Monday, 18 September 2017

Starting School - The First Day Tears We Weren't Expecting

Tuesday 5th September 2017 the day our biggest Jellyfish started primary school and we were prepared. Uniform had been bought around four weeks earlier and was ironed and labeled although I did have an unfortunate incident when ironing his name label onto his school tie and melted his tie in the process so we had a mad dash to the school uniform shop the Saturday before school started for a new tie. His summer homework of a 'All about me' book was finished and in his book bag. We were ready.

All Ready

Ethan was very excited. The school had split the reception class into two groups and they were to do alternate mornings and afternoons for the first week and Ethan was in the group that was starting at 1pm not 9am. From the minute he got up he was asking if it was time for school. I tried to drag out every activity to make it last as long as possible but nothing really worked he was like a child waiting for Christmas.

Around midday after eating lunch at 11:30 I finally gave in and let him put his uniform on. In my head it was a task that would keep us busy for about till at least 12:30 but no we were ready by 12:10. Another at least 40 mins of stalling to do. I didn't want to leave too early but living across the road from school has its advantages we were able to look out for other children arriving before we set off.

Alice didn't want to pose

As always getting out with all three kids is a little bit of a logistical nightmare, especially when Oscar wants to run off as soon as he is free so the double buggy would have been the logical choice as he can't run away while I'm trying to comfort Ethan who I was expecting to be clingy and teary. Instead I went for Alice in her buggy and Oscar riding on the buggy board while wearing his reins so I could keep hold of him.

We waiting outside school for around 10 minutes until his teacher came to meet us. The parents were asked to come into the classroom to help the children find where to put coats and bags. As there were a couple of mums with prams there wasn't enough room for me to take Alice's pram inside so parked it up on the decking outside the classroom door along with another couple of prams and took Ethan and Oscar into the classroom.

Ready to go in

We from Ethan's peg, his has a picture of an elephant on and explained that E is for Ethan and also that it is E for elephant. Surprisingly after hanging his stuff up he took himself straight into the classroom. No clinging on and no tears. The problems came as I tried to maneuver Oscar towards the door. He didn't want to leave Ethan. He screamed.

I had no choice but to scoop him up and get him out of there. As we got out of the school yard he was still scooped under my arm still screaming while I was pushing the pram. I tried to put him down to see if he would go back on the buggy board but instead he sat on the ground still screaming and kicked his wellies off. Again I scooped him up and his wellies and made it home. I wonder if I can put it on my CV as a key skill that i can carry a toddler in a full tantrum while pushing a pram.

This is what you look like when your best friend goes to school

Once home he carried on his almighty tantrum, kicking and screaming in the hallway with the occasional sob and shouting 'Ethan gone.' In all the excitement of making sure Ethan was ready for school I had never once considered that Oscar would we losing his best friend. They hadn't been apart since pre-school had finished back in July they had even been going to nursery together. They share a bedroom and a couple of nights the week before we had even found them in the same bed. These were the tears I never expected.

Best Friends - Ethan and Oscar

We Are Preparing for School

Since he was born I knew this was coming that he would be one of the youngest in his class seen as he has an August birthday. In some ways he doesn't seem old enough for school but in others he is totally ready. So here is how our preparations are going.

It all started with a meeting at school for the parents to be told the general workings of the school, the process for settling in and what we needed to buy (a long list of uniform). Along with this we got his timetable for half days in the first week of September and homework for the summer. Yes he's not even started and there is homework, a blank exercise book to fill in details about themselves.

Although Ethan is excited about starting school he is quite a sensitive soul and it taking him a while to settle in. We had tears for a term when he went to pre school and when he first started nursery even though he was being looked after by his auntie he still got upset. I'm not expecting anything different for school just hoping for the best.

Our first settling in session was a 1/2 hour story session, where myself and Ethan went to school and to what will be his new classroom to listen to a story read by his new teacher. He was quite excited  until we were stood in reception waiting for his teacher to come and get us. But something changed as the other children who obviously all seemed to know each other, (I think they all go to preschool together and I large number of them seemed to have older siblings already at the school) were talking and playing together I could feel Ethan getting closer to me. It got to a point where he had pretty much hidden behind me. He held my hand as we walked down to the classroom when we got there the other children sat on he carpet ready for the story. Ethan did not. Instead of joining in he refused to leave my side. However much I tried to encourage him to sit with the other children he didn't want to. Until we got to the end of the stories and his teacher was giving out stickers then he quickly sat on the carpet so he got his sticker too.

