30 April 2011

Why I Want to Home Educate: Socialisation

Wait a minute, home educating because of socialisation?  Isn't it usually the other way around?  It's true that many people list socialisation as a reason against educating at home, but I think there's a lot to be said for the socialisation that happens outside a traditional school structure.  The school structure is very artificial and doesn't reflect the reality of the outside world, since we're rarely, if ever, in age-segregated environments outside of school.  When educating at home, however, the children have the opportunity to be around a wide variety of people of different ages, thus learning how to handle those various social environments.  Obviously there are opportunities for this for children who are in a traditional school, too, but the opportunities are necessarily a bit more limited since so much of the day is spent at school (or commuting to and from school).

Another aspect of socialisation is the social pressures present in school.  I'd not thought about this part quite as much until reading Catholic Education: Homeward Bound - a Useful Guide to Catholic Home Schooling by Kimberley Hahn and Mary Hasson.  There were a couple of quotes that stood out to me.
Some of you entered the class shy and insecure.  You may have learned to be outgoing.  Perhaps you learned to follow the crowd in your own quiet way.  However, you may have become painfully shy, feeling more and more left out.
I was the one who was quiet and shy, and school really didn't help that much.  It wasn't until later that I became less shy.
Whatever your situation, you learned: best not to stand out - not too smart and not too dumb, not too talented and not too dull, not too talkative and not too shy.  If you did well academically, you learned to minimize or hide it - not out of sensitivity to others, trying not to be boastful or arrogant, but because it was a dreadful thing to become the one who was envied.
I can also relate to this some.  I was salutatorian in high school.  While I was always competitive academically, I was also self-conscious at times when I got better grades than friends, especially because I didn't have to work especially hard to get the good grades.  I was proud of my achievements, and yet didn't want to be singled out before the whole class (I was fine with it in academic team settings, though - yes, I'm a geek).  My overall point, though, is that I think socialisation can be handled well at home, and that there may even be an advantage at home, depending on how you home educate.

28 April 2011

Knitting Thursday

Again, my apologies for not posting last Thursday.  However, I was enjoying the weather and the fact that it was Maundy Thursday. :-)  I've finished the dress part of Charlotte's dress and just have the sleeves left.  I had to stop there because I didn't have the correct size 16" or double-point needles for the sleeves, but my mother just sent me a bunch of needles, so I should be good to go now.  I'm pleased with how it's turning out.  I may end up making it longer, but we'll see.  It won't be hard to do that since it was knit from the top down.

Since I've been unable to work on that, I started working on my sweater.  I really love the colour (thanks, Mom!).  I did rip it out and start over, though.  I hadn't planned out the ribbing well enough at first, and I was making the increases by doing "make 1", going off of the Abotanicity pattern.  For a raglan, though, I didn't like the way the make 1 increases looked, since they leave a slight hole (you can see the holes from the make 1 increases on Charlotte's dress; they don't bother me there).  I'd done the raglan increases on Charlotte's dress by knitting in the front and back loops, so I decided to go that route with my sweater, and I like it a lot better.  Of course, it also helps that I planned out the 2x1 rib better.

27 April 2011

Why I Want to Home Educate: Academics

Another reason I wish to educate my children at home is because of academics.  I want their education to be tailored to their abilities, and I want to make the most of their interests.

Ideally teachers group children into smaller groups according to their abilities, but it isn't always possible to accommodate the diverse abilities and learning styles of each child, nor is it usually possible to give one-on-one tuition.  I remember when I was in 5th grade and I found the maths work to be quite easy.  My teacher, the wonderful Mrs Trunnell, pulled out a 6th grade maths book to try to have me work at a higher level; however, this didn't last for long, because she could not accommodate teaching the entire class one thing and then pulling me aside for extra tuition.  While I generally enjoyed school due to my love of learning, I was also bored for a great deal of school.  On the other end of the spectrum, there were also those subjects (namely algebra II, geometry, and pre-calc) where I would've benefitted from taking things a bit slower to ensure I really had a grasp of the subjects before moving on, but I was generally too self-conscious and/or intimidated to ask for help from the teachers.  Both of these are things I wish to avoid for my children, and which I believe can be avoided through educating at home.  After all, I will be able to give them individual instruction and can constantly assess their strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to accommodate their different learning styles (I am a visual learner, we'll see if they are visual, auditory, or tactile learners, or some combination of those things).

