The moment my heart shattered in to a million pieces…

Monday.  9pm.

It’s a late one, but we’ve just told Gning to pack up, and get to bed, as he needs to be up early for school.  As usual, it doesn’t take him long to start playing up and getting upset, but this was different.  He suddenly became inconsolable.

I made him come and sit beside me, on the settee in the front room.  I eventually managed to get him to start talking…

“Today has been the worst day of my life…”

I thought he was just playing up again, and I replied, “you’re only 6 sweetheart.  If you think today’s been the worst of your life, God help you when you’re older…”

He starts blubbing even more, and then starts to tell me that everyone doesn’t believe him, when he tells them that he went to Disney World, Florida, in the October half term holidays.

I sympathise with him.  I’ve been in his shoes, and he’s walking in mine right now.

When I was growing up, I was one of the lucky kids, whose parents had money.  My parents would jet off to all sorts of luxurious holidays around the globe (Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Mexico, Hong Kong, Bali…), and whenever I used to tell my (so-called) friends in school where I had been, they used to say I was lying.

It got to a point where even a teacher said I was lying – that there was no chance I had visited all of these countries…

I was labelled a liar, and that was that.  It didn’t matter how much proof I took in to school (photo’s), they were obviously faked.

So back to yesterday.

Gning tells me that there’s one boy in his class who is constantly calling him out.  He’s determined to prove to everyone that Gning is lying, and that he is better.

Then it happened.  The moment no parent should experience.  It only took two seconds, but right there – right then, I actually heard my heart smash.

“I’ll just kill myself…”

Yeah.  He said it.  My 6 year old “miracle baby” just told me that he would kill himself.

I tried my best to stay calm.  I grabbed him, and I held him tight.  The tears started…  I didn’t let go.  I held him against my chest for what must have been only minutes, but it seemed like hours.

I told him to go and get a tissue, to wipe his nose, and I went in to my bedroom.

Hubby was dozing off, as he has to be up at ridiculous o-clock for work.  I closed the door slightly behind me, and I said “I need your help”.  I tried to stay collected, and I told him what had just happened.  I broke again when I reiterated the words…  “He said that he’ll kill himself…”.  Hubby was cool.  He listened to what I had to say, then he got up.

Next thing you know, Hubby and Gning were both going in to my bedroom, and Hubby was cuddling him in the “big bed”.

I can’t have been that long when Gning came out.  He had stopped crying, and seemed calmer – and somewhat happier.  I told him that even though it was really late (it was about 11:30pm now), that he could put his TV on whilst he went to sleep.

Hubby closely followed, and brought me up to speed.

I had a job to do, and I needed to do it without hesitation.  I needed to bypass Gnings’ teacher (which I had already tried speaking to in the past), and go straight to the headmaster.

This morning, I dropped Donut off at nursery, and walked Gning over to school.  He went in with little hesitation.  I then crossed the road, to the head office, and asked to speak to the headteacher.  I was informed that she was in meetings all morning, but they would contact me as soon as they had spoken to her, to arrange an appointment for me to go in and speak to her, face to face.

My appointment is tomorrow.  3:15pm.  15 minutes before Gning finishes school.

Fingers crossed, everyone, this is going to be tough.

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A Crafty Parent Interview – Button & Bobbin

I am so pleased to have had two amazing parent crafters to have interviewed.  I do hope that you enjoyed reading my previous post – ‘Humming Bird Gems’ – and that you’ll enjoy this post just as much.

