Tag Archives: School Starter

Starting school has actually made us happier. Cheers, school.

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It’s the last day before half term, and I’m being entirely serious when I say: now we’re mostly over the big settling-in phase, having school back in our lives is the bizniz.

For H, definitely. He’s happy when he’s learning new things in a structured environment (I noticed that last year with nursery, but even more so now it’s full-time). I know school environments are trickier for some kids than others, but for this one we seem to be lucky: he really thrives. For the first couple of weeks he refused to tell me anything (‘What did you do at school today?’ ‘Hmm, I’ll tell you tomorrow’) but now he chatters the whole way home: facts about bones, about rhyming words, about experiments he’s done with cars and inner tubes. He tends to need a small circle of friends to call his own, and now he has one he’s much more settled and content.

For me too, though. In hindsight I think he was ready to move on to something I couldn’t give him. Honestly, we spent the last few months before September driving each other up the wall. Now I look forward to him coming home all day, and squeeze him to death all evening. He’s enjoying being the older, responsible sibling at the moment, and is nicer and funnier with it. So I’ve got more energy for tantrums and the bedtime routine. I am tired when Tim comes home, always, but not usually emotionally beaten down. And spending one-on-one time with E. bear during the day is just loveliness, from start to finish.

Then there’s the weekend. Do you remember getting through lunch in the dining hall, at school, and knowing you had just one set of lessons left before the weekend? You could smell it, in the whole building, a buzz of excitement and release. Friday. Almost there. I don’t know about you, but when I had babies that was one of the things I missed the most: no more Friday feeling. Now we have it back, because at the weekend we get to spend time with each other, all four of us. It feels like a holiday all over again. SATURDAYZ RULE. I feel like switching on SMTV Live again and doing the Postman Dance.

We spent last Saturday at Cliveden, a rambly old NT property that we haven’t been to for a couple of years¬†(follow that link for hi-larious Tiny Bald Hen photos). There were bright leaves on every surface, a big maze we got thoroughly lost in, and a woodland walk that turned into a gorgeous path by the Thames on the way back. The boys were killing it in their woolly jumpers. We stopped in the tea room for scones and hot chocolate before we left. I genuinely thought that it can’t get much better than this. Jumpers. Scones. All of us together on a Saturday. We’ve got school to thank for that, I think.

PHOTOS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. I brought the camera but forgot to check the almost-dead battery – and it turned out to be the sort of place where not having a proper camera is like a dagger in the heart, so thank goodness for iPhones. Here’s one I got before the big camera packed up.

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In case you are fortunate enough not to be familiar with the Disney Planes universe, the plane T is holding is called El Chupacabra. Obviously perfect for a two-year-old to wrap his tongue around. He’s called El Blah Blah in our house, and I think it’s an improvement.

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May your photos always contain a casual hedge lean for extra sass.

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We’re all smiling because we made it to the centre of the maze before anyone died of starvation. RESULT.

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So help me, I am obsessed with little boys in jumpers. It’s all we’ve got, we mothers of boys. No little dresses to squeal over. It’s got to be jumpers, and I am all over it.

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The first of several hundred steps back up to the house, and between us we can count as high as twenty. It took a while.

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Ah, motherhood. To always be the head upon which they wish to dump their leaves. I’ll take it.

Happy half term, loves!

Ooh, October, you’re looking well

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I have given myself a towering challenge this evening. Well, two. One is to get rid of today’s lone nappies lurking in our house without gagging. I will track each powerful stench to its source like a veritable crap-hound, and throw them into the bin where they belong. The other is to write a blog post in half an hour. I have been writing more essays than rambles, lately, and I feel like my ramble output has been a little disappointing. Sometimes it’s more important just to write than to write perfectly. Not that I ever do that either.

ANYWAY.

October is looking well so far. Ooh, October, you’re looking well. Those oranges really suit you. H is mostly out of his screechy rage-demon phase and is loving school. I’m amazed by what it’s done for him in less than a half-term. He’s drawing things voluntarily, obsessed with playing an exciting new game called Tag (!), joins the queue at the classroom gate when the school bell rings, and went for a playdate and pizza on Friday with one of his new friends (‘I needed a wee during dinner’. ‘Did you go?’ ‘I put up my hand and asked’.) He also calls the school dining hall The Great Hall, Harry Potter-style, which I CAN’T EVEN. If he’s got floating candles and golden plates going on and I’m sat at home with T flinging around chicken supernoodles, I’m going to be peeved.

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He had a Harvest Festival service at the little medieval church down the road last week. I have been looking forward to standing in a chapel bellowing ‘Cauliflowers Fluffy’, while children bring baskets of cup o’ soup up to the altar, since I gave birth. It was completely wonderful. We also sang the ‘Autumn Leaves’ one about jet planes and it felt like the jauntiest moment of my life so far.

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Our school runs have become very autumny all of a sudden. I am trying to walk or cycle most dry days. Cycling is more time-efficient but pulling both boys up the hill in the trailer, oh legs, forgive me. There’s a route through the woods that T and I take if we’ve got the time (it’s off-road, so he can walk), and it’s been all dew-dropped spider webs and misty fields for a couple of weeks. The other morning we saw red spotted toadstools, and I was so astonished to see one in real life, outside of an Enid Blyton book. It was like seeing Moon Face waving from the nearest Faraway Tree and making awkwardly racist remarks. We moved into this house in autumn last year, and it was a big part of why I fell powerfully in love with living here: all crackly russet leaves underfoot, red holly berries, cold blue skies and brown forests of ferns.¬†Coming into the season again has been a real pick-me-up for the soul. And has reminded me how hideous my damp autumn hair is. Like a bad Meatloaf wig. Especially after cycling.

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I am trying not to be weird in the playground. It’s hard when you’re wearing a Meatloaf wig and have no small talk. People are nice. It’s an ongoing project.

Spending one-on-one time with T – for the first time, really – has been great. We go to a playgroup one morning a week (‘traydroup’) and he barges from station to station, shouting ‘HELLO’ in people’s faces, making pastry cheese twists and then scarfing them down at snack time. He makes the bull in a china shop look like a refined sort of chap. He’s talking mostly in sentences and is too brilliant for words.

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I am trying hard to find a good balance between the different parts of my life. My big, scary aim for this year is to try to get paid properly for writing. Urgh. Writing is such a vulnerable and necessary part of me that wanting to succeed in it makes me feel very exposed. I’ve been spending too much time thinking about it and feeling insecure about it. Then too many late nights generally. Last night Tim was out, and I was determined to read a single chapter of my new book in bed and then be asleep by nine, as a symbol of how totally adequate and in control of my glowing and brilliant life I am. But the book was H is for Hawk, and it was saturated in grief and love and a completely transporting description of falconry and nature: lyrical and coldly beautiful. So I read all of it, obviously. And I was about to feel terrible about missing another opportunity for an early night, when I thought that reading an excellent book all in one go was exactly myself. And then I got up to sit H on the loo, and that was exactly myself too. And I decided that all this was a bit of alright, and then I went to sleep.

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