the beach across the road

Here in Geraldton we’ve been living in a suburb called Beachlands. It’s full of old fibro houses and it’s a bit ugly, but there’s no other houses between ours and the beach. There is our road, a big wall, a four lane highway, a train track, and another road, but no other houses so that makes it beachfront right?! Ha.

We’ve only been to the beach a handful of times since we’ve been here, much less than once a week on average. There was a time where I was ducking over there for a solitary walk as soon as Bean got home from work but then his hours changed for the Winter and it was getting dark by the time he was dropped back from work each day so the walks didn’t continue.

Bean’s hours have changed again and it’s starting to warm up a bit here now. The last few days it has been hot. In fact, last night was so hot I slept in my undies with the ceiling fan on. I’ve been joking that it must be Geraldton’s comfort tax on my enjoyment of the beach yesterday, because we really enjoyed it.

Yesterday was the second consecutive day we wandered over there after Bean walked in the door at the end of the day and it was just lovely.

The sprogs played chasey with the waves, I scrunched my feet in the sand, we talked about what next… and we’re none the wiser after talking about it. Really, what next?!

I left the sprogs digging a pool at the water’s edge with Bean and went for a short walk up the beach. Even though I’ve been so lonely up here and I’ve been craving companionship I have felt desperate for time alone too. I’ve felt overwhelmed by the mundane nature of daily life up here. I’ve felt that my life has revolved around making food, cleaning up after the sprogs and entertaining the sprogs with little to no outside input. I’ve been on autopilot for a while now, not really conscious of what I’m doing but just acting out of habit.

In the last few months I’ve had many low points in my interactions with the sprogs and expectations of them, and myself, that are not based in reality.

The walk yesterday evening, however short it may have been, gave me time to breath and caused a shift for me.

This morning I woke feeling more refreshed than I have in a long time and I felt enthusiastic about spending the day with my sprogs.

Maybe it was the walk? Maybe it’s the knowledge that I’m leaving here in 5 short days? I don’t know, but whatever the cause I’m grateful for it.

The sprogs and I went to the green grocer this morning and stocked up on bananas, strawberries, watermelon and apple. We came home long enough to pop it in the fridge before heading out again in search of a paddle pool. We found one at the second shop we went to, twenty dollars thank you very much. Perfect.

We got home and the sprogs had a little rest while I inflated the pool so when they woke up it was ready to be filled. They hoped in with the hose feeding cold water in while I bucketed in scalding hot water from the tap. As one of the billions of buckets I carted was filling up I remembered the hippy bubble bath we bought yesterday and chucked a bit of that in too. The warm, bubbly paddle pool kept them amused for a couple of hours! When they finally got out we watched an episode of Grand Designs together on ABC iView before they decided they wanted to hop in the pool again about 10 minutes before Bean got home from work. The second time they were in there I decided it looked like so much fun I got my clothes off and jumped in with them.

I started swishing up the water and got some serious bubbles happening, we were a pile of bubbly giggles and it was so much fun. I think I’ll have sore arms tomorrow from all that vigorous water swishing but it was so worth it and the three of us are looking forward to more bubbly fun again tomorrow.

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have Comments (5)

not school camp

One morning earlier this month Bean called me from work to tell me he was not supposed to be at work because his 5 day break was scheduled to start that day and they’d just forgotten to tell him!

I was irritated by the news because had we known earlier we could have gone to the WA Natural Learning Network camp that was due to begin the following day. Bean suggested we still go.

The camp was at Donnelly River, 720km from Geraldton.

“Yeah!” we thought, we can totally pack and drive there in one day. And you know what? We did it!

It was so very, very worth it. We made the decision at noon, by 3pm we’d eaten a decent lunch, packed the kombi and were driving toward Perth. We got to my Mum’s place in Perth at around 8.45pm and we stopped for the night. We left for Donnelly River the next morning and we got there around 1pm, a couple of hours before the rest of our group started arriving. We drove in rain the whole way from Geraldton to Perth and then from Perth to Donnelly River, but the rain stopped when we arrived at Donnelly and didn’t start again until we were leaving a couple of days later. Perfect!

As soon as we arrived we were mobbed by very friendly kangaroos and emus, all wanting to know if we had anything edible in our pockets.

After some time spent patting kangaroos & being gawked at by much more cautious emus we managed to get up the stairs and away from the wildlife, drop our stuff inside our cottage and go for a walk around the village.

Most of the rest of the group arrived that afternoon and evening, with a few arriving the following day too.

