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Age appropriate reading….?!

My 5 year old, T is in reception class at school and I am extremely proud to say is a real whizz at reading, writing and spelling – Cringe a proud mummy moment, apologies!

T reads anything and everything; adverts, road signs, newspapers, magazines, everything and if it’s a bit too advanced she still gives it go. I will be honest sometimes it gets a bit tedious, but I ALWAYS try to encourage it. On the other hand my eldest daughter, L, who has just turned 11, hates reading. She can read and is actually¬†good at it, but cannot be bothered and¬†finds it boring. I accept this, not everyone is a natural bookworm and each child is different in a variety of ways. My Husband and I have tried in vain to temp L to read more, but she just will not do it.

T’s school actively encourage reading at home, books are sent home with a “reading diary” so we can keep a record of what is read by T and how she is doing. I imagine this is fairly standard in all primary schools these days. We use this and always make a record for her teachers to see. If however I were to write in there all the things T actually read when she was at home, I would be forever filling the blasted thing in and would probably be asking for another one.

Last Sunday evening, I had just sat down to start a book my sister had lent me, “The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly. I had never heard of it, and it looked quite interesting. (I now know that the book was made into a film in 2011 – a bit behind in the times on that one!) T came and snuggled next to me on the armchair and was asking me about the book, “did it have any pictures?” “Did it have any princesses in it?” etc,¬†the normal things 5 year old girls want to know. I was four pages in to the book when T started reading along out-loud¬†from the top of the page. I was happy to let her carry on with this and was excited that she wanted to. She did remarkably well. ¬†T read probably one complete page, it took a while, but I was fine with that; it’s all good practise after all. I decided that I would put a note in her reading diary to let her teacher know, but instead of writing it in the book itself I put a wrote a note on a post-it, just outlining what she had done and letting them know. I thought, na√Įvely perhaps that they would think this was good progress. I was wrong!

Wednesday afternoon (2 days later!) T came out of school and inside her reading diary was a post-it note in reply, basically saying that T should be reading material more suited for her age, and they have given her more books to read at home. I was a bit dumbfounded, and felt like a criminal, like I should be run out of the school playground and locked up. Had I done the wrong thing by allowing her to read one page from one of my books? Could I have scarred her for life?

I relayed this to my Husband that evening, and he much like myself was slightly stunned. What is age-appropriate for a 5 year old? Only the books the school sends home? Am I only to allow her to read those? Do I have to discourage her from reading anything but those? If I had been sitting reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” then yes I could see where the school was coming from, but I was FOUR pages in a book about an American lawyer – nothing sinister had happened in the book at that point! Lets be honest here, T is only 5 she will not have taken in the story from the page she has read! However, now I each time I pick up my book to continue reading it’s been tarnished, as¬†I get a heavy feeling in my chest,¬†I’ve been made to feel like such¬†a bad parent.

I have yet to speak to T’s teacher about this, and with the parents evening just around the corner I am very much looking forward to!

Do you censor what your children read? Was I wrong to encourage reading an adult book? I would be very interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else or what you would do, if anything? Please leave me a comment, let me know what you think.

Thanks

S xx

 

 

Personality Vs birth placement

So I saw this picture on Twitter recently…..

children

 

It got me thinking about my children: Girl one is 10 years old (going on 17!), Girl two is very nearly 5 years old and the boy is 3 on Saturday. Does this apply to my children in any way?

Coincidently, I was recently struck by a realisation that despite I have brought my children up in the same way, by the same rules, values and beliefs; they are all very different in personality. Girl one is sporty, tomboy-ish, nervous and eager to please and fit in. Girl two is a girly-girl, wants everything purple and sparkly, wants to wear dresses, be a princess with lipstick. Boy is football mad (yes even at the tender age of 2!), loveable, stubborn and loves laughing, and wants a bit of everything. So even though they have been raised following the same rules as each other, their individualism is starting to creep out.

But does the pecking order of birth into the family have anything to do with it? I have looked at the list and broken it down.

I will start with the First born: Girl one

Natural leader: When amongst her siblings, yes she is very much a natural leader!

