The Whole ‘School’ Thing!

So in my previous life before I was a parent, I used to find it strange, even amusing, when friends of mine would stress over which school their kids would go to. I did think the stresses came at Senior level not Primary level but boy has it hit me hard! The words ‘Catchment Area, Admission Forms, Over Subscribed, OffSted, Fees, Your Childs Future’ all panic me more than I ever thought.

Rockstar doesn’t start school until 2019, he will be one of the oldest in the class, I think he would be ready to go this year. Although not sure I am ready.

Currently he’s at a great nursery and loves it but 98% of his peers will be leaving in September to go to school, so not only am I worrying about where he should go next year, I’m worrying about him being left in pre-school with lots of ‘ickle Kids’

As we know he does have a tendency to enjoy the company of the older boys, being boisterous, leading them and being led, so come September the kids he has been playing with and learning from are all leaving so maybe he will calm down and listen more. That would be a positive outcome.

However, my worry is that he will spend 12 months coasting along, not aspiring to learn and just play. I don’t want him to start on the back foot when he starts Primary School.

So we have been talking about sending him to Kindergarten of a Private school. He will be in a school environment and although they still play, he will be wearing a uniform, in a class room and learning on a daily basis. Cost wise it isn’t very different from our current situation (until next September of course when the fees go up) and although I never thought I would pay for my child’s junior education I am really considering this to be our option.

Should he go to into Kindergarten this September it would cut out all that stress and worry of what school we should apply for in 2019. He’d already be there. We would have to make changes to enable him to stay there but I’d happily do that. I even said I’d forfeit our holidays – I know!

That said there is a good state school near our current home but the one I have an emotional tie too is slightly further away and we would have to consider moving or just taking the risk when it comes to filling in those dreaded forms in January.

That could be mean moving him twice if we weren’t keeping him in the private school. I don’t think the move this year from Nursery to Kindergarten would have any affect on him as all of his friends are leaving too, but moving him again next summer for a new school start may be too disruptive or will it?

I’ve looked around schools to give me some idea as to what they offer, some I have loved and others not so much. Whenever I talk about it, which seems to be all the time these days friends have said ‘We have lots of great schools don’t worry’. My answer is that they may all be good but they need to fit my son. It’s been suggested that paying for my sons junior years education is wasted, I did agree at one point but every child is different and needs different things from school.

Other mums have reminded me I have ages to decide, which is true but not if we have to sell our house to move to an area nearer that right school. I laugh at this because I really didn’t think I would ever be that person.

Some have said not to work about Primary and concentrate on Senior School choice, well if I have my way we will all be living on a beach somewhere super sunny and I’ll be sending him out in his boat to catch tea (I have just bought a lottery ticket to help with this dream) I really can’t think that far ahead yet.

I have another few months before I need to decide on this September and a few more before those dreaded forms need filling in for next year but how we do we know which one is right for our child? does the choice at Primary level have a massive effect on your child’s upbringing?

The whole process has turned me in to a paranoid, anxious parent that cries at the thought of not getting it right for him.

I know my son and I know that currently he needs some structure for him to excel in the areas he is already proving to enjoy but whether that’s now or later, in a smaller class room or the village primary, I am still none the wiser.

A decision will need to be made at some point and I can say with my hand on my heart it will be the best decision. It may not be the same as anyone else but we as parents are given the responsibility to lead our child and do what we think is right.

I just hope I make the right choice, for him.

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He is a good boy really

So, I’m not the kind of mummy that ‘big ups’ my kid. I do tell him when he’s been a good boy and give him a well done when he’s just ‘done as he is told’ which at the moment is a bonus. When I talk about him I find myself telling people he is naughty, mischievous, challenging, sometimes I describe him as a rotter! I’d never let him hear me talk like that about him but sometimes I do find myself speaking negatively about him to friends.

When we have issues with him at nursery I need to work through them with Mr S who doesn’t seem to see any of the issues as ‘major’. I usually think it’s all our 3 year olds fault, being the leader, not being led. I want to be stricter with him, I need to toughen up. Those around me (mostly Mum and sister) are the first to say that I have been too soft on him, so it’s time to change.

