Saturday, February 10, 2007

Highs and Lows

It's been a decidedly weird week. We've all been devestated by losing Merlin and having to make the decision to end his life (and despite *knowing* it was the right and kind thing to do, the guilt of playing God like that gets to you, doesn't it?). Yet before Wednesday we had a wonderful day on Tuesday, which was our 10th wedding anniversary. From a bright, fun and optimistic high to a despairing and tear-ridden rock bottom in the space of 24 hours :-(

We all keep walking into rooms expecting to see Merlin there in his favourite spots. I've been watching the photo screensaver on Emily's PC which keeps providing photos of Merlin before he became ill. With yet another twinge of guilt it's dawned on me that we'd become so used to seeing him looking so thin and bony and very, very poorly that we'd forgotten what a handsome cat he really was. Jon says he was the friendliest cat he'd ever met - until recently, he would jump on *everyone's* laps for a cuddle, even if they were total strangers and whether they liked it nor not, lol. Cassie cat misses him loads and the kittens (must stop calling them that, they're 18 months old now!) have been very unsettled too. Here's a sleepy Romeo and Juliet on Emily's bed. They've been spending a lot more time together than normal this last couple of days. I guess they're missing their Uncle Merlin.
On Thursday morning, Emily painted a beautiful picture on wood to go on Merlin's grave, showing our world and the spirit world with Merlin flitting between them both. She also decorated a large rock in a glittery heart shape and started an acrylic painting of Merlin on canvas. On Friday, she went out with my Mum and Dad to get a large piece of slate to be Merlin's headstone, and Gramps is now carving Emily's message into it. They also bought some flowers to plant on his grave. Emily's coping very well with her feelings, although you can see the pain in her eyes at odd moments.

To get back to the happy part of the week - as I say, on Tuesday the 6th it was our 10th wedding anniversary :-)) Jonathan bought me a stunning swarovski crystal watch which was a heck of a surprise as we don't normally buy one another presents (so I was the worst wife in the world and hadn't got him anything!). My Mum and Dad had a lovely surprise for us too - Mum had made us a cake and decorated it and the cake stand with red and purple flowers like we had at our wedding :-)) They bought us some pink champagne too, which we also had at the wedding.
Emily had made us a gorgeous card with tissue paper flowers and brides, and we had a good day with a scrummy dinner too.

Then we had Wednesday, which of course was totally dominated by our anguish over Merlin and what to do. Once the decision was made, we couldn't get an appointment at the vet until 6pm so there was an awful afternoon of waiting and goodbyes :-(( Somehow, in the middle of the afternoon, Jon and I did manage to have a row with ebay who had removed our listing for a Hopi Ear Candling book on the grounds that it was against their illegal drugs and drug paraphenalia rules - wtf?????? Still, the mood I was in, a fight was a good thing to take our minds off the situation. After pointing out them at length that a) it was nothing to do with drugs of any kind and b) people were still allowed to sell the actual candles whilst we'd been banned from selling a BOOK, they still came back to say that this was tough and their policy was their policy. It wasn't until a further communication from us pointing out that following their logic all aromatherapy oils, healing herbs etc. should also be removed and that this a) put their entire alternative health category in question and b) had grave implications for the whole alternative health market that we're sure various media would like to hear about......that they decided they'd made a mistake after all and generously allowed the item to be relisted and sold. Gee.

On Thursday Emily didn't go to tai chi as the emotional meditations they do would have been too much for her to cope with. Jon was able to go, though, and it was also Thursday that we finally sent off the deposit and application for him to attend the Magic of Mediumship course. Guess I was right when I said he *would* be going ;-)

Today Emily's been to tap/ballet and has spent most of the rest of the day reading The Girl's Book and the Dangerous Book for Boys and trying out various bits and bobs from them including making her own bubble bath which was used with great success in this evening's bath. She also died her hair black. As you do.

Educational work has necessarily not been very high up our priority list this week. However, Emily has started reading The Haunting of Cassie Palmer which was a favourite of mine when I was a kid and we've started doing some guided reading type analysis/research/discussion on that.

Spent my hour and a half waiting at ballet this morning having a re-think about the way we're approaching education. I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for, but I know that I wasn't happy with the way we were doing things. I really want to get away from worksheets and fill in the blanks rubbish. We've covering a lot of ground, but it's not exactly inspirational.

Partly inspired by the post on Lucy's blog about waldorf main lesson books (which I'd never heard of) I did some research about waldorf educational styles (which was very interesting, but not for us) and chanced upon this lovely page full of links about "notebooking" as a home ed style. I'd never heard of this, but somehow it's exactly what I was wanting and looking for. I think we'll give this a go. Emily's very enthusiastic about the idea. Basically, we'll do all the research and reading around and discussion on a topic as normal, but then I'll leave it up to Emily which parts of what she's learned she wants to record, and how, whether in pictures, diagrams, writing or whatever. She can layout her pages how she wants and use lots of arty craft materials to get them looking great. I really, really like this idea and it's so simple - I can't believe we never thought of it before! I hope it will bring back some of the magic of home eduacation. We shall see :-)


IndigoShirl said...

So sorry to hear about Merlin...:0(

We're going through a bit of strange period with home ed too. Dee has written a timetable to start after half term with formal lessons on. I'm not sure I like the idea. But its her education, its up to her.

I love the idea behind notebooks - a wonderful collection to look back over in years to come.

BWs, Shirl

Nikki said...

Thank you, Shirl.

We "sort of" went down the timetable route for a while, but could never stick to it - I'm just not that organised and something always crops up that makes it impossible to follow. It's great that Dee is so proactive in how she wants to learn though. I hope it works well for you both!

Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

I'll have a read about notebooking - sounds good. K and B like doing lapbooks (guess it's a similar thing) and enjoy browsing through them as they contain usual snippets of information rather than chunks of literacy to plough through. Happy anniversary too!

Nikki said...

Thanks for your comment about Merlin, Elle. I think notebooking is pretty similar in concept to lapbooks, yes, but probably a bit easier, I could never quite get to grips with all the fiddly fold out bits and bobs I see in everyone's lovely lapbooks!