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The “Teacher Mum”

This is such a new concept to me, like many first time school mums, it is a minefield. The expectations, the waiting at the school gates, the meeting of new parents and children, meeting the teacher and the reading and homework. It’s a whole new ball game. 

I’ve adjusted to life a school mum quite well, I only do it once a week as I work but I love drop off and collection, preparing his school lunches, reading and finding out about Jenson’s day. I love every part of it and treasure it. We had parents evening next week and I couldn’t wait to hear about his progress. He did amazing, I loved seeing his classroom work, the wall displays ans hear how he was getting on, superbly infact. I felt happy with his progress so far as we also have access to Tapestry, an online learning journey. This is amazing. I get live updates when they upload an observation and I can also upload things we do, it is so lovely to see what he has done. 

It was so bizarre being on the ‘other side’ of the table, I am so use to just talking about the child and filling the silence, making sure there isn’t any gaps and avoiding questions at all costs! As a rule that you learn, you always ask the parents perspective and feelings at the beginning, then you can run with the rest of the appointment on your terms and that way you avoid over running. Jenson’s teacher knew all of the tricks of the trade, something you learn with experience. 

The sharing of career, however, has meant we have an understanding. I know that it isn’t always possible to hear children read, that teachers are human and forget things and that his teachers works her arse off. Especially when she is adding tapestry observations at 9pm on a Friday or 3pm on a Sunday. I relate to that life. 

As a teacher mum, I also know the importance and value of supportive parents. I understand that he needs to read at home every night, know his sounds, count and recognise numbers and calculations. I’ve given him the best possible chance by teaching him how he should be taught, lower case letters, numbers, correct formation of letters and numbers, letter sounds etc. It has meant that he is off to to the best start and will therefore shine and thrive above his peers, not because he is a genius (which he obviously is), but because he has had lots of opportunities. I also find myself over excelling with his homework, I really enjoy the opportunities it gives us to be together, we have been on a nature walk, number hunt, shape searching and we are taking his bear on a trip. We have had good feedback so far! 

I also understand her pressures, the fact that there are 29 other children in the class, with a variety of needs, some more complex than others. I know that the parents are different, some more complicated and some so laid back they forget to dress their child. I get that she doesn’t have eyes in the back of her head and some things do go unnoticed but it is my child in her class, I want him to be the centre of her world. Her main focus. I want her to adore and love him, challenge and push him, which she does but I hate that I do not have that involvement. 

The hardest bit has been separating myself from him. Spending maternity leave and all summer with Jenson to then nothing, someone else seeing him more and teaching him things when thay was my job. The logistics are perfect for a teacher Mum, but it’s in my heart that I struggle to deal with someone else doing my job as both a Mummy and a teacher. I imagine it will just get harder.  

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End of an era

I am sitting here tying to keep my shit together. I can’t. 

September 2014. Jenson’s first day.

It is Jenson’s last day at preschool today. He joined when he was 2 years and 7 months. He leaves at 4 years and 5 months. The journey he has been on since joining is incredible, he has learnt to count and recognise numbers, learn all his letter sounds, read cvc words and actually read a book amongst other things. I am beyond proud of his achievements and what he had accomplished, we have done a lot with him at home but the support he has received from the ‘Aunties’ is incredible. I know how teachers dedicate themselves to the children in their care and I love that he has received this love. 

Jenson loves his nursery, he has always been so happy there. He hasn’t always gone in well and has had his tears but he has made so much progress. His confidence alone has grown so much. He was amazing in his end of year show this week, he spoke loudly and confidently and my heart exploded. He wouldn’t even stand up and dance at the end of last year. 

The nursery go over and above for the children there, they put so much effort in. Jenson received a wonderful end of year report with a gift, poem and a pack for his learning over the summer. His poem was what sent me in to emotional turmoil earlier in the week. 

So, here we are, the end of an era. Jenson said to me this morning:

“Mummy, tomorrow I won’t have nursery anymore”

I am not sure either of us are prepared for today, emotionally or mentally. We have spent so long preparing for big school that actually I hadn’t really thought about leaving nursery. It was only this week that it has really crept up on me.

I am sitting here realising that he must be upset. The women that have been in his life for two years no longer will be. The women who cuddled him when he cried, wiped his tears, grazes and even his bottom. The ladies who laughed with him and even at him and who made him smile and feel safe. The Aunties who taught him so much and made him feel so special, like he could accomplish anything. The girls who sat with him to do activities for surprises at Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They’ve loved him, disciplined him and cared for him whilst I wasn’t there and I am will forever be grateful for the bond and relationship they have and that grew. 

They have no idea how highly thought of they are in this house and through his eyes. We talk about them constantly, we are excited when we bump in to them in town. They’ve given my boy the best possible start to his learning. I love how they know him so well. His report modelled that, identifying his his little personality and mentioned his favourite things and quirks. Especially how he is a chatter box. I know that he has been happy there and felt safe and it proved it. We made the right choice in sending him there.

