Do I send my child back to school?

I haven’t written on here in ages. We have just completed week 8 of lockdown and it is still going on. Infections and deaths are going down and yet fear is still rampant across the country and the world.

The biggest question for parents at the moment is whether to send our children back to school. A couple of weeks ago the government announced they wanted a phased re-opening of schools from 1st June. Starting with Foundation, Year 1 and Year 6. They released guidance which to me seemed a little OTT but reasonably sensible to manage with the fear that is dominating the world.

They suggested keeping kids in groups of 15 plus a teacher and that because you can’t expect primary age children to keep 2m away from each other at all times, that they are OK to mix in those groups but that each group should stay 2m away from each other. More cleaning and lots of other protocols and a lot of hard work for schools to navigate but on the whole, I thought, sensible.

Then, driven by fear, the unions and local authorities have, in my opinion, gone mad. Issuing their own guidance saying children and adults should be 2m away from each other at all times. They do this under the umbrella of protecting people. Some councils won’t allow schools to reopen at all and most are insisting they use awful draconian measures when they do.

The message from them is that it is not ‘safe.’ The children are at risk. The teachers are at risk. Honestly I want to tear my hair out.

Nothing in the world, ever, is 100% safe. We take risk with everything we ever do. When we eat we risk choking, allergic reactions and, if all the scientific research over the last few years is anything to go by, risk of cancer, heart disease, early death etc. etc. We risk death when we drive in a car. Heck walking down the street is a risk.

I read somewhere this week that children are more at risk of death on their way to school (car accidents, being runover etc.) than they are of dying from coronavirus.

The science I have read says many things. One being that children are not badly affected by the virus. They may not even be able to transmit it to others. That is contentious, I’ve read there has been 49 studies that found no evidence of Children transmitting the virus and 1 where they found they may.

The science also says that for people under 60,the risk of dying from the virus is incredibly low, lower still for those under 45. Yet teachers unions are still terrified about teachers catching it and dying. Rationality seems to have gone completely out the window. Everyone seems to have forgotten that people die every day. People die of cold and flu and all manner of things.

My daughter is in foundation, she’s 5 years old. Her school have done their best but they are talking about having her sat at a table most of the day with noone next to her, just her bag with all her things in. I don’t blame her school for this, I know they will try and make it a nice atmosphere for the children but they are being hampered by the rules. There will be no working in pairs or group work. Soft toys and most other toys that can’t be cleaned easily have been removed. She will be taught to stay away from the other children. I don’t want that for her. She loved school and we don’t want her to learn to dislike this crazy version of socially distant school.

I was talking to my 8yr old yesterday and my heart broke when he said “even after coronavirus has gone, I’m going to carry on being sensible and stay 2m away from people.” I told him that no he did not have to do that and it would not be sensible to do that, but that is what are children are learning at the moment. To stay away from other people.

We are fortunate in so many ways. We can be flexible with work and much as I would rather be in the office, we can carry on the way we have been and keep home schooling then while I work part time from home. The kids are happy at the moment but they are missing out on so much from not being at school. Their education yes, but a lot of it is the social aspects. Children learn so much from being with other children and they aren’t getting that at the moment.

There are also many far less fortunate children for whom school is a lifeline, a lifeline that has been taken away from them. All for the sake of ‘risk.’

I get that people want to protect their children and noone wants anyone else’s death on their conscience. But then what? Do we all live in hermetically sealed bubbles for the rest of our lives? Never go anywhere, see anyone, do anything? Do we feed ourselves intravenously to prevent the risk of choking? None of that is rational and none of this is rational.

I want to send my children back to school and I AM NOT SCARED OF THE VIRUS. No more than I am scared of my children falling from a climbing frame and banging their heads, or scared of someone crashing their car into us. Life is full of fear but we have to minimise it so we can prioritise living. At the moment we aren’t living because fear has taken over.

I’m not scared of the virus but I am scared of the social distancing and the impact these draconian measures are going to have on our children.

What comes next?

This week marks the end of the second period of lockdown. Which just means it will all be reviewed at the end of this week, to see whether or not lockdown carries on. Last week Boris announced we had passed the peak of the virus so there is talk in the media about restrictions being lifted, though which restrictions and how they will be lifted is less clear yet.

There is a lot of talk about schools reopening, and a lot of extremely varying opinions about whether they should reopen and if they do, in what way. Should they be staggered? Can schools operate social distancing? Is it safe?

‘Safe’ is a word I’m really struggling with at the moment. Everyone keeps saying they want to feel safe before they send their kids to school or before they go on holiday or see people. Make sure it is ‘safe’ but I just don’t see how you can ever make anything ‘safe’.

