Playing the System

Today’s guest post is from a friend who works in a nursery, and for that reason she has chosen not to put her name to it. If anyone has experience working in a childcare setting, I’m sure she would appreciate thoughts and advice.

graffiti in children's playground

I have worked with children for a while now. I’m not really fussed by it all now – I am pretty much used to the whole thing of having children attached to some part of me whether I am at home, with family or at work.

After this amount of time you can’t help but notice little things that children do, and you find yourself always comparing them to others. Continue reading

The One Where Mummy Goes to Nursery

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty recently about not being more involved with DorkySon’s nursery. Because he only goes two mornings a week, he misses quite a lot of their big events. We did make it along to watch his nativity play before Christmas, but we didn’t make the Christmas Party or the Santa visit, and last week we missed the Easter Bonnet parade too.

So when one of the staff asked a few weeks ago if I would come in and do a twenty-minute storytelling session for DorkySon’s class, I felt obliged to say yes. We agreed a time and a theme, and I knew that with a couple of weeks to prepare I could come up with something fairly informative but entertaining too. All was well… until I shared the news with DorkySon.
Continue reading

Reasons to be Cheerful

We are celebrating two anniversaries in the Dorky House this week. If that’s not a reason to be cheerful (and an excuse for lots of cake and champagne) I don’t know what is!

Yesterday was our fourth wedding anniversary. In honour of the occasion, I finally hauled my mud and beer stained wedding dress out of the wardrobe, and sent it to be cleaned and boxed. I’m struggling to decide what to do with it next – I’m tempted to shove the box under the bed and keep it for some ‘just in case’ moment in the future. But I also think it’d be nice to give it to charity and let someone else get some use out of it. I’m going to keep pondering it for a while.

We took some during the week to look back through our wedding photos, which were taken by the lovely and brilliant guys at Jack Photography. And by happy coincidence, when I was rearranging some computer files, I found the epic wedding recap that I wrote shortly afterwards… all 2000 words of it!

I can’t believe how many things I’d forgotten; like the fact that I broke the zip on my bridesmaid’s dress half an hour before we were due to leave; and that the minister messed up the words and asked me if I’d take DorkyDad to be my ‘lawful wedded wife’. “Umm, no,” I said. “But I’ll take him to be my lawful wedded husband!” I’d forgotten that one of our guests joined the band for an impromptu session playing the spoons, and that shortly after leaving the wedding he was dragged back by his wife, having pocketed those spoons and forgotten about them. I’d forgotten just how good our food was, how my feet hurt from dancing and how my cheeks ached from smiling.

I’m one of those annoying people who can honestly say that their wedding day was one of the happiest of their life. No drama, very little stress, just a lovely time surrounded by family and friends… and the knowledge that it was the start of something special. The last four years have passed so quickly, and been packed so full of interesting events – I can’t wait to see where we are another four from now.

Our second anniversary this week was marking 6 months since DorkySon started nursery. It seems strange to admit it now, because those two mornings a week at nursery are so much part of our routine, but at the time it was definitely the hardest decision I’d made as a parent.

I had intended to stay a full time parent until he turned three and started his funded nursery place, but as he approached 2nd birthday in March it was becoming clear that he needed more stimulation, socialising and challenges than I was providing, and I needed a few hours a week to myself otherwise I was going to go nuts. I think the awful weather last winter exacerbated the situation – there were too many days when we were stuck inside and full of pent up energy.

We were so lucky to find a good nursery nearby – it’s small enough that all the kids and staff get to know each other, and has a lot of outdoor space. It is reasonably priced and is literally a five-minute walk from home. Despite the fact that there were a lot of staff changes soon after DorkySon starting, he settled in quickly and seems to have had a blast. He’s had the chance to do lots of activities that he wouldn’t have done at home (they had a fire engine visit last week…), his confidence has grown massively, and he never stops talking about how much he likes the people there.

