Five Lessons for my Five Year Old

I have thought long and hard about this post.  I have written parts, deleted them and rewritten time and time again.  Why? Because this blog, ultimately, is for you and your brother to look back on and read about what you were like growing up – if you want to that is!

Therefore, this post is going to be an honest account of how you are now.

Last year, I wrote about you turning four and I gushed over you and spoke of how you fixed my broken little family and brought and end to the heartache that lingered from losing Dad and Grandma.  That, my dear, remains true.  You are all we have ever wanted and in the moments that your possessive yells filled the birthing room on the 29th October 2011, I knew that I would lay down my life for you in a heartbeat.  I was now a Mum and that was irrevocable – I would always be your Mum and there was no going back.  My life was no longer about me anymore and despite declaring before your birth that being a parent would not define me, I am proud to say it does and it always will.  I am yours until the day I take my final breath.

Five Lessons for my Five Year Old

You’re five.  I must have blinked.  I can see the young lady that you are becoming and if I am being honest, sometimes I worry.  The little girl who runs into my bedroom each morning still half asleep needs a little direction and, perhaps, a sterner hand.  Every morning I ask for a cuddle and most mornings I am denied. Perhaps it’s because you still in the clutches of sleep, perhaps it’s because you can see the iPad on the bedside table over my left shoulder or perhaps hugging is not the done thing for a five year old.  And it is this awareness that I am a little afraid of because there is no doubt in my mind that you are fully aware of when you are being naughty, unkind or disrespectful and it is these qualities that I must change in you.

Now, I fully understand that with every child there will be some mischief – it is what makes life fun sometimes and it can liven up our personality, but being unkind is a quality I will not allow.

“Daddy, kick Mummy,” you say.  Or, “Zachy, climb on the table,” or “jump from that chair.”  You know that this is wrong, so why do it? Do you really want to see your brother jump and hurt himself?  No, don’t answer that question because I fear the answer.  I reprimand you of course, and so does your Dad. Only a few weeks ago, I returned home from work to see you in floods of tears on the bottom of the stairs.

“I’m on the thinking step!” you yelled as I walked in and without thinking, I scooped you up and wiped away your tears.

Five Lessons for my Five Year Old

The sky falls when you cry and my instincts kick in and I strain to hold it up for you.  If I were being a good parent or a strong parent, I would have left you there to think about what you had done, which as it turned out, was to tell Grandma to leave as soon as your Dad arrived home.  What you did was rude.  Grandma had picked you up from school, brought you home and taken care of you whilst we worked and you told her to leave.  I too have been on the receiving end of this when, last week, you told me to leave and physically tried to push me out of the door when you were staying at Grandma’s.  In this life, you must always be considerate of other people’s feelings, but in that moment you weren’t – you were kicking your mum out of her mum’s house!  You have come home upset on a number of occasions when children haven’t let you play with them, but, my dear, you reap what you sow.  Being kind might not make you powerful; it might not get you that dream job you want when you’re older, but it will make you loved and a world without love is not a world at all – I imagine it’s lonely and desolate, two feelings I don’t want you to ever experience. Therefore, always be kind.

I miss my two year old girl, the one who gave the tightest hugs; I miss my three year old girl, the one who was preparing to become a big sister and was so excited about it and I am certain to miss my four year old, the one who, in her first week of full time school, was so amazing that her teacher stopped in her car in the middle of a busy road to tell me just how awesome you had been at school that week.  Dropping you off on your first day at school, I admit that I got a little emotional and had to leave before a tear fell.  You were with a friend though, so I knew you were going to be fine and by ‘eck, you were totally fine. By the end of the week, you were a firm fixture at Art Club, lost both your jumper and cardigan and spoke incessantly about your new friends.  Recently, I met with your teacher; she spoke highly of you and your incredible imagination, but she mentioned that sometimes you forget when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play.  Don’t misunderstand me, having fun whilst working is extremely important.  My colleagues are a constant form of entertainment and I love how they make me laugh, but I know when it’s time to be serious too.  You tell me you love learning – so learn and never lose your thirst for it because it keeps you humble.

You tell the worst jokes.  But, that makes them the best:

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“I don’t know,”

“To do a poo.”

“Knock knock,”

“Who’s there?”

“Cattio,”

“Cattio who?”

“Cattio needs the toilet.”

Seriously, what does that even mean?

