Monday, May 16, 2011

Testing Times

The children all seem to be having fairly 'big' birthdays this year in the sense that they are sometimes considered milestones. Lucy reached the age of three and seems to be rapidly progressing to little madam after toddlerhood, still caught in between wanting to sing nursery rhymes and wanting to dance around to the latest tunes booming out of her sisters ipod.

Matthew turns five in less than three week (eek!) Traditionally this used to mark the beginning of going to school, now that tends to happen at 4 but even so five seems to be one of those birthdays! Heather will reach the grand old age of seven in just a couple of months and this too is a landmark, her last birthday before she reaches junior school. They all seem to be growing up so quickly and as the exam season begins it reminds me of all those years that have seem to have slipped by without me noticing.

Having said that the kids also seem to be doing their best to drive me mad, I think lots of bank holidays and excitement haven't helped but there has been a definite deterioration in behaviour, the volume in the house has risen considerably as has the amount of time the children have spent in their beds, time out or avoiding me because they know they have done something they shouldn't have!

Lucy's favourite trick at the moment is to scream as loudly as possible as soon as you say no, the others irritate her or she wants you to do something for her, usually picking her up. Mathew was in trouble for the first time proper at school last week and I had to speak to the teacher, he did have the sense to look chastened but even so I was still not happy and Heather seems to be practicing to be a teenager, ignoring us of having a strop. When asked to do something she thinks is beneath her she sighs 'fine!' and flounces off, we haven't quite had the slamming bedroom door but I am sure it is not too far away.

Bizarrely at other times they seem to be model children, helping each other out and playing together nicely. All I know is at the moment I have days where I feel like locking the doors and running away as fast as I can and others where I count my lucky stars to have such wonderful kids, I am hoping that we come out of these awkward phases soon as half term is approaching rapidly and June is very busy with events at school and home.

On a more positive note Heather lost both her two front teeth this weekend and is now sporting the typical kids look with a big gappy smile. Matthew is desperate to catch her up and has started trying to wobble his teeth but is frustrated to find they are still stuck fast, and probably will be for the next couple of years.

Anyway I am off to look for my sanity and patience, I am sure they are around here somewhere.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Sometimes life simply isn't exciting, there is nothing particular happening, the kids are at school, there are the usual run of the mill tasks to complete and running the house and family seems to take up an inordinate amount of time. This weekends project was re-gravelling the drive. It has to qualify as one of the most boring jobs ever. The most exciting part was the delivery itself, the huge bags arrived on a lorry with a crane. As we have oaks on the drive with tree preservation orders swinging a crane through them was going to be difficult. In the end we settled for the kerb just off the driveway, the whole 3ton!

Several people passed as I struggled up and down the driveway with the wheelbarrow filled with gravel and Lucy trailing behind me with her plastic play wheelbarrow. Most of them advised me I would need something bigger to shift it. By the time it was time to get the kids from school the bag had a dent in it. Luckily the weather was lovely and with the help of the three little ones we managed to make good progress. After that Mr T arrived home, between us with a little Laurel and Hardy esque fooling about we managed to drag the bag up onto the driveway. By the evening with team work from our neighbours we managed to do the whole lot. The end result a gravel-tastic driveway that will probably end up driving us mad as the kids redistribute it all over the place, but despite appearing to be the most tedious of tasks, we had fun, weird!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Y is for Yesterday and Z is for Zoo

Yesterday (well not quite now but it was when I wrote the post and failed to upload it) was the royal wedding. It was lovely, there was flag waving, romance and street parties. I vaguely remember a street party which involved eating party rings, wearing union jack bowler hats and sitting outside and not being very sure why.

Ours was lovely, having had a wonderful breakfast party with terrific friends who put up with my three very excited children we watched a very nervous Prince William depart for and arrive at the abbey. Then we were off, despite Lucy falling over en route to the car we just about managed to get home to see Catherine set off and Heather was entranced by the whole thing. Matthew watched most of it but Lucy stole my phone and disappeared off to play fairies or something like that. She arrived back towards the end and declared that she liked princesses and watched the carriage journey.

As soon as they were safely ensconced at the palace everyone was outside carrying tables and chairs, hanging bunting or balloons and preparing the music for the party. Then we all dashed in to watch the kiss on the balcony. We were lucky enough to see the jets that did the fly past as they came over our house much to the excitement of the kids.

At about 2pm we all took our food and drink out and the children spent the rest of the day bouncing on the castle, climbing on the climbing frame and when they were pooped out doing some colouring. They touched base with us once in a wall to eat and drink and once Grandma and Grandpa arrived they bossed them about as well. It was a great opportunity to get to know our neighbours who we hadn't seen much of. All in all a great day.

Z is for Zee end

Ok so the zee is a bit of a cheat! But it is the end of the a-z blogging challenge. I am proud to have in the main persevere and got to the end and it definitely was a challenge, not only coming up with topics that related to the letter of the day but also remembering to post on a regular basis, when often I only get 1-2 posts completed a week!

On a totally different note today the US declares that Osama Bin Laden was dead and around the world people were celebrating. Whilst it may be good news that he is dead, it has to be said that 'the war on terror' is far from over. If anything his death will inflame more terrorist attacks in retaliation. Rumours are already circulating that somewhere in Europe there is a bomb just waiting to be detonated, that it wasn't really him, although hopefully the DNA results will dispel the doubters.