I’m all for minimising risk as much as possible but you will never be completely safe from this virus. It’s a virus! And there is so much fear that getting the virus equals death despite the fact there is huge evidence that for most people it causes a mild illness and the truth is that many people may have already had it without even realising. Some people have it with no symptoms at all. I may have had it, you may have had it and never even known!

There’s so much evidence to suggest children are not badly affected by the virus and the WHO are even saying that they have found no evidence of children spreading the virus to adults. This seems baffling to me but apparently something to do with the way children’s bodies deal with the virus means they aren’t spreading it?

There are theories flying everywhere about why some people are affected by the virus worse than others. People with less vitamin D are affected worse which is why the older generations deal with it worse. It depends on the viral load, the amount of the virus you were infected with at once. So so so many theories.

Businesses want to get back to work and are introducing various measures to make sure people can maintain a 2m distance and can sanitise everything.

Some people say who cares about businesses and the economy, people’s lives are more important so we should keep lockdown. I disagree with that because having a shit economy will mean more poverty and hunger and will kill different people.

The lockdown has no doubt prevented a lot of coronavirus related deaths… But it has also killed people. People have died from suicide, from not being able to cope with the lockdown. Domestic abuse has massively increased. People have died of heart attacks and strokes and even appendicitis because they haven’t wanted to burden the NHS and have waited to long to call for medical help. Thousands of people who would have been referred for cancer treatment have not been referred because so much of the NHS has been shut down ‘in case’ the NHS was overrun. My friend’s dad is incredibly ill and has struggled to get any medical professional to take any notice of him because he doesn’t have coronavirus. They fobbed him off with antibiotics. He may not survive.

Thankfully some aspects of the NHS are being reopened but there will be long term affects we are yet to see for people referred for cancer treatment later than they would have been. Receiving treatment later than they would have been and potentially too late in some cases.

I don’t know what the next few weeks will bring and I don’t know what to believe really. If we lift the lockdown, will there be a second peak? I fear this virus will always be around now so surely we have to live. Noone is safe ever. You can crash in a car, get cancer, have a heart attack. We take risks every time we drive, smoke, even eat and drink because we are always told some food or other increases our risk of premature death. But we live. We love. We go places. We do things. How long can we live locked up like this?

We are in the groove, I know what this life is, and day by day we are fine and happy. What comes next makes me apprehensive and I don’t dare to hope yet that this is a brief interlude to our life. I want to hope we can get back to normal but I fear this pandemic will have changed many things for us, and that there is no going back to the way it was.


I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago but didn’t get round to finishing/publishing it. Things are much better now, we are in a really good rhythm and on the whole happy and coping well. But this was how I felt at that moment in time so I still wanted to publish it.

This isn’t a moan as such. It may come across as one but it’s not really. I’m not unhappy. Its more of a vent about what life is like at the moment, for many of us who are trying to home educate their kids. Bloody exhausting! That’s what it is.

I’m writing this because today alone I’ve messaged or spoken to 4 other mums who are feeling exactly the same as I am. We are working our bums off, quite simply, and are frickin exhausted.

I have 7 (nearly 8) yr old and a 5 year old and I am trying to complete the school work that had been set for each of them. I have to do this at the same time. I can’t do them 1 on 1 because a)it’s just me b) my 5 year old moans like mad when it’s suggested she play or do anything by herself. She can and does play by herself but not when I want her to. c) I work from home in the afternoons so there is not enough time for me to do their school work one at a time. My husband co-runs a company providing Internet so he is still working full time, sometimes from home, sometimes from the office, but he cannot take turns with me. He can help occasionally but not very much.

So 1 person assisting 2 kids in their learning when they are at completely different stages is bloody hard. I compared it earlier to being in a pinball machine being constantly flicked between fractions, and simple sums, between coming up with similes and rhymes for a poem, and sounding out digraphs and memorising tricky words. “Mummy can you…” “mummy what’s…” you think you’ve got one set up doing a task so you go to the other, only to be called back to the first child, then called by the second again… And repeat indefinitely until it’s ‘break’ and they watch Tom and Jerry while you go through emails and print worksheets for the next subject.

All the time I am thinking about what today’s topic is for later, do I have separate age appropriate tasks for each or can they both do the same thing? Where did the teacher say the video was for that? Was it in an email or on an app? What am I cooking them for lunch? Which of their clubs are doing virtual classes today? What exercise shall I try and get them to do in the garden? You get the gist.

