Saturday, April 18, 2009

Busy Weekend

Well, busy frakkin' week. School holidays: Dad's minutes rare, and expensive.

The kids and I have done our thing. We've played games of many sorts, done all kinds of housework, watched movies, cleaned things, taken stuff apart, and I've sorted out about a million goddam arguments, which is getting very fucking old I can tell you.

Favourite moment of the week? That would be going to Chickenfeed before we went shopping at the supermarket. They had these cheap-arse foam swords and daggers, so I got a set for all three kids, and one for me. Then we put on our best pirate accents, and went a-plundering in the supermarket. Yo-ho-ho and a lot of noisy piratical action, with swordfights in the aisles, and hostages taken, and enemies put to flight at swordpoint, and best of all, a rich haul of chocolate biscuit booty to be divided up once we made it back to our pirate lair.

I suspect the staff of the local supermarket thinks I'm cracked. But every now and again I catch them giggling at the kids, and getting involved in the pirate action (or whatever stunt it is we're up to at the time) so I figure they don't hate us yet, and that's good enough for me. It makes the shopping more interesting, anyhow.

Had a late-afternoon long lunch with Mike the Historian yesterday. He had an old college friend by the place -- by no great coincidence. Friend in question was until not long ago an Oxford professor of education, specializing in the issues facing gifted/talented kids. Yeah: you can bet I was up for a session involving a couple bottles of wine, good food, and a chance to pick the man's brains.

He was incredibly nice about it - not unexpectedly. Mike the Historian is a very civilized chap, and his friends tend to be monstrous well educated, thoughtful, and every bit as civilized as Mike and Eddy. It was really reassuring to talk with him -- he was very positive about the approach we're taking with Elder Son, and had a number of useful things to say without having to develop a specific curriculum, etc. Particularly reassuring notes: 1) formal assessments aren't a lot of use, except where parents and education system disagree over the nature of the kid. And that's not the case with Elder Son. 2) An eclectic, all-inclusive sort of approach that lets the kid discover his own body of knowledge is helpful; apparently, a wide-ranging set of background knowledge is important to creativity in general. 3) Challenge the bugger. New stuff. New ideas. Make him think!

There were a few more things, but that was the gist of it. I also got an email address, so if I really feel I'm getting out of my depth, I can scream for help. And you'd have to suspect an Oxford prof ought to know what he's on about...

Today didn't go as planned, though. We were going to have some time with Natalie, but that went south at about 0800. Turns out our Increasingly Pregnant Neighbour has finally decided to be less pregnant. Though she's still not in any hurry. It's four in the afternoon now. Natalie's in Launceston at the hospital. Having travelled in the ambulance, she hasn't got a car, so the kids and I are going to have to go in and fetch her... but that baby's still not in evidence.

It's going to be a long, annoying evening. Guess I'll just load the kids up in about twenty minutes, drive in, get something to eat at Morty's Food Court, and then see what's happening. Hopefully I'll be able to get the kids back home and into bed before too late. Otherwise, I'm really not sure what we can do...

Babies. They're such a bloody nuisance!