That night we had a shared meal at the old mill worker’s club which was fun, chaotic, LOUD and very fulfilling for the sprogs.

After dinner we visited our old friend who is the relief manager for the village and drank cups of tea around his fire while the sprogs played with his drum kit and drew pictures at the table. Quite late at night we trotted back to our cottage for a very, very cold night’s sleep.

The next day our group hired the flying fox for a few hours and the children all ran in and out of each other’s cottages, rode bikes along the street, fed the animals from brown paper bags full of food from the general store and bottle fed some orphaned lambs.

That second evening, which was to be our last, we asked the managers if they had a heater we could use in our cottage because our fire was not heating the space. The cottage next door, which our friends were staying in, was very warm where ours was cold and our fire had been going all day while they’d lit theirs just an hour or so before. The managers couldn’t find a heater and offered to move us to a different cottage as well as reimbursing us for the night and giving us two bottles of wine.

We accepted their offer to move, and gave the wine to our friends who had been sharing their wine and beer with Bean and sharing their warm loungeroom with all of us for the evening.

That night we all slept so well in our new cottage that we decided to request an extra night rather than a reimbursement for the previous night. Our request was granted so we spent the day hanging out with the group rather than packing and heading home.

The next day rain was forecast so we decided to pack early and head off once the rain set in.

The drive back to Perth was pretty scary. A storm had hit and trees were being uprooted in the paddocks next to the road, trees had fallen over the road, large road signs were ripped out with footings still intact and we passed a caravan that had been blown on its side while being towed in the other direction. We made it back to Perth in one piece though, where we had dinner with some old friends before heading back to my Mum’s place for the night.

For the return trip to Geraldton we took the new Indian Ocean Drive, a much nicer drive than the inland roads. The sprogs were so tired after the weekend they were happy to stop infrequently and Van Halen (the white kombi) didn’t miss a beat, sitting comfortably at 60mph on the open roads, so we made it home in good time.

It took me over a week to get to the bottom of mount washmore once we were home, but luckily the post camp high lasted just as long.

A brilliant spontaneous weekend. We’re looking forward to the next camp.

 

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Thank you all for your kind comments for my last post both on the blog and via email. I tried to respond to you all, however some of the emails were eaten in cyberspace as both I and my computer got used to the new mobile phone internet connection.

This camp came just after I wrote that post and vastly improved my state of mind.

posted by wildecrafted in education and have Comments (2)

geraldton through wilde eyes

Well it’s been nearly 3 weeks since the sprogs and I joined Bean here in Geraldton so I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the place (subject to change with time and experience of course!).

I’ll get the rants out of the way first so we can end on a happy note eh?

Geraldton does not do waste well at all. There is no council recycling collection which seems so last century. We can deliver our tin and aluminium cans and our cardboard/paper to a depot but plastic and glass can’t be recycled here. To that I say,

“WOW!”

We don’t seem to use products in cans (other than the occasional can of tuna which Bean takes to work and doesn’t cart home again) and our paper/card is added to our compost heap as the carbon component to balance out the nitrogen rich food scraps. Glass and plastic are the recyclable wastes we generate most of, and we can’t recycle them here! I suppose the positive of that is that it gives us an opportunity to further reduce the packaging waste we bring in to our house in the first place. It’s been rather a rude shock to be producing so much waste at all after our time in Albany where our milk bottles were returned for reuse, the mesh bags and paper bags our vegies came home from the farmer’s market in were returned for reuse and our honey jars were returned for reuse as well. We produced much less household waste then.

I suppose it might take time to get to know where to buy the food we’re used to eating, it did take time in Albany. The farmer’s market here is a fairy average affair, especially when compared to the Albany farmer’s market. They are really trying though, and I hope it takes off. There are likely a lot less fresh produce growers around here than there are around Albany, the climate here isn’t the greatest for growing thirsty crops, so I imagine it’d be tough to find the selection of growers there are on the south coast. Luckily I’ve already found a green grocer who sells a fabulous selection of organic fruit and veg. They have agreed to take a weekly order from us and pack it all loose into cardboard boxes since they otherwise individually wrap their organic produce so they can tell the difference between it and the conventional stuff at the check out. They also stock Margaret River Organic milk (pastuerised but not homogenised) which is a reasonable compromise when raw milk is not available. Short of having our own cow or living within cooee of my dairy farming sister nothing can ever come close to the milk supply we had in Albany. Really, how can you beat reusable glass bottles filled with fresh, unprocessed milk delivered with a smile and a genuine enquiry after your wellbeing? In short, you just can’t.

