Changing Schools

People who follow this blog will know the complete fiasco we encountered last year when we didn’t get any of our original school choices. People who follow this blog will remember too the knife in the gut moment when we later realised that this in turn would mean we would not get a place at any of our local secondary schools.

In a nutshell the whole starting primary school thing has been incredibly shit. But despite all that and some initial upset with Alice settling in last year, she now loves school and really enjoys learning as well as being with her friends.

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The Offer:

We found out last week that we had a place at another school. Not our local school which is in walking distance (I’ve given up on ever getting in there), but our original second choice which is a  lovely old village school, very small and friendly.

I was completely amazed to get the offer and almost immediately my husband and I felt it was the right thing to do to move Alice. It will still mean we have to drive to school (always one of my biggest bug-bears) but the biggest advantage is that if we move her now she will get a place at the local secondary school which is in walking distance of our house. I can’t believe we even have to think about this when she has only just turned 5 but the thought of going through what we went through last year in another 6 years’ time is unbearable.

This Past Week:

I got the email last Friday and have spent this week in turmoil. I’ve not slept and barely eaten for worrying about how Alice will handle the move. Whilst I feel deep down like we are making the right choice, it doesn’t stop me feeling like the biggest bitch ever for separating her from her friends and the teachers that she loves. She is so happy and settled at the current school. Can I really upset her all over again?

Like most things in life I also got incredibly bogged down in the detail of the process. When would I tell her teacher? When exactly would we tell Alice? When should I mention it to the other mums?  All this and more were keeping me awake every night.

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The Deed

On Wednesday after school we took the girls out for Pizza and before we got out of the car I pitched the idea about moving schools using my most excited, super confident voice wearing my most calm mask.

For a moment Alice seemed quite taken with the idea until she realised it would mean giving up her current school, and she then wasn’t too happy. We managed to distract her with dinner and shopping but at bedtime – reality had hit. As she lay sobbing in her bed I couldn’t help wonder, “WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?”

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I also can’t help but feel incredibly resentful all over again. Why are we seemingly the only people going through this?  Why am I putting my daughter through all this again because the local schools and authorities can’t cope with the pressure of too many people living here and not enough schools? Why does no one seem to care that the individual school rules are unfair and do not join up.

 

Next Week

Alice’s last day at her current school was on Thursday. She took it all in her stride and seemed happy to be handing out sweets to her friends. I on the other hand was an emotional wreck watching her wave goodbye to her teachers and friends as they gave her a fab send off. It really did feel sad and unfair to be uprooting her.

We took her to meet her new teacher and the new school. We were anticipating some upset but was totally surprised that Alice enjoyed looking around the school and talking to her new teacher. After an hour and half we had to drag her away from the amazing outdoor space and play equipment. Sometimes, kids do surprise you. It doesn’t always end up as bad as you think and maybe,  just maybe I have totally underestimated how she will handle this.

Change

I know we are not out of the woods yet and I know that we are bound to have some upset next week when we start at the new school and a new routine.

I know it’s natural for all of us, not just kids, to dread and fear change. I know we need to push ourselves to do things sometimes that are hard and out of our comfort zone.  I need to keep telling myself this next week. I need to remember why we are doing this. I need to keep wearing my happy face and practising my bright and breezy voice. I need to remember that it will get worse, possibly a whole lot worse before it will get better.

Wish us luck for Monday.

Has anyone else changed schools? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Pink Pear Bear
Mummuddlingthrough
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Ain’t That The Truth

Kids. Don’t you just love them? They’re inquisitive, curious and speak their minds with absolutely no qualms about feeling  the need to censor anything.

A while back I wrote about some of the bizarre and strange questions that my eldest asked me. She was obviously going through a curious phase with lots of pressing questions on her mind like what farmers wear.

The youngest has always been a bit of a chatterbox, but it seems that lately anything that comes into her head will then proceed to come straight out of her mouth in a monologue of verbal diarrhoea. Sometimes this can be cute, sometimes funny, but other times it can be completely mortifying and embarrassing.

 

Here’s 5 things that the 3 year old has mentioned recently which all have an element of the truth to them.

1. “Daddy is the Beer King.”  Well I did warn my husband that if he insisted on drinking beer so frequently that the kids would start to pick up on it.

