Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's the holidays.......

It's the first day of the holidays, and already I am making lists of things I need to do.

I find it hard to sit and do nothing - I have an urge to move and be busy.  Even on the sofa, I like to have things to do.  I'm making a series of dogs over the holiday, for our SEN children at school.  Their topic next half term is dogs, and so the SENCo would like a range of creatures!

I've got to rework the school website and find a policy that will improve our e-safety.  I've got to plan work and so on for the first week back.  I've got the usual stuff to do for school as well as all the extra blog/website stuff.

I've also got to change the boys from the small bedroom to the middle bedroom.  This will be a job of epic proportions.  EPIC.  However, it is doable and I will do it.  The AC needs a bigger room.  His room will turn into the reptile room.

Today though, I need to finish the kitchen and think about what colour we're going to paint it.  J favours a rich red, I like pale greens and blues.  Ultimately though, I don't mind.

Today we talked about the fish tank, and he suddenly stopped, and had a moment of "Yeah, but when we move it'll be a pain in the ......... oh wait........ we don't have to move."  He's right.  We never have to move unless we choose to.  No-one is going to go to his work and tell him he has to move to a new house.  No-one is going to post him to a new base.  This is our house.  We own it.  (admittedly with a mortgage, but I'm working on that!)  we can paint it how we like, put what we like in it, do what we like to it.  It's more than a house, it's our home.

Anyway, I must get on with my list of things to do.  For the next little while, this will involve the kitchen, and probably Dave on tvcatchup.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

100wc What was the rabbit late for

It was one of those questions that kept a girl awake at night. “What was the rabbit late for,” wondered Alice.
Countless scenarios ran through her head every night, late after her parents had gone to bed, and she just had the streetlights for company.  The streetlights didn’t know – they were electric, and everyone knows that electric is stupid.  Wallpaper whispered about happened in the room. Cars discussed roads. Trees muttered about birds.  But the rabbit….. the rabbit had been talkative. Perhaps it “rabbited on” thought Alice, and groaned at her own joke.  

She’d watched it leave.  But a flash of sun - and where did it go?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thankyou Scotty's

Sam is part of Scotty's Little Soldiers.  I've talked about them before, to do with birthday and Christmas presents, and fundraising we've done for them with choir and so on.

Their founder, Nikki Scott, lost her husband and the father of her baby daughter and toddler son, on 10th July 2012, a week before Rich died.  She has focused her grief into the children, into what happens "When Daddy doesn't come marching home."  In 2 years they've raised over £100,000 and are heading towards their first goal of buying a holiday home by the sea, so that children can have a break.

In many ways, the AC and I were lucky when Rich died.  I already had the house, and it was mine, sole and whole in my name (although I was asked for the deeds of it before 3.30 on the day he died as part of his estate!).  I had a job which paid the bills, and the AC was at a school which loved and supported him.  We had the wonderful love of the RAF and the armoury boys who made everything as good as they could, and shared their anger with us when they couldn't make it what they saw as right.  We could grieve in safety.

For some Forces wives, the death of a partner isn't like that.  If a family are in quarters (base housing) and the serving member dies then the house goes with them.  Often there is an agreed period of time - in the RAF it would be 90 days maximum - where following that, the house must be given back - there are service families waiting for housing in some places.  When service housing is given back, the council will rehome, after much pushing and paperwork and anger and nagging, but only the council in the place where you were before you became a service family.  For some, this can be the other side of the country, away from their support network, from the rest of the squadron or unit.

Private renting can be done - but on what wage?  Often the wives can't work, because they have young children at home.  The children have to move with their mothers, away from school, away from the secure environment that may be all they know, away from friends, and toddler groups and everything.  For most, the death of a partner is followed by massive upheaval, extra trauma, uneccessary pain.

From that pain, Nikki created Scotty's.  She is an amazing woman.

That's why today, J and the AC will pull on their Scotty t-shirts, and head out of the door for a trip to Cornonation Street, meeting the cast, having lunch, doing "something" in the afternoon, and generally having a fabulous time.

I know this picture is upside down - not really sure why!

