1st Day of School: Diary of the Absurdly Emotional

God, what is wrong with me? Well that’s a bit of an open-ended question, isn’t it? Where do I start, or more to the point, where do I stop?

My daughter just started school and I’ve been feeling very emotional about it, which is normal (I believe) but I’m less emotional, more emotional wreck or emotional time bomb; could go off at any second. Jesus, I’m ridiculous, It’s school, it’s around the corner from our house, it’s not like she’s moving to Australia or running away with the bloody Circus is it? So why does the thought of it make me want to grab her and never let her go?

As I think about that I’m visualising how that scenario might go:-
“Mummy get off”.
“But I just want a cuddle”.
“Urrgghh no thank you Mummy” (Yes my child is polite even under duress. Thousands of pounds of nursery fees well spent).
“But I want to go to school Mummy”.
“But I want to keep you close, under my motherly wing, where I can protect you”.
“From what Mummy?”.
“Oh, you know; learning, discovery, new friendships, new experiences. But it’s ok, only for maybe….25 years……”.

She’ll make that face at me, the one that indicates that she no longer understands what I’m saying and can’t work out if I’m joking or not. Then we’ll both laugh (at Mummy).

She is going to be fine, in fact, she’s going to be more than fine. This is not about her, it’s all about me.

It’s just, it’s the end of an era, isn’t it? Those pre-school years are so precious as there are so fewer boundaries (not counting work).

There are so many thoughts (mostly irrational, I know) whirling around my head:

She is so small, she’s just 4 years old for God sake! How can she go to school (who came up with that idea anyway?) It’s for ‘big’ children, isn’t it? Those that can successfully wipe their own bottoms & put on their own socks. And not those that throw themselves to the floor when refused access to the biscuit tin.

And all the new faces. It’s a whole new bunch of people to disagree with on whether you can be the Mummy, the Daddy, the Fairy or the Dinosaur.

Oh and then there is the poo obsession. Please please let everyone else’s 4-year-old be the same as mine. Every role play session ends with the Fairy/Witch/Baby/Dinosaur doing a massive fat poo, doesn’t it? Please say yes?

The ratio of adults to children is purely terrifying. What happens with P.E? I mean I struggle to get two children dressed in the morning and that’s at a 1:2 ratio, I’d estimate on most days 50% of my children leave the house looking respectable (woeful statistics people). How is this even possible at school, by the time everyone is ready surely the lesson is over? The combination of back to front shorts and shoes-on-wrong-feet must constitute a new ‘Reception Year Fashion Craze’.

And how the hell does one teacher and a teaching assistant manage to control thirty 4-year-olds for six hours a day. I can barely manage one and a 16-month-old for two hours each morning. It must be utter carnage?

Poor teachers….

Though having said that, most 4-year-olds are pretty hilarious, their take on the world is often refreshing & enlightening with a good dash of crazy. It’ll be a hoot for the teachers, surely? And then at the end of the day, there’s always wine.
Note to self: Buy teacher wine for Christmas, not crappy chocolates or a mug (my teacher husband receives a lot of mugs….).

OK, here we go.

Day 1: This is how it went….

Arrghhh F*ck it’s raining. I (clearly erroneously) hadn’t considered rain. This means a pushchair rain cover for the baby, an umbrella and a whole load of hassle I don’t need.

I just want to get there, just don’t want to be late.

We arrive, we park (easily! – have I got the wrong day?).

We get to the reception playground and wait with all the other tiny people in big uniform. *Breathe*. We made it on time. Tick.

OK what do we do now, can somebody tell me? *we wait*…..nothing. Am I supposed to just send her in on her own? Really? OK, we can do this. But can we? She looks terrified. I’m going to go for it, I send her in with the instructions of finding her peg and hanging her bag on it, then returning to the classroom.

I watch through the window, she gets to the cloakroom. She’s just standing there, why is she not hanging her stuff? She’s forgotten maybe? She can’t find her peg perhaps? She looks worried like she might cry. Sh*t. This tugs at my heart strings. Somebody help her! Please. SOMEBODY HELP MY BABY!!! Nothing….. *need to calm down*.

