Organisation is not my middle name

School starts tomorrow and I think we’re ready (just). I was somewhat smug earlier in the summer as I had 90% of the kids uniform bought, I’d ordered name tags and was quickly gathering the remaining uniform we needed. Unfortunately my natural tendencies towards procrastination took over and, well, today I actually did the hard work.

I’m currently nursing a mild repetitive strain injury from ironing labels onto two piles of uniform. That’s two hours of my life that I won’t be getting back and which I spent standing, moving an iron on and off of items of clothing, holding it 10-15 seconds at a time and repeating the action three times for each item. Perhaps I’ll go back to scribbling the kids’ names in biro on the labels – less resilient but much, much easier.

Having actually labelled the clothes I then needed to put it away. This sounds like a simple task but, if you’d ever seen either of my big kids’ rooms you would know that this first required me to clear a path to wardrobes and chest of drawers and the chance of me standing on a small, painful piece of Lego was still guaranteed. At least I had enough hangers – always a positive to be found.

I also found Lex’s PE bag (hidden under a pile of clothes in his wardrobe) and his recorder. The PE bag would have been easy to replace if it had stayed lost but since his plimsolls – the only size 12s we could find in town on the one day we had between him notifying us that his were too small and his next PE session – were hideously expensive (for plimsolls) and had. to. be. found. The recorder has been hidden all summer because I am a bad parent who thinks the sound of recorder practice is a form of parental torture.

So, it’s been a slightly chaotic, stressful day but we’re ready and I did have a couple of moments of school readiness brilliance over the summer:

  • most of the uniform was bought at the start of the summer (before the previous term had even ended!) and was on sale and all required sizes were in stock;
  • I ordered name tags (for the first time ever) in plenty of time (always waited too long before) and in the right quantity;
  • we went to try on shoes the week before school was due back and had enough time to order in the shoes the kids wanted (actual store selection was rubbish) and I ordered in the right alternative sizes (Tilly’s fit fine but Lex needed a half-size smaller than he was ‘measured’ as).

Roll on the new school year and I promise next year to not leave everything to the day before (ha, ha).

So the Olympics went to London and all we got were these lousy announcements

I sat watching the closing ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics which was one part ‘yay athletes’ and lots of parts ‘wtf, why this music?’ and listened to lots of talk about ‘inspiration’ and ‘legacy’. My son spent the last half-term of school enjoying topic work based on the Olympics and was very enthusiastic about everything to do with the various sports and events. So, what does government propose we do to capitalise on the sporting spirit

Firstly we have an announcement that the compulsory 2 hours of physical education for primary school children was scrapped because ‘non-sports’ like ‘Indian dancing’ were being used to fulfill the requirement. It seems strange to scrap something just because it’s not being done the way you want (surely tighter guidelines would have sufficed) but also to be pretty bold in determining that activities like dance are not sport. I took part in a Bollywood dance class during a friend’s hen do and it was hard work! Not an organised sport of course but that didn’t stop it being physical exercise. I did try to determine what Lex’s PE lessons consist of but apparently he can’t remember except that they get drinks and there are throwing competitions. At least they get to be competitive which leads us neatly on to the next announcement.

Now all primary school children will need to take part in competitive ‘recognised and recognisable sports’ as apparently too few already do (at school at least). I like the fact that Lex’s school manages to have a competitive sports day – each child chooses 2 or 3 events to take part in and can win medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place – that also has a team ethos – each child earns points for their team. However, aside from an after-school multi-sports club sponsored by a local football team which is focused on skills not competition, there are almost no after-school sports offerings at the school. I think that there is a netball team in the upper school but there is no football team, cricket team or anything else that would fit the recognised sport criteria that Lex could access. There once was more (a couple of football teams) but the government’s removal of the sports partnership funding ended that. I am interested to see how this proposal actually works in practice – what will be offered and how will they make it possible for all children to take part?

