Aimee Horton

When it’s the end of the school year.

Jul
23

I know I was stepping back from my blog, but I couldn’t let today go by unmarked.  Why? Because today is The Beasts last day at school before the six week summer holidays.

I have mixed feelings, I’m sad, after all, Reception is such a special year, and I feel very lucky about how happily he’s settled, I’m dreading it – I have to spend six weeks arguing with him, and I’m proud, after all, we’ve all survived the transition from nursery “fling them through the door, dressed and they do all the rest” to Primary School “deliver them with a full stomach and a bag containing completed homework”.

From the first day I dropped him off, small and tiny in shorts which could have passed as cropped trousers a new way of life kicked in.  I didn’t feel sad until day 3 when he walked into the classroom without looking back, suddenly I felt a bit redundant, a bit needy. Don’t worry it didn’t last long.

Looking Small

It’s been a learning curve that’s for sure, one that I must admit I hadn’t expected.  I’m totally honest when I say I went into school naively, I looked at it as five days of free childcare even if it did end earlier then I needed, however I’ve learnt an awful lot.

I’ve learnt that actually I can be quite creative.  This year I have made dressing up costumes, collages (I USED GLUE WITH MY CHILD), I’ve made spiders webs, I’ve hunted for bugs, I have tadpoles still bloody growing in my cake tin (I thought it took like a few weeks, we’re on MONTHs right now).  Also, don’t you DARE tell anybody but I’ve actually quite enjoyed it.

I’ve learnt that I have two different four year olds. That’s right. There’s Spider-Man.  Leaping, jumping, climbing the walls, refusing to pick up a pen or pencil, can’t sit still for two seconds or play on his own for a minute.  That one answers back, tells me I’m no longer his best friend.  Then there’s the one that sits quietly, doesn’t really do role play, doesn’t shout or climb the walls and when you say “has he been good?” the response is always “as always”.  I seem to have the dud at home, because he’s not very nice right now.

I’ve learnt that I’m not cut out to be a teacher. SERIOUSLY how do they do it? On the times we sit down and do homework it was a high probability that I would end up in tears, usually mine.  The lack of focus, the lack of buy in, the amount of bribes “if you write this sentence tonight you can have lemonade with your dinner”, there are so many times I’ve just wanted to shout “S JUST WRITE S, SERIOUSLY JUST WRITE THE LETTER S” (I may have also shouted at times), before stalking out of the room to go and sniff the bottle of gin.  As with the creative side of things, Homework has brought out my competitive edge, especially as The Beast’s commitment to writing isn’t his best.  Therefore I have learnt to mount everything to make up for his short comings, and through the year have worked my way through about three pritt-sticks.

I have learnt that it is probably the shortest day in the world. Seriously by the time you’ve had a two hour natter at the school gates, got in the car, come home and cleared up the carnage I might as well just turn around and go and pick him up.

And that leads me to the school run.  I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s not actually that bad.  YES the dragging myself out of bed, and firing orders (which I have to repeat 50 million times “WHY ARE YOUR SHOES STILL NOT ON DO IT DO IT DO IT”) side of things is a bit of a pain, and so is the general hyper-ness and bickering. Usually in the car I can drown it out, being the only one who sings along to the jolly phonics CD (my personal fave is Inky, what’s yours?).  But, once I’ve found somewhere to abandon my car (I suddenly understand why you have to reverse your car around a corner in your driving test – I am now quite good at reversing), I get to natter to a few people, you know, ADULT conversation.  But then, I’m still remembering the last few weeks, where the sun is shining, and everyone is happy, I’ve blocked out the cold COLD COLD winter, where it’s minus gazzillion degrees, the beating rain, and the meltdowns.  The meltdowns from The Chunky Monkey.  Wants to be in his pushchair, doesn’t want to be in his pushchair, he wants to be in the carseat no, no he doesn’t actually, before he hammers on the classroom door demanding to be let in to see the “wabbit”.  I’m forgetting that most days I have to discreetly replace certain items from the playground which The Chunky Monkey has smuggled into my car, secretly disappointed that it wasn’t jewellery or money.

I’ve also learnt that all of a sudden I know a lot more people.  Which in turn means I bump into a lot more people who can witness my lack of control on my children.  Teachers catch me wagging my fingers and making threats,  catching me at the end of my tether in the queue in a shop where I’m responding with my usual mature version of “I can too come to your party, after all I’m paying for it”, or see me tucking The Chunky Monkey under my arms as he kicks and screams because he was trying to steal a saw from a DIY store.