Right, I’m going in. I help her with her bag, her name tag was hidden behind another pristine looking school branded book bag. We go back to the classroom. I still have no f’ing clue what we’re supposed to be doing. This is a ruddy nightmare!

She is about to cry, if she does, so will I. I look around and spot colouring and a friend, bingo, the perfect combination. She settles, I leave, with no tears, from either of us. #win

Now, back to the other child (that I momentarily forgot existed), previously abandoned in the pushchair in the playground. Oh dear, how often a parenting win is followed directly by a fail.

It’s fine, he’s fine. Let’s go and get tea and biscuits, lots of biscuits. His little face lights up at the ‘B’ word (that I now realise I have said way way to soon……).

She survives, well she loves it. I survive and the boy forgives me for the abandonment (I imagine….).

Now to my next emotional challenge, which I can only assume is just around the corner.

 

Mouse Moo Me Too

 

This Mum's Life

 

Mummuddlingthrough

 

themumproject

Blown Away…

We are a family of penguin lovers, in fact, we just had one to stay with us for the summer holidays! We crafted him out of a sock and various pieces of felt, don’t panic.

It was a pre starting-school project for my 4-year-old, so seeing Blown Away, a show based on Rob Biddulph’s 2015 book about the adventures of Penguin Blue and friends, was a no-brainer. And with the additional promise of acrobatics the pre-show excitement levels are high (and that’s just me).

As we wait for the show to start we hear a noise behind us, like quacking, then sure enough 3 penguins waddle past us onto the stage. They immediately proceed to show off their acrobatic skills to the oohs and wows of the little people (and some big people) watching. I overhear one small boy protest that he too can do that move.

Our 3 friends for this adventure are penguin’s Blue, Flo and Jeff. Blue wants to fly, to see beyond their home and so they fly together (albeit unintentionally), on a kite away from the ice and snow. On the way, they pick up Wilbur the (accordion-playing) seal and a polar bear called Clive, who, rather fortunately, agrees not to eat them but to come along for the ride instead. We continue on with Clive who ends up in the jungle, where he meets a very cheeky monkey, called, well….Monkey. This is a momentous experience for Clive because he is used to being alone and now suddenly he sees the value and enjoyment of having friends.

Blown Away

As we waddle, dive, jump and swing through the story the acrobatics’ get more impressive, a tightrope walk no less and the accordion (did I mention the accordion?) gets chirpier.

The show is an utter delight, all about adventure and imagination, two of most vital ingredients in the ‘happy childhood’ recipe. It showcases strength, agility, humour, puppetry and wonderfully crafted songs.

“Never throw away a chance for an adventure. Imagination keeps your dreams afloat”. Just one of the lovely choruses we are treated to.

The story draws to a close as despite the excitement of new friends and warmer surroundings, Clive is too hot in the jungle and the penguins miss home. A makeshift boat is hastily thrown together for their homeward journey to the tune of “I want to go home, I miss my Mum, I miss my bed, I miss my ted. I miss the snow; at the end of the day you miss what you know”.

Never has a truer word been spoken by a penguin, an (accordion-playing) seal and a polar bear!

Mind How You Go….

For my Daughter, who starts school this September….

Open your book, it’s Chapter one,
a whole new world has just begun.
As you turn each page & breathe the world in,
remember I’m here, should you need anything.

Step out, look up, there’s much to find,
be bold, be brave and always be kind.
I’m excited to see you blossom & grow,
but remember darling, mind how you go.

Everything’s changing but don’t be afraid,
discovering new things is how dreams are made.
It’s ok to feel scared, sad or unsure,
we’ll talk when you need to, that’s what I’m here for.

You only look forward, I understand that,
but Mummy can’t help sometimes looking back.
You see 4 years flew by at incredible pace,
how did so much time pass since I first saw your face?

Have your say and stand your ground,
don’t ever let anyone push you around.
You’ll sparkle & shine, this I already know
but baby please, mind how you go.