I still think that there will be forthcoming plots and we will still hear reports of foiled terrorist plots, one man's death doesn't kill his legacy and while I do not share his politics or ideas in anyway, there are many who do and will step up to fill the void now left.

I am hoping that the world can be a safer place as that is what I want for my children, a place where they don't have to be afraid about who is planning what against the place they live just because of their nationality. After all none of us plan where we are born, we can't choose our parents and so we should seek to negotiate where we can, after all I was taught we were all created equally and should treat others as we wish to be treated. These days this seems idealistic, even naive but who knows maybe one day we can learn to tolerate difference and get along with one another without having to resort to war - just watch kids in a playground, many of them highly skilled at negotiation and manipulation - maybe we could learn a thing or two!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for X files

This program is one of the few that stood the test of time. The characters made an impression on people and even when the plots became endlessly insane at time the loyal watchers still watched. Buffy is another one that not only spawned spin off series but came to a natural end rather than being killed off by ratings chasers. Perhaps this is the reason why Dr Who had been such a big hit. The fans hadn't finished with it and so they fell back in love with, even those of us who have grown up and should know better than to hide behind a sofa!

I think that these shows somewhere spark a curiosity in me, the unexplained, the why and wherefore of the world, probably things that we will never know, or if we do know it will be like the Galileo revelation. Even if discoveries are supported by a body of scientific evidence there will still be detractors and those attempting to prove they are right and the other people are wrong.

The X files though reminds me of all the times when you hear a piece of news and you get a shiver down your spine, get that odd deja vu sensation or know who is on the other end of the phone before you pick it up. I have had a few odd things happen, a few 'feelings' that I wished I had listened to before acting and it seems to me that sometimes we 'know' without knowing and that we can't explain that, yet. Truly an X-File.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Wedding

Did you know, there is a very small wedding happening on Friday? You may have heard about it from the news, papers or radio, simply walking anywhere, as you can't fail to notice the union jack bunting and decorations everywhere. There are some who are complaining about the coverage and saying it is too over the top, but I prefer to embrace it. How often do we get lots of people united for a good reason, we have the Olympics next year but I doubt there will be many Olympic street parties.

I am lucky enough to be able to attend one, in fact I was lucky enough to have three separate occasions to go to but alas, one of me and a closed road with three kids mean we will be spending the majority of the time at our home street party rather than gallivanting across Essex visiting others.

I have the bunting prepared, and in this day and age I have also prepared the warning notices for the various bouncy castle, climbing frames and trampolines that people could injure themselves on. The fridge in the garage that is usually empty contains party food that the kids are looking forward to as it is normally carefully rationed. Heather is looking forward to watching the wedding, Matthew not so much he would rather be out playing and I am not sure how much Lucy understands. I hope the rain holds off, it looks as if we will see some wetness on the day, a shame after all the beautiful weather we have been having.

Anyway however you spend the 'free bank holiday' raise a glass to the man who will probably be our king someday and his new wife and if you can get to a street party don't forget the silly union jack hats!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Victory

There are many different types of victory in this life, some have good consequences others have bad consequences. I had a small personal victory this weekend, I have been back running for about a month now and even when I was running regularly I was struggling to get my average time per mile down. This is essential if I am ever to run the marathon, otherwise long after most people are sitting in their ice baths I will still be struggling along. I began gingerly, the previous run had resulted in a slight strain to a muscle but after a mile and several stretches it felt OK, I ran 3 miles each under 11 minutes, that sounds a lot, however if I could run each mile in 11 minutes I could do the marathon in 5 hours just, the next goal will be 10.5 minutes and longer distances. Victory motivates, it makes us think something is worthwhile that we can do something even though it seems difficult.

I see the kids beginning to appreciate it, the first time they rode a bike without stabilizers, crossed the monkey bars without an adult to help, rode a horse, the list seems endless.

Perhaps though victory is not always a positive thing, think about how the importance of victory to some politicians have meant pain and suffering for many in diverse nations, how it causes athletes to endanger themselves with drugs so they can be the best. Sometimes victories are physical, the person who relearns to walk after injury, the people who perform great physical feats such as crossing the channel, kayaking down the Amazon or trekking over the North Pole to raise money so that others might have the chance for a better life, those are the kind of victories to be celebrated.

I doubt any of my small personal victories will mean much to anyone outside my immediate family and friends but I am looking forward to setting myself some goals and looking forward to the challenge.

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Unique

It's funny that when we go to school or work in certain places we all wear the same uniform. Despite that we are all unique. Each of us has our own hopes and dreams, things we want to achieve and likes and dislikes. When I used to teach I would be presented with thirty new faces, a name attached to them and possibly some information from a previous teacher or school. One of the first things I always did with them was to get them to do a little factfile, what they liked and didn't like.

When we meet new people we try to find something that we have in common, for me frequently now it is children that we have children, but even this is a unique experience, Each child is unique, even between my three there are huge differences between them. They approach things in their own way and they confidence levels vary greatly.

Lucy for example, despite being the youngest has learnt more things ahead of time because she has the benefit of two older siblings, Matthew projects great confidence but isn't always as confident as he seems. Heather has to do everything first, new schools, trips, and clubs and so on. She has grown in confidence as she has gotten older but even so she still needs a lot more reassurance.

That is why I have tried to instill in my children that treating everyone the same doesn't work, always be polite and treat everyone with respect but I encourage the children to get to know people, find out what makes them tick and to treat everyone as an individual, because after all we are all unique.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Training

As I was late with my A-z post yesterday I thought I ought to try and get today's post done early in the day.