I also remember yearning to learn more history in school.  My freshman year of high school I was disappointed to find that there was no required history class that year.  In fact there was no required social studies class of any kind that year.  My electives tended to be whatever social studies classes I could find, therefore, though there weren't as many options as I would've liked.  Obviously there were some other opportunities to explore topics that interested me, such as writing a research paper or being involved in summer digs with a local archaeologist, but I still would've liked more.  Without being constrained either by standardised testing or the demands of working with a larger class, I should be able to accommodate my children's interests.  Of course I will also expose them to a variety of things inasmuch as possible, so they won't be limited in that regard.

Another advantage of homeschooling is that I'll be able to take them to museums and other outings during the school day, when the places won't be as crowded and they can have more time to truly investigate and explore.  In fact, we recently did that.  We'd gone to the museum, where there's a small aquarium.  Kieran had been to the London Aquarium in December, and he has often looked at his book about fish which he brought back from there.  He therefore wanted to explore the aquarium for nearly the entire time we were there, and it was perfect because a school group had just left and so very few people were there at the time.

I should also note that I do know my limitations, and will seek out help if and as needed.  I also have the benefit of having a father who is involved with educational reform, and I like to bounce ideas off of him and discuss various things with him.

26 April 2011

Mood and Weather

It sometimes amazes me how much the weather affects my mood.  On a day like today, when it's overcast and has been raining intermittently, I find I'm lethargic and also feel like I'm crawling out of my skin.  I have to have the lights on even though I don't really need them, just to keep myself from feeling like I'm going crazy.  If it's sunny, then I feel great and am perfectly happy.  I also enjoy thunderstorms, though, so I often get excited if I actually hear thunder (not all that common here).

I don't have seasonal affective disorder, though.  Even though there's a big discrepancy in the length of the days here in summer and winter (roughly 7.5 hours in winter and 17 hours in summer, just going by sunrise & sunset times), I don't get depressed in winter.  I just like sunshine, whatever the temperature.

Why I Want to Home Educate: Faith

Lately I've been considering more why I want to home educate, and so I've started writing them down.  Thus far I've come up with several reasons which I will go through in due course.  The reasons at the top of my list are related to my Catholic faith.  These reasons are: the desire for my children to have a completely orthodox education, and the ability to attend daily Mass as a family.  (Please note: any of the reasons I give are simply my reasons for my family.  Every family must decide for themselves what is best for their family)

Most of the Catholic schools here receive public funding.  The good thing about this is that it means the parents don't have to pay to send their children to that school; the down side is that it means the school must use the national curriculum.  While there definitely are schools that retain their Catholic identity even with using the national curriculum, it is more difficult.  I want the Catholic faith to permeate their education, through all subjects, and not just be tacked on in one class.  Nor do I want their instruction on their faith to be watered down or compromised in any way.  This is perhaps most obvious in sex ed classes, but isn't limited to that.  I'll ensure they are exposed to other ideas, of course, but not in a way that will undermine their faith.  I will also endeavour to ensure they are taught the "why" behind all we do and believe.

Related to the desire for them to have an orthodox education is the desire to take the children to daily Mass when possible.  We often go to Mass during the week; Kieran asks to go daily, but I don't always get everyone ready in time.  I've really no excuse for that, since we get to 8.00 Mass on Sundays, and daily Mass is at 9.00.  Of course, we also don't eat breakfast until after Sunday Mass, which helps.  I don't know of any of the parish schools that have the children attend Mass even on a weekly or monthly basis.  A lot of that is just a matter of logistics: some priests oversee more than one parish and school, and many parishes cannot hold all the students at once, so they'd have to break it down by grade.  I understand why it would be difficult for them to do it, so I don't fault them for it.  However, it is something that I can do, and which is already a part of our routine.

OK, so why don't I send them to a private Catholic school?  After all, they don't have to use the national curriculum and may perhaps be more likely to offer daily Mass more regularly.  Well, one reason is that I can't afford that, but that is not the only reason.  The other reasons have to do with my other, perhaps more general, reasons to homeschool, and those will be dealt with in other posts.

25 April 2011


I just saw these stats about reading:
One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

• 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.