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11263062_10206892901746119_3239658561785716974_nHello! I’m Clara Rowland and I currently live in Aylestone, Leicester. I am the owner/creator of Button & Bobbin which started trading in January 2014, which is about the same time I started experimenting with my craft. My children are Thomas, 3 and a half, and Maxwell who is 2.
Up until April 2014, I managed a team of 20+ in a call centre. A very stressful job, but I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time. After having my boys and being spoilt with maternity leave, I realised I wanted to stay at home with my children. So I waved goodbye to office hours and overtime, and started making Christmas cards while my boys slept. In December 2013, we had some fun with salt dough, making handprints and gift tags, and so my clay crafting addiction began! Clay decorations were never my intention, but demand took over, so I’ve rolled with it.
My first creations were Christmas cards, but when my friends spotted my salt dough gift tags they encouraged me to sell them. I’ve come a long way since, and now make custom clay decorations for all sort of occasions. My favourite make is my clay kitchen tags. These were a big turning point for me. I made a set for myself and my Facebook followers went crazy for them. I’ve since made 100’s of them and they’ve remained a firm favourite with my lovely customers.
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As a Work At Home Mum, I am able to keep some control over my working hours, and work around my children. I am Tommy and Maxwell’s mummy first, and Button & Bobbin is all about me. It’s taken a long time, but with the help of my boys starting pre-school in September, I’m now finding my work/life balance. Although, I have to admit, I do pull a fair few very late nights when Button & Bobbin gets busy.
My children are fascinated when they watch me at work. They love to make their own creations with the help of play dough and little rolling pins. We make decorations together every Christmas now. I love that we now have this little tradition. Since the children are still very young, most of our creative play is messy play. A day with the paints out means I’m likely to end up with a mini Incredible Hulk as Maxwell likes to cover himself head to toe in paint which is seemingly always green!
If I were to host a dinner party, I’d definitely invite Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Allsopp. When I grow up, I want to have their apparent grace and elegance, and seemingly never ending talent to be able to make the most beautiful of things! I’ve always admired their passion and skills in their “crafts”. My third guest would be Tom Hardy…. Do I need to supply a reason for him?!
I’d serve goats cheese to start as it’s easy but delicious. I do an awesome Christmas lunch, so it’d be turkey and all the trimmings for our main course. I love to bake when I get the chance. I’d dish up a nice big fat chocolate fudge cake for dessert. I’m guessing they’ll be staying the night, as they won’t be able to move after that menu!
My top three pieces of advice for a new crafting business would be, patience, perseverance and confidence. It takes time to build up and retain your custom base. There are some very lucky crafters who just take off with what seems like little effort. This doesn’t happen for the majority of us, and that’s ok. Just have a clear plan in mind and go with it. Don’t give up! Keep chipping away, keep on crafting and showing off your skills. Confidence is a big one. Fake it until you make it, as they say. Don’t doubt yourself, don’t think you’re not good enough. Customer’s are  buying into you as well as your craft, so being confident and proud of your creations/pricing/brand is so important. Every order placed is still a massive boost of confidence for me. I am both humbled and filled with pride when I see a new liker join my Facebook page, or when I hear the Etsy “kerching!”.
You can visit Button & Bobbin here:  www.facebook.com/buttonandbobbin

10 back-to-school parenting behaviours that need to STOP!

I don’t know if it was just me, but this has been the longest. summer. ever. 

We ran out of things to do way back in July. The fact that my little man has just gone back to school – fan-freaking-tastic!

He’s only been back 5 days, and already, I have seen it begin. The comments. From the parents.

Listen, we’ve all gone through school decorum before, but before it really begins…  Let’s get some things out of the way.

1. Let’s start with the basics: If your kid is sick/has incurable lice/the plague …  For the love of all that’s holy, keep them at home. No one wants that nonsense.

2. Do not ask about my child’s medical history. At school. While we are dropping them off.

“OMG, does he have ADHD? Is he taking medicine? He looks kind of autistic. Did you vaccinate your kids? I have so many opinions on this I am going to tell you while we are trying to make sure our kids still have their backpacks / jackets / shoes / brains!”

3. Self validation bait questions. 

“I am told all the time I don’t look old enough to have a 5-year-old. Do you think I look that old?”

Yeah. Actually, you do look that old.  In fact, I probably would have said older.

4. Working mother’s vs. SAHM: Neither of you need to comment on the other.

Just shush.

5. Do not comment on what other parents are wearing. 

If it is before 9 am, and I have nowhere to go for the day besides dropping my son off at school, chances are I’m not finding my lipstick and heels. Or bra. Unless you’re about to tell me you love my quickly-thrown-on jogging bottoms, covered in the kids’ breakfasts, don’t speak.