You’re funny.  What a wonderful quality to have.  Not only do you tell the worst jokes in the world, you dance like no one is watching (often with you bum out after a bath), you sing songs into Mummy’s Snap Chat, which she then shares with the two people she has added (yeah, sorry about that) and you tell the most random stories that often include the words ‘poo’ ‘bum’ ‘stinky’ or, if we are really lucky, all three.  Always en-devour to make people laugh just please just don’t do it sitting in an exam hall when you are about to sit a GCSE exam – especially not your English ones.

You’re learning to be a good sister. This week, during half term, I have watched you look after your brother and ask him for cuddles.  I have been marking a lot and kept a watchful eye on you both from behind my books on the table. There was one moment when I looked up to see you standing on your desk and your brother standing on the chair; you both were looking straight at me with fixed grins.  Afraid of any sudden movements, (in case you both jumped at the same time and I would have to choose who to save) I slowly put down my red pen and edged towards you both.  Through gritted teeth and a fake smile – so not to cause panic – I asked you to sit.  You obliged and so did your brother because he looks up to you.  In everything you do in life, always set a good example.   

Five Lessons for my Five Year Old

Your final lesson is something I cannot teach you because I don’t think it is anything I have achieved.  It’s also not a lesson as such, but an accumulation of all of the above qualities.  I feel that if you achieve the above, then this should just fall into place.  I want you to dream big.  Don’t put a cap on what you think you can do with your life.  Too many times I have told myself that I can’t do something and too many times I have failed, given up and never tried again. Seek out adventure, find your passion and do what you love. Don’t settle; do what makes you happy.  If travelling the globe makes you happy, do it.  If falling in love with your childhood sweetheart and starting your own family makes you happy, do it.  And, if you ever find yourself in a situation that you don’t think would make your Mum and Dad happy or proud, tell us (as just not being afraid to tell us would make us happy) because you might be surprised. Ultimately, it’s your life and as your parents, we can only offer you guidance. At thirty-five, my mum still guides me, offers me advice (and still washes my wools) so don’t ever be afraid to ask for help if help is what you need to achieve your dream and be happy.  Dream big, but don’t take life for granted – you only get one.

You can’t wait to be five.

Well kid, here it is.

Enjoy it and kick the ass out of being five.

Five Lessons for my Five Year Old

A Mum’s Guide To Keeping Your Little Ones Healthy This Winter

With the onset of winter on the way, soon enough it will be flu season. This means as well as the risk of flu; there will also be lots of coughs, colds, and other nasty illnesses flying around. As parents, the last thing we want is our children to become unwell, as then we worry about them. So it makes sense to do whatever we can to keep them healthy this winter, to help prevent them from getting ill. To help you to do that, below are some tips and suggestions to take on board and try.

Build up their immune systems

A Mum’s Guide To Keeping Your Little Ones Healthy This Winter


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A Mum’s Guide To Keeping Your Little Ones Healthy This Winter

With the onset of winter on the way, soon enough it will be flu season. This means as well as the risk of flu; there will also be lots of coughs, colds, and other nasty illnesses flying around. As parents, the last thing we want is our children to become unwell, as then we worry about them. So it makes sense to do whatever we can to keep them healthy this winter, to help prevent them from getting ill. To help you to do that, below are some tips and suggestions to take on board and try.

Build up their immune systems

melon

One of the best things that you can do to prevent your children from getting sick this winter is build up their immune systems. The stronger your children’s immune systems are, the less likely they are to get sick. This is because kids with strong immune systems are able to fight off the majority of illnesses. To give your children’s immune systems a boost, it’s important to ensure that you’re giving them lots of healthy wholesome foods. The foods that contain the most vitamins and nutrients are fruits and vegetables, so make sure that they are getting their five a day. It could also be worth giving them a multivitamin each day, to help give their immune systems an extra boost.

Take them for regular medical checkups

A lot of parents make the mistake of thinking that medical checkups are only for when kids are unwell. However, that’s not the case. A medical checkup allows your children to be checked over by a doctor, to ensure that they’re healthy. As well as checking them over to ensure that they’re healthy, checkups are good because they get children used to visiting the doctor. Say, for instance, your child became unwell and needed pediatric immediate care. The chances are that they would probably be more comfortable with seeing a doctor if they’d had various checkups in the past. Whereas, children who’ve not had checkups, are often scared of a trip to the doctor’s office.