So over the past few months we have had issues with him and I’ve been tough. I’ve pulled him out of his swimming lessons early for not listening, he didn’t get a train ride at the shopping centre because he wouldn’t sit and eat lunch, he wasn’t allowed to partake in Forest School because he wouldn’t put his coat and boots on and the list does go on. Each time I have told him off he has asked for Daddy, in fact he screamed for daddy through the shopping centre. Of course he wanted Daddy, daddy wasn’t the one that told him off.

Daddy isn’t usually the one that has ‘words’ with him when he plays up. Daddy isn’t the bad cop. I sometimes think Daddy chooses to pick the wrong battles with him – arguing over which toothbrush should be used, which cup he should be drinking from, all those things that I don’t think are important. So when it comes to discussing ‘how to make Rockstar a nice boy’ we tend to have different opinions.

When I collect him from nursery I automatically say ‘so what’s he done wrong today?’ I’m waiting to hear the bad stuff. I have to admit I am a bit cup half empty in my home life – we have a bbq and it’s sure to rain, I spend 4 months researching hotels for holiday – it’s bound to be rubbish!, In work I was always more positive so maybe I should re-look at how I parent, think of it more professionally because it’s certainly a full time job.

More recently I have spent lots more time with Rocco. I can see how bright he is becoming, he can write his own name, his letters and numbers are awesome, he kicks and throws a ball like a pro and he has a great sense of humour. He may still push every barrier there is and test me daily but I’m going to start admitting my son does great things, maybe it will rub off on him!

Be Nice

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Being cruel is horrid. Falling out with a friend is horrid. Divorce or separation is horrid. End of. Whether it was your choice, whether the choice is made for you or whether you’ve made it together. It is rubbish.

I’ve only been thinking about this recently as a friend of mine has a Divorce and Separation Coaching business. Not something I have needed but I can imagine it would be helpful to some. Going through a break up can leave wounds that take a long time to heal. We’ve all had a break up and whether it was on our terms or not, it takes time. Time we sometimes don’t have as life goes on, kids need routine, work needs doing.

Maybe you are on the path of divorce that started pretty well considering. Everyone was in awe of the way things were being handled. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure it’s been traumatic for one of them, maybe both but if there are children involved, keeping it amicable should be key. However, things change, words are said that just can’t be taken back, maybe guilt turned to anger. It all seems so unnecessary but all you can do is sit, watch, listen and comfort. Something I find very hard when I see a friend hurting.

As I have got older, I have held my tongue in many situations – the day the consultant questioned whether my baby was IVF as he saw my age, the day I was made redundant after working most of my maternity leave and returning to work after 4 months, when my toddler is pushing me to the limit – yes those sorts of times!

Now, I have a sharp tongue when needed but I still find it hard to understand how some people can be so cruel with their words and their actions towards someone they once loved. As much as you want to deny it, there was love and affection there once, there are children that were a product of that love.

A child’s early years are hard enough as it is and we see lots of campaigns for ‘Being Kind’ and we tell our kids to be nice, play nicely, speak nicely, maybe we should practice what we preach. When children are involved, in most cases, you will always be tied to your ex in some shape or form so surely making things easier for the kids is the best thing.

Something awful has happened to a family but it’s done, people move on – some quicker than others, but we should all be mindful of how others are feeling. A child has a mind that works in different ways to a grown up, they handle situations differently, they do forget or so we hope.

I have another friend who went through a divorce and although it was her suggestion it was still really tough on her. It was a massive decision for her, she was married and lonely and thought what was the point in that? She’d rather be alone and lonely but was that what she really wanted. I think deep down she was hoping he would fight for her, he didn’t. He loved her and wanted her to be happy or maybe he just didn’t care that much. I guess that was a risk she took. It paid off they are now blissfuly happy in new relationships.

The difference here is that there were no children involved so it was a clean break up they didn’t come from the same town and literally broke up and had very little, if any contact from then on.

Having something to show for that marriage may have made it all feel worth it, a product of that relationship. But having that proof of those years together also means there is a tie to that person whom you no longer love or loves you. I’d imagine that can be really tough.

I often say to Mr S if we ever broke up this is how I want it to be and reel off a list of things we would and wouldn’t do. As if it would ever work like that!
We have no idea how we would feel or would act but I truly hope I would try and accept the situation, whatever that may be and stay friends with Mr S. I love him, I imagine I would want him in my life always because of our son but things change. I find myself imagining I would be friends to the new Mrs S – who am I kidding!