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2. “What do you do all day Mummy?” This was said to me one morning as I dropped the toddler off to pre-school. “Daddy goes to work, Alice goes to school, I go to pre-school, so what do you do?” At which point I stammered and spluttered as if I was being quizzed by a teacher or boss about how I do writing work on my computer at home and how I also do all the cleaning. “Oh yes,” said the toddler, “You do the hoovering don’t you.” Yep that’s right, that’s me.

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3. “Why are you ALWAYS drinking wine?” Errr… In my defence, this was said to me whilst I was making a slow cook casserole with some red wine. I honestly wasn’t swigging from the bottle (at that point) at all. Why am I often made to feel like a naughty school girl by a toddler? But note to self: don’t drink wine too much in front of them again.

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4. “You’re a bit scruffy today aren’t you?” Interestingly, this wasn’t actually said to me which I could have taken on the chin. More embarrassingly this was said to my neighbour’s husband. To be fair, the toddler was as usual telling it like it was: He was in his jogging bottoms and hadn’t shaved, but STILL, I was a bit embarrassed and had to make a show of feigning mortification.

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5. “Daddy do you have a baby in your tummy?”  Closely linked to point number 1, my husband has a bit of a stomach. When we explained that no, there wasn’t a baby in daddy’s tummy, the toddler wanted to know why daddy’s tummy is big and if it will will “ever go down?” Whoops. Time for some exercise (and cut down on the beer) methinks.

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It’s funny how kids can talk and talk with no sense of holding back or being less blunt. I wonder at what age we start to censor our speech? I wonder at what age do we begin to realise that telling the truth in all situations even when we might hurt people isn’t always a good thing?!

I’d love to hear any home truths that kids have told you, let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Pink Pear Bear
Mummuddlingthrough
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How to Beat The Back to School Blues

On Monday the eldest daughter will be back to school and the following week the youngest will be back at pre-school. September signals the end of summer and getting everyone back into some sort of routine.

There’s something that lurches in my stomach at the thought of going back to school and it’s not even me going! As a kid I used to dread the end of the summer holidays and I used to get holiday blues as an adult going back to work so maybe it’s just the thought of the summer being over. Maybe it’s the thought of losing my kids back to school and pre-school when we’ve (mostly) had a great summer together, or maybe it’s the changing of the seasons and I know that the nights are drawing in and autumn is almost upon us.

Back to School Blues

So here’s a list of things that are going to keep me going once the old routine of September kicks in over the next couple of weeks:

1. Crack on With The Day Job. I’ve had a fair amount of copywriting work to do over the summer which has meant a bit of juggling with childcare and more late nights. So with the kids back in their routine, it will give me a chance to follow up some important leads, plough on with getting some work done and growing the freelance business.

Freelance Copywriting

2. Get Back into  Blogging. What with the summer holidays and juggling work, the blog has been a bit neglected. I want to get on with writing more blogs and updating the site too.

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3. House Projects. Now that we’ve made the decision to stay put rather than move house, there’s a lot of projects going on ranging from buying new furniture and decorating to plans for extensions.

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4. Photos.  This one seems to permanently be on my list of things to do. I snap away all the time with my phone and camera, but I never sort them out. I need to get on with the backlog and put some photos into frames and finish my year books.

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5. Clothes Sort Out. The change in seasons call for a clear out of the wardrobe! I need to see what I can salvage and what I need to buy for the coming cooler months.

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6. Get back into Running. December last year, I did something I never thought I’d do: I started running. For various reasons and many excuses, this has totally gone to pot over the summer. I hope to put my trainers on and get running again in September.

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7. Book in Some Treats.  Having something to look forward to always cheers me up! We’re already concocting plans for October half term and have some days out pencilled in the diary for a couple of weekends too.

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Do you mourn the end of summer or are you glad to see the start of a new season? Do you dread that “Back to School” feeling or are you glad to be back in some sort of routine? What are you up to when the kids head back to school? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Pink Pear Bear

Mummascribbles

For Alice on Your 5th Birthday

Last But Not Least

Dear Alice on Saturday you will FINALLY be 5!

It feels like it’s taken an absolute age for you to get to this point. We’ve seen so many of your friends reach this milestone, often as some of them are now about to turn 6,  and it felt like you’d never get here. You are the last but by no means the least to turn 5 out of your school friends, the last in your class (and indeed your year at school), the last of your NCT friends and the last of your old playgroup friends.

