Friday 30 September 2011

Poorly Prioritising

So, today is Friday - Nursery Day! Callum's first full day at nursery...but he is poorly :o(

It must be over a year since he was last poorly with anything more than a cold so I guess he was due his turn. I remember for the first year of Callum's life he didn't have a single bug! I breast fed him for first 4 weeks so he had my immunity (which I do think is rather good if I do say so myself!!!) but I was still amazed for a tiny new baby to not come down with anything for his first year in the world! I had just decided he must be a super freak of nature (a lovely one at that of course) that was immune to all the worlds bugs and that scientists were going to be taking samples of his blood to cure all manner of previously incurable diseases...then shortly after he came down with his first bug (I forget what it was now!). Anyway, apart from the first couple of months of nursery when he caught every bug going, as is the norm for starting nursery, he has been a pretty healthy child for his short 3 years of life.

So, it is horrible seeing him so sad and poorly. The first 45 minutes after waking up he cried. Nothing hurt, he didn't feel sick (though I'm not sure if he knows what this means), he wasn't tired, he just wanted to lay down in bed and have a cuddle (while still crying). I've no idea what is wrong with him and he doesn't have a temperature but he is clearly not I make the call! I ring nursery and tell them Callum wont be coming in today...and then fight back the selfish thoughts.

I'm clearly really lucky at the moment as I am still not working so I don't have to take holiday or parent leave etc so I should count my blessings. run...the study I had been putting off until today as I would have a whole peaceful day to concentrate on whole day of 'freedom'...sob. I don't get to have selfish thoughts when you are a put those thoughts into a little box, put on Bugs Life (for the 100th time) and snuggle up on the sofa under a blanket...there is someone more important than me today that needs me! And the only selfish thought I allow myself is "I've got to make the most of these cuddles before he grows up into a teenager and doesn't want a cuddle anymore!"

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Running for Freedom

Callum has started back at nursery - hooray!

He had his first unaccompanied half day on Monday. I celebrated by going for a run! It felt so good to be running again...though that may just have been first run adrenaline (my first run after an absence always feels good - kinda leads me into a false sense of security as the second run is a killer!)

I then crossed a road without...I repeat, without...wait for it...pushing the green man!!!!!! I know, I know, the shock, I'm such a rebel.

I know, its silly but in all seriousness, it is little things like these that show me just how much I've missed my freedom. I should probably be feeling guilty for thinking of it as freedom but I'd be lying if I did - sorry but that's the truth of it.

Following my run, I then cleaned the house...well the bathrooms and the kitchen...the hoovering and dusting etc of the other rooms had to wait for another day...I only had half a day remember and I'm a bit too thorough to clean a whole house in half a day!

Despite my euphoria at my few hours of freedom, I must confess, nothing compared to the big cuddle I got from Callum when I went to pick him up.

Not really sure how he got on. I couldn't see his key-carer around to ask and everyone seemed busy doing something else as it was lunchtime.

I spied on him a little when I arrive and he was eating his dinner...or rather sitting looking lost and sad staring at a piece of cake. I saw a nursery carer ask him if he was eating his cake and him mutter something shyly - apparently the mutterings were "I don't like it" (again, I know I've said this before, but he can't possibly be my child to refuse cake!!). That's when I made myself visible and he came running to me. I swapped his slippers for shoes and grabbed up his things, signed out and left.

I asked him outside if he had enjoyed himself and what he did and he was quite talkative so think he was OK - guess it will take a couple of sessions for him to feel comfortable and more confident...he is very much 'the new boy' at the moment. And I remember from before when he was only there a day or so he never really felt settled and it was only when he went to nursery full time he came out of himself. I imagine it will be similar here and once I have a job things will get easier for him.

Friday is his first full day at nursery so I will see how he is after that.

Must be careful that I don't get into habit of spoiling him every time I pick him up...could get expensive...but I think he deserved a little lego man for his first half day on his own...Right?!

(p.s. am going to try for a different approach to blog writing - little & often and focusing on one topic...hope it reads better - please tell me what you think?)

Monday 19 September 2011

Wizardry: I've Turned a Corner

Since holiday I feel like I've chilled somewhat - clearly all I needed was a holiday!

Maybe, maybe not....but I am definitely feeling more settled and relaxed.

Callum seems happier and has gone back to being content and controllable. Whereas before holiday, I was looking for new ways of managing Callum while I got jobs done. I felt quite highly strung and, as was probably clear from my blog posts, pretty miserable! Now, he is happy to entertain himself while I get some jobs done - and not solely being babysat by cbeebies! I managed to get up to date with changing our addresses (aside from the ones Stuart needs to do himself) within the first week back from our holiday and so can now spend more time doing fun things with Callum. I've taken Callum swimming one day and plan to take him once a week if I can.

Stuart even had a weekend off work which meant we could enjoy some more time as a family which was wonderful.