I’ve learnt that nothing is sacred, that he stretches the truth, and then tells his teachers.  His current teacher thinks that I “forget” to go shopping so he has to have spaghetti hoops, let him play in the road on his own, and walk about with him upside down.

I’ve learnt that logo polo shirts do not wash well.  That my son feels inclined to get the marker pens and paints out when he’s wearing them, and even the ones without the big green and black marks on them, have washed a sludgy grey, whereas the three for £2 ones from Sainsbogs are still pristine and white.  That school shoes get scuffed (and only start at about a size 7, he’s still as size 6), that knees get bloody, sleeves get snotty, pants get skiddies, and waterbottles always leak when there’s something important in the bag.

Last Day

But most importantly, I’ve learnt how much my boy has grown and developed because of the influence from both his peers and teachers, I feel lucky that he has a great group of friends, and that his first  teachers have been amazing. The teachers especially have been a huge part of his development helping him grow, giving him confidence, a sense of pride whilst helping him to assert himself (great, thanks for that), to speak out, and be his own person, and for this am grateful,  proud, and a little bit emotional.

thankyou_theo

Here’s to Year One.  Maybe they’ll have built boarding facilities by then.

Feeling Fearless

Oct
16

I’m not brave. I worry, I fret, and I panic. (Or at least I used to, I was hypnotised to nip that hyperventilating little freak out in the bud). I overthink things; I dwell and imagine the worst case scenario. If I envisage the worst, then when (alright, if) it happens, I’m prepared. Not only is it really not healthy, it makes my shoulders ache and I’ll probably get wrinkles. I wish I didn’t worry so much, my family wish I didn’t worry so much, my positive glass half full boyfriend doesn’t understand how one person can worry so much, but it’s just the way I am. I was wired to worry and when I don’t have anything specific to worry about, well, that’s a worry in itself.

My worries are wide and all encompassing, I’m not fussy. I worry about my family, my friends, my job, my health, my hips… Everything is a concern, from the mundane ‘my left eye is definitely smaller than my right’ furrow on the brow to the ‘have I set my alarm?’ restless nights to the ‘holy crap, I’ve found a lump’ teeth grinding fear. It’s actually quite surprisingly I’m not a quivering jelly of a woman, wrapped in bubble wrap and frozen by trepidation. No, as a friend of mine so aptly described it, I’m a swan. Utterly serene on the surface yet kicking like a bugger under the surface. See whilst I’m a worrier, my biggest concern would be that I let it beat me. Whilst I’m a clear contender for world championship worrying, this comes second only to my stubbornness. I dig my heels in, grit my teeth and my determination will not waver, which when it comes to apprehension, is bloody useful. I am far too stubborn to let any nervousness stop me doing anything. I don’t want to let on that under this calm (ha!) exterior that has somehow been attributed to me that actually I’m a big wuss. So if it scares me, I do it.

Tomorrow we’re going on holiday. He and I are going to Marrakech, which along with New York, has always been on my list. I can’t wait to soak up the souks, rock the riads and obviously wear a fez. Only one itty bitty problem. Flying. I don’t like it. I do not like being trapped in a big metal box thousands of feet above the ground. In fact, I hate being trapped in a big metal box thousands of feet above the ground. But some things you just gotta do. My apprehension has started to build over the past few days, I feel the odd flutter now and then, but I’m stubbornly ignoring it. No worry will stop me. Last year we were going to Spain, I hadn’t flown for 8 years so was having some cracking anxiety dreams à la Final Destination. So I bought a book on the fear of flying. I couldn’t read it. It was littered with spelling mistakes. So I went to the doctors for a little help (pill) and off I skipped with some Valium. That I left at home. I figured I scored a greater point against worry that whilst I had a backup, I still kicked it to the curb. And once we landed in Alicante, after kissing the ground (joking. Ish) I punched the air. Worry? Pah! In your face!

Admittedly I spent the flight sweaty, clenched and grinding but I felt the fear and I did it anyway. And when I flew again earlier this year, I was less sweaty, much less clenched and experienced little to no grinding. I can’t say my fear has disappeared, I can’t quite shake that sense that I AM NOT ON THE GROUND but I’m pretty sure there’s not a lot I can’t do. Perhaps as I get older I’m getting braver (possibly) or perhaps I’m growing out of my worrying ways (doubtful) or maybe I’m just becoming more stubborn (likely), whatever the reason, no irrational worries will stop me doing anything. Within reason. I’m not crazy.

When it’s Easter Weekend.

Apr
11

Ah, Easter Weekend.  A FOUR day weekend. A weekend, which until the last four and a bit years was mainly about eating long leisurely meals, lying in, sitting in pub beer gardens reading, and perhaps the odd job in the garden if we were in the mood.

