Tag: toddlers

Our Play-school Saga or What to do when your little one refuses to go to nursery

Little T started going to play-group when she was two.  She went every Wednesday, it was mostly my husband who took her when he could, which gave me a free morning off.  That’s where she met F, her best-friend.

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There’s little F and little T at the play-group, they were both two years old when the above photo was taken.  Then when they turned three, most of the kids in that play-group (including little F) started going three times a week to play school.  We held back a bit and just wanted her to stay with us.  I for one felt she was too  young.

But when she turned three last year, we though it was time.  We prepared her by talking about it and letting her choose her own lunch-box.  She seemed really excited about it too.

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There she is on her “first day” at play-school.  Things went well for a couple of weeks.  At one point, she would even wave me away.  So I thought – Okay, that’s done then.  It wasn’t so bad was it?  I spoke too soon.

Then it happened.  She had a bad day and wouldn’t stop crying.  The play-school phoned us and we had to pick her up.  I knew she was tired, because she didn’t have a good night’s sleep and should’ve just let her stay at home.  Since that day, she would absolutely refuse to go and wouldn’t let me leave her behind.

So we stopped going.  I know some parents might not approve of my decision.  Some may think I should’ve just let her be and cry it off and she’ll eventually stop crying.  I know I could’ve done that.  But the thing is, I know my daughter.  Had I done that, it would’ve totally put her off play-school.  I didn’t want it to be traumatic for her.  I didn’t want her to think that play-school was a place where she cried her head off.  I wanted her to think of play-school as a fun place where she played with her best-friend and made friends with other kids.

So we bided our time.  I knew my husband didn’t agree with me, but he also knew his daughter.  He knew that little T is stubborn and will make up her own mind.  So months came by and Christmas came and went and she stayed home with us.  She wasn’t really bored though, she still went to her rugby class and then she also started her swimming lessons.

In the meantime, we waited for her and let her decide whether she wanted to go to play-school or not. We however, talked about it A LOT.  We didn’t nag her though.  We just talked about how fun play-school is, about making friends and doing lots of fun stuff.

Until one day, she decided she wanted to go but had her condition:  She wanted me to stay with her “forever.”  My husband and I have actually been talking about my “volunteering” at her play-school.  It also happens that F’s dad is the chairman of the committee of the nursery and he mentioned that the staff welcomes  volunteers from parents or anyone for that matter.

So that’s what I did.  I went with little T to play-school for about a month.  Wiped snotty noses, played with the kids, read to them, helped them put their helmets on.  She was a bit clingy the first day, but as the days went on, she didn’t even want to go home.

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I was talking to the supervisor one day and we were discussing the way forward with little T.  It was a Friday and I was thinking maybe it would be good to start leaving her behind for a couple of hours next week and see how it goes from there. I remember it was just after lunch and it was almost time for us to leave.  So I told her we were going in awhile and she didn’t want to go.  I told the supervisor about this, and she said, why not try it now?  Tell her you’ll be back for her later.  So I grabbed the chance and asked T if she’d like me to come back later to pick her up instead?  To my surprise, without any hesitation she said “Okay, mummy!  Bye, see you later!”  I left as fast as I could!  But called them up when I got home, just to see if she was okay.  She was very much okay.

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And now she absolutely loves play-school!  She nags me in the morning and even wants to go at 7am!  We have to constantly remind her that it isn’t open yet.  She goes every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If she had her way, she’d go everyday!

Before this, we were even worried about her starting reception school.  All her friends are ready to go by September.  Here in the UK, parents have a choice whether to send their kids to “proper” school when they turn four years old or five.  We thought at the rate little T was going, she’d go when she was five.  Actually if my husband had his way, he doesn’t want her to go so soon.  He said, once they start school – they’re gone!  But as always, we will let little T decide whether she wants to go or not.  I have a feeling though that she will decide to go this year.

