A special visit from the tooth fairy

imageWhen I was a Kiddiewink, my mum made the tooth fairy a really special affair. Initially I just had a special cushion with a special pocket and poem embroidered. Then a few of my school friends got a special note from their tooth fairy, I remember feeling sad my fairy didn’t love me enough to write me a note! Magically, a little gold card appeared through the post, with red swirly writing on it. My fairy introduced herself as the Poppy fairy, it was so exciting!

With Kiddiewink 1 waiting until she was 6 and bit before she lost one, I wanted to recreate the magic for her. Being a disorganised mummy, I had failed to get everything in in advance (numpty given I had so long!) So we cobbled a special box together- her love heart tin… Tiptoeing in once she was asleep, I scattered silver stars on her bed and windowsill, and in the tin with a £2 coin! Luckily I found these at the last minute! Needless to say she was chuffed to bits, so chuffed she spent lots of time over the next few weeks making rooms and chill out zones for the tooth fairy out of Lego!

When tooth two was lost, she wrote the tooth fairy a letter asking her name

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Cue some swirly writing of my own and the big decision, the tooth fairies name… This time I scattered stars on her Lego and put her letter back in her tin with a shiny £1.
This time she woke coughing at 2am and checked her tin, I was awoken by coughing then exciting squealing; followed by lots of excited wake up calls to her brother! Fortunately I got there before he was disturbed and made the required fuss!
The letter made a trip to school the next day with a chuffed little lady!

Oh to be six years old again!

 

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Prescription upped and traumas with patching…

Kiddiewink 3 had another eye test on Saturday, to check how she was adjusting to her glasses. She is brilliant keeping them on, but the test showed that there is still a significant amount of far sightedness there, so her prescription is being upped to +9 from +7. I had expected this as the initial test showed her to be +11! Fingers crossed it doesn’t need upping much more! She is a star and so far no battles with wearing them!

Kiddiewink 2 is going through a bit of a defiant mood and is resisting the patch big time. “patch time” “no it’s not” shouted crossly with stamping feet. he has now taken himself up to his bedroom to play to avoid the patch a little longer! He will do anything at the minute to procrastinate and when not at pre school, it often is going on around 3pm rather than first thing in the morning. Not that it matters, but I have started dreading the battle again! I really do feel for him! Fingers crossed, it reduces not increases at the appointment on Friday!

videos of the start of kiddiewink 2’s resistance

Beginning patch procrastination

patching procrastination

My Sunday Photo

Another from the shoot with Starwinkle photography. I love the emotions and moods captured in this one. Kiddiewink 2 had had enough, but got a second wind after this photo. Kiddiewink 3 rarely cries, but she was tired as a result of the clocks going back. One of my favourites!

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Where do all the tupperwares go?

It is driving me insane! Every time I batch cook for Kiddiewink 3, I never have enough pots or lids to store it. All I can find is mismatch pots which doesn’t work! I buy them, we lose them! Two weeks ago I bought 12 small pots, granted some are currently in use, but even so, where the hell are they? I am sure the dishwasher eats them; a bit like the washing machine eats socks.
So on continues the search, while the broccoli and cauliflower cheese sits without a home on the hob.

Do they tell you if I have been fighting…

Kiddiewink 2 has always been ridiculously honest! Telling us what he is about to do, before doing it or telling us not to look…
The other day he was helping me make the bed when he dropped this little bombshell!
“Do they tell u if I have been fighting”
“Why have you been fighting?”
“Yep but only once it was with the Lego. W and I made guns and were shooting everyone but then the teacher saw us and said ‘No guns allowed’ and then she took the guns of us
And that is the end of the story! Now cuddle!”

It really tickled me an the voice he put on to illustrate what the pre school member of staff had said was hilarious!

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Parents and Schools together make Mini Mathmagicians

As teachers, we can help motivate and inspire the mind. We can foster a life long love of learning. We can teach knowledge and skills, care and nurture, but we cannot do it in isolation.
In 2008 a lot of research was done into the teaching and learning of mathematics (Peter Williams report), one of their findings was that it is believed that a positive attitude to mathematics was a big stumbling block. One of my lecturers at university back in 1998 had said the same. I remember him saying how it really wasn’t cool to study maths and even less cool to lecture in maths. He joked that at dinner parties, when he told people what he did, it often provoked either awkward silences or a response of utter shock that anybody in their right mind would study mathematics after school. They were useless/rubbish at mathematics, hated mathematics etc.