And I whilst I know that there has got to be some sort of cut off; that someone has got to be the youngest in the class, at times I have noticed just how big a gap being a late summer born child can be.

Big School

What a year it’s been. Other than perhaps your very first year when babies change practically daily, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a year where you’ve changed so much.

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First day of school just 2 weeks after turning 4

Just 2 weeks after your 4th birthday – almost a year ago, you started at “Big School.” It was a bumpy ride. We’d had a lot of family and emotional upset over that summer and looking back I can see that you had really picked up on the tension in the house. When the novelty of school wore off after a couple of weeks, there were serious issues; you were absolutely exhausted and emotionally stressed. I look back to last October and November with absolute horror. You were waking up every night screaming. You had to be physically carried out to the car every morning crying and fighting trying to remove your school uniform. You would come out of school every afternoon kicking me and your sister. On a daily basis we were pretty much all in tears.

I frequently talked to the teachers and SENCO support at the school for advice, begging and pleading for help, to be told in astonishment that you were an angel at school. They couldn’t believe the problems I was telling them. It seemed you were taking all your frustration and anger out on us at home.

I remember the school nativity last December where you nervously stood at the back of the stage and had to be comforted by a teacher half way through because you became upset and my heart ached for you. I seemed to spend so much of my time worrying about you!

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Looking nervous at the Christmas nativity

You’ve always had a cautious personality. You become upset about any change in routine and whenever you’ve had to start something new. Starting nursery, pre-school, even swimming lessons, has always been a big deal for you and I’ve often wondered if this is just part of who you are or if it’s something to do with being the eldest child because unlike your sister, there is no one to pave the way for you.

Christmas and Summer

Things changed after Christmas. I was dreading the “Back to School” week in January but you’d completely turned a corner and seemed to suddenly enjoy school. I still couldn’t get much information out of you about what you were getting up to, but you were happier. You weren’t waking up in the night, you seemed to have completely settled down. You enjoyed writing and reading and even maths!

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Last day of Reception class

In June I came to see you in a summer dance show at school and could not believe the complete difference from the nativity just 6 months before. You were dressed up in a superhero costume at the front of the class, dancing  to your (now favourite) One Direction song whilst singing loudly along. I couldn’t have been more shocked or surprised.

It was about this time that we noticed your growing interest in music. Your teacher had an influence on your love for One Direction (specifically Drag Me Down and History) and Justin Bieber (especially Sorry), but we’ve watched in amusement as you’ve enjoyed singing and dancing along to Uptown Funk, Happy by Pharrell Williams and Ready for The Good Life by Paloma Faith.

Just like this birthday, you were born on a Saturday when the local V Festival weekend was happening and your birthday is now forever linked to this. So when I made the mistake of mentioning that Justin Bieber was headlining this year, it seemed hilarious that you were most insistent about going.

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Superhero at the summer dance show

Your love of colouring and arts and crafts has grown this year, you can spend hours carefully perfecting your pictures and get really frustrated if you make a mistake or “ruin” a drawing, often demanding to start all over again. You’ve also learnt to ride a bike without stabilisers and seem to enjoy this!

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A colouring masterpiece!

Your relationship with your sister Eva has changed too. As the eldest you have taken to winding her up more and there have been a lot of arguments. But I love the fact that you’re still incredibly protective over her and whenever we go somewhere new, you will look out for her and make sure that she is OK.

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Protective big sister

Your summer school report just made me want to weep, because despite all the emotional problems from almost a year ago and despite being the youngest, it seems to have had no impact on your ability. We’re all so proud of how you’re doing, but more than this, I couldn’t be more grateful for how hugely improved your confidence has grown.

So happy birthday my sweet, sensitive, cautious Alice. I hope you enjoy it for as long as you can before all your friends rapidly start turning 6. I’ve loved seeing your personality develop and how your confidence has grown so much this past year and only hope that this continues now that you’re finally 5! xx

 

 

 

5 Ways Kids Ruin Your Holiday

We’ve just come back from a fabulous week in Devon. The weather was great, we got out and about quite a bit and the kids were mostly good. BUT here’s 5 ways that they (OK that’s mostly the toddler) wrecked the holiday:

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The Toddler looking pensive moments before she threw a huge tantrum about walking up the hill.

