First day of school

Today is Gning’s first day of “real” school.

Today he starts the Reception class.

He’s been in the nursery in the school for the past fifteen months or so, but this is different.  It means he’s growing up, and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for it yet.  He’s still my baby.  Yes, I have Donut, who is my baby (age 1), but Gning…  He’s my miracle baby, and he always will be.

Here’s a poem I found online…

Dear Teacher

I know you’re rather busy
First day back, there’s just no time
A whole new class of little ones
And this one here is mine

I’m sure you have things covered
And have done this lots before
But my boy is very little
He is still only four

In his uniform this morning
He looked so tall and steady
But now beside your great big school
I’m not quite sure he’s ready

Do you help them eat their lunch?
Are you quick to soothe their fears?
And if he falls and hurts his knee
Will someone dry his tears?

And what if no-one plays with him?
What if someone’s mean?
What if two kids have a fight
And he’s caught in between?

You’re right, I have to leave now
It’s time for him to go
I’m sure he’ll learn so much from you
Things that I don’t know

Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly
That he’s fine now without me
I know he has to go to school
It’s just so fast, you see

It seems like just a blink ago
I first held him in my arms
It’s been my job to love, to teach
To keep him safe from harm

So, when I wave goodbye in a moment
And he turns to walk inside
Forgive me if I crumple
Into tears of loss and pride

I know as I give him one more kiss
And watch him walk away
That he’ll never again be wholly mine
As he was before today.

From a scared parent…
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And here’s the reply I found…

Dear Parent,

I understand that you are scared
to wave your child goodbye
and leave him in a teacher’s hands
don’t worry if you cry!

I’m used to weeping parents
It’s hard to leave I know.
But it’s time to share him (just a bit)
To help him learn and grow.

Let me reassure you
That I’ll give your child my best
I’ll wipe his tears, soothe his fears
And change his dirty vest!

If your darling child is full of cold
I’ll blow their nose all day
Just like you, I’ll care for them
In a special way.

I’ll treat him like I would my own
I’ll catch him from a fall and
If there is ANY problem
I’ll be sure to tell you all.

It’s true he’ll grow to love us
They’ll talk of school a lot
It doesn’t mean they hate you
And that you should lose the plot!

I’ll tell you a secret..
That when your child is here
They talk to me as much of you
Of this please have no fear.

You’ll always be their mother
Whilst teachers come and go
To them you are their number one
This I truly know.

Soon you’ll see some changes
In your little girl or boy
They’ll become more independent
And to see this, it’s a joy!

I’ll teach them all I have to give
To share, climb and to write
But to you they safely will return
To tuck them in at night.

With love from a teacher…

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10 reasons to LOVE bananas!

Bananas have so many health benefits, that I am sure that someone would get bored reading before even getting halfway through the list.  Here’s just 10 reasons why you should make a banana your favourite fruit.

  1. Eating two bananas can give you enough energy for a 90 minute workout session.

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2.  Bananas can help fight against depression.  This is because bananas contain a protein called tryptophan, which converts to serotonin. Serotonin helps you relax and can make you feel better too.

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3.  Bananas contain Vitamin B6, which regulates blood glucose levels.  This vitamin also puts you in a good mood!

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4.  The Vitamin B6 in bananas will also help fight nerves and stress.

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5.  Bananas can help battle high blood pressure, and prevent strokes!  The fruit is high in potassium, and low in sodium, which is the perfect combination to fight against both ailments.

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6.  To that effect, bananas can soothe heartburn because of the natural antacid effect it has on the body.

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7.  Bananas are high in fibre.  This can help regulate bowel movements without resorting to laxatives.

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8.  Having trouble passing your exams?  The potassium in a banana can help your stay focused and alert.

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9.  The inside of a banana peel can soothe mosquito bites, and even sun burn!  Simply peel, enjoy eating the banana for all its’ health benefits, and then run the inside of the skin on the affected area.

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10.  As if bananas couldn’t be any more magical, they can also help cure a hangover!

