No Words Picture

Wimbledon Windmill


… Try Try Again (and a bit of a shock)

H’s swimming lesson in the Yellow hats wasn’t a huge success, so we made plans for her to try in my gym pool as I can take her for free on a weekend until she’s five.

Today was that day.

We probably did around 45 minutes of swimming, and the first 20 of those were H swimming front crawl and back stroke almost half the length of the pool on her own, with a bit of help when she needed to come up for air (due to the pool depth – 1m20) – and no floats.

I can see she’s nearly there – she just needs to master taking a breath and not panicking – the luxury of the training pool where she has her lessons means she can stand up for air - and she needs to get out of the habit and practice keeping swimming.

A few more sessions and maybe we’ll crack it?

Part of me thinks I should find a different club for her to swim where the pool depth won’t be an issue, but the other half thinks she’ll do fine once she stops panicking when she remembers she can’t just stand up and has mastered coming up for air – like I said, she’s nearly there.

We got out a noodle for her to have a kick up and down the pool, which she did well – she has the stamina, it’s just a lot to do and she is still only four anyway, so I don’t expect the world. Funnily enough the noodle gives her the support on her upper body that she needs to be able to breathe.

Yesterday evening she put her toothpaste lid into her mouth. Shaun insisted she took it out immediately (which then provoked an angry reaction from H) which led to me spelling out the consequences had she swallowed it by mistake.

For the first time in her life I had to say “because you could die” which gave her the biggest scare she’d ever had in her life.

Extreme? Possibly, but now she’s almost five it’s time to drill home ‘consequences’ that bit more. She wouldn’t put Lego in her mouth, but would do a toothpaste lid? No sense to that decision in my logical world. Last night we cuddled on the bed until I knew she was calm again. I tried to tell her as calmly as possible so as not to scare her too much, especially as I didn’t want her to have nightmares.

I don’t think her life was ever in danger, but she’s really testing the limits with things she’s not tried before. I’ve insisted she checks with us first – I’d like to think we’re fairly relaxed with her and allow her to do a lot of things, but new boundaries need to be set for a while, if only so we know what she’s thinking.

Personally I’m finding a toothpaste lid pretty gross!

This morning we talked about consequences again without mentioning death, giving me time to think of things which you shouldn’t do which she’d understand (like crossing the road in front of a bus, or playing with fire). I’ve never seen her quite so scared as I did last night – so starts the unpicking of this wonderful world she thought she lived in, as we start to discover there’s danger in most places. Sigh.

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Why The World Cup Is Good

Every Tuesday H has football classes with the Crystal Palace Academy – she has done it for a couple of terms now, and indeed did Little Kickers classes when she was at nursery – she’s no stranger to the beautiful game.

Things were progressing well, but the teamwork part wasn’t quite gelling until about three weeks ago. Cue a large football tournament on TV and H asking a bazillion questions, mainly being preoccupied with who is in defence.

In the last two weeks at football they know who is on their team. She runs back to help defend the goal and she’s running forward trying to score (to be fair, this week it was three-a-side). Watching football on tv has helped her understand the idea of being part of a team – it isn’t about scoring goals (though that’s nice) – it’s about working together.

Watching how her group has grown in the last few weeks, it’s lovely to watch. Where she’d sometimes get cross about not scoring, she’s happy to have played a part in setting up a goal. She’s looking out for her team mates and passing the ball to them. All the stuff which didn’t quite happen before.

I love it!

Also, I highly recommend the Crystal Palace Foundation classes – they’re priced at £4 a lesson and last for an hour. Last term all the kids got a medal and certificate for mastering skills – it’s the little stuff which keeps them going! (a bit like swimming badges!)


The Tooth Fairy Returns

Apparently this story of the tooth fairy and everything she gets up to is in fact a book at the Childminders house.

Glad we got that sorted!


The Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy visited a year or so ago for the first time when H had her front tooth taken out in hospital. I don’t expect any future visits for another year or so.

However, H has a reading book with school she’s brought home which is a story about the Tooth Fairy – a child makes a clay tooth so gets a toy coin and mummy is really obviously in on it. His big sister got a coin when her real tooth came out in an apple.

It was tricky.

It keeps the myth going, but then there’s the questions afterwards.

“Mummy, I’m sure this story had them visiting the Tooth Fairy” said H

I replied that it wasn’t possible as the Tooth Fairy is pretend. Except I realise what I’ve said and backtrack (successfully) saying it’s magic and isn’t in the story. H is far more concerned about the story than a lack of Tooth Fairy in real life.

I think I got away with it.


“mummy, do you know where the Tooth Fairy lives?”

Things were so much easier when she couldn’t read. These days I have to tell the truth and sometimes that can be difficult when you’re telling an even bigger lie overall. My answer?

“ask your daddy” – at least it gives me five minutes of breathing space to think of a proper answer back that will satisfy her almost-five-year-old curiosities. Sigh. Fortunately I think she was distracted enough to forget she asked the question in the first place. Good work, me.


