"Mum!" calls my 12 year old. "Look what I've done!" He proceeds to show me how he's found a programme on his laptop that gives me a green screen. This means he can make lots of special effects, for him meaning making his own dinosaur or supernatural film on his you tube channel. He goes into vast detail of what he has to do to make it work and if I'm honest, my ears shut down a little as most of what he is saying is going straight over my head! However, despite my lack of understanding, I love that he is so motivated to find out new things and create amazing videos. We've only be HEing him since September and it's all quite new to him. I have to admit that I have wobbly days where I wish he was writing endless stories or drawing endless pictures that he used to do prior to leaving school... but then I realise that despite it only being 9 months, he has grown up so much as a person. The little boy who left school is no more. He may only be 12 years old, but he has grown so much as a person that he doesn't even resemble the boy in Year 6 less than a year ago. And that makes me feel so proud.
"Mum!" calls my 14 year old. "I can't do it!" She looks up at me from her chair in despair. "I hate geography! Why do we even have to do GCSEs!? I just want to be a child and do child things. Why do I have to rush to grow up?" My daughter left school nearly 2 years ago due to severe anxiety. Despite this she was very academic (in the sense of she just naturally did well at all subjects - but loved none of them). Since leaving school I've tried to convince her to take a more relaxed hands-on approach to learning. Telling her if she wants GCSEs a bit later she can choose one or two a year and go from there. But she's so stuck in the school way that she wants to take at least 5 and start studying them now to sit the exams in summer 2019. "But it's so boring!" she says. "My life is all about GCSEs and I just hate it!". So I tell her that she can change that. She chose to do her GCSEs now but she can go a different route if she wants. She can do some practical courses for now and maybe go to college to do vocational courses alongside English and Maths when she's ready... but due to her anxiety the thought of college terrifies her. The thought of sitting her exams as an external candidate terrifies her too. As a mum I am beside myself with worry. What if she bottles out of sitting any exams AND going to college... what then?? I will feel like I've failed her. But right now I can't think of that. I just have to help to guide her in the right way so that she can find her passion. That's what I'm here for. She's only 14. She has time to decide what she wants to do and the jump between 14 and 16 is huge with regards to maturity, confidence and life goals. So I will sit and wait. Help her to experience a variety of things and have trust that she will figure it out in her own way.
"Mummy!! Look at what I made!!" calls my 5 year old. "I made a "hostipal" from lego!" and he proceeds to tell me at great length all of the pieces he used to make it. "Can you help me make a dock, like at the harbour?" I was just about to grab my notebook and sit down with a cuppa to jot some points down for an article I had an idea on. But his expectant face looks up at me and I cave in. "Ok, I'll help you". We spend the next hour searching through endless piles of lego bricks trying to find the perfect ones to make into a dock. By the time we finish my tummy is rumbling loudly. "Do you want lunch?" I ask hauling myself up off the floor. "Not yet" he replies tipping yet another box of lego pieces all over the floor.
I walk into the kitchen and open the fridge.
"Mum!" Calls my 14yr old. "Can you help?" I grab the lettuce from the fridge, put it on the side and go to her. She asks me to explain a question in her book. I read it three times before I understand myself and then attempt to explain it to her. She looks at me confused so I go back through the passage and show her examples of what it wants. "Oh, yeah." she says, finally understanding. I return to the kitchen and open the fridge once more. I take out some more salad, some dressing and some hard boiled eggs I cooked earlier. I put them on the side and go to fetch a plate.
"Mum!" calls my 12 year old. "I can't reach the box in my cupboard". So I go up the stairs to help he get said box down from the top of his wardrobe.
I return to the kitchen and begin to put the salad on to the plate.
"Mummy! Can you help me wipe my bum!" my five year old yells from upstairs. "I can do it, but can you check".
"Yes ok" I call back, tummy making loud gurgling noises now and my body starting to feel a little weak due to hunger.
Back in the kitchen I peel the shell off the egg and slice it and place it on the salad.
"What's for lunch?" says my 12 year old as he slumps into the kitchen.
"Whatever you want." I reply. "I'm doing salad, do you want some?"
He turns his nose up and shuffles over to the fridge. Can I make bacon sandwiches?"
I'm trying to lose some weight but I could KILL for a bacon sandwich right now, but that doesn't mean he can't have one. "yes that's fine" I say reluctantly. I pour a small amount of low fat dressing on to my salad and take my plate to the table.
"I'm hungry now" says my 5 year old. "Can I have a wrap?" I debate telling him he now has to wait, but seeing as he only ever has butter in it, and he likes salad too, I decide it will quicker and more pleasant if I just quickly make it and he can join me at the table. So I do that.
As we sit down again to eat, my 14 year old comes in while on the phone to her friend. "I'm just grabbing this" she says taking a hard boiled egg out of the fridge and begin peeling it. "I'll be back for lunch in a minute".
Once I finish my meal I stand up to visit the toilet. "Mum" says my 12 year old..... and 15 minutes later I manage to close the bathroom door and breathe a sigh of relief as I finally have a bit of privacy. Spoken too soon, I suddenly hear a knock at the door "Mum!..."