30 Days Wild :: Random Acts of Wildness

Having been stuck in a bit of a nature rut recently (what with being on crutches and not being able to do more than slightly hobble about and then having a caesarian section and needing a couple of weeks of being very gentle on myself), I’ve not posted under the Nature tag very much recently.

However, as I’m steadily healing and getting about more, I’ve found the perfect thing to get involved with and get us back to being out daily enjoying the wonderful countryside that surrounds us here as we have done in the past.

I’ve signed up for 30 Days Wild and you can too, by clicking here: 30 Days Wild sign-up.

From the Wildlife Trust’s blurb:

30 Days Wild is The Wildlife Trusts new campaign for June 2015. We’re asking you to make room for nature this June – no matter where you are or how busy your life! Make this the month when you do something wild every day – and let us motivate you! When you sign up to our challenge, we’ll send you a pack full of encouragement, ideas and Random Acts of Wildness. You’ll also receive a funky wallchart to track your progress, a wild badge, and regular blasts of inspiration throughout June straight to your inbox to help you make nature part of your life.

So why not join me and plenty of others across the country in signing up to do something WILD every day in June?

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Slow Living :: March & April 2015

violets

Living in the moment may well be good advice, but as I mentioned in my Slow Living February post, I find doing so in February particular hard. Much as Imbolc (Candlemas) brings the promise of greenery and warmth to come, I long for the coming of Ostara and the Spring Equinox and the year seems to shudder and lurch towards this turning point.  Being heavily pregnant exacerbated this and, as I got larger and required crutches to get around, I became increasingly frustrated because I was lacking for fresh air and countryside (Stinkers and the poor dog were similarly frustrated, relying, as they do, on me to give them a good daily airing!)  Pregnancy may well make one slow down, but not necessarily in the way one might like.

Craft

With a baby due and being unable to walk far, it’s unsurprising that I did a bit of knitting, but it has only been some, because I struggled to be enthused (I blame the heaviness and anaemia that mean I feel perpetually exhausted). I’ve been sporadically knitting up a cardigan for Stinkers and have repeatedly cast on and frogged a lace scarf for myself because it just hasn’t been quite right, even though the yarn for the scarf is gorgeous hand-dyed stuff from the Natural Dye Studio.

In preparation for labour I made up some essential oil blends for a massage oil, a facial spritz and a post labour bath.  As it happened, I didn’t end up using them in labour, as I had a caesarian instead, but the mixes can still be used in the bath and refreshing facial spritzes are always useful!

Grow

pepper

I’ve posted a separate entry regarding what we’ve been up to in and around the garden during March and April: http://ninnynoodlenoo.com/march-april-gardening/  It’s not been a huge amount, certainly not as much as I would’ve wanted to do, but have had to be realistic this year.  There’s been plenty of help – gardening is a team effort here – but without my ‘organised head’ on, I’ve forgotten to remind people to do the watering I haven’t been able to manage, or the various little jobs that you notice need doing when pottering around the garden (because pottering isn’t something I’ve been able to do much of).

There’s also been the ongoing frustration of the garden itself being sorted ready for new plants.  Having moved here last year and the first few months being taken up with care of the (many) pots we’d brought with us, lapsing into morning sickness (which doesn’t exactly inspire one to get into the garden) and then moving into issues with mobility due to getting bigger and heavier, it’s been difficult to get much physical work done.  J is wonderful, but works long hours and the weather really hasn’t been conducive to getting the bulk of ‘groundwork’ (digging up turf, mending runs and building fencing) that has needed doing.

It’s been quite some lesson in patience for me.  I haven’t always borne it with grace…

Celebrate (and Bake!)

March and April are busy months for celebration in our household, with J’s birthday at the beginning of March, followed by Ostara (Spring Equinox), my father’s birthday shortly afterwards and then various birthdays of friends and family in and around and through these months (including my own in April).  Once March starts to get closer to the Equinox, I find my mood begins to cheer and there’s a palpable shift in energy (although it clashed rather with physical ability this year!)

Nin has been busy making various cakes that have most#slowly featured chocolate (far more cakes than those pictured below!)

I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s Blessingway (she’s due some six weeks after me) and had a lovely day of celebrating her pregnancy and the impending arrival of her baby (a few of my friends are either expecting babies, or have already given birth).

blessingway

By far the biggest event of the past couple of months for me, however, was the birth of my youngest son, Arthur (HipHop).

