Monday, 31 January 2011

I Heart Faces: Best face photo in January

I love this shot. I took it while we were playing in the garden last week. We were playing hide and seek and I had to say 'where is Isaac?' and he would jump out giggling. This of course had to be repeated over and over. Each time he was just as excited as the time before, even though he was hiding in the exact same spot every time. I love how he's sticking his tongue out all mischievous and excited.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Playing in the garden

This month we haven't been able to get outside as much as I'd like. The weather has been a bit cold and wet. Plus the kiddies have had one illness after another. This week though they are doing much better. Although I could fill big bucket with the amount of snot that is free flowing in this house. Anyway the point is, we have managed to play in the garden and Lucas has been able to get to grips with his first ever pair of wellies.

Lucas did a lots of  this...
'I've got it, I'm standing!...'


'Um this cant be right...'

'What's this? better eat it just to be sure...'

We were out the next day as well.

'The commute from home to the garden is killing me...'

 'So what do I do with this then?'

'Mummy could have got me matching gloves at least!'

'Where that brother of mine?'

Aw here he is...

They are really starting to play with each other now.  Sometimes for a good few minutes before someone gets pushed over.

 But the snot people. So much snot...
Its so much easier now I don't have to carry Lucas all the time. I just have to make sure Isaac doesn't wrestle him to the ground too much. Also if it doesn't snow again soon I'm going to fall out with winter and start wishing for Spring. Mainly so we can get outside more.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Wordless Wednesday: I'm always right

I cant take credit for this photo. I obviously didn't take it, my brother Blobbybirdman did. But it cracks me up so much. I don't know what we were discussing but I know for sure I was right. I always am ; )

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I'm not stupid. I just cant count: Dyscalculia

That's right you read the title right. I can't count but I am definitely not stupid. 

Time for some honesty.

For years I kept this secret. 

I couldn't do maths no matter how hard I tried. Dyslexia runs in my family so maybe it was that. I was tested as a child and my parents were told I didn't have it. So I believed the only possible answer was that I must be stupid. This was hard to take especially as my brother was so intelligent and read maths text books for fun for Gods sake! I tried to keep up. I followed the academic route and did really well. Except when it came to maths. I remember my first day at secondary school when the maths teacher retested me in front of the whole class announcing that he couldn't believe I didn't get ANY answers correct. I took it again and by gosh I failed again! The whole class stared at me in disbelief... One word: Mortified

Another maths teacher nearly feel off his chair when he saw me sitting beside my brother at parents evening. 'You...And him?!.. he's your brother?!...He's so good and your so...' This stuttering went on for a while until my mother angrily changed the subject. 

I could read and write well. I did well at school. It was weird how I was able to be very successful in all other subjects except this and so teachers just ignored it. Unlike reading and writing, an inability to do maths is something you can hide easily most of the time. You can learn by rote for a day for a test or something. The interesting thing is many people have tried to teach me over the years (including my brother) but it never stays in my head. Part of me hoped if I just tried hard enough I would be able to overcome it. I got a grade C GCSE because I worked and worked but it was all lost very quickly. I can understand very well when taught but I cannot retain it for long. My childhood maths books are full of pages or correct answers but a week or even a day later the answers are all wrong. But I kept fighting against it. I wanted to be like my big brother. I went the academic route, ignoring and underrating the things I was actually good at like drawing. I thought so I can draw, what use it that? I didn't even take Art GCSE (now that was stupid).

I qualified as a primary teacher. I really liked working with children but I think a part of it was still me trying to overcome it. To pass my numeracy teacher training assessment I taught my self over and over and over again. It was hard. The maths training was torturous and quite frankly embarrassing.  I took my numeracy test for teacher training 3 times before finally passing on the third go. When I passed I cried I was so happy. If I took it now I would fail, no doubt about it. 