1. Waking Up Time. The toddler woke up between 5.30am and 6.30am EVERY SINGLE day on our holiday. I mean come on, it’s a holiday, couldn’t we possibly get a 7am lie in just once? Typically, the first Monday after we got home, she slept in until 7.30am. How do they know how to do that?  Yeah… thanks for that.

2. Wanting to Go Home. How bizarre that despite having a daily countdown for months on end about when we were going on holiday, the toddler after 2 days of finally arriving, asked -“When are we going home?” This line of questioning happened all week. Every day we’d go to a beach or out somewhere and she’d be asking “When are we going back to the holiday house?”

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Having a tantrum & wanting to go home after a complaint about too much sand.

3. Food. Meals out had to be catered for the very limited palettes of the kids. No fancy seafood restaurants for us. No browsing the range of eateries and bistros perhaps taking in a pre-dinner cocktail. Now choice is instead restricted to – Which restaurant is most likely to do sausages or pasta? Which burger joints might be open at 5pm? Which would be fairly child friendly? And which would best tolerate the noise of a tantruming toddler?

4. Going to Bed. Just when we thought we could properly relax with a bottle of wine and enjoy some grown up time alone. The toddler refused to go to bed. Up – down, up – down – I felt like a bloomin yo-yo putting her back in to her bed for hours on end. Eventually we had just enough time to drink a glass of wine before going to bed, exhausted.

5. Not Walking. We have ditched the pushchair a while ago. The toddler has mostly coped well with not wanting the buggy. But on one particular day, decided to throw the most God awful tantrum at the foot of an enormous hill with the car at the top. Husband had already gone on ahead with cool bag and older child leaving me to carry bags, blankets, towels and other gumpf along with the screaming toddler under my arm in full view of the beach up the steepest hill in history.

As you can guess, we’re going through a particularly “difficult” stage with the youngest. But despite her many grumps and grumbles, we still did manage to have a marvellous holiday!

Any other ways that kids spoil your holiday? Let me know.

 

And here’s some of the nicer moments!IMG_1593

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Cuddle Fairy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Pink Pear Bear

International Cousins Day 24th July 2016

Apparently 24th July 2016 is International Cousins Day. Who knew?!

I was lucky to grow up with two sisters. We are close in age so despite the usual fighting and bickering when we were very young, we were good company for each other. Despite our parents having siblings, we only had a total of 2 cousins who were born in Australia. We’ve seen them a few times over the years, but we never really experienced the joy of growing up with cousins that we were close to.

Cousins for Our Children

My children have got a whole new experience of cousins that we never had. They have 6 in total. The 2 on my husband’s side live a fair distance away and so we don’t get to see them that often, but now aged 7 and 4, they are close in age to my two daughters (3 and almost 5) and so they always get on very well whenever we do meet up.

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The other 4 cousins belong to my 2 sisters and they are all very close in age – the eldest, (the only boy bless him) will be 7 in September. Then there’s 2 other girls just turning 5, the same age as Alice. (Yes my sisters and I were weirdly all pregnant together)! The youngest cousin is 2 and a half; 6 months younger than my youngest, Eva.

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Seeing as my sisters and I don’t live excessively long distances apart, we get to meet up fairly regularly and one thing I’ve noticed, especially recently, is just how BRILLIANTLY they all get on. They seem to have reached this magical age where we can now, on the whole just leave them to get on and play and amuse themselves. I’m astonished that there never seems to be any arguments or foul play (at least that I know about).

It’s so interesting to watch them and see who is playing with who, which ones are taking the lead and being bossy, which ones are happy to sit back and be told what to do, who is looking out for who. It’s also really interesting to see all their little personalities and quirks and preferences develop.

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Last Year’s Holiday

Last April, my mum and dad took my sisters and our families away on holiday for a week. What could have been utter carnage and mayhem, fuelled with arguments and fallings outs, was instead a fantastic week away where the kids just LOVED being together. It felt sad to come home and split them up from each other!

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Who knows how they will be when they’re older,  I’m bracing myself for the day when they all start going out drinking and clubbing together, but for now,  I’m so happy that they seem to all be good friends and are there for each other.

Happy International Cousins Day! Another excuse for a get together.

