Happy Birthday Lauren!

IMG_20141027_114415780On Monday we celebrated Lauren’s 6th birthday – so crazy to think how fast the time has gone. She had a ball, and despite the rain we managed to entertain a dozen kids inside. Well, actually, they entertained themselves. For at least an hour there were 11 children squished into the bedroom between the bunks playing The Werewolves of Millers Hollow.

Anyway, another successful party ticked off 🙂 We’re still waiting on her exemption to come through, and in the meantime, it’s business as usual.

Well,  not quite. Apparently the kids were all holding off on getting truly sick until after the party! They’ve been coughing up a storm since then, and we’re taking it easy while they get better. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll be well enough to go to the hall because I know the kids will want to see their friends.

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Determination

IMG_20140711_151558678 IMG_20140711_151624760 IMG_20140711_154404598We were at a friends house a few months ago when Lauren decided it was time to learn to ride a bike. Now, we have zero concrete at our house and live on a busy road, so we don’t have any bikes or places to ride them at our house. She’s literally never been on one before, and while I feel a little bad about that, we’ve just never been a biking family.

Lauren didn’t stop until she got it. Despite the bike being a bit wobbly, and falling off multiple times as a result, she kept getting back on, kept at it until she was confident in her ability. She stuck at it for an hour or so, and even when it was time to go home kept asking for just one more round.

I love it when she decides she wants to do something. Her sheer determination is something I’m delighted by, and the grin on her face, the look of pride when she masters something she set out to do is priceless.

We’re looking at getting bikes/scooters for Christmas now. I might have to get something for myself too, because once they’ve got wheels I’m never going to be able to keep up! lol

Lauren’s turn on the stall

WP_000417After last weekends successful biscuit stand, we didn’t have to do another, but I offered to for a family who are having some struggles. Lauren has just joined Pippins this past week and was dead keen to come along and help out, so off we went!

It was a completely different experience than with Ivy – who was mostly interested in talking about other things, and not so much the actual selling. Lauren however wanted to do it all, despite not having yet developed the math skills to figure out change.

It was interesting to see how she set up her stand, keeping all the kinds of biscuits together. Ivy preferred to keep a smaller number on the table, and give people packets from the boxes underneath rather than the display, where Lauren loaded the table and then brought up extra packets every time a sale was made.

She is a natural seller, engaging people in conversation, politely asking if they’d like another packet – I was so surprised as I’ve never really seen this side of her before, more often than not, they DID buy another packet, or at the very least, check their wallets to see if they had more money. A few people even commented on her natural sales ability. She was involved with every sale, organizing their biscuits, taking the cash in most instances and passing back the change.

When there was time between sales, we talked about money, what each of the coins stood for and how they could be added together – she really loved this part, and asked to do some more maths using money once we got home from the stall. In fact, she enjoyed the experience so much that she didn’t want to leave, and asked if we could go back and do another stand!

Lauren has often said that she would like to run her own business (perhaps a hair dressers), and I can see that if she still wants to do that when she is old enough, she’ll certainly have the passion and skills to follow through. I’ll be really interested to see what she settles on careerwise further down the track, and can see that right now she has a great level of interest to start learning about money and finances.

First strokes of the pen

Not long after deciding that she wanted to be able to read, Lauren decided that it was time to get writing as well. I came into the kitchen one day to find that she’d pulled out a roll of ‘christmas’ themed paper towels, and found a black vivid in the cupboard, and she was merrily writing away. She very proudly showed me her i’s and o’s, and asked if it was a word. She’d written ‘oi oi’ lol so I guess it is kind of a word 😉

WP_20140124_002I asked her if she’d like to move to regular paper and a pen/pencil, but she really wanted to write on the pretty paper towels, so my next suggestion was that she tell me a few words that she wanted to write so that I could write them down and she could copy them. The words she selected were: dog, cat, love, mummy, and daddy.

