Monday, 29 July 2013

Holiday crafts - Rice Maze and Story Maker

So it's the Summer holidays. So far, ours have been OK. Where it normally takes Mini a good week to settle into the different routine, he's settled much quicker this time.

As usual, I've planned our Summer holiday, although things have had to change a little beach trips, no camping, and certain activities will need to wait until Dollop's plaster cast is removed. We jumped straight into the plan, and have been doing lots of activities. Mostly craft stuff and baking because I find these bring us close, and are 'together' activities.
I want to share some of them with you...until a few months ago I was writing another blog Cakes, Makes and Bakes, where I wrote, funnily enough, about cakes, makes and bakes, with recipes and craft activities. It seems silly to keep up that other blog, when this one is where I write about Mini and Dollop. So from now on I'll share some of the things we make here on The Boy's Behaviour, and I hope you'll find they're things you can do with your children too. Cakes, Makes and Bakes will stay live, so do have a look at things we've done in the past...I even posted about a disaster that we made, it might make you giggle if nothing else.

So one of the first things we've done is a simple craft activity to make a useful toy/game. This was inspired by something I saw a few years ago in a shop, and as I was tidying up a few little bits and pieces, I thought I'd give it a go. Mini helped, and has since spent ages playing with it...Dollop too.

Rice Maze and Story Maker
You'll need:

 A large (ish) plastic bottle with a screw on lid. Try to find one with a relatively wide hole.
Rice - enough to mostly fill your bottle.
10-20 small objects, that will fit into the bottle, we used:
  • Small plastic sword
  • Hat pin
  • Toy spider
  • Butterfly sequin
  • Mini peg
  • Leaf sequin
  • Screw
  • Penny
  • Mini pom pom
  • Paperclip
  • Moon shaped bead
  • Pink bead
  • Hama bead
  • Plastic bow
  • Googly eye
  • Wiggly shaped craft foam
  • Foam flower
Simply ensure your bottle is clean and dry. Fill it with handfuls of rice (you might find a funnel useful), and throw in one of your little objects with every other handful. You need to leave a gap at the top of the bottle for the rice and objects to be moved around in, so leave an inch or two gap. Screw the cap on, and superglue if you're worried about it coming off.

That's it. Now there are several games to play, and if you have any more ideas I'd love to hear them.

Put a 20-30 second timer on and ask your child to shake the bottle and call out as many things as they can see. Adjust the time based on your child's age and ability. Mini LOVES this - he's 6.

Call out items for your child to find - this works better than the above game for little children. Dollop prefers doing this - she's 3.

Use it as a story teller. Shake the bottle and using the first item you see, make up a story. Regularly shake and spot an item that you can work into the story. Great for inspiration when you're struggling for a new bedtime story. Using this Mini's made up several short stories already.

Because Mini and I made this it gave us some time together. He got excited about finding what to put in it. He could do the whole thing himself, but we talked and he listened to my instructions. The other great thing about this is that Mini *could* play with it himself, but it wouldn't be so much fun. So it helps us all interact and be close and connect. We high five or hug when he's found the pieces. He's using his imagination (and so am I) to make stories. It's a quiet, calm activity that we can spend 5minutes or 50minutes on. He's even sat and made up stories with and for Dollop, so they've played together. Such a simple idea, but works in so many ways for us.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

10 things I love about the holidays

I hate the sun. There I said it. I've never been a sun-lover, and much prefer to cosy up by a fire with a hot chocolate in the winter.
However, I have two children who do like the sun, or more accurately, they love being outside and don't seem to notice the sun or the heat, even Dollop in her plaster cast is quite happy to sit outside with a pot of bubbles and hasn't suffered (yet) with itchy leg syndrome.

Of course with summer holidays imminent we're probably going to be spending quite a lot of time outside, and instead of thinking about all the things we're not going to be able to do with Dollop in plaster, I thought I'd have a think about all the things I love about holidays and sunny weather (despite the heat).

1. Spending time with the children. Yes it gets a bit mad, sometimes they infuriate me with their whines of boredom, but it's really nice to get some proper time to play and craft together.
Remind me of this in a month when I'll be desperate for school to re-start!