Britmums and Backs

This is where I should be doing a ‘I went to BritMums and had an awesome time’ post, but in actual fact, I didn’t. I had a brilliant Friday, but it all went horribly wrong on Saturday. Horribly.

In fact, most of BritMums on the Friday flew by in a whirl. So much that I don’t remember, it may have been the painkillers. My back had been playing up a bit through the week, but nothing a good nights rest wouldn’t fix, right? Except the following morning after my amazing shower something went, and it didn’t fix itself. At all.

I left BritMums 2014 by about 11 on the Saturday in tears, missing everything I wanted to see. I was at home and in bed sometime after midday. On the way home I had what can only be described as almost a panic attack – I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to stand up again on the tube, that something would go wrong, that everything would go wrong, and I felt my heart pounding as I counted down each station. Fortunately I’d taken my goody bag and there was a Highland Spring Elderflower water which I sipped at while trying to find something to stare at and focus (sorry lady opposite me, you probably thought I was weird). When Morden arrived and Shaun was waiting in the car (even though the exhaust was hanging off which led to another panicked journey home) it was the biggest relief I’ve felt in a long time.

BritMums 2014 - me

Other than when I was given decent painkillers which made the back pain go away.

That night I phoned 111 for advice, Shaun bought over the counter painkillers, as strong as I could go. The following day I went to our local Walk-In centre and got prescribed even stronger ones. The day after that I went to an Osteopath who told me I have a twisted pelvis which would explain a lot.  I’ve had two more osteopath treatments and am not feeling any more pain – which is incredible considering I’ve had some kind of pain for the last three years in some form.  No painkillers. No Devil’s Claw any more. None of that.

It’s great. For the first two days after the initial treatment I felt giddy – I couldn’t focus, it was like I was drunk but a neverending kind of drunk without the alcohol (I was only eating fruit and drinking water, I couldn’t face anything else). I was back at work by Thursday, taking it slowly.

So here’s what I have wrong with me.

You have this thing, a sacrum. It is a large triangular bone which is the place where the spine and the pelvis meet. It’s usually made by several bones fusing together, so it forms a solid support alongside the pelvis.

I, however, do not have this. I have several bones which fused together, and the bit which joins onto the spine hasn’t fused – so I have a lower bone which behaves like a vertebra. It shouldn’t really do that. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s also something which can give me back problems. It makes perfect sense really, everything does now.

So if I twist badly, chances are it’s because of this bone which never fused.  (this starts to happen between 16-18 years, up to around 34 so says Wikipedia) I now also know that a good Osteopath can fix it. Every time I’ve hurt my back it has been due to bad twisting – ironing, shaving my legs, picking up a cushion, sitting on a bed.

So while I had no fun at BritMums, I found out a lot about myself afterwards. It won’t help with my blogging, nor will it make me more interesting and attractive to the average browser, but I think I finally have some answers.

I’m not going next year, it’s my Wedding Anniversary. I did, however, buy my ticket for Mumsnet BlogFest which I am already looking forward to a LOT. I really enjoyed it last year and it’s easy to get to.

Britmums 2016, I may be back.

Big shout outs to Sonya for being amazing – thank you for walking me back to the tube. Lynn rocks, and always makes me laugh. Rosie thank you for offering to bring things back for me. Jo, thank you for the painkillers and brilliant to hang out with you.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

… at least you gave it a go. Right?

This afternoon H was invited to join the yellow hat class at swimming to see if she could cope with the big pool, a colder temperature and deeper water.

She didn’t. She was hanging on to the side, it was a bit of a shock, even though she’d been in there before.

But she really tried. Really really tried. She did some front crawl underwater but I think she was bothered by the difference between the two pools.

I was so proud of her. I knew she wasn’t ready. She could see me as she swam (and said it helped), but she needs a bit more time in the Orange Hat group. I reckon in 2-3 months she’ll be on track and ready, plus we’ll practice in the pool near us which is deeper but warmer. We’re in no rush.

The lady shook her head and said H was hopping down the pool.

Aaah, just like I did (except I was seven or eight, not four) when my teacher tried to get me to do my 50 metres. I’d done my 25 easily but was getting tired. I figured if I hopped but kept one leg going my teacher would never notice. She did.

H isn’t disappointed either, she’s quite philosophical, in that kind of “well, I tried. I don’t want to move there yet, I don’t feel ready. Maybe in a month or two? Can we practice at your pool please?”. Couldn’t have put it better myself…

She’s four and three quarters. An awfully wise four and three quarters, it would seem. Better get those last few free swims in before she turns five….



“Mummy, I HATE tennis” said H on Friday. So I switched on Wimbledon, found Venus Williams playing a match and we sat and watched it. It was quite the eye opener for H. “so ladies play tennis too?” she asked. At some point not long after this she headed outside with a tennis ball and a swingball bat to practice hitting the ball. After PE on Wednesday she’d decided she hated tennis. After she saw Venus Williams and her opponent make mistakes she suddenly loves the game.