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Arthur Samuel

art

Born by caesarian section on 27th April 2015, weighing 10lb 11oz and 58cm long – no wonder I was finding things rather hard going towards the end!

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Not long after being born.

Having a caesarian section has been a very different experience from the births of my other children.   I had suffered a lot of anxiety throughout this pregnancy (due to a few issues with Stinker’s birth, plus the fact that I had had some health issues making it not particularly advisable to be pregnant again); plus I had had a number of issues and disagreements with the consultant (including seeing a second consultant);I barely saw the community midwife and anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a fan of hospitals and much prefer to ‘meddled with’ as little as possible, so this was a very different pregnancy – and it had taken a lot to build my confidence back up in preparation for labour (and there were still various concerns about the toll on my body), so a caesarian was a further curve ball.

It involved a lot of needles, both before and afterwards (I need to take 6 weeks of anti-coagulent self-administered jabs – very much not fun and not something I was aware was a likelihood before caesarian) and it hit me a lot harder afterwards (usually I’m up and about reasonably quickly and have left hospital within hours).

Thankfully I was able to be concious throughout the operation and J was able to sit with me (a screen was erected across my chest).  It’s a very unusual feeling being able to feel someone ‘rummaging around’ your insides without any pain.  I felt sad that I didn’t get to see Arthur ‘born’ and I had to wait a little while before I could hold him (due to there being the screen over my chest). I’m used to things being done very differently (baby being handed directly to me and straight onto my chest for skin-to-skin, so this was hard.  He was also very quiet – no crying out – although very alert.  Once he’d been checked over (clearly more of an issue after caesarian) J was able to hold him next to me, but it was still hard for me to see him properly and I couldn’t reach to touch him.  It was only when I went into post-op that I was finally able to hold him (which was a massive relief).

The team were really lovely and the anaesthetist was chatty and we talked about about home education whilst I was being stitched up (she asked interested, intelligent questions, rather than making some of the more common assumptions regarding home ed).    The surgeon also popped in to see how I was doing on the ward the next morning (which was nice).

Whilst I felt pretty ok directly after the operation (the returning sensation of the ability to move my lower body was very welcome) and the next morning (midwives commented on how well I was doing moving about, etc), later on I had a bit of a crash where my already low blood pressure plummeted and I ended up having an ECG and a CT scan (and again I clashed with the consultant over breastfeeding the next morning) and was struggling to stay concious, let alone pick Arthur up.  J had to return to the hospital in the evening to help care for Arthur, because I barely had the strength to turn my head.   J had to go home in the early hours (to relieve his parents who were looking after the other children and needed to get some sleep before work) and the midwives had to take over looking after Arthur.   This was pretty crushing for me.  Usually I’d’ve been home within hours of giving birth and in peace and comfort.  I’ve never had to hand over one of my newborns because I couldn’t cope.  But I couldn’t stay awake, let alone move, so there wasn’t much choice.  The midwives were really wonderful and I’m very thankful for all of their help.  Not an experience I’d want to repeat, though, and I feel very blessed that it was so very temporary – I really feel for parents who have a long separation from their children and such a vulnerable time!

Thankfully the various tests were clear (although I remain very anaemic in both iron and B12 and that’s quite hard-going, not least because there are issues with taking vitamin C supplements that would help iron absorption whilst taking the anti-coagulents) and after a couple more days rest I was able to come home and have a desperately needed bath (which felt amazing) and eat ‘proper’ food – hospital food is terrible!  Also few things better than your own bed and not having to have your child sleep in a separate bassinet!

Arthur shall henceforth be known as ‘HipHop’ on the blog (thanks to him hiccuping rather a lot and Stinkers insisting that hiccups are called ‘hiphops’).

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Home Education March and April 2015

March and April have had to be much quieter months.  As I got larger and closer to due date I ended up needing to use crutches and I felt rather fed up missing out a bit on the latest flowers (etc) to bloom – no nature walks for us.

The following are some of the things we have got up to over the past month.  I break them down into rough “subject areas”, although we approach learning in a more holistic fashion.

Art & Craft and Early Years

clay work

A spot of clay work

Nin and Stinkers did a spot of clay work, amongst their usual activities of drawing, colouring and painting (typically watercolours).

