Thursday, 30 October 2008

Parenting With Love

Yesterday, Littletree started hitting me.

We had to go home after spending most of the day with a friend, but Littletree  doesn't really handle goodbyes very well. So after about an hour of trying to gently separate the girls and get in the car, I just gave up.

I said to Littletree, "I really want to go home now, and I want to get to the post office before it shuts on the way, and I'd really like you to come with me." and I started walking.

Of course she followed me, shouting that she didn't want to leave, and tried to make me come back to the friend. I took a deep breath, and said to her again, calmly, "I'm going home now and I'd be really happy if you come with me, I'm sorry it's hard for you to say goodbye to your friend"

Littletree responded by hitting me. My first reaction, which is learned from my childhood, would be to hit back. Thankfully I don't act on that response; I reminded myself to remain calm.

After the third hit, I took another deep breath, and said calmly, "I feel bad when you hit me"

Littletree hit me a fourth time, and I looked at her and said "I love you."

She sobbed once, and took my hand and walked with me to the car, and then she said she was sorry.

In that moment, I could have followed my "instincts" and smacked her, or shouted or lost my temper. It was a test of myself to look at her, with her face scrunched up angrily, reaching out to hit me, and see that she is the child I love, and she needs to feel that.

In the instant I said "I love you", it felt like someone had flicked a switch and changed the entire universe. The quality of the light changed, Littletree's face cleared, and she walked with me to the car willingly.

Now I can clearly see that when I tell her it's time to go, and she doesn't want to, she feels that I don't love her, because I'm doing something that makes her unhappy. Of course, that makes her act out, and then I react to her acting out, and it confirms her feeling unloved.

I put myself in her shoes. My mother is not letting me do something that makes me happy, and she's shouting and angry at me.

That simple action; saying "I love you", showed her that I do love her, even when she hits me, and that I'm on her side, even when we have to do things that aren't what she really wants.

Littletree was able to let go of her battling with me, because you can't fight against someone who is working with you and supporting you with love. She was able to relax, and feel sorry for hitting me, and tell me so.

We got to the car and had a nice cuddle before driving home :)

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Oh Rats!

I've been doing a LOT of cleaning around the house - it seems we have a new rodent infestation and the rats have been keeping me up late at night.

Generally, Purple and I have an agreement that he will set out traps and I'll dispose of the dead rats, only I don't get much chance to fulfil my side of the bargain, since Purple doesn't keep his end up.

Now that Purple is away, I'm just taking care of it myself. Not to mention the rat problem getting to epic proportions - rather than the occasional scuttling in the ceiling, this week there was scurrying all the time, and I came down in the morning one day to find poo all over the kitchen bench *puke* :(

So I did a major clean-up, got in all the little nooks and crannies, I bought poison baits and new traps and set them. At first I was all into humane traps, and no poisons, but when it comes to a choice between mousetrapbeing humane and having rat poo all over my kitchen bench and in my child's toy box... well, I bought poison. One that claims to be safe for wildlife should they eat poisoned rats, of course.

We do get mice in the house too, but they're cute little marsupial mice that don't really bother me. Littletree, of course, is really into mice, and wants to have a pet mouse. She always wants to play with them, even after they're dead *shudder*. I deal with her desire to play with the mice, but we go for a good soapy wash afterwards! 

(this is actually a photo from last year, but it fit so well, and it's so cute I had to add it!)

Monday, 27 October 2008

Lush Out

It's been fun the last few days having the house to just Littletree and me, especially after the last few weeks of it being so full and hectic with various visitors.

Purple is back in Israel, and Lush went back to England and broke up with me. I spent a day crying, but I feel fine now.

So on our own, Littletree and I have been going out a lot and having friends over. We went to the market, where Littletree busked with Anasho.

99 busking

I didn't yet buy her a violin, and her guitar is in Israel (Purple will bring it when he comes back), so she took my recorder and blew on it tunelessly while doing improv ballet.

