Category Archives: Preschool

You can call me one of THOSE mothers…..

This post has proved to be a little more tricky to write than I was expecting, mostly due to my conflicting feelings about the matter, which I am still struggling with to some degree.

It was Little Man’s first parents’ evening on Tuesday and, due to an existing and unmoveable commitment on the same night, we were unable to attend.  I was really disappointed to miss out on this and obviously keen to find out how he’s been getting on at preschool so I emailed to ask if we could arrange to come in and speak to them at another time.  They duly rang my husband to make an appointment, which was great, but at the same time mentioned that the preschool manager wanted to be in on the meeting too as ‘there have been some issues regarding LM’s behaviour that we want to discuss’.  GULP.

Up until now, I haven’t really said too much on Twitter/Facebook or even to other friends about what the precise issues are as I was ashamed.  Yes, ashamed.  It feels so terrible to say that about my own son, but it’s true.  I was ashamed of his behaviour and, as a firm believer in nurture over nature, I was also ashamed of myself.  I felt like an abject failure.

You see, Little Man has been being rough with the other children there, including hitting them.  I am mortified.  Where have I gone so horribly wrong as to result in him not knowing that that kind of behaviour is not acceptable?

I have been beating myself up about this for the past week, worrying about how we can tackle this, worrying about whether I’m at danger of raising a future bully and, truth be told, worrying about the judgements that were doubtless being made on me and my parenting skills by not only the preschool staff but also the other parents.

Now you’re probably thinking, ‘how shallow’, and you would be right.  Unfortunately though, I am the kind of person who does care about how they’re perceived by others.  I know I really shouldn’t, and that’s what I’m struggling with now.

The worst aspect of motherhood so far, for me anyway, has been the judgement.  Mothers judge other mothers far too freely.  It starts straight away with the notorious breastfeeding vs formula feeding issue, which I am absolutely not going to get into now.  It continues with any number of other matters, (dummies, controlled crying, baby-led weaning etc) all of which there are strong, conflicting opinions on.  I have no problem with anybody holding a differing opinion to me on any matter, life would be incredibly boring if we all agreed.  What I DO have a problem with however is when someone, who invariably doesn’t even know me, decides that they can make a judgment on what kind of parent I am purely based on a momentary observation or enquiry into one of my choices.

I’ll hold my hands up here, I’ve done it in the past.  Haven’t we all?  I’ve seen the children creating mayhem in the shops or throwing a tantrum in the middle of a restaurant and thought, ‘Well, they clearly can’t control their children!’ but I really should have known better.  What we see, and what we think we know about someone is usually merely only the tip of the iceberg.  There could be all kinds of reasons for what we’re seeing or why somebody has chosen that particular option in raising their children.  And that’s just it, it is a choice.  Unless it’s illegal or endangering their children or others; their children, their choice.  Also, as I have come to realise, there is always more to something than meets the eye.  Those children misbehaving in the restaurant?  Maybe they’re just having a bad day and are usually really good.  Maybe some well-meaning grandparent overloaded them with sugar just before they came out.  The fact is, we don’t know and we shouldn’t judge.

But people WILL judge, I know this.  So, as hard as it for me to do this, I am being brave and saying this:

Go ahead, judge me.

Decide that I am a shoddy parent because my son is having some behavioural issues at present.

Blank me when you pass me outside preschool.

Don’t invite my son to your child’s birthday party.

I DON’T CARE.

You will never know how upset I was at hearing about the times he’d been in trouble and you will never know how I’ve stayed awake at night agonising over how best to tackle it and put it right.

My priority now, and all I currently care about, is my son and ensuring that we do all we can to help him over this and to ensure that he gets the support, insight and understanding to deal with whatever frustrations and issues are causing him to behave like this.

I’m going to finish now as this is making me start crying all over again but my last comment is this:

If you are so quick to judge and exclude a 3 year old boy and his parents then are you really any better than a playground bully?  I genuinely hope that your children never do anything you might consider to be less than desirable so that you won’t have to experience the same feelings I have.

Thank you for reading,

ladyofessex

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Silent Sunday – 20.11.11

Silent Sunday is inspired by the lovely Jay at Mocha Beanie Mummy

Ham & Cheese Mini ‘Bread’ Quiches

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After realising that Little Man would be taking a packed lunch to preschool every day from now on, I started to think about how I could keep them interesting and varied for him.  At the moment, I think it would be a good idea to stick to traditional ‘picnic’ type items that don’t require cutlery as I’m not sure on the preschool’s policy on this.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I recalled seeing a recipe for mini quiches that used bread as the crust instead of the usual shortcrust pastry which I thought would be not only quicker but also easier to do and get Little Man involved at the same time.

