For Alice on Your Sixth Birthday

Dear Alice

On Sunday you will be six!

This year will always be remembered for how much your confidence started to bloom. Last October, almost ten months ago – you changed primary schools. I can still vividly remember being a nervous wreck the week before we broke the news to you. Knowing what a shaky start you first had at primary school almost two years ago, I was dreading the move. I couldn’t eat or sleep and wound myself up in knots about it. You weren’t very happy once we told you, but on your first day you practically skipped into your classroom with the two girls who were watching out for you and you never looked back! Yes there were some off days, but on the whole I couldn’t believe how smooth the transition was. I guess it was eased by the brilliant staff and school as well as some fantastic new friends.

Still smiling after your first day at the new school

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The Importance of Downtime

We’re all so busy these days aren’t we? Trying to balance, family, work and kids can be a nightmare (especially in the summer holidays), but we seem to have passed on our busyness to our kids. And with stats and research saying that more kids than ever are stressed, this isn’t necessarily a good thing.

We’re now three weeks into the six week holidays (how’s that going for you?!) and I’m really trying to get a healthy dose of activities and downtime into the mix. Don’t get me wrong, childcare for many parents means kids have to be at holiday clubs or activities for a lot of the week. I get that. But are we putting too much pressure on ourselves and our kids to do too much during the other times too?

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12 Cheap Activities for The Summer Holidays

Are you pleased to see the arrival of the summer holidays or does six weeks with the kids around feel you with dread? I’ve got to say, I always look forward to having a break and having the girls around even if they do drive me crazy. But I know a lot of other parents I’ve spoken to recently are dreading it. Why? Because the thought of six weeks trying to fill days with activities sends them into a tail spin.

Charlie at Mess Merlot recently did this great post about planning for the holidays . It’s a way of making sure you get a good balance of “Out” days and “In” days as well as keeping an eye on the cost. I truly believe for the sake of kids’ mental health, that they shouldn’t always have back to back activities planned in. It’s important for them to have some down time and a rest. This brilliant article highlights how kids need to have some moments of boredom in order to ignite their creativity. To find their own things to do.

We are lucky that we are having a two week break in Devon this year. After that, the girls and I have started making a list of the things we want to do over the remaining four weeks. Here’s some of our ideas and they shouldn’t break the bank!

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Alexa – The New Girl in Our House

We have a new edition to our family and her name is Alexa.

You may have seen these things advertised on TV, essentially they are a voice activated robot, sold as a “personal assistant.”  Alexa can access and play your music, play the radio, give you news, weather and travel updates as well as answering questions about practically anything. Apparently she can even turn the lights on and off but we haven’t explored this option yet.

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For Eva on Your Fourth Birthday

To be honest Eva, it feels like a miracle that we have reached your fourth birthday. When you turned three, I thought we would be over the worst of the tantrums. I thought the feistiness and the attitude would calm down. But if anything, this year has been harder work than I ever imagined. And even as we approach your fourth birthday, we have experienced, just in the last few weeks, some of the most difficult behaviour yet.

Ever since you followed Alice into pre-school, two years ago, you’ve loved it. You wanted to be with the “big girls” playing the grown up games. But in the last few weeks, there’s been a huge change. I’ve had to coax and plead with you to get your shoes on to go and then finally end up half carrying and half dragging you down the road whilst you’ve been screaming at the top of your lungs. You enjoy it once you are there, but the performance we seem to go through most mornings is wearing and I dread to think what the neighbours think. Some bedtimes have been no better either!

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Interview With My Mum The Author

How many people can say that they are related to an author?! I’m so proud to say that my Mum hasn’t had just one book published, but 3 weeks ago she’s just had her 17th (yes – 17th!!) novel published.

The latest book is a called The Vets at Hope Green which she was commissioned to write by Ebury Books. I’ve read the story and have to say, even though I’m biased, that I enjoyed it a lot! I read it in a matter of days rather than the usual weeks and weeks that most other books seem to take me!

Buy this book 

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Why Most Kids Struggle with Starting School

We’ve had some really bad behaviour going on with our youngest daughter Eva these past few weeks. She has been aggressive, demanding and during time out periods, continues to wet the floor or her bed deliberately.

At my wits end with how to deal with these situations, I spoke to the staff at her pre-school, who were incredibly helpful. They did some one to one sessions with her and essentially, discovered that she is anxious about starting school. Eva told them and she has since told me that she is scared about making new friends, which breaks my heart.

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5 Ways My Kids Have it Better Than Me

Like most children (and perhaps like many adults), my kids will be quick to complain about the terrible things going on in their lives like homework, being made to get dressed or having vegetables for dinner, but they won’t often see the good.

I realised with a jolt this week that there are several things that they have where they’re better off than me! Here’s a tongue in cheek look at the injustices us parents face with what our kids have versus what we (don’t) have.

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Growing Pains of Eva Barry aged 3 and 3/4

The other night at about 1am I was woken by my 3 year old crying out.  I rushed in to her bedroom to see what the matter was and she immediately stuck her leg out of the bed, thrust her foot into my face and demanded that I rub it better.

I spent 10 minutes massaging her foot, which seemed to ease her pain enough to let her drift into a sleep, but every time I tried to back out of the door, she woke up, yelling “Owh my foot, keep rubbing it mummy.” This continued for another 10 minutes before I eventually gave up and ran downstairs for the Calpol.

This is not a one off scenario. I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night many times in the same way. She always wants her feet or legs rubbed and it always ends in me giving her medicine.

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Book Review – From January to May 2017

Back in January, I wrote a list of  the books that I wanted to read this year.

Before I had children, I would read frequently and quickly. Reading on the train, on the tube and before I went to bed. Now it seems to take forever to get through a book. Small children, work and life seem to get in the way, but I’ve been slowly plodding on and noticed that I seem to be steadily reading about a book a month.

As an aside – how cool is this book exchange? What a great use for the now defunct red telephone boxes!

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