Back to School

Schools went back, yesterday, after a fortnights holiday for Easter.  Gning went in to his class with a big smile on his face, happy to be with all of his classmates again.  Donut, on the other hand, wasn’t able to return to nursery, as he is having belly problems again.  The earliest he can go back is tomorrow, as schools & nursery settings have a 48hr no-return policy after a final bout of diarrhoea or vomiting.  It’s a shame, as he’s quite taken to another little boy in his nursery school, and all over the Easter break, he’s been “talking” on the phone to this boy…  Pretend, of course, as we don’t actually have his phone number.  I am starting to be concerned though, as I’m sure there must be an underlying problem with his stomach somewhere, due to the amount of times he suffers with diarrhoea.

Anyway…

A couple of months ago, I successfully completed both a teaching assistant, and an EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage – children ages 0 to 5) advanced teaching qualification.  It’s completely different to my experience in work, as I’ve always done some form of administration role – typist, receptionist, secretary, personal assistant, telephonist; and after departing my role of a telephonist of 8 and a half years, last July, I decided that I no longer wanted to be “the voice” of a company, and I wanted to work face-to-face with people.  Not any type of people though – children.

It was hubby, dearest, who gave me a push, by purchasing the two online courses for me.  He said that I should give it a go, as I’ve always had a bit of a knack for working with children and younger people (over 15 years experience in working with the aforementioned, teaching martial arts).  So, I sat down, when the boys were in bed, and I studied.  I completed a (super thick) journal with all of my notes, and then reviewed them the following day, before starting another module of the course.  The next thing you know, I’m “sitting” the exams, and I passed both with a Higher Distinction (97.5% on both exams).

The next question was, “what am I going to do with my new qualifications..?”

I immediately started job searching, for teaching assistant, nursery assistants, and EYFS teachers, however, all positions required a minimum amount of experience set within a learning environment.  None would accept my experience of teaching martial arts, as it’s not considered “academic”.

I had a thought.  I should push my luck, and send several emails off to local nurseries, asking if they would be interested in “hiring” me as a volunteer.  They wouldn’t have to pay me a penny – not even for expenses.  I explained my predicament, and asked if I could attend the setting for just a couple of hours per week, so I could gain the valuable experience that I required.  I only heard back from one nursery, and they stated that they wouldn’t be able to offer me any form of positions, as it wouldn’t be fair to the children…  They further mentioned that “children do get attached to staff members, it would be a shame if the children got attached to me, only for me to leave when I had the relevant experience, if they couldn’t offer me a paid job”.  I was a little disheartened, but not upset, as I completely understood where they were coming from.

So, I decided to try a job search again, and I stumbled upon a posting from a teaching supply agency, for a “Behavioural Support Assistant”.  It was temporary only, but did not require any school-based experience – only some experience in working with children.  Fantastic!  This was my chance…  And I applied for the job.

The following morning, I received a phone call from the agency, apologising that the posting had been offered to someone else that morning, but there was another post that I may be interest in.  He seemed really interested in me, however, the conversation ended when I confirmed that I have no experience in a school setting.  I thanked him for his time, and ended the call.  Not ten minutes later, I received a phone call from the same number…  I was expecting some sort of “survey”, but it was a female voice this time.

The voice explained that she had overheard my previous conversation (from the mans end), and said that I would be a perfect candidate to register with the agency, under the Extra Support category – which basically deals with students who have behavioural problems; and my martial arts and counselling background was more beneficial to me than my teaching qualifications…  For now.

The following week, I went in to the agency to register my details.  I met the female “voice”, and we were in the interview room for over an hour.  She was intrigued by my background, and said she would get to searching for an opening for me as soon as the Easter holidays were over.

Fast forward to yesterday.  It wasn’t just the boys who went back to school.

I received a phone call from a male voice, at about 10am, asking if I was free that afternoon.  He explained that a school, close to me, needs someone to supervise an exam, and if I would be interested to go in.  It didn’t take me long to accept the position, and he said it was a “simple” job, that would start my experience…  I was to be an “Exam Invigilator”; where I simply sit in the room of students, sitting the exam, and make sure there is no talking, cheating, etc., and to hand out any equipment necessary (rules, calculators, pens, etc.).  We finished the conversation, and ended the call.

