My Sunshine

One of the best things about my job is the summer holidays. Having 6 weeks off work is bliss, and since becoming a mum they have become even more precious. I think back now and wonder what on earth I did with the time off before having O.

This is now our 3rd summer together and every year it gets a bit more special. This year he is my little companion who comes with me everywhere. Apart from when I’ve been hitting the gym or for the girly lunch I had with friends last week (thanks Mum and Dad for babysitting) we have been inseparable.

I love that we can have lazy mornings where we’re not rushing to get out. Days are often unplanned and we can do or go wherever the mood takes us. A potter round the shops, a trip to the park or tea and airplane watching at Nana’s.

My little man has an amazing imagination and quite often we find ourselves making up our own silly games at home that he finds hilarious. And of course, nothing in the world can beat snoozy afternoon cuddles on the couch. Those precious moments that one day will be just a memory are the highlights of my day.

I know how lucky I am to be able to have this time with my little man. His little face at the start of the summer when I tell him that him that’s mummy’s staying home is just priceless.

That’s not to say he doesn’t have his moments when he’s hard work. When he’s running around the house refusing to wear pants, usually when we’re already running 5 minutes late to be somewhere! He’s unbelievably stubborn, and unless he’s sleeping he’s rarely still.

When he was a baby it was hard to imagine him older, but now I’m starting to see flashes of the little boy he is rapidly becoming and I’m so proud of him. He’s sweet, thoughtful, affectionate, funny and his manners are impeccable (if anything he’s over polite) and he’s got me wrapped round his little finger!

My little sunshine!

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Love The Little Things #32 & 33

I have a little confession to make, I completely forgot to write my Little Loves post for last week. It was floating around on my (in my head) to do list and before I knew it it was Sunday night and I still hadn’t got round to doing it. I’m going to blame holiday brain, as at the moment I can barely keep track of what day it is.

Read I still haven’t got round to reading a book this holiday. I don’t know where the time is going, the days are just flying by. I’m not even managing to catch up on my blog reading, I’m so behind!

Watched On Tuesday me and O went off to watch Milkshake Live (huge thanks again Life As Our Little Family for the tickets). I wasn’t too sure what to expect and was also worried O might be a bit young to sit through it all but he loved it and couldn’t take his eyes off the stage the entire time!

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Heard I’ve been loving the Magic song Rude this week. Such a summery song for blasting out in the car.

Made Well, we made a lemon drizzle cake but without the drizzle. O isn’t really a sweet tooth but he does like cake, as long as it’s just a plain sponge. Any icing or decoration and he won’t touch it, so we ended up making a plain lemon sponge.

O has been making a mess. I’ve been trying to do a but of a sort out the last week as it feels that we have stuff everywhere but O’s attempts at helping result in lots and lots of mess!

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Wore with the weather being slightly cooler this week I’ve been thinking about Autumn and treated myself to a lovely jumper from Zara with the Trafford Centre vouchers I still had left from Christmas. And it’s been a great excuse to wear my new Abercrombie cardi. I do love a cardi!

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And lastly…Yesterday was A level results day, always a nervous time as the kids are worrying about their university places. I was so proud of how well they all did, and there were some amazing individual results. Such a pleasure to have worked with a fab bunch!

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Highlights of Childhood {The Prompt}

“The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out of his nose”
Garrison Keillor

One of the highlights of my childhood is when I left school. It’s one of these days you spend years looking forward to and then when it arrives, it’s just a bit terrifying. One of my own students summed it up perfectly this year, “Miss, school is all I’ve ever known and now it’s gone. I don’t know anything else.” That’s scary and exciting all at the same time.

The final day always had a huge build up. We met at my house at half 7 with a bottle of Taboo and a 4 pack of Castaways (don’t judge me, it was just the done thing at our school). Being slightly tipsy made our final history lesson a lot more entertaining than usual and god bless our history teacher for being a complete superstar on that day, and not giving us the bollocking we probably deserved.

Of course, the absolute icing on the cake was always the Prom. A chance to get dressed up and celebrate end of exams and to an extent the end of childhood as you knew it.

