Well the school half-term break has been and gone and we were getting back into term time routines when Toby came down with a vomiting bug. Poor Toby has had more than his fair share of illness this winter, perhaps his system has been weakened by the growth spurt he's been going through - it seems that he's visibly grown every morning when he gets out of bed and he's not far off H in height now. Happily he's over the bug and back at school now, a little thinner and a little taller and still with his poor old callouses from the hand biting that remains a too frequent part of his days.
Over the half term break we spent some time trying to expand Toby's P.E.C.s vocabulary by starting on descriptive symbols. Motivation is the key to P.E.C.s (which is why teaching it often fails in schools here, as they refuse to use food items as request-able and why on earth would any child want to jump through hoops to request a red cup or a green sock?) Luckily at home we don't have those restrictions and I use Toby's favourite foods all the time to re-enforce his use of P.E.C.s vocabulary and to motivate him to be more communicative with us. Recently he's discovered a love of twister ice-lollies. These come in a pack of half red-with-green-middle and half green-with-red-middle and for some reason Toby doesn't like the ones with the red outside. So when he's brought the 'I want lolly' request to me I've been making him choose which colour.
It's working really well and he's now independently adding the green symbol to the lolly on his request strip. So green lollies is all he gets and I have a freezer filling up with red ones because although Amy likes them she's out so much of the time and she can't match Toby's lolly eating pace!
True to form I didn't see much of Amy over the half term break - apart from at mealtimes (when she miraculously appears, eats and disappears back to her room again in stereotypical teenager fashion) or in the car (when I'm driving her to or from somewhere - friends house, music gigs, shops etc.). I'm trying to give her the space she so obviously needs at this point in her life but it is hard not knowing her so well anymore and I worry about her safety. I can only hope that all we've taught her so far about the world is enough to keep her safe as she forges her independence.
In the rare half-term moments that I wasn't being mum, I worked on a new shawl - a long crescent shape one which I hope I'll find easier to wear than the triangular ones I've previously made. That's it in the picture at the top of the post, it's from a pattern called 'Crescendo' by Janina Kallio - the yarn and pattern details are on my ravelry project page. Of course I know that knitting directly from an unravelling piece of knitting that didn't work out is a cardinal knitting sin and one I'll probably regret (as the yarn is still crinkly it will not knit up as evenly and I should have unwound it, soaked it, dried it and wound it into a ball before using it) but I was feeling lazy and I hope that during blocking the finished shawl will forgive me and turn out well!
I've also baked; our new favourite cake is Nigella's easy almond cake which has marzipan melted within it and is deliciously almond scented and moist. I make 1/3rd of the recipe quantity and bake in a half pound loaf tin - the perfect quantity for a small cake as it's mostly me that eats it, especially for breakfast with a strong cup of tea.
More birds have been coming into our garden thanks to the feeders and seed that my Mum and Dad gave me at Christmas. I love watching them flit between the feeders and the plum tree and recently we've had goldfinches, blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, chaffinches, sparrows, dunnocks, blackbirds and a couple of lesser spotted woodpeckers.
Lastly I've enjoyed the blooming of the little pot of narcissi that I brought home from my friend's funeral, a small and delicate reminder that beauty doesn't often last and though some people may not be here as long as they should, they can remain and be treasured in the memories we have of them.