Yesterday though, when I went into town to get their new Scotty shirts, I had a *moment* when buying them.  I'd had to ask the girl in the shop in town that stocks them for the Charity to get the adult one for me. It just hit me, whilst I was paying for them, that I didn't want the AC to go.  I didn't want him to be a Scotty child, I didn't want him to, at 8, know the pain he knows, to know how much the death of someone you love so much hurts so hard, to know how horrible people can be to each other through guilt, to know how emptiness and tears take over a family.  I just didn't want him to have gone through it.  He is a strong child, a brave independent child, and I wished for my baby back.

And yet.

It happened.

Rich died.  Swiftly, and silently and painlessly, and so perhaps, in the best way possible, he died.  Loving us, free on his bike, off to the job he loved, he died age 33 with all of a glowing future in front of him after such a painful past.

In the shop in town, I cried, tears rolling down my face whilst the girl stared and the chap serving tried not to notice.  I paid for them, prodding the numbers into the machine whilst the girl folded the shirts so carefully and placed them into a bag.  We carried on a normal conversation whilst this was going on, as one does whilst paying "That's £xxxxxx."  "Card goes in there."  "Thankyou."  "Please put your pin in"  "There we go." and so on.

The AC will always be a Scotty child.  Today he will meet others, some for the first time, who are in the same position as him.  Some are just starting their journey towards normality again, some have travelled this road for a long time.  Some were babies when their father died and will never remember him.  Some were older children whose eyes tell you all you need to know.  There is a depth, an age to them, a liquidity under the surface that says "Yes, I've been there and done that, but I got through and you will too."

They can do this, because they have each other, because they are Scotty children, and although all of the mothers would, like me, wish that they weren't, we are all glad that they are.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The highs and lows

The highs and lows of the last four days.....

Lows (because I like to finish on a high note!)
Interesting weekend with T-Boy, in which we have established that he doesn't listen to me.
Coming home to cat sick on the new carpet.

Highs (yeah, only two Lows - and they weren't massive!)

J telling T-Boy he had to listen to me
Cat sick being solid and easily cleaned up (hairball!)
AC completing his Sport Relief Mile
AC taking part in his competition with the school on Sunday
J's birthday celebrations - dinner at his mothers, Indian out last night
NEW SOFA to complete our living room.  Sofa is leather, massive, chocolate coloured and gorgeous.

And the top news.

As far as J and the AC are concerned anyway......

They are going to the set of Coronation Street on Wednesday.  Tomorrow.  Wednesday.  A day when I am teaching and cannot go.  They are looking forward to meeting the cast, having a great day out, and whilst it's a four hour drive there and back, it's all good.  They are doing it through Scotty's Little Soldiers, which is the charity that is supporting the AC through the loss of Rich. (N.B. they would support BG if I could give them an address, and I would if I could, but I'm Not Allowed To Know!)  They have been amazing, and whilst it is a day out of school it is for something that he needs - not to go to Corrie, although apparently J *needs* to go - but to meet other children in his situation.  Other children whose Daddies and Step-Daddies didn't come home.  Most are Afghanistan deaths, some are like the AC, in that they are children of those who would have given their lives, such was their commitment, but their deaths were under other circumstances.  It is for those families who don't tell their children that Daddy was "A monkey in a suit" as the She-Ex told me she would tell the BG, but for those who take military life, and the sacrifices made by the families whilst serving seriously, living every day knowing that it could be today that the call comes.

Whilst the AC and I never expected it to come from Thetford, we are so blessed to have Scotty's.  Life is good people.

So I have a very over excited child, joyous in his looking forward, joyous about his weekend, and Very Tired!  He has worked for others on his own, he has worked as part of a team, and now he gets to do something for him.  All is good and fair in his world!

(and as a bonus, he tells me, he had Indian with the lads last night and now he stinks.  I love 8 yr old boys.....)

Friday, March 23, 2012

On the other side of the fence.

How many times have I used the phrase "XXXXXXX just doesn't look at the world the same way as other children." ?

I used it for Sean, Danny, Tracey, Sean (different one!), Jack, Alfie, Andrew, Sean (another different one) Maddy, Laura, Kai, and so many others over the 12 years I've been teaching.

Last night, it was used to J and I, about T-Boy.  Last night all kinds of words and phrases were used, that I have used to many times, the same "next steps" were put forward, the same targets and solutions and so on.