Keep them warm

A Mum’s Guide To Keeping Your Little Ones Healthy This Winter

It might be a myth that getting cold gives you a cold, but getting cold isn’t good for your children. When our bodies get too cold, sometimes we can then become more prone to becoming unwell. This is because the cold impacts our immune system and somehow makes us more prone to catching certain things. The cold can also cause serious conditions like pneumonia and hyperthermia. So if you want to keep your kids healthy this winter, it’s important to keep them nice and warm. This means dressing them appropriately for the weather. Making sure your home is heated properly, and also making sure that they wear their coats when out and about.
As parents, we want to do everything that we can to keep our little ones healthy and happy. But come winter, that becomes more of a struggle. Especially as there are so many different strains of common viruses floating around. However, by taking note of the advice above, you can lower the chances that your children will become unwell this winter.

Supporting A Dyslexic Child: Advice For Homeschooling Parents

Do you homeschool your children? If so, you’re probably eager to provide them with the best education possible. Homeschooling is tough enough. But when you have children with special educational needs, the task can become even more difficult. If you have a child with dyslexia, here is some advice, which may prove useful.

Supporting A Dyslexic Child: Advice For Homeschooling Parents

Identifying dyslexia in children

Dyslexia is one of the most types of learning difficulty. It affects your ability to read, write, and spell. Signs of dyslexia usually become apparent when a child starts to take part in learning activities at school. They may struggle to write coherently, read words and spell. It may become evident that they’re not progressing as quickly as other children, and they may be finding tasks much more difficult.

Children with dyslexia often spell words by putting the letters in the wrong order and write letters the wrong way round. It’s common to confuse the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’, for example. Children may also find it hard to interpret written instructions, even if they normally respond to verbal prompts swiftly.

Unlike other types of learning difficulty, dyslexia does not affect intelligence. However, it can make life much tougher during both childhood and adulthood.

If you think your child may have dyslexia, it’s important to seek advice. Tests can be used to make a diagnosis, and there is additional support available for children and adults.

Supporting a child with dyslexia at home

Dyslexia is one of the most common barriers to learning. It can be tough for children to concentrate and maintain effort when they find tasks much harder than other children. They may also get frustrated and disheartened. If your child has dyslexia, here are some tips to help you improve their confidence and help them with reading, writing, and spelling.

Reading

Daily reading is highly recommended for dyslexic children. When you read together, encourage them to practice forming the words aloud, and encourage them constantly. Make sure they know that you are there to assist, but let them try to overcome obstacles independently. Write down new words they have learned, and read to them so that they expand their vocabulary. Choose books that are a suitable level. If you go for something too complex, this can knock a child’s confidence.

Writing

Many children learn to print words before they attempt joined-up writing. For dyslexic children, learning two types of handwriting can be tough. Instead, encourage your child to learn a continuous style from day one. Practice writing exercises as part of your daily regime. You’ll find an amazing wealth of resources online.

Spelling

There are certain methods you can use to make spelling easier. Practice always makes perfect, and teaching children phonics can also help children to form words. Go through spelling lists on a daily basis. Keep the lists relatively short, and make sure your child masters one set before moving on to the next. Once you’ve learned spellings, use the words in different contexts. You can combine writing, spelling, and reading tasks.

Dyslexia affects many children. Although it has no bearing on intelligence, it can have a very significant impact on learning. If you have a child with dyslexia, these tips will hopefully help you to reassure and support them in their learning and development.

Parenting Rapped Up!

To be rapped loudly to the theme tune of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ (the unedited version.)

Now this is a story all about me,

How my house became a mess and why I’m always grubby,

And I’ll like to take a minute just sit right there,

‘Cos I’ll show you how to master the CBeebies blank stare.

In lovely West Yorkshire, I spend most of my days,

Cleaning, not sleeping and dozing in soft plays,

No chilling or relaxing, it’s taxing, not cool,

Wading knee deep in ball pools, I look like a fool.

Then a couple of mums see me stuck on the slide.

“Scootch on down!” they say, but it’s no good I’ve tried.

I managed one sip of tea before my kid got scared,

He got stuck in a net and shouted at anyone who cared.

Parenting Rapped Up!

 

My daughter begs and pleads for something every single day,

For toys and sweets and her own goddamn way.

She shouts and screams so she gives me no choice,

Out come the big guns: my loud teacher voice.

She cries and on my cheeks she’s suddenly a kissing,

I grab my keys to the car and ask her which Barbie she’s missing.

Parenting Rapped Up!

I praise those mommas who have braved having a third,

Just how many more years do you want covered in turd?

Some mornings I wake and think I could do it again.

But then I think nah forget it, I prefer myself sane.

I pull up to my house about seven or eight,

I’ve been at parents’ evening and you’re telling me they’re still bloody awake!

But, then I look over at my babies and I love them to their bones

Now please go to bed so I can watch ‘Game of Thrones’!

