The Animal School…

I came across this Fable and it really resonated with me.  So often I get doubts about my ability to home school.  They sneak up and attack from behind on the days when I’m exhausted or emotionally spent.  Sometimes I think life would be so much easier if I just sent the kids to public school, and truthfully it would be.  Then I read something like The Animal School and our decision to home school is confirmed within me.  We are giving our children the gift of being themselves, excelling in their natural talents, while aiding them without judgement with the things they struggle in.  We are allowing them to pursue things that interest them while letting go of the unnecessary.  I know the path we’ve chosen is not always going to be easy but I strongly believe in what we are doing for our children and so far, the results speak for themselves!

 

The Animal School: A Fable

by George Reavis

Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

Does this fable have a moral?

Note: This story was written when George Reavis was the Assistant Superintendent of the Cincinnati Public Schools back in the 1940s! This content is in the public domain and free to copy, duplicate, and distribute.

100 Posts!

Today we reached a milestone!

This is our 100th post!

Woohoo!

It all started here with the first post.

I had no idea what I was taking on, I just knew I wanted to write and I wanted to see if anyone would be interested in what I had to say.  It was difficult at first.  I was very nervous and extremely apprehensive, but also very excited.  After a couple weeks, it started to feel like I was writing a note to an old friend each time.  A few of my readers are old friends and family, but a lot of you are people I’ve never met.

I’m surprised at how many people read our family adventures with the Little Professor, the Mighty Princess and the little Milk Monkey.

It has now been 6 months since I started this site and in that time we’ve had thousands and thousands of views.  It’s very exciting knowing so many people are reading!

I’m so grateful to everyone who has stayed with us and faithfully read each post.  Thank you!

I’m also thankful to those who comment, I love reading what you have to say.

 I wish more of you did it.

We have so many plans for the future.  For one, we are changing the look of the site, but more importantly we are trying to find a nickname for Daddy.

I want a name that will showcase his personality.

Something a little less vague than Daddy.

So if you have any suggestions just let me know!

At home I call him Sweetie, but he’s so much more than that, he’s the Ultimate Sweetie.  So naturally I thought US for short (said with a deep southern drawl) but he didn’t go for it, so it’s still a work in progress.

I sincerely hope that those of you who read Honestly Mummy enjoy it as much I as enjoy writing it!

Bath Towels for the Shower…

My little Princess experienced her first Shower this weekend.  I was getting myself ready when it dawned on me that she might enjoy going, so I called her over quietly and asked her.  She looked at me for a moment with an odd look on her face, then politely declined.  Going to the park was definitely more fun then having a shower!

We talked a little about what a Bridal Shower was, something I would never have thought to explain.  When we got to the “no boys allowed” part she was more than excited to go.  She carefully chose her own dress and planned how she wanted me to style her hair.  She even grabbed her little purse so she could be just like Mummy.  It was like going to a ball, or at least it was until she found out that our gift to the beautiful bride-to-be was a set of towels and a wash cloth –I’m seriously considering getting some for myself.  She was appalled and even a bit embarrassed!  The Mighty Princess insisted we buy something else instead, something better and prettier – an American Girl doll maybe?  I told her about the registry and how her soon-to-be Auntie had asked for the towels, so it was a gift that she would enjoy.  With a little hesitation she gave her consent but only after seeing the beautiful gift bag.

We had a wonderful time!  The Princess was a little social butterfly.  She enjoyed the punch and all the other child friendly beverages along with the various foods.  She was so fond of the desserts that she insisted I take a picture of them.

    

All the fun and excitement wore her out and she fell asleep on the way home while playing on her leap pad.  The next day, while talking to my father in law, I found out she had gone up to the bride-to-be after the gifts were opened and asked her if she really did like the towels only to find out they really were appreciated.  Then my Princess asked if she liked the gift bag also and again, that was met with praise.  To which the Princess replied, “Well then you should keep it!”

All I Want for Christmas is a Gift…and a Sister!

  

Every once in a while I experience a poignant “Mummy moment”.  It’s never during the times you would imagine.  It usually takes place during the most mundane moments, not during the milestones and it’s rarely life changing, but it’s beautiful and profoundly moving and it is the evidence that my life truly is amazing.

I had one of those moments tonight while folding laundry on my bed.  Daddy was playing guitar while he and the kids hung out in their room.  It’s one of the things they like to do before bed.  I was listening while trying to catch up on the never ending loads of wash.  The Professor started singing the Blues and it went something like this…

Santa comes down the chimney…

He puts the gifts under the tree…

I really hope…

He has a gift for me!

I want a gift!

I want a gift!

Don’t give me no coal…

Don’t give me no food…

I don’t want no wish…

I want a gift!

The Thomas the Tank Engine “Harold” helicopter was the microphone, the Light Saber was his mic stand and he was rocking the house with his Santa Blues!  I’m sure there have been many times I’ve been prouder but I just couldn’t recall any of them as I listened to him sing.