6. You do not need to comment on what my child is or isn’t doing. 

“That’s too bad you don’t have your kids enrolled in advanced maths. I have my kids in advanced maths, and chess, and lacrosse, and drama, and . . .”

We get it. Your kids are friggin’ amazing.  I wouldn’t want my son on the same team(s) as your kids anyway.  Besides – he’s only 4.

7. You do not need to compare our kids.  

“Your kid doesn’t know Gaelic? Mine started doing that on his/her own two years ago.”

 Is é sin go hiontach, cares aon duine. (“That’s great. No one cares.”)

No one even speaks Gaelic anymore, dude.  Unless you live in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  Which we don’t.

8. You do not need to compare our significant others, either.

“My wife/husband doesn’t work.  They stay at home to make sure they have so much time with the kids…”  Yeah, well…  Mine works bloody hard, out of the house, during the day to make sure that we are well looked after / clothed / fed…

9. You especially don’t need to comment on anyone’s relationship status. 

“Oh, you’re not married? I just assumed you were . . . ”

“OMG, my husband has been working for two nights in a row. Single mothers,amirite?”

NOPE.  You are NOT a single parent unless you do NOT have a partner…

10. Unless the person to whom you are speaking is a really, super-close friend, do not stand in the school parking lot and casually mention how much money you spent on your month long Mediterranean cruise while you were having your entire house redecorated with plated gold and landscaped with magical secret unicorn pampas grass you had imported from Nepal. 

Some of us commoners who couldn’t afford holiday at all this year might feel the desire to punch you in the face.

Have a great school year!

Happy Birthday Baby <3

Today is my sons’ third birthday.

Can someone please tell me where all the time has gone?

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Birth x

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1st birthday x

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2nd birthday x

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Almost 3 x

(Picture on his third birthday coming soon)

Pipe dreams

I have so many ideas for things to do, events, etc. but they never seem to go anywhere.  So I’ve decided that I am going to do something.  For a start, I’m going to list my ideas here.  My pipe dreams, if you will.  Maybe if I see then written down, I may be inspired enough to do something about them.

Craft Fair Extraordinaire

I already have a small “craft” type business set up, named ‘Treasures and Trinkets’.  I made jewellery, accessories, and other little bits and bobs…  You can view the page here: Treasures and Trinkets.  I do enjoy attending craft fairs, and table top sales to sell my wares, but something always seems to come up that I think could be done better…

I had an idea that I pitched to my husband.  I know a hall that I can hire for a very reasonable cost, and I will set up my own craft fair.  I will invite local crafters / sellers to ‘purchase’ a table, and I will have an event schedule for entertainment purposes.  In more depth, here are my ideas:

*  I would set up the hall with tables (and a chair behind each one) for other local crafters / sellers

*  I would find someone who does face painting, for the children who may come along to the fete

*  I would find a local company who can offer an “all-weather” bouncy castle to keep the children entertained…  I would not pay an up-front fee, but request that they take their money directly from the parents / children who wish to have a go

*  I would offer cups of tea / coffee for a small charge

The fair would be a mixed bag, type of event, with tables selling home crafted items such as jewellery, accessories, cushions, drawings, cakes, jams, etc…  More of a “country fayre” type event.  I’ve been to a fair few, and I enjoyed them every time.

I would have no problem setting up the event, or even finding people interested to host a stall, but my problem would be in the advertising of the event to ensure that enough people came through the doors…  Facebook is a good place to start, and I suppose a leaflet / flyer drop would be good too.  Although, the hall is situated in the rural area of a town…  It’s a little tricky to get to, but the hall is beautiful, and has free parking.  So where would I ‘drop’ the leaflets?!  I suppose I could also ask the local radio station to do a quick mention of the event, but normally they would charge.  Afterall, if I was looking to make this a regular event, I’d want to be making a profit myself, rather that putting all the money back into the event immediately.  I’m sure you know what I mean.

