Tantrums, Tears and Mayhem

So…the threenage months are proving somewhat trickier than the terrible twos.

In a nutshell, we are living in a battleground – it’s like trench warfare out here: the gunfire starts around 6am and the ceasefire commences around 7pm – what happens in between can only be described as a whirlwind of untidy mayhem, fierce tantrums, tumultuous tears and cries of joy, anger, laughter, frustration and pleasure mixed with NO, STOP, COME HERE, LISTEN & AAAAAGGGGHHHHHH! I wish I could say this was all emitted from the 3 year old, but I hate to admit there are murmurings of unrest from the thirty somethings too…yes I know we should know better…!

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Here’s what I’ve learnt so far about life with a 3 year old:

  • that’s one mixed up little individual – a myriad of emotions all seem to be clattering around at once with a rather limited understanding of what they mean or how to express them (other than zooming around the living room at 89mph refusing to ***READ ANYTHING MUMMY ASKS HIM TO DO***)
  • he requires more tlc than ever – the one with the most patience (I thought I had lots – computer says NO!) holds the greatest power in this battle – at this point it turns out it’s Mr Tum…who’d have thought it?!
  • he just wants to play, albeit with a bra tied around his waist flying out behind him as his ‘superman tail’, but playing is still his number one priority despite it seeming to be winding mummy up. He also likes ‘helping’ in the kitchen A LOT and filling and emptying a variety of vessels with any liquid he can get his hands on – bath time is surprisingly calm – is it wrong to be bathing him 3 times a day?!?!
  • Forget any of the following strategies: REASONING, CO-OPERATION, POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT, we even tried the pretty controversial TIME OUT (a gentle version with the ‘thinking spot’ – yeah right think about the next act of monkey business!) – not a lot works and what worked 20 minutes ago may not be well received now – it’s a minefield and we’re still working through it. To be honest, bribery is our current ‘if all else fails’ go to – I can see this ending in more tears!
  • it’s still worth it – it might not feel like it at 6pm when the witching hour commences but he’s still worth every gasp, tear and sigh.

So excuse me now – I must retire to rebuild my energy…battle set to recommence in circa 8 hours!

Blown Away

Sometimes, the tiniest of moments, the fewest of words, the slightest of looks just blow me away!

Tonight was one of the those times – “You’re just the best mama I’ve ever seen.”

Just those few flippant words, right on bedtime, as my little man was drifting off to sleep, were enough to melt my heart and make me hug him a little tighter before he’d completely entered dream world. Don’t they just do it to you every time?!

And usually, after the most testing of days!

I read something yesterday that made me smile:

What little words of toddler wisdom have blown you away recently?

 

An Open Letter to my Baby…now you are 3!

Dear Noah

Wow – you’ve recently turned 3! I really am not too sure where the last 36 months have gone.

Let’s rewind 4 years – we were in the middle of a house move at this time, April 2013 and what they say is true – new house, new baby.

I became pregnant with you in July 2013. I knew you were in my tummy really early and I showed daddy the pink line (you’ll understand this once you’re older) on a Saturday morning in August 2013. He was so happy – tentative because so much could still go wrong – but so happy!

Telling auntie Linny was easy, she was expecting it! She made mummy take another test, just to double check and there it was – in numbers and words – 3-4 weeks pregnant! This is what we used to tell nanny and grandad “me” (your current name for them). They were over the moon – also a little tentative of course – but ecstatic, nanny and granddad “woof woof” too!

Those first 3 months were full of excitement – we took you on your first holiday when Photo 11-04-2014, 06 48 43you were just the size of a poppy seed – only to north Wales but it was a fab few days – with daddy and nanny and grandad Me. Things got a bit tricky when you’d been inside mummy for about 12 weeks but we got through it and although mummy had to go to hospital lots of times for them to keep checking you while I was pregnant, you arrived safe and sound at 12:19am on a Friday in April 2014 weighing a tiny 5lbs 9oz.