2. Eating salad. I know?! I never thought I'd be one to say that, but after eating stodgy comforting stuff in the colder months, I really enjoy being able to have a salad, in the garden, with a glass of something cold.

3. Holiday journals. As a kid I hated having to do these, but Mini's quite looking forward to recording what he's been up to. And I must admit, I'm looking forward to reading his perspective on our activities and our time together. And he hasn't realised that he's doing it to practise his handwriting over the Summer. #Win.

4. Wearing pretty sandals and cute shoes. I'm a girl...need I explain more?

5. The smell of BBQs. I love that deep smoky smell of a BBQ. The meat cooking...not so much, but the actual charcoally scent. I am keeping packs of hot dog rolls, sausages (and veggie sausages) in the freezer for spontaneous BBQs forced by the delicious smell of other peoples dinners. I've also stocked up on accompaniments not ketchup, but bottles of Pimms, lemonade and gin.

6. Laundry drying outside and quickly. With all the wet sheets and pants I have to wash, it is SO nice to be able to hang them outside and have them dry within 15minutes. I tend to go a bit mad and wash *everything* in sight to make the most of being able to hang it all outside.

7. Paddling pools. Nothing better than seeing your children splashing around in the paddling pool. Mine usually take a little coercing before they'll dip a toe in the sparkly cold water, but before long they're giggling, shrieking, splashing and playing. We'll be getting a waterproof cover for Dollop's leg so she can join in for a bit too.

8. Better moods. All round too I find. Everyone seems a little bit brighter, and mostly more tolerant too. Although there is a fine line between warm sunny moods, and grumpiness due to over-heating.

9. Outside play from dawn to dusk. Our garden is separated from our house...we have a gated yard outside the backdoor, then our neighbours have access through our garden, then we have another gate to access our proper long long long grassy garden The only place I can see the whole garden is from our upstairs bedroom window. Because of these gates and obstacles, Mini's only ever been allowed to play in the garden when I've been there too, but this year, we've given him a bit more freedom and he's allowed to play out there by himself. He's loving it and will happily bounce away on the trampoline for ages or bashing his rebounding punch pirate, coming in every now and then to check we're here.

 10. Family time. This year we'd intended to go camping, but now won't because of Dollop's leg. We're spending the saved money on a couple of big (for us) days out, and are looking forward to Legoland and another more local theme park aimed especially at children, which we hope Dollop will be able to enjoy from her wheelchair. We can't wait to see the children's faces!

So that's what our summer will mostly consist of. I'm dreading it and looking forward to it in equal measure. What are your plans for the summer? Are you going away or making the most of this lovely weather?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Review: Vegetarian Step by Step

I am a cookbook collector. I LOVE cookbooks. I've slowed down a bit on the collecting recently because I'm running out of space. Some might say "why don't you get rid of the ones you don't use" but this is not an option. You can't just 'get rid' of cookbooks. So I have two sideboards full of them, with my favourites and most used books out on display so I can grab them easily instead of wading through hundreds of books. Mini's already learning which books are the best, and he certainly knows which book contains our favourite Amercian style pancake recipe!

I recently met some of the lovely people at Parragon Books, and was thrilled that one of the goodies they gave me was this book.

I am a vegetarian, living in a family full of meat-eaters. Mini's quite choosy, OK really fussy with meat. In fact, if it wasn't for his undying love for sausages I think he'd happily be veggie (he's tried the veggie ones but declared them 'yuck'!). Dollop on the other hand loves meat, especially chicken and ham. The NC gets what he's given, and luckily we have a mutual dislike for certain vegetables so they get avoided.

Because of this family make-up of preferences, likes and dislikes, I sometimes have a hard time finding meals that everyone will eat. The kids don't like lentils, Dollop's not keen on rice or squash, Mini will only eat certain vegetables - carrot, broccoli and peas, and HATES tomatoes. It's difficult and so I'm always on the lookout for new vegetarian recipes that, even if they don't suit everyone, can be adapted to suit at least 3/4 of us.