So this is it, off we go to school,
I know you’re ready but you look so small.
Ask questions, join in, but also listen a while.
Make friends, make memories, make everyone smile.

I’ll be thinking of you every day,
I’m right behind you if you lose your way.
There’s no limit to what you can achieve,
incredible things happen to those who believe.

Ignore Mummy’s tears, she’s silly as you know,
but do something for me, just mind how you go.

Mind how you go….

Love from Mummy xxx

Mind How You Go....

 
 

themumproject



 

3 Little Buttons

 

Rhyming with Wine

 

This Mum's Life

 

Camping On The Ridiculous

Insane behaviour that suddenly becomes acceptable because you’ve pitched a tent in a field and decided to live there for a while….

We have recently returned from a 2-week family camping adventure that took in Dorset, Cornwall & The New Forest. Due to this low-tech scenario, I took a pad and pen with me, #oldschool and wrote down actual words on paper, as we travelled. After about 4 days away and watching the world (translation – ‘being a nosey cow’), I started to note down a few bits about camping and the way that people behave in this environment, that struck me as completely nuts but also brilliant.

Basically, things that you wouldn’t dream of doing if you were at home. Things that suddenly just because you’re sitting in a field in a canvas chair become completely acceptable.

Here’s a few bonkers soundbites from our little trip:

1. You leave all your worldly possessions behind a sheet of plastic approximately 1mm thick and go out for the day. Making sure you pull the zips right down and fasten the Velcro tight, yeah that’ll stop the burglars. Seriously? It’s like putting all your stuff in the front garden and going to work. Nobody does this, ever.

2. You let your children talk to strangers. Yep, all kinds of strangers, men, women, children, dogs, horses, you name it. Suddenly everyone forgets this isn’t standard protocol anymore. Anyone who even looks in the direction of your child presents a case of STRANGER DANGER, don’t they? However, there aren’t & never will be any bad people on a campsite. (But maybe don’t quote me on that….)

3. Your personal hygiene standards take a massive nosedive. Where leaving the house would normally involve some combination of soap, water, deodorant & perfume, you settle for baby wipes and turning your pants inside out. I know, kinda gross. But totally workable for a few days at least.

4. Wearing a head torch is cool. FACT. In any other situation you just look like a total dick (unless you work down pit, I guess?) but on a campsite, you’re in the cool gang (finally!) and many fellow campers will marvel at your illuminated hands-free abilities.

5. Your bedtime routine transforms from an elaborate event, perhaps involving moisturiser, cleanser, mouthwash, floss etc, to a piss in the bushes (yes, the ladies too, don’t lie, we all know you’ve squatted like a pro when you can’t be arsed to walk 100 yards to the toilet block) and a quick once round with the toothbrush.

6. Sex anyone? Are you crazy? There is no sex on a family campsite. Remember the 1mm think plastic you’re sheltering under? Your need to be warm and snug will far out way any ideas about actually touching your partner. Plus you will invariably have at least one child with you on your now slowly deflating air bed. Shutting their door and ignoring them is regrettably not an option in a tent.

7. Getting dressed is basically a hassle, especially if you have kids, so most people just don’t bother. Walking around in your pj’s is totally accepted. Combine this little ensemble with a pair of wellies and you are ‘campsite chic, everyone will want to be you. I long to do this on a regular Monday, but in the outside world I fear it will be frowned upon.

Chilling, camping style....
Chilling, camping style….

8. You eat every meal outside. In Britain, this is clearly insane behaviour. If after making my cereal this morning you told me to go out to the garden to eat it I’d tell you where to go and not politely. Leave my cosy kitchen? Don’t be ridiculous. Yet I just did this every morning for nearly 2 weeks (in pj’s & wellies because of course, as already discussed, I had not bothered to dress).

9. Your normally varied and (attempting to be) healthy diet, is reduced down from all the main food groups to just 2. Meat & bread. Makes meal times nice and easy but can result in major ‘blockages. Whilst constipation can sometimes be a blessing on a campsite, be sure to drink copious amounts of alcohol (out of a questionably clean plastic vessel) to counteract this. Tick….