For three years I have unsuccessfully entered the London marathon ballot - this year I have entered again. I don't find out until October if I will have a place and at that point a fully six month training program is provided. I feel that for me six months won't be enough so I am already running regularly.

People ask me why I want to run it and I can't really answer other than that for me it (and for many others) it would be a huge achievement, to be able to train for and run a marathon is something I have always wanted to do, it is the last thing I aimed for as a child that I need to tick off my list, the other two were to be a teacher and to write a book.

Other aims have come along and been added to the list but this one remains, I am hoping that I get a place but if not I will have another try but to run in Olympic year would be special. Keep your fingers crossed.

S is for SUnshine

Sunshine is bathing the garden and play stuff at the front of the house, a heat haze shimmers across the road and bees are buzzing in between colourful flowers that are already in bloom. Not only that but there are bank holidays aplenty to enjoy.

Yesterday we went to a local farm park whilst Heather had a day at the stables. The kids had great fun leaping about on the bouncy pillow and looking at a whole variety of animals, even decorating a biscuit in the shade. Lucy managed to turn herself into an ice cream as she worse as much as she ate but we all had great fun. Our attention turns this weekend to Easter egg hunts, preparing the driveway for the street party next week and unfortunately study. I have tried working outside but there are just too many distractions.

Still if previous years are anything to go by the sunshine won't last for long, if it is nice now if probably won't be in the summer, after all the year Lucy was born it was still snowing at this time of year!

My intention is to enjoy it while it lasts, paddling pool here we come!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Rabbit

Well with Easter on the horizon I thought they deserved a mention. I was thinking the other day how easily we all believe in the myth, Father Christmas, Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Then we say to our kids if you don't do xxx then yyy won't visit. The kids tow the line for a bit and then we repeat the pantomime.

I am hoping that the Easter bunny will make an appearance and with good weather forecast I may even set up a mini egg hunt for the kids, as well as letting them eat some of the eggs although Matthew is convinced you have to eat only real eggs, wonder what Cadburys et al would think of that idea.

Anyway Happy Easter and I hope you all see the white rabbit with the floppy ears, should he have a clock and be muttering about being late however, best let him get on with it, I am sure the real one will be along later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Questions Questions

If you have ever been around for kids for a reasonable amount of time you have probably encountered their innate talent for asking embarrassing questions at inappropriate times!
'Mummy is this swearing?'
'Mummy why does that person smell funny?'
Mummy, why is that person buying so many cakes when they already have a big tummy?'
and perhaps worst of all; 'Mummy does that lady have a baby in their tummy?' when they haven't.

There are plenty of other examples but they always seem to ask them when the room is quiet in their loudest possible voice!

Sometimes though one question simply leads to another, take the swearing one, having stuck her middle finger up and having had it confirmed that it was indeed swearing Heather wanted to know why people swore if it was such a bad thing.
'Why can't they just say bother?' hmm, answers on a postcode for that one and the perennial favourite;
'If I was in your tummy how did I get out?'

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for priorities

It's funny how things change. Once upon a time my main priority was rising with the larks and whizzing off to school to prepare for the day filled with 30 11 year old's. Nowadays my main priority is trying to get enough sleep to get through the day.

Priorities seem to change throughout the day, for instance today I had planned to drop the two big kids off at school, let Lucy play in the garden and study outside, instead I ended up nipping to the local shops to run a few errands, spent half an hour in the library and another half an hour with Lucy in the coffee shop which she thinks is the the height of sophistication!

Now the school run is approaching and I am trying to think of ways to avoid the kids homework and enjoy the sunshine instead! I wonder why everything seems to squeeze together as the day seems to stretch forwards in the morning but as soon as we start doing something time slips away quickly!

At the moment my priorities remain with the kids and while I do try and plan ahead and ensure that deadlines and commitments are met, on days like this I try to seize the opportunity to get out and enjoy life, if there is one thing I have learned over the last twelve months it is to enjoy as much as you can when you can!

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Opportunity

Every day we have lots of opportunities and this is another word that gets used a lot. Recently I have been thinking a lot about my writing, I am considering doing a journalism course so that I can do some local reporting and get an 'in' to the publishing business, make some contacts and maybe make some inroads to getting a decent book deal for the forthcoming bestseller residing in my brain! Frustration hits though s you need to do a fair bit of 'on the job' training and whilst this can be arranged the ability to only be around for school hours proves to be a bit of a sticking point. At some point I will consider getting a minder in but at the moment I love being able to be with the kids and pick them up from school.

This may seem like an opportunity missed but in the end I decided that I am still young enough to persue my dreams when the kids are a bit bigger, I can still write at home which is convenient as I can do it around the kids and their holidays. I must admit to missing teaching a bit now but even so I don't regret the decision to be a stay at home mum most of the time. There are moments when I wish I could have a little more time to myself, to have somewhere to go to on a regular basis that isn't home and have goals to work to. I got as far as making a sort of timetable listing all the things I wanted to achieve, it lasted for 24 hours, something else needed doing that took precedence.

The most frustrating thing is that there are lots of ideas I want to write down and develop, several of them have gone into my notebook for later use, I am going to try and write every day but this can be difficult, school runs and clubs, housework and a three year old to entertain until September as well as the school holidays mean that life can be busy and for the moment I have availed myself of the opportunity to be with the kids.