A quick search on Google and I came up with a few variations, so I decided to wing it and create my own.  Here’s how I did it:

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In the absence of my pastry cutters, I had to improvise!

Firstly, I had to cut out the bread discs.  I think white bread would probably work best for these in the same way that it generally toasts better, but in an attempt to keep them fairly healthy I used 50/50 bread which seemed to work fine.  You could always try wholemeal bread which should work, it just might not be as ‘strong’.  My pastry cutters were last seen at my Mum’s house but she’s convinced she doesn’t have them, so who knows where they are?  I had to improvise so I used the biggest mug I could find which just happened to be a Starbucks one!  Ooh, I really fancy a Starbucks now – skinny peppermint mocha to go please!

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6 bread 'discs' ready to be buttered

I’d decided to just make six mini quiches as I’m currently trying to follow a wheat-free diet so they would only be eaten by Little Man and Big Man and I wasn’t sure how long they would keep for.

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Buttered and ready for the quiche filling

I buttered the non-stick muffin pan that I was using and also buttered the bread discs to give a ‘seal’ so the egg filling wouldn’t seep into the bread and make it soggy.  I think the next time I make them I would roll the slices of bread out slightly to make them thinner and also use something bigger to cut the discs out with so that they come up slightly deeper with room for more egg filling – this would give a better filling to crust ratio!

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My Commis giving the eggs a good mixing!

Then, while the bread ‘crusts’ were baking and colouring (about 10-15 mins on Gas 6, approx 190 degrees celsius) it was time to make the filling.  I used 2 medium sized eggs with about 100ml of milk and into this I added some turkey ham, shredded, about 50g of grated mature cheddar and about a tablespoon each of flat leaf parsley and chives.  Obviously, you could change the fillings to suit.  Next time, I’ll probably try bacon, mushroom and use a bit more cheese as that flavour didn’t really come through enough.

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Lots of lovely herbs for extra flavour

There was a bit too much filling as the bread crusts weren’t really deep enough and my over-enthusiastic helper didn’t stop pouring at the right time so some of the egg mixture overflowed the crusts and went around them in the muffin pan.  I was worried that this would cause major problems but it really didn’t in the end.  I suppose that you could possibly make ‘crustless’ quiches in this way, maybe by putting the egg mixture into a paper case, then I could have them too!  I baked them for about 15-20 minutes on the same setting but as my oven is old and decrepit I wouldn’t take my timings as gospel on this!  Basically, you want them set and golden brown on the top.

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Straight out of the oven

On getting these out of the oven I managed to burn myself yet again so I’m really hoping my Bio-oil experiment works!

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Voila! Finished & cooling.

Little Man took one to preschool in his lunch the following day and he ate it so I’m guessing he liked it!  Big Man also tried one and declared them tasty so it looks like I’ll be making them again soon!  Let me know if you decide to give them a go or if you have any other suggestions for different packed lunch options for Little Man.

Thanks for reading!

ladyofessex
xxx

It’s the little things…..

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Little Man

It really is funny how it is often the smallest things that can have the biggest impact on you.

Little Man, having turned 3 at the end of July, started ‘full-time’ (15 funded hours a week over 5 mornings) preschool last Tuesday.  I was worried how he would cope with going every day but, so far, other than some tiredness creeping in towards the end of the week, he’s coped brilliantly.  *touches everything wooden within reach*

I, however, have found the adjustment quite strange.  He suddenly seems so grown up!  But the catalyst for this feeling wasn’t the fact that he was going every day, it wasn’t even the fact that there’s now a proper ‘timetable’ on display in the lobby explaining what they’ll be learning and when; it was the simple fact that he now has to take a packed lunch with him every day!  I know, I’m barmy!

Terrible mother that I am, I hadn’t even considered the lunch aspect so sent him in the first day (Tuesday) without any!  I was standing in the lobby, seeing everyone else turning up with their packed lunches when the horrible realisation dawned on me.  However, I still wasn’t convinced that Little Man would want to take a packed lunch.  For one, he’s not used to eating lunch until 1pm ish, not 11;45 so I just didn’t think he would be hungry.  Also, he was used to having his hot meal at lunchtime Monday-Friday and a sandwich/toast for his dinner.  Well, how wrong was I?!  Nanny turned up early to collect him on that Tuesday as he didn’t have lunch but explained that he could take a lunch the next day if he wanted to, which he did and was actually stupidly excited about.