I had to have a little operation to get you out in the end so it was daddy who held and cuddled you first – both mummy and daddy got to see you quickly as the midwife showed you to us, but daddy had to look after you while the doctors made mummy better after having you.

Daddy cradled you for a long time while you both waited for mummy – he told you how special you were, he told you how much we both loved you and how we were both going to look after you the best we could. Eventually, once mummy was pushed into the room, out little family of 3 was complete.

There have been other people along the way who continue to hold a special place in your heart and who certainly hold you very dear in their hearts – nanny and grandad me, nanny and grandad woof woof, auntie Linny and uncle Dan and Uncle Nick. They were there from the start and continue to be a huge part of your life right now.

So let’s fast forward, quite quickly, because there’s a lot to cram in from the last 3 years!

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Unique Dude!

You grew, and grew! You rarely slept! You didn’t do what any of the baby books said you’d do – you are a beautifully unique, defiant, independent, stubborn, happy, loving, amazing little man and we could not be more proud of you. I hope, if you want to, one day you will experience life asPhoto 01-08-2015, 16 09 57 a daddy – you’ll find out it’s the hardest job in the world (along with being a mummy of course!) but it’s the most rewarding – you never cease to amaze us every single day – you make us laugh, cry, melt, gasp and wonder at every thing you do and say.

 

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Our lives without you would be less bright, less joyful, less rewarding – in fact though the last 3 years have gone in a flash, I can barely remember a time when you weren’t an amazing part of our lives. My goodness you keep us on our toes, now as much as ever –the sleepless nights have been replaced by early mornings (and sometimes late nights!), Photo 24-10-2016, 14 42 26fun-filled (and sometimes rather stressful!) days – usually involving a stick of some type, den-building, climbing something you shouldn’t and of course picking up frogs and worms and mud and anything else you really probably should leave well alone!

Your inquisitive little mind is forever questioning things – right now you have so many questions, mostly starting with where and why, which we try to answer as best we can though sometimes it’s difficult to provide you with the detail you insist upon! Your words and sentences are coming on too – you have an ever-expanding vocabulary which amazes us and you are trying so hard to put together your ideas and sometimes it’s still a little tricky to understand everything you are saying.

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Catching Frogs

I especially love how cross you become when we don’t quite get what you are saying and you get louder and then shout it at us as though you’re in a foreign country and wish the natives to understand!

Life isn’t always so rosy – when you were just 14 months old, you were poorly, very suddenly and mummy and daddy didn’t know what had caused it. That was your first epileptic seizure – you’ve had a good few more since then, but we’re learning to live with you having epilepsy. You have a seizure every so often now thanks to the medicine you have to take every morning and every night which helps to stop you having too many. You know what, mummy and daddy have come to realise this is just part of you – you have this condition, which you may or may not grow out of, but we’ll deal with it – we’ll do whatever we can to make it easy for you to live with it; you’ll be fine!

So what else have mummy and daddy learnt from the last 3 years? We’ve learnt that life is unpredictable. Life doesn’t follow a set of rules or guidelines. You can develop routines but they have to change every so often. Life can be great but there are a fair few curve balls thrown your way which you must find a way to overcome – it’s what makes you appreciate the great times! Life as a mummy or daddy, as I’ve already said, is the hardest job in the world – you’re on call 24/7 – in the last 36 months, mummy and daddy have been your carers, your nurses, your chefs, your cleaners, your taxi drivers, your playmates and your champions – we encourage you to become the best little human you can be, we cheer you on to succeed in every challenge you try to overcome and we pray that you will be happy along whichever path life takes you.

Most importantly, mummy and daddy have been your teachers – we’ve tried and we continue to try to teach you right from wrong every day, we teach you it’s ok to make mistakes and we teach you how to overcome them, we teach you that life isn’t always fair but that it’s ok to feel frustrated with that, we’re teaching you how to evolve into the amazing little man you are becoming. And you know what, you’re teaching us an awful lot more than you could ever realise – you’re teaching us how to be a good mummy and daddy – we are better people for being your mummy and daddy and for that we will be forever in your debt!

