Thursday, 27 January 2011

Today is Friday and I feel....

...excited by 3 days without any plans (except to spend an hour watching birds as part of Big Garden Birdwatch)! I'm excited by this lack of arrangements because it means I can spend time:
- in the garden
- at the allotment
- with my daughter
- with my partner
- as a family.

I'm also excited because it's my 4 year old's first school disco tonight (for one hour then the little 'uns leave and the big kids arrive). She's very excited and has decided to wear her sequin zebra top and grey skinny jeans. She also wants something sparkly for her hair!

I'm excited about the garden because I can see signs of life! The bulbs are bravely peeking out of the soil, the rose cuttings I took in the autumn are shooting and I have bought my first seeds! I'm not sure where to start in the garden though. I need to start clearing up the last of the leaves, the lavender at the front needs clipping (I didn't cut back the flower spikes in autumn as they were held their colour and fragrance until December).

i'm excited about the allotment because I'm making progress. I can finish glazing the new (recycled) greenhouse and continue tidying up.

But what to do as a family? It's always harder to decided on cold winter days. The rest of the year we go out walking, to the seaside or somewhere interesting. But in the winter we seem to spend too much time indoors. And then everyone does their own thing.

That's my challenge for this morning - think of some things we could do whilst I clip the lavender in the front garden.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

A mixed week

It's been a strange week. I'm feeling rather bereft but also like I'm settingly into a new routine.

The week began with us saying goodbye to our lovely cat Tau. She was nearly 12 years old and had been with us since she was a kitten. Tau-ie (as we liked to call her) was a tortoiseshell cat who had the softest fur and the softest personality possible. She was lovely and friendly, never hissed, bit or spat (even at my young daughter!). She always purred her lovely rattlely purr whenever you paid her any attention. In the evenings once our daughter was in bed she'd jump up next to me for a good old cuddle. Unfotunately she had cancer and deteriorated so much over the weekend that we had her put down.

Her cousin Mu is still with us and it's felt strange having only one cat to feed and look after, only one lot of food to put down, one plate to clean. Mu's been a bit lost herself and spent a while looking around and mewing.

It's also our daughter's first full week at school, full time, including school dinners. Her dad joined her for lunch on Wednesday and was pleased to report it was like school dinners when he was a child in the late 60s/early 70s! He said there was proper food on the menu and our girl chose lots of veg to eat.

As it's the first full week she also got homework. Now I'm not sure what I think of this. To be honest I'm not sure she should be at school yet - so many other countries wait till they're a bit older... i.e. don't have 'infant' classes. But she's there and they've given her homework every night. On the positive side, she's enjoyed colouring in and practising her 'jolly phonics' and on Thursday evening came home with an laminated elephant picture (coloured in green) with 4 words attached (I, can, said, the) and her very first reading book (Hop, said the frog. I can hop said the snake...) - which she read! Amazing.

The other change this week was my working pattern. For the last few years I've left work on Wed/Thu at 4.15pm to get to our child minder for 5pm so I could spend some time with Elizabeth before bed (I'm at home on Tuesday's and Fridays and her dad is here on Mondays). This week I left the office at 2.30pm to pick her up from school. (I had to do the extra time at home). I felt like I was deserting my colleagues at lunchtime - so early!

We also had our first school friend (and her mum) round for tea on Friday. I planned on clearing up and then baking but got delayed at the allotment for over two hours showing new people around. So I had only 3 hours to shop, tidy, hoover, clean and bake. Something had to give and I'm afraid it was the tidying and some of the hoovering. My bedroom, the spare room and the study were a mess. I closed the doors but Elizabeth gave our visitors a tour of the house including messy rooms (eek). On the positive side, the sandwiches, cakes and fruit I served for tea went down well and the girls enjoyed playing (dressing up, dancing, colouring in, shops etc).

So this week's been all about change. We're missing our beloved cat Tau-ie, we've had to get used to feeding only one cat. We're also now doing the school run 5 days a week and helping with homework. Is change good - I'll let you know in a few weeks.

Oh, one last thing. The strangest event of the week was on Friday afternoon. We were adopted by a big Tom cat. He suddenly appeared a few doors down as we walked from school and followed us home (just like our Tau used to do sometimes). He wanted to come in with us when he reached the door but I wouldn't let him, so he went round the back and tried to get in the cat flap (Elizabeth locked it to stop him). He's now camped outside and given how cold it is we gave in and fed him - he was very hungry. We've contacted the local cat rescue places and tomorrow will put up signs - hopefully his owners will find him soon.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Starting school

Our little girl looked simultaneously so grown up and so little when dressed in her grey skirt, white blouse, navy cardigan and carrying her book bag. She was so slim and feminine (for the girl who usually wears jeans) and her outfit would have been fine at work or in this case in reception class.

At 8.40am we set out from home to walk down the hill with her chatting away about this, that and the other whilst Daddy and I felt very nervous and recalled our school days.

She happily signed the register (located her name balloon on the interactive white board and helped the ballon float into the clouds) then sat down at a table to start an activity. All about us was chaos as mums, dads and grandparents anxiously said goodbye to their little ones.

Promptly at 12 noon we were let into the playground and out they trotted in a line to identify their parent/guardian to the teacher before being released.

On the way up the hill we heard all about the green (good), yellow (miserable) and red (bad) star system as well as about the listening elephant, sitting dog, hands up parrot and looking owl.

The school uniform was discarded at home for jeans and a fleece before lunch and afternoon activities. Then we started all over again this morning... but a little more nervously today. The good news is she played with others and held hands with a class mate on the way back up the hill.

We await day three a little less nervously.