H on keyboard

“Mummy, I HATE watching football” she said. We’ve been picking out the flags of the teams playing in the World Cup, and cheering them on. She doesn’t hate watching football at all, she’s being a contrary Mary as I know she likes watching it. So we pick a team, and she has various reasons why she wants them to win.

USA – because all three letters of their name fit on the ITV/BBC display. Mexico – because they have an X in their name. England – because she’s English. Australia, because she’s Australian and so on.

It does seem like all the teams she chooses to support lose. She’s like the opposite of Paul the Psychic Octopus.

“Mummy, I don’t like music” she tells me which is of course true as she has been singing ‘Agadoo’ for most of the day. But Glastonbury has been on tv, and new music on her horizons include Lily Allen, Jungle, De La Soul (HOW sweary?!) and Elbow. Today was Dolly Parton. After Eurovision I think she gets that people play music on stage for lots of other people to watch. She doesn’t ‘not like music’ of course. She got out her ELC keyboard and jammed along “Mummy! It’s my turn on stage!” and we got her acoustic guitar out so she strummed along to Rodrigo y Gabriela like she was born to play music. We got home this afternoon and it was a choice of football or music. Seriously, this is the BEST time ever when you’re young to see three things colliding which are all interesting, and plenty of choice, inspiring people and more.

H on guitar

Then she says “can I watch some Disney Junior now please? I miss it”

Looks like I’ve still some work to do….

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Temper Temper

Five is on the horizon, a little less than two months away, and with it comes the next stage of H’s development.

The hatred, absolute hatred, of being wrong.

We’ve had a few of these, too many to mention, but bless her, she’ll see something, translate it into H-speak and then tell us the H-speak version a few months later. For example :

Yesterday she was telling me about the white pretend theatre.

The white pretend theatre?

Yes, you know the one. Near the Thames.

I rack my brain. I have no idea what she’s talking about. Maybe there was something at the South Bank I’ve forgotten about?

Nope, no such thing. I’m sure of it. I tell her this. She looks a bit angry.

You DO know. We went there.

Okay, I am stumped now. Where is this magical pretend theatre which is white? AH! Maybe she’s getting confused with the Moomins play we saw the weekend before last? I ask her this.

I get rolleyes back.

That told me.

So I try to ascertain who we were with when this magical pretend white theatre which isn’t real but lives by the Thames actually is.

We were with Cousin G.

OH! I know exactly what she means!! Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre! I tell her this, and tell her it isn’t a pretend theatre.

So she angrily yells at me that it REALLY IS A PRETEND THEATRE and actually I AM WRONG.

I gently tell her that she’s brilliant but actually it really isn’t, and well done for remembering it, and that I was thinking of other things.

The angry is still there, mind. She’s angry at me for telling her she’s wrong. How dare I! I know I need to tackle it differently in future. I offer to find a kids production there she can watch so she can see it really is a proper theatre. I think we have a truce.

Until later on. I’ve hurt my back again and am easing myself into day to day things quite nicely, so much so I’ll probably be back at work tomorrow. My aim for today is to do school pickup, have a rest then walk to swimming and watch H. Forever the concerned little girl, she started to tell me where I may be able to sit, thanks to my back. Bless her. I was so proud of her thinking of me, as she really is quite a kind and thoughtful little girl, so give her a big cuddle, interrupting her kindness to tell her it’s lovely to think like that but it’s okay, I can sit on the chairs.

Cue angry face. Uh-ohhhh.

Oh just FORGET IT Mummy. It doesn’t MATTER.


I tell her it does matter and how lovely it is she’s thinking of me, while also wondering if this is a trait of coming up for five, being at school and copying your friends, as well as being a bit worried (maybe) about Mummy’s back.

It doesn’t help. She’s closed off to me. So I kind of prod at it to make her see it’s okay. Thinking about things like this is really important and I was pleased she’d done it all of her own making without me asking for help.

I make some stupid joke about needing to be careful as if I don’t have the right chair I might fall off and bump my bottom (going for the ‘saying bottom makes a four year old laugh’ angle).

Which works. She collapses in a fit of giggles. “YOU SAID BOTTOM MUMMY!!” she roars. So I follow it up with something equally as stupid because when doing stupid, I do it well. Soon the anger at being wrong is being forgotten. I’m starting to overthink it all too. See, at school they’re rewarded with stickers for doing things right. If you get it wrong you get nothing. However, I’m a firm believer you need to get things wrong to get them right in the end – if someone gets things right all the time are they really learning? So I tell H this quite often when she gets a bit worked up about it.

It would seem my interrupting of important things which don’t matter but are important needs some rethinking. As in, I need to let her say what she wants to, accept it, and thank her but tell her it’s okay, I don’t need it right now, but if I do in the future I’ll be asking her to find out. I think it might work. Having an almost-five-year-old is teaching me quite a lot about myself.



RIP Rik.