Little Miss starts pre-school

Our little miss has started playgroup. Playgroup/preschool /nursery whatever you prefer to call it, 2 mornings a week LM is now in the care of some lovely childcare professionals.

I’ve known the day was coming for a while as our local playgroup take them from age 2 1/2, but then it has suddenly snuck up on me. With being away on holiday last week we have been away from a normal routine, then on his first day back at school today, Monkey has gone on a farm trip (his first proper school trip which is a big enough deal in itself), then he got a bad cough on Sunday and was quite poorly so I wasn’t 100% sure he was going.

So last night lying in bed I was suddenly thinking about the fact that my little girl, my baby, was starting preschool the following morning. It’s not like we were completely unprepared for it. She had her trial before the Easter holidays and loved it. We’ve been reading “lulu starts nursery” at bedtime and talking about how she would be going soon and she has been excited. I just don’t think I fully processed it until last night. So I had all sorts of dreams, dreams where we were late, dreams where she was upset, honestly all sorts.

But of course this morning dawned and all was fine. We weren’t late and she was excited to wear her playgroup t-shirt. She adored wearing her backpack too!PhotoGrid_1494249234077

We took (a much less poorly) Monkey to school for his trip then walked over to the playgroup. The ease of the location in relation to the school is one of the reasons for choosing this playgroup. It makes pick up and drop off so easy but also means a lot of the friends she makes here will go on up to school with her. One of her friends (who is actually about a year older) already goes here and I think that helped this morning.

We arrived and LM went straight in with no fuss. She sat down to play puzzles with her friend then we said we were going. We gave her a kiss and she waved us off quite happily with a “bye mama. ”

It did feel odd walking away without her but I have known for some time we were both ready for this. I got home and did some exercise and some cleaning and pottered about. There are always tonnes of things I can keep myself occupied with for a couple of hours. It was lovely though, too, actually. To have the house to myself. Some time to myself. It’s not like I’ve never had that, since Monkey was born, but it certainly hasn’t been a regular thing. Now it is. Now I get to have 2 mornings a week to myself, and still have the rest of the time with my girl.

I picked her up and they said she had been a star. She hadn’t been upset at all! Yippee! She played with her friend a lot of the time, but not all and took herself off to play with others and on her own too so that’s nice. It’s lovely she has her friend to play with but also that she isn’t dependent on her, if that makes any sense.PhotoGrid_1494249299585

It’s the first day so I know there could be upset to come but I’m so pleased of how well she did and so proud of her. Love my fierce and independent little lady so much.

Rest

My word of the week this week is Rest.

It is half term next week and for the first time that really means something to us. Monkey’s first term at playgroup has gone really well, he loves it and talks about it all the time. But, I do feel he is quite tired. He only goes 2 afternoons a week but I still feel that it has tired him out, just as it is such a new  addition to his routine I suppose, meaning regularly missed naps and a busy week overall as he still has other activities such as Rhyme Time and Tumble Tots. He has come down with a bit of a cold this week and I just feel having a bit of a rest from playgroup will do him good :)

We also had quite a restful weekend last week, we have been s busy every week since Christmas so it was nice to have a bit more of a chilled one. We saw some friends for a coffee on Saturday morning and also saw Hubs’s parents as his Dad is recovering from a shoulder op. Then on Sunday we kept to ourselves and stayed home – and cleaned the house from top to bottom. Not exactly restful to spend a chunk of the day cleaning but it did us good and we did get to rest once the cleaning was done!

WP_20150211_14_35_27_ProThen the best reason that Rest is my word this week is because on Wednesday managed to get a rest. A real proper full day of rest at a spa! Not a regular occurrence for me at all! It was part of my best friend’s hen do and 4 of us headed to Ragdale Hall for the day. All I can say is that it was blissful and I felt so so rested for the first time in a long time. It was hard leaving the kiddies, particularly LM as I certainly never left Monkey this early (she is only 3 1/2 mths old) because I was breastfeeding. Because LM is on formula I do have the freedom to be away from her on occasion but that doesn’t make it easy. It was a wonderful day but I really did miss her! Such a soppy Mumma. BIt also broke my heart a little to hear that Monkey had asked Daddy at bedtime “When’s Mummy coming back?” I know they were fine and does them no harm to be away from them, it just goes against your instincts a little I think.

It was amazing though as Ragdale has a fantastic Thermal Spa with tropical showers, a candlelit pool, thought room, outdoor spa pool with massage jets and waterfalls. It was blissful. We spent the day mooching around in our swimming costumes and robes, feeling so dozy! We did intend to take part in some exercise classes but there was so much to do we didn’t need to, and actually felt so rested we didn’t want to. It was an amazing day and lovely to be able to spend time with my friends and properly talk without kids running around us or taking our attention away. Very very peaceful and I felt well rested by the end of the day.

