake,so perfectly formed. Magic.
For a moment I stood still and took in the scene,the magic of falling snow.
How it falls so softly,transforming everything it touches and making even the ordinary item beautiful.
How it makes you want to run and spin and lie down in it.
How it makes you try to catch it...with hands held out,reaching for that elusive snowflake that melts as soon as you touch it.
How it brings out a desire to catch a snowflake on your tongue. I mean,seriously,why do we want to do that?!And yet we do. Especially children.
So if it's so magical,why do us grown ups nearly combust at the mention of snow?I know some grown ups like snow but in general most people I talk to do not want any snow. Infact just as the children were filled with excitement at seeing the snow,the adults around them were mainly filled with dismay.How were they going to get home if it settled,please,please don't let it settle. Have we got enough milk and bread?Where are the wellies? Its cold and wet,get me out of here!
We see it as a inconvenience,it causes chaos to our routine and in this busy life we have no time for chaos,life is chaotic on a good day when everything is running to schedule,throw in snow and bang our whole routine crumbles and gives us yet more stress and none of us need any more stress added to our daily dose of real life. We have things to do,places to be,no time to play or even stop for a moment,we are on task,following routines,trying desperately to keep all the balls in the air at the same time,the mad juggling of life that comes along with being a grown up and especially a grown up with a family. Snow makes us stop. Sometimes it makes 'everything' stop. Pretty powerful stuff this snow...if it can make this world stop it's hectic busy culture...even if it's only for a short time. And once it has stopped the world from its busyness it does something else too,it encourages grown ups to play,not many things have the power to do that these days. Same as I just said...powerful stuff this snow.
On this occasion the snow did not settle,infact as quickly as it came it then disappeared,much to the adults joy and the children's despair.
So the ten minute playtime that was so joyfully embraced was,maybe,the only chance that the children were going to get to play in snow this year. Iam glad that I saw it.
Over in the junior school the children were not allowed out to play in the snow. It was wet play for them. The closest they got to the snow was to stand at the windows and watch it fall. Well some children,not many,couldn't resist the lure of the falling snow and they snuck outside and held out their hands to catch snowflakes. They got in big trouble when the teacher found out,my young un,the little boy who had waited so desperately for snow,was one of those children. I think the magic of touching snow outweighed the telling off he got. And although I did say to him that he shouldn't disregard what teachers told him,I could understand the reasons he did it and I did smile about it.
I'll finish with a comment from a little boy who was allowed to play in the snow,he said to me....
"If you look up to the sky when it's snowing you feel just as if you are flying"
Magical stuff that there snow.
Monday, February 17, 2014
There is an old saying that goes something like this
"Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves"
Well I need the pounds to do 'something' so I decided to take care of the pennies.
With this in mind I gathered some spare coins that had accumulated around the house and gave them to Chips to put into the coin machine at Morrisons. I thought it would keep him amused after he had finished his Saturday morning breakfast and give us a bit of breathing space to finish our breakfasts in peace.
Saturday came,Chips finished breakfast first and merrily trundled off to the coin changing machine.
We sat eating,chatting and enjoying our food and the little bit of peace. Well I say peace,and here I grin,we could not quite see Chips but we could hear him or should I say 'the coins' dropping into the machine and the machine gurgling away as it ate all those 1p and 2ps. It's not the quietest of machines! Bit like a slot machine I guess!
Chips came back with a voucher for a pound. Not a lot I know but better than nothing and enough to buy some sweets or put towards a comic. I also liked the idea that it was teaching him that loose change was worth something and if he did save it then eventually it could be used for something.
Eventually the shopping was finished and we arrived at the checkout where Chips handed over the voucher and received his pound coin.
And as he stood at the end of the checkout he noticed some daffodils. And he noticed the price....it was a pound.
And he decided in a flash that he would spend his pound on a bunch of daffodils for his mummy.
I tried to gently talk him around and get him to spend the money on himself but his mind was firmly set on those daffodils.
The cashier was visibly moved,I think we all were.
He went to the back of me and the shopping and stood queuing to buy a bunch of daffodils for his mummy,with his hard begotten pound.
There were a lot of smiles and melted hearts as he paid for those daffodils....especially mine...
Linking this up to Jaimes Magic Moments
Its been a while since I have been at Magic Moments.
Im looking forward to see what everybody has been up to.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Float To The Sea
Sunday dawned and it was bright! Weather to walk in! After breakfast we put on our coats and set off for the park.we had not walked long before I realised just how cold it was,it may have been blue sky bright but the wind was icy,I was glad we had wrapped up well and I hoped the walk and play would warm us up.