Art, History and Sociology

We watched “Secret Knowledge: The Private Life of a Dolls’ House“, exploring the history of dolls houses, but also Lauren Child’s passion for them.  Lauren Child is a favourite in our house and the programme also discussed how she draws inspiration from the miniature and how she puts together some of her illustrations and artworks (predominantly mixed media and, we learnt, often three dimensional and then photographed to be used in books).

Astronomy, Science

We watched The Total Solar Eclipse on LiveStream and discussed what causes a solar and lunar eclipse.

History, PSHE, Sociology and Politics

Sunday March 8th was International Women’s Day and following up on this we explored and discussed the experiences of women and girls across the world.  We also watched “Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power” a three part series on BBC IPlayer exploring the following (amongst other things):

  • the Levellers
  • law/punishment
  • Woolenstencraft
  • Hannah Moore
  • Women’s Society lobbying against the Slave Trade (boycotting sugar)
  • Peterloo
  • Great Reform Act
  • Sheffield Female Political Society.
  • Josephine Butler – campaigning regarding the treatment of prostitutes and the Contagious Diseases Act
  • Bicycles
  • The Primrose League
  • Women’s Liberal Federation
  • The matchgirls – horrific treatment – striked and allowed to form a trade union – one of the actions that led to the Labour Party
  • The Women’s Social and Political Union – NUWSS – the Suffragettes.

Further to this we also discussed issues surrounding poverty and how some people in some places may be refused medical care due to lack of money.

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We’ve also been watching a series called “Back in Time for Dinner”  following a family eating meals listed on the National Food Survey from the 1950s (and rationing) through to the 1990s, which led to interesting discussions about food, but also family dynamics and relationships.

Biology, History, Science and Zoology

Crufts was on at the beginning of March and we enjoyed watching the highlights from the various classes and discussing dogs in general (including learning something about working dogs and how breeds have developed over the many years that dogs have been associated with humans).  We also learnt how dogs ‘see’ with their noses by watching: “How Do Dogs See With Their Noses” on TED Ed.

Early Years Education and Science

A bit of fun exploring colour with the little Stinkers.  Nin already understands what happens when various colours of mixed, but it was an exciting activity for a 2 year old!

Biology, Geography, History, Mythology, Natural Sciences, Science, Religious Education and Zoology

Nin has been learning about native species of snakes using a number of sources, including: “BBC Nature: Adders“; exploring their habitat, diet, classification, etc.

To expand on this we began looking at the symbolism of snakes, starting with their use as the symbol of the British Medical Association, the “staff of Asclepius”. We also looked at the Hippocratic Oath (and who Hippocrates was) and the Oath of Maimonides as an alternative to it.

We then expanding upon this to explore some of the stories surrounding the various deities in the family tree of Asclepius (Apollo, Artemis, Panacea, Hygieia, etc), plus a general overview of the Greek deities.  We also learnt about the gorgons.

Biology, Conservation, Gardening, Environmental Sciences, Natural Sciences, Zoology

Nin has been planning bee and wildlife friendly areas to the garden.  Some of the sites she has used are:

And more!

Maths

Nin continues using Conquer Maths, working through their programme of lessons, specifically on the following:

March

  • Equivalent Fractions
  • Simplifying Fractions
  • Mixed Numbers to Improper Fractions
  • Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers
  • Fractions to Decimals I&II
  • Decimals to Fractions
  • Fractions and Decimals to Percentages
  • Percentages to Fractions
  • Percentages to Decimals
  • Comparing Numbers as Decimals

April

  • Angles – Types and Labelling
  • Measuring Angles
  • Shapes
  • Rotational Symmetry
  • Parts of a circle
  • Types of Triangles
  • Angle Sum of a Triangle

Of course there is also plenty of incidental maths to be had in day-to-day activities.

Foreign Language

Nin continues to use Duo Lingo to practice French and German.

Music

With a bit of a break over the Easter holidays, Nin has continued with guitar, recorder group and choir.

Misc

Sea Cadets twice a week, including her swimming with a buoyancy aid test (needed for her to be allowed to go on boating activities).

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There was probably more.  I’m chalking it up as an achievement I made a note of as much as is written above!  I have left out the gardening, because that’s for another post – there have been some home education specific gardening-based activities and also some other deliveries, which I’ll catch up with later.

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