• 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

• 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

• 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
I can't imagine not reading on a constant basis!  Kieran loves going to the library for new books, and Charlotte's started chasing us with books now, too.  I'm constantly reading something, and am catching up on some classics now that I have the Kindle.  Right then, back to a book.

h/t to The Ranter

Book Nook

This book is both a book and a puppet.  You put your hand in the back, so you control Boris' mouth.  I first saw Calm Down, Boris! by Sam Lloyd, when I'd taken Kieran to a Stay & Play session at the local Children's Centre.  I thought it was so cute that I decided to get it for him for Christmas and went in search of it.  I'm glad I did, because he's loved this book.  For some of the pages, the child is asked to help Boris in some way, either by brushing his fur or feeding him his lunch; Boris responds by giving kisses.  Since he's fuzzy, it's quite tickly.  Kieran doesn't ask for this book quite as much now, but it was a favourite for quite a while.  I need to get it back out and see how Charlotte likes it.

24 April 2011

Alleluia! He is Risen!

Happy Easter!  Alleluia!  It felt so good to say "Alleluia" today after 6 weeks without being able to say it.  We didn't attempt the Vigil last night with the kids, but went to Mass bright and early this morning (and what a beautiful morning it is, too).  Kieran's been so excited during the Triduum, happily shouting to his friends that he was going to Mass.  The kid makes me proud.  Really, they've both done very well during the Triduum; they were a bit restless during the Good Friday service, but they were also sitting in the back where they couldn't see as well.  Anyway, I wish everyone a blessed Easter.  Alleluia!

23 April 2011

Stricter than the Church

Holy Week has had me thinking about a tendency I sometimes have to be stricter than the Church.  You see, I'm not required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, because I'm breastfeeding.  And yet, every year (except for last year, when I was heavily pregnant and nauseated on Ash Wednesday and had a 6-day-old baby on Good Friday), I try to fast because I feel like I should, even though I end up feeling ill.  Those who know me know that I can be quite mean when I'm hungry - it's worse when I'm breastfeeding, because I'm even hungrier.

I don't know why I try to make myself fast from food, at least somewhat (I didn't completely fast, just ate quite a bit less), but I do.  As my husband was gently scolding me for doing that, it occurred to me that what I was doing was in a way not trusting God.  I fully believe that God has provided us with the Church, and the Church has set forth the requirements on fasting for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and I should trust.  I guess it's along the same lines as someone thinking the penance they've been given is too light and adding to it, when we should trust that the penance given was exactly what was needed.

Now, I think there's nothing wrong with going above and beyond the requirements when done out of love for God.  For example, there's nothing wrong with someone observing the old Eucharistic fast from midnight instead of the 1-hour Eucharistic fast that is now in place, provided it is done out of reverence and not because one thinks it is required or that the new requirement is too lenient.  In fact, I think it is an act of humility to submit in this way.  For me, it is humbling to admit that I need to eat regularly instead of fasting on those days, and not to try to make it too burdensome for me.  Really, that defeats the purpose, for it is not to be a burden, but a reminder to look to God and to trust in Him.  It's a mortification, yes, but isn't intended to make us miserable or ill.  Hopefully I can remember this next year.

18 April 2011

Book Nook

This book combines the author for the Harry & the Dinosaurs books (Ian Whybrow) with the illustrator for The Gruffalo (Axel Scheffler), so you know it's a good book.  We got it for Kieran when he was 2, and it was an instant hit.  It has various pull-tabs and such, so it's a very interactive book.  We've had lots of fun with it.

16 April 2011

On Being an Introverted Mother

The quiz I took the other day, along with an article on being an introvert, have had me thinking more about how being an introvert affects me as a mother.  I've always known I'm an introvert, but hadn't thought about how that affects my parenting.  I love being a mother, and I love being around my children, but at the same time, I sometimes find that I need time just to myself, where I'm not around anyone and also not doing housework.  I can get very uptight and stressed if I go a long time without having this, which can result in me being a bit snappy.

Both my need to sometimes be alone and my snapping at people would then bring feelings of guilt (I'll still feel guilty about snapping at people).  I would feel horribly guilty at leaving the kids for a few minutes while I did something.  Of course, it didn't help that I was bombarded the moment I walked back through the door.  Or I would feel guilty that I didn't want to spend some time with my husband after I'd just put both kids down for a nap and finally got a moment to myself.  I recognise more now that this isn't because I don't want to be around my family, but that I need that time to myself to reenergise myself and collect my thoughts.  After doing that, I am then able to give them the attention they need.  I'm learning that this isn't some deficiency on my part and that if I just work harder, it'll change, but this is part of who I am.  I should therefore work with my strengths and weaknesses as an introvert, instead of trying to force myself to be someone I'm not.  Hopefully I can remember that more now that I've identified that.

