The Funny Things #2

I’m proud of myself for training during pregnancy to stop swearing. Shaun is not quite as good as me, in fact, we may as well call him Mr Potty Mouth.

Our neighbours have a carpet shampoo machine which we’re going to borrow (that glitter and paint won’t get off the carpet on its own), and we thought about doing it on Sunday while H and I were at the Harvest Festival Parade, as it was a sunny day and we’d be out of the way.

But then our lovely neighbours went out.

“oh bugger! they’ve gone out for the day I bet!” said Shaun.

Now okay, bugger isn’t the worst word (we usually get those when he’s driving, he’s terrible)

“Oh WHAT daddy?” I said, trying to make him realise what he was saying quite clearly in front of H

“Bugger, Mummy, Bugger” replied H.

Her first swear word at six years and a month. Sigh.

More Sadness

My daughter seems to have quite a lot of sad things happen in her life of late. Last night just before 9pm she collapsed, sobbing into me, tears dripping down her face, her little voice nothing more than an agonised wail of sadness, unable to talk for sobbing or roaring with unhappiness.

I had to remove her glasses, wiping giant tears from her eyes.

It was no good, it was a decision which was hanging in the balance for a while – it could have gone either way. As it was, my poor little six year old had her worst fears come true.

She’s still sad about it twenty four hours later, though doesn’t cry any more. Slowly she’s getting used to it. She’s starting to pick herself up and move on.

As her mum, I gave her cuddles, wiped her eyes and comforted her as she processed what had just happened. It seemed to help. We talked about it, and I reassured her the best I could. But what reassurance can I give, when it’s something out of my control?

“It’s not fair” she wailed, burying her head in my shoulder. “she was my favourite”

Aw Flora, you left as big an impression in Bake Off as Martha did last year (and H wept then too). She is so sad you left last night. She wanted Alvin to win too (as his name reminds her of Alvin and the Chipmunks), but the blow was softened by Flora still being in the competition.

I think she might still be a bit cross with Paul and Mary, mind!


I was an early starter – a nine year old, when my periods started. I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I just remember sitting on the loo, my mum knocking on the door and telling me “your period has started” and handing me a brick-like pad to put into my pants.

I had no idea what it all meant. It wasn’t confusing or scary, it was more a “what are you on about?!?” sort of thing.

My mum never had the chat with me beforehand. I’m not sure why. I know she was an early starter too – maybe having two children and being a stay at home mum meant she forgot. In my quest to keep doing everything differently to the way my mum did it, I’ve started talking to H about periods. Nothing too scary, just explaining that there’s those few times of the month when mummy likes to go to the toilet and not be disturbed, and that’s usually then. She gets that, and she found the idea of having periods a bit weird.

It started well.
“Have any of your friends mentioned periods yet?” I asked. Bear in mind, she’s six, but I know two of them have been told, plus another friend has been told how babies are made. This has not yet filtered to H.
“You mean like Jurassic?” she replied, before then going into what Jurassic periods are. Now, I get some heavy ones at the best of times, but never jurassic.
So I had to explain it wasn’t that kind of period, but a different one. She hung her head, whimpered and said “I’m SO embarrassed” and stomped off upstairs to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. That went well.

As she’s still so young I tend to give her a few minutes then follow her up, and talk in a calm voice to get her talking about things, as she doesn’t understand this anger that has entered her life recently. At all.

I explained it all. She shrugged, “Well. Yeah. Okay.” and we left it at that. She didn’t have questions, and to be honest I’m not sure what any of my answers would be. I did say to her “but we’ll come to how babies are made at some point in the future” as I know she’s nowhere near ready for it, and thinks they just grow in your tummy. She hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about how the baby gets into the tummy, that’ll come.

Last year we bought H a Lammily doll. She’s played with, alongside the Lottie dolls, a more grown up one. One of her friends saw it and said “oh, this doll has boobies” – to which I thought “but surely you have a Sindy or Barbie or even Monster High doll?!” in my head. The people behind Lammily have come up with a Period Party, basically, celebrating the start of periods. I get it. I want H to feel it’s normal. I don’t want her sitting on the loo and me running in with a pile of pads, having to explain it all (badly). I want her to know it’s something that will come, nothing to be scared of, and that almost all girls go through it.