We've known that T-boy has been getting worse in school for a while.  We've known that emotionally he struggles to cope with life and that he over-reacts to everything.  We know that he limits his eating.  We know that his behaviour can be challenging to deal with.  We have followed everything the school have suggested so far.

Now he has been seen by professionals for his area.  CaMHs are going to be involved.  Ed. Pysch report in on it's way.  Emotional Literacy programme has been set up.  Again, all things I would have done.

But this is different.

And it is different again to how I had to deal with the AC's bereavement counselling, and the needs that he developed and that we dealt with after that.  Putting his needs first delayed me dealing with my own grief to a large extent, and that is fine - that is motherhood!  Children first, every time.

This is different because whilst I love T-Boy,  I can see him as a child of my class as well.  I can more easily separate the personal and the professional and see what needs to be done.  I have explained to a parent that yes, their child has needs and behaviours that they cannot control, but that also their child manipulates that and is aggressive and inappropriate and looking at exclusion.  Last night, some of that was said to us.

This is different, because a lot of what was said last night was confirming my assessment (reassuring for me in itself lol!) and that is disheartening in a way, because I also know what comes next.  I can see the path.  I know children who have walked it, some with supportive parents, some without.  I know the different outcomes for some of my previous children.

This is different, because I have to talk to the grandparents, I have to explain it all again, I have to go through what they need to do, how they need to respond when he behaves the way he does.  It's not a case of letting a parent know and leaving it for them to deal with and hoping they get the message across.

The short-term outcome for T-Boy now depends on several factors.  Consistency between our house, and his mothers house.  GP referral.  Emotional Literacy work.  Mostly though, it depends on him, and he doesn't do change. :-(

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Red Box

Quietly, I slipped down to the hallway.  In the dark my nervous hands found the sides of the red box that had been prepared late last night. Carefully I lifted it, every muscle straining, making no sound, listening for sound, checking for movement upstairs.
There was very little weight to the package, but the slight shifting of the contents warned me that everything was not as secure as I’d hoped.  There was nothing I could do now but be even more careful.  Silently, I carried it back up the stairs, placed it in his room, and returned to bed.

This is my first try at the 100 word challenge.  (I stole the link from Bodfortea.  Yes.  I probably want to be her!) This week's prompt in the 100 word challenge for adults is '...the red box...'. Read the other entries over at Julia's Place.

In other news I was up til 1am with a snake who was playing with her food.  Honestly, the way the young eat their rats these days.  No manners at all!

And I am still ridiculously proud of the child.  Hard work from him, J, Rich and I has paid off!  Excellent work ethic young man!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mummy meme. And Proud Mummy Moment.

 I was tagged in this one by the fantabulous Bodfortea, who was tagged in a Mother's Day Meme by Not my year off. It was originally created by Loretta over at More Than A Mum who thought it would be a nice way to celebrate Mother's Day by answering some questions. And why not? So here goes…

Describe Motherhood in three words
joyful, thought-provoking, fulfilling

Does your experience differ from your mother’s – how?
She had three of us!  There is just the boy.  We had a rural upbringing but she was at work from me breing 6 weeks old.  The AC has an urban upbringing :-( but I was home for the first 2.5 years of his life. :-)))

What’s the best thing?
Seeing him laugh after everything he has been through.

How has it changed you?
I'm more chilled out, less self-centered, more interested in the environment, more broody (pointlessly so :-((  ) and a nicer person.  I'm also more tired, more financially aware, and more concerned with my future and his future.

What do you hope for your children?
That he grows up to be strong and brave and not affected by a traumatic first 7 years, that he has a loved filled happy relationship with someone who we all get along with (and grandchildren.....I wants them!)

What do you fear for them?
Fee-paying NHS, lack of real books, loss of a partner, an inability to make commitment

What makes it all worthwhile?
Him. His cuddles, his smile, his love of J, his delight in achievement, but mostly his "I love you".


In other news........