Not any more.  Now our Easter Weekends are a gaggle of family, hyper children, chocolate arguments, early mornings, chocolate krispie cakes and day trips to the coast.  Don’t get me wrong, I think this year we had probably one of my most favourite Easters ever, but I can’t pretend that I didn’t feel a huge wanting to throw self on the floor and strop little bit of jealousy when Uncle John ate out probably every day, along with probably having an afternoon nap, and a leisurely walk.

However, that stuff doesn’t matter, because this year we got THE MAGIC (do I sound convinced?).

This year was the first year that I think The Beast really *got* Easter.  Previously he’s obviously he liked the eggs and the “making” (baking), we’d not really talked about the Easter bunny, but there was no escaping it this year, he heard about it from his friends, from pre-school, and from our friends and family.  So obviously, I took full advantage of this new obsession (a rabbit that will BRING YOU CHOCOLATE!), and did what every good mother should do.  I used it as a bribe.

Therefore, the first half of our weekend consisted of abusing “The Bribe” AKA “The Easter Bunny Story” AKA “Mummy’s peace and quiet”.

We went to my sisters on Friday.  We haven’t been for ages, and the last few times we’ve been bedtime hasn’t been as relaxing.  Something to do with the set of drums in one room, the Hornby Model Railway in another and the lack of stair gate blocking the child in his room.  We had tried a travel one previously, across the door, however he managed to head-butt the bottom out, crawl under it to go and play in one of his worshipped older cousins bedrooms.

This time, this wasn’t an issue.  When I tucked him in, we had a little chat, I explained that the Easter Bunny was watching, and it was only two more sleeps until he decided whether to come or not, so he couldn’t get out of bed for anything other then a wee.  We had two false wee alarms, then silence.  Well, from that one anyway.

I knew I was on to something with the bribe, so on Saturday used it when it was time to leave my sisters house, time to get off the ride in the arcade, time to avoid the bouncy castle and time to get in the car to go home.  When we got home he was tired, so we all lay on the sofa’s watching Toy Story, he wanted Spiderman, but I reminded him that The Bribe would be disappointed if he picked something that Fatty didn’t like as well.

Then came the stinker.  Bedtime.  He’d been hyper and excited, he knew it all happened tomorrow. So we had a serious chat.  I explained that if both he and Fatty weren’t asleep by the time the Easter Bunny came to our house, he’d hop on past and give both their eggs to Heidi (one of his girlfriends). It was met with a very solemn face, before turning directly to his brother who was sucking his toothbrush and pulling the books off the bookshelf “YOU BETTER GO TO SLEEP LARRY OR NO CHOCOLATE FOR YOU AND THAT WILL MAKE ME SAD”.

Silence came quickly, and we opened a bottle of wine, cracked open a, er, spare Easter Egg, made the baskets up with all the chocolate and left it on the middle floor landing, like we did the stockings at Christmas.  Then I sobbed my way through Senna before falling asleep.

7am, after a night of waking up to a sobbing in his sleep Fatty (teeth), I heard a wail “BUTT WHATTT ABOUTTTTT MEEEE??!!!” and “IT IS MORNING TIME ISN’T ITTT????” We tried to pretend we hadn’t heard, but then the Fat one woke up too.  By the time we got up to The Beasts room his light was on, and he was ransacking his chest of drawers, sobbing hysterically.

“But…BUT…BUT I WAS A GOOD BOY…I WENT TO SLEEP, LAWREEENNCEEEEEEEE”.  It took us a few minute to calm the sobs down and determine that he thought as the eggs weren’t in his room, the bunny had hopped on past and left them at Heidi’s house.

The rest of the day was a battle, he was grouchy, he wanted chocolate, and I think he was off colour, he claimed he wasn’t hungry, his cheeks were flushed and he was hot.  But I put it down to over excitement.  We made Krispie cakes in the morning to take to Nan and Grandads for dinner, and he held on tightly to the tin in the car almost all the way there. Almost being the key word in that sentence.  He dropped them randomly, then we went around a couple of corners.

They were just salvageable if I placed them on the plate, so after dinner he carried them through proudly, just a few inches from putting them on the table he sneezed.  All over them.

The Beast turned out to be not great for the next 24 hours.  He had a high temp, was off his food, and was tearful and on a short fuse, I think he’d caught what I’d had a few days ago.

Because of this he’s still got loads of chocolate left and appears to have forgotten about it.  I’m still deciding whether to do the best thing for him and eat it or myself, I think I’m willing to make that sacrifice.