Soft play session: Sonny Jim and pal
I’ve been pretty good at avoiding soft play. Particularly – and especially – during school holidays.
But the other week, I capitulated. And Dante’s circles of hell have nothing on these padded-cell like death traps as far as I’m concerned.
I understand to the uninitiated, this probably seems unreasonable. What could be better for parents than indoor wonder worlds of mazes, slides and ball pits? So, consider this my attempt to enlighten you. Here’s exactly why I hate soft play centres…
1 Other people’s kids: You’d think no parent would want to be the one with feral kids. You’d think wrong on this. I don’t know what happens, but when kids get inside these centres they turn faster than a Mogwai in rain. Continue reading
First day: Off we go to pre-school
So, last week was the week.
The week I’ve been dreading. The week I’ve gotten tearful about more times than I’d like to admit. The week I’ve been so tempted to push back. To put off. To ignore until I can’t ignore it any more.
Last week, Sonny Jim started pre-school.
It was only two mornings. A grand total of six hours. But it has left me something of an emotional wreck.
On his first morning, I was stunned in the best way, when my rather shy boy shed not one single tear when I left. Simply gave me a kiss, a big wave and a reminder to be “back soon mama.”
It didn’t last.
Big step: Pre-school starts this week
This week Sonny Jim is going to start pre-school.
He’s almost two and a half, it’s only for two mornings a week and it’ll do my rather shy little lad the world of good.
But, however I dress it up, for me it’s a big HUGE (I’m channelling Julia Roberts here) thing.
It’s my boy’s first real steps of independence. Of venturing out into the world without mummy (or daddy) there to hold his hand. It basically marks the end of his babyhood.
And although I think he’s so ready for it – I’m not sure I am.
In this respect, I don’t think it makes any difference what age your little one first starts nursery/pre-school/school – it’s still a wrench.
Giggles: At the last family wedding
LATER this summer, Sonny Jim will be flying to the south of France to attend a family wedding.
My second cousin once removed (or is it third cousin?!) is getting married and while I HATE flying and am dreading the 4am taxi with toddler in tow, I really wanted us to go.
This cousin was one of my best playmates when I was little. There’s just six weeks between us, and a mere couple of years between us and her older sister, and almost all of my favourite childhood memories feature them in some way or another.
We didn’t live especially close (me on Canvey, them in Goodmayes) but every school holiday we could be found at each other’s houses.
Heart breaking: This image has haunted me
Millions of people have now seen the photo of a two-year-old girl screaming, while a US border agent pats down her mother.
Taken last week the snap has become symbolic of the “zero tolerance” border policies in America, which has caused hundreds of children to be separated from their parents.
My Sonny Jim is the same age as that little girl.
And I haven’t been able to get that photo out of my head since.
To be entirely honest, I’m not big on world news. So much of what goes on around the globe seems to shoot straight over my head as I battle the will of a toddler who doesn’t like eating dinner or being indoors.
Yet that image, when it flashed up on my Facebook feed, cut through all the little mundanities of my day. Continue reading
Not just a mama: At my first pole dancing class
Often when you have a child, a big chunk of your identity gets lost.
Overnight you become the most important person in the world to someone else.
You’re their food source, their comfort, their safety…. You’re their mum. And everything else in the world is secondary to that.
As they get a bit bigger they obviously don’t need you quite as much – their neck can hold the weight of their own head for a start.
But still, being a mummy can be the thing that defines you.
After waiting for nine years for my boy, and undergoing fertility treatments galore, I can hand on heart say that being Sonny Jim’s mummy is the best title I’ve ever had. I’m a work-from-home mama for the sole reason that I want to grab every minute that I possibly can with my little lad while he’s growing up. I never actually realised I’d love “mummying” as much as I do. Continue reading
I can’t imagine anyone will have missed the fact that tomorrow is Father’s Day.
Hardware stores must do their best business in the first weeks of June and sales of bacon probably go up as fry ups are prepared.
But too often the role of daddy is seen as secondary to mummy, surplus to requirements in many ways when it comes to parenting. And admittedly, some dads ARE rubbish. Those mamas, single-handedly doing both the job of mum and dad, are nothing short of heroes in my book.
Yet there are a lot of good uns. And the most important thing they ever do, is just be there. Whether it’s a snatched kiss before bedtime, a cuddle on the couch, or push on the swing, those moments are like tiny beads on the necklace of a child’s life. A tiny, tangible bit of love that helps build them a brighter world. Continue reading