I do know of a family that after a few years did all become friends and shared Christmas together, for the sake of the kids but I think they also enjoyed each others company, to a point. Maybe that’s what I’d aspire to. That old cliche – there is light at the end of the tunnel, is true.

I guess my point today isn’t just about divorce or separation, it’s about all manner of situations – find that middle ground, work at what’s important and remember there was love there once and we all know life is so much easier when we are all being nice.

Note; I know that no one is nice all the time, just make it count when you are.

When a littler person comes close to Rocco at the soft play I say ‘Be Nice’  when he lashes out at his cousin ‘Be Nice’ , when the dog is just wanting to nap and he’s climbing all over him I say ‘ Be Nice’.

Maybe as adults we should practice what we preach.

 

#Rant – this does feel more like a rant. Sorry Not Sorry!

Breaking a Habit

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When Rocco was born I didn’t think we had much of a routine but looking back we obviously did to some level and we still do, otherwise I’m not sure our house would run as smoothly as it does.  We don’t really plan ahead too much which means we can cram alot of adventures in to our lives. Although the stability of two loving parents and secure immediate family are always constant.

I’m certainly not a creature of habit but I did find myself struggling the week after Christmas as Mr S was ill and at home for 10 days. Rocco wasn’t back to nursery and I was desperate for them to be out of my way so I could get on with my normal routine. Or maybe that was just a house of boys that annoyed me!

With Rocco it’s slightly different, it’s not the big routine type things that get to him- like going to nursery, meeting new people, travelling, mummy and daddy being away, it’s the little things. I’m starting to notice more and more.

At breakfast time he HAS to get his own bowl and spoon out of the cupboard which is very helpful, but should we be rushing, I prepare his breakfast for him and he has a total meltdown. Sometimes I give in and we start again, other times I push back on it.

At nursery the kids sit in a circle for singing and group activities. Last week they were told to sit on the floor to read a book. Rocco had a total meltdown as he wasn’t sat in a circle. They explained to him that ‘no one’ was sat in a circle but it took them ages to calm him down.

We go swimming one morning a week and for lunch one day we had soup and bread, I made a tiny deal of it as he’d never had soup before – yeah I know! and he ate it all and loved it. Now on the way home from swimming he asks every time if we can have soup and bread, but only on a swimming day.

If you dare turn the TV over when the credits are still rolling on a film he is watching, we may as well throw the TV out of the window! I try and say it’s because he loves that the music is still playing, but I’m not so sure.

I like my baths hot so when I run Rocco has a bath I have to ask Mr S to check the temperature, I didn’t think we ever made a deal out of this, but if I dare put Rocco into the bath without Mr S dipping his hand in then he refuses to get in and calls for daddy.

We also have flip outs when I don’t sit him on my lap to clean his teeth, he refuses to open his mouth unless he’s on my lap. I’d love to think this is him stalling from having his teeth cleaned but I don’t think it is. It’s habit.

If he gets taken up to bed and hasn’t had a chance to watch an episode of Peppa or whatever he’s in to this week, then he will kick off, but I see this as part of his bed time routine and that’s ok to stick to, isn’t it?

When I am writing these things down they don’t seem so bad but the list could be eight times longer, all these silly little things that cause him to become unhappy.

My sister and parents comment on him being a creature of habit.  It is starting to play on my mind that it could be going a stage too far. Maybe he just knows the way he likes things done.

I try so hard to mix things up with him, we go on adventures, he’s travelled a lot in his three years, actually he is less worried about these little things when he’s on holiday. There’s my answer, a constant holiday!

How do I determine the difference between routine and habit so he becomes a flexible, all rounded kid?

The Milestones

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Big or Small they are equally important.

Over the past few weeks I have witnessed hundreds of pictures of my friends children starting school in their slightly over sized uniform looking super excited, followed by pictures of them 8 hours later asleep on the sofa because ‘ Big school has worn them out’! I love the pictures, it’s fab to see how they are all growing up. I’ve also felt a little pang of emotion that my god daughter posted a picture of her new room at Uni when she left yesterday to embark on a great adventure.