Vegetarian, step by step gives me that. It's divided into 4 recipe sections to make it easier to find the sort of meal you want to cook - soups and starters, salads and light meals, midweek and family suppers and special occasions. There is also a useful introduction which talks about a balanced diet, store cupboard stand-bys and even some hidden ingredients to look out for. But the best thing by far about this book is the gorgeous photography. Each recipe has a list of all the ingredients alongside a photo of them. Then step by step instructions and photographs are given for each stage so you can see exactly what 'sweated down' or 'til slightly browned' actually means.

So far I've tried the Borlotti Bean, Tomato and Onion Salad with eggs (except I cheated and used tinned beans instead of the suggested dried). This was meant to be for just the NC and I, but Mini ended up staying up late and he LOVED it too.

And we've had Bean and Tomato Casserole with Parmesan Toasts which was a nice light casserole in this heat! Dollop didn't like this one, but she was a bit under the weather. Mini however (despite not liking tomatoes) did eat it and had seconds! I can pretty much always find something for Dollop to eat. Mini is the fussier one and he ate both of these dishes, which says something to me!

Both recipes were easy to follow, so easy in fact that Mini helped make both of these dishes. And they came out perfectly. Next on my list are Potato Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto and Falafel Burgers, and Mini has eyed up the Carrot Tarte Tatin. Some of the recipes are things that I'd probably throw together anyway, but there are lots of recipes that I would never have thought of, or previously been daunted by that I'll now give a go. Don't get me wrong, I love wordy cookbooks and have been known to take them to bed instead of a trashy novel, but I really like how clear the photos make this book, and that makes it easier for Mini and I to spend time together doing something we both enjoy.  I'll be seeking out others in the range (they do a beginners step by step, cocktails step by step, but the Tapas one is the one I really would like).

If I had a criticism of this book at all, it would be that it doesn't give you an idea at the beginning of each recipe how long it would take to cook. So make sure you read the recipe through completely before you plan to make it.

If you cook from this book too, I'd love to hear about your favourite recipes...or perhaps you have some other favourite vegetarian books?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Dollop has her full leg cast on now. It was plastered on Monday. Tuesday she started crawling around and bum-shuffling. Today (Wednesday) she has been walking with help, then without. Her independence astounds me, her determination amazes me, Dollop makes me a very proud mum.

And today, she went to nursery for an hour for the first time. I was with her the whole time, and played with her, read stories to her and carried her around the room. She loved it, she wanted to stay, she would have been happy for me to leave her there on her own. Dollop's not been to playgroup or pre-school, but again her independent streak shone through. Dollop made me a very proud mum.

Today was Mini's sports day. In this unrelenting heat, Mini took part in an obstacle course, a foam javelin throw and a sprint. He came 2nd in the obstacle course and 3rd in the javelin throw. He was so pleased with himself. He gets a 10/10 from me for effort. Mini makes me a very proud mum.

It was report day today. Mini's report couldn't have been any better at all. All the remarks are about the progress he's made at school - his confidence is gaining, his reading is top notch - everything is top notch! In parts Mini sounds like a completely different child, but then we know he's different at school. But yet again, Mini's made me a very proud mum.

Today, my kids have both made me really really proud, and despite all their trial and tribulations, they've both managed exceptionally well today. Aren't they clever?!

I'm linking this post up with #MemoryBox at The Adoption Social:
Memory Box

Memory Box

Monday, 15 July 2013

Pimms and getting plastered

One way to snap out of Pimms induced tipsiness is to hear your child scream in pain. I know this, because this weekend I snapped out of Pimms induced tipsiness after hearing my daughter scream in pain.

What happened? In short, Mini accidentally fell over onto Dollop's leg and after 4.5 hours in A&E she has emerged with a plaster cast from her toes to her thigh for her broken leg. My poor baby girl.

This photo is off it straight after's only a back slab (the back of her leg and around her foot is plastered), and tomorrow we'll be visiting the fracture clinic to have this removed and a proper fibre glass cast put on instead.

