Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

I think it is a sign of the times that our overstretched Health Visitors sent us a questionnaire to complete in order to assess Little’un’s development rather than calling her in for her 3 year check.  Apart from her eyesight, Little’un perfectly healthy and is hitting all her milestones just fine.  There is one area in which she excels however…

Question 12.  Can your child talk in sentences of at least 5 words?

“I have got a pussy cat and his name is Charlie and he is white with a black tail and a black patch on his head and he is very beautiful and I like to stroke him and he is very soft and fluffy and he is my best friend and he sleeps on my bed and when we go to Granny’s house he goes in his box in the car and he says miaow a lot and he likes to play with me and he is very lovely and he likes to run in the garden and I love him very much and he has got a friend who is a stripy cat who comes in our house sometimes and I like his friend too and I love him very much. “

That’ll be a yes then.


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But she is still a baybee…

This afternoon The Yorkshireman peeled me from my sick bed and took me off to cough at a primary school open day.  This particular school was our automatic first choice for Little’un as it is both geographically and philosophically closest to us and also has an excellent reputation locally.  It is a small school with a friendly atmosphere, reasonably good facilities and wonderful grounds.  They seem keen on teaching children to think for themselves within a framework of structure and fairness.  All the children seemed happy in their lessons and those we encountered in the corridors were polite.  The school’s size has disadvantages in terms of facilities – I have seen a much bigger school that had a bigger library/IT suite/gym etc – but big schools have their disadvantages too particularly when it comes to one small person getting lost in the vastness of it all.  Both The Yorkshireman and I strongly feel that this is an environment in whuch Little’un will be very happy and will thrive (as much as we can tell from a single visit, of course).

Unfortunately it appears that we may be scuppered due to Lincolnshire LEA’s admissions policy.  I don’t know how it works in other counties but here all school applications are processed centrally for the whole county and places allocated via some unbendy rules.  The first criterion is whether a child already has a sibling at the school – fair enough – it would be madness to expect a parent to deliver two children to two separate primary schools after all.  The second criterion is distance from school.  Also fair enough, you may say, but a lot depends on how that distance is calculated.  By foot we are roughly half a mile from the school – a 10 minute walk.  The route involves a footbridge across a drain.  To travel by road, one must drive for 1½ miles in order to practically complete a circle to get to the other side of the footbridge.  The footbridge is paved, council maintained, marked on maps etc etc but it will not count when it comes to calculating how far away from the school we live.  This means that we may well live too far away to get a place there, given that as a small but very well thought of school it is generally oversubscribed.

All we can do is put in our application, cross our fingers and hope.

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Getting Rid of the Dummy

Little’un seems so grown up in so many ways these days but one area in which she was still very much a baby was, until very recently, her attachment to her dummies (soothers).  She had a vast and varied collection but of course the pink ones were her favourites and were by far the most manky.  Many a happy hour has been spent searching high and low for the pink one when the yellow one Just Would Not Do.

At 3 years 3 months we were starting to feel that she was too old to have a plug in her mouth to sleep or to calm down when upset – so the time had come to finally get rid of them.

We spent a couple of months preparing her for the momentous day when the dummies would disappear… telling her she is a big girl and big girls don’t need dummies, asking her if she wanted to put them in the bin (always met with a “yes” but in practice they were thrown away then quickly retrieved). 

Originally Santa Claus was going to take them away to give to all the new babies at Christmas.  However a friend recently had a baby (most considerate, must remember to thank her) so we packed up all the dummies into a bag and presented them to the new baby.  The new baby was suitably impressed and her parents were most grateful.  Little’un felt all grown up and the dummies accidentally fell into the bin when she wasn’t looking.

She asked for them on her first night without them but understood that they had gone and that the baby needed them more than she did.  We have other issues with her sleeping and plenty of them, but the dummy disappearance has gone far more smoothly than either of us could have hoped for.

Along with our potty training success this is another episode which has made us realise that Little’un can accomplish pretty much anything if we just wait until she is ready to do it.

Now Little’un, I really hope you are ready to sleep in your own bed, by yourself, sometime soon so Mummy and Daddy can have an uninterrupted night’s sleep.  Oh, and learn to wipe your bum properly.  That would be good too.

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“Being a parent will teach you whole new levels of tiredness” they said.  I nodded, agreeing outwardly but inwardly I knew they were wrong.  I already knew about ubertiredness having worked mad hours in a lab (12pm-4am the following morning anyone?  For four days in a row?).  Surely I could never be as tired as I was when all that was going on?

I thought I knew better.  Oh how wrong I was.