Unfortunately I came home to a Daddy who was very much in need of a rest after a stressful day with LM – I have been saying for a while she is teething and I think a tooth may be about to erupt, there is a sharp ridge on one bit of her gum and she is very unsettled at the moment poor thing. We have an amber anklet, teething gel, various teethers and teething granules but sometimes the only thing that will settle her is good old baby ibuprofen. Poor thing really needs a rest! Daddy is off to see his business partner’s new house today so hopefully he will get a bit of peace and quiet on the car journey, even if it isn’t that restful it is less stressful than a screaming baby!

How has your week been? Are you feeling rested?

The Reading Residence

Settling in to playgroup

As regular readers will know, Monkey started playgroup in January. Other than a few blips he has settled in so well and we are hugely proud of him.This is a little boy who has always been quite clingy, he had very bad separation anxiety and alwyas wanted his Mummy there. At soft play or at the playpark I have long been the mum with a child clinging to her legs unless I am clambering up the slide with him. I have wondered in the past if it is my fault because I am a SAHM and wondered if a nursery setting would have been better for him, or worse!

My fears and worries have subsided over the past year as he has grown up a bit and become more and more independant. I was still very nervous of him starting playgroup and he was originally due to start in November when he turned 2 1/2. Becuase this coincided very much with LM being born we decided to defer it a couple of months and start after Christmas. As the date neared, although a little apprehensive, I was quietly confident as he seemed to grow up a lot in the few short months since his baby sister was born and get that little bit more independant, I guess he had to really!

For Christmas we got him a lovely book to help him get excited about starting playgroup and in the week or so before he started we read it over and over again. He loved it and was definitely excited to go. The book was great too as it explained about Mummy going away, and then coming back again.

The big day dawned and it went pretty well. He pulled a sad face as I left but didn’t scream or cling, Apparently he was very unhappy throughout the session and he did cry when we picked him up but that was to be expected and we were so proud of him. The second day was much like the first and although he wasn’t too bad when I left him, they did say he had again been quite upset throughout and he cried when I collected him. On the walk home he was quite positive and saying he loved playgroup so I was comforted by that and was just praying things would improve.

running to playgroup with daddy on his first day

running to playgroup with daddy on his first day

Dropping him off for the 3rd session was the real low point. He cried a little before we left home but then cheered up and practically ran all the way there, very excited. He then cried when they opened the doors even though he had been saying he was excited to go in. He then cried for ages and clung to me, dragged me inside to where they read stories and didn’t want me to leave. I found that so hard but had to be strong and smile and promise I would pick him up. I smiled and left him in the care of the playgroup despite every instinct telling me it was wrong. I came home and struggled. I took to facebook for some reassurance, to hear from other Mummies that this was a low point and that it would get better. (Huge thanks to the lovely ladies who supported me through this.) I know that him going to playgroup is really good for him but I just worried that he wasn’t ready for it.

I was anxious the whole time he was there and concerned that it was getting worse rather than better. To my relief though, when I went to pick him up, one of the staff immediately said he had been better that day. He had been getting involved in activities and had not been upset. Phew! I nearly cried right then as it had felt worse at the drop off and I was concerned he would have been upset throughout again. To know he wasn’t was wonderful! He balled his head off when he came out and I really had to choke back the tears and not show him how upset I was, especially as my tears were more of relief than anything else!

On the way home that day he was telling me what he had done that day and he said “I cry a bit… don’t like cry” which nearly broke my heart and I told him it is ok to cry sometimes but that there was no need to cry at playgroup because playgroup is fun and Mummy will always come back and get him afterwards. He seemed pretty content with that.

On the 4th session he was again a little unhappy leaving home then excitedly running all the way there. He was so excited that unfortunately he tripped and cut his lip open halfway there! Not good timing! I had no tissues or wipes or anything ( as it is literally a 5 minute walk) so had to use my gloves and his scarf to mop up the blood pouring from his poor lip. I carried him the rest of the way and thankfully some other mummies had wipes to clean us up as we were both covered in blood at this point. I was really concerned about how upset he was but as soon as they opened the door he bounded right in. I explained to the staff about it but he seemed fine so I left him to it. The best thing was that that afternoon there was no tears at all when I picked him up, hooray!

And, well that was it. Since then he has not cried when I have dropped him off, or when I picked him up, and the news from the staff is that he is getting more and more confident. He goes outside to play and he loves joining in with the singing at the end. He is just loving it! He keeps saying “Is it playgroup tomorrow?” and “I do singing at playgroup” and he picks up toys and says “we have this at playgroup.” He is so proud of all the things he has made at playgroup and wants to show anyone and everyone all of his creations.

A few of Monkey's creations at playgroup!

A few of Monkey’s creations at playgroup!

It is such a relief to know he enjoys it so much and he is growing up more and more as the weeks go by so it was definitely the right thing to do!

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Not My Year Off

Monkey’s first day at playgroup!

