Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The One With Nursery

I've been concerned lately that I don't do enough with the boy. You know, activity wise.

When I was on maternity leave life was a whir of swimming lessons, Jo Jingles, NCT meetings and Baby Bounce. I had classes, clubs and community coming out of my ears.

After a while it all sort of settles down. Now, after 2 and a half years, finding things to entertain the boy is a real struggle and I'm relying too heavily on the TV and DD's which is his charming and affectionate name for DVD's. 

For a lot of children nursery or child care provides all the stimulus they need. 

The boy hasn't gone to nursery yet. I've been putting it off. I know it will do him good but then being at home with his Mum can't be damaging him for life can it? Children are such a long time at school it seemed a shame to pack him off to someone else if I didn't have to.

But is he missing out?

Lemon Cake Lady mentioned the other day that her boy had started phonics at nursery. For those uninitiated in phonics it it now the standard method for teaching primary school children how to read by sounding out the letters. 

Surely this means that children who's mum's don't work, or have childcare kindly provided for them by grandparents or other family members, will be at a disadvantage when they start school? 

It's contentious subject. Mums I speak to who send their children to nursery and have done for a while extol its virtues, while some stay at home mums say the best place is with family. 

Then of course there's the cost. Hippy Chick was telling me recently that it costs £500 a month for Mini Hippy Chick to go to nursery for 3 days a week. That's a lot of money! But then of course you're paying someone to do a job for you, to provide a service, to look after and entertain your child. So therefore they need paying a wage but this has to be a wage that's less than the wage you're earning otherwise it's robbing Peter to pay Paul as the old saying goes.

Unless of course you qualify for working tax credits or child tax credits. Don't even get me started on the minefield of those! Those forms are a whole other blog.

I've been lucky as Nanny P has had the boy while I worked since just before his first birthday. She currently has him a day and a half but I need to work more hours so the time has come for the boy to venture into the big wide world.

You can debate the whys and wherefore's forever but eventually nursery's gonna get you in the end. You can't avoid it. There are times when I feel like its a social plague that he doesn't go.

"Is he at nursery yet?

"What that boy needs is nursery!"

"Nursery will do him good you know!"

So he's going. Not because I feel he has too, although I'm rapidly realising that in the modern world of childcare yes he has to, to keep up, but because I want him to and I need him to. It'll give me better structure to separate work and time at home and be more "boundaried" as Hippy Chick would say. My focus won't be split between the boy and things on my "to do list". I'll work when he's in childcare and when he's not I'll be a focused mum instead of flitting between crayon and computer. 

It also means Nanny P can go down to just one day of the boy a week instead of helping out with a half day for me too. 

Much more structured. For me and her as well as for him.

So this afternoon I phoned the nursery and they have a place for Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The form is filled in and the boy and I are going up there in the morning to drop it off and sort out a trial date.

I'm partly sad that this little era has ended where I spent pretty much everyday with him. I'm  partly relieved that the decision is made and sorted but mostly I'm nervous. For both of us. 

I can feel tears and tantrums coming on. And that's just me!

Expect blogs about the boys adventures at nursery very soon....

Knowing the boy, as I do, it's bound to be eventful......

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The One Where We Go To The Olympics

On Sunday hubby and I went to the Olympics!

Yes the Olympics!

The London 2012 Olympics in our country, in our lifetime, in my husbands home city.

Can you tell we were a bit excited?

So excited in fact that we kept saying "We're at the Olympics" to each other every five minutes until we even annoyed ourselves! 

We travelled over to London early on Sunday and got into town (as hubby calls it because he's allowed to being a genuine Londoner) in good time to line the route for the Ladies Marathon.

The boy , by the way, was with Nanny P and Granddad Atu and when informed by my Mum that "Mummy and Daddy had gone to the Olympics| and she was going to put the TV on incase they could spot us on the telly, the boy seemed briefly impressed by this,

"Lympics. Oh." but after about 20 seconds of watching people run in the pouring rain added "Spencer and Gordon next DD put on please" and Thomas the Tank Engine stories reigned supreme once more. 

We positioned ourselves at the front of the barrier with a great view of the runners coming around the corner, where they were to be greeted with the stunning sight of St Paul's Cathedral bathed in mid morning summer sunlight.