I see my close friends visiting Uni’s with their kids for next year and I find myself thinking ‘how can they be old enough to go to Uni already? I also struggle with the whole comparison of my friends kids getting ready to go to Uni and mine has just moved to a big bed.

I love seeing the new adventures my friends children are taking but sometimes I do feel myself wishing away the time for the Rockstar to be doing the same. Then I remember I’ll be even older by then so maybe I should just take every day at a time!

While we were walking through the woods at the weekend looking for a Gruffalo, as you do, I looked at the little man and realised the last month has been full of milestones for him and us.

  1. Cot to Big Bed – It was hard going for us all, he hated it and woke 4 times every night for two weeks. I blamed myself in rushing him, he loved his cot and never attempted to climb out.
  2. Pre-School – He was moved from nursery to pre-school early. It doesn’t normally happen until they are 3 but everyone felt it was the right time for him and his development (oh and numbers in the class no doubt) so the transition was made and it was an easy one for him and he is thriving.
  3. The Bottle – Rockstar had a tendency to love a night time milk in a bottle, yes I know he’s too old for a bottle but I liked the cuddle as much as he liked the milk. Anyway one day I decided enough was enough and gave him milk in another cup (of his choice) He drank it sat on the sofa watching Bing before bed and never asked for a bottle again. If I’d known it was going to be that easy I’d have done it months ago. The whole cot to bed thing put me off a bit. I didn’t need more tears at night, from either of us.
  4. The Dummy – He had them when he is in bed or really tired. Then on Saturday he woke up and said ‘I am three now, my dummies need to go in the bin’. We had talked briefly about them going in the bin when he turned 3. He’s not actually 3 yet, he thinks he is as he had his birthday present early (It needed to be used while the weather was reasonably dry). He decided that was the time and off he went – popped them in the bin and has only asked for them twice over the weekend but no tears.
  5. Dressing himself – He’s a lazy boy. He say’s ‘Can’t’ a lot. He won’t dress himself without a fight. I was busy in the kitchen and he wanted his shoes on, I told him to put them on himself. I turned around and he had. Two shoes on the right feet, velcro closed. Now to work on pulling up his own trousers after a wee.
  6. Swimming and Bike riding – Two things we’ve been doing for a while but in the last few weeks he’s cracked both.
  7. The art of Conversation – We have full on chats about a variety of subjects, some more entertaining than others but as I watch his mind working and listen to the chatter it fills me with joy.

My little man may only be a month from being 3 but he’s growing up fast. Just remembering these milestones tire me out. He must be exhausted. Learning new skills all of the time and growing up so quickly.

I’m desperate to catalogue the journey, I take so many pictures and pop them in the album for us all to look back on in the years to come. I do post pictures on social of him having fun, I vowed I never would but I just can’t help myself. I certainly didn’t expect to write a blog about our journey through parenthood?!

When I post my little milestone pictures I do think of my mates that are sending their kids off to school and Uni, all having a little smile and thinking how pleased they are to be onto those grown up milestones.

I’ll stick with our baby steps for now and will be sure to let everyone know when Rocco can wipe his own bum!

 

 

Let children just be children

 

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I’ve been watching the news and discussions on the child that wants to be known as a girl and wear a dress to school and how one set of parents have taken their child out of that school because it has made their children anxious and upset.

My son doesn’t like to dress up, I struggle to get him to put a pirate hat on, in fact he’d wear his pyjamas all day if I let him. The one day he did dress up he popped a flamenco dress on, so what?  There’s a little boy at nursery who loves to wear the princess dress when they play dress up, no one takes any notice and my son certainly doesn’t question it. They are just children.

If I picked up Rocco from nursery and there was a boy in a dress and Rocco told me that was ‘Daisy’ then I wouldn’t question it. In fact I don’t think I would even ask nursery for an explanation. It has nothing to do with me what another child wears or is called.

I’m sure some of the parents question our choice of name and judge us on Rocco’s choice of clothes* on a daily basis! *he sometimes wears a Ralph Lauren ‘best’ shirt that he’s about to grow out of that have been hung in the wardrobe or a t shirt already stained by Spaghetti.

At that age, gender identity is innocent, if the child was scared by another child experimenting to find their identity then maybe the conversation needs to start at home.