The opportunities that are open to me are many, some involve work but many of us give them up for what we hope might be the greater good, however come September I will be taking the opportunity that 2 childfree hours gives me to do all sorts of things and watch out in 2012 when I have three kids at school all day, that book deal will be done!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Over dinner this evening we were discussing the imminent return of Dr Who. I have always remembered watching it curled up on the sofa and certainly since Tennant's doctor I have been as riveted as ever! Heather has shared this love of all things odd, or should that be ood?

Anyway Matthew hasn't really watched as the few times he has watched it he has bailed in the first ten minutes. Still I was talking to Heather about how everyone said this series was going to be scary and maybe I should watch it and then she could see it the next day if it was suitable. Needless to say this idea didn't go down very well with her and she insisted that she would be fine.

'Are the garlicks coming back?' Matthew piped up, I kept a straight face thinking I'd misheard.
'You know the garlicks, not garlic bread but the garlicks, round things that move.'
We tried to convince him that they are called daleks, we really did, but watch out for great white things that move and shout, they could be coming to a screen near you...

N is for naughty

As a parent of small(ish) children I use this word on several occasions most days. It was only recently, when one of them challenged my why an action they were doing was naughty that I stopped to think about how I use it. There are the obvious things such as hurting each other, drawing on walls and deliberately damaging toys or siblings stuff that I would class as naughty but now it seems to have evolved and includes things I find vaguely annoying.

Now I am lucky enough to have my own study it is naughty to go in there without permission, it is naughty to move stuff and naughty to open the door and go out to the car before I tell them to, but is it really? Some of this stuff just gets on my nerves and I am using the word naughty in the vain hope that it will deter them from doing what they are planning, other times it is a safety thing, I prefer them to wait for me not because there is a busy road outside or someone waiting to take them away, but because in other places we go there might be.

I have also noticed that they behave differently around different people, some they are quiet in front of, others they try and show off in front of in the hope of getting their attention. At school they seem to do as they are told whereas at home they practice selected listening. How much is really 'naughty' though and how much is just plain annoying?

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Mr Nobody

You may have heard of this person, I certainly have. He lives in my house but never seems to be seen or heard by anyone but he gets up to lots of mischief.

He leaves mess over the floors usually mud or wet footprints, he forgets to flush the toilet and he draws on the wall. It seems every time one of these instances occur no-one knows who has done it. Indeed there may be a pencil at the scene of the crime or even a pair of shoes, a guilty face is often seen on one of the kids but nevertheless they insist it wasn't them and therefore it must be someone else.

If you see him, let me know and if you are lucky enough to talk to him please ask him to remember if you make a mess clear it up and take your shoes off before you come in the door.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for learning

As I watch the kids grow up and begin their education adventure I have begun to reflect just how much they are learning and how quickly they learn it. Lucy has come on so much quicker than her siblings and is as street wise as them already because she has them to copy, Heather on the other hand is probably still one of the more immature six year old's in her class, of course she is one of the youngest being summer born but even so I have noticed a gap. Perhaps more telling is that she seems to have done as well and sometimes actively strives to close it. She has started asking me if she looks trendy (already!) and is more aware of the things she chooses to play with and talk about, often referencing her friends as an endorsement, peer pressure already weaving its spell.

I have studied with the OU on and off for about 7 years now and have learnt many things, some of which have surprised me! Yesterday I received an e-mail inviting me to visit the social sciences Facebook page, I did and what's more I liked it. While I have always been interested in philosophy and psychology I never thought that economics, politics or just the science behind why we do things would interest me as much as they are doing, to the extent I want to work to find out more about them. I still have an interest in the law and teaching and the fact that I read and write as much as I do show they are still my main passion but even so I find myself being drawn to subjects that when I was at school I labelled boring and wouldn't have gone near at all unless forced!

Perhaps it is just a part of mellowing with age or growing up but I am finding there are huge areas of knowledge which I know nothing about, I can't really answer many geography questions and my map reading school are legendarily bad, I can't play an instrument well and the fact that Heather and Matthew seem to be picking it up so easily have put me to shame. Perhaps it is time for a second childhood, an opportunity to pick up new knowledge and maybe even the skill to play a few tunes on the piano. It's never too late to learn.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for killing the inspiration.

No matter how experienced a writer you are one of the first and lasting bits of advice you are given is to have a notebook and pen wherever you go. You are also advised to sit and 'free write', as in write down the first things that come into your head wherever possible. This is easier said than done, often I have notebook, pen, desk, mid-sentence and 'Mummy can I..' Any attempt to delay said ... results in moans and groans which mean in the end you give in, even if you leap up and get the ... immediately by the time you return the thoughts have gone and inspiration lost.

I have now vowed to try and do the free writing first thing in the morning of after they have gone to bed, the novels and so on have to happen as and when and due to the number of interruptions require a lot more editing, even writing a shortish blog post can take up to an hour sometimes. When the weather is good the writing is easier, the office re-located to the garden and the kids happy. Of course come September all three will be off to school and I will have regular writing time. In the meantime I will goof around with games on the PC (Sorry facebook friends who don't like farm or frontierville, join up it's fun!) and read, lots of reading and dream of the days when I can sit and write for a whole two hours with only my own daydreams to interrupt me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for job

I am currently studying with the OU, and recently I took a new direction, I love learning new things and have stayed 'safe' for me in previous courses. This one is more of a challenge and is in sociology. I have been intrigued with how much it has opened my eyes to things going on all around me all the time.