I had a great time at the market, hanging out with friends and I had a really good dance at the drum circle.

98 colour girls

We also went to the beach for a play with some friends, went out for dinner in Byron, hung out at the cafe a few times, been swimming in the pool, visiting friends.

It's been really nice to spend time just the two of us and lush out a bit, spending time snuggling and watching videos in the evening, reading stories, doing crafts, making yummy food.


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Busy Little Tree

Littletree has been keeping me pretty busy lately too. She's recently started going to a weekly art class with some other homeschooled kids, which she really enjoys (though the kids tend to do more playing than art ;) )

96 art class

Littletree announced that she wants to get a telescope so she can look at stars. It seems astronomy has taken over dinosaurs as her newest fascination, so we've been getting books on stargazing from the library, and we downloaded Stellarium, a cool software that simulates the night sky as seen through a telescope. it's very cool; check it out.

I've also been looking into buying Littletree a telescope, so that means a lot of learning for me, since I know absolutely nothing about it!

Littletree also decided to take up violin, she's been asking me to buy her one pretty frequently lately. I think she was inspired by a friend of hers who has a violin and busks with it. Of course, the friend can't play violin at all; she just screeches the bow over the strings, but being a cute little girl, manages to pull in a fair amount of money in a short time.

Now, I'm all for encouraging children's interests, but I'm not quite ready to take the plunge into the whole 'tortured cat' kinda instruments. Seems she just wants to make money, so we're going to take her guitar out and try busking a bit :)

Since we've been doing so much house hunting, Littletree said she wants to help pay for it (all the places we really love are out of our budget). She insisted if we buy her a violin, she'll busk and make a million dollars to buy a castle made of diamonds!

I love that unschooling gives us the freedom to live gently and follow our interests as they flow :)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

House Hunting

We decided to buy a home. Well, I decided that a really long time ago, it just took a while to get Purple on board with the idea ;)

My dream is to find some large lot, at least 25 acres, with a live-able house, and room to build a few cabins or put caravans, yurts, tipis, etc and have a kind of mini-community. I want to have lots of lush rainforest, sweet water to drink and swim in, and people to come live with us. Purple would rather be in town, and Littletree doesn't care as long as we can be near her friends. Hopefully we can find something that will work for all of us.

We looked at so many places this week my head is spinning from them all! It's keeping me very busy anyway, talking with real estate agents, trawling the property listings, going to look at houses and land.

First there was the block over the road from where we live now - it has a run-down cabin, three times the size of our house now, and gets rental income from a cafe at the front of the block. cons? It's only 10 acres, and has no permanent water source; just rain tanks. It's very affordable though.

Then we looked at a place a few minutes further up the road from us. It's on 24 acres of rainforest bush, with spring water (no swimming hole or creek though), and a really gorgeous house.


Cons? The land is all thickly forested and steep - not really any useable land for anything, so no room for other people to come and live there. Which means we can't afford it.

We saw another place a little further up the road. 25 acres of pristine rainforest land, with a CIMG4788small creek and a cabin. The land is absolutely beautiful, but the cabin would need a LOT of work to make it inhabitable - the deck and 3rd bedroom have rotted away, and there's a tree growing up through the bathroom.

Still, the cabin could be fixed up, and there's a fantastic flat house site just a little way down the hill that we could build on, as well as a couple of other spots that could host caravans or yurts. It's also very affordable. Cons? it needs loads of work, we'd have to put a lot of money into fixing it up and it's bordering on "too far" from town.

There's the compromise place; a really 'nice,' new, 3 bedroom house 2 acres on the outskirts of town. Purple really likes the house, though I find it to be characterless. The back of the property is a small pocket of beautiful bush land with some massive old-growth trees, and there's about an acre of cleared space below the house. cons? we couldn't really do much in the way of having people live with us, and about a quarter of the land is an unusable wetland gully.CIMG4816

We even looked at a few of places in town. Nice little suburban blocks with neat suburban houses.