Hands up if when faced with a maths related question, you feel a panic deep inside and instantly worry about looking stupid? This is still the case amongst my peers, people are quick to proclaim their rubbishness at mathematics, it is socially acceptable. To declare you were rubbish at reading, would attach a bit more of a stigma…
In literacy, reading in particular, once you have learnt the phonetics and patterns, the skill will rarely be lost. Unfortunately, in mathematics this is not the case; if not practised regularly, even basic mathematics can be difficult. 9+7, double 8, 7 x 8, 64/ 8 , 123 x 5… Without the recall of number facts such as number bonds, multiplication and division facts; the world of mathematics is a scary place.
That is why I ask you as parents, please help us produce mini Mathmagicians.

I don’t mean extra homework as I honestly don’t believe that is the way for many children. Instead, they need to want to learn. Make it fun, slip it into everyday activities, make it frequent and in short bursts. Make it a non stressful, no pressure environment. Where mistakes and misconceptions discussed and learnt from, a mistake is nothing to fear or get upset about.

Ten Top Tips for helping your child be a Mathmagician

1) Help them grasp the basics- pairs of numbers which make 10, 100 and in KS2 pairs which make 1 is additional.
Multiplication and division facts- regularly but for short bursts.
Reading and writing numbers

2) Play Bingo as a family- six squares with a number in each and either multiples of… Or pairs which make. Shape names etc. Bingo caller asks a question, if children have the answer, they cross it off. If playing with siblings you can always use a multiplication grid or similar to support the younger.
Eg 6 x 4 (children cross of 24), shape with 4 equal sides (cross of square)- pairs to 100( you say 30, child crosses off 70) etc

3) ‘Talk mathematics’ everyday with your child. On the journey to school or a granny’s Ask them quick recall questions (such as 6x 4, pairs to make 10/100). what shapes can you see? Reading numbers on labels, discussing weights and quantities.

4) ask them word problems linked to your shopping, menus in cafes etc

5) Find some good mathematics pc games and apps, that practice the recall of the basic calculation facts and skills
Interactive resources -currently 9apps for i devices and android devices
http://interactive-resources.co.uk/links

  • topmarks
  • bbc and channel 4 learning
  • woodlands junior/primary homework help
  • Mathematics shed has lots of links for all areas of mathematics (can be annoyingly slow to load at times though). Although a lot of the resources are designed for classroom use, there is no reason it can’t be used for home. There are some great raps and song videos to help to learn key facts, games, puzzles, downloadable resources. (I printed a brilliant frozen multiplication mat for my little girl)

6)  Get a copy of the school’s calculation policy, read it and ask them if you don’t understand anything; teachers won’t bite. This is important for consistency of approach.

7) Get a copy of maths for mums and dadsIMG_1381

 

 

8) Whenever having fun as a family with maths, don’t move too quickly. It is far better to get them happy and confident with something first; self esteem is key. Keep this high and your child will flourish. (Try not to inadvertently make it acceptable to be ‘rubbish’ at maths).

9) let them play with maths, explore weight,capacities, calculations with their toys, drawings to represent calculations, arrays for multiplication(basically dots and crosses in rows and columns) talking things through, using a 100sq, charts etc. Playing with apparatus can really help them fully grasp principles.

10) Keep it fun! Make maths a part of everyday with nothing to fear, only learn from.

multiplication and division facts ideas.

  • bingo
  • chanting in funny voices
  • displaying those that always trip them up in prominent places and bright colours
  • writing/typing the facts in lots of different fonts and colours.
  • Making mini card games( fact on one side, answer on another- how many can they get right in a minute?
    Fact and answer cards and play memory
  • Children design their own times table game.
  • http://www.teachingtables.co.uk

Teaching the Time
General everyday discussion. sharing the time eg Its half six now, time for your bath. What time do we have lunch?
Make a paper plate clock- start getting them to make O’clocks, half pasts etc.

All of the above are just a selection of ideas you may find effective at home but remember, even when they appear to know all the facts, keep revisiting them as just because they can do them in Year three, it doesn’t mean they will remember them in Year five. More resources and ideas will be coming up in the future…

REMEMBER…keep it fun!

 

A labour of love…

I am no baker by any stretch of the imagination. Fairy cakes and your usual sponge is about my limit. Every year, however, without fail I am determined to make my kiddiewinks a cake. Kiddiewink 1 has always put in requests, and always likes me to make it. Kiddiewink 2 on the other hand, couldn’t give a monkeys. Despite this, I set myself my biggest challenge yet… A deep sea diver cake.