Play Group Mayhem

Today, I took my son (22 months old) to a play group.  It was based in a local leisure centre, and had a large bouncy castle, balls, spacehoppers, an area for crafts (today was decorating strawberry plant pots to take home), and an area with “fruit kebabs and chocolate”.  It was rather cheap to enter, and although it was on from 10am to 3pm, we were only there for an hour.  The only problem I encountered was that the group was for ages 0-11 years old.  I noticed that my little man was the only one under the age of 5…

On my way home, I mentioned (again, to my husband) that we could set up something similar to that as we have the access to the hall…

I had an idea that we could create a “Stay and Play”, where parents / grandparents / carers could bring their little ones and play with them.  I would limit it to 3 hours, and charge just a small amount for entry.

*  I would get a large selection of toys, including balls, hula-hoops, teddies, games, etc.

*  I would offer tea / coffee to adults for a small charge

*  Free juice / water for the kiddies

*  Free fruit (I like the fruit kebab idea) for the kiddies

*  I would limit the age from 0-5 years old

*  Perhaps have a different style ‘craft’ on offer each time (make a greetings card, painting, drawing, etc.)

Again, my problem would be where to start.  I’ve already had a brief look into it, and I have discovered that I do not need to register with anyone, and (although I already have a full CRB check) I do not need a Criminal Records Bureau check as parents will be staying throughout the sessions, watching their own children.  I could easily get my hands on a lot of toys…  So that just leaves insurance.  What type of insurance would I need, and where could I get it for cheap?  I don’t think I’d be doing this on a regular basis, and I don’t want to pay through the nose…  And again, it’s the marketing side of things that I would struggle on.  What happens if it is super successful on one week, then flops the second and third, but on the fourth week, the hall is full to bursting point?!  Hmmm…

Thoughts welcome.

Facebook is good for something

Facebook.

The mere word can start a fully fledged conversation as to how brilliant it is for keeping up-to-date with family & friends and for playing games, or it can send people running for the hills due to security and safely implications.

I’m a bit of both.  I love the fact that I can keep in touch with my family members and friends who live a distance away.  We share photo’s and funny stories about our lives, that otherwise would be missed.  What I don’t like is that anyone can search for you.  They can find out some very simple facts, and some very important, private, life events.  This includes total strangers.

Take, for example, when I set up an ‘event’ for my son’s first birthday party.  It included dates, places, times, photo’s, etc.  A lot of things that I wanted to be kept private from those who were not invited.  Because of this, I set the privacy and viewing to ‘invited only’.  So one day, I see a notification that someone had commented on one of the posts in the ‘event’.  I log into the page, and what do I see?  A comment from someone I have never even heard of.  This person turned out to be ‘a friend of a friend’.

How on earth..?  I re-read all the privacy T&C’s to see, in very small print, that ‘friends of friends, and in place, friends of friends of friends (etc.) can see the event and comment, etc. in the even page if an invited person makes an initial comment’.

So what does setting the privacy factor to ‘invited only’ mean?  Obviously nothing.

But regardless of what has happened there, it seems that one particular story has had a very successful outcome.

On 27 January 2013, a young woman posted this picture:

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I read the following story with interest, as sometimes good things do happen.

One woman in search of her biological parents found her apparent birth mother and father after posting a picture of herself on Facebook. On Jan. 27, Jenessa Simons shared a photo of herself holding a handwritten sign with her birth information.

Two days later, her birth mother reached out to her.

Simons’ search began when she was 18, but she had to wait three years before submitting paperwork to the state. She decided to try her luck on Facebook while waiting, after seeing the success of posters who garnered 1 million likes for a puppy.

Her photo included what little information she knew: her birthday, hospital, parents’ dates of birth and contact information. They were 16 at the time, and they named her Whitney. The image spread quickly, with more than 14,000 likes and 160,763 shares at time of writing.

On Tuesday, Simons announced on Facebook that she found her birth mother and, later, contact information for her birth father. A high school friend of the two contacted Simons’ biological mother, who got in touch with the 21-year-old.

She was skeptical at first until the woman sent her baby pictures Simons’ adoptive mother had given her.

So how was that for an uplifting story?  The privacy factor on Facebook is still a huge problem in my book, but when it comes down to it, the lack of security in place makes things like the aforesaid story happen.