The following day I dutifully prepared ham & cream cheese sandwiches in the shape of dinosaurs along with a whole heap of other stuff, thinking “Well, as long as he eats some of it!”   Hahahahahahaha…….

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Dinosaur.....RAWR

I turned up at 12:15 to collect him, expecting to be greeted by him running towards the door to see me as per usual.  No.  When the lady called to him “Mummy’s here” he just called back “I haven’t finished my lunch yet” so I had to go in while he finished his yogurt!  He had pigged more or less all of it, only leaving his cheddar stick and a few grapes and raisins which he subsequently polished off in the car on our way to the shops to get ingredients for the baking we were going to do that afternoon.  (More on this another day.)

I’m so pleased to see him sitting down, with the other children, to a healthy lunch and I’m always interested in any ideas for different lunchbox ideas – I might even start a little linky 😉  Anyway, here’s what he had for lunch on preschool days last week:

Tuesday: no packed lunch (Naughty Mummy!) but sausage casserole & vegetables homemade by Nanny.

Wednesday: ham & cream cheese dinosaur sandwiches, breadsticks, carrot batons, cheddar stick, a Frube, grapes and raisins.

Thursday: mini ham & cheese ‘bread’ quiche (recipe to be posted shortly), laughing cow stars, babybel, mini peperami, grapes, cucumber slices, a Frube and a banana & chocolate chip muffin (another future recipe post) – I have no idea why I sent him with this much food, needless to say, he didn’t eat the muffin!

Friday: turkey & pesto mayonnaise dinosaur sandwiches (Big Man says I’m spoiling him), carrot batons, apple slices, babybel, a Frube and a muffin which he did eat this time!

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Thursday's lunch - yummy!

What do your little ones like to take for lunch?  I’d love to hear in the comments 🙂

ladyofessex

xxx

As Richard Nixon once said…..

…..”I don’t know anything that builds the will to win better than competitive sports” and I tend to believe with him, which may be a little bit controversial these days.

A week or so ago, Little Man came home from preschool full of tales about they had been ‘doing races’ and that he was ‘the green winner’.  We know not to take his word as gospel so congratulated him enthusiastically whilst holding off on booking him in for an intensive course at Lea Valley Athletics Centre.

A few days later, he wanted to play race with Big Man and myself so we duly obliged.  I won (Oh yes, no mercy here), Little Man was 2nd and his Daddy was 3rd (what a loser!) but Little Man suddenly came out with the gem ‘We’re all winners’.  Ahem, no sonny, not in this house we’re not.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to suggest that anyone who doesn’t come 1st should have their spirit crushed and I firmly believe in praising everyone who has taken part. However, I think that this can be achieved whilst still enforcing the idea that there is an ultimate winner, and worthy runners-up, and that striving to reach the goal of winning is not a bad thing.

Not long after this, notification came, in the form of a child-like endearing newsletter (Comic Sans font no less!) that there was going to be a Sports Day.  Unfortunately, Big Man had unmoveable work appointments that morning, but I was able to reschedule a client so that I could be there to cheer him on.

As the day approached, Big Man and I discussed how we thought the event would run. The newsletter had mentioned ‘a medal and small prize for everyone’ and we were dreading the thought that they were promoting the idea that nobody really ‘won’.  We even made plans for how we would try & explain the concept of winning to him at a later date.

Well, the morning came and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that they were quite clearly awarding places of 1st, 2nd and 3rd with respective shiny stickers.  (The egg & spoon race was actually particularly competitive with two ‘heats’ before a final race between the top placed 6!)

I got talking to the lady sat next to me (who had a newborn baby with her which was obviously lovely) and she told me that this preschool is more or less the only one locally to do this and that most have the children compete in teams with the result being shared amongst the entire team, no matter the individual success/failure. Personally, I think this is a shame, although I know I may well be in the minority.

True to their word, at the ‘prize-giving ceremony’, after the winners medals had been handed out, everyone else was given a medal and a sticker saying they ran in a race, followed by a yummy rocket ice lolly!

I’m going to include some obligatory pictures because, well, it’s my blog and I want to!

Lined up ready for the 100m Sprint!

Wearing a Fireman Sam helmet for the 'Hat Race'

Just chillin' with ma rocket lolly & ma medal.....innit?

I’m interested to know, what are your thoughts on encouraging a competitive nature (or not!) in your children?

Thanks for reading,

ladyofessex

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