10. You let your children eat pretty much anything, anywhere….
If you go somewhere like The New Forest where there are wild animals roaming, there is basically sh*t everywhere. But gone is the obsessive high chair wiper – “Go on darling you just sit right there and eat your tea, that’s right, right next to that pile of horse shit”. Super!

Don’t let me put you off camping though. It’s brilliant, I love it and so do the kids.

 
 

themumproject


3 Little Buttons

 

 

Rhyming with Wine

What Is It With Small Children And Toilet Paper?

“The Beauty Of Unremarkable Things”

What do cheese, toilet paper, keys and shoes all have in common?

They are all unremarkable. But isn’t it amazing how many truly unremarkable things can entertain, fascinate & distract small humans for extended periods of time?

Although we as adults can’t always comprehend the fascination, maybe it’s because not all of these things are always on show and in fact, many might normally be off limits completely for small people, so by offering them you’ll be breaking several house rules and most likely undoing some previous good discipline work. Due to this, there are some associated risks.

Here’s a small selection of unremarkable items that my children suddenly become obsessed with the second they catch sight of them. Sometimes I purposely bring them into play when I just need to get sh*t done or I quite simply want to be left the hell alone!

What Is It With Small Children And….

….Cheese?
It’s cheese, what’s not to like right? But my daughter’s favourite, Cheese Strips, have the added benefit of coming in strips (does what it says on the tin), that can be pulled apart. She takes each strip off one at a time and eats them individually. It takes bloody ages, it’s brilliant!!! I can drink a whole cup of tea, sometimes I’ll even go back for another.
*For increased impact add a cracker, so plain, so simple but they’re like a child’s version of catnip. It’ll be like all their Christmas’s have come at once.
Risk Factor – cracker crumbs! You’ll be finding them for days.

….Keys & Remote Control’s?
I’m grouping these together as the benefits are all aligned. Now these are ours, not for them. They perform important jobs and are a massive pain in the arse to mend or replace. Oh…..but how they are coveted by small people. What is it with that? And the thing that gets me the most about keys and remotes is that we’ll buy them their own keys (plastic of course), give them an old remote or even some old real keys. But they know, don’t they? They know they’re not the ‘actual ones’. How is this possible? They can’t string two words together or wipe their own arse’s but they know immediately if you’ve tried to fool them with bogus technology!
Risk Factor – if you do give in and give them the ‘actual ones’ you may never be able to lock the front door again or change TV channel….eh

….Toilet Paper?
Again, why do small people love toilet roll so much? I think it’s the paper dangling there above their heads, isn’t it? They must feel like it’s teasing them. Waving it’s paper loveliness right in their faces. With its potential to be torn so easily into tiny little pieces, it’s quite understandably just too tempting not to reach up and grab. And grab some more…..and a little more. Until yes you have your own makeshift Andrex Puppy.
*Has the potential to amuse for long periods. Just imagine all the things you could get done?
Risk Factor – messy but it is only paper. If they eat some they’ll be fine (I guess?).

….Shoes?
One for little-little people. My 1-year-old is obsessed with shoes. I’m sure this will pass *please God*. So for a little time out I just sit him in front of a shoe rack. It’s genius. Just seeing his face light up. Beautiful.
Risk Factor – based on the fact that the 1-year-old likes to ‘post’ things in a variety of inventive places, there is the potential risk of never pairing up some shoes again. Hey ho….

….A Bucket Of Water?
My son was recently introduced to ‘the bucket of water’ on a sunny day in the garden. Hours and I mean hours of entertainment. Splash a ball in….take ball out….throw ball….collect ball….splash ball in……repeat.
*Requires supervision (just 1 eye will do) & good weather.
Risk Factor – possible drowning, so don’t fall asleep during your extended period of relaxation. And obviously the child will end up very soggy, but it’ll be well worth it.