Just a teensy sign that it's broken, it looks like a little chip from this side!
The x-ray from the front showed the break more clearly, which goes right
across the bone, but I didn't get to take a photo. These was a sneaky one!
It's horrid. She can't move her leg obviously. She's in pain (although the cast has helped and so does the Calpol). Her cast is so high up she can't even sit on the toilet properly. The cast makes it difficult for her to sit in her car seat or buggy for very long. She's hot. She's already frustrated. She will be in plaster for 4-6 weeks (though probably with cast changes in that time). She is supposed to be at her nursery induction session this week, but we're not sure if she'll make it. We are supposed to see our post adoption social worker tomorrow, but can't because we'll be in the fracture clinic. We had plans for the Summer holidays that will have to be shelved.

Despite this, I'm linking up to #MemoryBox at The Adoption Social because Mini has shown empathy and care for Dollop. He worried about her whilst he waited at home with Daddy for news from me at the hospital. He's shown guilt and shame too. But he has handled these emotions and feelings remarkably well. Accidents happen, and I think we've gotten that through to him, and the initial blame that he heaped on himself seems to have dissipated.
I'm also linking up because I normally panic when things like this happen. I usually let the NC take over and do the hospital trips, whilst I wait at home with the uninjured one, and stress until I hear from him. But this time, I did it. I sat there in that hospital with her, I dried her tears, I read her stories, I cuddled her to sleep, and I stroked her hair & held her hand whilst she was examined. I was even OK (well, as much as you can be) when the lady near us starting throwing up, and when a nurse took blood from someone next to us (I have a needle phobia)! So this is a 'yay me' moment too.

But now reader, I need you! If you have any ideas on how to keep an immobile 3 year old occupied for a few weeks til she gets the hang of walking on her cast, then please send them this way (I've already stocked up on colouring books and sticker books. Playdough, lego and baking are all on my to-do list).

**EDIT** It has been brought to my attention that some people think it's disgusting that I would own up to drinking whilst Dollop broke her leg, because if this incident happened in another family the children would be removed. I want to clearly state that although I'd had a couple of weak Pimms (that's under the legal drink/drive limit), my husband was completely SOBER and this incident would have happened regardless of my slight tipsiness. I was trying to keep the post short, and therefore omitted certain information that might have made us as parents appear reckless. If children DO get removed because of an isolated incident like this then there is something wrong with the system, if I'm unable to admit to having a drink whilst other sober adults are present, there is something wrong too!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sports day worries

Yesterday Mini shared something with me. It's quite unusual for him to share his worries, and so whilst I hate that he's worried about something, I'm so pleased that he's felt able to talk to me.

He told me he's worried about sports day. Actually that's not true. He's told me he's NOT GOING TO SPORTS DAY. Because he's worried he's not fast enough or good enough to win anything.

It was reinforced today when he bought home a wish box he'd made in his nurture group - I took a sneaky peek at the wish inside - 'I wish I was good at sports' and he's just made another - 'I wish I could run as fast as Scaramanga'.

I'm linking this up with #MemoryBox, because Mini sharing this with me is a real achievement for him, and I hope shows an improvement in my own skills because he felt comfortable talking to me.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Are adoptive parents that shallow?

At the moment there is all this media hype surrounding that awful woman from The Apprentice and the remarks she has made about class and children's names, and the judgements she makes based on those names.

Yesterday the Guardian published an article, written supposedly by someone who sits on an adoption panel (they're the people who make a recommendation on whether prospective adoptive parents should be approved or not), all about names and adopted children. There's a link on this page.
So this man, this Fraser McAlpine, feels he's well placed to make some judgements of his own...

He writes that for prospective adopters, the process is like looking through a brochure, and that they have to wade through it, not thinking too hard about it until the right face looks out at them.

You what? Yes, as a prospective adoptive parent, I myself compared Children Who Wait (a magazine of children who are waiting to be adopted) to a more emotional and heartbreaking version of the Argos book. However, I did not 'wade through' or 'not think about it'. For heaven's sake, deciding to be an adoptive parent is a big decision, becoming an adoptive parent is a massive thing, if you've not been successfully matched by your social worker and have to look through Children Who Wait or loads of profiles, then I imagine the decision over which children to enquire about requires thought by the bucketload! 

