"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Milly's birthday week,including a marathon story telling day!

Milly decided against having a party this year,choosing to put the money we would have spent on a party towards decorating her room. We have a family get together at my Mums on Valentines day and a special day planned for her actual Birthday on the 16th.
Her friends are both away for her birthday and were unable to come for a sleepover together so she has had two!
Her teenage friend Emily(nickname Tom to ease confusion!) came on Wednesday.During home ed group they went off into town and Tom bought them some stickers and cola and sweets.They had been planning it on MSN and Milly had bought a couple of notebooks that they were going to decorate.They did that and had a makeup and hair session as well as watching a film.Tom made it a nice evening for her and they both slept in the new room.

We took Tom home at lunchtime and then came back walked Beauty and I expected Emily to collapse but she walked Beauty again with Al when he got home.

Emily and I were due to go to the cinema on Friday to see the new Hayao Miyazaki film Ponyo .For some reason our local Cinema was not screening it so we decided to have the day at home and as it turned out it I needed the rest.See previous post!

Milly and best friend A had a sleepover ,well I say sleep,not too much of that was had! It was after 2.30 when they got to sleep and Emily set her phone alarm for 8.30 so they could have time together before they left at 11 to go swimming with Al.
They swam for an hour and a half and then after lunch walked round Keswick.

In the car Milly carried on a story she had been telling A the night before.It was a ghost story but if A got scared when she was telling it in the night she added funny bits in to lighten it for her.A (who is a bookworm of the first order!) was mesmerised by the story and in stitches at the funny parts.

During the journey A(who goes to school) asked Emily "how do you know all those big words?"
Emily said "well I read a bit and Mum and Dad read to me and I listen to story tapes a lot ,so I guess that's how!"
Later on in the story A asked Emily what inconsolable meant and Alan said that Emily gave her a very good explanation very quickly.

Storytelling is what Emily does.She thinks in chapters and when she is appearing to do "nothing" bathing for ages or out on her hammock,she will come in and tell us she reached chapter 12 in the new story she was creating.
She tells her story without hesitation, never having to stop and think about it.The stories often "wander" and loose direction. Slowly, over time, they are getting better and better in both content and structure,and even some punctuation thrown in when she does write them down:-)

For the latest story idea,as with so many in the past she has a notebook with all the characters details and book titles (this latest story is part a series of books) and chapter titles in.Every time she starts one it is with excitement and enthusiasm.
She sometimes starts to write a story out or type it on the laptop but most of the time it is all verbal and not recorded in any way.

Although I don't think she is overly bothered about them being recorded I do occasionally offer to type for her,she always says no. She is not using her dictation machine as much either. If she did want a written record of it, I think her ideal would be for her to be able to do it herself.I am going to look into voice recognition software. The little info I have gathered about it wasn't too positive. I will do more research.I wouldn't want to get it and for her to get all excited and then be let down ,as this might knock her back.

I often think about how different things would have been for her at school and was comparing what she does in such a free and easy way to what she would have to do in lessons.She would have "had" to write down a story,to have an end product that could be marked .Added to the difficulty she would have found in writing it down it would also be on a topic she may not have had any interest in (Milly is passionate about her stories and characters.)
Any joy would have been eaten away by having to use punctuation or cursive writing .The whole process would have sucked her dry.I have no doubt in my mind that her appetite for storytelling would have died.

I was thinking back to when I used to help out with craft activities at play groups and then at Milly's school. All the bits of the flower ( or whatever the teacher had decided the children would do ) were pre cut.There was a finished article for the children to see how it should look.The children were encouraged to do it in a certain way, using certain colours,they were " helped" to make theirs look like the model and the end products from 30 individuals varied little.
It was the same for any written topic as well,subject matter chosen by someone else, with certain facts that had to be included.The same end product with little variation.

If Emily continues with her love of stories (would be strange if she didn't, as her whole life so far has been about them) I know she will continue to master the structure and grammar and all those other things because she will want to.At the moment we have many notebooks with a bit of a story in or a character list or drawings of characters in.There are a couple of finished articles but at the moment they are not what is important to Emily,it is the process she loves.

I am not worried, I have no fear that she is wasting her time and will never write anything down.I have the evidence of her growth over the past three years.She has moved on herself,with no lessons,no set work,no spelling tests.She tells stories,writes poetry,talks about how a scene from "her book" would look as a film,what music might be used for a particular scene.We read,we talk,we watch TV,we listen to story tapes,we live life,get out and about and follow things that interest us,we have fun.