There's still loads to look at; today we're going to see a place on the other side of town; 100 acres with a gorgeous wooden house on it. I did find the dream place already; 235 acres of old rainforest, with creeks, springs and waterfalls. It would be perfect. Only we can't afford it on our own. Anyone have a spare $300K and we can buy it together!


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Wild Life

Yesterday we went with my sister, Chicky and her boyfriend, S up the Gold Coast to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Littletree had a fantastic time, looking at all the animals.

56 currumbin seq roo

We saw cute Koalas, though we have plenty of them right here at home, so it's not so exciting.

65 currumbin koala mum

Chicky and Littletree got to pose with a carpet python, but again, we have loads of much bigger carpet pythons right here at home to play with!

67 currumbin python vic seq

Less common were the crocodiles, conveniently located right next to the crocodile warning signs. These signs were so ubiquitous when we went up to Cairns.

60 currumbin crocs

These little lizards were everywhere; even out in the parking lot:

80 currumbin lizard

We rode the miniature train around a few times, which Littletree absolutely loved, but of course, her little butt fit in the seats, unlike mine ;)

65 currumbin train

We also caught one of the live shows with birds of prey, which was very cool

76 currumbin eagle

Of course, I took almost 100 pictures (97 to be precise), so the hardest part of the journey was deciding which ones to delete, and which to post on my blog! Here's Chicky checking out an emu:

66 currumbin vic emu

When Littletree started getting tired, we decided to get rid of her, but it didn't quite work out ;)

83 currumbin croc seq

Sadly, Chicky and S finished their visit with us; they're spending a couple of nights in some fancy Gold Coast hotel, and then flying home. It was really great to see them, and have a catch-up with my sister, whom I've not seen for a year, even though it got a bit crowded in our tiny cottage, with me, Purple, Lush, Littletree, Chicky and S!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Little Sister

My little sister, Chicky came up for a visit this week with her boyfriend S. Only my little sister isn't so little anymore!

48 vic ela

I left home when Chicky was only 10, so I still remember her like that, even though she's an adult now. Littletree is ecstatic to see her aunt as well!

49 vic seq

Poor S! for some reason, after having the most wonderful sunny weather since we came back from Cairns, it started raining the day they arrived, and the leeches are out in force! Somehow they seem to like S.

We've been mostly taking it easy, Chicky and S took Littletree for a day to Byron Bay, to hang out and do some touristy stuff while Lush, Purple and I went to a spa to celebrate Lush's birthday.

Yesterday we went for a drive to The Channon craft markets, stopping for a photo op at Minyon Falls on the way there.

The market was fun, the sun came out, and I had a good dance. 46 channon

Littletree made a candle too, dipping a wick in and out of different coloured vats of wax to make a rainbow coloured taper.

40 candle making

Here's the finished product:

43 candle

After everything is back to normal, I've so gotta get back into studying! I've got new midwifery books on order that I can't wait to work on :)

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Lush Adventures

It's so wonderful to have Lush home again :) We've been having a great time, doing all sorts of stuff and adventures.

We went to Crystal Castle, which is a kind of wonderful faerie garden full of huge crystals. Littletree and her friend Annasho chased each other round the labyrinth,

28 crystal castle labrynth

we strolled through the grounds, past Buddhas and Hindu Gods, and absorbed the peaceful energy of crystals.

27 crystal power

Littletree is really fascinated with crystals, she's starting a collection of them, and spends hours playing with them, and discussing their energies.

I also gave Lush another haircut.

31 emma haircut

Funny how it suits her so well having short hair, when we were all used to her having incredibly long hair before (Lush, FKA Rapunzel, used to have thigh-length hair).

Tomorrow is Lush's birthday, but since my sister is coming for a visit, we're going to celebrate on Friday.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Big City Adventure

Lush came home this weekend! :D It's so wonderful to have all the family here. We drove up to Brisbane to pick her up, which is about 2 hours' away. The plan was to go to the museum as well so Littletree can see dinosaur bones; she's been really interested in dinosaurs recently.

