That’s the usual reply I get when I mention the girls are about to start preschool in September, it’s a joke of course as ALL mums know what they can do with their gift of ‘me’ time and I am no exception.

Let’s face it when little ones head off into the big wide world On Their Own a gap opens in your day. I will have three hours a day five days a week and I know right now that not one minute will go to waste.

ready for preschool

I also know right now before it’s even started that three hours are not enough to accomplish everything I want to do. I know I’ll be running up the road to get to pre-school for 12pm and not be a ‘bad‘ mother who is always late.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be late because I don’t want to be with my children but because I’ve tried to cram too much into my ‘me’ time and am using every last second available before I switch back into mummy mode and dedicate myself to Alice and Bessie.

It’s fun and I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the girls having a new life, something they can call their own to come home and talk about. I love that there will be teachers there patient enough to teach them how to use scissors, something I just can’t manage to teach them. Keyworkers who will get out paints, modelling clay and all other forms of mess that I am so reluctant to get out at home as I can’t do with the tidying up afterwards. And people who will see them being themselves away from me and hopefully report back that they are well behaved and nice little girls.

Alice can’t wait to have her own Best Friend, at the moment this coveted position has been awarded to her cousin Samuel but I feel with preschool, Samuel may be kicked off his pedestal as her options widen but thankfully I don’t think he’ll even realise what’s happened.

…and Bessie, who sucks her thumb and wants everyone to believe she’s a bruiser when underneath she’s just as frightened, if not more, than everybody else. It will be lovely to watch the girls transform this year ready to start Big School next September.

 

Having been made redundant in the first trimester of my pregnancy I had no job to return to once my maternity leave was up. Having twins made looking for a new job impossible so the decision was made for me to stay home with the girls and enjoy their growing years being on hand all the time for them. I have loved this opportunity although I am looking forward to a bit of me time after such a long stint as a SAHM.

After our initial form-filling appointment at preschool in July we have been left to our own devices to get ready for the Big Day, so on a sunny walk to the shops I heard the children playing in the preschool gardens and asked the girls

‘Shall we go and see the children playing at preschool?’

They walked with me to the fence along the gardens and instead of running to the fence to see what games could be played they both hid behind my skirts and cried! Help! I have an SOS on my hands here, a complete refusal for anything that is connected to the word pre-school. Not only that I only have 28 sleeps until our big day arrives!

My first reaction (apart from the horror of two clingy whiney girls) was to buy some ‘I love preschool’ books to read and a quick search brought up the following three that I thought would be good

 

spot goes to schoolMaisy goes to preschoolowl at school

We are now waiting for these to arrive and hopefully my little ladies will be more suitably proposed to the idea when the time comes after seeing some of their favourite characters going to school and having so much fun!

We have bought the Peppa Pig school with Miss Gazelle and all I can do now is hope that ore the next month they get more used to the idea of doing something different than usual.

I am 100% positive that both of them, once over the initial shock will love preschool. Once they settle they are friendly and lively and mix easily, they love to play and they love singing, listening to stories and playing in the garden so all of these activiites rolled into one should make a great time for them I’m also really pleased that each child will whilst at the school will have their time recorded in a My Unique Story book where parents and family members are actively encouraged to join in and write in the same book, special memories and moments along their school journey.

I for one can’t wait for the ‘Works of Art’ to come home and be proudly pinned up on the wall. One of my favourite preschool presents from Thomas and Megan in their day were two beautifully painted terracotta flower pots ready for use on the patio, Megan’s an array of brightly coloured flowers and Thomas’s a picture of Batman (hero at the time) flying through the sky and saving the world from destruction, perfect for my herb garden!

Hand made Christmas cards cannot be beaten no matter how much money is spent, Easter chicks, Mother’s Day keepsakes and end of year concerts, I am ready for the  lot so just got to make sure my treasures want to go too.

How are you preparing your children for this big step in their lives?

Sports dayToday it is with enormous pleasure that I host Glenda McIntosh who has been dying to write a post and to see what kind of feedback she gets so please let her know your thoughts. Glenda’s Twitter handle is @PGUK which is the official Twitter feed for the Proud Sponsor of Mums and Olympic sponsorship campaign, a round of applause please for Glenda….

 

Sports day? I dreaded it. Those who know me will be surprised to learn that I didn’t like the competitive nature of it. Or perhaps it was more that I didn’t like competing in something I was rubbish at. School sport, for some reason, was not my thing. I was last to be picked. I came last in the race. I had uncool trainers. One time I almost took Miss Bloomfield’s head off with the discus (by accident I hasten to add.)

The parent’s race. Ugh. On the rare occasion my Dad showed up (different post!) he embarrassed himself and me.  You can’t see, but I’m blushing at the memories.