We don't have "work" to show for all this,there are no neatly packaged end products.We do however have a daughter who is an avid storyteller,who is happy and whole and in her element being able to follow her hearts desire whenever the mood takes her.I know which one I would rather have:-)

 Added by Emily who read the end of this while I was making us a cuppa:-)
(i am now writing shadow dancer by milly bamber) (copywrite)

Happy birthday my darling.You bring light to my life and joy to my heart.

Friday, 12 February 2010

No better way to start the day!

I woke at 8.30 this morning and fell back to sleep very quickly.I dozed on and off until I woke with a start at 10.45! We have had a couple of busy days with a late sleepover and I obviously needed to catch up!
I lay for a while and thought Emily must be having a long lie too as I couldn't hear anything.As I went out of the bedroom I saw that Emily's door was open, I heard the kettle boiling downstairs and the sound of pots clattering and thought for a moment Alan must be home for some reason.
As I went down the stairs I heard the TV on but when I popped my head round the door to say good morning, the room was empty.I walked into the kitchen and there was Milly setting a tray! She scowled jokingly when she saw me ,saying I had spoilt her surprise and shooed me back up to bed!
She had made me weight watchers toast and butter and tea with this card on the tray:-)

What a great way to start the day.

Todays bargains:-)

 More goodies from Impact housing:-)

Popped in today to see if they had any bedside tables and found these two needing a little loving attention.Not too sure what colour to do them,Emily says it should be the duck egg blue I have all the accessories in our room but I am leaning towards white, so they will not need to be changed if the colour scheme changes.
We have also been looking for rugs for Emily's room and she has fallen in love with a few soft furry rugs but they have been too expensive.A perfect furry (synthetic ) rug was found today.
Al has managed to break a couple of dinner plates over the last few months and finding 6 of these will do nicely to replace them with a few left over for any future breakages:-)
£13.00 for all the above!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

A glimpse into the future....

Emily has slept in her own room since we finished decorating it.
I am so pleased for her,she is happy and in love with her new room and it is "time" for her.

After 3 years,I also have a twinge of sadness that she is no longer in her bed next to me .I can no longer stroke her hand during the night and feel her close to me.I miss waking and watching her sleep.I loved when she woke me gently by stroking my arm or face.I felt so connected to her.
I am so glad we (eventually) listened to our hearts and not other opinions and brought her bed into our room when she needed us. Prior to this we had spent the years playing musical beds:-) Most nights we would read and sing to her in her room and she wanted us to stay with her holding her hand till she fell asleep.This could take hours.

At other times,when Emily needed us close we would have her in our bed and one of us would go in her room.

I do miss her being in with us,there is no doubt about that and it will take a while to adjust.I don't feel too sad though.It is "time " for me as well.We were there when she needed us close and now she is spreading her wings. I know I will find other ways to maintain that connection to her.

On the plus side :-)
I get to have a bedside table again,I can go to bed with a cuppa and have a place to put it next to the bed:-)
I can have a light on it, so I can read and will no longer have to don the head torch :-)
I can get up during the night to go to the loo without having to do the wriggly dance down to the bottom of the bed:-)
I can get in my wardrobe without the hindrance of a mountain of soft toys stored at the bottom of the
I will no longer be woken by an arm flung across and hitting me in the head!!

She is spending a lot of time in her room during the day,I am welcome in, obviously, but she is wanting time on her own, in her own space.Emily is 11 on Tuesday.The last week has given me the opportunity to envisage what it might be like when she is a teenager and beyond.It has made me aware of how fleeting our time with her is.
It has made me determined to spend and enjoy as much time as possible with her,when she wants me.Instead of getting distracted and thinking of all the other things I could be doing,I will savour each moment of playing at being a vampire and listening to her many stories.Instead of getting on with household jobs while she watches TV,I will make the time to sit and snuggle with her more.I will take any opportunity to "be" with her.
 This time is precious, our relationship is changing.
I have had a glimpse into the future.What we do now is so important for our future relationship in so many ways. I am so grateful to have had this reminder,I don't want to look back when she is older and wish I had spent more time with her.