Well that was the plan of the organisers I'm sure. What actually greeted them was a dirty great black cloud hanging heavy over the majesty of that fine building. With a lot of people in cagoules looking like someone had just tipped a bucket of water over a rambling club!

Welcome to London! Here have a towel.

We were soaked! But it didn't matter. We cheered the ladies on including our own personal favourite, a very plucky girl from East TiMor, who must have been a good 20 minutes behind everyone else and was possibly just running for a bus she was so off the pace. 

Amazingly when we checked the result of the race later she didn't come last so she either got a spurt on or someone gave her a piggy back!

Having watched the runners go round a couple of times at various points on the route, after finding some powerful hand driers in the toilets of a very posh shopping centre in the city to dry face, hands, arms, my top and my supposedly waterproof coat, we were on our way across London to Earl's Court for the ladies volleyball.

As advised we got there two hours before to get through security and because we cleared this so quickly we had time to kill before the matches. So we looked at vastly overpriced merchandise and bought vastly overpriced food and we sat in front of a big screen with everyone else and watched Ben Ainslie win his sailing gold medal cheering like idiots.


Then it was time for the main event. The first match was GB ladies versus Japan. A whitewash unfortunately to Japan but then we discovered that they are ranked 5 in the world and GB ladies have never entered a team before.

The second match was a masterclass in how to play the game. Italy (ranked 4) versus Russia (ranked 9). This went to all five sets and was very close with Russia, who have team members that are 6-ft 4 and two who are 6-ft 8, eventually winning.

Now all through the two matches we had the family from hell behind us. Actually it was more like the Dad and one teenage son from hell because the Mum and the other lad where fine. They had with them an official concertina device that you whacked against your hand, arm, each other, the seat in front of you, anything really to make a noise. Think of the noise and annoyance of an old fashioned football rattle and multiply it by 12 and you've got it.

They thumped the damn thing throughout the whole of the GB v Japan match and then mercifully left in the break and for the first set of the Italy v Russia game.

We thought they'd gone. We were home and dry. Hooray. We'd got rid of them. Our withering looks had forced them to move to some of the empty seats over the other side.

No such luck!

They returned and unfurled a flag then proceeded to cheer enthusiastically for Italy.

There was something wrong with the flag though. It didn't seem quite right. I turned to hubby

"The Italian flag is red, white and green, right?" I asked

"Yes" he said "It's up there with all the flags of the competing countries in this event" and he pointed up to where all the flags were displayed.

I scanned them. No I couldn't see the flag they were waving. There's was similar but the colours were a bit wrong and it had a dark pattern in the middle. What on earth were they doing? They kept on shouting "Italia, Italia" but what were they waving?

Hubby looked round "They've got the Indian flag" hubby laughed "It's green, white and orange look, with the wheel emblem in the centre"

That was it then. I was gone. I'd got the giggles. It didn't matter how annoying they were after that, all I had to do was turn around look at the flag and see them waving it as they cheered for Italy and I lost it again. 

It's a shame they only take Visa at the London 2012 games because this was a Mastercard moment.  Just like the whole experience of the day, it was priceless!

Monday, 6 August 2012

The One Where We're In The Papers Again

A year on from my theatre group, Two Rivers Theatre Company, featuring in The Independent on Sunday talking about Calendar Girls, the darling paper has done a follow up piece.

Oh! The bare-faced cheek of it: Release of amateur rights to stage 'Calendar Girls' sparks record - News - Theatre & Dance - The Independent

This time they have spoken to lots of groups all over the country asking why they want to bare all on stage and do this play.

We feature!

Journalist Kate Youde did a lovely interview with cast member Val King who has very personal reasons for being in the show.

I still can't believe we're going to do this but I'm so proud that we are. Despite all my body confidence fears at being overweight with saggy boobs, cellulite and stretch marks I'll be proud to stand there with teapot and cup in hand covering me vitals! 

I'm a middle aged woman who's had a child and I can't shy away from that anymore. I am what I am as the song goes. I could be slimmer, I could be fitter but I'll always be me. As long as I'm healthy I have to except my body for what it is and what time has made it become. 

So yes I'll be proud to stand there naked.

I'm not doing it without a drink inside me mind you... but I'll be proud to do it!

Oh and just to clarify the drink won't be tea....