Parenting Rapped Up!

The Rushed Hour – How to Nail the School Run.

7.26am and a call comes from downstairs.

“Right, I’m off.  I’ll see you all tonight,” Teaching Dad shouts.

With only one foot pulled into a pair of black tights, I quickly look up and scan my surroundings.  Zooming in, I clock that my girl still has un-brushed hair, no shoes on and is currently glued to the tattered and cracked thing that once upon a time resembled an iPad; my boy is heaving in a corner filling a new nappy with the good stuff holding firmly onto his second Fruit Shoot of the day.

The Rushed Hour – How to Nail the School Run.

“Can you just…”

What?  Quick.  You only have a few seconds.  Put the towels in the washer, take the dirty nappy downstairs, make me a sandwich, wash up, help me dress the kids, help dress me. Something. Quick.  Anything.

“Can you just…”

The door slams.  Damn.  The moment is gone.

Once again, I survey my surroundings.  I figure I have twenty minutes before I have to leave the house and in that time I can:

Dress, change the boy’s bum, re-dress him, drag a brush through my girl’s hair, brush their teeth, put a wash on, transfer some washing to the dryer, take the collection of empty Fruit Shoot bottles downstairs, pack bags, run up and down stairs three times to check hair straighteners are turned off and eat something…(usually discarded toast from the boy.)

The Rushed Hour – How to Nail the School Run.

At 7.47am, I leave the house and I am running late.

My physical being needs to be at my school desk at 8.30am.

I notice snot hanging from my boy’s nose and because I don’t want to hand over a snotty child to the ladies at nursery, I dash back into the house for tissue.  Running back out, I lock the door and head to my car.  As soon as I turn the ignition on, I have no recollection of locking the door, so I run off to check the front door again.  It’s locked.  I wonder, once again, if my straighteners are switched off even though I know I moved them from my room into the spare room.  Who knows?  Perhaps plugs can fall from beds into plug sockets…back into the house I go.

7.53am and we arrive at nursery. Despite being very content at nursery, the boy usually cries and clings to some body part of mine. This morning, however, a small miracle occurred when he allowed me to put him down and he waddled off towards the breakfast table.

I wanted to kiss him goodbye.

In a millisecond, that feeling vanished.

“Quick!” I turned to my girl.  “Go go go!  Get out before he notices.”

We run out of the door, down the path to school, where we wait in line for Breakfast Club to open at 8am.

This is where it starts to get interesting.  And when I mean interesting, I mean this is where the adrenaline kicks in because there is only thirty minutes left of The Rushed Hour and I am still in possession of one child.

8.02am and the gate is opened by the most pleasant man.

“Good morning!” he greets everyone as we enter.

I smile politely at him whilst at the same time realising that despite being second in the queue this morning, three children and a parent have slipped in in front of us.

Damn-it!  I dropped the ball when I passed the time of day with the nice man at the gate.

Should I tell them that there was a line?  Should I try to trip one of them up?  No?  I’ll just say: “Urgh!  Mummy’s going to be late again,” really loudly.  It falls on deaf ears.  Already a pro at this, the school mum has no time to hear my complaints as she has her eyes on the target: the sign in and payment desk.

Upon reaching the desk, she then decides to have a conversation.  I know!  What on earth is wrong with people these days?  They actually want to pass the time of day with an actual human being.  Do they not know that in…argh…twenty six minutes I have a computer to switch on?

“Yes, well I used to have a security guard follow me around Tesco because my daughter used to scream that loud,” I hear her saying.

I begin to tap my foot loudly behind her because, you know, every little helps.

It doesn’t help.

“You’re going to have to go and pick your breakfast yourself babe because Mummy is going to have to leave straightaway.”

The mum and children wander off and it’s our turn.

“It’s £2 for today please,”

I hand over a ten pound note and start to explain that I need some change in return because my lovely and kind colleague bought me fish and chips last night at Open Evening and I have to pay him back.

Is that someone’s foot tapping behind me?

I pocket my change and together we go to pick some cereal and toast.  My girl sits down next to her friend, I grab her bag and coat and go to hang it up.  I stop.  I turn back and go and kiss her.  One child is going to get a kiss goodbye from me today.  I then go and drop her bag off in her cute little classroom, which makes me remember how untidy I left mine yesterday.

The Rushed Hour – How to Nail the School Run.

I run to the car.

Cardio.

8.08am and I am driving to work.  I can make it with time to spare in twenty-two minutes…if I drive at 50mph…and am the only car on the road…

So, my journey plays out something like this:

“Don’t let him out!  Don’t let him out!  Don’t let him…oh.  Why’d you let him out?”

