I'm back. Not quite rested and recharged as I had hoped but certainly feeling lighter and brighter for having spent more time thinking, communicating and decision making over the last few days.
The Home Front
It was over eight years ago when Craig and I decided to investigate the possibility of becoming respite foster carers. At that time we had no children of our own and while going through the process discovered I was pregnant with Hermione. We decided that the time wasn't right for us to take it further right then.
Recently, with seven years parenting experience under our belts and the children becoming increasingly less physically dependent, we decided it was time to look into this again. We embarked upon the assessment process and I have to say I found it very draining. It's not the actual process but all the emotions and questions it raises. We decided this week that the time still isn't right for us. Were we to proceed right now we would have to make too many compromises in relation to our own children. I feel we need to wait till at least all of their physical needs can be met by someone else while we are going through the training programme. I don't think we can revisit this one again till at least when Miles has weaned from the breast.
With the benefit of hindsight we would not have started the process again at this time. It's truly taken it's toll on me and that in turn has possibly impacted on all of us. I'm feeling sad, hopefull for the future and a bit steam rollered with this one.
The Garden Front
It's bad enough loosing sleep over the children but this week I lost a couple of nights over a hen - Henrietta our first crook chook! First sign of all not being well was when she laid a peach coloured jelly egg. It had no shell just a membrane. I picked it up from the nest and got such a shock I dropped it. I was even more shocked when it bounced off the ground to almost a foot in the air! Within a couple of hours she was listless, feathers puffed up, head tucked in and generally looking like she was about to drop dead any second. After many frantic calls to the vet the best offer I had was from a vet who agreed to see her but confessed to having only ever seen one other hen in his capacity as a vet, and from what I'd described said he hadn't the foggiest what was wrong. He did however say he could fit her in and that he would only charge me £40 to look at her because she's smaller than a dog! I decided that it wasn't worth the stress it would cause her of caging her up and transporting her to see this guy who knew nothing about hens but wanted me to pay him to view her. I put her in issolation and made her lots of warm pellet mash. I also dosed her with citricidal - great stuff which I'm forever giving to the kids if they're sniffly. Within a couple of days she was strutting her stuff again and we're all delighted.
The potatoes have been planted in a very large pot and two ripped ELC sack race bags. They'll be new potatoes, there won't be space to leave them to swell too big in the confines of their containers. We won't have as many potatoes this way but at least we will still have some without monopolising a fair proportion of the vegetable patch.
The seeds are all sprouting nicely on the windowsills. I really wanted to avoid trays on windowsills but with snow flurries all last week it's just been way too cold to put any outside. I bought a plastic cloche but we get a lot of very high winds round here and no matter how I staked it it uprooted and blew off.
As we become increasingly conscious of our food and the world around us my thoughts have turned to the lashings of honey the children have on their pancakes. We all have a bit of a taste for honey to be honest. I've decided that as in the case of eggs, if we wish to eat them then we should do what we can to see that the creatures providing it for us are treated with respect. As with all animal products there are some unscrupulous honey producers out there who will compromise the health of the bees in order to maximise yields. I'm going on a weekend bee keeping course in June. It feels a bit strange as I'm terrified of bees. Perhaps it's time to overcome that if we want to eat honey.
The Education Front.
I suspect that our recent involvement with the Local Authority Fostering Services may well lead to renewed interest from the Local Education Authority. I'm not best pleased about this. I can't say why exactly. I know my rights and it takes more than an officious official to rattle my cage. I know that I am meeting all of my child's educational and other requirements in an individual, responsive and compassionate way. I guess I just don't like the inconvenience of it all and the inevitability of judgements being made about how I meet my children's needs (be those judgements favourable or not I still don't like the idea of being judged in that very personal way).
Ho hum. What will be will be. Should they choose to visit it will be at a time when the children are out for the day. I will of course be home, with tea and home made cake on the table (never let it be said that I was inhospitable - even to an Education Officer), waving my carefully considered educational philosophy (must put that on the 'to do' list), displaying samples of selected work and ready to answer questions. If that fails I'll set the randy rabbit on them *grin*.
We are working on a kangaroo lapbook at the moment. We're hoping to finish it within the next few days and that will no doubt be a post in itself.
Hermione surprises me every day right now with her new found skills and knowledge. She's really bursting forth and picking up momentum. She's like a snowball that I've rolled for a long while. At first you don't see that changes but suddenly it grows so much more with each turn.
We have talked about the way forward and Hermione has chosen for us to order more books from the Horizon series - a vocab and grammar one as well as maths this time. She's also keen to use a handwriting practice book, although I've not sourced one we both like yet. I must say I'm pleased with this new interest in pre packaged type stuff to cover the basic nuts and bolts right now. I'm struggling to keep up with her thirst for knowledge and activities at the moment. This way she can get on with some things quite independently while I'm busy with Miles or making meals. It also means that the time which I set aside in the evenings to plan educational stuff can be used to think about more exciting projects which are really tailored to what she's interested in right now rather than basic numeracy and literacy.