The AC was very proud yesterday to be scoring an 3C in writing, a 3B in maths, and a 4C in reading.  The 3C was the most important to him as it is something he has always struggled with.  In Y1 and Y3 he had small group help with his writing, and has been below national expectations for that in most of his school career.  I know that a lot of that had to do with Rich's death, but because his maths and reading were already above, it didn't make a huge difference to those scores.  And I didn't give a damn about scores anyway! However, this Autumn, he hit National expectations.  Spring, he hit National expectations again.  That confirms it!  Whilst I know that being a while level above National expectations in reading and being on the Gifted and Talented programme is amazing and brilliant and all those things, the amount of work that he has put into improving his writing makes me proudest of this one.  He didn't give up, he didn't roll over and say "Oh well, I'm no good at writing" and leave it there.  He worked and focused and achieved.

You may now take one of the buckets full of tomatoes from over there *points* and throw them at me for being such a proud mummy.  I love my boy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Snakes in a pillowcase

Yesterday Steve-the-snake went back to the shop that we had him from as a male to male swap for a pair.  We paid for the albino female, and the 100% het albino, het stripe male was the swap.

It was a shame to see Steve go - he's a big lad and he's so friendly and a very pretty snake, but the chance of a breeding albino pair was too much to give up.  Both around 5 ft, she's very cheerful although he apparently needs handling to chill him out a bit, but that's no problem.  I can do that.

It was a lot of running around, but it was worth it to see the massive smile on J's face.  I love making him happy.  I look around our living room - the decorating is finished, we're just waiting on the new sofa now, and I am so happy with it all.  The horrors of redecoration are a thing of the past.  Now the amount of space is better, and the layout is nicer, and the wallpaper matches and all that kind of thing.

Two of the lads from J's work came round last night and helped to shift the fishtank to where it should be.  It's supposed to be being sold, but I don't know if that is going to happen.  It wouldn't surprise me to come home and find it full with a couple of bactinets in it, ready for some Frontosa's or whatever!  He likes fish.  I like fish.

Life is good, people.

I know that some people view me as 'soft' or as a 'people pleaser' but actually, it's really only when it comes to my boys.  And the AC gets what he needs, very rarely what he wants lol!  Is it a bad thing to want your man to be happy?  Rich's Aunty thought so, tell me that I "indulged him like a child." because I let him have Landrovers if that was what he wanted.  (Indulging him would have been getting the Ford Cougar!)  He loved his Landy's, I loved the Landy, everyone is happy.  Isn't being happy what it is all about?  Being happy and making other people happy?  So often it's the little things that make them happy.  Smiles.  Cuddles.  Snakes in a pillowcase.

Speaking of which, I should go and make lunches for the boys, of I'll have two very unhappy people come 12 o'clock!

Laters peoples!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How I met your father. Part 3

Dear BG,

This is the beginning of the difficult to write about bit.  Some of what I am about to write will annoy your mother, but it's truth.

We've covered how I first met your Daddy, and how our friendship grew in previous posts.

We're now in around May/June time.  You were spending a lot of time with me or at nursery or at the Child minders.  Mummy had a job, working at a veg box place I think, but didn't always go.  I was fine to pick you up from nursery, you were always pleased to see me!  Sometimes I had to walk you back round the long way to mine, so that we didn't have to go past your mum's house and you see the car at home.  Sometimes I was phoned to collect you from the childminder because she was a friend of your Daddy and a friend of mine, and she didn't want your mummy or Daddy to have a massive bill.  I'd collect you, and then I'd call your Daddy so that he knew where you were, and he'd collect you on the way home.

You were a funny little girl.  Sometimes I'd get told off by your nursery for you not having spare clothes, or being potty trained or whatever, but you were cheerful most of the time, and wanted to be with people.  You and your mum and AC and I were still going out sometimes for coffee with the other mums and children, and we loved it.  We would chat and you children would play and it would be good!  We'd go up to the park and play, and you and AC would have a Froggy Choc on the way home.

Sometimes I look back at those days, and I think, wow, we didn't know what was around the corner.

Early May was also the time that I started to get really good friends with Caroline.  She was very very pregnant with the twins. We worried about you so much. Your mum was not in a good place in her own head, and the house showed it.  It was nasty.  I'd never seen anywhere so filthy and dirty and grim.  You were still not potty trained, always hungry, always grubby.  Still had a dummy and a babies bottle.  We worried.  But your Daddy promised us that things would change, and that your mum just needed help and time.  We offered both.  Your Daddy and I tidied all through downstairs when Pete and Carla were coming once, and 2 days later it was back the same.  Mummy wasn't working then.