A few minutes pass and I am making good time until I reach the dreaded right turn onto a busy road.

There’s a few cars at the junction ahead of me.

“Don’t be turning right.  Don’t be turning right!”

There’s a learner driver waiting patiently in the car in front.

I put on some rock music to calm me down.  Unsurprisingly, it does quite the opposite, but at least the poor learner driver will think I am singing loudly rather than swearing profusely.

“Don’t turn right!”

They are wanting to turn right.  Eventually, they make it out of the junction and I turn to pull out straight behind them looking like I am being towed by an invisible tow rope.  I now need to take a left.

“Don’t you dare turn left.  Please don’t turn left.  Ooh pub.”

Yes!  They don’t turn left.

And, I am on it again.

Zooming up a hill and I can almost smell the scent of education in the air.

Then suddenly, a huge Eddie Stobart lorry pulls out a few cars in front of me and the pace slows to 10mph.  10mph!  Is that even a thing?

I finally reach another junction and, while in stand still traffic, I text my boss.  Stuck behind a lorry, I tell her.  I want to punch someone, I tell her. (I have never punched anyone or anything in my life, so I very much doubt that with five minutes left to get to school, I would actually get out of my car and go punch anyone – let alone a man driving a huge lorry…)

I receive a text back and she assures me not to worry and to drive safe!  God, love her!

By now, I am in the vicinity of my school and I can see pupils walking with their uniforms on and shirts hanging out.

“Get your shirts tucked in!” I yell.  After all, it’s 8.26am, so I am almost on the clock; I figure I might as well start doing some work.

Luckily, the sounds of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ probably (hopefully) drown me out.

Turning into the gates, I park my car, listen to the opening three chords of the next song, turn off the engine and climb out.  I rush through the door and into my classroom, change into my work shoes and switch on the computer.  At 8.29am, I saunter out into the corridor and walk calmly down to the staff room for our morning meeting.

It’s as if I have been here for hours.

Except, in my chest my heart is beating as fast as a Tre Cool drum solo.

The School Run: Nailed It!

The Rushed Hour – How to Nail the School Run.

Why Sport Is Good For Your Children’s Social Development

We are constantly told how important sport is for our kids’ physical health. Hundreds of thousands has been poured into raising awareness of an active lifestyle and healthy eating. This is all great. Exercise is a necessary part of your child’s physical well being. Without sport, they will face serious health issues, such as obesity. Without a proper exercise regime, they will also grow physically weak. However, the physical aspects of exercise aren’t the only positive part of sports for your children. Sport also teaches them so much more about themselves and others. It is important for their mental development too. This is often left unmentioned or disregarded. So here’s how sport can help your children’s social development.

Team Sport

Team sports require clear, honest communication. For a team to succeed, everyone must be heard. Everyone will have to be flexible and accept what is best for the team, not necessarily their own ego. There also has to be good communication among members when coming up with strategies to succeed. These skills will benefit your child within the team. It will see the team prosper and them win matches and maybe even leagues. But this positive, effective communication will spread to other areas of your child’s life. They’ll be able to talk to their teachers, their siblings and others with a sense of respect and confidence.

Competition

A sense of competition among children is positive. But this doesn’t mean petty quarrelling between siblings. Competition is most beneficial when your child displays their best talents and good performance. Sports aren’t easy. To win you have to be inspired, confident in yourself and willing to work for the results at the end. If there aren’t regular competitions in your local, you can set up your own for children in the local vicinity. You can purchase good quality trophies and awards from sites such as http://www.premiertrophies.co.uk/golf-trophies.html. This will create a social event for your children and others’ to attend. It will also give all participants something to take home and show off.

Passion

Kids don’t always have a lot to talk about. But having a hobby is good for them. Showing a keen interest in something and rejoicing in telling others about it will see your child’s popularity and self-confidence soar. Having a passion for a sport can be the start of a whole host of passions in your child’s life. The more areas and activities they explore, the better their view of the world will be. A deep investment in something is essential to happiness later in life. Give them a kick-start by helping them find a true passion from an early age.

Pride
Be proud of your child’s achievements. However, it is important to not be too pushy. Don’t expect your child to win everything they enter. Tell them how good it is to participate at all. Pushy parents can actually damage their child’s social development and self esteem. If you are harsh on your child’s achievements or dismiss something that seems important to them, then they will lose self confidence. They will be less willing to talk. They will be less invested in their achievements in sport and other areas of their life.