Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

I may have overdone it. Red Riding Hood is learning to write. Every day she completes a page of exercises in a book, and theoretically by the end of it she will have beautiful handwriting. Although we’ll probably settle for legible, and frankly if that’s the case, we’re pretty much there.

She’s been battling with 2’s, however. They’re typically rushed squiggles with roundish tops and flat feet and not much in between.Funnily enough, this week the focus has been on 2’s – both in handwriting and in maths. Clearly The Time had come to address this issue. I suggested that she think of drawing a graceful swan each time she writes a 2. Wow, was that effective! She sat up straight, placed her little fete elegantly side-by-side and drew a beautiful row of elegant swans, subtly disguised as 2’s. Success!

A few days later she was writing the date. (I have them date and name all of their work so that I have at least some form of rudimentary record). She was writing 2012, and the last two looked a little – well, squashed. She began to erase it but I was in a rush to move on to the next piece of work and told her to leave it. She looked at me condescendingly, erased the offending digit, redrew it, and said smugly, “but it wasn’t a graceful swan!”

Aunt Fanny from Robots

Aunt Fanny from Robots

Later that same day, Goldilocks and I were working on S’s in language. For some reason, all of hers have big tops and small bottoms that sort of fall off the line. They look like dangly earrings on a washing line. Not bad by itself, but not quite the look we’re aiming at. So I had her practise a row of beautiful S’s, with small tops and large bottoms, neatly planted on the line. I suggested that she think about Aunt Fanny, the hospitable lady robot in the Robin Williams/Ewan McGregor animated movie, Robots. Aunt Fanny has a small head and ample derrière. Almost at once, Goldilocks began wiggling her own bottom and started singing to herself, “I like big butts and I cannot lie …” Hey, if it works, it works.

And one last one …

In winter I prefer the girls to wear slippers or socks on our uncarpeted floors. It seems to make good sense to me, and looking at their naked little tootsies makes me cold! One evening this week, Goldilocks came to give me a hug and as I spun around to hug her back I nearly stepped on her foot. I said, “Sorry for nearly squashing your little foot – but why is it bare?”

She looked at it earnestly before turning a serious face to me and saying seriously, “No it isn’t. It’s human!”


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