In June, AC's Dad went to Canada.  He was happy for all of us to use our big car (I think yours was off the road or something - I'd have to check back on the old blog!)


I went back to look on the old blog Princess, and I got lost in those days.  I read all sorts of things, about you being round for lunch, or when I'd had you whilst mummy and Daddy went to a meeting and then you were picked up at 1035pm - you were three.  We'd had a lovely evening though, you and I.  We'd done some sewing and I'd made you a bag with a strap and a 'R' for your name on it, You'd chosen the material and thread, and sort of helped with the sewing.  You were so proud of it, you carried it around for days!

 They were good days BG.  Your nursery Sports Day that Daddy came to and ran with you was one of the proudest days of his life.  Watching him swing you up into his arms when he picked you up from mine.  Listening to you say "I love you Daddy," or sing "Big ship sailed on the Alley alley o"

So many good memories.

Bad ones to come, but these were all so good.

So I'm going to leave this section there.

love and *hugs*


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trickier than I thought....

I'm on the tricky bit of "How I met your father."

I don't want to bad mouth her mother to her, because it isn't my place, but those events were part of why her father and I ended up as single, and then as together.

I'll have part 3 up soon, and feel free to tell me it's too basic.  I don't want to gloss over things that shaped her and the relationship we all ended up in, but I want to be honest without being hurtful.

I think that's impossible.

What would you do?  Emails or comments all appreciated.  Have you had to explain to a child what happened with an ex?

In other news, the lounge is papered, everything is in the right place, all we are waiting for now is the sofas.

And we *are* getting 2 new boas.  And swapping one in for one of them.  We'll have 8 snakes.....

Ah well.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peg looms and parcels

A couple of days ago we had a card through the door to say there was a parcel for me.  I wasn't expecting anything, but I went to pick it up.

It was a big bag, but a quick look at the sticker on the outside told me it wasn't for me, it was for the child.  It was a Scotty parcel.

For anyone who doesn't know, Scotty's Little Soldiers is a charity created by Nikki Scott, the widow of Lance-Corporal Scott, who was killed in Afghanistan 10/7/09.  That was a week before Rich died.  She has young children, she understands the pain, and even more than that, she wanted to do something for the children that a military death leaves behind.  Their tagline "Make their children smile" is seen all over the place now.  The AC and I are one of the Scotty families,  and this is a fabulous thing - this is someone taking the AC's pain seriously, and not saying as Rich's own family did, that because the AC wasn't a blood relative then he didn't matter.  Yes, his aunt *actually* said that, about a sobbing 6 year old.  Actually said that their relationship didn't matter.

Anyway, before I get irritated by the memory of that nasty old woman and the selfish and plain mean acts that his family caused to happen around his Celebration that not even the She-Ex agreed with, I shall move back to the Scotty parcel.....

See the Smiling Face of the Child.  (and the Scotty sticker that means that parcel is not for me!)

Inside the parcel?  A snuggly dog, now called Dizzy after one of Rich's dogs, (I wonder if the BG still has the Dizzy that we made her at Build-A-Bear which has Rich's voice in it?  I doubt it.) a Horrible Science kit, which makes volcanoes, a letter and a card.  Lovely.  Just............. lovely.

Oh, and yesterday the children and I made our prototype peg loom.  Today we look at it, evaluate it, and make the big ones. But it's cool.  They were good with the tools, and concentrated well.

I love my job! (yes we were supposed to look at pictures of looms, but what fun is that?)

Right.  I should be getting on. Laters taters!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How I met your father Part 2

I met your father in February 2009.  I didn't think a lot about it, because he was only the husband of my friend, the father of my friend's child, and someone I didn't see very much.  He was always polite, always funny, always had a big cuddle for his Princess.

We started to see each other more when between the four of us - your Daddy and mum, and AC's dad and I, we decided to reinvent the Roleplaying Club at the RAF base we all lived at.  I loved RolePlay, and so did your Daddy, wheras Sam's dad and your mum didn't want to know so much, and that was fine.  There was about 8 of us who played in the Church Rooms, and we played all sorts of things.  I made coffee and tea whenever it was needed, and it was later on that your Daddy said that was one of the things that first made him really notice me as a good friend - I was able to anticipate his needs.  I pointed out that anyone could notice an empty coffee cup and fill it.  He pointed out that no, not everybody did.