Do you have cousins and if so, do you have a strong relationship with them? I’d love to know.

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Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Pink Pear Bear

4 Things That Have Changed in Our First Year at Primary School (And 4 Things That Haven’t)

My eldest has just over 1 week left of our first year at primary school. It’s unbelievable just how quickly time has flown. Pink Pear Bear wrote an amusing post recently about what she’s learnt in her first year at school (as a parent). Which got me thinking about our own first year at school.

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Penultimate last week of school 13th Jul 16

Last September when we were all starting the new routine with some disturbing levels of anxiety and trepidation, I wrote this post about 6 Things You Don’t Expect When Your Child Starts Primary School.

Now, some 10 months later, I can see just how much things have changed and yet in other ways, how some things have remained completely the same.

Changed

1) Alice is happy to go to school! I’m THRILLED to say the main change we have experienced since September is that I no longer have to carry Alice kicking and screaming out of the house and bundling her into the car every day to go to school. Back in the autumn it absolutely broke my heart that she was clearly so upset and bewildered by the change in routine. Back then I wrote about how I needed wine to cope on the school run. I think a lot of it was down to the fact that she’s the youngest in the year (born at the end of August meant she’d only just turned 4 when she started school) and was still emotionally very young. A lot of it was also down to our life at home – losing my father-in-law and not getting a primary school place at an of our chosen schools. 

2) The stuff she can do. It’s unbelievable to think that 10 months ago, Alice couldn’t write her name or read at all. Now she loves writing and will often write out a page of text at a time. She can read really well and has apparently been doing “taking away” and “dividing” too. When you stop to think, how much has changed in terms of their learning, it’s amazing.

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3) Physical change. I don’t know if it’s school that has made her grow up or whether there is just some magical changes that happen between the ages of 4 and 5. But Alice’s confidence for one thing has increased so much that it looks to have immensely changed her in less than a year. Just look at the difference in these photos:

 

4) Organisation. I’m having to be a lot more organised about school stuff. I can not tell you just how many bits of paper, emails and notes on the class room door we have to contend with. Blink and you’ll miss something. Next week, the final week at school there is something happening every single day that I need to remember to do. Heaven help me if I forget to send in money for a certain extra curricular activity or forget it’s some kind of dress up day or forget that certain colour of t.shirt is needed for Sports Day or if I forget that there’s a certain lunch activity going on. This is on top of the usual weekly planning of school dinner choices / packed lunch options and contending with daily notes and invitations to kids parties being discovered in the book bag.

Stayed The Same

1) Sergeant major.  I’m still a complete sergeant major in the mornings. In order to get everyone out the door somewhere near to being on time, I still find that I’m shouting out those bossy instructions like “Teeth”, “Toilet”, “Shoes”, “Car”.

Scary Mum

2) Mystery. I still have absolutely no idea most of the time what Alice gets up to all day. I always ask her on the journey home how her day was and what she got up to and I can guarantee that most of the time she will say “fine” and “not a lot.” I may get told a random couple of facts about something that happened just as she’s about to go to bed, but otherwise, her day and what she gets up to really does remain on the whole a complete mystery to me.

3) Tiredness. OK so she’s not asking to go to bed at 4.30pm anymore like she was in October, but I’ve noticed that when we’re approaching the end of any term or half term, Alice definitely starts to get crotchety and play up (more than usual).

4) Arts and Crafts. I’m still crap at arts and crafts. But where my poor attempts to “make stuff” was once confined to the privacy of our own home, it’s now having to be paraded into school. Not great when you see what some of the other kids are taking in compared to your humble offering.

 

 

 

Who knows what Year 1 will have in store for us in September and whether we’ll notice even more changes, but bring on the summer, I’m ready for a rest!

Have you noticed any major changes after your child’s first year at primary school? I’d love to know!

 

 

Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough
You Baby Me Mummy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Pink Pear Bear

The Ongoing School Debacle

For the past 15 months we’ve been mulling over a problem in our family. A dilemma about what we should do. It’s something that has been gnawing away at us for so long that it’s had a fairly toxic affect on all of us.