May cat, a poem by Milly

Dog paws dance on floor
May cat sees them all
May cat sits in the window
and sits and sits and stares
May cat walks along the pathway
and dog paw prints lead the way to heaven
dog prints walk along the path
as humans kiss and shout
May cat walks behind October dog
as his prints run ahead
leading him far away
where people are not there
May cat runs ahead of october dog
and leads him past hell
she will not take him there because October dog was good
May cat never tires of her long and trusty job 
May cat is an angel cat
and so
there is the end.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Setting off for a walk with Beauty.
Me "Shall we go on our usual route?"
Emily " Yes indeed,short but gratifying"
:-)) :-))

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Moving on in her own time...

An at home day today after a couple of busy days.Monday was at home but there was a lot to do to finalise things in Emily's room and I had paperwork and household things to clear.I also made a pork and apple curry for Tuesdays tea.

Tuesday we made a visit to my Mum and Dads for lunch and then into Carlisle with Mum so that Emily could buy two toys from the Disney store.I had a few jobs to do and then met them at my sisters shop.My sister and her husband had gone for a late lunch so we never got to see them:-(
As the visit to Carlisle had been a spur of the moment thing I forgot to tell them we would be popping in.
Mum had driven us in so it limited the amount of driving I had to do.After shopping we stopped off briefly to show grandad the new additions to the soft toy family:-)

We set off to go to Workington to get some things and decided to have an early tea at Morrisons.It was well after five before we got home.The bed had been delivered before we set off.It had been due to be delivered on Monday and we waited in for it.We had a call to say the van had broken down and the next available delivery day was Wed.We were not happy because it was our Home ed group day but didn't want to wait til next week.We were putting our shoes on to go to my Mums on Tues when the phone rang. It was the delivery driver saying he would be with us within the hour! I was not at all impressed but it seemed worth waiting and getting to my mums later.I rang the shop to find out what was going on,but had to leave a message.
We got back from my mums to a message from the dlievery firm to say our bed was due to be delivered on the Wed between 12 and 6!! Seems the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing!!

 Alan and Emily started to put it up while I made Als tea.

On the Sunday after we had got Emily's room sorted we laid two mattresses on the floor as she wanted to feel what it would be like to have a double bed:-)

We were surprised when she said she would try sleeping there,didn't say anything obviously.That night she decided to go up to bed around 10.She never asked for anyone to go with her.She went to listen to Breaking Dawn on her MP3 and was snoring when I went in the bath at 11.30 :-)
She was soooo proud of herself the next morning.The second night she was a little more apprehensive ,but we talked about the options she had if she was unsettled and off she went all by herself again!

This is a girl who never went to bed by herself.She liked one of us to go with her.She was scared on her own.

The idea to decorate her room was hers.In all the discussions about her having a double bed she was talking about moving out of our room.We listened and shared her excitement but never made a big thing out of it.All the plans about decorations and colours were hers.She really owns this room.On the Sunday when she saw it all put together she was nearly crying with joy.
She was ready to move out,she was in control and the transition was painless.

The excitement levels were high putting the bed up yesterday!! She has hardly got out of the bed or her room since :-))
Here she is playing her DS,listening to a story CD tonight,having spent most of the day in her room!

She came through to me this morning(we had decided not to go to home ed group as she wanted to spend time in her room) and got into bed with me and after a cuddle asked me if I wanted to try her bed out:-) I did and then it seemed I began to get too comfy:-) She asked me to leave, as she wanted to listen to her Mp3 for a while!

We played in her room for a while after breakfast and then I got round to spraying some old picture frames black and sourcing some pictures online to go in them.Blue moon,Manga girl and Spirited away image.They have turned out quite well.

These two are waiting to go up tomorrow.I added some purple tissue paper hearts to these frames and sealed them with PVA glue.


We had lunch and then walked Beauty whilst playing a game involving us both being Vampires.We had a good hour out. Back home and I went in a bath and read my book for a while before getting out and putting a play list Emily had made onto her MP3.While I was doing that snow began falling and Emily decided to go out in her dressing gown.
The first I knew was when she threw a snowball at the window!


She had a swing and a bounce before coming in again.

Pottering until Al came home then tea and helping Alan to wire up all her lights and CD player.Her room only has two sockets near her bed and therefore requires extensions on most of the lights etc.They had music on loud and got the job done by 7.30,just in time for a tickle fight :-)