For instance when we meet new people how do we form our ideas about them, one thing by which we identify ourselves is our job, but increasingly it is by what we like in terms of music, movies and books as well as other activities we enjoy.

It made me even wonder about the jobs I choose to include when the subject comes up, I am sometimes reluctant to say I am a writer as people seem to expect me to reel off a list of titles or magazine publications where my work can be found and some are distinctly unimpressed when you say you don't have an agent! I often say I am a full time mum trying to be an author who used to be a teacher, even this doesn't quite fit as I still love all things educational and it struck me that labeling people as clerical, administrative and so on as we are often required to do doesn't do the complexity of many of the jobs we do justice.

Perhaps Matthew summed it up best when he declared ' I am going to be a bin man and drive bin lorries all week except the weekend when I am going to be a racing car driver like Sebastian Vettel.' Now that I'd like to see.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Imagine that

As a writer, author, attempting to be imaginative person one of the exercises I sometimes use to get the cogs whirring is the what if game. You may have written a piece you are unhappy with but somehow it just isn't working, so what if the lead character swapped gender, what if instead of going to the supermarket they went into a betting shop - you get the idea. I find the kids play a version of this every day.

Imagine that you are so and so and I am this person and we are doing this, it is interesting to listen as they negotiate each trying to move higher up the perceived hierarchy. Indeed Lucy not protests heavily if she has to be a baby, because as she assets almost constantly; 'I'm a big girl now I'm three.'

It is great listening to them as they swap cahracters, some based on the TV, some from books and other generic characters from the world around them, it gives them the opportunity to explore different points of view and think about how other people live their lives, and sometimes I wish my life could be as easy as their game. When something isn't going right just change the rules, why can't the characters in my book behave like that, perhaps I am writing the wrong story.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Happy Ever After

I sometimes wish I could go into the minds of the kids. I am sure I was the same when I was there age but for them the majority of the time life is just one big happy ever after. Of course school gets in the way but in the main they get to choose how to spend their time, they have a wealth of toys, lots of books, puzzles and arts and crafts activities and not to mention the garden.

Of course they are lucky in the sense that they have loads that they can do and a garden big enough for them all to play in, others are not so lucky. Perhaps that is why very occasionally I get a little upset with what seems to be just a series of moans or complaints as I haven't dealt with their latest request immediately. Indeed often being a parent is a thankless task, you can work hard to keep them entertained in the holidays and as soon as one activity is finished, or you get home from a day out or finish cooking them the chorus comes; what are we doing now? Where are we going? What's for dinner and so on...

What makes it all worthwhile, cuddling up with the kids to watch a film or their favourite program, seeing them get excited about something, but the best thing is when they look at you and just say 'I love you.' That really is happy ever after.

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Grown- Ups

This week I and Mr T had our birthdays, as nice as it was mine was a bit of a non-event, the kids were on holidays so I did good things with them, Mr T was away and I bought my own cake, lit my own candles, waited for the kids to finish their rendition of Happy Birthday and blew them out again! Heather was left in charge and so she ensured my presents and cards, I was lucky enough to get some through the post and she insisted that I had to wait for her to bring them to me.

Following the grand present opening ceremony Matthew declared;
'I don't want to be a grown up, they don't get many presents and we get lots.'
I pointed out to him that I didn't really play with toys any more and that one day he would like things that didn't need to be pushed along or wound up or cuddled but he just shook his head unconvinced.
'Lot's of people buy me presents, they always will' he insisted.

It got me thinking about the people that influence the kids, obviously other kids but mine are lucky enough to have grandparents, godparents and other grown-ups who they view as friends as well as teachers at school. I value them all, because as any parent will tell you there are sometimes when whatever you say simply doesn't get through. I often wonder how it was that I could command the attention of thirty kids in a classroom but regularly struggle to finish even a sentence with my owe three. This feeling is compounded when they sit quietly and listen to every syllable of visitors, or complete a jigsaw they had given up on or concentrate on a story they had declared boring moments earlier.

My conclusion is that I am simply too familiar to them, they have no problems telling me they are bored. other adults bring a new dimension to them, they can share different experiences, talk to them in different ways and reason with them using alternative methods. There are times when friends and family have unknowingly averted a mummy explosion simply by being there and distracting the kids from whatever persistent naughtiness was going on and if for nothing else other than that I am grateful.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for fun in the sun

I don't often feel the need to comment on the weather, natural disasters yes, knee deep snow yes but usual rain or sun not really but the last few days have been glorious. Even better it actually managed to occur during the children's school holidays, usually it is either side of them and rain in between. Today I haven't seen of much of it as I would have liked as we spent the day visiting the dentist, painting pottery and baking a cake for Mr T to help him celebrate his birthday.

Yesterday though we had a lovely time in the garden, moving out to the front with the climbing frame and bikes in the afternoon Heather was even able to meet some of the children who are also on their holidays and is beginning to make new friends, it may not be summer just yet, but so far spring is being friendly.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Education

As a teacher in a previous life I still take interest in all things education. My three are all at different stages of their school career and I love finding out what they are doing, of course as you will know from previous posts this sometimes proves difficult!
It is with interest that I have watched the advent of the new academies and am wondering what will become of them. It is clear the one size fits all approach isn't working but with fees for university rising and lack of availability of courses I have already begun to worry about what will happen when my kids come to think about their adult lives. By then I am sure everything will have changed again.