We took Callum to his first football session on the Saturday morning. We actually got up and out for 8am - unheard of on a weekend (when Stuart isn't working). The actual session was quite comical. Callum was shy and didn't really have a clue what was going on a lot of the time. The coaches weren't very good at aiming the session at the younger players and translating what they were asking them to do in to toddler language and spoke very quickly. After a few practice 'tasks' of putting their feet on the ball to steady it, trying to do small kicks between their feet and dribbling around cones before shooting they then went on to attempt to play some sort of game. Callum just clung on to Stuart at first and wouldn't join in but then the coach encouraged him to stand in goal. Amazingly, he went off on his own to stand in the goal but that is literally all he did. I thought, great he can use his hands having struggled to understand the concept of no hands, feet only. Unfortunately, he just stood there and didn't even attempt to stop the ball. When he threw the ball out, he kept throwing it to the same boy....who was on the other team so he kept just kicking the ball straight back at Callum's goal!!!

By the end of it I am not really sure whether he enjoyed it - however, if you ask him he said he did so we will take him back again. Stuart is going to try to take him on his own next time to try to discourage him from glueing himself to one of our sides.

On the Sunday, we took him to fly the kite he got for his Birthday. We spent the morning colouring in like we were supposed to, except the pens that came with it ran out almost immediately so I thought I would go and get his normal felt tips to finish it off with. We went to Hengistbury Head and were pleased to see there was some kind of kite festival happening when we turned up. Unfortunately, it had also started to rain...and got heavier, and heavier. It was when I was being rained on in rainbow colours that I remembered that Callum's felt tips were actually 'washable'!!! The rainbow kite turned quickly into a great mouldy colour as the colours ran into one another and then off the kite altogether. We managed to keep the kite off the ground and at about half mast for a bit but then...cold, wet and hungry we decided to admit defeat and go and seek out a Sunday Roast! Callum did appear to enjoy the kite flying though and we did tell him we would get a new kite (deciding to throw this one in the bin). Unfortunately, I think he had his eye on the large purple teddy bear kite that was being flown...

In addition to generally feeling more chilled with life, there is further light at the end of the tunnel as Callum starts nursery next week. We went to his first settling in session today. It was meant to be an hour with me staying with him. It was outside playtime and he went straight off to play on the equipment they have in the garden. He didn't really integrate with the other kids but did seem to enjoy himself and wasn't too concerned with me not being right by his side - so I tried to stay back as much as possible. After an hour, all the kids went back inside for 'circle time' and Callum was invited to join in with them. He was a little apprehensive wanting me to go with him so I settled him then stepped back again. They had a story read to them then went through what day, month & season it was before all the children in turn were asked to share with the group what they did at the weekend. Callum was very chuffed with the 'partly sunny' label he got to add to the board but did start to get fidgety towards the end of the session bored of listening and wanting to go and play. He did, however, with a little help from me, get up and tell everyone about our kite flying at the weekend.

And finally...there may be an opportunity of work in the pipeline. Not wanting to say too much now so 'watch this space'!

Saturday 17 September 2011

Happy Holidays

So, just back a week from our holiday and time to update you all.

Last year: Albufeira = so-so place, Callum was hard work, we were not relaxed.

This year: Alvor = lovely place, lovely complex, Callum loved it, we loved it, we relaxed

So, so much better than last year!

After last year's nightmare from the word go with Callum (to briefly fill you in, we got him up early, he didn't sleep in taxi like he was meant to and we were the family you didn't want to sit near on the plane!!! He was then hard work for the rest of the holiday), this year was the reverse. We decided to stay in a hotel near the airport this time because we had another early start. We still had to get up about 5am but it was still better than the time we would have had to get up if travelling up from Bournemouth. So, our holiday started on the Saturday.

I wont bore you with the nitty gritty detail as this post is going to be long enough anyway but to skip to bed time...picture this...

9pm (already way past Callum's bedtime) we put Callum to bed, watch a bit of tv ourselves then turn the lights off around 9.30pm.

Callum then starts singing loudly (badly and no particular recognisable tune) - eventually, Stuart and I both tell him to "shut up and go to sleep" thing, we are both drifting off to sleep finally when we hear "Love you Daddy" lovely to hear, bless him, but GO TO SLEEP!!!!

So, when we wake up in the morning, Callum was more than happy to get up and was ready and raring to go. Already a good start!

We get to the airport and things start to go a bit...erm (my favourite word)...challenging (that's my favourite word, not 'erm'....well not challenging either really as there are plenty of nicer words before the word 'challenging'...oh, I'll shut up now, you get what I mean...I hope).