After we played we would all head up to the Families Bar for a beer before home.  Lee and your Daddy would walk me home (because it was dark and they were gentlemen) and we would talk about nothing, and everything, and how life was, and how you and the AC were growing up, and how pregnant Lee's missus was now and so on.  We just talked, a lot!  We talked about where we all wanted to be in the future, what had happened in their days, what was going on with all of our relationships.  We played "Top 5............." and laughed at each others choices for top 5 album, or top 5 meals.

We became the best of friends in a very short time, and we spent a lot of time together, the three of us.  I met Caroline, Lee's missus, and we became good friends, and over the years she has been the best friend I have ever had.

You and I saw each other every day at toddlers, or at baby gym, or at mine for lunch.  There was a lot that you and the AC got up to that made me laugh, a couple of things that made me despair, and a couple of things that made me want to cry, (but I didn't).  Your mother and I drank a lot of tea and hot chocolate together, talked about life together, watched you and the AC play, (except for the times that we didn't watch you, and you did things like spread cotton wool all over the floors upstairs and walked all over it so we couldn't get it out!) and we chilled out together.

That was February, March, April, May.  We all lived in each others houses, we all knew and liked each other, and although your mother has always wanted to believe that your Daddy and I were having an affair, we were married to other people, we loved those other people, and we knew that, yes, things were a little tricky at times, but all marriages have their rough spots, you just have to work hard at them and get through them, and that's what we were doing!

June was where it all started to get tricky, and I'll cover that on another day.

love and hugs Princess,


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Early morning

Having written last night's posts about how I met BG's father I then got on with more work.

I was working with half my brain and reminiscing with the other half.  Yep.  I am woman, see me multitask!

So the next bit will be written over the next couple of days, because one of the things I am going to do with this account is make it relevant and truthful.  There have been a lot of misconceptions allowed to arise (see, I didn't say lies!) and I want her to know the truth.  To have a chance to know the truth.  I want to know I've done everything I can.

So now I'm on the next bit, which is The Bit Where Nothing Happens Contrary To Suspicious People's Minds.  The posts will just have what I'm writing to BG on it.  Any commentary will be in a different post, because that's opinion, not fact!

And when I first met him, yes, I thought he was a handsome lad, but I was living on an RAF base surrounded by handsome lads in uniform, so, aside from being very tall and with a gorgeous sense of humour that really made me laugh, there wasn't a lot to say!

Now I have to upload APP.  I have to.  See me do it.


Did you see me working?

No.  Me either.......

How 'bout now?

Monday, March 12, 2012

How I met your father..... part1

Dear BG,

The first time I met your father, it was 14th February 2005.  I'd been shopping in town with your mother for a dress to go to the Sergeants Mess Valentines Ball with the AC's dad.  We went back to your house for coffee for a change.

At the time, your family and my family loved on the same street, about a minute apart and round the corner slightly.  We had 3 bedroom houses with slightly different layouts - but not that different, because the RAF aren't that inventive.  I'd met your mother at toddlers, when the AC had attempted to climb a stack of chairs.  He was like that then - he was 18 months old.  You were a reserved child, but you had the most amazingly gorgeous eyes and face.  I expect you still have - but you are no longer 2, you are nearly 10.

Anyway, this is about how I met your father.  We went back to your house, your mother sent us all into the living room whilst she made some tea, and there was a bottom sticking out from under a computer desk.  The AC needed feeding, and he was still breastfed, so I politely asked your mum if it would be ok.  She shouted to your dad about me feeding the AC, and there was a mumble of "Fine by me" from under the desk.

Clearly, he didn't know the AC was a breastfed baby.  That much was obvious from the way that his face looked when he backed out from under the computer desk, turned around, and got a full frontal view of my chest, as I wrestled the AC for control of my T-shirt.  He blushed.  I swear, Princess, he did.

He recovered quickly, and we chatted about nothing whilst the AC finished his snack, and then we had a brew and went home.  Nothing special!