I’m also trying to think about whether the laundry has finished in the machine. I’m having to think ahead about food in a way I don’t normally need to. I can’t just pop out whenever I need to get 1 thing. For a start I’m not supposed to take the kids shopping and some of our local shops have even banned kids. So then I can only go when my husband can be with the kids, and even then there is no ‘popping’ anywhere. I queued for 45 mins the other day to get into wilko to buy bin liners and Antibac wipes and a couple of other things I couldn’t find anywhere else. Because they are still restricting the amounts of things I can at least buy them, but not enough so I will have to go back and queue another day to buy more.

Sorry rambled off subject there. I guess my point is that my brain is working so hard in a way that it never has before.

It is not made easier by the fact that my kids are, well, kids and they don’t always want to do the learning their teacher has sent them. My daughter and I clash at the best of times, she normally does homework with Daddy because she will do more for him than for me. It’s a personality thing, I can generally get more work out of Leo than daddy can, so I help him with his homework. We don’t have the luxury of sharing this out though. This is day in, day out, just me and them. I’m lucky, I just have 2. One friend with almost identical aged kids also has a 1 year old to throw into the mix. Chaos!

I know some mums would read this and say why bother? Why push yourself so hard? Why push your kids? My kids are bright and inquisitive kids. They like to be busy. Yes of course I leave them to be bored sometimes but I guess I like to be busy too. It keeps us all going, even though its hard. And I don’t push too hard when they really don’t want to do something. Liberty’s task from school this afternoon was to listen to a cbeebies radio programme for 10 minutes…. She was having none of it and lay on the floor screaming at the prospect. Considering we had done maths and English and art and some PE, I looked at her, though F*** that, got out her box of dolls and started playing with them so she joined me. Leo meanwhile finished his geography then aced his spellings bless him and was dead happy to do so.

Every day is different but this has been today and yesterday, getting back into schooling from home. I’m hoping it gets easier.

The positive side of lockdown

There’s no denying that these are strange and difficult times we are living in. But it’s too easy to focus on the negatives, when actually there is a lot that is positive. Sarah over at Run Jump Scrap blogged about some of her positives during lockdown, and it inspired me because I don’t want this section of the blog to only be me writing when I am feeling down and needing to vent.

I feel like there are 2 sides of me at the moment, a huge part of me, the resilient adaptable side is just getting on with things and finding a new happy. The other part of me rebels against the obvious negatives and though I’ve talked predominantly from that view point on here, actually the happy side wins most of the time.

So some of our positives:

The kids are getting on really well.

In general our kids always get on OK but they really have gotten closer during the last few weeks. They still bicker and annoy each other but they are also playing with each other a lot more. I guess because there is noone else they are allowed to see and play with, but they don’t seem to be missing their friends as much at the moment. Part of me is sad about that, but it’s a sign of their resilience too and I’m so grateful that they have each other.

Family bike rides

We are lucky to have a beautiful country park and easily accessible countryside right on our doorstep. Hubs and I both grew up round here so we know the area well and there are loads of places on the ‘one day we’ll go on a bike ride with the kids there’ list. But with Liberty only being 5 we didn’t think she was ready for some of them and just never got round to going on them. With needing to stay local for our daily exercise though it has made us give them a go. We figured we could turn back if it was too much for her, but so far she’s surpassed our expectations and has done amazingly well. We are all really enjoying our family adventures at the weekend.

Being Quieter

In general we like to be busy and going out and about, visiting new places and seeing friends. I miss not being able to do that but there is something very restful about the quiter weekends at the moment. We can’t go anywhere (other than our exercise) so there’s less pressure to feel like you should be doing something with your time. Sometimes I feel a bit restless but at the end of the day I actually feel quite rested, if that makes sense!

More time to spend with the children

Spending almost all my time with the children isn’t always easy and I do feel a bit trapped at times, but overall I am enjoying the time spent with them. I’m not a teacher but there is something rewarding about seeing my kids learn when we’ve done an activity, and I’m learning more about them too. It’s challenging trying to teach them as well as parent them but I am learning about what works best for them and how to get the best out of them.

There are also tonnes of activities I’d thought about doing with the children, but never really had time to do before this. We’ve been doing some coding and junk modelling, and we’ve even got my old Nintendo Wii out the loft and had great fun playing mariokart with the kids! So it has been great using the time to do some fun things together.

Really valuing human contact

When you don’t see people very often it really does make you appreciate it more when you do. I’ll be honest I’m not always the most sociable person so actually in some ways I’m enjoying not having to have some of the awkward daily nonsense conversations on the school run etc.

