Thursday, 20 May 2010

Another episode of Backyardigans or a bedtime story?

Elf: I want to watch another Backyardigans. (Mummy's note - this will be the second one this evening.)

Mummy: OK well if you want to do that, you ...

Elf interrupts: I know, there will be no time for a story. I don't want a story.

Mummy: So if you cry and say you want a story, I'm not reading you one. OK?

Elf: Yes.

(Mummy's note - I don't ever remember him not having a story... where will this go? Shall I video him saying it? And play it back to him? Like here?)

Update to follow later!

Monday, 17 May 2010

What do you think about out of school activities? Extra child-care or a chance to shine?

Alpha Mummy on the Times Online ran a poll entitled Why do you schedule out of school activities? and linked to a story Why all pushy mums are not the same. About to embark on the new school regime as Elf goes into Reception year this September, this is all becoming familiar territory for me instead of just random articles whose absurdity made me laugh almost as much as laughing at school-gate cliquey mums. (I now know they do exist, but I have been informed by two Year 1 or 2 mums at the Cheese'n'Wine evening at my son's infant school last week that it doesn't exist at that school. That's either true, in which case good, or untrue as maybe those two are the culprits!)

The article brought up a current issue with me which I have now resolved internally but would welcome your thoughts on. We currently do trampolining on Fridays and swimming lessons on a Saturday. I don't count swimming as an activity as such, because in my eyes it's a life skill and as our family holidays are based around water, it's essential he learns. However trampolining is a point in case. He has achieved badges 1 and 2, (I feel like a real mum now because I sewed my first badge) but now he just wants to run around with Woody and Jessie and not work for his badge 3. Woody is the same and us mums have almost decided not to renew the course after half-term. They did enjoy getting their badges and they did really understand that they'd worked for them, but the lure of the play pits and other equipment in the gym renders the lesson unuseful and to be frank, I'd rather take him to the park and save £5.20!

When he goes to school, I will send Elf to the after school club on a Monday so I can do a long day to keep my hours up at work. At the Cheese'n'Wine we were encouraged to send our children there once or twice a week regardless of childcare needs just to give the kids a chance to socialise with the other years in a non-classroom setting. I'd already justified it to myself saying it would be like a club for Elf, and that's exactly how the school see it too!

I am not a helicoptor mum hovering over my child, although I was heard to say last week in trampolining "If you don't concentrate, we are going home!" but at the same time I want him to experience as much as he can, but balanced with the ability to make his own fun. At the moment, before the Wii obsession kicks in, he is rather good at this. Our Funday Friday last week consisted of Elf and Woody sitting in the middle of some bushes collecting grass in their buckets. Long may that last.

What are your views on out of school activities and clubs? How many do you see as the right amount? Is there such a thing as overscheduling?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Six things our children say that we wouldn't have in our generation

A few of my son's comments the other day got me thinking - thanks to today's technology, there are things that he says that I wouldn't have in the 70s. I'm assuming everyone is roughly the same age as me (?) but obviously a mum of a 4 year old could really be about 21, and would most likely have said the same things as my son!

  1. Can you pause the telly please? This is still funny for us to say too. If Elf is watching Backyardigans on telly, and wants to use the loo, he knows the right remote control button to pause live TV. In my day, I'd have either held it or wet myself rather than miss the end of Pipkins.
  2. Can I see it? After taking a photo of him, he wants to see it. As just about everyone has a digital camera these days, of course you can see it. In my day, we had to wait til the photos came back in the post (half of them usually blank!)... until the arrival of the Polaroid camera!
  3. Is dinner ready now? A PING in our house suggests dinner is on its way. That's NOT always because I cook ready meals in the microwave, but because I defrost my own meals and I use our combi-microwave as an oven. Were there ovens in the 70s that pinged?
  4. Send his mummy a message says Elf when he wants to meet up with Woody. It's that easy!
  5. Can I see Nana on the 'puter? Webcam sessions with Nana were great when Elf was small. He now thinks he can show her his new toys on my mobile too!
My other one was "Press the flush" instead of "Pull the flush" but I don't want to be too lavatorial...!

