April was a bit of a blur of late nights and continued chaos. When the budget cycle rolled around we did manage a zoo trip. 16yo refused to wake up, and 14yo, 12yo and 14yo's SO and I were literally just about to walk out of the house when the outlaws arrived with my 4yo nephew. We told them we were just heading out to the zoo and they were welcome to come along if they wanted, so we all ended up piling back into their car and heading on over.
We used to have zoo passes so our trips to the zoo always started off with deciding what each person wanted to study and then checking out the map to work out the most efficient paths between what everyone wanted and then make up anything else in between or afterwards, so there was an automatic gravitation to the map to do this.
We went to look at the penguins and it didn't take long for the teenagers to vanish as 14yo had seen a spider and run away from it. I got a text saying they were going to just wander around on their own and could meet us somewhere later which I had assumed would happen sooner or later and said that was fine. 14yo sent me a few photos from the other side of the zoo where they ended up.
Meanwhile 4yo apparently really wanted to see snakes so we went and looked at snakes.
There were also cute lizards (and the slightly more terrifying but still cute perentie that I didn't get a photo of).
As he had last trip, 12yo had a great time reading and showing things to 4yo. 12yo seems to have also hit the age where he wants to take a bit more time to investigate things that he's interested in and I think was starting to feel that 4yo was moving a bit too fast and not looking at things properly (he put up with it with gentle good humour when I reminded him that he was probably worse at the same age).
12yo wanted to go on the Australian Bushwalk so we did that next.
4yo was getting a bit tired and needing to be carried at intervals by this point (I had offered at various points to get a cart for him but I think the outlaws wanted to wear him out as they kept saying to let him walk and were making him walk as much as possible) so 12yo had a bit more time to read whatever it was he wanted to read. He was really interested in the rhino at the African Savannah and eagerly summarised the sign for me, and we thought it "hiding" behind its block was cute (I'm pretty sure it was just gearing up to knock the block over as it did that shortly after I took the photo but I like my head-canon better).
Then we went to see the meerkats as that's father in law's favourite, and well how cute are they really.
12yo was so busy clucking over them that I don't think he realised there was a sign, and as time was getting on (our excursion days were originally picked because it was an extremely rare day where no one had anything...and then I started working on those days) we had to move along quickly.
We did the nocturnal house (I didn't attempt photos this time) and then 12yo and 4yo gawked at the Galapagos tortoises. 4yo was amazed at the size of them and 12yo knew they were big but it has been quite a while since our last zoo trip and he had a different level of appreciation for them, as well as much more inclination to actually read the sign.
After that I had to head back home so I could go to work, so gathered up my children and after bidding the outlaws and nephew farewell, we caught the ferry back to the cbd. The teenagers left us at that point as they were going to 14yo's partner's house via the museum, and 12yo and I headed home.
12yo has been vaguely interested in my bass guitar for a little while and we occasionally joked that all we needed was a drum kit and enough interest and the kids could form a band (we also have a keyboard in the house). After getting interested in a bass player's channel on Youtube, he got more interested in playing and so I pulled out my bass for him and told him it could live in his room, but he had to be extremely careful with it and for the love of anything stop walking around the house with it (I've had this thing for 21 years and there's nary a scratch on it and I was going to be very annoyed with him if he took chips out of it because he wanted to carry it around the house, he stopped carrying it around after I told him I'd take it off him if he kept that up).
I taught him how to tune the thing and we went through my old books (the notebook and the folder are both from when I was doing bass lessons, the actual lesson stuff was written by the guitar teacher and I had also written some notes for myself and done the usual rookie mistake of assuming I would never forget what I was doing at the time). Told him to keep practising scales daily (I think he's at a stage where we may need to figure out the rest of the scales so he can do them all the way up and down) and to do the exercises until he could do them easily, and if he kept up with the interest we would buy him an amp (I did have an amp with the guitar but one of my old cats went really senile and mistook it for a litter tray and that obviously ended badly, and as I had gone from not playing regularly to not playing at all at that stage I didn't bother replacing it).
I'm really trying hard to get him to vlog his practices but he's gotten stuck in his head that he needs to be good before he can record and me trying very hard to impress upon him that it's record keeping for homeschooling purposes among other things is either falling on deaf ears or going in one and out the other or some combination thereof. I might have to make it a requirement that he vlog each practice session and send it to me.
We have since gotten him an amp and he's been through all my lessons and asked for another book. Told him to learn off Youtube until I could source a book for him.
Skwirk with the smalls and KA with the big is going slowly and painfully (they're more open to it than bookwork but it's still a struggle because there isn't much in the way of relevance or interest). The bigs are in the process of looking for jobs and exploring tertiary possibilities. 16yo is still trying to figure out how to write a resume (he's trying very hard to find a resume example or template that doesn't require gmail or try to make him sign up for some job search website) so that he can put in an expression of an interest at a place where a friend is working (said friend recommended this route as apparently it's the one that they took to get their job). I also mentioned that perhaps we could go to one of the IT repair places in the general area and see if any of them are willing to give him some work experience and see if he really wants a job playing with hardware, and he was quite interested so that will be a task for next week. 14yo (who is not old enough to apply at the place the friend is working at and 16yo is looking at) has applied for jobs at the local Coles and Macca's and was rejected for the former and is still "in review" for the latter. She wanted to apply for KMart as well but they apparently don't have an online application so I guess they're either not hiring or we have to walk into a store and fill in a form. I've checked in with her to see if she is still interested in starting an early learning course at TAFE next year as she has dropped out completely of helping out with her beloved "babies" (actually ~3-6yos) at gymnastics and got a non-commital "I donno" in response. As I think at least some of this may be as much to do with the nonsense that was happening as much as it could just be general uncertainty about what she might want to do so I'm not sure how much I should push anything at this point.
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