I wonder sometimes what will happen, at the moment I am lucky as the children enjoy going to school and despite not always telling me everything I'd like to know they seem to be making good progress and learning things, but it seems to me that education is so much more than this. Kids need fresh air and friends, perhaps the things Heather has found the hardest is learning to play with children her own age. She is great with kids that are smaller than her as she has younger siblings and is even quite good at relating to older children, but those in her own year she remains aloof from. It seems she can join in and play if she wishes but quite often she prefers her own company. She enjoys disappearing into fantasy worlds which seems Ok for her.

Matthew and Lucy on the other hand both love playing with children of their own age as well as older and younger ones. They actively seek children their own ages and miss their friends if they don't see them for a few weeks meaning lots more play dates and friends over than we ever had with Heather. I have noticed other differences as well, Heather does everything in painstaking detail whereas Matthew does everything as quickly as possible, convinced that this is the right approach.

Who knows where they will end up, I tend to see my job as a facilitator, giving them a wealth of experiences and allowing them to interpret the world in their own ways, that I think will be my greatest contribution to their education.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Don't Know

I was wondering how many times I hear this little phrase every day, usually in response to every question I ask the kids;
What did you do at school today?
What would you like for dinner?
How did this mess get here?
Why is so and so crying?
and on and on, and it occurred to me, what they usually mean is I can't be bothered to tell you, or I don't want to get into trouble. Even worse than don't know is the shrug, you will know it when you see it. It may not be intentionally rude but it sure makes my blood boil!
Weirdly though, when I have tried the don't know routine I get funny looks and sulks,
Can I have a drink?
What's for dinner?
Can I go to such and such?
Maybe I should try the shrug...

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for children

With the subject of my blog and Mother's Day having just happened there didn't seem to be much else I could choose for the A-Z blogging challenge.

My three kids, it is fair to say have taken over my life, I cannot say I wasn't prepared for that but when I look back I still find it difficult to believe how much time Heather used to take up when she was by herself! When I had just had her everything seemed so hard, of course there is a huge learning curve One day there was just me and James and the next there were three of us, and as Heather squinted up at me and we gazed back at her I realised I wasn't entirely sure what I was meant to do with her. The discharge from hospital was both terrifying and exhilarating.

When Matthew came along we had a better idea of what we were doing, I couldn't wait to get out of the hospital and start being a family and I was much more confident and clued up. Even so Matthew was a very different baby from Heather and when Lucy came along she was different again. As they grow up I see so many similarities and differences.

Heather is growing in confidence whereas Matthew and Lucy who seem to project it at every opportunity sometimes now hesitate. Lucy is in a rush to grow up, she wants to be the same as the other two, desperate to be thought a big girl and often forgets that she isn't as tall as the others.

I sometimes wonder where all the times goes, it takes us at least twenty minutes to get out of the house, by the time everyone has found and put on their shoes, cleaned their teeth, brushed their hair, etc, etc we are often running late. Even when I enure that we begin early we still run late! I spend lots of time after school waiting for them to finish their after school activities; music, drama and dancing. I greet them enthusiastically, ask them how their day has been and am greeted with very little in return in the main. Matthew insists of going through the entire list of events of the day, Heather opens up if something of particular interest has happened that day, other than that it is a mystery what happens between the times of 850 and 315.

The weekend usually involve visits to football, horse riding and swimming, I try to get a run in and keep up with my studies. I spend even more of my time trying to get them to tidy up, often there are toys strewn throughout the house and mess in various places. This may all sound very negative, but you know what it is a privilege to watch them grow up. The flowers that I received yesterday for Mother's day and the cards signed by the cards or made at school show that some of it is appreciated.

A smile and a cuddle can melt you, you can be infuraited one minute and giggling the next. OF course life is more complicated but complicated doesn't always have to be bad.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for best friends

How many have you got/ had? What makes someone your best friend? I am studying psychology with the ou and this was one of the areas covered in the unit. It seems when we are kids all we expect from out friends is for them to play a few games and share some sweets with us. When we hit our teens it gets more complicated. We want someone to listen to us, share and keep our secrets and we begin to socialise. Then as we become adults we may see each other less often, work interferes, we meet peole, some have kids and there seems to be less time. Despite that the gedtvdriends are the ones that are always there. You may not have seen each other for weeks hut you know each other well enough to be snot to talk and share. Your best friends are the ones who when something goes wrong can drop everything and come running. You'll know rhi they see, they never seek thanks, don't try and score points they're just there got you and you for them whenever, whatever,

Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Ambition

At the moment there is a project that several hundred in the bogging community have signed up for, the challenge is to write 26 blog posts in April, Monday - Saturday each the subject matter starting with the next letter in the alphabet.

So A is for ambition, it struck me that one can have several of these all at the same time. You may have short term ambitions such as to complete a particular set of tasks in one day, medium term ambitions such as to move house, get a new job or long term ambitions such as finishing that pesky second novel that I promised myself I would finish last year!

When you ask children they often don't know much about it, if you ask them what they want to be when they are older they can answer that but they are not always sure how they are going to get there, that comes later. There are a few however who cotton on at the very beginning of school and are determined to do one particular thing and follow it all the way through.

By the time I was eleven I knew I wanted to be a teacher and an author, I wasn't sure how I was going to achieve them both and now I think I can pretty much tick them both of the list, I taught for four years and then tutored for one and then another year of teaching. I have written a book and it has been published, it wasn't a five star book deal and I still feel as if I am at the beginning of that particular journey but a book is a book!