14 April 2011

Knitting Thursday

I'm still working on Charlotte's dress.  Here's how it looks thus far.  I just need to do one more set of increases on the skirt, and then I can start on the sleeves.

I also finished the case for my Kindle.  I'm probably going to make a strap for it at some point.

I think I've figured out what I'm going to do for my sweater.  I'm going to start out doing a top-down V-neck raglan using these instructions.  For the skirt part I'm still debating, but I think I might go with some marriage lines and/or diamonds.  I don't really want it to be a lace, because I don't want to get cold.

Milk Donation

When Charlotte was somewhere around 4 months old, she developed a habit of pulling off the breast right at let-down, and she'd refuse to drink some more.  At that point, I started expressing some, even though I greatly dislike expressing, purely for my own comfort.  My children don't get bottles, nor did I think of letting Charlotte drink the expressed milk, as I didn't want her to start refusing the breast or for my supply to dip.  She's never been a big comfort-nurser, and I didn't want to tempt fate.  I then tried to convince Kieran to drink the expressed milk, but he wouldn't.  If the idea hadn't been a bit off-putting for my husband, I would've cooked with it.  Actually, if it's just something for the kids and myself, I will cook with it.

As it stood, though. I was expressing fairly large amounts of milk, only for it to go to waste.  I therefore started wondering if there was a milk bank to whom I could donate.  I went to the local LLL meeting around that time, and asked the leader if she knew of one.  She immediately told me the name of the Wirral Mother's Milk Bank and suggested that I contact them, as she'd donated to them before.  They accept donors from all over NW England, and provide that donated milk to the preemies and other infants in NICUs in the various hospitals around the area.  One of my friends had recently given birth to a very premature baby, and so she was on my mind.  I also thought of one of my cousins, who was also born premature.

So I contacted them, and they immediately sent me the information and bottles and information for the blood tests I would need.  I tried to express daily, provided the kids or I weren't unwell, though this didn't always happen, especially as we got closer to Charlotte's birthday.  As I mentioned before, I really dislike expressing milk, but I couldn't see denying those infants the gift of milk, knowing that human milk is better for them, and knowing that mothers of preemies cannot always express (while nearly all women can breastfeed, some have trouble expressing milk - it's really a completely different ballgame).

A lady came to collect the milk on a fortnightly or monthly basis, depending on our schedules and how much I'd been able to express.  The last collection was just prior to Charlotte's birthday.  They stop collecting at that point because the composition of the milk changes as the child gets older.  Obviously it isn't some huge change on the day they turn 1, but I see the reason for the cut-off.  This week, I got a card in the post thanking me for the donation of milk, and informing me that I'd donated 3,350 mL of milk.  I was rather surprised that I'd donated over 3 litres.  I'm very glad I was able to do that, though.

After I started to donate to the milk bank, Human Milk 4 Human Babies (formerly Eats on Feets) was formed.  I've not donated through them, but I will if I find someone in my area needs it.  I think it's wonderful that such a network exists, so women can have access to human milk for their babies when they, for whatever reason, cannot provide it themselves.

12 April 2011

What Kind of Mother Am I?

I just took this quiz, actually, and got that I'm an INTP.

I'm a "Love of Learning" Mother!

(Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving)

Intellectually curious and patient, I relish those times with a child when we are learning something interesting together.
What's your mothering personality type? Take the MotherStyles quiz at FamilyEducation.com!

   I don't remember what my results were the last time I took one of those Myers-Briggs tests, though I'm sure I've always gotten the "introverted" tag.  This used to mean that I had trouble speaking to others and putting myself in situations where I was meeting new people and being sociable; now it means that I can do those things, but I do feel quite drained unless I hit it off with the other person straight away.  Anyway, I did find that the description seems to fit pretty well, though I'm not sure how patient I am.

11 April 2011

Book Nook

This isn't a book my children have, but one I've gotten as a present for another child.  I've always loved Beowulf, and when Kieran was born I was determined to see if there was a version of Beowulf for children.  Personally, I think Prof Caldwell should write one, as I'm sure it would be wonderful.  My father found one and gave it to him, though he's not been too interested in it yet.  Hopefully he will be before long.  Recently, though, I was thinking of getting another copy for a girl I know who is very interested in dragons.  So on to Amazon I went, and while I did find a copy of that one, too, I also came across this one from Usborne.  I like coming across Usborne books, as all the ones I've seen have been really good, and many of them also have internet pages for further research, too, if wanted.