I have mixed feeling with that.  I’m happy and excited that she wants to have fun, be with friends and learn new things at the same time, I’m a bit sad that she’s not constantly with us and I terribly miss her.  Most days it feels like I’ve actually lost an arm and I’m not so sure what to do with myself.  But like little T, I’m also learning how to fill my hours without her!  In fact, I’ve just finished a book. It used to take me months to finish one, now it only takes me a few days!  Whoopie-blood-doo-dah!

On hindsight, I don’t think I’d do things differently.  So if someone would ask me advice on what to do if their little one also refuses to go to play-school or nursery, I’d say:

1.  Don’t force them.

2.  Talk things over with them, but don’t nag or scold them about not wanting to go.  Remember, they should associate play-school with fun and not tears!

3.  Talk to the play-school staff and see if you could volunteer, just till your little one gains their confidence  back.  And they will, however, don’t be impatient and expect them to love play-school after a few days of going.  It takes time.

The good thing about volunteering too, is that you’ll also get to know the staff better and the children too.  I love it whenever I take little T to school and the kids would greet me with lovely little smiles and when I pick her up, they show me whatever art work they’ve been working on.

4.  Lastly, trust your child and yourself.  You know your child more than anyone else. Don’t compare them with other kids.  Children are different, just because your neighbour’s kids seem to have it easy, won’t mean that it will be the same for your child.  People mean well when they give advice, but at the end of the day, only you know what’s best for them.

Perhaps, one important thing to remember is that our little ones won’t stay little.  Soon they’ll be flying through the door and might not even want to be with us.  They’ll want to be with their friends.  They’ll want to learn new things and explore the world … without us!  So don’t be in a hurry and too worried that they don’t want to go just yet.

Have you experienced something like this with your little one?

How did you deal with it?  Please share.

This post is linked-up with PODcast’s #WhatsTheStory

Addendum:

I know that things may be different and difficult for single mums and working parents as well, where they don’t have much choice about leaving their kids behind.  Already there is much guilt/stigma about leaving children at such a young age, even when they’re upset and absolutely refuse to be left behind.  It’s difficult isn’t it?  I can only imagine the stress these families are going-through or have been through.  Like I mentioned though, whatever situation we are in, at the end of the day we should be governed by our own instincts as parents and not the opinions of others.

Also linked with:

3 Children and It

T and the Rugby Nippers

As parents of  toddlers we are always on the look out for activities that would burn off all that energy only a young child would have, although at three, T and her best-friend F are not considered toddlers anymore.

At the moment, T goes to play school three times a week and only stays till after lunch-time.  We are taking little steps here, we let her make the decision.  Last week, it was her idea to stay till after-lunch and so she did.  The decision to stay till three, will also come from her.  On Thursdays though T and her best-friend F “plays” rugby with other kids with the help of coach Dave of the Nippers Rugby.

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Do you notice anything different in this photo?  T is the only little girl!

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Dave is very good with what he does and the kids really enjoy the rugby sessions with him.  They are taught basic sports skills, simple rugby exercises and social etiquette.

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And they also learn the meaning of “team work”.

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Future female rugby player?

The session runs about 45 minutes.  There is a break-time enough for the kids to have a drink and a little rest.  A niece of mine asked me, why rugby?  It actually doesn’t really matter what kind of sport, we just wanted an activity that would allow our daughter to run around like a loony and burn all that excess energy.  It’s great though of course that she’s learning a sport and experiencing what it is like to be in a “team” no matter how small the group is.  This works perfectly well and as I’ve mentioned Dave is great with the kids.  And also where we live, it’s a bit difficult to find activities that are age-appropriate for them, other than the usual sit-around-sing-dance-storytime kind of thing, which she does at play school anyway.  She has mentioned that she wants to dance ballet, I’ve yet to find somewhere close to us.  For the meantime, she’s enjoying her rugby sessions so much with coach Dave.

So if you have a little one of your own and live somewhere in North Cornwall or even Devon, do check if Dave is doing any Nippers Rugby session in your area, you won’t regret it!  For more info, please click here.