Take a breath Sian, time for the ugly truth:
I've learnt my times tables 100 of times yet I will never know them.
I cant count in 2s 5s and 10s. That's it.  
Before my teacher training I couldn't tell you that if I had 7 that I need 3 more to make 10 without counting on my fingers. 
Percentages/ fractions no chance... 
I cant remember names, birthdays (not even my parents) or important dates in general (don't worry I've got Christmas down).

So that pretty strong evidence that I am in fact stupid right?

The annoying thing is I really like numbers. I like the truth of numbers. That there is a right or wrong answer. No fannying about in the middle. They just refuse to stay in my head even though I've tried so hard to be hospitable. A teacher once said to me 'its like you are in a foreign country and you are blind to all the maths around you.' 

I used to freeze when someone asks a question involving maths, I would act like I'm working it out in my head. But really I was killing time hoping they will work it out first. You know like Homer Simpson when he's supposed to be thinking there's a picture of a donut in his head instead...hmm donuts...Actually with some time and no pressure I can sometimes get there but at the time I would panic and my mind would go blank. I also have trouble being organised and prioritising which conflicts with my perfectionist personality. Therefore I'm constantly frustrated and my house swings from being perfectly tidy to never has a room been more trashed in the history of the world. 

However (we are getting there promise) it turns out I have something called Dyscalculia. Only 4 to 6% of the worlds percentage have it. Not being good at percentages i'm assuming that's good right? (just kidding) I found out when I was working as a teacher. Someone came to our school to talk to us about teaching children with learning difficulties. As she described Dyscalculia it was like she was describing my life! I literally pounced on her and asked if she would test me. It was a such relief! In fact many people with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia actually have high IQ's. Although I also read somewhere that Dyscalculia is defined as a form of brain damage. Which is...nice... Whatever its still a step up from Stupid! Whoop whoop! 

Being diagnosed doesn't mean other people will stop thinking your stupid though. Most people have never heard of it. When I tell people they often don't believe me. People have said 'you couldn't have become a teacher if that were true', or 'your just saying that because you are a bit thick' (I kid you not and that was a teacher). Its where Dyslexia was years ago. I wonder how many children out there have Dyscalculia, thinking they are stupid and no one is disagreeing. 

I have stopped trying to overcome it and have accepted it is part of who I am. You can improve with daily effort and I have, but it will never go away. I think it made me a better teacher though. I understood what it feels like to not understand so I would break it down simply. I only taught up to year 2 maths but I still had to teach my self for an hour before every lesson. The children in my classes knew all about my difficulty and it was no big deal. We praised mistakes saying it meant we were learning. I allow myself to make mistakes all the time now and don't feel bad about it any more. I no longer put myself down to others. Instead I am starting to do what I am good at. Taking photos, drawing and hoping one day for a job where I can be creative all day long.

I am learning to be me.

Dedicate yourself to the development of your natural talents and abilities by doing what you love to do, and doing it better and better in the service of a cause that is greater than yourself.

Useful links:

Monday, 24 January 2011

iheartfaces photo challenge: Innocent Wonder

This weeks photo challenge was innocent wonder. I kind of wished I could have used last weeks photo entry for this. But then I remembered this photo. This is Isaac when he was about 5 months old. Since he was born in December he hadn't been outside that much because it was just too cold. And whenever we were out for a walk or a drive he was fast asleep as soon as we hit the fresh air. This particular day my brother was visiting from America and it was unusually warm. So we laid him out on a blanket in the garden. When he looked around his eyes were wide as anything as he took in the blue sky, the trees, the grass and the flowers. For a baby there are so many first times. How precious that is. Thankfully photos allows us to capture those moments before we forget them because we are back to focusing on crying, naps and lack of sleep etc...

Friday, 21 January 2011


 I thought I might share our bedtime routine. Starting with bathtime!
We still bath them separately because on the occasions when we try to bath both boys together they literally nearly drown each other. 

So lets start with Isaac. 

He absolutely loves being in the bath! He often requests a story to be read while he floats about...