I often wonder where the kids will end up, I haven't got any fixed ideas about it, last year Matthew insisted he wanted to be a dustbin man, this year he seems to want to be a fireman or a postman. Heather wants to be a pop star and Lucy wants to be a fairy or a princess! I am hoping that they will settle on something and that will give them the motivation to see it through, but I guess my ambition for them is to be happy!

Monday, March 21, 2011


This weekend has proven to be a much better weekend than last, we now have the sound of coughing and sneezing accompanying us wherever we go but the kids are in better spirits, especially with the sun coming out from its hiding place for a while.

We were able to catch up with friends and family that we had had to delay the previous week. What surprised me most was Heathers reaction to our friends rather swish racing car/ go-kart ( the debate still rages...) She was desperate to have a go which for a girly girl seemed rather out of character. Still she harried our poor friend until she was taken out for a quick tour round the block much to Mr T's jealousy. When she came back she had the biggest smile on her face and we were told that the faster they had gone the more she had laughed. Perhaps Mr T will have a racing driver in the family.

Matthew meanwhile, who I had expected to be jumping up and down demanding a ride failed to notice the car when he went past it twice on his bike, partly because his helmet was over his eyes and partly because he was concentrating so hard on riding his bike that he simply didn't notice. When it was time to say goodbye and the car was pointed out to him he became rather shy and speechless and refused to believe that it has been parked on the drive for a couple of hours and that he had walked past it.

Lucy loved having another Belle cake and even more presents and cards to open, she recognised one of the books she was given as one she had heard at nursery. She did have us in stitches though as she improvised the reasons why various animals were unsuitable for pets when she couldn't remember the words. The snake was too slithery, the camel was too sleepy and the frog, well he was just too froggy!

He did at last manage to get some of his Lego built, with all the jobs we have been doing things like Lego have been on the backburner, but now he has a lego fire station and car built and is loving playing with them, he has several bits to go with them so I see Easter holidays having a lot to do with little square bit of colour and instruction manuals!

The time seems to be passing very quickly at the moment, the children finish for Easter this Friday and that will also be Lucy's last day at nursery, she goes to pre-school in September so we are going to have our last few adventures on our own before she gets swallowed up by a term time schedule. It's funny really because throughout term time I complain about the school run and having to ferry them from one activity or party to another and then as soon as the holidays hit I moan about not having structure, them being bored and the difficulty of entertaining them, but I think on balance I prefer the freedom of the holidays. If the weather is good we can pack a picnic and head to the park, walk to the station and explore London of if it is really nice head to the beach. If the weather is bad we can have indoor picnics, arts and crafts and visits it's all a matter of time really.

The thing I have learned as a Mum is that the children have a way of disrupting your plans, they often don't mean to but nothing is sacred, sports day was the same day I had been awarded Wimbledon tickets for, bugs disrupt party or night out plans and so on, but in the end I am lucky. I can work from home and enjoy them growing up and despite all the changes to my plans I have to make the most of this. As we were taking the Happy Birthday banners down last night we realised that three was now the smallest age in the house, and while it is still a small number it seems on other ways so big. All the children are gaining more independence and asserting themselves as best they can.

I am looking forward to nosing around the school displays this week as they have an open evening, and Heather has a dressing up day, business as usual then.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Long time no blog

Here I am again at last wondering where the last six weeks have gone. First there was the unpacking, then there was the whole moving and then came the dreaded unpacking. For nearly a fortnight we had no internet and I was amazed at how much I had come to rely upon it for shopping, contacting people and generally keeping up to date. Whilst a large volume of boxes kept me busy I was OK but once I had unpacked, sorted and re-arranged until I could do it no more I began to really miss being on-line.

Finally we did get up and running and it was time to catch up with OU work and organise Lucy's third birthday and the house. The jobs seemed to mount up and we realised that going from a smaller to a bigger house was going to be more expensive than we first thought.

Several lights and pairs of curtains later we were getting somewhere, next came the kitchen table and chairs, a sideboard for the dining room and a filing cabinet for the office. We are determined that now we will have a tidy house, unfortunately the children are just as convinced that it won't be. They each have their own bedrooms as well as the conservatory but even so there has been some toys creeping into the living room which I keep trying to banish.

Matthew now has his first big boys bed, he chose it himself from a whole load and has enjoyed sleeping in it, he looks a lot smaller now as he was getting rather too big for his toddler bed. It makes me realise how quickly they are growing up.

This weekend was Lucy's third birthday, sadly it didn't all go to plan as Lucy managed to get a sickness bug the Wednesday before which she shared with Matthew so we had to cancel most of our visitors to ensure that we didn't spread any germs around. We are going to hold a belated birthday tea this coming weekend, we did manage to get her a bike which she is delighted with and Heather had visited build a bear with me and made her a bear with a Tinkerbell costume. She loved her Belle cake and had great fun spreading glitter everywhere in the conservatory which is now in little trails all over the house.

The list of jobs hasn't seemed to shrink at all but we are enjoying all the lovely space we have here and our new neighbours are friendly and welcoming, the roadworks that appeared two weeks after we moved in and that have cut off the gas and water on subsequent Fridays could have been done without but on the whole we are all happy. Lucy is proud to have her own room and Matthew is delighted to be able to have all his train track out in his room and not have to pick it up ten minutes later because it is in the way.