He and I both thought we'd met someone nice, someone friendly, but as we discussed later, we weren't looking outside of our own relationships, so it never occurred to either of us that there was anything else to look at.  He did admit to me that he had thought I was pretty in passing, and he admired me for breastfeeding anywhere AC and I needed to.  I admitted to him that I had thought he was a fairly handsome man, in passing, but incredibly tall!

So there you go.  That's how I met your father.  I'm going to carry on this series so that you know what happened, because you and I may never meet again, even though I want to, and I will always be here for you if you need me, or want to ask anything.

Love and hugs Princess,


Saturday, March 10, 2012


Usually we are away at this time of every-other-weekend.  We go down to see J's son, T-boy, whose mother took him 200 miles away without even talking about it.  It's an Ex thing, I think.  I have always thought the children's needs come first, but the more I talk to a variety of people who have ex-wives and children, the more I realise that often it is the parental need for revenge and to cause pain that is the driving factor.  Or the need to run home to mummy.

Anyway, we are home.  AC is on the sofa, chilling with his choice of tv.  I'm on here in my jama's doing work.  Obviously now *right* this second, but I have been and I will be.  T-boy has gone to grandmas anyway, which prevents his mother having to take care of him this weekend.  J is in bed, and will be up soon.

There's a lot I want to say, and I haven't and I can't.  I've had 7 years of dealing with ex's, and I'm tired.  I won't give up though.  Over the next few weeks I'm going to be writing an account of BG of how her father and I met, what happened, and how we got together, and what our lives were like, so that she has it as a true tale of how things happened.  That way, even if I don't get to speak with her until she's an adult, the account is there and cannot be denied.  It's our story, and it should be told to his daughter. My son knows what happened (except for the whole story of why his father left - he was a paranoid alcoholic with depression problems who firmly believed I was having an affair - with a bloke in London - when I was at home all day with a 2 year old!).

I'm just unsettled that's all.  I'll get over it.

With work!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Outstanding! (and workload!)

Yesterday was insanely complicated in many ways, simple in others, and was an excellent example of why the "Mum's Army" who tried to fight the strike should come in and do more than one day.  Oh yes, they should!

Yesterday started with the child, his friend, and I being at school for 7:45.  That's not so unusual, neither is the fact I'd marked books for over an hour already.

I printed out, photocopied, put books out and so on, ready for the children to appear.  I found the ukulele's, the t-shirts and the scarves.  I checked the visit trip risk assessment, collected the list of children who were going, and found out I had to take the instrumentalists as well.  No problem.

The children came in, I registered them, booked their dinners, sorted out who was coming with me, who wasn't and split the "who wasn't" into two groups to go to two different classes whilst I took half of their classes with me.  I had to make sure that this child didn't go into the class with that child, that the group dynamics for the special needs were good and not too volatile, and that the epi-pen went with this child, the behaviour book went with that child, and make allowances for the two children who are always late, so that they had classes to go to when the eventually pitched up.

The new lot of my group, who included my son, now got changed into their PE kit, and we went outside to find the Leicester Tiger man who was here to teach my children tag rugby.  We played that for a 30 mins, then raced the children back inside, got them changed into competition gear, and sorted out who needed which Ukulele, with which letter on the back, with which colour of scarf that needed to go round their neck and match the letter.

Oh, and I had to send around to get the instrumentalists to come down as well, check names and instruments, double check music, and make sure they had bows, rosin and so on.

Then I got them into two lines, walked them down to the church, and assembled them ready for the performance.  I reassured the nervous ones, settled the noisy ones, and pointed out parents to a couple of the children who were worried that their parent hadn't arrived.  Their music teacher then took over and I relaxed. Oh, and took my son to the toilet.  The only child who needed to go........  

The Ukulele group went to a competition yesterday.  It was a competition as far as they were concerned.  Actually, it was a festival with adjudication.  They were fantastic!  They were bright and tuneful and energetic and all three pieces of their work were wonderfully performed.    I know this.  I have the evidence for it.  Because when they were adjudicated they got an OUTSTANDING!  They had fantastic comments about their musicality, their performance skills and so on.  Only one outstanding was given over the morning, and they they are very rare.  It was a county music festival, and they stepped up to the mark.  They delivered.  My boy was enthusiastic, and gave a very good performance.  They all did.  They were OUTSTANDING!