15th July 2015. Jenson’s last day at Nursery

So, thank you Christchurch Nursery. You wonderful ladies who we adore. See you in a few years with Emeline, we will be back. (Depending on Emeline, I suppose that could be a threat!!)

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I love my Mum

There has been many times, throughout my life, where my mum has driven me potty. Most days, she drives me mad at some point and she can be a bit of a fruit loop at times too but she has the biggest heart too and we are very lucky to have her. There is something special about a mother and daughter relationship and I hope I get that with Emeline. My Mum, would do anything to help us and both my children and I think the world of her. 


I remember the first time I saw her after giving birth to Jenson, I was so pleased to ‘see’ her, our relationship changed in that moment. I knew the love she felt, I knew how proud she felt and I felt proud to have given her a grandson. She knew how I felt having my first child, how excited and exhausted in the same breath. I cried and she cried with me. I immediately understood her reasons, her worry, her love, her battles and her feelings towards me and my sister. As the years have gone by, I have understood her neurotic crazy moments when you totally lose your shit over the smallest thing but in actual fact, it’s a build up of events, or a stress you parent moment you’re protecting little people from that bubbles over. I know how she feels and my respect for her has changed so much since having my own children as well as my love and my patience. On top of that, I am so grateful for her, her endless love and support and sometimes, advice. Often, I don’t want it! 


Whenever we need anything, she will almost always come running, unless the sewing bee is on. No joke. My children idolise her, they have a truly wonderful relationship and I am so reassured that they have such trust in her and adore her as much as she does them. My parents taught me some wonderful lessons, they were always fair, although at the time, it felt like they weren’t. My sister and I were brought up well and have good morals, something I want Jenson and Emeline to have, I want their parenting to filter through mine, although of course I want it to be different and do it my own way with my own style too, it’s a learning journey and one I want to discover but I learnt so many skills from them. Sometimes, it amazes me that my sister and I survived with some things my Mum and Dad say and do… There is a huge generation gap between parenting and grandparenting!

 
I don’t think I say thank you enough, I always say it as I have good manners but I don’t spontaneously thank her. I used to take her for dinner but maternity leave and busy lives has put a stop to that recently. I want her to know I am grateful for what she does for us. 

Today, both children are unwell, and like before, she came over to help with my sanity. Mum went to Lidl to collect bread rolls for Jenson’s soup and biscuits as requested by Jenson in a lovely, long voice message. She then San and cuddled him, then Emeline, then played, then watched a film before leaving for her Sainsburys food shop. We had a nice time chatting and sympathising with Jenson and Emeline and it was such a nice afternoon. 

So, Mum, thank you. For everything over the past 28+ years. More specifically, the recent 4+ where you have shown your value as a Mum as well as a Nana. 

Love you. 

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Little fish

As I grew up, I loved swimming. I use to go with my Nanny and Grandad, they swam a lot and my Dad was a swimming teacher before he joined the police force. I swam early and we went almost every weekend. I am a strong swimmer and I really enjoy it, I would love the same for my children and this has already rubbed off on Jenson!  Jenson started swimming lessons really early with our local council, we both really enjoyed them. We moved at one point to a private gym that was local and were so disappointed with them, the leaders didn’t care about the classes and it was mostly just a bit crap. We went back to the local council pool and lessons and then Jenson had a break for a whilst I returned to work full time and Scott started to work Monday to Friday, so there was no one to take him. 

I enquired about swimming last December, knowing that Jenson would be four and would therefore be able to go swimming ‘alone’. His sessions were parent and toddler before but I wouldn’t have been able to get in there with him and leave our ‘new’ baby on the side. As soon as he hit four, he started them again which is good as during our Center Parcs break, Scott taught him the basic doggy paddle. 

  
Every Saturday Jenson goes swimming now, his lesson is at 9 so we have the rest of the day to do what we like thankfully rather than waiting around. I have seen so much progress since his first lesson. He can swim on his back so well although he needs to remember to keep his head up rather than watching his feet – he wants to make sure he is doing his feet properly. He can ‘scoop’ well too and can go some length on the front but needs to remember to breath! It’s all so much for a little person but I am super proud of him.  

 I love his confidence in the water, out of everything that is the most important to me. I take children swimming with work who are terrified of the water as they don’t swim often, they don’t have lessons or that experience. Our local pool does free swimming for children so you only pay for the adult, to me, that doesn’t make sense. You should pay a smaller price for the child and the adult should go free with them as it is essential they have parent support. It makes even less sense that Jenson gets ‘free swimming’ with his membership, considering he is free anyway, how will he benefit from that?!

