Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Packing hell - chopping boards 'n' trivets

As you may have read in my previous post, I am moving house on Thursday. YES THURSDAY. Anyway I thought you might find the following three facts interesting. Or not.

1. Above is a see-through bag full of Tupperware that I packed the other day. The photo I took amazed me in its dullness despite colour.

2. Just now I found in one cupboard under the sink the following three items: a pot of Nivea face cream, a tea towel and rat poison. Why?

3. A label on one of my boxes - Chopping boards and trivets. This is what my life has been reduced to.

I have now lost the will to live, let alone pack. I may be back...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Can I be excused please?

I am moving house a week tomorrow. This means I will be far too busy to blog. It really means I should be too busy to blog. I'd better excuse myself now in any case.

Please don't forget me, come back when I'm back! Love to you all, my little followers. -HMx

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Labelling a child

At the moment, when I think of labelling, I think of two things: one is the rubbish labels that I bought for Elf's school clothes which have already fallen off; the second is how dangerous labelling a child can be. 

We are taught as new parents to label actions not the person. A label can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. "If I am told I'm naughty all the time, I may as well act naughty." I didn't need my degree in Psychology to understand that one.

Which brings me to the world of work. In a company where "Customer delight" is our number one priority, and obviously as an employee I am a customer, I am not delighted to be labelled "difficult". My newly promoted manager's manager said at the time of his promotion that "I wasn't to make life difficult for him". This upset me and made me feel like the old dinosaurs, who used to own this company before we were bought out by an American giant, were still at large, labelling as "difficult" anyone they couldn't bully. I succumbed to the bullying eventually; not quite so difficult then funnily enough.

Every negative comment or suggestion that I put to my newly promoted manager enlarged this feeling of paranoia that I was seen to be difficult and not just trying to do or suggest the right thing. Our lovely HR troubleshooter convinced me that I was indeed paranoid and that I shouldn't try not to be myself. Give it some time, she said, for him to flex his management muscles and it will all settle down. I went away a delighted customer.

That was last week. News of this HR chat got to my manager's manager and when she came down for a catch-up yesterday, she asked to see me alone. I explained my paranoid feelings and how our HR lady had assured me that the "difficult" comment was probably just a throwaway comment and that it was playing on my paranoia that the old regime still reigned in this part of the company.

Oh no, apparently I am labelled as difficult by "a couple of people". One of them named as the conference director, the other unknown but it's obvious who. According to my manager, who has spent all of maybe a week in total with me, it could be seen that I wind up my newly promoted manager because I go into too much detail. I was also warned that the new departmental structure will work, and it if doesn't, it will look bad for me and even go as far as to hinder my future progression in the company. (They don't know that I want to become a teacher!) I wasn't the one who told another member of staff to f*&% off last week (my manager I am told), but I am the one who is being made to feel responsible.

Labels at work can go either way - they can become a self-fulfilling prophesy or they can destroy a person's sense of who they are, what they stand for at work and how they conduct themselves. 

Lesson of the week I must remember not to go into too much detail to wind anyone up, and I must not be difficult.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Gallery - A celebration

This week's theme at The Gallery is A Celebration. I am somewhat limited with my photos for The Gallery - my iPad only has a few on, no archive back to 2006 like the laptop (which Mr Humdrum is on constantly, hence my iPad purchase); and my iPhone is limiting because you can't take pics in the dark. My camera is the most irritating as it doessn't easily connect to a laptop. However I have found one to suit and to stop all my moaning.

This was my birthday this year, in June, at our local cafe where I spent the majority of my maternity leave. All new mums go there, as they are very pram friendly outside, it's near the sea and you can breastfeed in public there quite easily. I have been going for years, but the first time I went on maternity leave was when Elf was about a month old. I started meeting F, Woody and Jessie's mum, there at 2pm bleary-eyed in those early days, feeling amazed that we'd actually got out of the house, have a cuppa and a cake, chat obviously, then be just in time to do the next feed and then go home.

After a couple of weeks we managed to walk around the sea front on our Cake Walks. Then when the baby weight became an issue, we went on Non-Cake Cake Walks! (F succeeded, I didn't!) Five years on nearly, we still go. Here I am celebrating my hmmm 39th cough cough birthday with a slice of strawberry cake or something. I am with S, Miss T's mummy and it was her birthday a week before so we were celebrating. I like this photo because I somehow feel I look younger than I am in it!

Who created the world?

Elf was getting very philosophical at the weekend. Must be his first week of schooling rubbing off. We were travelling between grandparents' houses on Sunday in Cornwall, near Landrake to be precise.

Elf said "Before anyone was born, before even the dinosaurs, there was a volcano here, but a woodcutter cutted it down and it went into the river."