"it's easy for the imaginary, baby-shaped void that has grown within a prospective family – for which the parents will have spent years suggesting names – to become competition for any real children that may be about to arrive"

I'll repeat - you what? Firstly there is an assumption that all adoptive parents have tried (and failed) to have a baby, then there is the assumption that they'll have names in their heads. That may be the case for some families, but talk about sweeping statements! Not everyone comes to adoption via infertility, obviously Mr McAlpine doesn't ever have to consider single adopters, gay and lesbian adopters or those for whom adoption was their first choice on his adoption panel.
I did come to adoption via infertility, but I didn't have any names thought out for my future children - birth or adopted. Tell a lie, I had a girl's name that I liked, but I liked it way before thoughts of having children entered my head.

"This is the point at which making judgments about children from a first name alone becomes troubling. Adoption is often a case of middle-class families taking on children from non-middle-class backgrounds, and when those families worry about taking on a child because their name could lower the tone, well, there's that queasiness again."

Again, you what? Do you seriously think that people who are about embark on a whole new future are thinking about the name? Do you seriously think that adoptive parents, who have been through so much to even be allowed to be a parent make decisions based on names? Are adoptive parents *that shallow?* I have no doubt that there is a minority (as in everything) for whom name is important, and perhaps important enough to not adopt a particular child, and yes, I'm sure once the adoption order has gone through, some adoptive parents change their children's names, but this generalisation astounds me.

Mr McAlpine refers to news reports that claim that prospective adopters are put off by names, and I am very surprised that he chooses to believe these news reports over the prospective adopters he must come across in his role. Is the feedback he's getting from them the same? He also states that these news reports suggest that prospective adopters are so put off by these names, they would rather remain childless. Well, to be honest, if those prospective adopters really think like that, then they are better off not being adoptive parents,.

There are several other statements and sentences that I could easily take issue with, but to be honest, what surprises and bothers me most is that someone who is clearly involved in adoption has this view of both prospective adoptive parents (who are seemingly shallow, judgemental and dismissive of identity) and social workers who, if they're producing prospective adopters who are shallow, judgemental and dismissive of identity, are clearly not doing their job properly.
I cannot tell you just how much we were made aware of identity. We did homework on it, we considered and thought about it. It was vital to our social workers that we understood the importance of names and we would never have gotten to panel if our social worker thought we hadn't considered it enough, or if she'd had an inkling that we'd be the kind of parents who would change a name straight after the adoption order.
I'm also really concerned that if the people that approve adoptive parents think like this, yet still approve them, how much of a post adoption crisis will there be for adoptive families, and my word, what kind of issues will adopted children have, on top of everything else? If their parents are so ill-equipped they can't even cope with a name, how on earth will they cope with trauma, contact, attachment, reunion and all the other things adoptive families have to think about?

Me, well in the end, I did change my son's name.
His birth name is not one I would have chosen for him, not in a million years but our social worker told us about him first, we made our decision based on what they told us about his character, his background, his trauma...not his name, and then even when she gently told us his double-barrelled made-up name, with made up middle names too, we still weren't put off. It wasn't our choice, but we didn't dislike it. This child was going to be part of our family, if he was right for us, and us for him, then his name was not important. We said it over and over, until it fitted with our surname. And to be honest, we were clear that it didn't matter if we liked it or not, it was part of him, his identity, something that his birth mother had given him, and in Mini's case it follows a pattern of naming in his family, and kind of ties the siblings together. Then we were told we should change it. For us, more importantly for him, there was/is a security risk, and because his name was so unique, he would have been easily found. I'm pleased that at least Mr McAlpine recognises that there are times when name changes are important.

I will add that I have quoted sections from the article that have particularly riled me, and there are many more sentences that I could add to this blog post and take issue with, but please do read the article in it's entirety in order to form your own opinions.
If you'd like to respond to this article too, please write your own blog and then link-up on the Collective Response - Weekly Adoption Shout Out Midweek Special...

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Doggy decisions

I'd like a dog. The NC would like a dog. The children would like a dog.


Dogs can be expensive. It's hard choosing the right breed. Should we get a puppy or a rescue dog? As much as the children *think* they want a dog, are they actually ready for it? There's lots to consider.