The experience of story time had me quite worried the next week we had a settling in session where I stay with him again and I was keeping my fingers crossed that he would at least try and interact. Next weeks settling in session wasn't meant to be as the day he was meant to go I was at the hospital with Alice and we didn't have anyone to look after Oscar he had to miss the session. I think he needed it.

The next week was a settling in session where the parents didn't stay. If I'm honest I was dreading this one. I felt bad he'd missed the previous session where he might have got to know some other children and I didn't think he would let me leave him. Also I had no one to watch Oscar and Alice so they were coming for the drop off too.

So I didn't have to negotiate a pram round school I put Alice in her wrap and held Ethan and Oscar's hands as we crossed the road and went to school. Ethan seemed nervous again but I was distracted by trying to keep Oscar where he was meant to be.

We got to the classroom and Ethan clung to me while Oscar found a play ice cream parlour to play in. He didn't want to stay there were tears his teacher came to speak to him and he went really quiet. He's usually a right chatterbox and you can't shut him up but because he was in a place he didn't know with people he didn't know he was quiet. Eventually we go him to play in the ice cream parlour with Oscar and some of the other children.

Now the challenge was to leave. I scooped up a kicking and screaming Oscar and left. Oscar wanted to stay and play. He even had a full paddy at the front door because he wanted to go back.

An hour later it was time to get him. I was expecting to be greeted by a very upset little boy but after I left he had settled down and was waiting with his teacher holding his new school book bag for September. That hour was exactly what he needed to get him excited for school.

We had two more sessions left, a games session with the schools sports coach and a session in the school garden which was for Daddy to attend as my hayfever gets me out of all gardening related activities.

It was time for the sports session and even though his taster session went well I wasn't holding out much hope for the games session but much to my surprise he joined in  straight away. Luckily school were happy to let Oscar join in too as I didn't have anyone to look after him and Alice. Alice quite happily sat in her pram and watched. I wasn't sure what to expect from the games session but it involved a cone marker, a beanbag and some imagination, all the kids seemed to enjoy it and they got to take home the cone and beanbag to practice over summer.

The gardening session was the next day unfortunately that was another session we had to cancel as Daddy hurt his back at work and couldn't take him to it. Although another session would have been good he didn't need it as he was excited for school.

I'm happy that he is looking forward to school but I know that it could all change in a instant and I'm prepared for tears.

Monday, 26 June 2017

When we had to call 999

It was meant to be our time together as a family. A week together myself, my husband and our three little jellyfish. We had planned to take the kids somewhere everyday even if it was just the local park. But instead life got in the way and although we didn't get to do the things we had planned I was very grateful that daddy was home as I don't think I would have coped without him.

I finished work on the Friday and I know I had only been back at work two weeks I was ready for my two weeks off. I felt a bit rough all day but I had put it down to hayfever as my clothes had been dried on the line right next to the elder flower which my body seems to detest. As I got home it became apparent that it wasn't hayfever but a start of a cold which is just what you want when you have two weeks booked off work. I didn't want it to get in my way of spending time with my little family. It was the first full week I have spent with my husband since paternity leave and everyone knows that isn't really quality time as you are just in a blur of feeding and sleeping.

Oscar hadn't been well for about seven days so Saturday morning while hubby played golf I managed to get him a doctors appointment. Although he looked a bit better by the time I took time he still wasn't himself. I know when I usually take him to the doctors he is running around playing with all the equipment and trying to climb on the bed but not today he sat quietly and did everything that was asked of him. The conclusion was that he was suffering from a viral infection that was going round and wiping kids out for 10 days. The triage nurse was going to ring me on Monday morning to check how he was doing and we left with instructions to take him to urgent care if his temperature went over 39 degrees.

Saturday evening as part of our plan to get out more we took the kids to the park. I took Alice in her pram, Stephen had Oscar in the WeeRide at the front of his bike while towing his bike trailer behind just in case Ethan got tired on his balance bike which he did and the trailer was luckily big enough for him and his bike. It was a lovely sunny evening and it was good to get out. The kids were exhausted when we got back and pretty much fell straight asleep.