But I’m also really enjoying random human interaction more when it does happen. A chat with someone in the local shop has been the highlight of my day recently. A couple of times on a walk I’ve bumped into (well from a distance) a mum from school. It can be a mum I barely know but we are both so happy to have some adult interaction you’d think we were lifelong friends who’ve not seen each other in a while! It’s amazing how much more important that interaction seems. I know that’s a contradiction but that’s how I feel.

I’m also enjoying the opportunity to have video chats with friends and speaking to each other, even if only by messenger. Every human interaction feels more precious I guess, even just saying good morning to strangers we walk past when out doing exercise.

Enjoying music

Being at home more has made me appreciate music more. Sometimes when the kids are bickering or driving me a bit mad whining about something I’ve asked them to do, putting some music on in the background can really change the mood for us all.

I’ve been trying to rediscover some bands and artists that I’ve not listened to in years and it’s really nice remembering why I used to like them so much. It’s also really fun introducing the kids to some brilliant music.

Appreciating what we have.

I guess that on the whole, a lot of the positives I’ve mentioned can be boiled down to this. Not having the freedoms we are used to has made me appreciate the things that we do have.

I appreciate having a lovely home in a lovely area.

I appreciate having my husband and children and to all be living together.

I appreciate our family and friends even if we can’t see them as much as we would like to.

I appreciate the fact we are all healthy and are able to live comfortably.

So I know a lot of the things I write are quite negative lately, but I really really do appreciate all that we have and how lucky we are in so many ways.

What are your positives from the lockdown?

The lockdown continues…

Three. More. Weeks…. At least.

Honestly we all knew it was coming, right? They’ve been teasing it for days. I’m not shocked or even mildly surprised…. So why do I feel quite this gutted by the confirmation?

Why do I feel like crying?

Honestly we are coping OK with lockdown at the moment. Our routine is working for us. The kids are doing well with their learning, we’ve tried some new things, either online classes or methods suggested by others and we are doing good.

The house is a tip but semi keeping on top of it so we aren’t in a complete state of filth.

I think I just miss everyone. Amusingly a few days ago I was feeling like I had this down. I’d bumped into one of my closest friends while out doing exercise and we had a really good, socially distant conversation and think it did me the world of good. More than I actually realised at the time.

Since then, my younger brother’s wife who I get on really well with, sent me a picture of her growing bump. She’s 17 1/2 weeks pregnant. I’m so excited about being an auntie and I just really feel like we are missing out. The kids aren’t able to see her or her bump. It’s an exciting time that we can’t really be part of. I sorted a few of the nice baby things we had kept and hubs delivered them today along with the nursing chair we had saved for them.
I never expected to go with him to deliver them and he dropped it all at a safe distance blah blah but I feel a lot sadder than I thought I would about… I guess just about not seeing them. I don’t know, I’m rambling really.

I also feel a bit pathetic admitting this but it’s my birthday next week and, well, I guess I like birthdays. I like the excuse to get together with friends and loved ones and have nice times together. And that can’t happen this year, not in the way I’d like. I know there are millions of people having birthdays during this crazy time. I’m not special or any different from anyone else so I know I have to suck it up and make the best of it. I’m just feeling a bit down about it.

I’ll perk up and be alright. Will keep on carrying on, but I’m having a low day, well afternoon really. I know we are so lucky. I have my husband and kids with me. We are healthy and have a lovely home and garden. I just miss the people I love that I can’t see at the moment.

Top tips for a vaguely successful video call with kids

We are not pros at video calls. At all. But with life being altered so substantially thanks to the pesky coronavirus, we are embracing video calls wholeheartedly as a way of staying in touch with our loved ones.

As unexperienced as we may be at video calls, the kids take this to a whole new level. They don’t understand how to stay in camera shot so frequently disappear off screen. They constantly talk over each other, or over the person speaking to them in the call and jist don’t listen. Hmm, kids not listening, who’d have thought?

My husband has been finding video calls to family members with the kids also present, particularly stressful. We have made some improvements over the past few weeks though so I thought I’d share some of the ways we have found for making the most out of video calls with the kids.

1. Give yourselves space

On our first video calls we had the laptop set up at the dining room table with us all trying to sit in front of it. I’m not sure why but it felt like the right place to be. It wasn’t Trying to cram 2 adults and 2 children basically onto 2 chairs wasn’t great. The kids fidget all the blimmin time so there was elbows in face, we got headbutted, they constantly wanted to move so were clambering over us. It wasn’t fun.

We tried a few combinations of this before I came up with the crazy idea of putting the laptop on the coffee table in the living room. Sooo much better. Yes it means we are a bit smaller on the screen for people to see, but really, do we need to play count the pores anyway? Removes one element of discomfort and stress at least!