For the first time in my life, going in to an unknown setting, I wasn’t nervous in the slightest.  The students were all really lovely, and were all well behaved – raising their hands when they needed something, and all said please and thank you.  The only strange thing was, was that they all called me “Miss”!  That’s going to get a bit to get used to.  I came out of the school, yesterday afternoon, with a big smile on my face.

I had only been home from the school for half an hour, when I received another phone call, from the same male voice from that morning, stating that the school had asked for me to return this afternoon, to oversee another exam…  I was only in the school for 2 hours, and I’ve already made an impression.

What can I say?  I’ve currently only worked 2 hours, and I love my job.

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Vlogging!

I made the decision, yesterday, to venture out of my comfort zone, and move in to the world of video logging.  I’ve set up my YouTube channel already, and I’m now preparing to take the world by storm…

I have just one question though.  What should my first video be about..??  Should it be an introduction to me and the world of Insanely Normal..?

If anyone in the vlogging world has any advise for me, any do’s and don’ts, please comment below!

Please check out my YouTube channel, and click the “Subscribe” button.

To the mum in the school playground…

Dear smelly-cloud mum in the school playground,

Hi!  You have probably noticed me, spluttering and sneezing as you walk past…

I’m not saying that you haven’t had a wash for a while, but my gosh, what on earth are you trying to cover up with the amount of perfume you have sprayed??  It seems like you just don’t know when to stop…  Or which perfume to use, as I get that many scents when you walk past me, that I think you must have attacked a perfume shop.  I hate to say it love, but have you ever heard the expression, “smells like a whores handbag..?”  Yeah.

Here’s an idea…  Have a shower to get rid of the amount of spray you’re wearing.  Then, next time you come to school, if you really want to wear some perfume – please do!  But you only need a quick spritz…  That way, I won’t come home smelling like you.


Dear MAC expert mum in the school playground,

I wonder why you feel like you have to use a trowel to apply your make-up?  I can see that your foundation would have to be removed with a shovel.

Why do you need your eyelashes to stick out further than your boobs?  Which, by the way, I can tell that you have tried to contour the bust-line, as you haven’t blended it properly.

Wow, that’s a really pretty lipstick colour…  I’ve seen a couple of girls in Amsterdam wear the same colour.

I have to admit that I’ve seen your look before.  It was a specific episode of The Simpsons, when Homer invented a make-up gun.  Have you seen it?

More importantly, I can see your daughter with make-up on too.  She’s only 5.  Why would you let her wear make-up to school?  There’s plenty of time for her to wear it on a weekend, or even when she’s older – why rush her out of childhood?

My advice to you is just to step back.  It’s not even 9am, and you look like you’re going out on the town.  Try googling “day time make-up looks”.


Dear “clique” mums in the school playground,

Hi, err, excuse me, mind if I cut in..?  Oops, I can see that you’re in deep conversation about what you got up to at the weekend, but I just want to say a couple of things.

It’s great that you have such good mum-friends.  Those are really hard to find – especially if they are as close to you as they seem to be.  No doubt that you all get together of a weekend, and during the school holidays for day-trips and the like.  I bet you’re all even that close that you sometimes leave the kids at home, and go for nights out.

Wow, I have to admit – I am a little envious.

I just have one thing to to say…  You see that woman, standing over there in the corner?  She doesn’t have any friends.  She feels like it’s just her and her child.  She’s a lovely woman, with a heart of gold.  If you talk to her, you’ll realise that she’ll fit in with your group perfectly…  She just doesn’t have the confidence to say hello, and you make it seem like you don’t mind other people (like me) talking to you, but really, you just want us to go away so you can continue your gossip.

Just open your eyes.  That’s all.  I know it’s great having friends, but other people aren’t so lucky.