After lots of searching I came across one on a cake blog, it had instructions for some bits which made it much easier. For the sea creatures, I printed a template and then cut around it.

I am so proud of my scuba diver, I gave him a name… I had to make him a few days ago so he could harden, and I christened him ‘Sid’. Nobody is eating him ever!

Covering the cake was a nightmare, and due to not having enough hands it broke, some folded onto the chocolate buttercream and there was very nearly tears from me. Luckily, with a lot of delicate jiggery pockery, I covered it. I had no more so I was determined to try and salvage it. I am still a bit gutted about how that bit turned out but I am really pleased with the rest of it. To be honest, I am pretty useless with arts and crafty things, so this really was a challenge, and although by no means perfect, I am convinced and happy that Kiddiewink 2 will love it. ( He better had do, it cost enough time and money to make haha)

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When you don’t get the birth you hope for…

This happened to me with Kiddiewink 1 and 2 and despite being 4 years ago, I am only just coming to terms with the traumatic delivery of KW2. I suppose I better start at the beginning but bear with me as it will be quite lengthy.

With Kiddiewink 1, I hoped for a relaxed water birth with limited intervention and only gas and air. My waters broke on 16th July at 7am (being due on the 17th I thought we would definitely be parents before the due date). Little did I know that the rule for inducing after Membranes ruptured was 72 hours at the time. The next 4 days consisted of lots of walking and bouncing on my ball, I even had to miss my best friends wedding and still no baby. Late on on the 19th they decided to put me on the syntocinon drip (or the drip of pain as my midwives referred to it); despite being offered an epidural prior to this I refused, feeling I was coping quite well. However, I was not prepared for the constant horrific contraction the drip created; a rest between them, you must be joking it just went on and on and on. Eventually I asked for an epidural, but on examination, despite being on the highest setting for the longest possible time, my cervix had started to close, I had gone from 4cm, to 3cm to 2cm! Thanks body, I really appreciated that! The baby had been bouncing on my cervix so much, it had started to swell, essentially making the opening smaller. A c section was the only way forward so I was prepped for theatre, after 4 days in early labour, I was gutted it was going this way but I was so relieved the pain would soon be over and I would be a mummy! The c section itself was a breeze compared to the drip, although deep down I was pretty gutted as I felt my body imagehad failed me! My hubby videoed the moment our baby girl was born and I am so pleased he did, as it is all a bit hazy due to the copious amounts of gas and air! I say on the video “I don’t care how she came out” which in my world is code for I am gutted! I accepted the birth as it was just eh way it was, recovery was good and breastfeeding went very well indeed.”, which helped with immediate bonding! Despite being long and a bit traumatic, the birth was what it was and we just got on with our new life as a family. Granted when friends had perfect water births, I did get a little pang of “why couldn’t my body do that?

With KW2 I was encouraged to try a VBAC and read up lots about how to have a successfully one; key to my birth plan was no drip! I also wanted a section earlier if my labour headed the same way as with number 1. This was all agree with and I felt positive about things….
Little did I know, during my 5 day painful labour, each midwife would have a different perception on ways forward. One would say “we may think about a section”, they would finish their shift and someone else would suggest waiting another day etc. Eventually I was accepted into the labour ward and was introduced to my midwife (a lady I hope never to meet again). Her opening line was “why did you have a section last time”, when I told her it was for failure to progress, she stated “in my experience, once a section for failure to progress, always a c section”. Cracking- exactly what I wanted to hear, thanks for that , I It was such an exhausting emotional roller coaster and after five days, I just wanted the baby out or an epidural! To which I was told “You can only have the epidural if you have the drip”, I was so tempted as I was in so much pain but despite 5 medical professionals lining up in my room to convince me, I refused the drip! (I knew this increased the chance of a uterine rupture dramatically). My lovely midwife then said “well how on earth do you intend to get the baby out” to which I replied “a c section”. After another few hours passed it was agreed I would be allowed a c section. In the meantime my contractions were once again constant and I was bleeding with every peak (blood running down my legs)! There was no break between them. I felt something was very wrong but was dismissed by the midwife who told me the blood was probably down to the number of internals I had had! She then insisted if I was having a c section she might as well put in a catheter ready, I asked her to wait until I had had an epidural, she refused to it wait and brutally attempted to get it in, on the fourth try with me crying please wait, my hubby got cross and told her to please stop.
Finally I was taken to theatre and I still thank the Lord that my midwives shift ended and a new wonderful midwife took over!
My gorgeous baby boy was born not crying or moving and needed oxygen to wake him up, it seems I was right and my uterus had indeed started to tear. Once I had been sewn up, the obsterician made me look him in the eyes and firmly told me that I had made the right decision, and had I had the epidural and drip, our story would have most likely been an extremely sad one! The bonding was not as quick with my little boy, yes I loved him but I was definitely a little detached, I was obsessed with my birth and could not stop thinking about what happened. In hindsight I had some form of Post traumatic stress syndrome/ post natal depression, this didn’t lift until Kiddiewink 2 was 4/5 months and I shared how I was feeling with a few friends. This seemed to help the fog to lift, but I am still angry with the hospital and what they put me through. I have since had an apology from the Supervisor of midwives and I was reassured to hear they would look into the training regarding VBACS, but I never chased this up, I hope it happened but I couldn’t face continuing anymore, I had answers and subsequently some closure… Although, I still find it tough thinking, if I had listened to the hospital and hadn’t read up on VBACs my son and I might not be here today.image