Sunday was a day of jobs mainly housework and food shopping. It was also Fathers Day and due to everyone being ill and the chaos of being back at work I managed to sort nothing for my husband off the kids (Bad Wife). Oscar had actually been the best he had been in days and had been playing outside with Ethan. Finally we thought he was on the mend. Alice had developed a bit of a cough which had got gradually worse throughout the day. When we put her to bed she kept coughing and crying in her sleep but didn't wake up. We gave her some Calpol but there was nothing more we could do.

I'd gone up to bed just before midnight and as Stephen was coming up the stairs to bed we heard footsteps and crying. Oscar was out of bed shaking, crying and generally confused. We had a mad dash round the house to find the thermometer and his temperature had reached 39.8. I called 111 who advised that if I had already been advised by a medical professional to  go to the Urgent Care Centre that was where I should go. Our nearest open urgent care centre was The Royal Preston Hospital which is around 5 miles away. I went into the boys room to grab his blanket, dressing gown and slippers only to find he had been sick in his bed. I got him to hospital at around 12:30 and we were actually seen by the A&E triage nurse. She was really good with him even though he didn't quite like her much after she pricked his finger to check his blood sugar levels. He was given ibuprofen on top of the calpol we had given him at home to bring his temperature down further as it was still quite high.

We waited back in the waiting room to see the doctor, the nurse had decided to keep us in A&E rather than sending him to the Urgent Care Centre. We got called to see the doctor around 2am by this time all the medicine had kicked in and he was back to his old self running round the waiting room. Luckily we were the only ones waiting in the children's waiting room. He was checked over by the doctor who was brillant with him she played with his while she was checking him over. I nurse then came to check all his stats and bought him and teddy bear. The nurse bandaged up the teddy bear and Oscars own toy Nana the Elephant and we were given the OK to go home with our new friend the teddy bear in tow.

Me and Oscar got home around 3:45 am. I could hear Alice was sounding quite raspy in her breathing at this point but went to bed and thought it might be a good idea to ring the doctors in the morning. I didn't wake up till around 9 and everyone else was still in bed. I'd missed the call from triage to she how Oscar was so rang the doctors to see if I could get an appointment for Alice. I had missed all the emergency appointments the next available appointment was Friday which was no good. But I did manage to get a triage phone appointment for sometime in the morning. Alice and Stephen got up. She sounded terrible, she sounded really raspy now and it seemed like it was a big effort for her to breathe. When triage called not long after 10 she advised me to call 999 as her breathing was laboured and the paramedics would be able to get to me quicker than either I could get to A&E or to the doctors surgery.

I have to say calling 999 was a little scary if I'm honest I didn't think she was poorly enough to call 999 but that is what I was advised to do so that is what I did. Within 5 mins there was a paramedic in a car at my door shortly followed by an Ambulance. There was 3 paramedics in my living room checking her over they had come to the conclusion that she was suffering from croup and it was procedure to take under 5's to hospital. So me and Alice were taken by ambulance to hospital. The paramedic that sat in the back with us kept Alice entertained by blowing her up a glove to make a hand balloon.

A&E was really busy but were seen really quickly. By 12 we had had two sets of obs done by the nurses, seen two doctors been given steroids to help the swelling in her throat (I think that's what they were for but if that is wrong I had not had much sleep and was a little confused by the whole situation), given a bear like the one Oscar had been given only a few hours earlier and been discharged from A&E into the care of the children's ward.

Alice and her bear from A&E

The children's ward was very busy and extremely hot. We were seen by the triage and given a waiting room to sit in. It was the hottest room ever and we were in there for the best part of 4 hours. Alice was actually sticking to me we were both that hot and sweaty. By the time we saw the senior nurse her cough and breathing had improved loads. The steroids had done there job and we were allowed to go home. Daddy, Ethan and Oscar picked us up. It was so good to be home couldn't believe I had been in hospital twice in less than 12 hours with two different children. By the time I left the hospital with Alice I looked and sounded more ill than she did. I could hardly speak when anyone tried to ask me anything. But that is all part of being a mum putting your children before yourself.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

I've gone back to work

I've been back at work for two weeks and although I was looking forward to adult conversation, actually using my brain and being able to contribute financially to our house again. I don't think I was ready to go back.

