Just lately I have begun to notice that six year old JJ seems to be having something of a developmental leap forward. For such a long time now he has been stuck on picture books and the only reading he has done has been his homework (Biff, Chip and Kipper books) from school – often under a bit of duress! However we recently went into a local bookshop together with EJ and I told them each they could pick out whatever book they liked. EJ went standard – Blaze of Glory – a picture book based on the Nickolodeon cartoon character, however JJ picked out his first ever paperback – Supercat vs. The Party Pooper by Jeanne Willis.
I have been reliably informed by WordPress that today is the second anniversary of me starting up my blog – 12th July 2013 – a momentous date. I believe there’s some statistic floating around out there that 90% of blogs that fail do so within the first 90 days and there are a huge number of blogs failing every day.
So why has blogging been something I’ve stuck with so consistently over the past two years? I generally get bored of most new fads in my life within a few months. I also get interested in things that I see other people pursuing, particularly if they are doing a really great job of it – a little voice goes off in my head “I could do that just as well, if not better” when in actual fact people that do things well just tend to make them look easier than they are. It’s generally when I realise that most things done well take a lot of time and effort that my interest begins to wane.
Recently JJ received his first ever school report. It has indeed been a year of firsts for him what with his recent sports day (during which he won his running race!) and first after school play & tea dates, but the report is something a bit different. OK so there is only so much to report back to us parents after the speediest 10 months ever. Suffice to say we have no worries about his general learning progress – he’s a typical boy by all accounts, average at reading and writing, slightly above average on the maths front, but it is in the social, emotional and communications skills that he seems to have grown so much. For example, he is noted for having resolved minor disagreements between his friends fairly. Wow. I know this seems like a relatively small thing, but seriously – conflict resolution at such a young age? I’m signing him up for the UN 😉
Anyone who read my Flat Pack! post on Wednesday will know it’s been all about the new bunk beds this week! Although it felt like a big move – and frankly, a huge transition particularly for EJ who has now gone straight from his cot to a full size single bottom bunk at the tender age of two, I’m glad that we’ve done it. Having said that it hasn’t all been plain sailing. On night one EJ climbed in and went out like a light no problem, but night two he wasn’t quite so docile and cried when I tried to tuck him in and leave. I climbed in with him, sang a lullaby, let him have his milk, tried to leave again but he was having none of it. JJ tried to take over for me bless him, but EJ just wanted his mummy! Eventually I told him I was going to go and have my shower and come straight back and, to my amazement, he agreed! Needless to say he was sparko by the time I returned and we went through the same thing last night too so I’m hoping a routine of sorts is forming and he’ll be comfortable with his new bedtime views very soon ( especially as I’m on my own with them for the next few nights while the hubster works).
A few weeks ago the hubster suggested that it was probably time to move the boys out of their little beds (JJ’s toddler bed and EJ’s cot respectively) and straight into a full sized bunk bed. Because they share a room (and the fact that the toddler bed was already a bit broken) and the fact that there are space restrictions, it wasn’t going to be possible to transition EJ gently up to the next stage the same way as his brother had.
Despite the fact that all the official guidance says bunk beds aren’t suitable for children under six and ours are five and two (!) we knew that JJ would be fine on the top as he regularly sleeps on the top bunk at my parent’s house. We figured EJ would be OK on the bottom with JJ’s old bed guard on the side.
(Said in a Pirate stylee!). Or the word of the week could equally be ‘big’ or ‘school’ or transition as Wednesday was JJ’s first day of Reception class at his new infant school and he loved it!
This has also been a week of ramped up preparations for his *fifth birthday* party which is all happening tomorrow! He asked for a pirate party but his strongest and most insistent desire was that there be a bouncy castle with a slide! I’ve managed to source one with a pirate theme so that should make one little ‘big’ boy very happy!
I recently wrote a post explaining why I won’t be shedding any tears as I send my child off to big school for the first time this week. It may have given some of you the wrong idea about our lives. In order to redress the balance, and as a celebration of his *Fifth Birthday* next Sunday, here are some of the things I love about my beautiful, imperfect boy:
- The way he makes me laugh, acting the fool, silly faces and duff jokes;
- The simple beauty of him turning to me, waiting a beat and then, out of the blue telling me that he loves me;
- His enthusiasm for all physical activities (ok, maybe not the bouncing off my non existent tummy muscles). He’ll happily scale a tall climbing frame, climb a tree, splash about in pools and take on giant water slides kick and throw balls, run like the wind (6 5k Park Runs already under his belt), and wrestle with his brother like a (slightly deranged and manic) Olympian. He is, essentially, the opposite of me, which makes me think that we will always have a strong bond (I know that’s a strange thing to say, but I think opposites both attract, feed off one another’s differences, and fill a lack in each other’s lives – as well as driving each other potty no doubt 🙂 );
- His kind and sociable nature: he loves being with other children and having company, and whilst that can sometimes feel a little suffocating the millionth time I move from room to room only to find my every move being shadowed, it’s good to know I’ll never be lonely!;
- The way he constantly surprises me with little shows of, completely guileless, intelligence (just counting up to 40 while he was sitting on the loo the other day, for example);
- The way he is teaching me to be a better person, more mindful, less grouchy and quicker to accept my faults, say sorry, and move on;
- And lastly, his beautiful face and wonderful cuddles.
My eldest son starts ‘Big School’ for the first time this week. I am taking this in my stride. Yet I look around me (both physically and in the blogosphere) and wonder what’s going on in the lives of others. I read about tears shed at preschool graduations and a sense of loss that cuts so deep with the advent of ‘real’ school days that tears are literally splashing into chai lattes as I write. I, on the other hand, laugh in the face of enforced separation. My four (going on five) year old is not my best friend. We have not spent many happy hours crafting fairy castles out of cardboard boxes or reading adorable picture books about mischievous bunnies (goodbye Thomas, I hope you get locked up in Tidmouth Sheds never to be seen again!); we have not spent many happy hours baking misshapen cupcakes; I have not sipped a hot coffee whilst watching him happily colouring cute stick figure scenes.
This week has seen the introduction of one of these:
As I might have mentioned before, there is something highly entertaining about a toddler on a trampoline! This is essentially a joint present for the boys who’s birthdays effectively bookend the summer holidays in late July and early September. I was slightly concerned that it might be a bit of an eyesore but actually, our garden is big enough to accommodate it without making it feel like the main feature and the green highlights on it blend nicely in with the leafy surroundings. I predict many happy summer days of bouncing in the foreseeable future!
My baby is two today!! I can hardly believe that this day has come – it doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was taking this photo of JJ on the morning of his second birthday:
EJ is such a little character, he can be very stubborn – he certainly knows his mind! He also still confounds me on a regular basis by becoming increasingly hysterical about something he can’t communicate (his language skills are somewhat lacking…).
He is such a loving little boy though – so much more cuddly than his brother used to be, going in for major hugs and clinging to me like my own little koala when I pick him up to bring him down for breakfast in the mornings.