High Achiever: As with most children I suspect, only when it comes to subjects she likes, enjoys and is good at. Jujitsu for example, she is doing brilliantly with this.

Organised: Not at all! I am afraid that her bedroom is like a constant bomb-site, clothes everywhere, can never find anything let alone remember where she left something. Very much the opposite in fact.

On-time: Mostly, but as with any child her timekeeping is usually handled by the parent. I suppose I will have to watch this space on this one.

Know-it-all: She very much likes to think so, but she isn’t afraid of asking. She will argue her point, especially if she knows she is right. Like Mother like Daughter!

Bossy: Yes Very. A mini-me in this respect. Occasionally she will over step the mark with her siblings. But she does like a good boss-about.

Responsible: She likes to think she is, and when given the confidence is showing good signs that she can be.

On to Middle child – Girl two

Flexible: Mostly yes. Although routine has always played a big part of her life, as she is getting older change doesn’t faze her, and usually as long as she sees that the end result is the same, she isn’t overly bothered.

Easy-going: Yes she is very easy-going. She doesn’t look for arguments, and is a delight to spend one-on-one time with, but she can be demanding when the need calls for it.

Social: Extremely, especially with people she is comfortable and confident with.

Peacemaker: To date she is showing no signs of being a “peacemaker”. Unless you want to turn it on its head and use the phrase “walk-over” in which case I would say that she can be a walk-over, particularly when she is the less dominant child in the room.

Independent:¬†A close¬†relative recently¬†defined Girl two¬†as “having the¬†perfect only-child personality” By this they meant that she is more than happy to go and play on her own, she doesn’t require her siblings to entertain her. Yes, independent she is.

Secretive: Oh my goodness, She is a child of such subtle cunning, you have to see it to believe it. She is such a good little liar, actress, and sneak that I have to stop myself from smiling a lot when telling her off. Her slight of hand is AMAZING!

May feel life in unfair: I am sure if you asked her this, she would say that it is unfair, and then probably perform the worlds best sulk to prove it.

Finally, Last child – The boy

Risk-taker: He knows no fear. He is the boy who will jump feet first into the swimming pool without any armbands on and give Mummy a heart-attack in the process. He is the boy who will try every type of new food put in front of him without asking what it is. This is the boy who will jump off anything. Why? Because he can. Because he wants to be Superman and fly.

Outgoing: At first he isn’t. Put him in a new environment with new people and although he is comfortable and confident, he is not what I would call “outgoing. For example he recently had his first settling in session at his new preschool, he went in and focused on the toy cars and trains. He was more than comfortable playing on his own with these. He didn’t immediately hunt out someone to play with. When other children came over the join in with his game, he was more than happy to make friends. He seems to be more silently confident than outgoing.

Creative: When he goes off on his own with his many toy cars, planes, trains, action figures I love listening to him. His imagination is simply wonderful to witness.

Self-centred: He is mostly a very caring and loving little chap, however he does have a streak of self-importance about him. This comes out occasionally but not all that often.

Financially irresponsible: Not relevant in this child – He is not yet 3 years old. Time will tell, but I sincerely hope he isn’t.

Competitive: This should be his middle name. Everything is a race or competition. Who is going to be first up the stairs? Who will finish breakfast first? Who will get dressed the quickest? It drives me absolutely insanely nuts! I am always the referee!

Bored easily: Like any child he is capable of having a short attention span. However, he attends football matches and manages to stay focused on those (which is more than you can say for me!).

————————————————————————————————

What’s my conclusion of my children and whether or not their personalities match up to the picture. If I am honest I¬†don’t really have one I suppose. Not at this stage of their lives. I feel it unfair to base their entire temperament, personality and outlook of life¬†on their ranking of birth. I am sure that many people could turn it around and say that Girl one is bossy because she is the eldest, but I can assure you that the other two are equally as bossy.

Each child is different. Each child has their own¬†sparkle. Each child has it faults. And each child brings something different to our family, whether is it stubbornness, kindness or competitiveness.¬†By bringing them up in the same way and loving them same, they will grow and develop¬†in their own way. And I will continue to love them regardless of where their “ranking” is in the family.