Still despite the hard work and stress of moving, illnesses and birthdays I still count myself lucky when I think of those caught up in the earthquake, tsunami and devastation in Japan.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Such a lot seems to have happened since my last blog.
Heather and I went on our annual visit to the O2 to see Strictly Come Dancing. Heather was very excited and she had watched the show in its entirety. She was thrilled to be seeing her favourites, sadly her very top favourite Kara Tointon was unwell and not performing. Despite her disappointment she enjoyed the show, joined in when encouraged to do so and loved every pulsating moment. She is already counting the weeks until we can watch it again.

At last we are on the move, next Monday is moving day, after a variety of twists and turns resembling a roller-coaster we finally exchanged contracts on Friday. The children are ridiculously excited and counting the sleeps and all I can dream about are piles and piles of unlabelled cardboard boxes. It is a daunting task as having lived here for nine and a half years and accrued an enormous amount of junk it isn't simply a case of hiring a van and driving ourselves.

We have accepted that for a while things will be a bit higgledy piggeldy, curtains and lights won't necessarily match but we will have the space we need. Sorting out has helped us to both de-clutter and re-discover old treasures. Various things have begun to be packed up and lists and plans have been made for the new house, slowly it all seems to be coming together and the weekend will be filled with removal people filling boxes for us and taking all non-essentials before the big day.

It has to be said moving is scary, exciting as well but daunting in a huge way. Having lived in this house for such a long time and got to know the neighbours and all the little short cuts and so on I feel an attachment to this house. It was from here that I left to get married, it was where I left to have all three of my children and the only home they have known so far. I will miss this house and it will be a wrench, of course a new chapter opens as the previous one closes and life is an adventure but even so, sometimes I have wanted to say stop, we'll stay here after all, it may be getting on the small side but I'm sure we can get rid of a few things.

We will be in the land of the eighties for while, no internet and possibly for a few days no land line, at first this seemed like a disaster, I mean it wasn't even clear if SKY would work straight away, apparently it will and the kids reassured that their supply of Hannah Montana, Phineas and Ferb and Mickey Mouse would remain un-interrupted couldn't care less. So bring on the boxes, I think we're ready!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lucy Rules - OK!

Well the holidays have come to an end and the children are back at school. I will admit to enjoying a completely lazy day last Friday as the two big ones were at school and the little one was at nursery. I did the housework and was planning an essay but my TV was on, not a glimpse of Mickey Mouse, a strain of Hannah Montana or the cries of Muuummmmyyyy filled the house.

It has now however become apparent to me just how quickly Lucy is growing up. She has for a while been very good at making her feeling clear and she is quite capable of communicating what she wants, what she doesn't want and when she expects to get it. She has slowly begin to realise that throwing a tantrum is not going to get her anywhere, not that it stops her trying of course! She barks her orders ' I want ...' and expects to get it. The word no provokes a reaction varying from tears to screaming but her skills of negotiation need some work;

'Mummy I want to play Mums and Dads with Heather and Matthew'
'Sorry Lucy, they're at school.'
'Well let's go and get them.'
'We can't we have to wait until they're finished,'
'But I WANT them.'
'Well only a little while to go. Would you like me to play with you?'
'No, you're stupid!'
Oh well at least I tried!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

The New Year has been ushered in with a blaze of noise and colour and it was lovely to watch the fireworks in London on the TV, even if the ones locally did wake Matthew and ensured he saw the New Year in with us. I can't help thinking back 11 years to a flat in Pimlico, where I had just been to a party, one that would change my life as I had just met my future husband. We had stayed up talking most of the night after sharing a snog under the fireworks and a rather large amount of fireworks. I had insisted after he asked for my number that he had to ask in the morning when we were both more soer and he did.

What followed was a few months of late night phone calls, often resulting in banging on the wall from my family who weren't as interested in my new romance as I was. What with teacher training and working at the weekends I don't know how I even fitted it in but by Easter I was living with James and the following Christmas he proposed. I had never really believed in fate before but the randomness of me going to the party, ending up walking with James to watch the fireworks after getting separated from my other friends and us clicking so well seems like it was meant to be.

Three kids and a lot of ups and downs later we are still together and preparing to move our family to a bigger house in the New Year, fingers crossed. Lucy will start going to nursery school in September and Heather will be in Year 3 not forgetting Matthew will turn 5, a lot of big events to look forward to already.

This brings us to the resolution list but this year I am not making any, I always try to be the best wife, mum and friend to those around me. I have given up calorie counting, I am happy with my weight and even if I did lose any I can't afford to replace my wardrobe and we can't all be super models, I always bemoan the fact that I don't read, write or study enough and aim to do better and I still want to learn to play the piano as the two tunes I know don't even impress the kids any more as Heather now has a bigger repertoire.

As we are due to move I am not writing seriously until then as I will be busy packing and unpacking, in the mean time with the help of James I am trying to re-vamp my website as I want to include this blog, samples of my writing for both adults and children and so on in one place. I am also aiming to complete a few cross stitch projects as the children want Princess Belle, Marie the cat and Lightening MCQueen for their new rooms when we move so that will take a fair bit of time as well as the OU courses I am still studying, not a lot then!

What I have resolved though is to make the most of what I have, have fun with my family and give them a wealth of experiences and happy memories. I am not going to keep setting goals but rather get on with scoring them! Enjoy 2011 everyone and I hope your wishes come true.