We get through check in easily enough and then Callum wants to go to the toilet so Stuart waves in the direction of the toilet as I go to put the trolley back and retrieve our pound coin thing. I then follow the signs to the toilet. After waiting for about 10 minutes I'm thinking this must be a bloody big poo...they are still not out. After being advised to join the queue for security a number of times, I check my phone - several miss calls from Stuart and a text asking where I am. I call him and he is a different toilets, the ones that were right in front of the check in desk that I completely missed and has been waiting for me for ages. No major drama but still meant we wasted valuable breakfast time! We get instructed to join the 'assisted' queue which, because it is full of families with pushchairs, takes twice as long as the normal queue despite being half the size. More valuable breakfast time wasted. We finally make it through security and head to the food court. We sit down at a table and take ages to be served. By this time, we look at the time and realise unless we get served our food in next 5 minutes, we are going to be late heading to the departure lounge so excuse ourselves and head somewhere else where we can grab a bacon bap on the go. We go to pay and Stuart's card is refused. Rather embarrassing so we try mine, and again it is refused...both of them (same bank). A slight panic as we know there was money in the account and the bank wont be open until the next morning. Stuart runs to a cash point and luckily doesn't have any problem getting money out and nothing is amiss, it was just the companies machine having a problem reading our cards for some bizarre reason.

By the time this has all happened we have to rush to the departure lounge - no time to chill, no time to shop....thankfully, though, after that our luck turned a corner!

The flight went well and only need to open the bag of tricks I'd prepared for Callum for in case he got fidgety about two thirds into the flight. It was a great idea and did the job. It contained a couple of new books (Mr Man & Thomas), new pencils, pencil case, sharpener, colouring book, lego, new car and another toy car thing...think that was it. Would definitely do it again but next time I'd remember the return journey too.

The apartment and complex were great. It was pretty big for a self-catering apartment and had the novelty (for us) of a separate sleeping area to the living area. When we first walked in we were concerned because there was a cot in there and remembered when Stuart booked it he'd intended to book it for the previous year when Callum was still in a cot so we were worried there was no where else for him to sleep. Luckily, however, the sofa in the living area converted into a sofa bed with a pull out bed underneath and the bedroom was plenty big enough for us to put the bed in there for Callum. It worked brilliantly. We also had a big double balcony that overlooked the pool and also, if you looked closely, you could see the sea.

Our balcony was the first floor one

Callum's bed with his bag of tricks

The pool area

A zoom in on the sea view from our balcony

The location of the complex was ideal too. On the edge of the town with a short 10 minute walk to the harbour or beach. Alvor was lovely, with a great character and plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Last year, the plan was often to either get Callum to sleep before we went out for dinner or to all have dinner together and to get him to sleep in his pushchair after. That was often a 'challenging' task! So this year, as Callum was a year older, we had agreed that we'd just let him stay up until he was ready to sleep and play it by ear. Rather typically, a number of times (certainly at the beginning of the week), he wanted to go to sleep in his pushchair after dinner. Although, after he met a couple of little boys to play with, he did then stay up and play.

Callum loved the pool and, when we stayed poolside during the day, he was rarely out of it. We went to the beach a couple of times but the sea was a little too powerful for him. He did go in a bit a couple of times but wasn't keen. He was more than happy to play in the sand though and help me look for shells.

One day we headed to a waterpark, Aqualand. We went to
Slide & Splash last year so wanted to do a different one this year. We chose this one as we were told about a new children's slide area that had just opened but were disappointed to see it was closed without an explanation when we got there. I think Callum still enjoyed himself though, despite Stuart taking him kicking and screaming on one big slide (he did feel very guilty afterwards).

At the beginning of the week we went on a boat trip one afternoon. It was a proper traditional old working sailing boat (modernised with an added engine for days when there was no when we went). We sailed to Lagos where we anchored up and had a chance of a dip. I wimped out, regrettably, because I was too chicken that it would be too cold. Stuart went in though and you could see Callum wanted to go in. We put a life vest on him and I thought that would be sufficient but when Stuart took him down the ladder he wasn't very confident with the life jacket and it didn't provide enough bouyancy for Stuart to let go of the boat. So we took Callum back up and when he still looked like he wanted to go back in we put his arm bands on as well as the life jacket. We tried to get him to jump in but he was too nervous and time was running out so Stuart climbed up to get him and jumped back in with him. Unfortunately, Callum wasn't too sure of that and so didn't really enjoy the water or stay in for long. As Stuart said afterwards that he probably would have been fine if we had put his arm bands on the first time or if we had more time...or even if I had the courage to jump in!

What I really enjoyed about the boat trip is that the guys sailing the boat dived in and bought some 'sea monsters' up with them - I got to hold a star fish, a sea-urchin and a sea-cucumber :-D Callum got to hold a sea-cumber. Definitely a highlight of the whole holiday for me.

To sum up the whole holiday, we all had fun, we ate well and Stuart and I even managed to relax too. Alvor was lovely and I would recommend it and would be happy to go back there again.

...and I haven't even mentioned the weather - hot and sunny!

Take me back please, I'm missing a pint of pimms on the beach!!!!