When Little’un was first born we were tired.  The adjustment to our lives was huge – all of a sudden there was a small person who was the centre of attention.  A small person who woke three or four times a night for food.  I would sit breastfeeding her in a sort of daze through the night and then in the daytime I would catnap when I could. Of course, the first child is easiest to manage in this respect as there is no other child demanding your attention whilst the baby sleeps.  “This isn’t so bad,” I thought.   I was tired, but not cripplingly so.

We were very lucky with regard to sleeping, from the age of about 6 weeks she was sleeping more-or-less through the night and so whilst the days were pretty full-on, I could cope as I was getting proper rest at night.

Then I went back to work… and that’s when I found out that “they” were right.

Little’un is going through a phase of not sleeping well.  She wakes up scared and comes to her Mummy and Daddy for comfort.  We’ve bought her a night-light to keep the monsters away (or the rhinos or the lions or whatever it is that’s bothering her).  Still she wakes up scared.  I know it will pass.  But bugger me I am tired.

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I have recently cut my hours slightly at work. I finish an hour earlier, borrowing half an hour from my lunch break so I only lose half an hour’s pay a day.

It’s bliss. Instead of finishing at 5.15 and sitting in rush hour queues, panicking, because there is no way I am going to get to Little’un before the nursery shuts at 6 o’clock*, I arrive unflustered and unhindered by traffic before 5pm. If I need to stop somewhere on the way home and pick up some shopping, I can do so without worrying. We get home in time for Little’un to indulge in her new found pastime of playing out with her friends for an hour before bath and bed. We have time to cook most evenings and we often (gasp) eat a healthy home cooked meal before (double gasp) 9pm.

Little’un goes to bed a bit earlier now that we have cast off the mid afternoon nap so that fits in with our new routine too. Wonderful. If she is asleep before 7.30pm she is a far nicer child the following morning.

It seems that I am finally getting somewhere with the work/life balance that has been missing for so long now. It’s only an hour a day but that hour is so precious. It means that we can live a slightly more normal (whatever that is) life. It’s not ideal, I would prefer more time at home, but it is infinitely better than what was happening before.

Eating before 9pm? Wow. Funny how the little things are such a big deal.

*Ever wondered who all the nutters are at rush hour? You would expect them to be arrogant Beamer drivers, the sort of person who thinks that everyone should get out of their way. I have realised over the past couple of years that many of the people who drive badly at rush hour – doing dodgy overtaking manoevures or zooming past you in the wrong lane just to cut you up at the roundabout – are probably stressed parents trying to collect their offspring before their little precious is the last child left at nursery and/or avoid the late collection fees.

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Here is Little’un in her new school uniform 🙂 

The pic is out of focus and grainy, but she is both looking at the camera and smiling – so rare these days that I had to post it for you.

Now she is three she has transferred to the Kindergarten class at nursery and so gets to wear a cheap gingham dress and shapeless cardigan.  She looks gorgeous in it though doesn’t she?  She has been really excited about this move, most of her nursery friends are a month or two older than her and have already made this change so she has been looking forward to joining them and, as is the nature of many little girls, to wearing the same colour dress as her friends every day.

The changeover is gradual so for the last couple of weeks she has still been spending time in the toddler room.  Friday will be her last day before completing the move.  Another milestone reached, and  no doubt more tears to be shed.

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On growing up.

We have completely un-babyproofed the house now.  The stairgates and bed guard went a couple of weeks ago and today it occurred to us that the fireguard is largely redundant, given that it is heading for summer and warming up and that we never use the fire anyway as our central heating works well.   A little clearing out and rearranging of toys and suddenly the living room seems a lot bigger.  Until Little-un descends on the place like a whirling dervish and covers the place with fairy dresses, tea sets, footballs and train sets and all of a sudden it is small again.  Not long now until we have to run the gauntlet of very small pieces of lego appearing painfully underfoot.

She increasingly wants to choose her own clothes.  Today she chose a delightful combination – England football replica shirt and shorts, red wellies with faces and ladybird spots on them (no rain today!) and pink plastic jewellery.  When we went out she wore a pale blue and pink raincoat (see above re lack of rain).  I suppose I could have forced her into something more co-ordinated but decided against it.  There are enough battles without worrying about things that don’t really matter.  I’m just annoyed that I didn’t take a picture of her in all her glory.

She suddenly decided to potty train herself last month so the whole process was completely hassle and pain free.  She is now completely dry day and night and very proud of herself.  This is all fine – but she takes herself off for a wee without saying anything and then attempts to empty the potty herself.  Ewwwwgggghhhhh.  Learning fast, we have now put the potty in the bathroom so she takes herself upstairs to use it rather than doing her business downstairs then attempting to carry the full potty upstairs.  Double ewwwwgggghhhhh.

She is definitely not a baby any more.  Next year she will go to school.  How on earth did that happen?

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