You might be starting to see the theme of things when it comes to Lauren – she often starts things off on her own steam, without asking for any assistance, and she’d be quite happy to potter away and figure it out as she goes. She has very firm opinions about what she wants to do, and how she wants to do it, and will often not be swayed unless I can come up with a satisfactory compromise.

I’m pretty good at those 😉 thank goodness. I am now on the look out for some pretty stationary for her to write on so that the paper towels can stay in the kitchen, and a sparkly pen convinced her to move away from writing with a vivid.

As much as she wants to do things now and learn words whole, she’s coming to see that learning her individual letters could be a beneficial thing, and just yesterday she asked if she could work on her letter recognition, and learning the sounds that each letter makes. I’m really pleased that I didn’t push her into doing it before she was ready because I don’t think it would have been effective – she’s much easier to teach, and learns far quicker, when she’s doing it under her own steam. As you can see, despite not having written a whole lot before now, she’s actually forming her letters fairly well.

 

Lauren’s first book

WP_20140111_001A couple of days ago Lauren came to me and told me she wanted to make a book. She wanted to write a story for her little sister Natalie, and could I please write it down for her. Being that she turned 5 not long ago, this was a reasonable request, so I took the paper and felt pen she offered me, and sat down to write.

WP_20140111_002All of my children like to tell stories, but this was the first time that she’d asked me to write one down for her, and I loved that she wanted to give it as a gift – for the record, Natalie loves the story, and has been showing her book off to everyone who comes into the house. I’ve read it so many times that I know it by heart now.

For the record, we’re a family of geeks. All of the kids have watched episodes of Doctor Who. They play ‘Weeping Angels’ instead of ‘whats the time Mr Wolf’.
They love to talk about zombies, ghosts and unicorns, werewolves, vampires, fairies and dragons, other worlds, mermaids. You name it, they have probably heard about it and played imaginary games involving it.

WP_20140111_003So it really shouldn’t have been any surprise that Lauren’s story involved a whole lot of those things, though initially it seemed a bit brutal for a 5yr olds tale! lol I loved it though 🙂 She’s tapped into her fear of werewolves (stemming from one of her nanas showing her the Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ video when she was three), and a game Natalie plays where she dies, then comes back as a zombie, dies, and then comes back as a ghost. I was really struck by Lauren’s take on good and evil as well, and how the waterfall, while not seemingly a big part of the story at the beginning, was central in the ‘Lauren’ characters change from regular girl, to something bad, and how when the waterfall flooded the worlds, it triggered Lauren into turning good again and saving everyone.

WP_20140111_004Naturally, of course, in a house with 2 siblings, and being the middle child, it’s not surprising that she wants to rule the world 😉

We glued together the pages to make a proper book, and she’s dreaming up her next story, and ready to make another copy of this for a friends son who read it and loved it too. She has really been encouraged by the positive feedback to write more stories, and being a writer myself, I love that she has found the joy in story. Hopefully this will help motivate her to learn her letters in the near future, so that she can make a whole book all by herself. So proud!

Loosening the reins a little more

WP_20140110_006Her independence amazes me.

Just two days after her experiments with bread toppings, I came into the kitchen to find Lauren lining up spreads on the bench. I asked her what she was doing, expecting that she was going to be reaching for the bread next. She simply informed me that she was going to make peanut butter cookies. By herself.

Umm… lol I could see she was ready – right that minute – to do it, so I asked her for just one minute to find a recipe that she could do solo. Thankfully, I found this really simple, 3 ingredient recipe, and she was thrilled that she could do everything aside from the oven stuff on her own. And they turned our beautifully.

WP_20140110_008Enthused, and on a high from the cookie success, she decided that she needed more. I came back into the kitchen at lunch time to find her preparing to slice tomatoes and cheese! Gave me a bit of a fright, but I managed not to freak out at her incorrect technique, and took the opportunity to teach her some knife safety skills before stepping back and letting her get on with it. She did an awesome job, and made some tomato and cheese filled rolls for lunch, as well as some with just peanut butter for her sister.

I tell you what, in no time at all, I bet she’ll be shooing me out of the kitchen and pitching in with dinner. Very exciting.