Dear mum who lets her 9 year old daughter take her 6 year old brother to school,

Hi.  I’m a parent of one of your son’s classmates.  I have never met you – I have never even seen you.

I don’t know what is going on in your life, and I don’t want to interfere, but I must say just one thing.

Our sons both started at the schools’ nursery at the same time.  They’ve been friends – not close, but friends, through nursery, Reception class, and now in year 1.  That’s 3 years that I have never seen you.

Do you even exist?  Do these lovely children even have a mum?  Has something happened..?

Both of your children are lovely.  My son often talks about your son, and I am pleased they do sometimes play together.  Your daughter always stays with her younger brother until his teacher comes out to take his class inside.  She then has to run out of the playground, down the road a short distance, and cross a very busy road to get to her own class.  I think she is always late – maybe only by a couple of minutes, but late, never-the-less.  I have never heard her complain.  Not once.  She is such a lovely girl, and I have watched her “tidy-up” her little brother, so he doesn’t go in to school with his shirt hanging out.

Let me tell you, mum, you truly do have two amazing children, but I am concerned that you let them take themselves to school without adult supervision.  Is everything ok?  Do you need help..?


Dear worn-out looking mum in the school playground,

Psst!  I can see you…  Hiding in the corner, in the shade, hoping that no one can see you.  Hey, I get it – you have probably been chasing your kids around the house, making sure they have eaten all of their breakfast, washed their faces, brushed their teeth, and were getting dressed properly.  “What’s that, beloved child of mine, you have lost one of your shoes..?  Again..?”  Yeah.  I know what that’s like.

I can tell you are trying to hide your quickly tied up hair, and I can see the stain on your t-shirt…  Don’t worry mum, you got your son to school on time, and he looks good, in his freshly washed uniform.  You’ve only got to take your little one to nursery, then you can go home.

Now, do yourself a favour, and go and put the kettle on, and take an hour or two just for you.  You’re doing a great job, mum, and you may not feel it, but you are allowed to take a time out.


 

Book Review – “The Tower”, by Simon Toyne

I never make New Year Resolutions, as I never keep them.  However, in a previous blog post, I stated that I have made two for 2018, and I was determined to keep them.  The first was to read more.  Books, that is.  I would aim to read at least one book per month.  Some times that’s easier said than done – so should I aim for “12 books in 2018” instead?  No.  That would just put more pressure on me if I don’t finish a book by the end of the month.

Anyway, I can confirm that today (31 January), I have just finished my first book of the year.

The Tower, by Simon Toyne.  First published 2013.  498 pages.  ISBN 978 0 00 739208 7.

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When I bought this book, I didn’t know that this was actually the third of a trilogy (I will point out here that this makes no difference to the reading.  I have not read the previous two books, nor do I intend to…  This book was perfectly readable on its’ own).  Whenever I buy a book, it’s the cover design that grabs my attention first.  If I am drawn to the cover, I will read the description on the back.

REVELATION OR DEVASTATION?

After centuries of secrecy, the forbidden Citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin opens its gates.  A deadly disease has ravaged everything within.  Charity worker Gabriel Mann is dying – but may also hold the only cure.

Without him, ex-journalist Liv Adamsen stands alone against those who want her silenced.  However, Liv soon has far bigger concerns than just her own life…

In America, FBI agent Joe Shepherd searches for NASA’s missing head scientist.  His investigation unearths a global conspiracy that is preparing for an event beyond all reckoning.

But nobody is ready for what is coming.  And when it does – it will change everything.

I’m a fussy reader, and the genres I choose are rather eclectic.  Ha ha, a bit like this blog really.  I enjoy reading chick lit; where the main character(s) are women, and is a bit of a romantic comedy.  On the other hand, I have really enjoyed reading conspiracy / thrillers; so the blurb on this book called to me.

I have to admit that it was a little slow in starting off.  It seemed all over the place, as the story focused on different “main” characters, who were in different parts of the world.  I couldn’t get my head around it, but perseverance paid off, as by about chapter 10, I was able to distinguish whose story line I was “playing out”.  10 chapters in may sound like a lot, but the chapters in this book are well written, and are about 3-5 pages long.