Primary School Results

The Initial Saga

15 months ago we were completely shocked and distressed not to get any of our 4 choices of primary school for our eldest daughter. The local school, less than 10 minutes away, which we’d naively assumed we would get into was hugely oversubscribed, to the extent it has never been seen before.  Despite going through an appeal and being on the waiting list, nothing changed. Alice started at our allocated primary school in September. It took her a long time to settle in, but she now seems happy and to be enjoying school for which we are truly grateful.

You might say, well good for you that’s that then. But then came:

The Latest Saga

A few weeks ago, I found out that our local secondary school which is perhaps a 15 minute walk away from our house, has just THIS YEAR decided to change their policy to only admit children from local “feeder”primary schools. Our local primary school counts as a “feeder” school, but our allocated school where Alice now attends is not.

To add insult to injury the secondary school near to where Alice now goes to school confirmed that their policy is to only take children who live in the nearby catchment area (which we are not).

WHAT THE ?!!!  

I mean really?! How is this fair that schools all have a different set of rules?

This leaves us once again falling down the gap not fitting into any one particular set of rules or meeting any particular criteria. It means in 5 years’ time as it stands, we will be shunted to a random secondary school miles away.

Whilst it might sound a bit neurotic to be thinking 5 years ahead, I can’t help feeling upset and cross that after all the trouble we experienced last year, we are potentially going to face all again in 5 years’ time.

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Alice on her first day of school Sept 15

The Options

1) We looked at moving house. Drastic? Yes. But needing to take the control of the situation rather than let fate decide where our kids should be educated, we started exploring other areas. I’m not convinced this is the right thing to do. Why should I have to leave my friends and family and start again? And there’s no guarantees that we can move somewhere and get both our children into a school.

2) Move to another feeder school. I’ve given up phoning the local school down the road to find out where we are on the waiting list. It was literally driving me mental to find out that I had on several occasions moved DOWN the list. By chance, I discovered that one of the lovely little village schools on our original list was expanding their school and could take on an extra 10 places per year group. We applied and found out we’d got a place! Woo-Hoo! We were all set to move Alice until I read the admissions policy and found out that they (unlike most primary schools) do not give priority to siblings.

What The ?!!!! 

I mean really?! How is this fair that schools all have a different set of rules?

And so because we are out of catchment for this village school and the council have confirmed exactly how many children live in catchment for when our youngest daughter starts school next year, it looks like we are going to have to turn the place down.

We have stressed ourselves out over this for 15 months now. I have been upset and depressed about the situation as well as feeling  bitter and resentful about the neighbours and community all being able to go to the local school except for us. It particularly hurt when our next door neighbour managed to get a place for their little boy this year at the local school because the sibling and birth rate this year is much lower than last year. We’ve really felt like upsticks and leaving. But every alternative seemingly has more problems to bear.

I’ve written to the local MP, the local authority and the department of education as well as the schools themselves to complain about the situation and the lack of consistency in the admissions criteria. But no one wants to know. Everyone has passed the buck and I’m utterly exhausted and fed up with thinking about and fighting it.

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Alice with Eva in their matching uniform

Trying to Retain some Positivity

About a week ago, I felt a shift in my mood. I don’t know whether it was because we have been fighting and stressing about it all for so long and the fight has now gone out of me. I’ve grown tired of being negative and bitter about our situation. It’s not had a good affect on any of us and I’m particularly aware that our stress could well have been taking its toll on our children.

Or I don’t know whether my mood has changed because I’m aware of just how happy Alice seems at her current school and even better, excited to be going into Year 1 in September, her confidence seems to have come on in abundance since last year.

Whilst I’m still UPSET about the initial and latest saga. Whilst I still WISH we could walk to our local school. Whilst I’m still willing to EXPLORE other possibilities that come up, and whilst I’m still SCARED about what will happen to us in 5 years’ time – being shunted to a random secondary school, I’ve decided to focus on what is important:

That Alice is in a good school

That she is thriving both in terms of her learning and education as well as her confidence and friendships.

I’m sorry for the huge rant! I realise that this post is quite selfish in that it’s cathartic; I’ve totally offloaded but I do feel strangely better for it.