So, now you are 3 and we’re about to embark on the next few steps in our journey – the 3 of us together. Just around the corner is nursery school – 5 mornings a week in school with other people trying to teach you. But I want you to remember no matter who is in your life, no matter who is trying to teach you, care for you, encourage you, knock you down, help you up, support you, be there for you, love you, there will be no-one more focused on you than your mummy and daddy.

You, Noah, are our world and we will always be here for you.

xxx

Fun in the Sun – you can tell it’s summer term…

Another busy summer term – this is of course the crazy term too – where every pupil (and teacher if I’m honest) has just about had enough of each other and of fractions, report-writing and green pens! Then throw in a little bit of sunshine (read scorching hot humidity) and we’re all cuckoo!

School aside, my little dude has kept me on my toes – especially in this hot weather! Restless bedtimes, days filled with paddling pools and wrestling with him to rub copious amounts of sun cream into his slender little body – so much of the white stuff you couldn’t quite tell where his milky, little face ended and his strawberry blonde hairline began, and we’ve had a few ‘cream in the eyes’ tears too – has anyone found a cream that doesn’t make your eyes feel like they’ve been gouged with hot pokers???

If anyone lives in the Midlands area, I can’t recommend Telford Town Park enough – we’re regulars but it really is fab for all ages and the little toddler zones are especially good for pre-schoolers. There are lots of shady bits to hide from the big orange ball of fire in the sky while the huge number of family-friendly eateries, the lakes where you can feed the ducks (and run away from the hissing geese!) and the nearby shopping centre make it an all-rounder for us!

Here’s the little dude having a hug amount of fun in the sun:

 

What’s everyone else been up to in the sunshine???

Soooo busy!

Hello!

It’s been AAAAAGES since I’ve posted – have had a really busy couple of weeks so apologies for the lack of blogging – sometimes life is just so exhausting but it’s half term now and tonight is the first time I’ve had chance to go aaaaaah…and breathe!

So what’s been taking up so much time?

REPORTS: It’s report-writing season! My pupils’ parents deserve a personalised account of their child’s journey through their most recent academic year and though very time-consuming, there’s always a huge sense of achievement when they’re complete.

NEW JOB: Yay!! Current part-time position was only ever a temporary maternity cover due to end, well last week! However, I’m staying on until July but secured a new 2=day a week position for the new academic year – it’s an amazing job too – will share more nearer the time but am very excited about something a tad different (though still teaching)! Needless to say, getting ready for the interview took a bit of preparation time but it paid off!

MINI-BREAK AWAY: We managed a long bank holiday weekend away on the East coast – Lincolnshire, which is somewhere we’ve not even contemplated visiting before but I have to say, it was a lovely area. Amazing weather helped us to have a fantastic 3 nights away at the Thorpe Park Haven site – will post pics some time soon – but for now here are my boys having fun on the beach, oh and Noah absolutely loved the adventure of staying in a ‘cavavan’!

ERRR…DID I MENTION I HAVE A THREE-NAGER?! Of course, spending some quality with the little dude, especially this week when I’m off work is taking precedence over other things. Today alone, we made:

  • Banana Ice Lollies (they looked far less than presentable – let’s just say I’ll be doing no lovely, show-off pics of those on a recipe blog any time soon but Noah licking the chocolate and sprinkles off his fingers kept him amused for a good 3 minutes!)
  • Eggy Dill Heads (OK, they were supposed to be cress but I couldn’t find the damn cress seeds – Noah didn’t care – he just enjoyed sprinkling the miniscule things all over the kitchen!)