This is why I think the Period Party kit is brilliant – a pair of pants for the Lammily doll, as well as some reusable sticky liners. Periods should be normal, and I’m glad this exists. If my girl ends up being as young as me when it happens (and my mum was even younger), then I want it to be normal for her. The only problem is the shipping costs as much as buying it – so I’m holding off for now. But I’m glad someone somewhere is visiting the world of periods.

I just hope she’s a bit older than me when the time comes.



H is the youngest in her year at school, scraping in by a week pretty much. She copes fine with everything and is in the top band for maths and literacy, and became a free reader in Year 1, such is her bookworm-ness. (is that even a word?)

She worked out quite early on this year that it’s good to get the work done, otherwise you get moved onto ‘the thinking side’ – though you get a chance to put things right before you’re losing five minutes from your playtime, so she gets through it and seems to be happy enough with it.

She’s also now one of three School Council reps for her class, something she always wanted to do.

But somewhere in all this, there’s still a little unconfident girl in there. Sure, she’s only just six, so it’s to be expected, but I do wonder how much of how she is comes from watching me.

Chatting with friends about my school life, it has made me realise a lot of things about myself I never really noticed. I went to Grammar School, a system I don’t want H to go through if she’s still unconfident. Our class stayed together, nobody was streamed by ability. So every lesson the clever people got to speak out, and the shyer, less confident ones like me stayed quiet. I hated reading out loud in class, and would rather hide underneath my desk than speak.

I used to have days off sick when they were dissecting locusts or eyeballs. Someone left a dissected eyeball (in a bag) in my desk. Actually, the people who did it felt terrible on our 30 year reunion as they thought they’d put it down my back, so I was quite pleased to reassure them it never happened. Just the desk, thanks.

But I lacked confidence. I liked what I liked, and that was mostly sitting, writing down the Top 40 every week. Music was my thing. I couldn’t play the guitar, but I wished I could, but I didn’t have the confidence to tell my mum, or to learn in a group of children who had already had lessons. By the time I got my guitar and had a lesson he wasn’t teaching me what I thought I’d learn, so I gave it up.

Which is my roundabout way of saying I’m doing everything I can to make sure H doesn’t have the kind of confidence issues I had. But she’s the youngest in the year. But she can keep up for most things.

Then she surprised me. We’ve sorted out her After School activities for this term – and she announced she would like to do Street Dance. She has shown ZERO interest in this up to now, when asked saying she doesn’t fancy it at all. All of a sudden she does. All of a sudden we have activities four days in a row. Whoops. So I booked her a place. It will involve a performance.

Which takes me back to when I did ballet. Every Saturday I’d have lessons, and eventually got a part in Peter Pan as one of the fairies, wearing a delightful orange sequinned leotard. Photos do not exist of me, thank god. Which makes me wonder how H will be performing. She’s not a natural performer, but she gives it a go – heaven knows she really goes for it when she has football on a Saturday. But this is different – something where she’s the centre of attention with her group of dancers. It’ll be interesting to see how she gets on.

Oh, and that Peter Pan performance? I called in sick. I had a cold. I remember stagefright and not being able to deal with it. So it never happened. The orange sequinned leotard lived in the loft for the next however many years.

But already she’s speaking up about things she’d like to do. She wants guitar lessons but I’m going to wait until she’s a little bit older – maybe another six months or so. There’s only so many days in the week, anyway.

But you can take her to a party and she’ll hide behind me, too scared to join in. Until yesterday. I took her to the toilet (oops, forgot to go before we left home), and she sat with a girl she knows from Rainbows. Actually, there were about six girls from Rainbows there – and I got a thumbs up, so we backed out of the room. She didn’t need me there.

So maybe after all that her confidence isn’t the issue. Maybe it’s me? Or maybe she’s growing. I’ll take the latter, thanks.