My Top 20 Things to do when it’s Raining Outside

1.  Do some “work” on my laptop.

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2.  Adorn my legs with stickers.

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3.   Have a tea party with my toys.

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4.  Bake cupcakes or cookies.

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5.  Have a “real” tea-party with the cupcakes I’ve baked.

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6.  Play with my train-set.

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7.  Play with my doll’s house and castle.

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8.  Jump on my bed!

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9.  Be a super-hero.

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10.  Make shapes with my play-doh.

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11.  Rummage in my toy-box.

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12.  Wear mommy’s shoes & dance!

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13.  Colour outside the lines.

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14.  Watch my favourite dvd.

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15.  Pretend the sun is out and wear mommy’s shades.

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16.  Have a picnic in the living room with my toys.

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17.  Ride dobbin in my witch’s outfit.  Yes, I know it’s not Halloween yet.

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 18.  Make a card-board mask and try not to bump into furniture.

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19.  Play cars with my best-friend.

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20. Lastly, when all else fails watch the rain fall by our window with my bestest friend in the world!

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What do you like doing when it’s raining outside?

This post has been linked up with Podcast’s What’s The Story

Four Lessons I want my daughter to learn from the Tooth Fairy

First off, I’m hoping that she won’t get to meet the tooth fairy just yet.  She’s barely three and I’m happy to share that she’s got into the habit of brushing her teeth really well.  I asked her what she knew about the Tooth Fairy, expecting her to look at me with a blank expression on her face.  Surprisingly, she knew who she was!  She said “When my tooth falls, I’ll put it under my pillow and the tooth fairy will come!”  

I have absolutely no idea who told her about the tooth fairy, nor does my husband. I’m wondering if she’s seen something on TV about it?  Anyway, here’s what I hope she would learn from the Tooth Fairy:

1.   If the tooth is loose, don’t force it.

Just because your tooth is wobbly, doesn’t mean it is ready to fall-out.  Stop touching and wriggling it, hoping that it would pop-out just because you so want the Tooth Fairy to visit and leave something under your pillow.

It applies to life too.  Don’t force things to happen, just because you’re too impatient to let things happen in a natural flow.  There are no shortcuts in life.  Sometimes, it may seem that you’ve found an easier route in the end though, it might just turn out to be a longer and arduous one.

So my dearest T, just be patient.  Life will happen, there’s no point in rushing it.  And please don’t be in a hurry to grow up.  You’ll soon learn that tea or coffee isn’t really delicious at all.  I have no idea why we grown-ups like to drink it.  Trust me, being a grown-up isn’t fun at all.  Enjoy your life as a child, because as much as I would love for it to last, sadly, it won’t.  I’m still grieving over the loss of your toddlerhood.

2. If you lose it, it’s not the end of the world.

When I was really young (about six I think), I lost my front tooth and yes, my older brother and other cousins used to tease me a lot about it and sing …

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my tooth front teeth, oh my two front teeth.

Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth, then I could wish you Merry Christmas!

To make things worse, we even had a record of that darned song!  So yes, when I lost my tooth, I absolutely hated it!  What I want to say to you little sweetie, is that you will still look pretty even with a little gap in your teeth – not that I ever wish that it would happen to you!  And guess what, if it does …

3. Something really good might just come out of it.

Yes, you might just find something hidden under your pillow.  So you see, my little one, if something not so-nice happens to you, something good is also bound to happen and if it doesn’t, you must always remember to focus on the small joys.  You’ll soon learn that it’s the small joys that really matter in life.

4.  And lastly, just because you have it, doesn’t mean you have to spend it NOW.

Remember when you saved your money in your little money-box and it amounted to about £30?  You were so happy that day as you went shopping in Toys R Us and you also bought yourself a brand new PINK scooter, complete with a tooter and a basket?  Yes, you bought all that from your own money and guess what?  You can do it again, and again and again – as long as you save up your money.

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T’s little money-box shaped like a shoe, given to her by her lovely godmother J when she was only a few weeks old.