We've had a dog before. Not long after Mini moved in, we bought a Labrador puppy. Stupid idea. Just as Mini was settled enough to sleep through the night, we got a puppy who would cry and need to go outside during the night. The NC spent a long time sleep deprived!
We decided in the end that it was too much having a new little person and a new puppy, unfair on both as we couldn't give Bob-dog the time he needed, and unfair on Mini as we were trying to build a relationship with him, whilst he was grieving for his foster carer AND settling into a new home with strangers AND getting to know his surroundings; we moved Bob-dog on quite quickly to another family.

Mini became quite nervous around dogs after this, and we've had to be quite vigilant when out and about as he'd panic if a dog came too close - this of course makes the dogs nervous too. When Auntie H had a dog, it took Mini a little while each time we saw her for him to be relaxed around the dog. But, things have improved recently, and we've noticed he's better with smaller dogs.

Now, we are all more settled, the children are older. Dave-the-therapist has recommended a dog...several times in fact, and now our social worker has joined the cause! And we know there are benefits of having a pet, not only from a responsibility point of view, in fact at 6 and 3, they wouldn't take much responsibility anyway, but apparently dogs can help children develop empathy (a skill Mini needs some help with), build confidence, settle anxiety and nervousness, and of course can be companionable.

So, we have considered lots, and made a decision and we are looking for a dog. We've talked as a family, and we've all agreed that rehoming a rescue dog is what we'd like to do. Mini himself has likened the process to himself moving in - what with introductions etc. We went to see a little Staffordshire bull terrier last weekend, and despite his initial nervousness with her, Mini even felt comfortable enough to hold one of the leads and walk her! Unfortunately she required much, much more training than we're able to give her, and so we're still looking.

But hopefully, in the not too distant future I'll be able to introduce you to a new member of our family...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

My Britmums Live experience

For those of you who don’t know, BritmumsLive! is the biggest parenting conference in the UK, run annually by the parent blogging network Britmums. This year was my first year and I was lucky enough to have some financial support from The Open Nest, a post adoption support charity that has recognised the benefits of adoption blogging as a support tool.

At the front for Kirstie Allsopp

The conference was a good mix of keynote speeches (from Katy Hill, Katie Piper and Kirstie Allsopp), inspirational sessions from respected bloggers sharing their stories, informative sessions on improving blogs, opportunities to meet brands or sign up to their blogging ambassador programmes and networking times. I won’t bore you with the details because if you don’t blog, you won’t want to be reading about Wordpress plugins or the basics of good blog design! (And if you do, then keep an eye out on The Adoption Social where we’ll gradually be sharing some ‘how to’ posts!)

Sticking to the water at the BIBs

 I also attended the BIB (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards, which was another useful opportunity to network, and drink a glass or two of fizz – Soda Stream as well as Cava!
As well as the freebies, there was laughter, there were also tears and it was a great idea to include boxes of tissues on all the tables for the final session where bloggers read out their own nominated posts and where we celebrated the life of a well-known blogger who sadly passed away – Kerry from Multiple Mummy. I cannot explain how it felt to be singing Firework by Katy Perry along with about 500 other people, whilst getting teary about a woman I’d never met…it was very emotional, and I’m honoured to have been a part of it.

I have learnt lots and returned home feeling inspired to develop my own blog, perhaps in some slightly different directions with a little diversification, and The Adoption Social. As Sarah (from The Puffin Diaries and the other half of The Adoption Social) was also attending, it was a great chance for us to meet up and think about new things we could develop together too, and we certainly have some ideas for The Adoption Social which we’re already busy with.