Sports day: Let’s ceremoniously reward the naturally sporty people for doing what they’re good at and further compound the depression of those who suck.
More regularly I hear that schools are moving away from the idea of winners and losers. I hear of kids being given medals for taking part or events being included to cover a broader spectrum of abilities. The 11 year old failure inside of me brightens at the thought of this.

I was talking to a colleague of mine a few years ago about the activities our kids do. Her two girls were both keen table-tennis players, a hobby she proactively encouraged having enjoyed national success at it herself. We both agreed hobbies were a good idea but debated the pros and cons of competitive sport. “They have to learn how to lose Glenda” she said. That has stayed with me ever since. She’s right. Life is full of winners and losers, in love, work, friendship and many of the pursuits our children might grow up to attempt, including the parent’s race. I don’t like losing and I never learnt how to accept it graciously as a kid. It’s been a steep learning curve at work and I can’t help feeling I would much rather have learnt those lessons in childhood.

Should we protect them in childhood against the things which are going to befall them as adults?

Photo credit

Frankie Parker is back in the house again ladies and gentlemen this time with her woes of feeding small children

“I don’t want that!”

Being a relatively new full time mum one of the many things I am having trouble with is food. Or to be more accurate the refusal of eating anything that is given to Son No 1 to eat, be it homemade or brought.

While I was working it was all too simple. The nursery took care of all his meals so when I got him home all he needed would be a yogurt or piece of toast. I would get his day sheet; they would wax lyrical on what a fantastic eater he was and how often he asked for seconds. Well, I am not sure whether they got my little boy confused with another child or not but that little boy is certainly not the one I have at home. Over the last few months with him having started school things have continued to escalate.

Now, I admit I am no domestic goddess in the kitchen but I do think I can put together rather tasty meals for us all, with no complaints from the other two in the house. But with Son No 1, I have tried everything, eating together, bribery, M&S kids’ meals as he used to love these, cooking with him, letting him choose what to eat and nothing seems to work. Don’t get me wrong some days he will eat everything put in front of him but the next he won’t or I will cook a meal I know he has eaten before and he will refuse it. His best excuses are “don’t like the smell”, “sore tummy”, “it will make me sick” or “it’s not what I wanted or meant”. The worse days are the days he will just walk up to the table look at it and tell me he doesn’t like it and then walk away! There has been tears (both of us) shouting (both of us) and even door slamming (him).

My friends all tell me that this is normal and I have seen similar behaviour in some of their kids. Mr P thinks he is just a “snacker” and a “grazer” so he is happy for him to eat when he wants and more often than not will let him eat what he wants as well. This in turns makes me mad! Husbands, no idea!

So I am beginning to think I have the problem and not Son No 1. Perhaps I am expecting too much and that this is perfectly normal behaviour? Perhaps with his jaw problem I am getting too stressed that he is not eating enough and getting too skinny.

Perhaps I just need to chill out about it and find some coping strategies of my own to deal with it. Other than a big glass of wine.

Any advice welcomed….

Thanks Frankie Parker it’s been lovely having you here

One more time I welcome into Mari’s World the lovely Uju from Babes About Town who also wrote here which in case you missed please go back for a quick read as it’s so so true and brilliant advice! Here she tackles another one of those difficult questions children fire at you when you’re least expecting. Enjoy!

Before Sperm Met Egg

My eldest, then 4, was recovering from chicken pox. One day at breakfast, Ezra asked (or rather, told) me, ‘Mummy, when you were a baby you had chicken pox too.’

No, I replied, I had chicken pox as a young girl.

‘And where was Jed?’

‘Pardon?’

‘Where was Jed when you were a girl? Was he in your tummy?’

Jed wasn’t around yet, I informed him. ‘You know that Jed was only born last year. Also I hadn’t met your daddy yet so of course there was no Jed.’

Ezra’s spoon hovered over his cereal bowl.

‘So where was he?’

The subtext was clear. And where was I? My armpits prickled. I could see where this was leading. It’s the metaphysical investigation, the ultimate unanswerable: Where did I come from? Who was I before you and daddy made me?

When you grow up and especially when you’re approaching middle age, it’s hard not to stop and wonder sometimes if there’s life after death. But the equal mystery of life before birth haunts less until you have a four-year-old, cereal spoon poised, quizzing you about his beginnings. And this goes way deeper than the birds and the bees.

Should I follow the religious route and preach about Jed’s heavenly origins? Should I tell a fairytale of some pre-birth wonderland filled with bouncing babies waiting to be delivered to their parents?

‘Jed was in my heart,’ I said, feeling rather clever. I prepared myself to explain the statement but Ezra looked unconvinced.

‘Where do you think Jed was?’ I asked.

‘Jed was in your tummy,’ Ezra said emphatically, spooning another mouthful from his bowl.

Hmm, I replied. Better leave it at that for now because I guess partly (you could say 50 percent) he’s right.

Plus I didn’t have the nerve to start getting into how, when and why Jed wound up in my tummy.

I hadn’t even had a cup of tea yet.