I’m a vegetarian and my mother is a Buddhist, yet one of Ellen’s favourite summer activities is swatting flies. A few weeks ago my husband broke our (admittedly rather cheap) fly swat with a rather enthusiastic swing at a bluebottle which buzzed merrily out of harm’s way. This meant that the next time we went shopping Ellen was very keen for us to buy a replacement swat – imagine her delight when we found that in the local poundshop you could buy 5 swats for £1! As you can imagine the quality of the tools has not significantly increased.
Ellen proudly displaying her prey
So, this afternoon we spent half an hour searching the house for flies which could be swatted. The fact that we had a choice of swats meant that we could have one each, and so fulfil an RDI objective by co-ordinating our swatting! Our grand total of corpses was five but in addition to this we found one tiny baby fly, a spider and a moth which were all spared because according to Ellen, the fly swat can only be used for flies.
Being a day at home we also had plenty of time to finish painting our papier mache shark which has ended up looking remarkably like the picture on the box, more by luck than design I think. The part that Ellen was the most enthusiastic about ? Painting the blood around it’s mouth.
Painting the shark
Perhaps I should be rather glad that at the moment she has only wanted to look at the puppies….
Spot the puppies!
Four gorgeous Cocker Spaniel puppies were safely born into our household on Monday morning (expected I hasten to add).
To say that they have slightly overtaken our life is an understatement! Ellen is delighted because I’ve left her alone for a whole three days, but she is rather taken with the puppies.
Now how to work them into an RDI activity….mopping up wee and poo perhaps, I’m sure with the four of them we could work in a bit of coordination…
A close up of Dillon (on his back), Florence, Ermintrude and Brian (close to camera)
Ellen delivering leaflets
Ellen has finished college now and doesn’t go back until the 3rd September so everyday is an Ellensdays for the next two months and gives me the opportunity for a lot of RDI interactions #positivity.
Sticking with our term time routine however, this morning we went to the village shop so that Ellen could complete her list of jobs and thus earn her Milky Bar in wages.
She romped through the list with minimal help from me (taking instruction from another lady in the shop) and she even washed up the few things in the sink without using gloves, although how well they were washed up I’m not sure…still, it’s all progress.
The shop has produced a promotional leaflet which is being delivered throughout the local area during July. Thinking this might be a brilliant job for the dream-team, I offered for Ellen to deliver to Grange Road, a housing estate in the village.
Ellen wasn’t happy about this new turn of events – refusing to smile the whole way round – but did complete the task, mainly because she was promised a trip to McDonalds upon its successful completion! Out of around 35 houses we had 10 letter boxes with ridiculously tight brushes guarding the entrance (Ellen sort of crushed the leaflet into the brushes in these instances), 4 garden gates which were broken and needed lifting to open, 3 loud barking dogs (they made Ellen jump and she dropped the leaflets on the floor) and around 6 houses with external postboxes fixed to the side of the house – something Ellen wasn’t used to spotting but which did come in handy when combined with the rabid dogs.
All in all a seemingly straightforward task proved to be quite dynamic and despite the grumpiness of her delivery she actually coped with it pretty successfully and it made me wonder whether leaflet delivery could be a future job opportunity for her….?
The growing ‘Go’ pile
Another little notch of success today came with my ‘keep’ and ‘go’ campaign. You may remember from my blog of a few weeks ago that I’m trying to sort out some of Ellen’s ‘collections’. Things did not start in a promising fashion in that Ellen refused to put any of her jumpers on the ‘go’ pile. Well, since then we have completed a few more ‘keep’ and ‘go’ sessions sorting the top of her chest of drawers (where she still firmly kept everything except an old plaster) and my t-shirt drawer (where she was unfortunately very generous with the ‘go’ command).
Today I tried with a shelf of her bookcase. Remarkably six books made it into the ‘go’ pile, still a tiny proportion but definite progress. When I tried to continue up to the next shelf of the bookcase however I was firmly told to go ‘out of the playroom’. By the end of the eight weeks of summer holidays I may possible have finished the whole room….steady.
I’m fascinated by mummies and everything Ancient Egyptian, so when I saw that the British Museum had a new exhibition on called : Eight Mummies, eight stories, I was very keen to go. Then I thought – why not take Ellen on one of our Wednesdays? The museum will be quieter and the British Museum is only a short walk from Euston station, all perfectly do-able…Hmm.
Since I booked the tickets about a month ago, I have many times wondered whether the whole idea was slightly bonkers. The only thing for it was to plan everything to the nth degree. I bought the exhibition guide in advance so that Ellen and I could look through it on the train, but I also decided to make a ‘Treasure Hunt’ list. This was to be a short achievable hunt with only five items on it and with the help of the guide book I fairly easily compiled a quiz sheet which you can see in the gallery of photos below:
How was I to know that three of these items were in the first display cabinet and were very quickly found! All the best laid plans etc. Still I had the ace up my sleeve as Ellen had been told that if we did the treasure hunt and she was good at the museum then she could get a Burger King at Euston and eat it on the train home – talk about motivation!
The walk from Euston to the British Museum was actually longer than I thought, more like 15 minutes each way than the 5 I had remembered; but Ellen coped well and stayed with me on the journey. We negotiated our way through the busy galleries (what’s happened to work/school?!) and found the right exhibition with little trouble. Our route took us through the gallery containing large stone Egyptian sculptures, many were animals, much to Ellen’s delight. At the exhibition itself Ellen actually seemd to really enjoy looking at the mummies and the skeletons and there was a lot of interactive stuff whereby she could spin a dial and see the mummy’s wrappings removed to reveal the mummified remains and amulets underneath etc. Lovely gory stuff.
The first trip round was fairly swift, we ticked everything off the treasure hunt list and then ended up in the inevitable gift shop. Who’d have thought that the gift shop would contain a soft toy? Not me, but it did, a black ‘Egyptian’ cat which then accompanied us on a second tour round the exhibition as I wanted to make sure I got my money’s worth.
On the way home I told Ellen that my favourite bit was the painted mummy and she responded that she liked the tambourine (a sistrum). I think probably Ellen’s highlight of the day was Burger King, but to my surprise she did say ‘go to the museum again’ as we got off the train at our station. There’s certainly more to see at the British Museum, in fact a whole lot more mummies including some mummified cats and dogs. Which may give us an idea of something we can do with the ‘Egyptian’ cat on a rainy day 😉