We stayed for an extra hour so that one of the instrumentalists could do his bit and come back with us. The groups had done their bit, and the children wanted to see the double bass played, so we stayed until 12:45 and the next break.  We were complimented on what a lovely audience we had been (the parents had all left after the primary large groups section was over) and I was told how great the children were.  They were.

I marched the children back in time to get them changed, throw dinner down all our necks (Dinner starts at 12:15, so it was a bit of a rush, but it was the right thing to do for the children, so that was all good!) and head into the afternoon of R.E, swimming,  and further complications of who had kit, who didn't have kit, who should have had kit, and so on. I sent the children home, had a 20 minute conversation with a mother about her child, and then cleared up my room, ready to leave.  Then I went home, and planned and worked for part of the evening, before we discovered something else we needed to do that was more important, packed the bag for the weekend, and sorted the kitchen.

The thing is, that the only bit the Mum's Army will have seen, is the bit where I went to the competition (that wasn't a competition), sat the children down, sat down myself, watched the children play, and went back to the school.  I mean, I can see their point! How hard can that be?  I can kind of understand why the parents think that teaching is an easy job.  The bit they see is the easy bit.

This isn't a moaning or attacking post by the way.  I'd have loved to have had more parents to help, (plenty of them were there!) I'd love for more of them to get involved with school, to see what the children do, to get involved.  Not in a "Mum's Army we can do your job better than you," but just to appreciate what teachers do.  That lunch hour that I was with the children for, is unpaid.  My lunch always is unpaid.  But that's when groups and clubs and detentions are.  My time before 8:30 is unpaid - but when else would I have time to get everything ready for the adjudication?   That meeting with a mother was in unpaid time - I stop being paid at 3:30, but when else can I meet with a parent who is concerned about her child?

Not to mention weekend work......

If the government saw *all* that we do, if the public saw *all* that we do, then they'd be more appreciative.

Or maybe they wouldn't.  I don't know.  I'd like to think that they would, that they'd stop thinking their child's education happens all on it's own.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Busy as all heck!

I have seven or 8 half done posts which I was thinking "Oh, when I am too busy to post I can schedule one of those."  They weren't finished, so it didn't happen lol!

The biggest thing to happen this week, aside from the lovely news at parents evening, was that I had my final assessment for this course that I've been on, (Tuesday) and then an observation by the head.

Observation by the head.  In the past those words have struck fear into my soul. (Slightly over dramatic, but if you are a teacher, you'll know the feeling.)  This time they didn't.

I didn't even mind when she said that the Literacy Co-ordinator would be joining us as she'd been my mentor during the course.

They came, they saw, they chatted to my children, and they left after an hour.

After school I went down to get my feedback.

To explain, there are four categories of teacher.  Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, Good, Outstanding.  You can be one with elements of the next one up or down.

Before the accident I was Satisfactory, with lots of elements of Good.  I was a fag-paper away.
After the accident, I was satisfactory, with unspoken elements of Unsatisfactory.  Nobody mentioned them overtly, nobody said they were there, but we all knew.  I was offered help in certain areas, I was offered 'courses' that I'd done before, to try and refocus me.  Nothing worked, and everyone accepted it would just take time.

My class was chosen carefully, playing to my strengths of teaching special needs children who wouldn't make as much progress as the others anyway.

This years class was chosen carefully, leaving several of my previous children in my class, placing in there children who needed tender loving care, who needed supporting and nurturing.

And this year, that was a problem when I had to leave them for 2 days a week.  1 day for the course, 1 half day for PPA, and 1 half day for meetings with my mentor.  For 6 weeks, I consoled them, calmed them, and  told them exactly what I had been doing.  In return they supported me, tried to support the more emotional children who panic easily when there is change, and worked through it all with me.

This week, we had our reward.

This week, I got a Good.

A Good, heading towards Outstanding.  Oh yes indeed we did!

WE - my children this year.
WE - my colleagues and staff who supported me and cared for my son during the worst time of our lives.
WE - J and the AC who have put up with an untidy house and dodgy meals thrown together and random questions.

I am back in the game.  I am back on the path.

I stood in front of my children on Friday, and I thought "Yep, I can do this - I have the piece of paper to prove it!"