I had accepted that sporting activities would need to be paid for activities away from school – currently swimming and gymnastics, neither cheap – perhaps this announcement will be a good thing but all I expect to happen is possibly more netball and football teams because they’re easy to organise, don’t require particularly skilled staff to oversee them or expensive equipment. Lex would like to play cricket, I’ve been putting off contacting the local club because it will be yet more expense even though I’m sure he’d love it. Dare I hope that this announcement means an opportunity to play at school?

Beginnings and ends – school year 2011/2012

Today was the last day of the 2011/2012 school year. Lex, Eli and I enjoyed the school summer picnic out on the field and took a leisurely stroll home after lunch. Lex then went around to have a water fight with friends who live around the corner.

I think he is relieved that school is finished for summer – the poor kid has a cough that he just can’t shift and is constantly shattered. We’ve bought him a children’s multivitimin to see if we can help him feel better. If the cough doesn’t clear up in a few days I think I’ll be taking him to the doctor just to check what’s up.

Here is Lex the year before – he’s grown up so much since the start of reception!

Today was also Tilly’s last day of nursery. She started in the baby room just before she turned 11 months old (September 2008) and is finishing (after moving through each of their four rooms) at 4 years 9 months so she’s been there for almost 4 years! I’m really sad that she’s finished as we’ve been really happy with the nursery and will miss it. Eli is unlikely to ever attend there as it will probably be much easier to send him to the pre-school attached to the children’s centre next to the kids’ school. We gave them a thank you card and two boxes of chocolates – I’ll take Tilly back on her first day of school so that she can show everybody her school uniform.

Finally we have Eli at the start and end of the school year – it’s hard to believe that this time last year I was very pregnant and still 5 weeks away from meeting my gorgeous little boy.

So now we have 6 weeks of no 7am alarms or nursery runs (in fact no more nursery runs at all!) and we start it with family dentist day tomorrow…

School reports 2012

Lex now has his Year 1 school report and it was lovely (mainly) to read. He is achieving above expectations generally – 2c across the board for literacy, numeracy and science. For individual subjects the lowest he achieved was a 1b with 2c for history and geography. He passed the Year 1 phonics check (which he had already told me) and so academically there were no issues.

Socially though, sigh, a bit of a different story. He’s a had a tough year – he plays with a group of boys led by one of his classmates. Lex is teased, told he’s not in the gang, they run away from him and generally can be quite mean (and I thought these sort of actions would be something I’d have to deal with girls not boys!). They have basically been successfully pushing all of Lex’s buttons and he has subsequently been lashing out on the playground. It culminated in him hitting and kicking the ringleader yesterday which, unsurprisingly led to Lex getting into some trouble. This morning I spoke to his teacher and she had no idea – which since it happens on the playground and Lex hasn’t been talking about it is not unexpected. She had only seen Lex’s angry reaction and he had only ever told her it happened because he was angry – he is a loyal friend after all poor kid. Since she’ll be teaching him next year I am hopeful that she will be able to monitor this situation now, and we only have 3 school days left until summer so yay, and maybe Lex won’t be so sad in the playground next year, fingers crossed.

PTA Summer Fete 2012

The annual summer fete did seem for a moment that it may be a victim of the soggy summer we’re suffering this year but no – we were spared a soaking and had a great day. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to help much this year as it seemed that Eli would be too unpredictable to make it possible for me to sit on a stall all day, however, both Mum and I ended up helping on the cake stall and it went really well. We’ve already put in our request for that assignment next year as it was a lovely stall to work on – not too busy, no silly games to administer and cake! Since we were working the big kids had a fab time running wild – Lex with friends from school and Tilly with the policeman who was allowing kids to investigate his car.

Tilly spent at least 2 hours chatting to the policeman – when there were no other kids interested in sitting in the car she would sit in the passenger seat but if anyone else wanted a go she happily popped in the back. I have absolutely no idea what she managed to say to him over that length of time but he was quite chilled out and patient with her. Towards the end of the day she came and bought him a cake and then sat watching him while he ate it – poor guy. One of the few times she spent time out of the car was when she had to wait for her turn on the pony rides.