Earlier this evening our little Princess came to us with a request.  She decided she wanted a sister.  When I broke the news to her that it probably wasn’t going to happen, she didn’t take it very well…

She started crying big, crocodile tears, she pleaded, she demanded…she pleaded again.  We tried to explain to her that even if we did have another baby, we don’t get to choose if it’s a girl or boy.  It’s not like we can just order up a little girl and give it to our Princess to be her sister.  Eventually I was able to convince her that it’s nice that we’re the girls of the family and that we are blessed to have each other.

Her response was “Well then can I sleep in your bed?”

Return of the Screech Monkey….(said in a spooky voice).

It’s a good thing this baby is so cute!

The other day I wrote about how he was climbing now rather than screeching, well I think I spoke too soon.  He screeched all day today!  Forget water boarding, if you really want to torture someone, stick my little Milk Monkey in a room with them, they’ll tell you everything you want to know!  I feel like telling you all my deep, dark secrets right now!!  

I’ve been flat out exhausted for the past couple days now.  I can barely keep my eyes open, let alone think straight.  I have a lot less patience when I’m tired, so the screeching really struck a nerve (or two or three).  I was really happy when Daddy finally got home and took over with the baby.  My heart goes out to all the single mummy’s out there who don’t get the relief at the end of the day.  I have no idea how they do it!  I’m very thankful for a husband who takes such an active role in caring for our children.

The Little Princess’s face is improving bit by bit, every day.  I noticed today that her little eyebrow on the right side, now lifts as high as the left.  It’s so nice to see her face returning to the way it’s suppose to be.  Her right eye no longer has the vacant expressionless look to it, I can see the gleam returning.  The little Princess has an excellent smile – I think the word excellent was created just to describe it – I can’t wait to see both sides of her little mouth upturned into one of them!

Tearful Goodbyes and Encouraging Smiles…

After 5 weeks of visiting, Little Miss Fancy returned home with her parents Saturday morning.  There were lots of tears after she left and the house felt a bit empty, and a lot more quiet without her.  The quietness could partly be attributed to our own 3 children being exhausted from all the excitement and sight seeing of the past week.  I myself ended up drifting off on the couch Saturday only to wake up and stumble off to bed for another couple hours.  I’ve been fighting off a cold for the past couple days and it completely wiped me out Saturday.

Today we seemed to have a little more energy and spent it swimming in Papa’s pool – the water was so crisp and refreshing.  We bbq’d some chicken sausages and I made a salad and we had dinner at Papa’s by the pool.  It was relaxing.  It’s always nice visiting with Papa (my father in law), he’s fun, kind and tells great stories!  It was definitely a great way to end the weekend.

  

While we were packing up getting ready to leave, the Milk Monkey was trying to climb out of his stroller.  We’ve been having some climbing issues with him recently.  I had forgotten what it was like to have a toddler around.  Let me tell you, I’ve had a lot of reminders lately!  He’s climbing up on things constantly and yet, he refuses to walk.  He’s climbed both living room chairs, the little children’s chairs and he’s even climbed into the storage bin under the couch – he stayed in that one for about 45 mins just hanging out.  The climbing makes it hard to get anything done when he’s awake.  We’re forever having to rescue him!  I guess it could be worse, he could still be screeching!  Thank goodness he’s stopped the screeching!

The Little Princess is doing well.  I’ve noticed a tiny bit of improvement in her face.  Her little lips have started to slightly curl up again on the right side.  It’s a very small improvement but it’s extremely encouraging!  We went to the doctors visit this past Friday and the doctor confirmed we were given the right treatment at the hospital.  She’s getting the right antibiotics and the 3 weeks was the correct length of time.  I’ll be happy when this is all a distant memory behind us.  We will definitely be more vigilant checking for ticks!

 

The Girl With the Crooked Smile…

It’s been difficult to watch my beautiful, little girl express herself without moving one side of her face.  She’s such an animated child which only seems to emphasize the partial paralysis.   I know it’s only temporary and I keep telling myself that but it’s still hard sometimes.  I do have to say her little crooked smile is adorable!  For some reason she’s gained the funniest little giggle…it must have something to do with not being able to move one side of her mouth.  My little Princess has been a real trouper through the whole ordeal.  It hasn’t seemed to bother her at all and it’s definitely not stopped her from being her wonderfully goofy self, even when faced with some of the complications her condition has caused her.

On Monday we went into Boston.  We took the T (a train) in, which the children love to do.  As soon as we left South Station I noticed the Little Princess was having trouble with her eye on the non moving side of her face.  Tears were streaming from her eye and she kept rubbing it with her hand.  It was quite windy and I figured it was probably getting irritated from the wind and the inability to blink.  I gave her a napkin, wet down from water for her to hold.  Not only was the wind irritating but she couldn’t squint to keep the sun out, or close her eye lid when the wind blew wisps of her hair into it.   The Little Professor graciously gave his baseball cap to his sister to keep her hair away from her face and the sun shaded from her eyes.  Eventually we stumbled upon a sun glass booth in Quincy Market and bought her some sun glasses and she was good from then on.  I just wanted to scoop her up and shield her from everything but my Mighty Princess would have none of that…there was too much to do.