If anyone has any thought or advice, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Pink Pear Bear

Mummascribbles

Cuddle Fairy

5 Ways Kids Party Harder Than You

I’m slowly returning to normal life having spent most of last weekend living in a surreal land of Pin The Tail on The Donkey and Pass The Parcel.  Saturday was Eva’s 3rd birthday. Why I thought it was a good idea to have 2 parties and then go to another child’s party on the Sunday I’ll never know. Friday we hosted a very informal get together with pre-school friends. Saturday we hosted a BBQ party for family including 6 kids and 9 adults. Sunday, I staggered down the road to a friend’s party held in a village hall and in my zombie like state, stared in disbelief for 2 hours at the most bizarre children’s entertainer.

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Saturday (Actual) Birthday Party Outfit

3 Birthday Parties, 3 Different Outfits!

 

The Reason for My Tiredness?

  1. Cake – if you’ve read my previous post about the pressure of making a birthday cake, you’ll know that I’m not a natural baker. But yet for some inexplicable reason I seem to torture myself every year by insisting on baking my children a cake. There have been some real horrors over the years. So this year the birthday girl proclaimed she wanted a turtle cake. I’ve no idea why. I spent the usual few days in the run up to the day stressing about this and as her favourite colour is purple, eventually came up with this fairly ugly beast:

I needn’t have stressed out too much as despite it looking fairly ugly, it tasted yummy and most of the kids just bolted it straight down their throat without even looking at it.

2. Food – As well as the cake there’s the usual stress about buying enough food to feed the 5,000 and probably more importantly (or perhaps this is just my family) buying enough booze to water the 5,000.

3. Weather – Despite it being early July we spend every year debating whether to risk holding the party outside in the garden or cramming everyone inside. There’s always a dilemma about what to do about the BBQ if it rains.

4. Entertainment – Games, music and other general ways to entertain children ranging in ages between 2 and 6 always keeps me busy for a while. And again, it always seems to directly correlate to point number 3.

5. Presents – Sourcing the birthday present. This should be fairly easy but The Husband and I always have to have a pow wow about it for days on end before realising we’ve left it almost too late to order anything online.

Yes, this pretty much sums up why I’ve been feeling like a zombie and was ready to go to bed at 7pm on each night of the weekend. Unfortunately my kids did not feel the same way. Like the Duracell Bunny, their energy knows no bounds, they seem to have the capacity to keep on going. I wonder what on earth they can be taking other than a burger and purple cake that keeps them going and can I get some of it please?

Here’s 5 reasons why they party harder than us:

1. They always wake early. There’s no birthday lie in or casual lolling around for breakfast in bed. Instead the morning starts generally at 5.30am with shouts of “It’s my birthday” or from the older sister “Wake Up! It’s Eva’s birthday!”

2.Over excitement about presents. They get into an absolute frenzy tearing paper off here, there and everywhere not really caring what’s inside.

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3. On the go. Once the party starts, there’s no casual sitting around chatting or hanging out in the kitchen, it’s full on craziness from start to finish from running around like a nutter to dancing like loons. They will keep going proclaiming they are not tired and have to be physically put into bed often in an over-(non tired) mess screaming about a “pillow with lumps in it” and having the sheets tucked in. “Tighter” “I said Tighter!”

4. They eat what the hell they like. Forget all that green healthy salad stuff that you’ve been preparing for hours. It’s just plate after plate of crisps, cake and sweets. If you’re lucky, they may eat a sausage or a bit of bread.

5.They will get up and do it all again. Pretty much exactly the same (including the 5.30am start) for the next two days.

Phew! I’m exhausted just reliving it. No wonder I’m still feeling absolutely shattered from the madness of the weekend. It was all fabulous if tiring and Eva had a wonderful time. Just remind me to have only the one party next year.

 

 

 

Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough

You Baby Me Mummy

For Eva on Your 3rd Birthday

Dearest Eva

This weekend you were 3 and I can’t quite believe it. 3 years ago, you made a dramatic, impatient and demanding entrance into the world that seems to be completely in keeping with your personality and nature today.

I remember screaming at your dad in the car on the way to the hospital that you were coming but he didn’t quite appreciate how close you were to being born; wanting to practically sort out the money for parking! My waters broke as I stepped over the threshold of the hospital and I barely managed to get my trousers off let alone get to a bed before your birth was announced at 7.40am 2nd July 2013.

2013-07-04 Eva BW

Growing up Too Soon Too Fast?

I can’t believe my baby, my youngest is growing up. It really feels like we are fully out of the baby years now and marching headstrong into being a little girl. Or should I say Big Girl.