Now let me tell you about a boy named Dan*.

Dan is a bright, popular student. Dan should be enjoying one of his best summers ever. A week away from picking up his GCSE results, he should be excitedly nervous, but fairly confident his grades would be good.

But he isn’t!

Dan should have spent the last 12 months enjoying his final school year. He should have been deciding who to take to the prom, signing year books and taking photos of his friends.

But he didn’t!

Dan should have been enjoying the last days of his childhood before embarking on college and the fast approaching adult years.

But he couldn’t!

Dan has spent the past 8 months virtually house bound, his mum worried sick, he has been physically sick on the few occasions he has managed to get into school to work alone in the library.

The reason?

Dan is one of an increasing number of children who can’t cope with the pressure they find themselves under once they hit the GCSE years. As they are continually told on the news the exams have been too easy and must be made tougher, as coursework and modular options are removed, everything is focused on the final exams and for some students they worry themselves so much it is making them ill.

I know that not too long ago exams were always at the end of the 2 years, but education has changed so much since then. Schools and staff are under pressure to get results, and this ultimately filters through to the pupils.

Of course, exams are important, but they are not the be all and end all. We need to let kids have a childhood and school should be a part of those treasured childhood memories, not just exam factories!

mumturnedmom

*Not his real name

Weddings and Toddlers Don’t Mix!

A year ago today O went to his first wedding…

One of the best things about being a teacher is that when you’re invited to a wedding on a random Tuesday in the middle of August you can agree to go without worrying about how to get the time off work. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the Big Mr, but it seemed a lovely way for me and O to spend some quality time with my family.  The plan was that we would camp for two nights with my brother and his family in the Cotswolds, whilst the grandparents stayed in the posh hotel down the road. Lovely!

As the time got closer the realities of camping with a not quite 2 year old, on my own, whilst preparing for a wedding started to, quite frankly, terrify me. So I have to admit, I chickened out and booked us into a lovely B&B for the night before the wedding so we would only need one night under the stars.

A fairly uneventful journey and a few hours later we pulled up in the beautiful village of Bibury. It is quite honestly one of the most gorgeous places I’ve even been and we stayed in one of the lovely rooms at the Catherine Wheel pub.  By this point O was not happy after spending three hours sat in a car so wasn’t overjoyed at having to sit in his highchair for dinner.

Luckily I had what used to be my secret weapon. When all else fails, get out the balloons. Even better, punch balloons. My G&T was taken out in one expert hit and sent sliding across the table, thanks O! Drink replaced and all drinks cleared off the table to allow balloon punching space. Second G&T fell off the slanted windowsill Nana had though it would be a good idea to place it on. The third G&T was knocked over by my brother passing a plate, and my dads face was a picture. Pretty sure he thought we were doing it just to wind him up. As if I’d waste one (let alone 3 gins) on winding him up! After 3 G&T’s, I’d only managed 2 sips it was obviously not meant to be!

A rushed dinner and it was time the kid and I took ourselves off to bed. Now my little man is a sleepy wriggler. Fine when he was in the confines of his cot, but when sharing a double bed with his mum, not so great. We managed the night with only one head first dive off the side (shhh, don’t tell Daddy), so I’d say a success.

On the wedding day O was up and dressed in his new outfit (and he did look cute), me in my fanciest frock and we were ready to go. The thing with toddlers is they won’t sit still for long, especially if there is nothing going on. We were ushered into the church minutes after arriving, and thought “Great, perfect timing”. But no, half an hour later we were still sitting there and O was getting bored. In the bride came, looking beautiful and the ceremony began. On reaching the point where the vicar asks for any reason why the couple may not be married O chose that moment to shout “More bic bic!”

Bless the vicar for seeing the humour and replying “Unfortunately, I can’t take that as a valid reason”. As the couple said there loving vows O wanted to be off so a quick exit was needed, just in time for the rain to arrive. Sat outside, in the rain, with a stroppy toddler was not how I had pictured the day.

