Ezra’s first day at nursery

Monday 22nd February 2016 saw an important step in Ezra’s life – his first day at nursery.  It is tradition (on this site) that such an important step is worthy of an update all to itself; this is it.

Ezra turns three in slightly less than three weeks and currently the UK Government pay for all pre-school children to receive 15 hours of childcare (e.g. nursery) per week.  They are entitled to this from the term after their 3rd birthday until they begun full-time education.  Therefore Ezra will be entitled to this for the Summer term when the schools return after the Easter break.   However Ezra has never been to school, or to a childminder for over a year, or indeed spent a significant amount of regular time away from Lucinda and thus we felt that it was a little unfair for him go from 0-60 (o.k. 0-15 hours) in one fell swoop therefore we decided to ease him in gently with two mornings a week.

The decision of where to send him was far easier, we only had one place in mind.  Indeed his name has been down for over a year because we so wanted him to go there.  When we moved to Staines and applied to change Éowyn’s school to the nearby primary we also had to look for a nursery (pre-school) for Amélie.  Éowyn’s school has a nursery but you have to commit to either all mornings, or all afternoons there is no provision for children to stay there all day.  This did not suit us for Amélie (and it doesn’t really suits us for Ezra) as we prefer 3 full days (and pay the extra half day) rather than 5 half days.  Therefore the decision for Amélie was the second closest school, a further thirty seconds down the road, Our Lady of the Rosary (or Grocery, as Amélie used to call it).

Our next door neighbour Kathy works at Our Lady of the Rosary (so Ezra, as Amélie before him) would have a familiar adult face and it has recently been awarded ‘Outstanding’ by an Ofsted inspection; this, coupled with our familiarity of the school, made it a very easy choice.  Hence why his name has been down for over a year.

We took Ezra for a couple of taster sessions and he got on really well so I think Lucinda was more nervous than Ezra as we prepared him for his first day at school.  We arrived in good time (we have to set out earlier now as Ezra’s school starts at 08:30) and he wasn’t at all overawed by the enormity of the set he was about to take.  He confidently strolled into the classroom and immediately begun playing.  Amélie said hello to all her old teachers and it felt like he had been going to school for months.  We kissed him goodbye and left him quite happily ironing pizza (as you do) and thus begun our new school routine.  I dropped Éowyn and then Amélie off and returned home before leaving for work.

Lucinda picked him up three hours later and the staff said that he had settled well.  He had played nicely and there were no tears.  Our little boy is all grown up.  It is slightly upsetting to think that he didn’t miss us, but that is surely what we are trying to achieve.  The only down side was that he refused to have a nap when he got home because he is a big boy, but crashed out in the pushchair (he is a lazy big boy) on the way to pick his sisters up from school and couldn’t be roused until tea-time.

So another step on the journey of life has begun for our youngest child.  When did he have permission to grow up?

Peace and love


Amélie’s Third Birthday

The fourth quarter is upon us, the nights are drawing in and the girls have completed their first month at school.  In the last write up Éowyn was enjoying school while Amélie was in tears and begging us not to take her to nursery.  So is that still the case?

Éowyn is still enjoying school and has got use to the fact that it is five days a week.  It has not, however, been completely plain sailing since the beginning of September.  There were a few days when Éowyn became upset and said that she didn’t want to go to school.  Sensing that something had happened at school, Lucinda asked her what the matter was and had anyone upset her.  Lucinda’s fears of something from school were soon allayed, it was something much closer to home: me.  To be exact the lack of me.  It has been a very busy period at work and I have spent long hours away from home.  Although for Éowyn’s (and Amélie’s) first week or so at school I’d managed to trim the hours a little (a dark weekend helped – a dark weekend is a weekend with no Premier League football) the hours had begun to creep back.  With Éowyn spending every weekday at school, and me working into the evening and at weekends, the girls were only seeing me in the morning.  Not exactly what one might call quality time as it is all about shepherding them through breakfast, getting dressed for school and eventually out the door and into the car.

That was a wake up call and although it is difficult I have to strike the correct work/life balance and make the time I do spend with the girls special.  With that in mind I asked Éowyn if there was something that she wanted to do with Daddy when she got out of school.  Her first choice was to go the cinema – result!  Unfortunately there were no suitable films showing at our local picturehouse (Vue Cinema, Staines).  So it was the back up plan:  baking some cakes.  Therefore, armed with ingredients and a large mixing bowl we entered the kitchen and did not leave until we had made some fairy cakes.  A simple gesture but it seems to have worked wonders; she is much happier.  I can not rest on my laurels however and it was serious kick in the butt.  With an imminent house move in the mix it is going to be a very stressful time for all the family and we can’t take our eye off the effects it is having on the children.