So when the tooth fairy comes (and I actually wish she wouldn’t!), whatever she puts under your pillow, you can put back in your money box!

If you found this post interesting, please like it here.

Cat like a Dog

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Just like I mentioned on this post, Boots, our cat is like a dog.  When we go for walks, she likes to follow us and only disappears or more like runs for her life once we meet other “real” dogs also out for their walks with their humans.

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And as mentioned already, when T is out with her Dad, Boots pines after her like a little love-sick-puppy.  But when T is home and is suddenly consumed with emotion and love for her cat which she likes to demonstrate by giving her cat a cuddle (to onlookers it would look like my daughter is strangling the poor cat), only then would poor Boots ran away from her, most times she likes staying in the same room with T.

What our poor cat doesn’t know is that her beloved human has actually asked for a dog as a birthday present.  Yes, a real dog!  Not a cat who thinks she’s a dog. But a real furry, barking dog.  And what she doesn’t also know is that we, her beloved human’s parents have finally decided that it is indeed time for our little family to have a dog once again.

I hope our cat who thinks she’s a dog, won’t see this as a betrayal.

Let’s see.

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T enjoying a swing with the “big” kids.

What are your hobbies?

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she asked, not looking up from the computer screen in front of her.  This of course was asked after answering a series of family medical history questions.  My mind went blank, as if the optometrist just asked me to solve a  complicated mathematical equation.  What are your hobbies?  She repeated the question, this time she looked pointblank at me.  This unnerved me even more and I stammered like a complete idiot.

Where’s my mommy?  I heard my daughter ask behind the closed door.  My husband said I was in the room having my eyes checked.

She’s a handful.  I blabbered on – I barely have time for myself.

I could almost kick myself thinking about it now.  Why didn’t I answer something like reading?  I’ve always loved to read, it doesn’t matter that I’ve been reading the same book for months now or that I’ve probably read the same page ten times already because I keep getting interrupted with a litany of I want this, I want that!  Or I want a a cuddle NOW!   And blogging?  Blogging keeps my mind working, my creativity well-oiled and not rusty, hoping against hope that the words won’t fail me like it does sometimes (a lot of times actually).  Or hoping that I have something more to say or write than Today my little one did this, did that, or said this, said that. 

So what did I answer?  I said, no.  I don’t have any hobbies.   What I should’ve really said was My daughter is my hobby.  After all, what is a hobby?  Isn’t it something that one does regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure?  Although I don’t really have any leisure time at all and if I do – I sleep.  Oh yes, sleeping is also my hobby.

What are yours?

Level Three Heatwave (and more photos)

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The MET office issued a level three heatwave warning in England last week. The hottest temperature was recorded at 32 Celsius in Heaththrow, when I told my mom about the warning and how “hot” it was, she laughed. Then again, the last time I was back home in the Philippines – December 2010 (yes, that long ago =( My husband and I chuckled when we heard them mention in the news how “cold” it was in Baguio, a lovely city up in the mountains – it was about 8 degrees Celsius. No, the PAGASA didn’t issue a warning in the area.

Anyway, that heatwave is gone this week. It’s still a bit warm(ish), but we’re lucky down here in the coast, we always have a cool breeze blowing even during the so-called heatwave.  Not entirely sure if that sums up our whole summer here in England.  If it does, we were lucky we had such glorious weather for two consecutive weeks.  My daughter is browner, (though being half-British, she will never be as brown as me).  We’ve had as much fun in the sun as we could, like I mentioned, going down into harbour at low-tide to play at a little patch of beach on the sea-bed, in just her knickers.  What more can a little girl and little boy want?  Here are more photos –

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T with her best-friend.

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Keeping their little found-treasures from the beach “safe” from the water and yes, that’s my shadow.

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Can you see how happy they are?

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That look on her face is priceless!

Yes, it is beautiful here.

Sigh

and this time,

it is a happy sigh.