The park wasn't wet,well the equipment was not wet but it was damp and on the first slide Chips came to he just stuck halfway down. The climbing frame was a bit dodgy to climb on as it was slippery and the swings took a bit too much effort to work up,so we headed to the river.
The water levels of the river were up and it was flowing at quite a pace. We clambered over the rocks and made our way upstream to where there was some benches,once there we sat and had a drink and a snack - a winters picnic. A winters picnic is different to a summery picnic,you have to be wrapped up warmly to enjoy a winters picnic and you huddle together but it's still good and still special.
Once the picnic had gone Chips went on a stone search and had a great time throwing any stone that he could find into the river and making the biggest splash that he could. There was not many,or even any stones left by the time Chips had finished rooting around. His gloves were grubby and muddy and he looked like little children should look,pink cheeked and a little bit dirty. In my books there are two kinds of dirt - good dirt and bad dirt. This was good dirt,the sort of dirt that you get from playing outside and being a child and not particularly caring about how dirty you are going to get by messing around with sticks and stones and climbing walls and splashing near rivers. This kind of dirt is easily solved by a quick dip in the shower and the muddy clothes being put in a washing machine - sorted. Everything clean once more and a child that has played...to me there is nothing better than a child who has played.
It was getting bitterly cold,so we decided to have a stick race and then head on home. We found two biggish sticks and we took them right to the beginning of the river,to the count of one,two,three the sticks were thrown into the bubbling river and off they floated. We never saw them again. The river was much faster than us and try as we might,we never caught up with those sticks again.
As we walked home we talked about where we thought the sticks would go and we decided that they would definitely make it to the sea. We plotted the route they would take and estimated how long it would take them to get there. Sticks that lay under trees,now having their biggest adventure yet,floating past villages and under bridges,joining up with bigger rivers until they reached the big open sea,what an adventure.
It was two weary but happy people who returned back home that afternoon. Full of tales about parks and rocks and stones and flapjack and sticks.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
A Winters Park
Even on cold winters days it's good to just get outside and walk around somewhere natural.The trees may be bare but those bare branches are so fascinating to look at,all twisty and angular and set against beautiful pale blue winters sky they are stunning.
Also the bareness of the branches lets you see,quite clearly,birds. Last week at the park Chips and I noticed these birds ~ pigeons. At first there was just one pigeon who pecked around on the wet squelchy grass but it was soon joined by a friend who began to follow it. They played a game of tig,or so it seemed,one bird would fly onto a branch and the other would follow it,then the first bird would move to another branch and the second bird would follow. This game went on for a while and,we,were engrossed in watching these two birds interact with each other. Nature at its best. Thats why it's good to get outside,you see interesting things and learn quite a bit too.
The park was muddy but bright and sunny enough to able to play and wander around without shivering or feeling unbearably cold.
To say it was the middle of winter there were quite a few people there. A lady walking a boisterous little puppy who thought everybody was his friend. The local football team who carried the goal nets down the steep hill and discussed which pub to meet at. And a few solitary parents with children. Nobody stayed long today but it was good to get out and look around and to see the children play.
Unfortunately the zip wire was tangled.It had a right knot in it. And I'm not good at untangling knots. I did try but just couldn't do it. And Chips tried to sit on it but it was too high,no zip wire for Chips we thought,until a clever mum came and untangled the heavy chain. That lady and her daughter didn't stay long but they gave Chips the chance to play on the zip wire and he did,for ages,so thank you kind chain sorting lady.
Such fun was had on that zip wire. For a lot of the time Chips was on his own but another boy did eventually wander over and together the two boys silently worked out a fair system of sharing the zip wire. Unspoken codes of sharing and lots of cooperation. I sat on a bench and watched.
And it was a good job that the ground was muddy because mud is soft...dirty and sticky as well but soft and judging by the amount of times Chips hit the ground this was a good thing! It's hard to hold on a zip wire when the chain is freezing cold and your hands are slimy with mud. It didn't stop the fun though. I was also glad of the thickness of his new coat,it provided a perfect soft landing for Chips. I'm not sure if that was what it was made for but hey if it works don't knock it!
After much fun we started the journey home and as we strolled through the trees and down the curving hill we saw the church looking so pretty nestled in the trees.
We arrived home as muddy as anything and had to strip off and get clean. But after half an hour,or maybe even less,the brightness of day had changed,grey skies had replaced the bright blue sky that we had walked under and you would never have known judging by the sky that it had ever been bright.