 

 

Hello stranger…

It’s been a while since I posted anything. What can I say it’s been a whirlwind in our house in the last few months. My day to day life seems to have gotten so busy, finding the time and sometimes having the energy to have a shower is a miracle, let alone to sit down and write anything.

Christmas has well and truly been packed away. The tree went back in its falling-to-bits box (We don’t have a real one – maybe one day); the fairy lights put away all nice, tidy and not tangled up although, I am sure the un-Christmas fairy gets top marks for sneaking in during the year and undoing all my good work, tying them in complete knots and therefore putting me in a foul mood when that time of year comes around again; the left over wrapping paper has been put away ready to re-use for next time, but I can never remember where I put it so somewhere in my house I have at least three years worth of Christmas wrapping paper; the Christmas chocolates has nearly all been eaten; credit card bill has been received; the mountain of rubbish bags have been collected; the Christmas booze has been drunk, nearly.

We are now on day one of the second week back at school/work. The first week was a long one. Hearing that alarm clock go off on the Monday morning was quite possibly the worst noise in the entire world. My muddled and groggy brain simply could not function. I was convinced that I had got the days mixed up. Unfortunately it was when the Husband stomped into the bedroom, dripping from his shower and spraying his deodorant, that I realised just how wrong I was. It was 5.35am and time to get up, throw on some frankly disturbing clothes – good job it’s dark – and drive Husband to catch his 6.03 train.
Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee the voices in my head were hollering. I would need it by the bucketful today!

I usually creep around to get myself dressed once I am back to avoid waking up the rugrats. You simply do not realise just how noisy you can be when putting on foundation and eyeliner! There is nothing worse than trying to make myself resemble anything other than human when there are 3 children; grumpy, hungry, ratty, loud, arguing, demanding, whining, zombie-like children around. That was not the case on this morning however. After two weeks of not having to get up early and going to bed a bit-too-late, they were well and truly still on school christmas holiday mode. They were not getting up. No sooner had I pulled the various duvets from them and turned around, they had pulled it back again. Oh lordy it was a struggle.
I begged, played along, moaned, shouted, bribed, tickled, I did everything, short of dragging them by their hair, they were NOT getting up. In the end it was the (empty) threat of all their new Christmas toys being put in the bin that got them out of bed.

I can only assume that every parent had the same struggle I encountered on that first school morning of 2014.

But….on this, the second school week of the year, you would not think that I had the same 3 children in my house. All 3 were up and causing havoc just after 6am today.

33 Years old!!

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well today is the birthday of yours truly….I am 33 years old today! Eek…..

Firstly I want to say a BIG thank you to the Husband for my gorgeous present. You’ve done well this year. Well done for listening. xx

Well done to my Mum, who has been a Mum for 33 years!! I bet that makes you feel old! ha ha ha Love you Mum bundles xx

So what does one do on their birthday when they begin creeping towards their mid-thirties. What does one do on¬† their birthday when you have three children, no babysitter, and the Husband (who DIDN’T take the day off work) who won’t walk in the front door until nearly 8 O’clock tonight?

I did all my partying in my twenties. Spending hours getting ready, choosing the “perfect” outfit, shoes, handbag, doing hair and make-up, sorting out who’s meeting who and where, Pub crawls, rounds of drinks, tottering in too-high shoes into the nightclub, knocking back the shots, visiting the loos to preen and primp, playing “pull-a-pig”, flirting with a member of the opposite sex to obtain a free drink, more shots,¬†taking off the too-high shoes, falling out of the nightclub, taking possession of a burger/kebab/chips, trying to hail a taxi, usually ended up walking home minus the shoes (which are now tucked under my arm), and throwing myself on the bed, sometimes still fully¬†dressed. No,¬†the thought of getting drunk now and suffering a hang-over (especially with children around)¬†DOES NOT appeal to me one iota. I would much rather watch someone else younger and/or more stupid than me suffer instead.

Suddenly I feel “old” is this normal? I would much rather go to the local pub and have drinks there with the Husband and a few friends, pop into the local Indian and then come home NOT DRUNK.