If you had it your way, you wouldn’t be 3 at all, you’d be 4 going on 5 keeping up with your big sister Alice. You are so desperate to not be left out, to not be seen as being the “baby” of the family, that I worry. I worry that you’re trying to grow up too fast. You may only be 3 but many people have already commented to me about how you seem to have such an old head on young shoulders.

Likes a Chat

Your speech and vocabulary has always been excellent. From the moment you started talking in your first year, you have shocked and amazed people with the things you come out with! Admittedly some of the more recent conversations have involved swear words which filled me with horror. But other conversations have been shockingly grown up and hilarious. From asking me how Grandpa got to Heaven without wings to announcing last week one morning “I’m sorry mummy but I seem to have grown some more freckles in the night.” You talk A LOT. Your pre-school teachers have often commented on how you “like a chat.” But I completely love this about you. I love that you are inquisitive and curious about the world around you. And although at times it can be incredibly wearing, I love that you want to know everything about everything from where the rubbish men live to why the grass is green and what squirrels have for lunch.

Facial Expresssions

And just as you seem to have a huge vocabulary, we absolutely love your huge range of facial expressions which quite often match your mood!

 

 

This Past Year

We’ve had some momentous moments this past year. Alice started school in September and I really worried about how you would be not having your older sister and best friend around to play with and look up to. If you had your way, you’d be going to school with Alice  and staying there with her all day. Many mornings I’ve had to drag you out of the classroom (whilst in the early days trying to convince Alice to stay!)

I had thought that there would be tears and tantrums, but instead the transition went well and this is mostly because you started your own journey into the world of pre-school. Despite a couple of early day upsets, you soon grew to love the place and even now you run in most mornings without so much as a backward glance to me. You always meet me with a huge shout “Muuuuummmmmyyy!” and come charging towards me chattering at full speed about what you have been up to and most mornings ask “Mum am I going to pre-school today?” I’m  thrilled that you love it so much and I know that you’re going to enjoy spending full days there in September. In fact I’m counting on it wearing you out a bit more so that we no longer have to get up at 5.30am every morning as you have recently started demanding!

We ditched the dummy and dumped the pushchair this year and whilst in theory the lack of pushchair has been good because it means less bulk to carry around, there were times that you struggled, were tired and needed it. There were also times when I really could have done with it to contain you!

Head Strong

Everyone talks about the “Terrible Twos” but I think we may have more trouble ahead of us with the Terrible Threes. It’s only been in the last month that we’ve noticed how much more feisty and headstrong you have become. If you decide you want to do something, there is no talking you out of it or convincing you otherwise. This is often demonstrated in your outfit choices. From demanding to wear wear wellies with everything to the recent insistence on wearing a Halloween costume on the school run, to the even more recent obsession with wearing swimming costumes around the house. You are crazy, determined full of self-confidence. You have absolutely no qualms about what other people think of you and I can only hope that this quality lasts.

 

Some of your determination has been harder to bear. For some reason despite not even being 3, you seem to have taken to not needing much sleep. Your energy knows no bounds. Daytime naps went out the window before you were even 2, but in the last month you have seemed to be on the go all day and then not wanted to go to bed; getting up and down numerous times making us pull our hair out with frustration. And THEN when you finally fell into a deep sleep, you without fail between 5 and 5.30am wake us up in the most uncivilised way of banging us on our heads and demanding milk. If the milk is too cold or too hot, you scream your head off that it’s “not the right temperature.”

Your tantrums can come from nowhere and they are so intense I can feel like I’ve been smacked in the face. At times like these you have been terribly hard work and we have struggled to know how how to handle you. One thing is for sure though, if we rise to the argument we are only guaranteed of full on war followed by absolute misery; you are devastated when you are told off and seek out reassurance and cuddles, kisses and love.

And so despite all your tantrums, feisty and rageful moods, you can in contrast be as equally fierce in your giving and demanding of love, affection and attention. You frequently insist on sitting on our laps, stroking our faces and snuggling up under our cardigans or jumpers.

Knowing that we won’t be having anymore children, it feels hard letting you grow up and spread your wings, but equally, I couldn’t be any prouder.

Happy 3rd Birthday my darling girl. Happy birthday my crazy, quirky, chatty Eva.xxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mummuddlingthrough
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