A Sense of Loss

H cried. Tears of sadness, loss. Heartbroken.

Real tears of sadness fell down her face. All I could do was cuddle her. Her whole body shook with sobs.

She had never experienced loss like this.

It was too much for her fragile six year old self. Too much.

The only thing I could do as her mummy was to cuddle her as she buried her head in my shoulder, drenching it with tears.

All H could do was cry.

In between sobs she told us she didn’t want to leave it, that it was the only one she’d ever had. Her most favourite one.

I told her it’s okay, we can get another. It’s just a ‘thing’, it’s something which can be replaced, but she wasn’t convinced. She wanted the one she had lost.

I reminded her of the terrible sense of loss she might feel when something dies, say for example my mum’s dog, and how you learn to get over something in time, and that things really do get better.

This didn’t seem to work and Shaun just pulled faces at me for being ridiculous.

So I pointed out she still had another 30 or so balloons, and that one blue balloon bursting really isn’t the end of the world, and how the blue balloon brought so much fun and hilarity in its short time with us. Then I instructed her to throw it in the bin.

Ten minutes later she’d forgotten about it. Six year old’s are weird.


The Funny Things #1

So we were sat in the pub last night, swapping child-based anecdotes about things they have been saying, things that have happened and so on. I had several, as H is very funny, often unintentionally.

One of my friends piped up “oh, you should keep a log of this” and I thought angrily “but I DO… this place” then realised the posts tend to be long, waffly ones. Which are fine, but the funny things haven’t made much of an appearance lately. So here’s a few.

H and all her friends at school seem to throw their arms around each other while saying “maaamaaaaa” like a baby. I find this odd, but hey ho, that’s six year old’s for you (I am convinced six year old’s are strange). One night H sighed “oh I’m so fed up of M saying “maaamaaaa” to me all the time. It’s REALLY irritating”, with a little eye roll to finish off the sentence.

I pointed out that I’ve seen her doing it to M after school most nights, so errr, what exactly was going on? “Oh, she finds it annoying when I do it too!” she brightly replied.

See. Six year olds are weird.

Year 2

And so it starts, H is now a Year 2 student. Reception to Y2

Which has led to a different kind of H. She’s a free reader at school which means she brings home Horrid Henry books to read (try getting her to do anything when she’s engrossed in one of those books), rather than fluffy princess story books. I kind of like that, and find Horrid Henry as harmless as Peppa Pig.

She’s grumpy though – going back to school has brought back her grumpy persona. Today she didn’t enjoy school as “I had to write” – and yesterday it was because “we had to work” – and it’s not going to get any easier for her! When I look at the little girl on the left against the little girl on the right she has grown a lot in these last two years – and now she’s in her last year of Infant School.

I’d heard that around the age of six or seven your child starts to disown you a bit. Well it’s happening since she started school again. The paranoid me says all her friends are saying what an embarrassing mum she has, and she now agrees. The lesser paranoid me says I’m just embarrassing and she’s worked it out for herself. The rational me says it’s hopefully just a phase and it’ll disappear soon enough.

Getting her out of school is a challenge too. In reception we went into the classes to pick up the children, in Year 1 we queued outside, and in Year 2, the kids come out to us and if they can see us parents they can go. But this means the open playground and a climbing frame which needs to be played on (I’m fully expecting a letter from the school asking us not to let our children on there) – and try getting a child from a climbing frame when they’re feeling the freedom.

Having said that, she sounds cheerful upstairs tonight which is good. Maybe having no Home Learning this week has made all the difference. We popped into her old class and saw her old teacher, where she passed on a stone she’d decorated for her, so it was nice to have a quick chat before heading home.

But this is it – our last year here. Whatever happens next year, she’ll finish at this school. I’ve already applied for her junior school – applications opened on the 1st September, so now we just wait until April to find out. Only seven months… There’s still a lot to get done before then!

Now She Is Six.



It’s kind of weird being the youngest in her year. By the end of this week some of her friends will turn seven – but H still has a year to go, as she’s only just turned six.