He's really started to imagine and play rather than just splash about... 
'Here fishy fishy...' 
It's times like these I remember how much fun I used to have in the bath when I was a kid. I think I was usually a beautiful mermaid or something. And everybody does the whole Santa beard thing with bubbles right? These days having a bath is a luxury I rarely have time for and if I do have time I haven't got the energy to get it all ready. But remember how much fun it used to be?

Now its Lucas's turn. He's still in splash as much as possible phase. 
As you can see he also loves bath time!

Momentary break in splashing to look at toys...

 And were back to the splashing...

Just in case you missed it...

Then its time to brush our teeth...

Get dry. Lucas is already flagging probably as a result of excess splashing...

Story time...

Milk for one little man...

Lastly its time for songs and kisses goodnight.

Aw they are so precious especially when they are asleep! So then we close the door and crawl down stairs to relax. Because quite frankly putting two little boys to bed is exhausting especially when hubby is away on a ski trip for the week (which he is this week). 

Night Night every one. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

First ever pair of shoes

Yesterday my baby got his first pair of shoes! How is that possible? A minute ago he was just born and now he's walking around wearing little people shoes. 

Aw aren't they lovely? He did really well unlike his brother a few years before who screamed the place down. In fact as soon as we put the new shoes on Lucas he ran off laughing into the shop. The shop assistant was like 'um yeah I think he's got the hang of it...' Just a tad I thought running after him.

Couldn't resist getting him some wellies like his big brother's as well... 

So here he is. My not a baby anymore big boy in his new shoes!

Monday, 17 January 2011

iheartfaces photo challenge: Winter Wonderland

I took this when it first started snowing in December. It just snowed and snowed...and then it snowed some more. I took this as soon as we went outside. I love his expression because he was just stunned by all this snow. We never normally get enough snow to throw a snowball let alone make snowman. Well this time we had enough to make a gathering of snowmen and still have some left over to play with.

When I was a primary teacher we always used to talk about encouraging 'Awe and Wonder' in the children. Well here it is in it's simplest form: Awe and Wonder thanks to mother nature. Also in case I haven't mentioned it enough in previous blog posts...

I freaking love snow! 

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Nightmare week

I've got to be honest. It has been a difficult week and as a mummy I'm exhausted. The week after a holiday like Christmas I always find difficult. I think its after all the excitement and lack of routine. They go a bit nuts. Isaac has been a frequent visitor to the time out spot and is possibly thinking of setting up a holiday home there. If I have to to say 'BE GENTLE!' one more time... *crazy mummy eye twitch*
Isaac in full hyperactive swing only to crash and burn later...

Urgh! And Lucas as some of you may remember, had been recovering from a nasty ear infection in both ears. While he was on antibiotics he seemed to be improving so we thought he was better. This week things got worse and worse. He would go from playing happily to screaming in seconds over hardly anything.  I started to think 'Oh God has Lucas started the so called terrible 2's a year early?! At times I could not comfort him at all. I felt useless.

He has also been waking more in the night and decided that 5am is a much more suitable wake up time in the morning. After being ill myself last week I was having trouble finding any energy at all. I know its bad when I start day dreaming about being asleep. Yet I've been killing myself trying to keep them occupied and feeling guilty every time I used TV to calm things down. Also housework had completely gone out of the window and the mess was slowly starting to take over. At times I swear I could hear it laughing at me. Much like my messy desk does on a daily basis. *shakes fist at desk* I finally deduced that quite frankly maybe I'm not good at this mummy thing after all. 

However after going to the Doctors this evening it turns out that he still has nasty ear infections! So no wonder he is so miserable and quite possibly he said, it started with Swine flu. Wait what?! The doctor says that many people have it and don't even realise. Now I'm thinking I had it too which might explain my lack of mummy resources this week. I was so ill last week that hubby had to take a day off work to look after the little ones. That's like unheard of.

So maybe I'm not completely awful and maybe he's a legend for coping as well as he has. The Doctor said at times his ears would be stupid painful so he has done so well so have happy moments at all. So here's to the little man who, while I've been complaining about being tired, has been really struggling. Thank God he's okay.

Irresistible no?