After a long drive, and getting lost in the confusing maze of freeways and overpasses in central Brisbane, we finally found the park where we were to meet Lush, only to discover the park crawling with police, all taped off as there had been a murder! We arrived just in time to see the police taping off the area, and covering the body with a sheet.

24 murder scene

Pretty freaky! So we didn't hang around there, but hot-footed it straight to the museum.

Littletree did get to see some cool dinosaur bones, which was great.

14 dinosaur seq

We had a great time walking around, looking at all the exhibits. They have some really interesting stuff there. Even a Littletreeasaurus and a Lushosaur!

16 seq em dinos

I think one of the coolest things was this huge exhibit they have with loads of animals all lined up so you can see the sizes of them.

19 animals

I was also interested to see scientific proof that children do not belong in schools:

22 schools are for fish

See! Fish survive by schooling, and Humans survive by intelligence and dexterity. Schools are for fish, not children!

Sunday, 5 October 2008


We went to a friend's house this week so Littletree could join in a homeschooling art class. Of course, the art class went well, but after about 20 minutes the kids got distracted and gave up on painting to do dance performances.

07 ballerinas

The did a few practices and then made a show.

We had a lot of fun, and it looks like the art class will be a weekly event :)

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Sparkle Garden

Littletree had her friend Annasho sleep over a few times this week, which has been lots of fun. The girls kept each other entertained for the most part, playing all kinds of fun games, mostly involving dress-ups and princesses.

In the evening, I went outside, only to see a beautiful sparkle garden twinkling in the starlight.68 sparkle garden

It's really hard to get the full effect on camera, but the entire front steps and lawn area were coated in sparkles. It turned out Littletree and Anasho had sprinkled out the whole glitter jar - a peanut butter jar that was full of all colours of glitter mixed together.

In the daylight the next morning I managed to take some better pics, but still, the full effect is lost.

The front steps:

70 sparkle gardenThe lawn:72 sparkle garden

Really, the entire front lawn is coated in glitter like this now. It's fantastically beautiful. Of course, I could have gotten angry with them for 'wasting' the glitter, but I reminded myself that the glitter was Littletree's to use as she wants, and it's not really wasted. The garden does look like a fairy glen, and the girls really enjoyed sprinkling it.

There's no way that glitter is going anywhere for a good long while. and of course, since we walk in and out all the time, the glitter is getting spread over the whole house!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Princess Play

Littletree has been playing some wonderful games lately. She's been making a magic book, which is a notebook she's decorating. There are pages with collage, stickers, silver ribbons, stickers, glitter, pins, fuzzy things, random craft supplies... all sorts of stuff.

Every page is different, and they're all amazing. Some of the pages have text that Littletree dictated to me, some she wrote, some have 'invisible' writing.

Here's one of the pages; she dripped food colouring onto the page and then blew it with a straw to get a splattered effect. then added glue and glitter.

57 magic book

It's a very complicated recipe for making a magic potion that will help the faeries to have their sparkles, destroy the evil goblins and fly with magic.

Littletree has been working on making this potion for weeks. It started with tracing the outline of her feet on some card, and cutting them out. then painting them pink, covering them with glue, and soaking them in a bowl of water for about a week. then the paper feet were dried out, and the water had food colouring, white paint, and a lot of glitter added to it.59 potion making

The potion was then left to sit for another week, then more stuff added. it had to be decanted into various different containers, then frozen. then melted, poured to other containers, had more stuff added (mostly pink colours and glitter). frozen again, melted again. and so on.

Last week she soaked an apple in the potion, which was to be a special poisoned apple. the apple would be good food for faeries, but would kill any evil goblins.55 potion making

When she's waiting for the potion to brew, there's always miniature tea parties:62 tea partyAren't they cute!?

63 tea party