I should add that my children have had some exposure to the Beowulf story, thanks to Star Trek: Voyager. ;-)

10 April 2011


Lately I seem to have come across a fair amount of parenting things, sometimes in seemingly surprising locations.  I don't seek out parenting books or the like, and never have really (with the exception of The No-Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley)  Something I've noticed in some of these is the tendency to paint things in extremes.  For example, I was skimming a book (a homeschooling book, incidentally, so I was a bit surprised to find this in it) that mentioned that you should train a baby to sleep through the night after 6 months, and then spoke of how you need to do this training and discipline because you shouldn't have a child to whom you never say "no".  Leaving aside my views on sleep training, this seems a rather extreme jump in logic, doesn't it?  Suggesting that not training your child in this way means that you never say "no" to your child isn't the logical deduction to make, in my opinion.  I'm sure these extreme jumps can go the other way, too, so I'm not trying to just pick on one parenting style/philosophy.

Personally, though, I'll just keep doing what comes naturally, what works for my family, and not seek out what a parenting book says.  And while I'm not homeschooling at the moment, I see no reason that continuing to be an attachment parent, something I follow instinctively and did prior to even knowing there was a label for this style of parenting, should impede educating my children.

9 April 2011

Growing Up Fast

It seems that Kieran is suddenly so grown up.  Sure, he still has the normal tantrums at times, but then he's also very helpful with things and is proving to be trustworthy when outside playing.  Without me saying a word, he consistently comments that he needs to get up on the pavement if there's a car coming, and he tries to tell Charlotte to do the same (obviously I get Charlotte out of the way).

Today he tried to help me get rid of the nettles and weeds in the back garden.  After a bit, he wanted to go out into the front to play with the neighbourhood kids, and so I told him that he could provided he stayed in front of our house.  We live at the end of the street, there's very little traffic on it, and he's shown himself to be trustworthy about it.  I therefore decided that he could be trusted to be out there without me for the 5 minutes or less it would take for me to finish in the garden.  As it turned out, another mum was out there, so he wasn't unsupervised, but I hadn't known that.  I'm not ready to just turn him out to play for extended periods of time without an adult present, but for that short time, I think he would've been fine.

His growing independence amazes me, really.  He still needs reassurance from us at times, and, thankfully, still loves snuggling with us, but he's really growing up fast.

7 April 2011

Knitting Thursday

I've made quite a bit of headway on this kimono-style dress for Charlotte.  I'm pleased with how it's looking thus far.

I've not been working on it as much over the past few days, though, because I've had another project.  See, Sunday was Mother's Day here in England, and my wonderful husband completely surprised me by getting me a Kindle!  I'm an avid reader and am always heading to the library for books, so this was the perfect gift.  I'd actually planned on asking for one for my birthday.  The Kindle doesn't come with a case, so I decided I'd make one.  I have one skein of the green Bertagna Filati denim print in green, and I'd wondered what I would do with it.  So I started making the striped mitred cover you see, but I didn't like the way it looked, so I took it out.  Now I'm just using the green yarn and doing a plain cover.  This yarn doesn't need anything fancy anyway.

5 April 2011


Perfection.  That's what we're striving towards.  In principle, this isn't a bad thing, but it can lead to undue stress when applied to parenting.  Society doesn't help us here, since it seems that parenting books tell us that following certain systems will result in perfect children and a perfectly happy family, while others tell us that whatever we're doing is wrong and will ruin our children.  Now, there are some things that have been shown to be damaging, like CIO, but I think there are multiple ways of parenting, and you must find what works for you.

Interestingly, I've also heard this as a criticism of Attachment Parenting, with some saying it places too much pressure on parents to be absolutely perfect.  I can see how some may think that due to some proponents of AP insisting that all parents must do certain things in a certain way, but I don't think it's a fault of AP principles in general.

Another problem I see with striving to be the perfect parent by the standards of society is that I find those standards/ideals to be unrealistic.  When people ask you if your baby is "good", they generally mean to ask if the baby sleeps well and doesn't cry much, thereby not disturbing the parent very much.  Is that realistic?  I don't think so.  When asked if my children are good, I answer in the affirmative, but I don't expect that they won't disrupt my life.  They're meant to disrupt my life, in my opinion.