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  • a holiday-inspired ‘Under the Sea’ arty farty creation (is it just me who desperately wants to allow their child to roam free and easy with the paints and glue, devising their own artistic path but I just can’t stop myself from ‘modelling’ to him the best way to position his murky brown starfish and broken strands of seaweed)

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  • enough Mega Blocks constructions to warrant us both gaining a degree in architecture (I think today we finally made a breakthrough on the meltdowns every time a 27 block high tower collapses around him – he only screamed in frustration the 7th time!)
  • reading our calm down time – a good 20 minutes was spent on the sofa finding out about the exploits of pirates, Chip going to the dentist (and the doctors and school), the toys when the little one says ‘roll over’ and the animals in good old Rod Campbell’s ‘Dear Zoo’ (for only the millionth time – it’s one of our favourites!)
  • watering plants, running to the potty, washing our hands and sitting in the sink our filler activities – good times!

I’m worn out writing that list – returning to work next week will offer a rest! But I wouldn’t swap time with my littlest man for anything! Roll on tomorrow!

Slimming World…will or won’t-power

I’m relatively new to the Slimming World journey – joining July 2016, I lost 3.5st really quickly (I had a lot to lose…wait I HAVE a lot to lose!) – it took me just 3 months, but then I lost focus and just couldn’t get my mind back in the right place.

So now I’m trying to get back on track. I have good days (and not so good days!), I’m following lots of other blogs of amazing people who have stuck to it and have fantastic recipes for us all to follow – I’ll link to these later – and I’m just aiming to become healthier and fitter – I’m fed up of feeling sluggish, tired and irritable because of the things I eat!

So what is it with this magical plan on which us ten tonne Tessies can lose 9 and a half stone in 6 months (and have the bat wings and turkey necks to prove it!) Well I’m still not sure:

  • the plan talks about the importance of speed foods to fill you up – I get that.
  • It explains that syns are important to remind your body it’s not being deprived – I get that.
  • It even goes into detail about what you put into your body being the crucial factor in weight loss and there’s less of an emphasis on moving about (except for a bit of “body magic”) – I guess I get that.
  • You’re even allowed to eat an unlimited amount of carbs (well, certain carbs and until you’re ‘full – err hello do they not know me??? As if my brain understands the word ‘full’) – I’m not so sure I get that!

Still, it seems so easy!

So why is it so hard? I think it’s boredom that plays a big part for me, oh and time!

What? I hear you say, time – what the hell is time? It’s that circle that ticks round when you’ve got Bing on pause on Sky + because your toddler’s about to do a tiddle on the floor or the period before bath time when you’re wrestling the Toot Toot cars out of your threenager’s hands while simultaneously wanting to punch Iggle Piggle’s lights out because he’s not in bed, AGAIN, which makes running around the living room trying to find a red ‘blankie’ all the more appealing to be more like “Iggie Piggie”.

Anyway, back to Slimming World; I’ve found you need to invest a fair amount of time to research recipes you want to cook (and that the hubby and little dude will want to eat!) if you don’t want to fall into the trap of eating the same 5-10 meals – eat, sleep, repeat – right?! I don’t have that time! I also don’t have a massive amount of time to cook said meals, not when some of them take 60 minutes – who has 60 minutes spare with a little one running round the house in his green underpants, pretending to be Superman while wanting the giant yellow chef’s knife to ‘help’ you cut the mushrooms? NOT I!

Still, those aforementioned amazing people I mentioned earlier whose blogs have inspired me and supported me in making some fab meals have helped no end. I especially love:

 

  • Two Chubby Cubs – 2 great guys – the wit cracks me up (no pun intended!)
  • Fat Girl Skinny – lovely down to earth realism of the ups and downs of SW
  • Slimming Eats – great meals and extremely inspirational Brit living in Canada

I guess one of the biggest things I like about Slimming World is the flexibility in being able to eat a relatively balanced diet with anything (in moderation….or should I say syneration!) a possibility. It’s the first plan I’ve really been able to stick to for a more sustained period of time, mainly because it doesn’t really feel like a plan, just a lifestyle you have to get used to, which let’s face it losing weight should really be all about (I think?!?!) I’ve done enough yo-yo dieting over the last 20 years!