Amélie on the other hand, has gone from hating school and crying whenever we dropped her off to running into school.  We are not entirely convinced that she is loving it but she knows that she has to go and is quite happy to go.  There are still the questions about whether we are taking her to school but at least there are no tears when we tell her that she is going.  Definitely a big step forward and just in time for her birthday.

Yes, the big news of the inter-write-up period is the news that Amélie has turned 3!  Saturday saw our middle child’s third birthday.  Unfortunately weekends are my busy days and so although I could push back the time I started I still had to go into work so I was unable to spend the whole day with her, which was upsetting.  I was there when she opened her presents however, and was tasked with the job of extracting the toys from the packaging – not the easiest of tasks especially when you are trying not to damage the toys or indeed your own fingers!  So although I wasn’t there for the bulk of the day I don’t think that she missed me too much as she had the distraction of a small family party around Nanny and Granddad’s with her cousins Lauren and Maddie.  She was still awake when I got home from work (a little late – but it was her birthday!) and was full of excitement with the presents that I hadn’t seen and the fact that she had been playing with her cousins.

It was her second birthday party.  The week before she had had a pirate themed birthday party around Nanny Fran’s with Nanny Fran’s other adopted grandchildren.  Lucinda and I were not at the party however for we were taking advantage of Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz leaving our brood with them while we were approximately 60 miles away.  One of my university friends Neil was marrying (I think the official term is entering a civil partnership – but I prefer marrying) his partner Paul and therefore when we received the invite to their big day, Nanny Fran’s services were booked.   We had a great time, catching up with my university pals which was good as I rarely get to catch up with them, even the ones that live quite close.  Unfortunately again the pull of work was strong and we had to leave early the next morning – before we had managed to say goodbye to them – the joys of working in television!  I drove back to Nanny Fran’s, dropped Lucinda off and headed straight to work.  Lucinda then drove back later with the girls.

Although it was Amélie’s birthday last Saturday, Sunday saw a third birthday party in just over a week, but not a third one for Amélie, but an early one for Éowyn.  As regular readers of this website may recall Éowyn was the last of our NCT class to be born and the group of us that still keep in touch try to organise a joint birthday party for them some midway point between the beginning of September and Éowyn’s birthday on the 17th October.  As fate will have it, this is usually around Amélie’s birthday, so I am sure that in her mind it is also for her.  This year the venue chosen was Alice Holt.  Run by the Forestry commission, Alice Holt is a few miles south of Farnham and excellent venue for the kids with plenty to do.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were full of stories of the giant woodpeckers and owls in the habitat trail.  Again the call of work meant that I wasn’t able to go, but not only were the girls full of praise for the woodland so was Lucinda, so when work calms down and we have a fine day I think a trip to Alice Holt is in order.

With all work and not a lot of play when my friend Andy saw an offer for a half-day’s Owl and Eagle experience at the Birds of Prey Centre in Old Warden I jumped at the chance to do something for me!  This was our second time, we took advantage of a similar offer last year, and again thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  It is great to be so close to such beautiful creatures and the only disappointment was that it wasn’t a full day’s experience.  There are plenty of photos on our Flickr site including the moment that a moody female Bald Eagle decided to give Andy a little nibble.  Well, he probably deserved it!

So before I leave you, just a quick note to say that the house move plods on but it now looks like all of our finances are in place and we could be exchanging before the next write up.  That probably means there will not be a write up until November! (I am joking!)

Enjoy the photos and keep your fingers crossed for a smooth house move.

Peace and Love



Settling into School

Another week, another write up.  I’m back in my stride.  I have a little more free time and there is plenty to write about.  You have had the two recent specials with Amélie going to Nursery and a week later with Éowyn going to school.  Momentous times in anyone’s life and although the first day can be frightening, exciting or a mixture of both it is when the realisation dawns that you have to keep going (and going) that the real stories begin.

Éowyn as you may recall was extremely excited about going to school; she couldn’t wait to put her school uniform on, pack her schoolbag and head off to the car.  This didn’t change the following day and neither did it the day after.  The only problem was the day after was a Saturday.  Éowyn was really upset that she didn’t have to go to school.  We tried to explain that Saturdays and Sunday were the weekend and you didn’t have to go to school at weekends.  She wasn’t convinced.  It probably doesn’t help that Daddy works weekends and so there is no point of reference.  I am sure she will get used to it.

Indeed the following week was her first five day week and by the Thursday she was bushed, ‘Do I have to go to school tomorrow?‘ Éowyn asked.  When we said that she did, she nonchalently shrugged her shoulders and conceded.  I think it was just a lack of an appreciation of how long a week actually was rather than wishing the weekend would hurry up and arrive.