Currently on my birthday, I have done the school run, been grocery (!) shopping at the local Co-op, put some washing on, cleaned the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher, painted a dolls china tea-set with T, finished and published a post on my blog, had three very LARGE cups of coffee, spoken to various members of my family, replied to birthday text messages. Very Rock n Roll!

And tonight…well lets see what happens.

However, I am content with it. I have done my partying days (thank goodness! If I had to do them again, I think it would kill me!) and I have safely stored them away. (Disclaimer: They can be taken out at will and dusted off as and when the need/want arises.)

Crikey I do sound old don’t I?

Thumbs up to Summer 2013

The school holidays are officially over *sad face* and we are now fully back to routine and alarm clocks, packed lunches, school uniform, after school clubs, school run morning rush, “have you remembered your *insert required object here*?”, early morning squabbles. You know the usual things. The things that can easily be forgotten when the holiday switch is turned ON.

But turning the holiday switch to OFF is much harder especially when the summer holidays have been so completely lovely.

It went too quickly, way too quickly – as good times always do. We haven’t had an actual “holiday” this year. I’m talking about a real abroad packing suitcases type of holiday. A spending numerous weeks getting prepared, writing lists, organising pet care, sorting out passports, foreign currency, travellers cheques, buying new clothes, sun-cream, washing, ironing, supervising the hand luggage packing, is transport/transfer booked, leaving travel details with relatives, arguing about which entertainment products the kids can take, sorting out the chargers for the phones, does the mobile work abroad?, having the “how many pairs of shoes do you need?” conversation with the Husband, (and that’s all before we’ve even left the house) type of holiday.

Kids and Husband playing Lego

Kids and Husband playing Lego

No, we’ve had a holiday at home this year. And what a fabulous holiday. Scorching gorgeous sunburny temperatures, almost every day. A summer filled with days in the garden using the paddling pool (and probably doubling our water bills – sorry Husband), crabbing down at the back-waters (not necessarily my cup of tea, but the kids loved it!), beach trips (we are very lucky to live 2 minutes from the beach, but it hasn’t stopped me lusting after a beach hut *note to self must win the lottery*), picnics in the garden/park, visits to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary (fabulous fabulous fabulous) more picnics and sun there, Lego playing (still undecided on whether finding the big box of Lego was actually a good idea – it hurts when you stand on it – but thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone (Husband, 20 year old s/son, L – 9y/o, T – 4 y/o and G – 2y/o) sitting around on the lounge floor building Lego houses – no telly just background music and conversation).

We even went across the Channel and spent an utterly fabulous day in Le Touquet, France. This required Yours Truly to be very brave – we went via ferry from Dover to Calais – I DON’T DO boats, of any kind;¬† I get seasick and have a real fear of the sea. I put this to one side however, so that the kids could experience it. They loved it and although I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, I am glad I did it.

Kids bundled in car on way to ferry in Pjs

Kids bundled in car on way to ferry in Pjs

Beach at Le Touquet, France

Beach at Le Touquet, France

Husband and Kids - Le Touquet

Husband and Kids – Le Touquet

We had an early start; leaving our house at 3am to catch the 6.40am ferry from Dover. The kids found being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and bundled into the car still wearing their PJs very exciting. Did they fall back to sleep? Erm, a big fat NO on that one. In fact it was chat chat chat all the way to the boat. Did I mind? Not in the slightest, I had a flask of very strong coffee to hand. And I’m pleased to report that I survived the ferry crossing.

Our day in Le Touquet was absolutely deliciously lovely and re-ignited my love of France. So much so in fact that at home 24 hours later I was looking, more accurately dreaming (another lottery win needed) of buying a house there.

We’ve also done the obligatory holiday activities: Cinema – Smurfs 2 (numb bums, over expensive popcorn/fizzy drinks and of course a trip to the toilet right at the good bit of the film), Pizza Hut lunches, shopping trips, taking L to get her ears pierced, staying up late, visits to Colchester Zoo which include face painting, attending the Great Bentley village fete – more face painting, tombola, raffles and donkey rides.