The weather has been quite lovely, real “holiday” weather. Yesterday it rained for the first time since we arrived and it was a really rather dismal effort at rain, more like a sprinkle really. We’ve been at the beach most days and at the playgrounds every day since getting here. Mornings and evenings call for long sleeves but during the day we’re wearing short sleeves very comfortably, and today is the first official day of Winter. I have a strong suspicion Summer here would melt me into Ms Cranky Pants because Autumn has been about as Summery as I can handle. Thankfully we’ll be out of here early Spring so I won’t get to test that hypothesis.

I’m really glad for the outdoor friendly weather though because the playgrounds here are AWESOME! The best I’ve seen anywhere.

At the town beach there is a fabulous playground with two main sections, one aimed at younger children and one aimed at older children. The equipment over both sections caters to children ranging in age from pre-walking to teenagers. Next to the playground is a water playground that can be turned on by anyone with the press of a button between 9am-6pm each day, yeah… even now that it’s officially Winter.

The sprogs have had hours of fun at the water playground already, it really is fantastic and unlike any other free playground I’ve seen.

And that’s just the town beach playground, the rest of the playgrounds we’ve seen around Geraldton have been fabulous too. The only thing that could make the parks here any better is a play in the park program like the one the wonderful Jamie (the Clown) and his YMCA crew ran in Albany.

Our house is not bad, not a place I’d want to settle for longer that the four months we plan to be here, but it’s not bad. We had some issues with dirty carpets to begin with and in honestly I can’t understand how on earth we’re paying so much for it because it just doesn’t seem worth it (totally foreign rental market up here) but it’s close to the beach which I’ve taken advantage of a few times when I’ve gone for a sunset walk by the ocean all alone once Bean has come home from work. It’s been nice to snatch those moments of solitude because we’re back to having no friends nearby and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task of parenting the sprogs on my own for such extended hours while Bean’s at work.

Thankfully a south coast friend has put us in touch with a mid west friend and I’ll have to make contact now we’ve landed and settled, so the lonely days can be over real soon…

So far I’m liking Geraldton enough, there’s a lot about it that is awesome and it’s nice to have a change of scenery after a really tough year in Albany.

 

 

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have Comments (3)

falling into place

Since I’ve been back from Perth, this whole living on the south coast thing has felt like it’s falling into place. Finally.

The first few days back here were a bit of an emotional blow. I was feeling isolated and cynical.

It rained that Monday, so we stayed indoors and spoke to no one outside our mother-children triad all day.

It also rained Tuesday, so we had a repeat of Monday but with slightly more resentment because Tuesday is a “play in the park” day and we were missing out because it was too wet. Cabin fever had set in. The sprogs were cranky and I was too.

Wednesday saw our spirits pick up though and we’ve been on a high since…

The sprogs and I went to the museum for the monthly mini muses program Wednesday morning. There we met an old friend who has one extra child than the last time I saw him but otherwise hasn’t changed much. I knew he lived down this way, I just didn’t know how to find him and I’d hoped we’d just run into each other eventually… we did, yay. He introduced me to his partner and we had a little chat while our sprogs ran about (excepting their littlest sprog who is just a wee baby). Knowing they’d understand my plight, I complained to these friends about my poor luck sourcing good food down here. I told them I was shopping at stupormarkets down here, and that it was destroying my soul to be doing it after so many years of doing all my food shopping at small, locally owned businesses back in Perth. They understood, like I knew they would, and they had some solutions to suggest. Hurrah! They told me about a little bulk food store down here and they told me about a biodynamic farmer that sells his meat from big chest freezers in a park! I told them about my friends who deliver fresh milk in reusable glass bottles, and we all smiled. Wednesday afternoon we went home feeling happier than we’d felt when we’d left home that morning, so we’ll call it a successful outing.

Wednesday night was my first night back at college since my trip to Perth and it was really nice to be back among lovely people and playing with nurturing essential oils. I got home to sleeping children and a clean home, how wonderful.

Thursday morning the sprogs and I decided to check out the food store our friends had recommended and it certainly impressed me. It’s small, it’s really a little too small to contain all the loveliness within, but it was still great. There were bulk dry goods and there were completed quilts hanging up too, they were for sale. It made my heart sing to see good food and beautiful quilts in such a visually appealing store. It smelled yummy and it looked unique. We bought some biodynamic flour, some organic rolled oats and a small lot of banana chips for the sprogs to munch on the walk back to the car. The woman who served us was warm and friendly, and she was interested to hear about my delight at finding the store. So much nicer than a large stupormarket!