Éowyn has come home almost everyday with a sticker for good work.  Whether that is helping to tidy up, or for demonstrating her knowledge she is proud of each one.  Sometimes she doesn’t understand why she got a sticker: counting to 20 for instance.  Éowyn has been able to count to 20 for quite a while, indeed she can count to 100 and Amélie who will be three at the end of the month is capable of counting as high, so Éowyn was surprised that not everyone in her class had the skill.  However her favourite sticker was one the states ‘I’m a genius‘.  She was given it on Monday for knowing that the date was the 16th September.  Lucinda and I were both surprised, a) because neither of us knew what the date was and b) we didn’t know that Éowyn was so knowledgable about the days of the month.

Amélie, on the other hand, is not nearly as excited about nursery.  Indeed, we have had tears most days.  We have also discovered how sly she can be too!  She is obviously upset with the change in her life.  She has always been either with Lucinda or at one of her grandparents’ homes and if she is anywhere else then she is usually with Éowyn.  Therefore, being on her own in a strange place is bound to be disconcerting if not downright frightening.  She is also picking up vibes from Lucinda who is probably as attached to Amélie as Amélie is to being at home with mommy.  Indeed there are few tears with daddy, more a questioning of whether she is going to school.  With Lucinda, however, there are tears and sobs and refusal to go.

It is up to daddy to be the bad guy.  I am quite happy with that.  It is something that needs to happen and if I am the one that needs to harden his heart to ensure that this transition happens then so be it.  Lucinda can be the good guy and pick her up and give her plenty of attention on the days she isn’t at nursery.  She is getting better and on Tuesday when I took her to nursery there were no tears.  Admittedly, neither were there cartwheels of joy but she held my hand and walked into the classroom then, after kissing me goodbye, ran over to one of the teachers to give her a cuddle.

In fairness, it can only get better.  The day after the first traumatic day she followed Lucinda around the house never leaving her side.  She was obviously afraid that Lucinda was going to leave her, in fact she did say to Lucinda on a number of occasions, ‘Mommy, you aren’t going to leave me, are you?‘  The day before she was next due to go to school she once again tried it on with Lucinda.  I was a work and Lucinda was bathing the girls when Amélie began to force a cough.  It was a very pathetic, obviously faked cough.  ‘Mommy,‘ she began, ‘I have a cough, I won’t be able to go to school tomorrow.‘  Nice try.

Amélie also confessed to a crime that we knew was her but neither had caught her in the act, nor got her to admit to it.  We have a wicker laundry basket and bits of it had be picked off and left on the floor.  We had asked both girls if it was either of them and neither of them had admitted to it.  Amélie, however decided that perhaps honesty was the best policy, either that or perhaps she was hoping it would be a bargaining tool to stop us sending her to school.  Whatever was the motivation she turned to Lucinda, completely out of the blue, ‘Mommy, I’m real sorry, you know the washing basket I pick it and when you ask me I say no but I do it all the time because I like doing it.  What can you say?

With two emotional girls, a pile of paperwork to catch up with for mortgaging both the house we are trying to buy and our current house that we will be renting out and the fact that I haven’t seen my family in about six weeks we made a decision not to go to one of the four weddings we  have recently been invited to.  With Amélie in such an emotional state and Éowyn having only just started school it just didn’t feel right to leave them for a night.  It was a decision not made lightly as both Lucinda and I were looking forward to a night away and obviously sharing in the celebration of our friends but as parents there are many sacrifices you have to make and this we felt was something that needed to be done.

So where are we at with our house purchase.  The good news is that our mortgage for our new house has been approved.  We are, however, still waiting for approval for our buy to let (or should that be ‘let to buy’) mortgage.  For those of you that have been in this position it can be a waiting game.  You answer the questions posed by the solicitors, the banks, and the estate agents then everything goes quiet before all of a sudden you have the keys to your new home.  That’s the plan.  Time will tell if that’s how the next few weeks develop.

It is not often though that the house that you are leaving is under threat of being demolished along with the entire village in which you have been raised.  That is what is facing Lucinda and her family not to mention ÉowynAmélie and Ezra.  Of the fifty or so proposals for expansion of London’s airports the South West Heathrow proposal will see the complete destruction of Stanwell Moor.  We have had two village meetings with representatives from BAA, HACAN, Gatwick, The London Mayor as well as political figures including our MP.  However, they have only outlined their proposals, a hard sell of their ideas if you will; nothing to address the blight that has affected the village (and this is not just a virtual blight but, for us, it is a reality).  In some ways it just makes you more frustrated with the situation as there is nothing that we can do at the moment.  Until the 50 or so proposals are whittled down to the 3-10 proposals that will receive greater investigation (mid-December for that decision apparently) and then, if we are still on the shortlist, until the actual proposal that gets the green light (mid 2015 at the earliest) we will be in limbo.  Obviously this is the same for residents of all the areas that are affected at each of the airports.  Not the nicest of positions to be in and we sympathise with all that are affected by this process.  I wonder if it does go ahead how much Éowyn will remember about her first home?

I will leave you there with the usual photos be warned though one of the below may move you to tears.

Love and peace