The horse riding was, as usual a massive hit with Tilly – our tentative plan for her birthday is to buy lessons for her in lieu of toys (since she has plenty!). Hopefully, between parents and grandparents we should be able to buy enough lessons for her to have a decent chance to begin learning how to ride.

Tilly’s third favourite part of the fete was the face painting – she is so different from Lex in that regard, he has never enjoyed having his face painted, she loves it.

Now Lex has been at school for almost 2 years he is completely comfortable running off with various friends around the field. We barely saw him during the day except when he wanted food, drink or cash. By the end he had headed off with his nearly-twin (same name, same birthday) to play at his house adjacent to the school. I am pleased that he is so happy at school and with his friends – there are issues in the playground but he’s not without people who enjoy his company.

Eli was obviously too small to get much out of the day but was entertained by the people moving around. Mum and I were able to swap him between us when needed and it was definitely easier than it likely to be next year when he is running around.

Anyway, I didn’t see much more of the fete than our little corner but it all seemed to go well. Our stall made over £100, which, considering we were mainly selling 30p cakes is quite impressive. We were quite impressed by the quality of the home made cakes provided for the stall – some very talented bakers amongst the parents. I decided that double chocolate rice crispie cakes were the way to go – I think I did ok, all 24 sold.

Year 2

So Lex will be in a wholly Year 2 class with his current class teacher (different classroom though). He’s happy (his friends are in his class) and so are we (hopefully his teacher will know him well enough to keep stretching him).

So tomorrow we find out Lex’s class for next year

It’s a big day tomorrow – Lex finds out which teacher and classmates he will have for Year 2. There will definitely be a bit of change since this year he has been in a Year 1/2 class and last year in a Year R/1 class but there will not be a Year 2/3 class next year. This means that many of his current classmates will be in middle school whilst he remains in lower school.

As with many things in schools there have been rumours and supposition appearing as the date for the kids to find out draws nearer. Lower school this year consisted of all Year 1/2 classes but perhaps next year will see one Year 1, one Year 1/2 and one Year 2? I’m am somewhat hopeful that Lex will be in a straight Year 2 class as it feels like that will mean a better chance of good extension work rather than ‘working down’ to a Year 1 level. I feel somewhat tiger mum at times – I don’t want to see him coast and since the school is not pushy (good sometimes but infuriating at others) he needs to have other good students to compete with in order to fulfil his potential.

So we wait and keep our fingers crossed to see what the PTB have decided to do for next year.

Getting there on the school run

Lex ‘timing’ Tilly eating her cereal.

Slowly making progress on the school run. Lex helped push Eli this morning and that seemed to take his mind off racing Tilly. He got a sticker as I don’t think I had to shout his name at him once so yay. Tilly moaned about being cold and tired but I even won her around by leaving Lex in the playground before the bell rang and taking her home for hot chocolate and biscuits.

Thankfully the day started well as Eli then had an attack of the three-Cs: crankiness, crying and clinginess. Didn’t get anything done really but managed to keep everyone fed and get the kids to and from school/nursery as well as getting the kids to bed by myself since R had training and Mum is poorly sick. Kids were in bed by 18.45 – bliss!

School Run

The school run has become a bit of a battle. Tilly and Lex constantly argue about who’s in front (Tilly probably wouldn’t care if Lex didn’t) and I’m having to shout to stop them pushing and shoving next to the road.

I might be starting to win though. Lex needs to earn 20 stickers in order to get another Lego ninjago toy and the rule is any fighting, no sticker. Today I managed to call him back and get him to walk alongside me without a tantrum for short bursts. He still won’t get a sticker because the reason he needed to walk alongside me was the fighting he and his sister were doing but baby steps and all that. I must admit I find the kids behaviour mortifying and it makes me miserable.

It really is the interaction between the two oldest that causes the problem – walking with just one or the other (Tilly’s by herself on the way home and Lex is most afternoons) is quite pleasant at times.

Eli is nice and easy – he just sits in the pushchair, sometimes a bit grizzly but most times happy and/or asleep…