I found a lot of the characters likeable.  I was able to somewhat “see” what they were describing, and I did feel a lot of empathy for them.

There were a couple of chapters towards the end of the book that I think happened too fast…  I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but I think three characters story lines were ended rather abruptly.  There was no real build-up to it – it just sort of happened; and to me, there could have been more to it.

The whole book sort of ended quickly too.  All the characters, and the plot was closed, so it didn’t leave me with any unanswered questions, but it really felt like the author had just given up.  “I’m bored, let’s wrap this up”, type of thing.  Which was a shame – especially considering this was the final book in the trilogy.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who does like to read conspiracy novels.

My score:

6-out-of-10

Everything comes in threes…

Donut hasn’t had the best of times over the past couple of months.

It all started in December, when hubby treated me to an early birthday present.  He booked for us to go away for the night, leaving both boys with my parents.  It was a lovely break…  We had dinner, played Fallout Monopoly, and the following morning, breakfast, and he took me to watch Star Wars:  The Last Jedi, before heading to my parents to pick the boys up.

That was when it all started.

We arrive at their house, and my mum is cuddling Donut.  “He’s not well…” she said.

His breathing was erratic – like he couldn’t catch his breath.  He was also making a weird “clicking” noise, which sounded on every short inhale.  He also didn’t want to move.  He seemed really lethargic.

Mum explained that he’d been that way since about 11am – it was then nearly 4pm when I was there.

An emergency appointment to see a doctor was in order, so we called NHS 111 for advice.  They agreed that they would like Donut to seek medical advice, so just after 6pm, I took him to the clinic.

Immediately the physician said that she wasn’t happy, and she called an ambulance for him.  She placed a mask on him, connected to an oxygen tank, and filled a tube with what looked like a liquid, which started steaming and bubbling as he breathed.

She took his pulse, blood pressure, and checked his lung capacity.  His pulse was racing, his temperature was through the roof, and his lung capacity was down to just 75%.

We waited for almost 3 hours before the ambulance arrived.  I felt like I had failed as a mother.  Why didn’t I just take him straight to A&E?  Obviously this was an urgent matter, but as usual, I tried to shrug it off, saying, “ahh, he’ll be ok shortly…”

My husband was the one who went in the ambulance with him.  I couldn’t face it – I almost had a breakdown.  I just couldn’t cope.  Instead, I took Gning home, and explained that his baby brother wasn’t very well, and would hopefully be home from hospital very soon.

10pm-ish.  Hubby phoned me, asking to come and pick them up from hospital.  He said that his battery (on his phone) was almost dead, so he would explain everything when we got there.

I parked in the “drop-off” zone, and managed to get a message to hubby to let him know where we were.  As soon as we seen hubby and Donut come out through the automatic sliding doors, Gning was out of the car, running towards them.  He ran like the wind.  As soon as he reached them, he was on his knees, giving Donut a massive hug.  Donut was smiling and laughing.

Back in the car, hubby explained to me that a virus had triggered a breathing attack.  As Donut is under 5 years old, the NHS are not allowed to diagnose asthma (big concern, as hubby has suffered with it all his life), but he had an asthma attack.  Instead of being diagnosed with infantile asthma, he was diagnosed with Infantile Wheezing Syndrome.

He was sent away from the hospital with a blue inhaler – Salbutamol, and we were instructed to give him 5 “puffs” every 4 hours for the first week, then drop it to 2 “puffs” every 4 hours for the second week, whilst waiting to see our own doctor.

I waited until the New Year, as the week between Christmas and New Year was fully booked at the surgery.  The doctor had looked through all of Donut’s notes, and I explained what we had been doing (with the inhaler).  The doctor seemed happy with his progress, so advised that we don’t have to continue using the inhaler unless we deem it necessary.  We were to book another review in 6 weeks time, and in the meantime, keep a diary (of sorts) of when we use the inhaler, and how many “puffs”.