Unremarkable Things

….Bubbles?
Get these out and you might as well don a long robe and silly hat because congratulations, you’ve just become The Pied Piper. Small children will follow you everywhere. So simple these floaty, transparent globes of joy. And the ‘untouchableness’ only seems to spur them on.
Risk Factor – don’t let them hold the bubble mixture. You know how that ends right?

I am making light of these things, as I always do, but actually whilst writing this, I have found myself smiling at just how wonderful it is that young children are fascinated by so many insignificant things.

For the vast majority of my son’s life, he has not needed shoes. But all the big people around him wear them and in fact, these people have several pairs each. That’s a lot of different shoes that don’t belong to him, no wonder he’s so interested.

We should perhaps every now and then try to view the world a bit more like our children do.

Let’s be more fascinated, let’s fully embrace the bubbles, the water and the cheese. In fact, let’s maybe do all three of those at once!

I am massively guilty of non-embracing. Life is so busy and complicated, I’m always thinking about the time it’ll take me to clear up and forgetting about the potential joy that will come before. Re-rolling a roll of toilet paper is such a phaff and it will never fit back on the holder. But. Maybe once in a while, we should just let them do it and think about the mess later?

 
 

Pick N Mix Fridays

 

3 Little Buttons

 

 

Marvellous Mondays badge by Hello Archie

 

themumproject


 

Mummuddlingthrough

How To Be A Superhero

I’m a mini geek with aspirations to advance this status slightly in the future. So part of my homework is learning how to make incredible things happen. This has led me to the Starboard Festival, a small outdoor performing arts festival for children & young people, in Brighton.

My friend and I arrive that the Brighton Open Air Theatre and “WOW”, is the phrase I use on our arrival. What a superb venue, it is beautiful and completely perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon’s entertainment. Looking out from the top step, you can see all the way to the sea.

We are here to see ‘How To Be A Superhero’.

And I for one am pretty excited about this. Tagging along are two 4-year-olds, so let’s superhero-up this review and call the boy ‘Dangerous Duke‘ and the girl ‘Marvellous Mei’. Fitting for the inevitable stars of this little show.

Dangerous Duke is dressed as a ‘casual’ Batman and Marvellous May as a ‘generic’ Bat/Super Girl cross (Superheros are complicated for girls, ok). I think they are ready. My friend and I, perhaps erroneously, are wearing no superhero attire at all.

How To Be A Superhero

The show starts, much more quietly than I had imagined but we are drawn in by the slightly suspicious-looking man on the stage, as he wanders around quietly, then sits down in his chair to eat raw cabbage, I kid you not!

Our hero ‘The Magician’ has had his superpowers taken away by ‘The Collector’ and we are charged with helping him get them reinstated and rid the world of this evil tyrant. The Magician is afraid and needs our help. We are happy to oblige, and it seems, help him eat raw cabbage.

(WP)Magician

There is no jumping, diving, fighting or shouting. The Magician talks quietly to the children, in a way that is so captivating and to my surprise, he holds all their attention in this big open space.

The show is about belief, imagination and the power of working together. We are treated to a series of superb magic tricks that our little Superheros are able to get up and join in with in our attempt to beat The Collector. We see torn posters resembled, spoons bent and a Houdini-style escape.

We learn that super-strength doesn’t have to mean physical power. Immersed in the show, we really believe we can help save the world using our imagination and collective energy.

In a glass-shattering finale, The Collector (the cabbage), I knew it wasn’t just a healthy snack! Is defeated.

(WP)D&N_02

If you BELIEVE, you can make incredible things happen – The greatest superpower of them all.

Perhaps The Magician’s best trick of all though was getting 20 young children to eat cabbage, now that’s impressive!

 

LEAVERS, LEADERS, LOSERS, WEEPERS (Where’s My Irish Passport?)

Whoa! What a week it has been! I Might just leave it there, you all know what I mean. OK, indulge me a little further….

This is not a political opinion piece, so stay with me. I’m not going to furiously argue my view, I’d make a rubbish politician. I’m just observing and commentating (from the back, staying out of trouble, mostly).

So in a week where a Referendum has divided a nation, friendship groups and families, I have found myself feeling pretty low. So, as usual, I am turning to mockery to cheer myself up.