Come Friday morning we were back at boobie club (Australian Breastfeeding Association meeting) for some good company and sunshine, our week had well and truly turned around. Friday night I got to go to a one off night time booby club, and I got to go without sprogs too. I owe Bean for that, it was nice to have a chat without having to entertain the sprogs too.

Saturday night we went to our milkman’s birthday party which was nice. Our milkman is also a carpenter and he just happened to knock up a patio to party under that day. Fabulous! The food was nice and, as always, the company was lovely. Sprout and Moe had a lovely time cruising around with other kids, getting thoroughly filthy in a big pile of black sand, and generally loving every minute of the party!

photo by www.liamwilde.com

Then, after I had a Sunday of study while Bean took the sprogs fishing, I got an email late last night from my aromatherapy lecturer. I’ve been sending her some raw food recipes and generally talking up the awesomeness of young coconuts so she invited the sprogs and I around for a play date today, so we could make some raw goodies and the sprogs could play. Her son is the same age as Sprout and they got along so well! Moe was a bit out of sorts after a rough, sleepless night, so he needed a bit of extra help today. Thankfully I was able to give it to him when he needed it because Sprout was so beautifully preoccupied playing with her new friend. Even when meeting Moe’s needs was taken into account, my friend and I still managed a remarkable amount of adult conversation, fresh juice, herbal tea, young coconut smoothie, roast veg & salad wraps, and a bit more adult conversation. It was a fabulous day and I’m feeling really great after it!

photo by www.liamwilde.com

Yes. This south coast thing is starting to work out ok.

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unschool monday – self directed

This morning I was granted a little sleep in.

Bean goes to Tafe Mondays, so he doesn’t have to be out the door quite as early as other weekdays. Bean got up with the sproggets today & while I lay in bed dozing, he put some Cat Stevens on the stereo, changed Moe’s nappy & dressed him, left Sprout in her pyjamas at her request*, made them all some porridge for breakfast & then cleaned up. He let me know when he was almost ready to go so I could get up & do my morning ritual without any interruption because I was not the only parent at home & the sproggets had been catered for already, amazing!

Once Bean left I made a smoothie for myself & the sproggets. We sat together & drank our smoothies then the sproggets each did their own thing while I cleaned up the blender & glasses. Yes, you read that right… the sproggets each did their own thing.

Not only that though, they continued to do their own thing for quite some time after I’d finished cleaning the smoothie dishes. In that time of quiet, self directed play, I was able to do some study(!). I read (& understood) 3 pages of a chapter on the endocrine system without interruption(!!) & they were still playing when I finished.

In the end, I actually asked them to play with me. I was energised & in the mood for meaningful interaction, I was feeling able to make ammends for the times I’ve said,

“Not right now, I don’t want to/I can’t be bothered/I’m too tired/I’m too busy.”

I asked Sprout what she wanted to do & she told me she’d like to play with the playdough.

“Yes!” I said, “And we can do better than just playdough… we can do playdough & coloured pop-sticks & pipe cleaners & GOOGLY EYES!”

We played playdough together, on & off, all day. Interspersed with lots of scrummy snacks & more self-directed play. I’m amazed at the complete lack of input required from me today. I’m amazed at the relative harmony between Moe & Sprout, so few disagreements, so much co-operation. I’m amazed at how nicely the day flowed, both sproggets freely entertaining themselves for a whole gloriously easy day, with me even being able to get a bit of stress free reading done for college!

 

*Sprout stayed in her pyjamas all day, until we all went for a quick walk with Dave when Bean came home at 4pm. That’s the beauty of Mondays, our only full weekday at home, we can sloth about in our jarmies all day long & still learn heaps, laugh heaps & love heaps!

 

Unschool Monday is inspired by Owlet.

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unschool monday – paint for breakfast

Early this morning, right after drinking a breakfast smoothie we got out the craft box.

We started the day with paint. Distinct & separate blobs of colour on paper plates left over from a long ago party. The blobs didn’t stay separate for long, soon the plates were brown. Then bodies were a streaky, stripey, splotchy brown.

When the streaky, stripey, splotchy bodies appeared to have had enough of painting we packed away & had a warm shower.

Running around laughing, shrieking, whooping with delight as the clothes monster tried to dress the no longer streaky, stripey, or splotchy bodies.

Finally dressed.

Some more food. Food dictates the day, you know?

Some “reading” to each other.

Wrapping babies up in colourful play cloths.

A special lunch with Bean joining us at home because Mondays are Tafe days.