With number three, I had to have a planned section ( no choice in the matter). I was so nervous in the lead up to the event, convinced something would go wrong! I kept the c-section date a secret from everyone, I loved sending the text message when my previous two kiddiewinks had been born, and wanted to surprise people again. With me having to deliver at 38-39 weeks, no one was expecting my text, which was brilliant. The night before then section was surreal. We delivered the big two to my mum’s and then we headed out for a meal. Not much sleep was had; nervously anticipating the day we had ahead. Again, the walk through the hospital doors was totally bizarre and I was brimming over with emotion. Luckily, due to my section not being completely straightforward, I was first in, so by 9.00am I was walking down to theatre (again a surreal experience. Staff were amazing and really helped to make you feel at ease. For the first time, everything went the way I planned ( nearly couldnt get spinal in (45mins) but avoided general in the end). I was eating toast and tea in recovery within an hour of my munchkin being born, and she latched on amazingly. Recovery was quick and it has really helped me accept my births. I guess my body just doesn’t cope with labour and that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

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I now have three gorgeous kiddiewinks who all came out of the sunroof  : ) lovely to have videos of all three being lifted out and sex announced.  Makes it all less surreal…

Reflections on the eve of my return to being a working mummy…

The day has finally come for my return to work and although I know this is the way it has to be; this is what ultimately works for my family at the moment,  I will miss my babies so much! I will miss doing the things I always envisaged I would do when I became a mummy. The school runs, the after school activities, the play dates (for mummy and Kiddiewinks), walks to the park, homework and dinner before 6.30pm at night!
I want to be the one getting the smiles when The youngest wakes from a nap, the little conversations we have, the kisses and the cuddles. Not to mention the fact, I am still breastfeeding Kiddiewink 3 and she is not keen to take a bottle or cup of formula…
All of this has become a much cherished part of my life for 9 months and tomorrow it ends.

My heart aches when I think of leaving behind this new life. But I guess what I have to remember is, we are merely entering a new chapter of our family life, new exciting challenges…

Loving my job makes this next chapter a whole lot easier; not to mention the fact I am very happy with the childcare my kiddiewinks will get in my absence ( a combination of much loved Granny, after school clubs and or wonderful childminder.) They will flourish and that all makes the transitions easier. Domestic Goddess I am definitely not, cleaning is not something I do as often as I should and I am pretty good at productive avoidance tactics- this blog, the book being two of them. Now I get to sit and do school work on the sofa in the evening, while my brilliant husband cleans- win win on this score!
The main thing that will keep me going during the day is that I get to spend my day with 30 awesome kiddiewinks all with their own special personality. Encouraging their inquisitive minds and fostering a life long love of learning is such a cool thing to be doing and I love getting to know every single child in my school. My day will be a whirlwind of teaching, marking, little chats with children, displays, meetings, duties, clubs… I love the craziness and I actually think the craziness loves me too. I do think my job makes me a better person and ultimately a better mummy.

Every moment I have with them becomes special, I look forward to bed and bath time for a whole different reason. That becomes our quality time, it isn’t much during the week but it becomes our special time of giggles, cuddles, tickles, stories… It is no longer the ‘thank goodness I can get these monkeys in bed ‘ time.

So tomorrow morning, instead of doing the school run and getting stressed with parking, I will be tearful at leaving my babies during an inevitably chaotic morning(how ever organised I think I am). The kids will also inevitably not want to get up, having been up before seven all half term.
Maternity leave you have been amazing and now the juggling begins!

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