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.