Last Thursday Britain decided to leave Europe, then on Monday England decided to leave Europe. Seriously can everyone just stop leaving Europe? It’s getting embarrassing! Most of it is pretty nice, I know lots of Europeans, they’re good people.

And so, strategically positioned media coverage and social media mayhem has portrayed the British people as a bunch of stupid, unfriendly, neanderthal racists, regardless of whether you voted Leave or Remain. Normally I’d write something flippant after a name calling jibe, like “I’ve been called worse” but in this case, I really really haven’t!

And this historical event was apparently an open invitation to #BringOutYourCrazy. My God it’s been like a madhouse.

All the news coverage is on immigration of course because it’s a ratings-puller. Accompanied with sound bites of Nige saying outrageously ridiculous things (on our behalf *sad face* *shudder*), endless footage of Dave appearing sad & embarrassed and Gove looking like a startled hamster caught in headlights (see image below). “Who me?” ….*Sigh*.

Whether you see Briton’s exit from the EU as a messy disaster or an undiscovered opportunity, I’m just not really sure these are the best people to represent us good folk. I wonder if Rod, Jane and Freddy are available….wait….are they all still alive?

Talking of leaving, Jezza’s not getting the message is he? Like a Toddler being asked to leave the soft play, except all reasonable negotiations have broken down. Do you think he’ll go for a Digestive or are we going to have to up our game and get a Chocolate Hobnob?

BoGo
My favourite internet thingy this week – BoGo in action….

A Few Observations Before We All Move On:

YOUR VOTE WILL COUNT  – for those now declaring they were confused about this [insert emoji, the one with the shocked faced – ‘HERE’]. It’s just basic maths. Two boxes available, you put a cross in the one you like best and then lots of nice people add them up. Box with the most crosses wins.

So for next time, as you’re highly unlikely to have a f’ing clue which box the other 30 odd million people prefer, you should assume that your vote will make a difference.

POLITICIANS LIE – newsflash people! Yes, I know it’s shocking, isn’t it? Some naughty people just say stuff to get you to like them and then go back on it once they have got where they need to be. Are you new at this? Oh well not to worry, no biggy *smiley face*

WE NEED NEW LEADERS – and quickly. Voting democratically doesn’t seem to be working that well. What else could we do? What about a Wipeout style contest (minus Richard Hammond). If Gove got up on those big red balls I may forgive everything, sod it I might even vote for him.

SOME OF US NEED A LITTLE TIME ON THE NAUGHTY STEP – some of us, when tensions and emotions were high last week, may have made some sweeping statements about the intellect of the Leave voters. Eek… All in jest, I might add but yes ok I’m going to the step and I promise not to get up to tell you I need a wee or a biscuit or that I have a really good idea that you simply must hear right this second.

WE NEED TO STICK TOGETHER – grab a [Leaver] / [Remainer] *delete as appropriate. Ruffle them on the head and come on let’s all be friends. We have a long journey ahead of us and apparently there’s no plan. BoGo filed that under ‘L’ for ‘Let’s do that another day, it’ll all be fine. So we need to stick together.

#Winners
– The word Tw*t. This fella has shot up massively in popularity in the last week. Good for him, I’m a fan
– The Irish Passport Administration Team. They have no immediate job security worries

#Losers
– Dave, who now has to pack, everyone hates packing, right? And must explain to his children that they need to leave their massive luxurious mansion…. for another massive luxurious mansion. Sad times….
– England football supporters who voted Remain. Wow! Things can only get better for you guys….

Love as always xx

**Yes I do obviously realise that this situation is quite serious and people are worried about the future. So just in case something really bad happens I reserve the right to un-say all of the above and will gladly refund all readers on this post.

***Yes I am aware that BoGo have now unceremoniously parted company. “Boris, would you like any help with that knife in your back”? But the image is way too hilarious for me to consider removing it.

 

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

 

 

Mummuddlingthrough

 

3 Little Buttons

 

 

Rhyming with Wine