L's ears very newly pierced

L’s ears very newly pierced

Face painting at Great Bentley village fair

Face painting at Great Bentley village fete

Donkey rides at Great Bentley village fete

Donkey rides at Great Bentley village fete

The kids and I also had an unexpected “sleep-over” at my Parent’s house. We drove to Southend for the day while Husband and S/son went to a rugby match (was my nose put out of joint at this? Yes, very much so, but that’s for another day). So it was Saturday 24th August and the heavens opened. It was very possibly the worst rain that Southend and a majority of the South East has seen in many years. It became obvious mid-afternoon that we would be unable to come home. Road after road in and around Southend were being closed. The thought of going out in the car with the kids, not much petrol or any supplies did not appeal to me, so we bunked down for the night. The kids shared the spare double and me on a makeshift bed on the floor. It was good though despite not having come “prepared” and it dawned on me that actually I don’t need to carry with me things I would have previously deemed essential.

It also was lovely for me to almost revert back to being a daughter; kissing my dad goodnight for example. It made me realise how much I miss doing that.

So a good summer all round in my mad-house. Roll on summer 2014….(please repeat the sunshine!)

Me and kids at Colchester Zoo

Me and kids at Colchester Zoo

Fun at the Owl Sanctuary

Fun at the Owl Sanctuary

Painting in the garden

Painting in the garden

Fun at the beach

Fun at the beach

Kids posing with giant Meerkat at Colchester Zoo

Kids posing with giant Meerkat at Colchester Zoo

Welcome home Gorgeous!

So my eldest daughter, L, has been , and since returned from a holiday with her Dad. You may recall I posted about this a while back “holidays during term-time” and I can now sit back and honestly say that I feel as if a weight has been lifted. Normal service has since ressumed.

For the past few weeks, the situation had been hanging subconsciously over me like a stubborn cobweb in the corner of my head. I don’t like being apart from my children, any of them, for any longer than a school day. (Am I weird? I must be!) I hate that they are with someone else. Call me a control freak, but I like to know what my children are doing, where they are and that they are happy and safe. They will hate me when they are teenagers. I may just microchip them – Is that allowed?

I tried not to dwell over it, but it bothered me and niggled away; eventually the day came when I had to say my goodbye to L and watch her go off. I was happy and relieved¬† that she was excited, but I still could not shake that dull nervous feeling I had. It was the ‘what if’s’ that bothered me. You know the…..What if she is ill? What if she gets lost? What if she gets upset? What if…….

In the end I had to accept that she was gone for two weeks and that I had two other rugrats that still needed me, so I looked for the positives of only having two children for a short while:

  • No school runs to do each day – so it was almost like a holiday for me. (Although T still has preschool three mornings each week)
  • No having to make a packed lunch for two weeks
  • No clothes/shoes being dumped and left around
  • No Disney channel shows – we can stick to good old CBeebies
  • No arguing/begging/pleading for her to GET UP and OUT OF BED every day!!
  • No backchat
  • No begging to stay up later – as a result bedtime was done and over with by half 7 each night!
  • No fussy eating habits at the table

It seemed odd only having two children. I was not restricted by the clock and “school-run” time, When we went shopping, during the day, I felt as if I was doing something wrong. I didn’t have my mini-me with me. I almost felt as if I were playing truant. I know that sounds ridiculous, even the Husband said I was mad.

I actually missed the school-run. I missed seeing my friends each morning for a moan and a gossip. I felt as if I were missing out on things. It’s funny how a simple thing can become such a large part of your daily life.

I pined over making the packed lunches. Day-to-day, as a chore, I loathe it. But take it away and I suddenly have this empty period of time which I didn’t know what to do with. Hands up I’m a routine kinda-gal, especially since having children. But a change in that routine, in any way (unless its driven my yours truly) completely throws me out!

The first week went quite slowly and seemed to drag on and on and on. It felt as if the impending second week would do just the same. However, after various trips to the Doctors (T had a chest infection) and learning to relax and play with just two children, the second week was over, and before I knew it I was opening the door to my smiling, grown ever so slightly, browner, blonder and happy L.

Welcome home gorgeous….now get your backside back to school!!