Some more baby wrapping after Bean left. Babies eventually abandoned on the bedroom floor.

Drawing with crayons & then textas over the top. Some writing demonstrations from me. Writing in colours I’m asked to use. Writing names, the alphabet in upper case, the alphabet in lower case, the names of the colours in the order they are naturally in a rainbow…

Some Playschool on iView while dishes were washed & vegetables cut for dinner.

Some stories read by me.

Bean came home.

The whole family went to the shop to buy some cous cous.

Dinner was ready when we returned.

We ate together.

The clothes monster chased the sproggets around a little more.

Ready for bed.

Asleep.

A lovely home day for sproggets who have the sniffles & coughs, and for a mother who is still a bit tired from the weekend’s gardening efforts.

 

Unschool Monday inspired by Owlet

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dancing bells

About a week ago I found a link to this post at the Childhood 101 Playopedia. I thought it was a pretty funky idea & told myself I should really do something like that one day.

Fast forward to Friday arvo, when I was at a craft store with the sproggets & I found a bargin bin with colourful ribbons in it.

“OH YEAH!” I thought, “I’ll do that dancing hoop thing…”

Sometime between selecting the ribbons and finding some hoops I decided I’d add some bells to them. I’ve been taking the sproggets to Rhyme Time at the local library & Babyman is really getting in to jingling the bells along with the rhymes & songs so I thought bells would be a good addition to dancing ribbons.

I have used brassed steel hoops, instead of the wooden hoops in the original post.

All the “ingredients” on the table

I made the sproggets two each, so they’d both have both hands full & hopefully not fight over them. So far they’ve argued a little bit but there are enough Dancing Bells to go around so any dramas are easily resolved.

 

 

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Postcrossing (strewing geography)

A member of the forum at Natural Learning Australia linked to a site called Postcrossing last month. I finally got around to looking at it today & I’ve decided to join up in The Bubble & Babyman’s names.

The basic idea is that you register then request an address, with each address request you are given an ID number. You send a postcard to the address you’ve been randomly allocated & include the ID number on the postcard so the recipient can enter the ID number on the website once it reaches them. Once you have sent a postcard you’ll then be eligible to receive one. You can request 5 addresses at once, the more postcards you send out, the more postcards you can send next time.

I think this is a fantastic way to strew geography. The sproggets will receive postcards from places all over the world, places they’ve never heard of, places they may like to learn more about once they receive a postcard from there.

Initially I will send the postcards without any input from the sproggets, I think they’re too young to understand what it’s all about at the moment, but I have entered their names on our address card along with our family PO Box number so the postcards received will be addressed to them. When they’re a little older I’ll explain the reciprocal nature of postcrossing & they may like to send postcards themselves. Until then, I think they’ll delight in receiving special mail addressed to them & I’ll delight in the opportunity to learn about other parts of the world with them.

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Play in the Park

This morning we went to the local library “story time” which is held at a park each Tuesday morning at the same time as a YMCA run program called “Play in the Park”.

It was nice for the sproggets to have other children to play with & it was nice for me to have a bit of breathing space from the unrelenting expectation they have had lately that I be solely responsible for their entertainment & enjoyment.

Aside from a brief “Hello” to a woman I know from activist circles in Perth, I didn’t really speak to anyone. All of the other people there clearly knew at least one other person, the parents had all separated off into smaller groups they obviously felt comfortable being in & it felt too hard to attempt infiltrating one, or more, of the groups.

I sat with the sproggets while the story was being read. It was hard to hear the voice of the woman reading the story because it was being drowned out by the voices of parents standing around the perimeter of the gazebo talking. I thought that was inconsiderate & can’t imagine going along to a story time only to be talking over the presesnter.

I had thought it would be a good opportunity to meet some local parents, and I suppose it is, but today I didn’t see anyone who felt likeminded. Every single one of the little girls was in a pink “little girl uniform”, head to toe pink with lots of frills, sparkles & impractical pouffy bits. I know pink is the accepted colour code for “girl” in Western countries, but I do still feel a bit alien when I’m at family events teaming with children in their gender uniforms. It’s not what I’m used to & it’s not what feels right to me. There was no one else there with a sling, no one breastfeeding older babies & children, no one who looked like a “kindred spirit” as Anne Shirley would say. I felt a little odd breastfeeding Babyman there, which is not something I ever felt at the playgroups we went to in Perth. Granted they were all natural learning & natural parenting playgroups while this one is open to anyone, but I never thought I’d feel so alien around other parents.