But next year, we need more adoption bloggers there to fly the flag for our niche corner of blogging. The collective blogging voice is powerful, and together adoption bloggers (and by that I mean anyone involved) can raise awareness and bring change. This Britmums event is for 500 parent bloggers, yet Sarah and I were the only adoption bloggers there (that we know of), and at times it was very definitely aimed at birth parent bloggers – from the MAM stand and samples in the goody bags, to the keynote speeches about childbirth and preparing your lady garden for the midwives to see!
I might be a birth mother too, but I cringed at times at what felt like a lack of inclusivity. That’s not to say it was exclusive, but there was little sensitivity towards people who might have come to parenthood an alternative way…Having said that, every single person I met was friendly, welcoming, interested and interesting, it was really great to meet the people behind some of the blogs that I am most interested in and admire.
But, how great would it be to use an opportunity like BritmumsLive! to share the ins and outs of adoption? To share the process to become an adoptive parent? To educate people on the trauma that children in care live with? To encourage more people to think about adoption – whether that’s becoming an adoptive parent, or just changing their outlook and thinking differently…

It would also be a great learning opportunity for those who want to start or develop their own adoption blogs, and a chance to join the parent blogging community (which seems to be really friendly!).
And mostly it would be great to meet each other! We could even sneak off to a cocktail bar somewhere nearby?

Tickets are already available for next year. Think about it…

Monday, 1 July 2013

Sunny days and seaside trips

Today it's warm. The weekend has been warm. My sister in law has been here with Baby Whizz and we've talked about the seaside next week. It got me thinking about earlier in the year and in particular our trip to the seaside on New Year's Day. It was a nice, sunny, bright but brisk day, we wrapped up and Mini spent THE longest time throwing stones into the sea...

I'm linking this post up to #MemoryBox on The Adoption Social.
Memory Box

Transitions and teachers

We just found out last week about Mini's teachers for next year. Yes, that s on the end of teacher is supposed to be there. Teachers. Plural.

After all the 'fun' of the last 2 years with frequent staff changes/substitutions, they decided to move Mini's class to the job share class. Job share as in 2 teachers. That's 2.5 days with one teacher, and 2.5 days with the other. 2 teachers. 2!

Though we've made the decision to move Mini, we can't get him in for September, the best schools are full with waiting lists, which within a week or two Mini will be on too. We hope he'll be able to start Year 3 at a different school. This isn't *too* much of a problem because he'd be moving to a Junior School for Year 3 anyway, this will give us the opportunity to get him into a better school than his Infant school feeds into, which by all accounts is even worse than his current school!
So for now, unless a place miraculously becomes available in the next few weeks, or during Year 2, Mini is stuck with 2 teachers.

Fair play to his teacher, she informed me that because they've decided to keep the classes together (rather than mixing them up like last year) and she gave me the option of putting him in the job share class with all his current friends, or moving him to a different class with just one teacher but obviously pulling him out of his group of friends.
He has friends in all the classes, but he is most definitely closest with those he's spent the last year with. So I spoke to Mini. He, as you would expect, wants to stay with his friends and although I'm disappointed it means he has 2 teachers, and then every other week he'll have a cover teacher to cover planning time...I think it's the right decision. I know have two teachers to 'educate'. Great.

This week it's moving up day. The day itself is buffered by a school trip to a local farm and a non-uniform day, but Mini is resolute. He is NOT GOING TO SCHOOL ON MOVING UP DAY.

He is absolutely petrified.

We have the makings of a transition book, which can be added to after moving up day, which we're using at the moment. I've tried to explain that I think he'd feel better in September if he spends some time with his new teachers before then - he can see where he'll sit, hang his coat etc. But at the moment, he's still not interested.

He had a bit of a chat with the NC the other night and some of his worries came out (yay!!!!!), and I've already spoken to his current teacher about them. It would seem that some pressure is being applied to improve his handwriting...he gets his b's and d's mixed up, and his 2's and 5's. He's stressing about this rather a lot, and the thought of moving classes, going on holiday, getting a dog (maybe, possibly, just thoughts at the moment) and football club (2nd session today) is just too much. He's been reasonably calm and chilled over the weekend, but when thoughts turn to school, he visibly tenses.

We've been here before, but I'm not sure how to help him at the moment. Dave-the-therapist will say we need to keep talking about it - no use pretending it's not happening. Talking will help Mini get his worries out and we can then address them. But I hate seeing him so stressed about school...about anything, but particularly something that he HAS to do 5 days a week. Home-schooling is not an option by the way.

What sort of things have you found help when your child changes class/year at school?