Monday, 29 July 2013

Why 5 year olds shouldn't run dating sites

At five Maggie is a treasure trove of quotes, tips and words of (unique) wisdom. So much so that friends suggested I make a record of her sayings, which led to a Tumblr blog; Things Maggie Says

Sometimes though our conversations run to more than a quote. Today for instance she wanted to question me about what I guess could be termed Plan B should I ever want to look for a new man.
"Mummy, what would you say if another man asked you to marry him?
"I'd say no because I'm married to daddy."
"But what if he was handsomer than daddy?"
"I would still say no"
"What if you and daddy broke up? Who would you want to ask you to marry them?"
" about Damian Lewis?"
"Eurgh! Nooooo!! I hate him!"
"Do you know who Damian Lewis is?"

Later I show her a picture of Damian Lewis,
"Nope, too weird."
Richard Armitage perhaps?
David Tennant?
"That's the Doctor! You can't marry the Doctor! Shall I find someone for you Mummy?"
I give her my tablet then wait (im)patiently,

So the man my daughter thinks I should consider as a second husband?

Image courtesy of

Might not put Plan B into action quite yet then.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

If you thought the first day of school was tough...

We break up
We break up
We don't care if school blows up
No more English
No more French
No more sitting on the old school bench

Remember the last day of term when you were a child? Anticipating the weeks ahead, making plans to meet at the park or swimming pool, the excitement of finishing just after lunch, being allowed to bring toys into school.
It feels very different when you're a parent. Firstly there are thank you presents to buy. Did we do this as children, I don't remember bringing in anything other than a card? I've had to buy eight presents, Maggie has two teachers and two TAs, Connie has one teacher, two TAs and as it's her last year wanted to give something to her headmaster too. Some people are organised and crafty and make a gift, I am neither of those things so had a last minute dash to the shops yesterday. The school also have a tradition of giving flowers to staff who are leaving and ask each pupil to bring in one flower to go into the bouquet. It's a lovely thing to do but this year three members of staff are moving on, so with two children at the school we had to supply six flowers. Six flowers that they both agreed on and didn't cost me a small fortune. Whether they survive till this afternoon's Leavers Service is another matter altogether...
Onto the Leavers Service then. Connie is in Y6 so is leaving primary school today, meaning I will be desperately trying to hold back the tears this afternoon. If you've not yet experienced the last day at school imagine the first day but with an overhead projector showing pictures of your child growing up and songs about moving on and friendship.
At our school they always sing two leaving school songs 'End of the Term' and 'The Leavers Song'. The latter includes the words,
"So now it's time to say goodbye to our friends
Moving on.
And after many happy years at the school
We'll be sad
When you're gone.

This is our Leavers Song
We're proud of what you've done
Go from here with confidence
For all the things you've done"

I don't know who wrote the words but clearly they had a cruel streak and knew how to go straight to the heart of all parents. The slideshow I mentioned above is probably the most emotional part though. Watching seven years of your child and their friends pass in front of your eyes makes most of the parents (and quite a few staff members) well up. It's a stark reminder of how quickly time passes when you have children. They set the slideshow to music. Music specifically chosen to tug even more at the heartstrings. When Lorna left her class were very close to each other so picked "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story. I doubt there was a dry eye amongst the adults there. The children were in turns amused and embarrassed by us...although as they chose the song they only had themselves to blame!
I don't know what treats lie in wait for me at Connie's service this afternoon.It really doesn't seem that long since I was kissing her goodbye on her first day then treating her to a slice of chocolate cake at the end of that first morning. At the same time there are so many happy memories, she has loved being at the school, had lots of lovely friends and is well prepared to move on to secondary school.
Oh make sure I have the tissues and waterproof mascara ready.

Tomorrow night she's having a sleepover, I may not be feeling as sentimental at 2am when I've having to tell them to be quiet for the umpteeenth time!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Lions and tails and grans, oh my!

I realised the other day that Maggie's imaginary friends are slowly fading away. If I ask her about them she'll say they're still around (today they're apparently playing in a field) but I've noticed she's mentioning them less and less.
The other two girls had pretend friends for only a fairly short time. Lorna actually had a pretend gran. She appeared shortly after the Queen Mother died and I was forced to hastily explain the truth after Lorna would solemnly announce,
"My gran died. She's buried at Windsor."
After a while she realised there was little fun to be had with an imaginary dead grandmother so quietly brought her to life and regularly regaled us with stories of what she'd been up to with Gran. I'm not sure how long this continued, from what I remember she stopped mentioning her as abruptly as she first talked of her.
Connie had two friends but they put in erratic appearances only. Lion was quite naughty and would be blamed for various acts of mischief,
"Who's unwound all the toilet roll?"
"Lion did it."
The magnificently named Shagalula lived in our back garden and I think was a little girl.

Maggie though has taken imaginary friends to a whole new level. Over the years we have had the following,

Mumby. Later to become Princess Mumby, she appeared when Maggie was about 2 and was a fairly benign presence who used to come with us on days out and sit on my shoulder.

Humpty Hump. Appeared shortly after Mumby, Humpty Hump unsurprisingly fell off things regularly. He came with us on a holiday to Scotland and fell in the water many times. Thankfully he was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand so was easy to rescue.

Mop. He was a mole, she called all moles "mop" but this particular Mop was a friend of Princess Mumby and Humpty Hump. Mop lived in a hole down the road and would join us as we walked past.

Her tail. For a thankfully short time she had an imaginary tail. Imagine the looks shot my way in shops as a small child would exclaim crossly,
"Mummy! You've shut my tail in the door AGAIN!"

Her snail father. He was only spoken of on occasion, was quite strict and indeed was a snail.

John. Her most talked about friend and still around, John's age fluctuates from about 16 to mid-sixties. He is her husband and currently lives on Pluto. He's died a few times, most notably slain at the circus by Tom Daly riding a dinosaur, and killed by a deer that came into his house on Pluto when it didn't have any windows or doors to keep murderous deer out. Fortunately he has Lazurus qualities and comes back to life each time.

Rosie. Rosie is a little girl and friends with John. She is  my least favourite friend as she's most insistent as to which chair is hers. She refuses to sit on the awkward to get to chair in the corner and becomes very angry if you dare suggest such a thing.

Little Monster. It will come as no shock to hear he is a monster, luckily a friendly one. Little Monster briefly met an untimely end at the hands of Usain Bolt's evil twin, Utain Bolt. Like John though he has been resurrected and is her second most talked of friend. Being little he needs a lot of looking after.

Bunny Bun. Naturally Bunny Bun is a rabbit and makes up the quartet with John, Rosie and Little Monster. Bunny Bun is the quietest of the four and for this reason probably my favourite.

As she reaches the end of her first year at school I'm aware that it won't be long now before these friends become mere memories. I won't miss their dictatorial tendencies but life will be a bit duller without them.

Are you currently sharing your house with friends you can't see "but they are real"?