This is the third time I have gone back and each time has been different. With Ethan I took 10 months off work and was ready to go back I should have probably gone back sooner. When we had Oscar I took only 8 months off and it seemed right. This time the 10 months off has gone so quickly. Alice is changing so much each day and I feel like I've missed it all. She is crawling, standing and eating more.

I think what is different this time is that I had never really left Alice. Me and hubby have had one night out and family have looked after her while I had doctors/hospital appointments but she had never been with anyone else for a full day, not even daddy.

Breakfast on the last day of maternity leave

To ease the transition hubby has taken two weeks off work while I do my first two weeks so I could get her used to being with someone else rather than also throwing her into a new environment of nursery too.  Over the last two weeks I have seen an amazing bond between daddy and daughter grow. She no longer shouts 'Mama' from her cot its 'Dada' she wants. She is now daddy's best friend she never really got a look in before. If daddy was home he was hounded by the boys and she didn't get a look in.

 Daddy being at home with the kids was going well. The first week he settled into a routine and caught up on our endless washing with a bit of help from some warm windy weather ready to get out and about on his second week seen as the only time ventured out o the house on the first week was the nursery run. The second week turned out to be the week of sick with Oscar and Ethan both being poorly. This is also the week Alice was teething and stopped her usual 12 hours of sleep (please don't hate me she is the only one that has really loved sleep) for in the night playtime/screaming with daddy.

I wasn't worried about returning to work, I've done it before but I wasn't quite prepared for all the changed that had happened while I'd been off. I have had my job for over 11 years and the first time I returned to work we had moved to a different town and it didn't seem as big a change as what I went back to this time. I felt like totally the new girl, due to big changes through the company people who have been there longer than me have left, there are lots of new faces and one of me best work friends is currently on maternity leave. Although the job hasn't changed I was a little lost for the first week. Second week was easier but I feel like I'm so slow at doing my job trying to get back in the swing of things. I now have two weeks off with the kids which is much needed

Friday, 2 June 2017

My Worst Nightmare

As a mummy to two boys I think I have always expected that I will have numerous trips to A&E for play related injuries as my husband likes to frequently let me know how much time he spent there as a child. I'm not quite sure how I will cope when one of them breaks a bone (I say when because it's only a matter of time before they are comparing how many broken bones and X-rays they have had with daddy) but now I know how I cope when one on them has a head injury and that is I panic.

I was Wednesday, a nice sunny day. We had already been out and got some shopping and had some dinner. I was busy sorting out the kitchen, the boys were playing in the garden and Alice was watching me from her walker. I had already warned the boys about climbing as they had pushed the slide up to the playhouse to sit on the playhouse roof.

Then it happened, I heard the cry. Not a normal cry, not the cry when your brother steals your favourite toy but the cry that tells your baby boy is actually hurt. I ran outside to find Oscar on the concrete his had decide to put his quad bike on the back step and climb on top of it. As he looked up at me blood was pouring down his face and I panicked.

I scooped him up, put him on the sofa and tried to clean him up as best I could with a wet tea towel but the blood was still coming. I frantically tried to call hubby along with a few family members to get some advice and got through to our doctors surgery who advised me to take him straight to A&E. By this time Oscar was quite sleepy which I wasn't sure if it was down to him banging his head or that it was probably nap time.

I got Ethan to help me pack a for us to take with us to hospital. He is usually quite reluctant to help but I think he knew that he needed to help mummy today. It'd not easy trying to remember everything you need to leave he house with three little ones especially when you don't know how long you are going to be out for. Just as I was putting the pram in the car I got a call to say my brother in law was coming round to watch Ethan and Alice until hubby got home. Which was a real relief. Ethan told me to make sure I looked after Oscar at hospital.

Oscar had fallen asleep but seemed to make a miraculous recovery when his uncle turned up. Which made me feel like I had made a big drama out of it. He was back to being drowsy in the car.

We were booked in straight away at A&E which might have been something to do with Oscar still being covered in blood. He wouldn't let me clean him up and everytime he saw the blood on the tea towel he got upset. We were seen by triage very quickly. Oscar really perked up when he had somewhere new to explore.