We’ll go again to the story time at the library this Thursday, and we’ll return to the park next week in the hope of meeting some friends because any socialising is better than none, but it’d be a lie to say I’m not a bit disappointed. I suppose I expected too much.

I have asked Bean to go around town & pull down the flyers we put up a couple of weeks ago calling out for other homeschooling families to make contact. I had a call today from the previous tennant of Wonderland asking me to take his dog for him! He got my number from one of the flyers & I’m a bit put out that he contacted me actually. The flyers we wrote were clearly requesting homeschoolers to contact us, there was no mention of my number being a free-for-all. I don’t appreciate receiving an unsolicited call from a virtual stranger (we met briefly at a store he works at but we didn’t even exchange names, just made the connection that we’d moved in to the house he’d just moved out of) asking me to take his dog simply because we live where he used to live! Feeling a bit vulnerable to more unsolicited contact I’ve decided I don’t want my number “out there” anymore. That will make it harder to find other unschoolers in the area, but it will give me piece of mind.

It might be time to register a new email account for a Great Southern unschooling collective & make up some new, more annonymous flyers.

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Spontaneous Learning: Alphabet Blocks

This afternoon as I sat down for a short rest on the couch between cleaning, (children’s) crafting & general sprogget parenting duties Babyman approached me whimpering & crying while climbing on me to poke me in the chest & tell me he wanted “more”.

I somewhat resentingly breastfed him, why can’t I have just 5 minutes peace?! My wish was his command, he promptly fell asleep & stayed asleep when I rolled him off me onto the couch. The Bubble had been playing in her room & noticed Babyman had stopped crying. She must have also noticed that his crying wasn’t replaced by his common Babyman chatter because she asked me if he was asleep, & then on hearing that he was, she asked me if I would like to join her in the game she was playing.

Even though I was tired & wanted nothing more than to stare at the wall for 5 minutes while no one talked to (or at!) me, I siezed the opportunity for some time to connect with The Bubble, who has found this transition to a new home & new town quite difficult. She’s feeling the isolation, & she’s acutely aware of the stress Bean & I are under at the moment as we transition to a (hopefully wonderful) life in the Great Southern.

The game The Bubble was playing was with some alphabet blocks my Mum gave her for her first birthday almost 3 years ago. The blocks have letters & numbers on them, as well as pictures of things beginning with the corresponding letters. She was arranging them so the pictures were all facing her. She asked me to help her with that. After I’d turned a few blocks for her she handed me a block with a picture of an igloo on it and asked me what it was.

I told her it was a house made of ice, which is called an igloo. She picked up a block with a traditional looking brick house on it & asked if it was like that house. I told her it wasn’t and explained again what an igloo was. I suggested we get my laptop and look on the internet for some pictures of igloos.

Looking at photos of igloos led to questions about who lives in igloos, which led to looking at photos of Eskimos in traditional dress. Feeling satisfied with all she’d learned about Eskimos and igloos The Bubble then handed me a block with a peacock on it.

We looked up pictures of peacocks and she was fascinated. I decided to check youtube for a video of a peacock doing a mating dance. Bingo! She watched the peacock strut about wiggling its bottom & ruffling its beautiful feathers, then watched the peacock walking about with its tail feathers down, scratching at the ground much like a domestic chicken.

Next up was an octopus. We looked at photos of octopi, which she told me reminded her of starfish. The first time The Bubble saw a starfish was in the water at South Beach in Fremantle, a small sandy coloured starfish. The next one was a larger, vibrant blue starfish in an aquarium at the WA Museum in Albany.

We also looked up pictures of icecream sundaes, snails, angels, nurses & other things she already knew about, simply because it was such a novelty for her to have a bit of control over what showed up on my laptop screen which is usually not something she has access to.

After about 15 minutes I redirected the play back to the blocks & packed the computer away. The Bubble’s interest in the blocks continued after Babyman woke up, while I vacuumed & mopped the loungeroom & until Bean came home from work much later than usual. After the initial excitement of Bean’s homecoming she was back to the blocks which she continued to sort into various groups that made sense to her, stopping only for dinner & a brief “Hello” when Bean’s parents came to lend us their car. She left the blocks on the coffee table in the loungeroom before she went to bed, so I did too. She’s obviously not done with them so I’ve decided to leave them where she left them & see if she picks up her game again tomorrow.

This was pure natural learning in action, I didn’t suggest the game, I had nothing to do with it until I was invited to. It felt great to observe, & I felt blessed to have been invited to be a part of it.

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