This stress on being a perfect parent also seems to ignore the fact that, no matter how many books or websites we've read, we're new at this.  Even if it's our second or later child, we've never had that child before, and so we're still new at this.  No child is exactly like another, and what works for one might not work with another.  Therefore, even if you think you've figured out one child completely (which I don't imagine to be the case, seeing as people change and aren't robots), that person can't say they therefore have all children figured out.  The bottom line is that we're going to make mistakes, and that's OK.  We shouldn't place unrealistic standards upon ourselves.  We're striving to be perfect, but it's a journey, and one for which we need God's grace.

4 April 2011

Book Nook

Time for some Eric Carle today.  We've had The Very Hungry Caterpillar since Kieran was little, and Charlotte just received The Very Busy Spider for her birthday.  Being from Eric Carle, both books ar great, and the kids love them.  Kieran's especially fond of the tactile aspects of the books, be it the holes in the food in The Very Hungry Caterpillar or the embossed web in The Very Busy Spider.  Charlotte enjoys the various animals (and their noises).  Since both are board books, I don't have to worry about Charlotte ripping pages, either, which is always a bonus.

2 April 2011

Us vs. Them

Recently I was talking about the Pearls with their To Train Up a Child book.  This is a subject I cannot usually talk about without getting very angry, but I'll try not to rant too much (full disclosure - I've only read the first chapter, I was angry enough after reading that to not read the rest).

As I was thinking about it, though, it struck me that, if you strip away all the advice they give, it seems based on a faulty premise in and of itself.  It seems to pit parents against their children.  This is made obvious in talking about how you must train children to obey immediately, and praising situations where children aren't seen or heard at all.

A similar trend can be found in what I've read of the Ezzo's work (they are the authors of On Becoming Babywise).  They advise parents to have "couch time" with each other to show the child that the primary relationship in the family is the spousal relationship, and not the parent-child relationship.  Again, this is pitting parent against child and vice versa, it seems.

I truly don't understand the "us vs them" mentality, though I have heard it in other places as well (such as when people tell you not to co-sleep because it might ruin your marriage).  I see this as creating conflict that isn't necessarily there.  Yes, children disrupt our lives, but not in a bad way.  The family must adapt with each new child, as the dynamic changes each time, but it doesn't pit the parents against the children.  At least that shouldn't be the case, I don't think.

I can understand, though, that if one accepts the premise that it is "us vs them", one would perhaps be more inclined to buy into the Pearl's and Ezzo's other statements regarding training children.  I know that ranting about them doesn't change anything, but maybe that's also because those of us who aren't thrilled with their parenting philosophies aren't getting to key assumption in the matter.  Maybe we need first to discuss that it isn't "us vs them".  I don't know, to be honest, but I wanted to get some thoughts/observations written.

Amazing Grace

I just wanted to jot down some thoughts I've been having during this Lent, and about how wonderful our God is.
During Lent this year, I've been trying to make it to Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings (I missed it last week, but have made the other ones).  Last night I even made it there without a child in tow, so I didn't have to chase after Charlotte whilst attempting to meditate on Christ's Passion.  This meant that I got to concentrate more last night, which was wonderful.  When we got to the station where Jesus is nailed to the cross, I happened to look down at my left hand.  It's very slight, hardly noticeable now, but I have a scar in the middle of the back of my left hand.  It's from an IV I had last year for antibiotics because of an infection, and it was placed there on Maundy Thursday and removed on Holy Saturday.  It's no stigmata, but it serves to remind me of Jesus' sacrifice, and I thank God for that reminder and that connection.

The IV is related to another grace received around that time.  I'd asked God for the grace to receive the Eucharist the day I went into labour & gave birth.  I'd been making a point of going to daily Mass during the last bit of my pregnancy (I try to go anyway, but I really made sure I went then).  I went to Mass on Friday, 26 March.  I awoke just after midnight on Saturday, 27 March, to find myself in labour.  My husband took Kieran to Mass that morning, and Fr David sent the Eucharist back to me, so God granted me that grace.

Another thing I've been doing during this Lent is to pray the Anima Christi morning and night.  I have it memorised now, so the words often come to me during the day, especially if I'm in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  It's a beautiful prayer.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise thee
Forever and ever.