From my point of view, it has been brilliant to have two mornings a week to do some bits and pieces of freelance writing, schedule appointments, do paperwork and even *pulls guilty Mummy face* go for the occasional coffee or take a nap.

I’m not sure why starting DorkySon at nursery stressed me out so much. I was deeply aware of how lucky we were to be in a position where it was through choice and not necessity. I guess part of me felt like I was somehow failing in my motherly duties by admitting that need for some time to myself, and part of me was worried that he wouldn’t adjust well to it and would be unhappy. I’m thrilled that hasn’t been the case, and now I’m just hoping desperately that when we move we can find a new nursery where he settles as quickly as he did at this one. (I’m also hoping I can pick up some more paid freelance work to justify it!).

So yes, two big occasions being marked this week, and two big reasons to be cheerful. Happy anniversaries to us!

To see other bloggers reasons to be cheerful, check out the linky over at Mummy from the Heart.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

A Perfect Day

So we saved the best until last.

DorkyDad and I haven’t spent much time out and about together this Festival, because we’ve been so busy with work. Work finally finished, for both of us, on Saturday night.

Yesterday was DorkyDad’s birthday, and instead of going out for a meal, or seeing a show, we spent the day sitting on the sofa in our pyjamas, watching Peppa Pig with DorkySon. It was great. At 4pm I finally hauled myself up the road to get a Sunday paper and a pizza for dinner, but that was the sum total of our activity.

On the spur of the moment, about 9pm last night, I decided to see if we could squeeze into the Pommery Bar at the Signet Library on their very last day. Four years ago, we got married there – a magical, happy day in a truly stunning building – and I thought it’d be nice to pop in and see how it was looking.

So this morning, after dropping DorkySon at nursery, we giggled our way across the Meadows, and treated ourselves to a bottle of champagne and a couple of hours reconnecting.

The wonderful folk at Heritage Portfolio have done a great job. The Pommery Bar feels exclusive, but not intimidating in the slightest. The service is friendly and attentive, but not fussy; our glasses always seemed to be full but we were left to chat and admire our surroundings (although I confess that we spent longer watching the reflection of the champagne bubbles in the mirror-topped table than we did staring at the ceiling!). We got a little over-excited when, on the way out, we saw another couple being given a tour of the building and the same spiel we’d been given about why it makes a great wedding venue. “Do it!” we said, rushing up and interrupting their discussion. “We got married here and loved it!”

So that was a great start to the last day. Then on the way home we stopped off, at the Udderbelly, for one of those amazing burgers and chips that I was raving about yesterday. The food was still great… but we got a little distracted. In one of those one-in-a-million, once-in-a-lifetime moments, I looked up from my burger and spotted a bit of graffiti on the wall beside us.

‘I Heart Young Dawkins’

It was written in blue, although the heart was coloured in red. I took a photo, which I will post up here, when I’ve worked out how to get it off my phone.

Wow. Someone liked DorkyDad’s show enough to scribble his name on the wall! That’s crazy. But cool. I am a little bit jealous. But mostly impressed. He hopes it was a girl. I hope it was a guy. Whoever it was, it doesn’t really matter. The chances of us gong to the Udderbelly on the very last day of the Festival, and sitting in that seat, and spotting that writing… I’m not sure how it happened, but I like that it did. And now, as I write this, that wall has probably been removed. It’s in the back of a truck somewhere, and next year it’ll have had a new lick of purple paint, and the graffiti will be gone.

So that was pretty awesome.

And then we came home, and picked DorkySon up from nursery. And then my day really was made. I’ve already bragged about this on Facebook, so apologies to those of you who are encountering my hitherto hidden competitive side for the second time today… but I am truly bursting with pride. The nursery started doing a sticker chart for good behaviour this week, and, on the first day, DorkySon is the only kid to get a gold star on it. For tidying up all the books.

Yes indeed, that is my boy. Those are my boys. And that was my day. It was a good one.