I think this is all part of the stage they’re going through, when someone else can do something before their peers and they make it known, but this one can’t be changed. It is what it is. People think H is older than she is, which helps a lot – and she knows it.

So what was her sixth birthday like? We spent the day in between the two birthdays (Shaun’s is two days before) going to The Eden Project, staying in a hotel in Plymouth that night and stuffing our faces at the Toby Carvery next door. We waited until H had fallen asleep and arranged her presents at the bottom of her bed – presents we’d been carrying around all week with us, on our Cornwall break. A new watch. More new books. Clothes. Music. We headed back to the Toby Carvery for breakfast, then drove back home via Stonehenge, where we stopped for a walk around.

On getting home there were cards and presents to be opened – not many – in fact, H only got three cards in total which kind of made me realise just how cut off we are from people, quite possibly. H was positive about this though; “I’ll get more when it’s my party”. She noticed though.

I think that’s what I’m realising about H now too – she’s noticing so many other things. She’s a very thoughtful child, but also thoughtless. Three days in the Netherlands and she insisted on wheeling one of our cases as I have “a bad back” and she wants to help. She really asserted herself. Ask her to tidy up though, and she’ll often be “too tired” despite creating the mess.

We’ve upped her pocket money to 75p a week, but told her that 5p will get knocked off for bad behaviour or not helping with tidying up which she’s worried about, so we’re trying for a month, see how it goes. If she’s exceptionally helpful it might get moved up to £1 for that week – like yesterday.

Her sense of humour is excellent. She always makes me laugh. She loves joke books and has many in her collection. She creates jokes, she has excellent language skills and reads paperback books in a day – and is able to tell me exactly what it is she has read.

She loves football, swimming and tennis – in that order.

She’s starting to hold a tune better too – mainly to one of her numerous Annie soundtracks.

She’s really looking forward to starting Year 2. Her last year of Infant School.

She seems less clumsy – possibly down to her current pair of glasses. She’ll comfort me when she thinks I need it, usually with a hug or a pat on the back. She looks out for people. It’s lovely.

She’s angry now too though, and often quite moody. I sit her on my knee (eventually) and remove all distractions and get her to talk about it which seems to help – she’s still able to be distracted by me saying silly things which make her forget why she was angry, which is a relief.

We often get “it’s this or NOTHING!” ultimatums from her, which usually result in Shaun and I saying “okay, nothing it is then” and her being confused why we’d choose that option. It’s kind of cute.

She’s a really enjoyable child to be around – not irritating or needy, just lovely, friendly, chatty and fun. Please let this continue…!

Most of all, I’m just beyond proud of what a wonderful little girl we’re raising, and enjoy every day of being with her. That’s all a parent can ask for, right?

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It’s the Holidays

Except you wouldn’t really know. I’m on my holiday hours (finishing at 2.30 every day with no lunch break in the week) and H is at Holiday Club.

Working in London five days a week and not having to rush back like you do at school to pick her up, then drive home afterwards does seem more tiring than it should be.

Maybe it’s knowing school is over and holidays are coming (though still feel so far away) so your body is ready to stop but it isn’t time to actually stop just yet.

How come when it’s a normal school week we get through Rainbows, swimming and more and don’t feel this tired?

We’re not learning, we’re not doing anything too strenuous, what’s going on?

There is also very little to write about. So I’ll write about nothing instead.

I see Facebook photos of all the other mums taking their kids out to daytrips and having fun, while I’m sat in the office working. I don’t resent it – our turn will come, but it doesn’t really feel like the holidays. Apart from getting a seat on the train every morning, that is.

Then I realised why. It was a whole year ago tomorrow we went to Australia with H – and had a fabulous time. When I felt healthy again and put on lots of weight because I ate too much to compensate for the jetlag (and the food there is so good). Where we saw family and spent time with people. A whole year. Blimey. Who knows when we’ll be out there next?

It feels like five years ago. But it also feels like two weeks ago. But I’m also ready for our break which isn’t that far off either. Where has the year gone?

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