Do your children say things that you wouldn't have said?

Sunday, 9 May 2010

You know you're getting old when ...

The old phrase went:

"You know you're getting old when policemen start to look younger."

Now a more applicable phrase is:

"You know you're getting older when Dr Who and his assistant both look too young!"

But I do like him ... is that wrong?

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Voting pride (this is not a political post!)

I have just voted. The party for which I have voted is not the subject of this post, nor any political leanings I might have. (I've always had an instinct for which party I do or don't want in.) Walking out of the same local school which doubles as a polling station every few years, I always feel very proud and a bit emotional if I'm honest. I'm proud that I live in a country where our votes matter, where we are allowed to vote and we can be pretty sure the results are accurate. For all the moaning we do about the state of our country, how politicians are all liars (I heard three young men saying this as I came out) and they are "all the same", at least we are allowed to have a say.

Elf came with me and read a book from the school library shelf while I voted. I had to queue for the first time, which is a good sign I think? I chatted to this effect with someone in the queue. He had his little boy with him too. Amazingly quite a few young children accompanied their parents, probably more due to lack of babysitting, but it was almost a family affair!

On the way back, I saw groups of people walking along the streets to vote together with their neighbours. I haven't seen that many people out at the same time in our local area since the snow forced everyone to walk earlier in the year. People I knew and didn't know smiled at me and I smiled back.

I'm in no doubt that the result tomorrow will not be to my liking, but hey, I was a part of it and I felt proud to be part of it.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

To gun or not to gun? Call for help!

In a recent post, (click here to read) I touched on the gun issue. I have mixed feelings about them and I'd welcome your thought and experiences. Life was easier when Elf was into Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. I realised there was a huge difference between age 3 and age 4; this last birthday (his 4th) suddenly he was into Ben 10, Transformers and Power Rangers. Star Wars too, but then as we all love Star Wars we could live with that. Lightsabering someone isn't as bad as shooting them, is it?

The last few days have been a turning point. Firstly, on Friday, at Woody's house, Elf immediately went for the two Batmen that Woody had been given for his birthday but hadn't played with. Woody himself played with some animals. Don't get me wrong, the two of them love wrestling and running around, but Woody is into more gentler pastimes compared to Elf. Elf is going to be like Ben in Outnumbered. Secondly, today we visited friends with two boys, 7 and 8. We don't see them much but Elf got on with them like a house on fire (you know that Big Boy Envy manifesting in staring open-mouthed at the older boys in awe of them and their toys). They were playing guns around the house, running around and hiding behind doors and then PEAWWW shooting at each other. I felt slightly OK about it as their mum is a doctor of psychology! She admitted they had the same issue when her boys were younger but that she's accepted that they are like that. They had dollies and kitchens, but they love guns! When we went to go home, we had to drag Elf out in the middle of a little tantrum as he didn't want to leave the big boys, and throughout the 10 minute car trip home, he kept shouting that He Wanted A Gun NOW.

At nursery recently, another child (NOT Elf) was told off for announcing "I've got a gun in my bag and I'm going to kill you all." That's when the gun issue worries me. I'd be mortified if that was Elf.

We do have rules - Elf doesn't shoot mummy, he calls them water pistols not guns when mummy is around, and that we don't talk about killing anyone. He doesn't actually own any guns, apart from some water pistols, but whenever he is out he finds a stick that doubles as a gun, but his fingers will do just the job. When he is with one of his friends C, they end up playing shooting or lightsabers.

My question is do I accept that he is going to be into guns and as long as we have a few rules, it is ok to sometimes play with them? Or do I ban any gun game in my presence? Would that draw attention and make the issue worse? He is going to play with his best nursery friend tomorrow and I know he has toy rifles at his house.  I'm sure the gun issue will be revisited this time tomorrow!