On Tuesday we celebrated Lost Sock Awareness Day. It takes place on May 9th every year, to commemorate all those odd socks that started life as a shiny new pair and to mourn the ones that are missing.
It can be celebrated in lots of different ways. Some people attempt to reunite long lost pairs of socks whilst others spend the day wearing mismatched socks so that all the single socks out there can be saved. We chose to make a sock snake!
Before all that though came Monday. It was a non eventful day. Jenson made a video camera out of magformers and Wren up cycled her old vintage pram into a brilliant planter, which in a few months, will be bursting with colourful nasturtiums and sunflowers that we grew together from seed. I also got cajoled into a trip to the LEGO shop, (Smyths) to buy Jenson an early birthday present. This kept him quiet for most of the day, allowing me to get on top of the house after our recent trips away.
And so, sock day! We raided our drawers for all our odd socks. Turns out Daddy had the most and nearly all were decorated with holes!
Jenson laid them all out on the table and chose which ones he wanted to incorporate into his snake. He picked out head and tail socks and cut the toes off the others that would form the body segments.
Out came the sewing machine and we got stuck straight into stitching all the socks together. It was pretty fiddly, but with guidance from me and Jenson in charge of the peddle we eventually ended up with a continuous line of socks.
Next came the challenging task of stuffing the beast. Jenson had wanted a very long snake and this created a number of problems. The biggest task we faced was how to get the stuffing all the way to the head of the snake when there were so many other socks to push it through. My hand was a bit big but I tried my best to help.
We eventually succeeded and I helped Jenson to stick buttons on for eyes and a piece of red ribbon for its tongue. He also wanted it to wear a collar and lead so that he could take it for walks!
Once the snake was finished, Jenson got stuck into a rather beautiful drawing as it turns out. In Jenson's own words, it's a long, strong animal carrying LEGO, a banjo and suitcases because he is going on holiday!
Snake then got a rather thorough health check! He had an eye test...
...and tumours removed.
Next Jenson combed his skin...
...checked his reflexes...
...and took his pulse.
Snake was in good hands with Captain America but the doctor's coat did make an appearance at the end once the check up was complete, perhaps to make sure procedures had been carried out correctly!
Wren meanwhile had wanted to make a teddy and rabbit! I helped her pour rice into each sock and we used ribbon to tie off their heads, bodies and ears.
Once finished I positioned them standing next to each other for a photo only for Jenson to come along and change them into this rather more romantic pose!
So that brings us to yesterday, which was been brilliant. After taking Jenson to a nutritionist on Tuesday night we began the day with a hearty breakfast that consisted of lots of eggs, brown bread and full fat butter. This did its job and seemed to set him up for the rest of the day; there were minimal mood swings.
Jenson pulled out his learning journal and decided he wanted to draw a picture about penguins. He wrote a little caption underneath too. Despite having not written anything for a while, he was good and remembered all of the letters. He told me the penguin in the picture was a crested one, (like the one he had dressed up as for World Penguin Day.) He also did a lovely ink and quill drawing.
We got into the garden at about 9.30am and remained there until 3.30pm. Jenson did not get dressed and he did not move from the spot below for two hours, so content was he. What did he do? Well, not very much. He snuggled in his sleeping bag in the sunshine completely immersed in his own thoughts. At one point he closed his eyes as if nodding off to sleep. We listened to some Summer tunes, I relaxed on the sofa and Wren fiddled about. It was really very nice.
When he finally stirred into life, he announced he wanted to learn and so went to fetch his learning journal! He took out his pencil case, which he had been filing up with special things over the last few days, and stuck them all in. Items included money, LEGO, his badges from the Donkey Sanctuary and a padlock, (which did not stick!) Wren meanwhile looked at the pictures in The Gruffalo.
There was a bit more life in us all after lunch. I planted up the peas and sunflowers, Wren got out a sticker book and Jenson decided to clean my bike because he thought it would make me happy. It did and had it not been for the flat tyres I would have ridden it proudly around town that evening on my way to a meeting. I took the children to the Big Fish for tea and dropped them at a friends house afterwards while I went off to said meeting.
So that brings us to today. Wren is in nursery so that I can spend the day catching up on a whole heap of editing and Jenson is currently enjoying an intense Ninjago experience! It's not all been TV though. Even before Simon and I were awake this morning Jenson had been up writing, drawing and sticking things in his learning journal. He wrote some super words without help from me. Remy and Lego are new ones that he can now write. It may not compare to the words they are being taught to spell at school, but they're relevant. It's so lovely to see him enthusiastic about words, spelling and writing after referring to them for so long as boring jobs. Whilst school did give him a head start with writing, it also did a lot of damage to his enjoyment of learning. I'm thrilled to hear him start to talk about wanting to learn again.
When I did surface from bed at 7.45am I was thrown straight into a geography lesson. I don't think the printer has ever been turned on before 8am but it was all guns blazing as it spat out pirate maps decorated with mountains and wild animals. This led us nicely onto different mountain ranges and soon the globe was out so I could show Jenson which country Mount Everest is in.
We looked at how high Everest is and talked about feet and metres. This then led onto more spelling and copying of words including Indonesia complete with a pancake face!
Our geography lesson turned into a cooking lesson as we knocked up some delicious pancakes, with wholemeal flour to keep the nutritionist happy! Jenson was keen to carry on using his learning journal so I suggested he write down the pancake recipe. Cue more chat about measurements and numbers.
It's been a nice week so far. Making the sock snake with Jenson and chilling in the garden together yesterday have been my highlights, although I have enjoyed seeing his enthusiasm for his learning journal too. As this morning has demonstrated, Jenson is a natural born learner and its brilliant to see his renewed passion for it. Children just don't stop learning and I don't like the idea that it begins when the school gates open and stops when they shut in the afternoon. It shouldn't be regarded as something that can be switched on and off and definitely shouldn't feel like hard work that children need a break from. We enjoy watching our children learn whenever and wherever they get the fancy. It should be so integrated into their lives that they can't tell when they're playing and when they're learning. I'm sure lots of people feel the same and many don't, but it's just how we feel and I hope it sets Jenson and Wren up well for the future.