I'm glad we made the most of the blue.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Flashes Of Good
On the face of it today seemed grey and miserable. The sky was heavy and grey and we woke to the sound of heavy rain on the window pane. Another wet walk to school. Wet coats,wet bags and maybe even wet socks,depending on how many puddles my youngest son had managed to accidentally tread in. Amazing really,you'd think the puddles had magnets that were pulling Chips into them or little voices that were calling "Hey,come and walk through me,you know you want too,c'mon I wont wet you,trust me" and then kablam as soon as Chips went within a hundred mile radius of them he would develop wet shoes,wet socks and wet feet that would stay wet 'all' day long. Wet school runs are not joyous. Especially in the mornings.
But,can you believe this,the rain actually did stop before the school run began.Not entirely,there was still a few stray raindrops,enough to put my hood up for,but compared to the previous heavy downpour it was nothing. We were able to chatter our way down to school/work without too much discomfort.
Flashes of good.
The day proved busy,as normal,no sooner had we arrived at my workplace then Chips headed off for his school and the care I saw from his friend and my friend as he walked off was touching to say the least. That boy was totally surrounded by love. And I got a glimpse of it,lucky me.
Flashes of good.
Funniest thing about it though,was Chips response to the situation,boy oh boy did he lap it up! Typical male. I don't know what was best to see,the absolute care or the yes mollycoddle me look from my boy. Ahh,everybody needs some fuss sometimes,it never hurts to be loved does it.
This week at work I have been making porridge,yep it was Goldilocks week. Porridge,Porridge,Porridge and then even more porridge! Enough porridge to feed The Three Bears,Goldilocks,Red Riding Hood,Cinderella,Jack and his Giant,The Big Bad Wolf and Class One too.
The start of the porridge making was bad,for lots of different reasons,all of them out of my control. But the childrens reaction to the porridge making was good. So very good. Enough to make me think how lucky I was to work with little ones. Their little faces as they measured out the oats and mixed the milk in and then decided whether or not to add honey was more than a pleasure to see. And as each day went by, the porridge making got better. And we laughed and mixed and asked such good questions and had a whale of a time. From something that began terribly such good came out of it.
Flashes of good.
That afternoon after school was swim night. I love seeing Chips swim but it's one heck of a hectic night. This has not been enhanced by the moving to four o'clock swim lessons. Let me tell you about my thoughts about four o'clock swim lessons.
Basically they are hell.
That says it all in four short words. Now let me tell you why I think this is so.
Well it has to be the changing rooms or should I say....what goes on in those changing rooms. There are children crying,mums yelling and shrieking,smacks,it's like a war zone. Chips and I stand in amazement. I am no means a saint in those changing rooms,sometimes I hiss at Chips,not often but it has been known and sometimes I roll my eyes at him and sit on the bench and zone out while I let him get on with things,this is usually when he is unreasonable about getting dressed or undressed or about the 'swim hat' but it's nothing compared to what I hear coming from the other cubicles. Sometimes I do a funny little thing of pointing out other styles of parenting to Chips ( I know this is not good but yep I do do it )
I will say "You think I'm mean? Listen to the changing room over there"
I will say "You think I'm mean? Listen to the changing room over there"
I can understand why this happens. Those changing cubicles are horrible. Some are very small and it is so incredibly hot in there and then you are faced with a sopping wet child who is pressing all your buttons,it's enough to make a saint swear. And 'four o'clock' compounds this situation. Four o'clock does not give parents much time to pick their children up from school,travel to the swimming baths,get their children into their cozzies and stood at the side of the pool ready to swim. And four o'clock does not give children time to meander up the school drive,get down to the swimming baths,have a drink,snack,a toilet visit,take the school uniform off,put the swim stuff on and be stood at the side of a hot,crowded pool ready to concentrate and swim. No time to unwind. Tempers get frayed. And four o'clock swimming commences,in it's own unique fashion.
So when I picked Chips up that afternoon it was all systems go as we shot up the school drive. There were puddles everywhere and Chips made a good job of balancing on the edges of the puddles,not quite going fully into them but getting as close as close could be without actually stamping right through them and causing his mummy to yelp. I did actually smile at this and wonder about what the fascination with puddles was all about. Halfway up the drive Chips passed a school mate and they began to chatter together. I walked behind them and smiled as they became engrossed in a conversation,I could only catch drifts of what they were talking about but I loved the way they were deep in conversation,one doing more of the chattering and the other doing a lot of listening with the occasional comment thrown in. There heads were almost touching as they walked on putting the world to rights. Big rucksacks on their shoulders,padded winter coats,woolly hats and scarfs wrapped round their necks. They eventually said goodbye and I smiled to myself and thought how lovely it was to see children talking to each other.
Flashes of good.