This week was a big day for us as it was Monkey’s first day at playgroup! Looking after Monkey, raising him and teaching him about the world has been my job since he was born. It is why I wanted to be a SAHM and I feel privileged that I have been able to do so for this long. However there are many reasons why we think it will be good for him to go to playgroup. One day he will have to go to school and we want to be able to ease him into it, first of all with a couple of days of playgroup, then preschool before he starts school. The local playgroup generally feeds into the local school so our hope is that he will make friends at playgroup and pre-school and that they will move up together to school one day.

Making friends is the biggest reason we have been keen for him to go to playgroup as although he sees my friends’ children, with jobs and other commitments he doesn’t see them quite so often anymore and it would be nice for him to have more time playing with other children. But he has never been left without me, hubs or his grandparents before so we knew it would be a big change for him, and for us, for him to be in someone else’s care.

He was originally due to start in November, when he was 2 1/2, but with LM being born we didn’t want to make such a big change at that time, as we didn’t want him to feel that he was being taken there because  she was here. So we delayed his start date until after Christmas as we felt that would be the best time for a new start to the routine, and Friday afternoon was his first day.

WP_20150109_18_57_43_ProWe had been trying to prepare him and help him feel enthusiastic and excited about starting playgroup in the run up to the big day. We were recommended a lovely book by a friend who had used it with her son to help him prepare for playgroup, “Lulu Loves Nursery.”* We substituted the word nursery for playgroup but it is a really lovely book and talks about how Lulu is worried about being without her mummy, and feels shy at first, but then decides to be brave and she really loves her day at nursery. It is a great book and also comes with a certificate you can fill out and give to them at the end of their first day.

Monkey absolutely adores this book and we have been reading it over and over since we gave it to him, it has definitely helped Monkey with the concept of me leaving him there but coming back again afterwards. It has also helped that our playgroup provided a little leaflet, which reads like a story, about all of the things you can do there.

The big day dawned and we had a fairly quiet morning at home to make sure he was well rested. Daddy didn’t want to miss it so he came home and we all went off to playgroup together. Monkey had his little backpack on and was dead excited, running basically all the way there and dragging Daddy along! We got there much quicker than I thought we would have actually so had to wait outside for a little while!

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When it was time to go in, Monkey was straight in there, playing with puzzles, he didn’t seem bothered about us at all. We decided not to hang about too long so said our goodbyes after a few minutes and headed out. He only gave us cursory hugs and goodbyes, but as we were leaving we did see a bit of a sad fac, though we heard no cries and saw no tears.

We were both a bit on edge that afternoon, though I think because I still had LM to deal with I was a little less anxious than hubs who was back at work, unable to focus! I did keep an eye on my phone though in case they called but we heard nothing. When we went to collect him the staff said that he had been a little upset, and cried a few times, but that they had been able to distract him with books and toys each time and he had got over his tears.

At the end of the session they have all the children sat together to wait for their parents and then call them out one by one to us parents who are waiting in the foyer, though they can’t see us. I didn’t really know how they did it and if I had I would have asked if he could come out first, but I didn’t so they called out 4 or 5 other children before calling him out, so by the time he came out to us he was very unhappy again. I can understand it as from his perspective, sitting there waiting for mummy and daddy, watching other children go out to their parents, wondering if we were coming for him, it must have been pretty scary.

WP_20150111_11_11_05_ProWe had big cuddles though and he said he enjoyed himself. He showed us the fab picture he made and was excited about the fact he had been using glue.He was telling us about the books he had read and the friend he had played with (I’m not sure he actually did play with this little boy or just said it because we had talked about him beforehand) and within a few yards he said “I love playgroup” which we took as a very positive sign. In fact he even asked me if he could go playgroup again the next day, which is another very good sign. We stopped for an ice cream on the way home (as they do in “Lulu Loves Nursery“*) and he very pleased with his certificate from his  book :)

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I am expecting more tears on Monday, potentially even when I drop him off, and probably for a few more times, but hopefully he is off to a good start and it well get easier and easier the more he gets used to the playgroup, the staff and the other children. Fingers crossed anyway! But for now I am just a proud mama and think he did so so well for his first day!

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with his first ever picture from playgroup :)

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Baby, baby, baby

The only word I can think up to sum up this week is “baby!” Because, since our scan on Tuesday, the fact that we are having another baby has suddenly become more real. Whether it is because we know “it” is in fact a “she,” or because we know that she is growing well in there I’m not sure, but she has now become a reality.

It’s suddenly dawned on me that we are in no way ready for another baby! I know we have a while to go yet and so I am not overly stressed or panicky, but I am suddenly feeling that we aren’t ready, and I so hate being unprepared for things. Complete control freak! I know I’ve been thinking about things like whether to get a new buggy, but that’s as far as we’ve got, thinking. My lovely physio (who is also pregnant, and due a week or 2 before I am) was asking me last week if we had everything and if we were ready, and I was so blasé and said we were pretty sorted, when we really aren’t!

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