The day went from bad to worse. O refused to sit in his high chair at the wedding breakfast, refused to eat, wanted to be picked up, but when he was squirmed to be put down, shouted through the speeches, ran away when taken outside, and generally drove me potty! Defintely not the cute little wedding date I’d imagined when we had the invite.

Eventually he started to lose some of the energy, the signal it was time for bed. So while the other guests partied away we headed for our tent and tucked ourselves in. As my little man snuggled into me to sleep, the stress of the day started to melt away, especially when my brother brought me a glass of wine and hog roast bap to enjoy. Big brothers have got to be useful for something.

Admittedly toddlers can look very sweet at weddings, but next time I’m leaving mine at home.

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary to my cousin and his wife!

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My Little Footie Star

My little man loves balls! This hasn’t been something we have pushed on him but has come completely from him. Even from being just a few months old he has loved playing with balls.

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He has been kicking a ball since before he could walk. He would bum shuffle around the downstairs with his leading leg kicking a ball as he went.

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As he has got older his love for balls has only got stronger. Footballs, rugby balls, tennis balls, bouncy balls, beach balls. It really doesn’t matter, he will play with them for hours.

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He loves to play catch, or bat and ball, but more than anything he loves to play football. With the gorgeous summer we have been having a large proportion of our time is spent having a kickabout with O.

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We also get a running commentary along with it, “Good one Daddy” or “That was rubbish Mummy” which always makes us laugh.

He loves to get everyone involved and plays football with all four grandparents, although their backs tend to feel it the next day.

He happily cheers himself for scoring an imaginary goal and is already a bit of an expert in the art of dramatic diving.

I foresee many years ahead of standing on a footie pitch sideline in the freezing cold watching my little boy do something that he loves, and I’ll be cheering him on during every game!

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Challenging {The Prompt}

One of my biggest frustrations as a teacher is the way that students shy away from a challenge. As soon as things start to get tough far too many of them give up.

“I can’t do it” or “I just don’t get it”

I’ve lost counts of how many times I’ve discussed with my classes how they will find things difficult at times, but that is when you need to put that little bit more effort in.

Some of my pupils rise to the challenge so well I’m in awe of them but far too many shrug their shoulders and in their words “CBA”. (Can’t Be Arsed for those not to up to speed with teenage lingo!)

It’s one of the biggest concerns in our staffroom. Lovely, bright and intelligent kids who aren’t quite living up to their full potential because they don’t want to face up to the challenge, and with that the risk of failure.

I wish I knew what the answer was, I don’t know how to stop the fear of failure that seems ingrained in so many of our children. I hate seeing 11 year olds too worried to write down an answer in case it’s wrong.

But sometimes I feel like a hypocrite.

How often do I challenge myself?

How often do I push myself out of my comfort zone? Where you get that feeling of panic and the adrenaline kicks in. Probably nowhere near as often as I should.

The last time I really challenged myself was over a year ago when I decided it would be a good idea to try and teach a class of Year 9′s how to knit in a week. Not one of my better ideas seeing as I didn’t know how to knit myself, but that was my challenge, and it kind of paid off.

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However, I have now set myself a huge challenge. For the past few months the weight has been creeping on and I’ve been feeling a bit sluggish and fed up with myself. I’m crap at dieting, I love my food too much, so if I’m going to lose weight the only thing that really works for me is exercise!

So, 5 weeks tomorrow I am taking part in a 12 mile obstacle course, Tough Mudder. I’m excited and slightly terrified at the same time. The furthest I’ve ever run is a 10km race which was a couple of months before I got pregnant with O.  The distance alone is a worry but throw in the obstacles (Sewage Outlet, Arctic Enema and Ladder To Hell to name just a few) and a whole lot of mud and I’m starting to think I’ve gone a little bit crazy!

I’m not concerned about times, it will be a huge achievement for me just to finish. The training has been going well (if we ignore the time I nearly cried in one session) and luckily I am part of a team so there will be some friendly faces helping me along the way.

Hubby is coming along to meet me at the finishing line with my little man and I know I’ll be so excited to see their faces. Oh, and I’ve been promised a slap up meal out and a fancy massage when I’m done. I think I’ll have earned them!

mumturnedmom
The Reading Residence