If Rocco did ask me why is ‘David’ now ‘Daisy’ I would try and explain that David liked dresses rather than trousers and liked the name Daisy. I don’t think it needs any more explanation than that. Does it? If it started causing lots of questions from my son then I would research how best to explain it.

I certainly wouldn’t put my own child through the upheaval of moving him out of that nursery because of a choice another child and family have made. I believe I would act in the same way as I would hope other parents would react if it was my son.

Surely moving a child out of school would open up more questions? I’m not saying it should be ignored but making a ‘thing’ out of a situation like this can’t be beneficial. The child in question has made a decision to wear a dress, the child made that decision himself. Surely the school friends should be allowed to make their own decision about how they feel. If at all.

My son is no saint at nursery, he can be boisterous and he doesn’t listen all the time, sometimes I imagine other parents being told Rocco may have led their child astray that day. All kids are different, they all have their individual quirks some will come and go throughout their childhood, some will stay with them.

I feel like we indoctrinate our kids enough by them just watching the way we go about our lives. I worry about standing on the scales in front of my son as I don’t want him to even know what they are for, we don’t talk or draw attention to weight, colour, gender, size etc. I don’t want my views to be inflicted on him, I want him to make his own judgements. In fact I don’t want him to judge anyone.

It’s hard enough bringing children in to this world, constantly questioning the way you bring them up without us starting to question how other people are bringing up their own children. If it doesn’t directly effect you, then ignore it.

I want to bring my son up in a way that he does not judge people’s decisions. If he questions, I will help him answer them. When there are children involved I won’t judge or react in a hastily fashion, it could effect everyone involved.

I will remember they are children where decisions and actions that are made around them now, may stay with them and set them on their path to being an adult. We need good, kind adults in this world. More today than ever before.

 

 

The Benefits Of Going To The Gym – I think I’ve got it all wrong!

I’ve recently joined the gym it’s a major step for me. I’m 46 and a mum of a nearly 3 year old. I’ve never been super fit or slim so I do need to get fitter and lose some weight. I’ve embarked on a diet that I am actually maintaining, most of the time! So the next step was that dreaded exercise.

I think I’m finally in the right mind set to do this. I have great support from my family, I need it otherwise it could be a one week wonder. I also understand the reasons for going to the gym;

  • I want to control my weight
  • I know exercise is good for my health
  • Boost my energy
  • Get the happy feeling

After signing my life away to a 12 month contract – yes 12 months, I need to commit long term otherwise I just won’t do it. I take a look at the timetable and work out the days I can go while the little man is at nursery. I need to be organised. There is no point trying to go in the evenings, I know I just won’t do it once the TV is on and the boy is in bed.

So off I went. It killed me, I hurt a lot for 4 days but after the second trip I did see some benefits.

  • I got to go shopping for new gym kit. There were so many trainers to choose from I just had to buy two pairs.
  • A new gym bag, that could also work as a beach bag. Multi Purpose.
  • Making sure I eat breakfast before I go. Not just a half eaten bit of toast but a proper breakfast.
  • Choosing a play list of music – a grown up play list. Then I actually got the time to listen to it. Uninterrupted.
  • People watching – I don’t remember the last time I had the chance to sit (ok I was on the bike) and watch people. I never take my eyes off the 2 year old so it was nice to watch someone that wasn’t going to get run over or bump their head on a table.
  • Doing something for me. I was putting myself through pain, sweating and looked awful but it felt reasonably good.
  • There’s no little people. I love them but it felt good to be surrounded by adults.
  • Not having to talk to anyone. You can see people you know and just give them a nod or pretend you didn’t even see them.
  • Feeling like I had learnt something. Trying new exercises that push me. It’s been a while since I have felt like that.
  • Taking a shower – I do shower at home and my shower is more palatial than the one at the gym. But at this one I can shut the door, not have to listen out for the little one. No rushing.
  • Buying new products that will live in MY gym bag. With product that’s meant for me, not something I’ve grabbed in my mad rush.
  • Using a towel that’s not been picked up off the floor and still wet.
  • I realised that it’s been a while since I have been able to sit and dry my hair and apply a full face of makeup. A luxury!
  • The best benefit of all was knowing I’ve done something that will in the end help us all as a family.

So going to the gym really does have some benefits and if I can keep those in mind, I’ll be a size 8 before I know it!*

*never been a size 8, never likely to be either.