It’s also great that you don’t have to weigh or measure foods (well, mostly – just the odd 40g of cereal or the daily 300ml of 1% milk – see I know my stuff!) And with the exception of a few syns (I want to say 5-15 though I hate to admit, some days 15 seems like a distant memory), you don’t actually have to count anything!

Yep – I’ve been there, weighing strawberries to ‘count calories’ – it got me nowhere! (Image Source)

So now for the downside…the hard stuff, the crushing disappointment of realising that the 3 aspartame-filled Mullerlights that you shovelled down your neck at 10:30pm might be syn-free but how filing are they? And how HEALTHY are they? There are a lot of syn-free foods recommended on the plan but so many of them I just can’t make peace with, partly because they’re full of a fair bit of artificial ‘stuff’. And when a recipe for ‘fakeaway’ KFC uses Smash as an alternative to breadcrumbs, you know you’ve strayed off the healthy lifestyle path. Still, I was listening to Dr Ranj on This Morning the other day who said the good research states artificial crap isn’t so bad for you (I’m not so sure those were his exact medical terms but that pretty much sums it up!)

So…I guess it comes down to personal choice and having the willpower to choose healthy choices, to half fill my plate with the good stuff, to only eat one Freddo (just 5 syns!) instead of three! When it comes to will or won’t power, I’ll keep trying to ‘will’ myself on!

Kids get one shot…make it count!

Teaching – it’s been my career for over 11 years (not a lifetime, well unless you’re 11, but a third of my life) – I’ve seen unbelievable changes to the UK education system in that time, many I am sad to say have not been for the better. And since becoming a mum, my priorities have changed somewhat (immeasurably!) so now teaching is still my mainstay as far as income goes but 2 days a week is enough for me and for the children I teach.

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Thanks to Designed by Freepik“>FreePik

I truly believe, and always have done, that kids get one shot at their education – they deserve the best every single day of every single term of every single academic year of their school life – they deserve a teacher, or teachers, who can give them that and for me now, that’s only 2 days per week. I’m never going to preach on here how hard life as a teacher is – there will always be people who understand what teaching (or living with a teacher – hi hubby!) is like and there will be those who do not. But teaching for me now is two-fold – the amazing primary aged children I have the privilege of inflicting knowledge upon 2 days per week and the 3 year old lay asleep next to me who is learning from me (and everyone/ everything else around him) every moment of his life.

Here, I’ll endeavour to offer any snippets of advice (you might want to take them with a pinch of salt mind!).

I’ll try to link to some great (I think) resources.

There may even be the odd moments of inspiration that might inspire the next batch of teaching graduates (poor beggars!)

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B is for Bassoon

For now, I’ll finish with a little anecdote – I have rather a lot though, to be fair, this is courtesy of a colleague to whom this happened and I distinctly remember us all having a bloomin’ good chuckle about it!). Hopefully, it may brighten your Sunday as you switch on your laptop for some Sunday slogging (whether you’re a teacher or a mum!)

After teaching a child for what felt like months her initial sounds, she’d finally started to grasp them. During a music workshop one day, the same child was introduced to a range of instruments and when asked what sound the bassoon made, she (quite rightly and with great pride) replied “b” – well she was right! B is the initial sound for Bassoon.

God, I love the innocence of kids – may they rule the world!

If you’re looking for some decent resources, try my TES shop here!

TODDLER TIMES

So, we’ve got ourselves a toddler! Actually, technically now, I think he’s deemed a pre-schooler, as he’s just turned 3 – where did those gee-whizz years go? But that means I have a fair amount of toddler trials, tribulations and tantrums to share, which may just offer you the tiniest sliver of reassurance that you’re not alone; the craziness of toddlerhood hits everyone (erm, I think?!? Though I’m pretty certain our first-born, a free spirit, wild and now ‘three’ does have his own style which does occasionally seem a little out there!)

