Well July, what a bloody lovely month! It started off on the best note with a little trip down to Devon that was just the most relaxing and most fun holiday we have had since we have been a fivesom. I can’t tell you what was different to any of our other little breaks away we’ve had this year, it was just somehow a little bit better. I think it was a lot to do with the fact that I’d just had a bit of a breakthrough with Mabel after realising that I needed to reconnect with her, our relationship was stronger than ever and because of that, she was so kind, so considerate, so helpful, she just made us so proud. It was also probably a lot to do with the younger two just being a little bit older and a little bit easier, every month counts at this age! We had no worries at all about the girls running off to play and make new friends while we sat with a drink, entertained Ernie and watched from a distance. It was really just lovely and I came back feeling like a new person, so relaxed and restored, my cup was well and truly full!
And after that great start, how could July possibly be anything but awesome?
Ernie is all over the place now, he’s crawling and pulling himself up and cruising round the furniture, he sits in his high chair to eat with us at mealtimes, and most of the time he’s pretty good at going down in bed for his daytime naps. I go on about it constantly to Carl and anyone who’ll listen, but I just think it’s amazing how quickly time is going. I honestly feel like it was yesterday that I had a tiny baby who I could never put down and who was either breastfeeding or asleep on my chest in a wrap all day long. Those first few months are so intense, you feel like you’ll never get any time to yourself ever again and you crave a bit of freedom to just do anything without a baby attached to you constantly. But here I am less than 8 months down the line and I’ve just made a cup of tea while he crawled around the kitchen, and now I’m sat on the sofa typing away while he happily plays with some toys on the floor in front of me. Life has suddenly just got that bit easier. Not easy, but more manageable. It’s a weird mixture of emotions that I’m feeling right now… relief that I’ve made it through a really tough stage, sadness that the squishy tiny baby months are over, and wonder at how quickly a little person can grow and change. The summer is slipping by and December is looming just over the horizon, bringing with it Ernie’s 1st and Greta’s 3rd birthdays… Christmas makes me emotional enough as it is, at this rate I’m going to be a mess the whole month!
This month, now that we’ve made the final decision, I’ve stopped worrying and stressing so much about home educating Mabel and I’ve really started to enjoy it and get excited. The way I see it is we all have an amazing opportunity to learn and grow together and I’m planning to make the most of it! We have started off very gently doing the odd structured activity and loosely exploring a theme (largely for my benefit more than anyone else’s), but my predominate intention is that we will be ‘learning by living’, especially while Mabel is so young. I really want to allow her as much time for unstructured exploration as possible and the last thing I want to do is stifle her self-directed play, which I think is her number one most important activity and should take up the majority of her day. I expect our structured work will gradually increase over time, but I’m happy to just keep offering different things and let her take the lead in how much or little she wants to do.
Greta seems to have really grown up this month as well. Definitely no longer the baby of the family, she’s suddenly holding her own against her sister and getting used to playing the big sister role herself to Ernie! Her speech has exploded over the last few months and although not everyone can always understand her, Mabel, Carl and I can usually work it out between us, and her vocabulary is huge and her sentences are getting longer and longer. Now that she can communicate better, tantrums are becoming rarer and rarer, she’s following instructions much more consistently, she’s easier to reason with and she is just generally lovely to be around most of the time. It’s another of those times when I think about how quickly things change for these little people and me as their Mummy, things were so different just six months ago when she was running away from me down the street and throwing screaming tantrums in shops.
As for August, we don’t actually have any trips booked in, I’d love to go camping at some point in the month but I’m not sure yet whether that will happen. I’m going to make an effort to get us all outside as much as humanly possible though, that’s my aim for the month… now watch it pour down with rain!
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