At the swim baths Chips got it into his head that he would like to have a paddle in the fun pool before his swimming lesson. I said no as we hadn't paid to go into that pool and we obviously did not have the time to mess about but when my back was turned the little monkey dashed off and went into the fun pool and he slipped and fell. And it shocked him and I wasn't there. I was putting our stuff away in the locker. How many times has his mummy said not to run in the swimming baths - tons! By the time I got to the swim lesson pool there was a very bashful little boy waiting for me and it took all my strength not to say 'I told you so' but to be honest I think the lesson had been learnt. It shook me though,I hate falls in the swimming baths,the floors are so hard and unforgiving. Thank goodness there wasn't too much damage done,just a few aches and a shook up little boy who now knows why we don't run on wet floors. Luckily the fall didn't affect the swimming in any way and Chips swam really well,it was breast stroke week,never a easy week,Chips did great circular movements with his arms,the best I have seen him do. He tried really hard this week and I enjoyed half an hour of watching my boy swim.
Precious time,precious memories made.
Precious time,precious memories made.
Flashes of good.
Tonight as I was mulling things over I came to the conclusion that no matter how much we try to protect our young ones from hard floors or wet soppy puddles,life will always lead them to these situations and there they will learn their own lessons. Luckily today's learning curves were small and there was no lasting harm done. And I do smile and wonder who learnt the most today....the boy or his mummy....
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Ben and Jerry
I think Ben and Jerry are the luckiest guinea pigs in the world. Truly,I do.
Not only are they looked after so well....they have over 200 children who love them and a school who makes the most fuss over them that I have ever seen.
Ben and Jerry are the school guinea pigs. They were bought last year when they were just tiny little babies.
Straight away the vibes came through that these little fellows were going to be special. First was the decision to actually have a school pet,the children were consulted,the parents were consulted and there was the over whelming response that 'yes' let's have a pet. Then it was what sort of pet shall we have. When that was decided,the school council went and chose two little guinea pigs...brothers, and bought them back to school to live in their fabulous massive palace of an hutch.
Immediately these guinea pigs captivated the school,children,teachers and parents alike. We then had the vote for what to name them and in the end they were called Ben and Jerry.
Every week a different class looks after Ben and Jerry and the children take this role very seriously. They have to clean and feed them and of course snuggle and stroke them. Then someone is chosen to take them home for the weekend.
The guinea pigs and their antics regularly appear on the school newsletter and are a real talking point at school. So when it came to it being their first birthday I might have guessed it would not go un-noticed.
And it didn't!
The children who have school dinners were treated to a special party kind of meal and the packed lunch children were asked to make their lunchbox partyish so they could celebrate Ben and Jerry's special day. Chips took this very seriously and I packed his sandwich box with added special foods like a little sausage roll,a cheese string and a tinky little Cadbury Heroes fudge bar - it looked fuller than normal and relatively partyish. Chips also took two carrots down to school for the birthday boys.
That evening as the children started to drift out of school I noticed they were all holding something in their hands and when Chips appeared at my side I saw what it was. It was a keyring with two pictures of Ben and Jerry in it and the amusing thing was that the guinea pigs were in all different locations around the school.... on the trim trail in the playground,on the keyboard of a computer,on the piano,on the tyres outside in the playground. I couldn't believe my eyes at the photos of these two little rascals and I found it hard to comprehend just what time and care had been taken by the staff at the school. Young Chips loves his keyring and I must admit that I really smile whenever I look at it and whenever I think of how much those two guinea pigs are loved,by children,staff and parents alike,in our eyes they are stars!
Oh and Chips informed me that the head teacher went to Tescos to buy Ben and Jerry a cake but as guinea pigs don't eat cake she brought a pepper instead and a candle that said one. The children sang happy birthday to Ben and Jerry and even played party games 'pin the tail on,wait for it...no its not the guinea pig as I wondered if it might be,just the normal donkey edition! And Ben and Jerry were taken round each class in a special box covered with birthday wrapping paper.
In the days of increasing pressure for school children,tests,SATS,less play,earlier entry into schools I found it so refreshing to see such a fuss made of two tiny animals,to me this is the stuff of childhood,thank you Ben and Jerry for bringing fun and care to our school,no wonder the children love you!
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Think I found a copse.
What is a copse?
I looked it up in a dictionary and it said;
''Copse a thicket of underwood and small trees; the underwood of a wood or forest''
''a small group of trees''
Its really pretty up here,we dont come up here often
But I think we should.
It has some play equipment nearby,so Chips can swing
and trees that he can climb and I would like to
see what the changing seasons bring to this little copse.
Maybe its time to make this place our own