Friday, 4 October 2013

Our month that was September

As I put Squeaks to bed tonight she noticed I had something written on my hand.
"What have you got written on your hand mummy?" (You never know, her first month in school might have made her incredibly literate).
Afraid to tell my children fibs, I replied:
"Need to do self assessment"
One of my luxuries on my nights away being able to watch BBC Breakfast. One of the sections today was about the imminent deadline for child benefit changes. Tomorrow. I wrote it on my hand so there as no way of forgetting.
"You're not to supposed to write on your hand mummy."
"I know sweetheart, but mummy was worried she might forget so it seemed a good idea."
"I think you should write 'do not jump on the sofa' on my hand mummy."

My children are growing up, and I love being a part of it.

Now on a Friday morning, at 8am, the boys phone me to say good morning. They tell me about their breakfast and plans for the day. And then they sing. The Fireman Sam theme tune.
It melts my heart and means the day starts well.

I love that the boys are now of an age where they can hold down a conversation. Albeit their attention span speaking on the phone is the same as it is with a toy. Fortunately, there are two of them, and between them I get lots of interesting chat.
And two versions of the Fireman Sam theme tune.
September has seen lots of changes.
We were all relieved to get into the routine of school and playschool again.
All three remain enthused each day with the school run and are eager to get to their respective places of fun.
Mr J only had one morning when he thought Squeaks might not be up to school, and after phoning to let them know she was feeling poorly, Squeaks managed a 10 minute power nap to recover and she was in school by ten past nine.

We have made decisions about after-school activities. And whilst ballet was not to be (Squeaks ended up being the only attendee) we have two that Squeaks loves. She is continuing her swimming lessons and is progressing well, now at half lengths (basically she's already better than her mum) which is Mr J's love and I get to take her to drama sessions once a week (my love). Does that sound selfish? She's doing things that we love. Probably. But we are both eager for her to do something sporty and something to build her confidence and help her harness her inner diva. They fit the bill. Ballet was Squeaks' choice, so now we are on the look out for another local class.

I am hoping we will be able to afford for the boys do also do after school activities. It's scary going from one to three, but with the money we will save from playschool when the boys start school we should be able to give them all the same opportunities.

September has seen Squeaks start school proper. And whilst she can be more moody due to her exhaustion she is an absolute joy. She is so eager to tell me about the letters she is learning through phonics, and her numbers, and I love sitting with her whilst she does her homework. She now has two best friends at school (Joel, who is in her class, and Matthew, who is in Miss T's) and whilst she has not for a minute forgotten about Miss A and Master H it makes me so happy that this is so.
September has seen the children interact more than ever. It is no longer the case that Squeaks and Cheeky are best mates, more often this month has seen Cheeky with me and Squeaks and Tiny playing. And more so than ever they are playing as a three. The boys now play together rather than play in the same place. Soft play sees the boys helping each other (to create chaos) than enjoying themselves in each others presence.

September has seen Cheeky retain his position of the king of strops as well as the master of sharing. Most likely of all three to be found folding his arms and refusing to move, and most likely to share his food or toys without prompt. This month has seen Cheeky become the most likely to want cuddles of the three, which has never been known before and is most welcomed.

Tiny retains his role of the honest broker. Taking responsibility for everything whether true or not. Whilst this can sometimes play to his favour, more often than not Tiny admits to being the master of all that is naughty. Playschool were unaware of the character defect, thinking Tiny to be the most honest of his peers:
"Who made this mess?"- Vicky
"Me"- Tiny
"Tiny"- Cheeky
"Well done Tiny for being so honest, please could you tidy up?"- Vicky
And as Tiny has a smidge of OCD he is more than happy to tidy it. The fact he didn't make the mess becomes irrelevant.

Workwise, September has seen me try to create a routine at work. Unfortunately the routine means being away every Thursday night. In some ways it is good, I miss home. It's a Thursday, at least I can watch Question Time in peace, and on my journey home I know I have two full days with the children to look forward to. September has seen the government announcement, confirming I get to add another £15m project to my work. September has seen me fighting tooth and nail for resource, feeling like I have no choice but to issue ultimatums about resigning my role in a bid to prove cost-effectiveness.
Workwise, September has confirmed that bureaucracy sucks. That sometimes organisational change and organisational direction are not compatible.
And yet, as always, common sense prevailing concluded September. And I thought of Green Day and wished that, as it ended as it should have that, perhaps I should have taken a lengthy blink.

September also saw me welcomed to the Children's Ministry Team at our Church. With CRB check in hand I can now move to 'leader' role. Fortunately this is a rota basis and is an enjoyable link with Squeaks and one of my original ambitions of teaching. I found myself volunteering to write this year's Nativity, which is oddly reinforcing my forward planning preference, as I have just finished and have enjoyed thinking about Christmas Carols- another benefit of having a night away with not much to do.

And September saw me discover a love of baking, able to try new things and hone my photography at the same time. I have felt so much better having another distraction from work.
And as for Mr J, well, he is now fully recovered from his op. Enjoying squash, he cycles Squeaks to school and back each day, goes swimming whilst the boys are in playschool, and has now started running in the evenings. He is as frustrated as ever being a full time dad. Not for the parenting part, but the sole income part, for the constant monitoring of purse strings. Truthfully, knowing how he was when I was on maternity, I know it would be no better if roles were reversed and I worry about the culture shock of him returning to work, but still he is looking forward to having the option.

And us, well, escaping as a family is always a much treasured time. All too often we are shipping Squeaks off here and the boys off there. Escaping on walks along the coast or blackberry picking have been the highlights.
And as we welcome October, and its dark mornings and nights, we need to treasure more those precious afternoons and early evenings.

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