A quick term time catch up

I am really spoiling you with all these updates of late.  Mostly trying to catch up on the Summer holidays, which seems a little strange as we tiptoe into Autumn (Fall – for our North American viewers).  Obviously the last topic deserved an update all of its own, however I thought that a quick catch up was probably necessary to get you up to speed with the goings on over the first few weeks of term.

As alluded to in the previous posts I have been busy at work.  This is always the case with the beginning of the football seasons but tagged on to that has been UHD (4k if you must – although I am inclined to argue with you that point out that you are wrong on that account), IBC and the World Cup qualifiers to name but three.  The other members of the family have been busy too.  All three children have returned back to school; Éowyn has returned to Brownies; Amélie to Rainbows and Lucinda has the return of the after school wards in her childminding career.

Lucinda has been given the nod that Ofsted have her in her sights for her first proper inspection since the first one when she started childminding.  Ofsted puts the panic into all institutions when they announce that they are coming for an inspection, whether you are the best school in the area or a childminder trying to carve out a career that allows you to spend some time with your own family.  So it is for Lucinda.  Childminding isn’t just minding children, you have to demonstrate the methods that you are using to educate the children, keep them safe (including creating risk assessments for every activity type) while noting their development and any signs of abuse.  The amount of paperwork involved is enormous.

Lucinda had been using an app with an external database to keep all her observations on her wards’ development in an attempt to ease the amount of paperwork that she needed to produce.  Unfortunately at the end of the Summer during an update the company suffering a catastrophic corruption of its database and all work from the last 18 months (including the whole of Lucinda’s work on all her wards) was lost!  Needless to say this has put more pressure on her for although Ofsted would no doubt understand, she is frantically trying to at least have some semblance of progress on good ol’ fashioned paper.

Although I am currently in the midst of six days off work – hence the avalanche of updates on this site – I have had one other day off during September.  The girls had an inset day on the first Monday of September and so I took the day off work to spend some time with them, as I hadn’t all Summer.  I dropped Ezra off at school (poor lad still had to go) and after a detour to the Genius Bar in the local Apple Store where Lucinda got a replacement phone we headed to the swimming pool in Windsor.  We had asked the girls what they would like to do on a day off with Daddy and swimming was the unanimous reply.  Both girls have swimming lessons but Amélie’s progress was being halted by her lack of confidence in ducking her head under the water.  This was the first time that Lucinda and I had been swimming with them since their lessons had begun and so it was the first opportunity to attempt to give her this confidence.

Éowyn is happy to go beneath the surface and was trying her best to encourage Amélie to do the same.  Lucinda and I both showed her that there was nothing to be worried about, but to no avail.  So then I brought out evil Dad.  I was encouraging her to jump up and down in the water with assistance from me as we jumped up I pulled her into the water with me and her head went under.  I immediately jumped back up so that there was no time for panic or to be frightened and I braced myself for the reaction.  It could not have been any better.  ‘That’s fun!‘ she enthused, ‘Let’s do it again!‘  She then proceeded to spend more time under the water’s surface than above it and she is well and truly over that stage of swimming.  Back over to the professionals.

Swimming lessons are Saturday morning and the Leisure centre is behind their school, so six days a week you will find us on our short walk through the park.  It is still a delight not to have to join the mêlée that is the school run, fighting for a car park space; simply leave the house 5-10 minutes (15 minutes for poor Ezra – his school is a little further away) before you want to arrive and you are there.

All three are still enjoying school.  Éowyn has had two Bronze Awards while Amélie has done slightly better with a Bronze and a Silver.  Although in Éowyn’s defence, Amélie has also only effectively had two Bronze awards but because the rules are slightly different in Amélie’s class she was given a silver for the second Bronze award.  In Éowyn’s class you have to move from Bronze to Silver (and then from Silver to Gold) in the same day, for Amélie you stay on Bronze for a fortnight and any subsequent Bronze awards will take you to the next level, in Amélie’s case Silver.

The other early term achievement that they both have attained is to move up a reading level each.  No difference in rules here, just hard work and practise by both our girls.  In addition, to the Bronze awards and upward movement in reading levels Éowyn has also received 10/10 for both of her spelling tests so far this term.  The Baguettes are doing well.  This is in no small part to the fact that both girls like their new teachers.  It is always hard moving up a year and leaving behind a teacher that you really loved and we feared, especially for Amélie, that this would be difficult.  This doesn’t seem to have happened as both seem very happy with their new tutors.  The only difficulty that Amélie is currently struggling with is the lack of free time to play.  In reception they have more freedom to explore learning through play and more time to simply play.  In year 1 that is no longer the case.  Lessons are a bit more structured and they can’t just sit in a corner and play with Sticklebricks.  It is a sad indictment of what is wrong in the world.

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to play when we are six,

With dolls, Lego and Sticklebricks.

Apologies to William Henry Davies.

We are obviously very proud of the girls academic achievements so far this academic year and poor Ezra hasn’t really begun his educational journey however that doesn’t stop him demonstrating his intellectual prowess, sometimes to the detriment of others, in the following example: me.  Myself and Ezra were in the kitchen and I was getting breakfast.  ‘What would you like for Breakfast, Ezra?‘ I asked.  ‘I can make you toast, a crumpet, cereal,‘ and then I spied the bag of pastries by the bread bin; making an assumption regarding the contents I continued the menu: ‘or you can have a brioche.‘  (Very continental the Bagnall household!)  Ezra replied that we would like a brioche and without a second thought I took one of the pastries from the bag, placed in on a plate and put in on the table before him.

In the tones of one who, not only can not believe the lack of knowledge of the other party but is thoroughly disappointed with the offering before him, Ezra dismissively said: ‘Daddy, this is not a brioche, this is a pain au chocolat!’  I have not felt so rebuked in such a long time.

Ezra has however taken a step towards full-time education not in any academical way but in terms of his pre-school booster vaccinations. He now has had his full course of recommended inoculations until he becomes a teenager – unless we decide to go anywhere exotic on holiday!  We had told him that he was going and the nurse would put some special medicine into his blood to make him big and strong.  We also promised him that if he was a big brave boy we would take him to the toy shop where he could choose a toy.  He seemed to know exactly what he wanted, so that was a good focus for the visit to the health centre.  We arrived on time but the clinic was running about 30 minutes late so the most difficult part was keeping him entertained in the waiting room.  The nurse was very good and Ezra was extremely brave – I think he said ouch once (he had two injections) and only complained that his arms hurt after I had put his shirt back on.  I think it might have been a ploy to extract another sticker from the nurse (he left with three across his chest and certificate of bravery).  He then told the nurse he was going to go into Staines and get a dinosaur.  Thoroughly deserved.

As we stepped into the toy shop he made a bee line for the toy that he wanted: a roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex.  It was on special offer and a bargain, so there were no negotiations and Daddy duly handed over the money and rewarded Ezra for being the brave boy he said he was going to be.

With Amélie’s birthday just around the corner you can probably expect another update in the not-too-distant future – I am really spoiling you this month!

Peace and Love