Fast forward to Sunday (14 January).  Donut falls asleep on me in the front room.  Hubby carries him to bed, and tucks him in.

About 10.30pm, Donut is up and back in the front room.  He’s whingy.  I pick him up, and his temperature is sky high again.

I strip his pyjama’s off him immediately, and advise hubby to find some paracetamol urgently – which he did.  We gave him some medicine, and I lightly cuddled him.  We had to bring his temperature down; so I told hubby to take him in to the “big bed”, and to lay him on top of the covers, ensuring the ceiling fan is on.  Within 20 minutes, Donut is asleep again.

It was a bad night.  He was tossing and turning, and snoring snotty snores…  I spent most of the night awake, constantly checking on his temperature.  He was still hot.

Morning came, and hubby came home from work (he works 2am-7am-ish), and Donut was still hot to the touch.  We also found it very difficult to wake him up.

I called our doctors surgery at 8am, when they first opened, and explained that I needed an urgent appointment.  We were given one for 9am.

Donut was diagnosed with the “flu”.  He was prescribed Ibuprofen, and we were advised to alternate the paracetamol with the Ibuprofen.  Plenty of water, and plenty of rest is also essential to his recovery.  Just to ensure that this didn’t trigger another “breathing attack”, we also started giving him his 2 “puffs” of the inhaler, every time he took some medicine.

Thankfully he didn’t suffer for long, as he seems back to normal today (Thursday).  We’ve stopped the medicines and inhaler, however today brought “incident number 3”.

They always say that everything comes in 3’s.  Let’s just hope that Donut doesn’t have to suffer any more after today.

I instructed Gning to go and brush his teeth.  Now, Gning doesn’t like brushing his teeth, so to make sure he was doing it properly, I stood in the doorway of my bedroom, where I was watching him in the bathroom.  Donut was in the front room, and seen me.  Thinking I was playing a game, he runs from the front room, in to the hallway, trips up over his empty Lego bag, and falls head first, straight in to the door frame.

He hit it hard.  The bang was like nothing I have heard.  The whole house seemed to shake.

I scooped him up off the floor, ran in to the front room and sat down with Donut on my knee.  I had my hand firmly pressed against his forehead, and told hubby to get me some Witch Hazel on a tissue as a matter of urgency.

Ten seconds later, hubby had the Witch Hazel soaked tissue, and I removed my hand.  No blood – it’s not cut, but there’s already a bump.  Just as soon as I moved my hand, the tissue was placed on the bump.

I had to take Gning to school, so instead of having to make hubby constantly hold the soaked tissue on Donut’s forehead, I managed to find two Star Wars themed plasters (band-aids), which secured the tissue in place.  Hubby kept Donut amused while I did the school run.  When I got back, Donut was playing on Star Wars Battlefront II (see a theme here?  We’re Star Wars mad, lol).

Donut heard me come back, so he tottled in to the front room, and asked me to take the tissue off his head.  I gladly obliged him, as he’d had it on without complaining for almost 30 minutes.

I asked him how his head was…  “Fine”, he said in his own little way.

He’s bumped, and it’ll probably bruise too, but without the Witch Hazel, it could have been a lot worse.

Let’s hope that’s the end of it.

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For more information on Witch Hazel, and it’s healing properties, click here

Bagpipes – “Auld Lang Syne”

Not bad considering I haven’t picked up the pipes in 12 months…

2018: My New Years Resolutions

  • Read more.  Aim to read at least one book per month.  If you start a book, finish it.  Even if you don’t like it…
  • Write more.  You have such a creative mind, and you’re letting it go to waste.  Write at least one piece of poetry, and one short-story per month.  Get in to the habit of writing, then when you feel more confident, start writing that book…
  • Every night, write a bullet point list containing three things that you are grateful for on that day.
  • Teach Gning how to play chess and backgammon.  At least once a month, play a game of each.
  • Start keeping the house.  Properly.  No more “I’ll do it in a minute…” – if it needs doing, do it now.  Stop leaving everything until later – it’ll only pile up, and mean more work for you.