I am sure the highlight of the lessons is being able to shower! I am having to ration the shower gel as he gets as far away as possible so I can’t nan the bottle off him, we were going through loads! Within seconds of leaving the pool he asks for a cup of tea but Grandad Mark took him last week and now he requests a milkshake at the diner opposite! Can’t afford these treats and habits every weekend… Grandparents!  

 

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Laughter is the best medicine 

Last night we had our friends for dinner, it’s so much easier and cheaper than going out and we can relax in the comfort of our own home. Emeline is still unpredictable being breastfed and doesn’t take a bottle so it’s always hit and miss whether her last feed will be 7pm so we hosted the dinner. 

Jenson was such a good boy and went off to sleep, Scott read him a story and he went off. I was really proud of him as I thought there was a chance he might start to be silly and come downstairs, but he didn’t. He knows it’s almost Easter and the bunny is watching!! 

I tried to give Emeline her night feed downstairs but she wasn’t having any of it, she was cooing and looking around. We decided to start and I put my steak on the stone and her little bottom lip went. Upstairs we went, she is an efficient feeder so it was only for 20 minutes but the food smelt amazing, I was almost dribbling on her.  

 

We have a raclette grill – I bought it for Scott’s birthday and it it amazing. If you’re a foodie this is an essential purchase. I prepared salad, potatoes and vegetables and Scott did the salmon, chicken and steak. There was so much but it’s nice to have choice. I also for crisps for nachos – to do under the grill, some bread and dipping oils, olives, cheese and antipasti meats. 

   
 We oiled the grill and put it on once Jenson has gone to bed for it to heat up, it has to be super hot. Scott got a selection of different spices for his birthday, we use these on everything! They are so nice on wedges in the summer with a BBQ. My way of working the grill is:

  • Add the meat
  • Add some seasoning to the meat and toss it
  • Prepare food for the grill.

I think the grill may be my favourite part, naturally, we have lots of cheese, except Stilton. There is a national shortage of that apparently! Tesco sent me a tiny 60g piece of that, I definitely didn’t order it that small. 

Our raclette has a hot stone on the top for meat and 8 little grills underneath, they have coloured dots on so you can essentially have two of the same colour so you don’t mix them. This was so important when my sister came as she has a potato allergy. The grills are relatively small but it works a bit like tapas, my favourite recipes are:

  • Asparagus and Parma ham 
  • Newpotatoes  (pre cooked) and Stilton
  • Garlic (pre roasted) mushrooms with chees
  • Nachos
  • Spinach, tomatoes and Brie. 
  • Potatoe, Parma ham and cheese. 
  • Roasted peppers. 

The food is amazing but dangerous, you don’t realise how much you’re eating as you pick at it and essentially, you never have a full place. Between four us alone, we ate almost 2lb of steak! 

But, by far, the best part of the evening was with our friends. We laughed so much, I went to bed smiling. Scott has been friends with Martyn since they were small and you can see their friendship glowing when they are together, I love his wife Angela and we have a wonderful friendship too, we communicate everyday and have such fun together. We asked them to be Emeline’s godparents last night and they accepted which is wonderful. It gives me such reassurance they will support our family like that but I feel safe in the knowledge also that they are stuck with us for life. 

It was our first evening ‘event’ since having Emeline and it was a huge success! Home dinner parties are the way forward! 

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Hardworking helpers

Family is hardwork, getting the balance right isn’t always easy and actually sometimes we need our time to be our own family, that’s so important. That isn’t always understood and has had such an impact on our relationship with our close family. We live locally and see our parents and siblings often yet the space boundary is often crossed and that makes the relationship tested.

 Scott and I are lucky that our family and friends are so helpful. Whenever we have moved house, they’ve been there to pack boxes and unpack furniture, decorate and help in the garden. Our current garden is a mammoth effort, it was so overgrown when we moved in and Scott has taken it on as his little hobby. 

We had trees cut down and Scott has cleaned the left side of mostly weeds as well as levelling out the ground, the right side has a selection of trees and bushes but it is so overgrown. Randomly, the path finishes half way down the garden too. It needs so much work.  

  

 Today, we had Scott parents over. I made homemade potato and leek soup for the workers, stocked up on biscuits for Lidl and filled them with tea and coffee. It has been a cold day out there and Emeline has been slightly unsettled since her jabs so she spent the day with me in the warmth. 

I am so grateful for their help today, so much was done to make the garden beautiful and safe for the children but I have had to bite my tongue a lot today. My patience has been tested and I’ve heard more opinions than a new Mum! I have been question about my ‘plans’ for the week and comments have been made about my messy lounge! However, Jenson has has a wonderful day, he ran around sticking pegs on everyone’s clothes, he dug up and played. He has loved it! I wrapped Emeline up in her sling and our lovely Bundlebean  and inspected their work outside, I couldn’t do alot with a baby attached to me!

   
I can’t wait to get out there in the summer!