In search of the Devil’s Cauldron at Lydford Gorge

I don’t know about you folks, but we’ve been busy almost daily doing things out in the sun, or visiting places, scared that we might wake up one day to grey skies once again.

So last sunday, we decided on an impromptu picnic somewhere, anywhere, as long as it involved the sun and out-doors.

One of the best things about where we live is that we are never far-away from lovely places to visit.  We are just minutes away from the beach and other tourist places.  And being members of the National Trust, we can actually go to any of their properties and have a day-out without having to pay the excessive entrance fees some of these places are known for.  Actually, that’s all you need for a cheap day out: your National Trust card and a delicious picnic.

So that’s what we did!  We didn’t want to go too far and we didn’t want to visit any of the stately country homes here in Cornwall (we’ve been to most of them anyway and besides, we reserve them for rainy days and winter).  We wanted to do something fun and for a change, not go to the beach.  It only took only a couple of flicks on our trusty 2013 National Trust Book and found a place to go:  Lydford Gorge, Tavistock in Devon.

Why?

  • The place had a picnic ground.
  • A Playground
  • Lovely walks by the river and exciting/mysterious places to find/visit.

Although when we got there, it was actually too hot to have a picnic on the grounds.  Sadly, it was also too hot for T to play at the playground.  So we ended up doing a short walk through the woods to look for the Devil’s Cauldron.  

It was a short(ish) walk down the river.  T gamely walked all the way down.  We stopped by a charming bridge and my husband taught us how to play Pooh sticks which T loved.  Then we followed the river till it narrowed down, walked up a few steep steps and entered a dark ravine to see the Devils Cauldron.

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It was a bit scary actually, going down.  One clumsy step and you could easily fall down below.

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Can you imagine falling?  I can!  So I didn’t dare look down.

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And there it was, the Devil’s Cauldron, it was actually eerie.   You could imagine something sinister happening here – a perfect setting for a scary movie.  It was warm outside, but as soon as we stepped down the ravine, the temperature immediately went down and it was all lovely and cool.  We would’ve stayed longer, but since it was a sunday, there was a string of tourists coming in one after another.

After the walk, we decided to go back in the car and drive down to the waterfalls.  You could actually walk all the way there, but not with a toddler, maybe when she’s older.  Besides, we were getting a little bit peckish.  It was time for that picnic which we had under a tree before setting off to find the White Lady.

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The White Lady Waterfall is 90 feet tall and is apparently the highest waterfall in the South West.  The photo above doesn’t look like it’s been taken in England.  It looks a bit more like my home in the Philippines, though if this was home, the waterfalls will be bigger, more of a raging torrent and of course the temperature would be warmer too.

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In case you’re wondering, yes, this was the day my little one actually said the F word.

If you’re in the area and looking for something to do, a bit of a hike, a picnic or a little adventure for you and your little ones, do visit the Lydford Gorge.

And the Little One said …

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Yesterday, we were off for another sunshine adventure when on our way out of our little village by the ocean, driving up to one of the narrow country lanes Cornwall is known for, my usually-gentle-husband exploded with expletives as a couple of cars (obviously tourists) were driving in the middle of the road.  Yes, the husband used the F word to express his frustration.

From behind him, T says What’s wrong Dada?

The husband says I’m sorry Tamsin.  They were driving in the middle of the road!  Silence in the car.  Then we turned into a major street and from behind, the little one said:

F*ck it!

Shocked.  I looked behind and the little one said:

The cars were in the middle of the road!

The guilty husband whispered: Ignore her.  Pretend it’s nothing.

So that’s what I did.

Doing it “nicely”, according to T.

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T is potty-trained.  We can even do long road-trips and all she does is tell us she needs to go and patiently waits till there is a service station nearby or for emergencies, a lay-by.  But when she gets too engrossed playing, especially when her best-friend is visiting, she forgets herself – hence, the little accidents like this one which happened a few days ago:

Tamsin!  Have you wet your knickers again?!

Don’t worry Mom, I did it “nicely”.