2. Make it fun

Kids don’t really get the whole conversation element of video calls, or ours certainly. The shout at the screen, both talking at once, disappear off to do something else and it can be generally hard to keep them engaged. So we’ve tried a few things to help them have fun and interact with the family members they are missing out on seeing at the moment.

We played a fave board game in our house, Cheese Bandit (we got this from Father Christmas a couple of years ago and it is a great game for kids, just FYI) with my parents and it was so fun. But when we tried to play it with my brother and his wife, the kids weren’t feeling it, so you have to try different things and see what works I guess.

Playing Cheese Bandit

We’ve also played Guess Who, my parents have the game and so do we so at least we have a board each and that worked quite well.

The best thing so far though has been playing Pictionary as all you need are pen and paper. To start with I just wrote the names of some films that the kids know and their relatives would also know. I held up the name in front of the camera for the relatives to draw so the kids could guess, then on our turn we held our picture up for them to guess. It was really funny and kept the kids really occupied!

The list of films only lasted so long but to be honest it doesn’t need to be films, we’ve moved on to just drawing things, and honestly getting a 5 yr old to draw something like a banana can lead to some fun too!

Not sure what we will try next but trying to keep it fun and interesting to help the kids stay engaged

5. Have something for them to do

This obviously relates to the above as they are kept busy by playing the games. But even when you aren’t playing games I’ve found it helps if they have something to keep them occupied. Leo was playing Lego the other day while we were chatting to my folks, and he would chip in now and then but was generally happy playing. Liberty didn’t have anything to do so whined most of the time haha

This also helps if on a video call with their friends. Again with young kids not being the best conversationalists, having a few toys with them that they can show their friends/family can help them think of something to talk about. Liberty on a call to her friend was showing her some of her Disney princess dolls for a while. The conversation then moved on to the point where they were showing each other their feet, but you know, they are 5 haha.

When Leo was on a call with a couple of his friends he was shooting bits of Minecraft Lego at the screen which got them started talking and eventually they were blowing raspberries and talking about bottoms, again usual 7/8 yr old behaviour.

4. Be realistic

They are kids, at the end of the day. Even in normal times they shout and scream and talk when other people are talking and make it difficult to hear your relatives speak. There’s a certain amount of accepting that it won’t always be plain sailing, I think.

We try to have some video calls in the evenings so it can just be us and grown ups to talk about things a bit more, or after a game we let the kids go and watch TV or something so we can have a grown up chat.

Who knows, by the end of this we may all be pros at video calls! Of course I am looking forward to being able to see our loved ones in person again as soon as we can…. but I am grateful that we have the technology to see them virtually in the meantime.

How have you been getting on with video calls with kids? Any tips?

Routines and guilt

So it’s a Wednesday, but I’m not having a wobble! Realised it was a week since my last post though so thought I’d get some thoughts down. I’m using this more of a diary to have a record I suppose.

We are still in lockdown. 2 ½ of weeks of being at home full time with the kids. Still lots of highs and lows associated with that. It’s technically the Easter holidays so we aren’t getting any work from school. We are keeping a loose routine going still, a bit less work than the previous couple of weeks and a few more Easter themed activities.

Making easter cards

Yesterday in ‘art’ we made some Easter cards, some with coloured in eggs and others with some cute handprint bunnies I had seen shared by someone on facebook or somewhere, they were cute and fun to do. Then today in ‘handwriting’ we wrote the cards to some of the kids friends and some family members. We will post them during our exercise tomorrow. Other than that we’ve done some maths and actually had a fun ‘geography’ session yesterday afternoon talking about a few different countries, mainly Australia as Liberty is obsessed by it and the animals that live there.

Today was sort of supposed to be history this afternoon but we made some Easter nests instead!

More to eat! Honestly struggling to stop eating, I have a tendency to eat my feelings, and eat when I’m bored soooo there’s a lot of that happening right now.

It’s a strange old time. In so many ways we are so lucky. I see lots of social media posts from doctors and nurses who are isolating from their children so they don’t give them the virus. I see posts from doctors and nurses whose children are scared their mum and/or dad will catch it and work and die. I know of people who are now jobless or have had their wages cut by 40%.

Nic and I are still working. We are all healthy. We aren’t putting ourselves at any great risk (no more than anyone who risks catching the virus at the shops anyway). We have a lovely home with outside space. We live near beautiful places we can go while we are allowed to exercise outside. We are not trapped at home with an abusive partner.