By the time we saw the doctor he was back to his old self. The doctor was really good with him she had a lego superman torch which she let him play with while she cleaned up his wound and dressed it. His wound was dressed and we were given some head injury advice. He was luckily he only came away with a cut and probably a bug headache.

It's safe to say he gave us a big fright and I'm sure there will be more to come as he has not learnt his lesson he actually seems to be climbing more than ever now.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Expectation Vs Reality - Picnic in the Park

It's no secret that I don't leave the house much. I make excuses like not having the car, the bus isn't big enough to get my double pram on and everywhere is too far Ethan to walk. Today I had no excuses it is sunny, I have the car so I was leaving the house today.

My plan a picnic in the park, I imagined me and the three kids sat nicely on our picnic blanket, eating cow cheese (what my kids call cheese spread due to the cow on the packet) sandwiches. No paddy's, no running away. Just a nice afternoon.

Alice ready to go

The reality, I decided to visit a park we have never been to before which was a rookie error. If your going to check out somewhere new with kids especially small ones who can escape very well you need a second pair of hands

So we all get in the car I felt brave only taking the single pram for Alice even though I had no idea how far away the playground would be from the car park. Luckily they were right next to each other so no trying to carry Oscar for ages before even getting to play. The playground was amazing but it was very busy, there was a mini bus full of nursery children and with it being polling day loads of bigger kids who were off school for the day were busy playing.

I asked the boys if we should sit down and have our picnic. No they wanted to play. On everything while I maneuvered the pram round the playground making sure I could still see them. Eventually they made it to the biggest slide on the park. If I'm honest they were both a little too young for it. It is huge. Before I could get to him Oscar was up there and back down again. That kid has no fear. Ethan was still busy trying to brave it up the steps.


As they were happy it seemed like a good place to sit down. Blanket out, Alice out of the pram only to look up and Oscar has ran off and managed to climb up something he can't get down from. Quickly shouted of Ethan to sit with Alice while I rescued Oscar. Tried to get Oscar to sit and eat but only one of my children was actually interested in eating and the was Alice. She grabbed herself a sandwich while Oscar bolted again. After catching him a 3rd time I gave up on the idea the expected nice family picnic, packed up and just continued to feed Alice snacks while she was sat back in the pram.

Alice happily watching from the pram.
We then went back to the younger children part of the playground which was much more suited to the boys size. Lots of sand and lots of slides. All was going well until Ethan decided he wanted to go back and give the BIG slide another go. I tried to round up Oscar and eventually got him so leave the sand and follow Ethan.


After Ethan had gone on the big slide we decided to go back to the sand pit and the smaller slides. That is when Oscar decided to have the mother of all paddy's. Screaming and trying to headbutt the floor. To stop him from hurting himself I scooped him up in one arm while pushing the pram with the remaining free hand. While this was going on Ethan had spotted one of his friends from nursery and had gone over to play only to be devastated by the fact I told him we were going back to the car because of Oscar's tantrum.

By the time we got back to the car I had two unhappy children. The aim of today's trip was to tire them out so they would go to bed early as I have a meeting tonight at the primary school Ethan is starting at in September. Instead Oscar had a sleep in the car and Ethan has fallen asleep on the sofa. #mummyfail


Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Awkward In Between Stage

We have reached the stage with Alice where she is very aware and no longer wants to stay still. Instead she want to sit up, play, attempt to crawl and stand up. This means she can no longer be left to occupy herself happily kicking away in her bouncy chair she wants constant attention.

If she thinks your are ignoring her or giving someone else attention - She will scream!

If she rolls on to her tummy and attempt to crawl, she will get frustrated - She will scream!

If her brothers leave the room to play somewhere else where she can't see them - She will scream!

She developing her own personality and using screaming to make sure she is heard among the chaos of the terrible two.

She has recently discovered snacks, from biscotti and rice cakes to carrot puffs. Snacks are currently working to distract her when she is being a little diva. The ultimate way to keep her happy is for the boys to pull silly faces and make her laugh but they aren't always will to participate.

Although I don't want her to grow up to quickly I think this stage is quite difficult. Maybe once she can move around a little more and be more independent she'll he happier. I think she will be very pleased to be able to follow her big brothers.