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Young, Wild and Three

Still, we’re through the terrible twos (yeah, right, ‘cos we just turned the switch off overnight in early April!) and you know what? Like the way you get through the mind-numbing, newborn exhaustion (which, btw, takes months if not years to overcome, oh wait, I’m still not convinced you ever overcome it), or the way you smile sweetly at the horn-developing stropster, I mean toddler, refusing to sit in the Aldi trolley because there are no straps to hold them in place* while you shovel blueberries (read Babybell and chocolate buttons) into them, or even the speed at which you leave the garden centre soft play when your little darling rugby tackles 3 other kids (all of whom are taller and stockier than him which simply means it’s more of an achievement!), YOU DO MUDDLE THROUGH!

You cling on to every fun adventure, each gasp-inducing moment of joy, and the few minutes of peace between your little creation falling fast asleep (with the appearance of an angel, like butter wouldn’t melt) and you collapsing in a state of exhaustion, drooling as you start to snore, with your laptop sliding off your lap (after all, there’s still planning to get done for school!) – but these are the things that get you through!

And so, as our little man turns from toddler to teenybopper to, dare I say it, teen (it pains me to say teen – he’s my baby!), we’ll aim to share some of those things along the way. Happy journeying folks!

* After contacting Aldi in 2015 about there not being straps to restrain our little darlings in the child seats of trolleys (Noah was forever trolley surfing), I received a reply that it was not something they were planning on adding but would consider it for the future – thanks to a campaign (read about it here), they’ve now rolled them out on all trolleys – hurrah!

Mrs Muscle….Food!

Hello! Excited (yes, it’s sad but true!) is not the word to describe my returning home from work tonight to find my very first Muscle Food delivery had turned up – full (I hope!) of a whole host of Slimming World friendly delights to tempt my carnivorous taste buds. Of course, I had to give a great big hug to my little beaut first, who then promptly ditched mummy for the Muscle Food box, which is of course far more exciting than me!

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A cardboard box is far more exciting than mummy!

Cue mummy’s excitement for syn free sausages and Slimming World chips (done in my brand new, never even used before ‘cos I’m a little bit scared of it Actifry – I feel like I’m about twenty steps behind everyone else at the moment when it comes to everything – blogging, Actifrying, Primar-ni fake nail applying – just discovered these – see behind the times!)

Anyhow, I’ll endeavour to post about Actifrying once I’ve got used to the blooming thing. For now, my Muscle Food package has been a delight for the eyes and the taste buds (sausages a definite hit with Mr MumTum) – using a MoneySavingExpert blagged code, this meat all cost less than £50 (50 quid I hear you gasp – it does seem like A LOT, I know! But it’s worth about £68 in supermarkets and looks pretty good quality plus I’ve managed to portion off 5 freezer bags of 4 chicken breasts plus 2 leftover for the hubby and I to eat for lunch tomorrow!)

What’s more, the lovely peeps at Muscle Food have given me an offer code for you, my lovelies to claim FREE: 4 x 125g Chicken Breast Fillets – 0.5kg – just use the Offer Code: SE628375 and some syn free chicken could be winging (get it?!?!) its way to you!

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All this meat for less than £50

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Please note: all opinions are my own and are an honest response to any products reviewed or mentioned. This product was purchased to be consumed by myself, Mr MumTum and the little dude!

My Very First Blog Post

Hi all! I say all as if there are going to be many people reading this – ha who am I kidding – hi hubby! My very first blog post – this was all started on a whim one late night in April 2017 when I just thought, you know what I’m sat here reading all these amazing blogs of all these fantastically informative, creative, funny people – surely I’ve got a little something similar to offer?! Well that may or may not be true, but if all I achieve is to share with one person one single useful piece of advice or one teaching idea or one Slimming World recipe, I’ll have added something positive to the world. Meanwhile, I’ll have found a cathartic way of letting everything out! So, if you’d like to follow me on this journey, you can read more on my About Me page and find links there to other places where you can find my ponderings! Thanks all (hubby)!