We have so many reasons to be grateful, and I am. I try and focus so much on the positives.

But that doesn’t mean this is easy. Losing your freedom isn’t easy. Being kept away from loved ones isn’t easy. Sometimes that gets to me, sometimes it gets to all of us. I feel guilty for even saying I find it hard though, when so many people have it so much worse.

It’s really difficult to know what to believe too. Obviously this virus is horrible and easy to catch and causing a lot of deaths. But a lot of people only have minor symptoms and they still believe there are huge numbers of people who show no symptoms, so a lot of people could have had it without even knowing! The media is negative negative negative and focusing only on the worst.

I get that we need to stay home to slow the spread and I get that maybe the media wants to scare us into doing so, but I’d love to see more positivity about the people who survive it or something. I don’t know really.

Shopping is still a very odd experience. I don’t get out much beyond a walk every day with the kids and am mainly dependent on Nic for going to the shops, as I can’t really take the kids. But at the weekend I did go out and it is so strange to queue 2 meters apart from each other and sometimes you don’t know where to go inside the shop as there are people 2m in either direction! But at least shops are fairly well stocked now and there’s not as many empty spaces on the shelves as there was at one time.

I think that’s enough of a ramble for now. Hope anyone reading this is coping ok with everything xx

Life in the time of Covid-19

Sometimes life feels normal, you are doing the washing up, or playing with your kids or reading something, then something reminds you that all is not what it seems. In some ways life is the same as ever, but in others, it is barely recognisable.

Yesterday was Mothers Day. A day we have always taken for granted really. A day for families getting together, hugging, laughing end just enjoying spending time together. Not in 2020. Yesterday morning I dropped off a present on my Mum’s doorstep and stood back a few metres. They took it in with instructions to wipe it down and wash their hands. We chatted briefly across the driveway which was quite upsetting, before heading home again. Once home we had a video call where the kids gave their grandparents virtual hugs and kisses and we tried to chat as if we were in the room with them as normal.

In the afternoon we were out for a walk and popped to the bath behind my in laws, where we had a chat over the fence, maintaining a safe distance. Anything to avoid the risk of infection from this unseen enemy known as Covid19.

On our walk we also had to explain to our daughter why we couldn’t go on a play area. Not easy explaining to a 5 year old why we can’t go to a playpark, especially when we aren’t 100% sure ourselves on the guidance!

In various countries across Europe and the globe, they are on total lockdown. Not allowed out unless in emergencies or for food. Being fined for breaking the rules. We aren’t on lockdown here but we are advised to stay away from friends and family, particularly the vulnerable. We are told not to gather in groups and to stay 2-3 metres away from other people. Parks and open spaces are generally open, but now that pubs, restaurants, cinemas, gyms, swimming pools, clubs, cafes and shops (not supermarkets) are all closing, people are getting out where they are allowed to go. It’s a bit crazy, people should be avoiding each other but are all desperate to be out and go to the places they are allowed.

The media and social media are crossly telling people to stop being stupid and selfish and to just stay home and watch TV! Most everyone I know are staying away from everyone, then all you see on TV and in the news are pictures of incredibly busy parks and countryside. Seems bonkers!

Schools are now shut too, only opening to provide childcare for those with parents who are key workers. The government definition of this is broad but the advice is to only send your kids to school if you have no other choice. So this means that most of us are now trying to educate our kids at home while many of us also need to work too.

Social media is full of varying opinions about whether we should be trying to educate our kids or letting them have a break, with a tonne of judgement on either side. Whatever you choose will be wrong according to someone. What started off as lots of positive support online, with people sharing resources and ideas, has become a place to criticise as is so often the case on social media.

we are trying to balanced here. The school are sending work through for the kids everyday but there has to be time for play too, and exercise as at school there is a lot of playtime running around. I also have to work ad I’m fortunate I am only part time so it means I just have to do a couple of hours a day. A couple of hours where the kids are allowed their tablets, TV or whatever else they like while I work. Some days this will no doubt go better than others!

Across the globe you are hearing all sorts of things, canals and waterways in Venice turning clear, emissions being reduced across the globe. Panic buying in the UK has been mainly related to toilet roll and pasta, while in the US there has been panic buying of guns! There are humourous memes, interesting stories and downright lies spreading on social media. People are coping in such different ways to what is just a huge change to our normal way of life!

It’s a strange old time and I’m aware this is a bit of a ramble but I just want to take the opportunity to get some thoughts down while the kids are busy doing some cosmic yoga on youtube!

Little Miss at 2 1/2!