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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!

They grow up too fast…

Gning started nursery in May 2014.  I placed him in a private (paid for) nursery for a few reasons – Mainly because he was too young; but because I worked a full day, and the hubby was starting full-time work, other nurseries didn’t suit our requirements.

It all started brilliantly.  Over the first few weeks, he had come a long way.  His speech was improving, and the attempts at potty training were speeding up.  Within two months, he was out of nappies, and almost always getting to the toilet on time.

September 2014 came, and because he was turning 3, he had to move out of the baby room, and across the road to the “big kids” room.  At first everything went well.  He was happy as a few of the other kiddies had moved across with him, however it didn’t take long before I noticed little changes.

Gning had started to cry of a morning.  He didn’t want to go in to school.  He never gave a reason.  I also noticed that he was coming home covered in paint and / or pen marks – not just on his hands, but on his face, in his hair, on his clothes, on his back…  I started to worry, and I did bring it up with the nursery.  They always seemed to have a reason, and at the time it was annoying, but acceptable.

Things started to improve a little.  He was happy when I went to pick him up, and he was ‘cleaner’ (as a three year old boy could be).

About a month later, I noticed it again…  I was mid-pregnant with Donut now, and the fact that my little guy was so upset was really starting to get to me.

Gning was hysterical of a morning.  Sometimes I had to drag him out of bed, and then to the gates of the nursery.  He’d sob and cling on to me when we went in to the room.  I hated leaving him.  He’d also started coming home dirty, and covered in paint and allsorts.

In April, hubby went to pick Gning up, and I stayed at home.  When he walked through the door, to the front room where I was sitting, I smiled, and asked if he had had a good day…  But then I noticed it.  A red mark, and scratches on his forehead.  I asked if I could take a closer look, and I noticed that it was actually ‘bumping’.

I immediately brought it to the attention of the hubby, asking if he had fallen or bumped his head on the way home.  He replied with a “no…”  I immediately phoned the nursery, and I asked what had happened.  The response was unacceptable.  “Oh, I didn’t see anything.  I’ll ask around”. We kept our eyes on him for the rest of the day, and overnight.  Gning had said that he had a “little headache”, but he seemed ok.

The following day, the bump was in full effect – bruising too – so I had to ask the nursery again if they knew what had happened.  They shown no concern, and this infuriated me.  It was that incident that had literally added the final straw.  I tried to remain calm, but as soon as I got home, I snapped.

I need to point out by this time I was heavily pregnant.  My hormones were everywhere, and I was really struggling with my emotions.

I relayed the response to the hubby, and he was annoyed too.  I thought “enough is enough”, and I started to compose an email to the manager of the nursery.  I can only remember a few parts of what the email contained…  I expressed my concerns of the state that Gning was being sent home in.  I explained that I always sent him in with his backpack with spare clothes (in case of any accidents, dirt, etc.).  I explained about the cuts, bruises, scrapes and bumps.  I explained about the lack of concern when I brought up the incident with his head.  I also pointed out that I thought the nursery was a ‘joke’ by literally saying “the sessions seem to be an over-elaborate play group, with little to no structure, and minimal supervision – if at all.  If there would be any supervision, they would have noticed my sons’ latest injury“.

I don’t think they appreciated it, as I started getting phone calls…  Which I ignored the first few.  Eventually I told hubby to answer it.  It was the manager of the nursery, and they wanted to talk to me.  I refused to talk to them, so hubby organised a meeting – without me.  I didn’t want to go.  Either I would lose my temper in there, or I would sit there crying the whole time.

Anyway, it was the same day of the phone call that I called my local primary school.  I asked how I could register Gning for their nursery (as he was now old enough, and I had just left work for maternity leave).  They simply replied with “just pop on down to the school and complete a registration form.  We’ll then assess to see if there is any space in the nursery for the May intake”.