It’s been a busy past couple of days.  Miss Fancy’s parents, my aunt and uncle, arrived from Cincinnati to take her back home.  It’s so nice having family visit.  I don’t get to see these relatives very often, so when I do get some time with them I cherish it.  Thankfully, I get their company until Saturday and then they’ll return home, taking my sweet, little Miss Fancy with them.  I’m definitely going to miss her!!  Hopefully, she had enough fun to want to visit us again next summer!!

 

 

A Day of History…

Living in Massachusetts provides us with lots of interesting activities to do with our kids – most of them are great for learning, especially history.  Today was one of those outings.  With the Princess being sick, the Little Professor and Miss Fancy were getting cabin fever being cooped up in the house, so Nana J came over to stay with the two littles ones and I took the older two out for a tour of the John Adams homes.

The way the tour works is you take a trolley ride to the first two homes that John Adams lived in – one being the house he was born in, the other was the house he and Abigail Adams lived in for the first part of their marriage – after which, you take the trolley again to their third and last house, Peacefield.  Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the houses so we were not able to get any pictures, which wasn’t too disappointing until we arrived at Peacefield.  The first two homes were pretty empty inside and the little furniture that did occupy the space were not original to the home and I’m pretty sure not even the time.  At Peacefield, which is the home John and Abigail lived in after the war for those who are not history buffs – or watch HBO, all the furniture is original to the various generations the Adams family lived in the home.

   

The Little Professor and Miss Fancy enjoyed the tours, though near the end their enthusiasm for history started to wane.  It is a long tour and after 2 hours they were ready for it to end.  The Professor had exhausted his questions – as well as the tour guide, I’m sure! – and we were all getting hungry.  Two and half hours later we arrived back at the Visitors Center just in time to see a celebration for the Patriot Ledgers 175th year.  They had newsboys all dressed up and a horse drawn carriage carrying a John Adams  look a like – Personally, I thought he looked more like George Bush – pulling up to the Quincy city hall, which was a fun coincidence as we had just been touring the homes.  We bought a couple newspapers for a nickel and decided it was enough history for today and went to look for lunch!

We stumbled upon a new Indian restaurant and the kids begged me to let us eat there…it didn’t take much begging to get me to agree.  The food was delicious and the service was great – they even brought the kids some Mango drinks on the house.  The kids were thrilled!  We ate until we were full, then we ate a little bit more, as we always do with Indian food, then we sat and laughed and talked about all we had seen earlier over some yummy Masala Chai tea.  It was a great day!

 

A little update on the Princess:  She is feeling much better, she’s finally up and playing and is starting to look like her usual self.  We’re so happy to see her feeling better.  Thank you to everyone who inquired about her and sent us well wishes and an extra thank you to all who were praying!  We truly appreciate it!!

You Keep Your Cell Phone Where?

This past weekend I took the girls to the American Girl store so that Little Miss Fancy could check it out.  She’s never been and as suspected she was blown away by the immensity of it.  From the moment we walked through the doors we were saturated in American Girl paraphernalia, something that is slightly overwhelming on the first visit, but in an exciting way.

The girls ran from display to display admiring the dolls with their detailed clothes and furniture, while I spent my time keeping track of thier whereabouts.   We eventually made our way upstairs to the Bistro where the girls ordered off the dessert menu while Mummy enjoyed a nice coffee.  We were shocked at the portion sizes!

Our shopping day came to a quick close as the Princess developed a sudden headache along with a fever.  I scooped my little, precious girl up and sat with her on a shaded bench while Daddy went to get the car.  I began to notice people giving me funny looks which at first I figured was just my imagination until one woman gave me a very animated, obviously disgusted look.  It made me very self consciuos and I started checking to make sure the Princess’s dress hadn’t ridden up or that my neckline hadn’t been pulled down while I was holding my little girl – we certainly didn’t want to be exposing our bits!  That’s when I realized that by trying to shield my daughters sensitive eyes from the sun to comfort her, I had put her in a “nursing” position.  Shocked, I looked up in time to witness yet another woman who was staring at me with a look of horror on her face but what really drew my attention was her cell phone sticking out from between her breasts.  Seriously, did it not fit in the big purse she was carrying?!  I couldn’t keep myself from laughing at the irony of the situation!  Sometimes I really just do not understand the world around me…it makes me feel old or maybe wiser!

The little Princess is still not feeling well.  She’s not keeping much down but we’re able to keep the fever in a comfortable range with some children’s Tylenol.   Hopefully tonight she’ll get some good rest and and be back to her usual peppy, cheerful self – and hopefully tonight I’ll get some much needed sleep.