Our little miss is 2 1/2. She has grown up so much recently that she really seems like a proper little girl now. Her speech is coming on in leaps an bounds and her personality is really showing through – especially the cheeky, defiant side!IMG_20170408_201124_214

We had her 30 month check with the health visitor this week and I had quite the booklet to fill in. It was quite nice to do though as I was able to tick that she could do almost everything they asked. There were some on there that I didn’t even know she was able to do until I asked her either so that was a nice surprise. I was especially pleased that she has mastered jumping in the last couple of weeks (finally!) so was able to show off her jumping skills quite nicely haha 🙂 honestly she is jumping everywhere and off everything as a result of learning how to do that!

As I mentioned above, her speech is really flying now, with new words appearing all the time. She is trying so much harder now too. Whereas previosuly if you asked her to try and say something, she would either ignore you, or say “yeah” but wouln’t actually try. Now she is properly repeating everything an trying to say anything you say. Reading a book she tries to say the words back and s of course her vocabulary is increasing all the time and it is adorable. So many family members have melted at her saying “Tahtu” (thank you) or saying their names in a more defined way.

Some of her recent words are: Hi, Bye, Hur hah (hurt hand), Zhezure (treasure), Hewo (hello), Bees (please), Reh (Red), Purpuh, Kink (Pink), Bu, Gee, Yewoah (yellow), Butfwy (butterfly),Or atroh (paw patrol), trow (trolls), ahdrow (eyebrow), tat (cat).

Honestly though that list could go on and on as there are so many more words every day. I am really pleased with her progress and know it will only continue. She starts at pre-school in a couple of weeks and I know that being around all the other children will help her speech two. Yes thats right, I said she starts pre-school soon. My little baby is going out in the world for 2 mornings a week in two weeks time. We are both so, so ready for it. We went for the induction and she loved every second. Her closest little friend already goes which helps but honestly she is such a sociable little thing that I am sure she would be fine anyway. She is such a different child to her clingy big brother so I know she will love it.IMG_20170410_135705_270She really is quite feisty, and well that is putting it mildly. She is deliberately naughty in a way that Monkey never has been really. I tell her not to do something, so she does it all the more. She always wants whatever I say she can’t have or whatever is difficult, and then screams almost endlessly when I say no.

Last week we went on a bear hunt at our local country park, but she wanted to o some of the things that we normally do there, like feed the ducks. The answer was no because we were doing the bear hunt an oh the screaming lasted forever. To start with everyone else on the outing was understanding, but as it on there were comments like “is she ok?” “oh she must be tired” and I felt like the awful parent intermittently ignoring her, or carrying her like a sack of potatoes as we had to catch up to the rest of the group and her big brother who was way ahead. She wasn’t tired, she was just tantrumming. In the end another mum let her ride on her buggy board and then sit in her pushchair. I can’t say I was hugely happy about the situation but I recognise that her tantrum was affecting everyone and wasn’t about to get into a parenting argument so just bit my tongue and thanked them. The trouble is that she is so darn cute that people melt over her but in my opinion she needs to learn that screaming doesn’t get her her own way, or even attention.IMG_20170413_200214_004

So we’ve used the naughty spot a lot more over the last week. The trouble I find with the second child, is that it is easy to sometimes let things slip. I fully recognise that I have let her get away with things and not been consistent with her at times for want of an easy life. But I always tend to find that that actually makes it harder in the long run an the time has come to be a bit firmer. The good news is that she totally gets the naughty spot now. She sits for her two minutes and apologises at the end. She is put off by even the threat of it much of the time, but when she isn’t then I have to follow through, I just have to.

So yes, she is a complete diva at times and such a madam who really knows how to push my buttons. But she is also lovely, and yes, completely adorable. She just loves to show off to all her realtives and pretty much wraps them around her little finger haha. Even out at a local soft play she had an older girl pretty much doing her bidding for her!lm 212 1

She is so full of fun too. She adores being tickled and loves to mess with people to make them laugh, So much larking around and cuteness. She’s become a lot more social too recently, saying hi to everyone we meet, and wanting to hold hands with other children, which lets face it, is just gorgeous.lm 212 2

We had a bit of a time with her being scared of dogs an cats recently, but thankfully things are improving on that front. She has gone from screaming in terror to waving and saying hello an bye bye to dogs and she even stroked her uncle’s cats at the weekend. We’ve just tried to be really positive about dogs and cats and said things like “aren’t they lovely?” instead of “dont worry, they won’t hurt you” as that didn’t seem to help (maybe it reinforced the idea in her head she needed to worry and might hurt her, who knows, the fear came almost out of nowhere so I have no idea really). She was much better visiting the local farm this week too and stroked a horse and a sheep which she would not have one previously. She also loved washing her uncle & auntie’s tortoise!lm 212 3