It was as simple as that.  I went to the school within the hour.  The form was completed, and as I handed it in, I asked when we were likely to find out.  The receptionist replied “we’re undergoing the intake assessments at the moment, so hopefully you’ll find out next week”.

That was all I needed.  When I got home, I decided that regardless of Gning being offered a place or not, I was going to pull him out of the private nursery.  I couldn’t face the heart-ache any more.

A couple of days passed, and hubby went for the meeting with the manager of the private nursery without me.  When we spoke afterwards, he said that the manageress seemed to have an answer for everything.  It seemed rehearsed, and very defensive.  It was like she couldn’t take any criticism, and she wasn’t prepared to listen to what he had to say.  Apparently, she seemed more concerned over my attitude.  Meh.

The following week came and went, and Gning continued to go to the private nursery.  I refused to go in to the hall, leaving him immediately when they opened the security door.

It was on the Tuesday – two weeks after I had applied for the place in the schools’ nursery – that I mentioned to hubby that I hadn’t heard from the school, so I phoned them.  They apologised for not contacting me, but announced that they would be pleased to have Gning from that Thursday!

He took to his new school like a duck to water.  He loved it.  He made lots of friends, and even had five ‘girlfriends’ at one point!  His attitude started to improve again, and he started to learn to recognise numbers, and to write his name.

Today is the 7th September 2015.

Even though Gning has been attending nursery for quite some time, I feel today is a big step.  It’s his first day (back) at school (nursery), but this time he enters it for the full school year.  No doubt the friends that he makes this school year will be the friends he will have when he moves up to the reception class next year.  Who knows?  He may even meet his “friend for life” in this school year.

I am so proud of my little man, and all that he has accomplished throughout the past 18 months (no – his whole life).  I love him to pieces, but they grow up too fast…

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30 Day Writing Challenge – DAY 2

Write something that someone has told you about yourself that you have never forgot

As most of you know, I am a martial artist.

When I was about 14 years old, the Kung Fu school where I trained was invited to a schools’ open day.  It was similar to a gala / fun day, as I remember there being a fair amount of activities and events going on throughout the day, and I remember the small travelling fair…

Our school were to perform several demonstrations throughout the day, and I can clearly remember one particular technique that I performed on someone twice my age.  The looks on peoples’ faces were that of shock and awe…  I had managed to deliver the perfect ‘Dragon’s Tooth’ which led to the rather bulky male hitting the floor like a ton of bricks…

It was that point when one of the instructors (whom I never actually got along with) had told me “you are a dangerous little girl to play with“.

It made me smile.  I don’t know why…  Maybe it gave me a sense of empowerment.  Maybe that was the reason I never got along with the coach…  Who knows?  But I liked it.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot…

This is the final post of 2014.  For after this, I shall never make another post again this year.

2014 has been a mixed bag of emotions.  There have been ups and downs, laughs and tears, good and bad news…  Much the same as every year.

There have been a lot of ‘firsts’ in the household…  Gningy started “school” (nursery).  Hubby has been working full time since May (first time in a long time…  Jobs are just so difficult to get here).  I found out that I was expecting ‘Donut’.  Gningy, hubby and I took our first family holiday abroad.

Hmmm…  The year has been rather uneventful, other than the above.

Anyway, tonight I shall be raising a glass (of non-alcoholic substance) to 2014, and I shall raise it again to welcome 2015.

So long, 2014.  It’s been…  Interesting.

Has it been 10 years..?

Today is the 10th birthday of my Kung Fu School.  I never knew it would make it this far, and I had no idea until recently what a big deal this is.

It was 11 years ago when my Kung Fu teacher passed away, and to save all of his students ‘throwing away’ all that they had learned, I took it on myself to take them on.  I opened my own martial arts and self defence school.  Afterall, I was the assistant coach in the school, and I was already qualified to teach in my own school.

I just can’t believe how far the school has come.  After a lot of moving around and trying to find a suitable training hall, it has established some excellent students of its’ own, some even reaching very high grades.

So, here’s to another 10 years!

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