I said "Before anyone was born?"

He replied "Yes, well except there was one person here."

"God?" I questioned.

"No. Dave!" was the response.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

First week at school - check!

It is Sunday evening and for the first time in 5 years, I have the "I have to go to work tomorrow" feeling. And it's a full day 9-5, the rest of my working week is now Tuesday til Thursday 9-1 - proper part time! I skipped the Monday last week, first day at school and all that, so it will be a shock tomorrow.

So the first week is over. Phew! Let's see how we did...

Elf was a star, in fact the head teacher took me aside and said he was a credit to me. I do know her, and she knows Elf so it wasn't just a flip comment. I am very happy about this, children do the most unlikely things and just when you think they'll sail through something, they go and throw a wobbly.

I had a wobble on Thursday. Mr Humdrum was doing drop-off and pick-up Tuesday til Thursday and after diligently copying down the hours for the first week, I was sure he was 9-12 every day except Friday, his first full day with lunch. Mr Humdrum called me at 11.55 saying Are you sure that he's coming out at 12? I can't see any other parents here. I quickly phoned the school - they were staying for lunch that day. Oops, no packed lunch or money for a school lunch for Elf! What a bad mummy! They assured me he'd be getting a school lunch that day and he did - roast lamb. We paid that day. I knew I was going to forget something that week.

Friday was his first full day, and he wanted a packed lunch. I spoke to the head later. She said they'd given him water as he'd had no drink with him. I'd thought about putting a Fruit Shoot in but thought it would be contraband so figured he'd make do with the water bottle they have to take in each day. Oops! Mistake number 2!

Friday was also my first day as a volunteer. I'd signed up to help in Year 1 with Mr Gurney, who is our hairdresser's cousin's boyfriend! He's a young-ish extremely enthusiastic teacher and I was pleased to be put in with him. I arrived early during lunch and watched my Elf play with his NBF, who shares the same first name as him - I'll call him Elf 2, and their surnames start with the same initial. Very cute. He said when his teacher forgets to use their surnames in registration, they both say Good morning Miss Harris! And he laughs.

The topic of the lesson that afternoon was How can I copy an artist's work? In fact the interactive whiteboard showed ... artists work. I was tempted to go and tell Mr Gurney that he'd missed the apostrophe but thought that it could go either way for me, best not to risk it. Mr Humdrum pointed out later that it could have been my first test and I failed!

I was sat at a table where groups of 5-6 year olds would pass through and cut out facial parts and stick them onto a face, along with labels to show they could read the names of said facial parts. One girl was struggling to cut with scissors properly. I asked if she needed any help, she firmly said No. I had to almost sit on my hands to keep from helping her. I asked her again, No. Her group finished and the next group started. Still she beavered on. When she couldn't cut it properly, she tore it with her hands. The end result was a very messy face with bad cutting out but she'd done it all by herself! I was so proud of her for perservering and do you know what, it taught me a lesson too.

The afternoon went quickly, Elf wasn't too fussed when he saw me, just gave me a hug and walked off to his class area. I really enjoyed watching Mr Gurney take the class, I'm sure I'll blog in more detail about it. Mr Humdrum is fed up with me saying Mr Gurney did this, Mr Gurney did that already! Roll on next week.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Gallery - Back to school

Back to school 

One is Elf taken this week, the other is Mr Humdrum taken mid-1970s - but which is which? 

I am so pleased that this is the subject of The Gallery this week as not only is it Elf's first week this week (day 4 and I forgot to provide lunch!) but it is also MY first day tomorrow. I am going to be helping out during Passport Time after lunch. This is when Years R, 1 and 2 get together to learn ensemble through different media. I am a bit of an academic Nazi I've been told (what's wrong with learning by rote?) so this will be interesting to me.

My plan is to help out at first then to hopefully gain a teaching assistant post, then when Elf is older and doesn't need me, I will train as a teacher. I've always wanted to be a teacher - I'd love to teach French and Spanish to juniors. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Preparing for school - the Humdrum way

I was texting a mummy friend: "We can't meet up on Mondays from September because I will be at work." It struck me afterwards that the reason I'll be at work is because Elf will be at school! What a dozy mum I am. If I can't even sort out his social life, what hope is there for me?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Elf's last day at nursery

This was Elf at one month old in February 2006. It is the first picture I have of him on his personal blog. He went to our childminder aged 1 for a year, and then at 2, he joined his current nursery. 

Just under 2 years later, today is his last day at nursery. It is a cliché yes, but it is the end of an era. 

And also the end of my having to work 3 long days at work, with matching long days at nursery for Elf. Next week's school start will be emotional, but also it will mean shorter days and more quality time spent with Elf. And maybe some home-cooked dinners eh Elf?