One of her favourite things at the moment is to go on the “chair” which is the seat on the back of my bike. She’s always loved it and since her brother has been doing so well on his bike we have been out on it nearly daily, and it is such a relief that she likes it on there so much!She adores the film Trolls, as we all do to be honest and she loves dancing around to the music, which again,, we all do haha. Otherwise her favourite thing to watch at the moment is still Dora, especially the episode with the blimmin mermaid haha. The songs get so stuck in my head!IMG_20170412_105837

She loves things pink purple, pretty and girly. Much as I have to admit it irks me slightly (will get into that in another post). She always wants the pink or purple versions of things an I’ve relented and bought her a pink cup as she always covets other children’s pink cup and refuses to drink out of our blue or other coloured ones. It just wasn’t worth the argument every time haha. She likes a pretty bow in her hear or a nice dress. She recognised Elsa & Anna on her frozen pyjamas this week, and loves flowers too. Such a girly little girl… but having said that she is fearless an climbs everywhere, loves spinning on spinny things at the playpark and as I mentioned above is now jumping off everything too so I don;t put her indresses too much, mainly for practicality! She’s clumsy too and falls over a lot so her little legs are always covered in little bruises poor thing!

She has a little bit of a thing for stones at the moment, or “roh”(rocks) as she calls them, spending ages digging around in the dirt and filling her pockets with them. She likes rlling them down the slide in front of her, then moaning when she can’t find them at the bottom. She also has a thing for putting things up her nose, which I am less than happy about, and yes, some smaller stones have gone up there too, which is really not great! She is fascinated by those little holes in her face though and almost permanently has a finger up there. I hope we are getting the message across that she stops putting things up there though! Daft child!

This is a bit of a rambly post but just a little update on our little lady as she is now, as she is growing up so so so fast these days!lm 212 4



Fun in the sun at Fineshade Woods with the Gruffalo Spotter App

Wasn’t the weather last weekend just stunning? A bit of sunshine can work wonders and I think almost all of us were out there in some form to make the most of us weren’t we? We had already arranged to meet friends at Fineshade Woods, which is a forestry commission forest near to where we live, and were quite pleased to be able to go there in the sunshine as we’ve only ever been on rainy or cold days before!

The biggest difference was obviously how busy it was, still we were there early enough that we managed to park and met our friends. First up was a little play on the fab play area near the visitors centre.PhotoGrid_1491833272213

Then we headed off onto their newest trail, the Gruffalo trail! They had a Gruffalo trail here previously which ended with a sculpture, but I knew this one was all about the latest app, the Gruffalo Spotter, so I had downloaded it prior to arrival. We headed off down the trail and could immediately see the difference a sunny Sunday made, as it was busy! The kids loved spotting all the signs along the way even though we sometimes had to wait a bit to get close to some of them.PhotoGrid_1491833054674

The app itself is based on an augmented reality. You scan some of the signs and then the characters from the book come to life on your device. It’s kinda cool… But I’m not that convinced I have to admit. On a bright sunny day it was tricky to see the screen… And we only had phones rather than a tablet which I guess may be better.PhotoGrid_1491832908962

But for small children, I don’t think they really got why things were on my screen but weren’t really there. Trying to get them to pose for photos was tricky too as they were standing next to a sign and didn’t really get why. Monkey grasped it a bit but LM didn’t have a clue what was going on really! It didn’t help that it was a busy day as sometimes we had to wait to get to one of the signs, which the little ones really didn’t see the point of!

Then, the worst bit for us was that the final one, with the Gruffalo… Just didn’t work. I tried a few times and restarted the app but just nothing. I don’t think we were the only ones either so it was a shame. By that point the kids were pretty hungry anyway we easily distracted them and headed to the cafe.

I don’t think the app and the downsides detracted from our enjoyment of the trail… But actually I don’t think they enhanced it either. We all loved running around and playing in the woods and looking out for clues. The images we saw and pics we took gave us a bit of a giggle but I just think that actually for my kids at least, that they would have liked something tangible they could see, more than something on a screen. It also meant I was behind my screen a lot trying to get it to work, rather than being present and joining in the fun with them.

Like I say, we had a really lovely day. Catching up with great friends and having a fun outdoor adventure in lovely woods on a gorgeous day. I’m just not sure I’d bother with the app next time!PhotoGrid_1491833176426

Have you tried the Gruffalo Spotter app? What did you think? Am I being overly negative about it or did you think the same?