Tag: children

Choices: A Little Girl’s Dilemma

For those who have been following our little blog for some time now will know that little T has been doing gymnastics since she was about four.  She only stopped for a few months when her gym club closed and moved away.  After going for about two years, we thought that her time with gymnastics has come to an end.  In fact, she even announced her “retirement” from the sport.

That was when we decided that it was perhaps time to try something else.  We found her a ballet class run by a lovely teacher.  T tried it and loved it.  Apparently, according to T’s teacher, she has a natural ability.  Of course, we were pleased.

And then lo and behold, a satellite gymnastics class opened in a nearby town near us.  We took T along and that’s when she changed her mind and announced she was out of retirement.

It’s been about a year now of doing both gymnastics and ballet and I’m proud to say she’s doing well in both.  Her gym club has even invited her to join in the development squad group, which means two hours of gymnastics.  She’s still doing her ballet and is about to do her first ballet “exam” next month.

This term, she has also joined girls-football club and sports club every Thursday after school.  Not to mention she also does cello and swimming on Wednesdays.  Yes, my seven-year-old is doing way too much.

And recently, her gymnastics coach has invited little T to join an additional gymnastics class, this time focusing on rhythmic gymnastics on a Thursday.  But this means driving to the main gym club which is about a 45-minute drive from where we live.  This will also mean, she’ll have to give up sports-club which she loves, because she does it with her friends.  And it will be another late night. At the moment, Monday’s are her busiest since she does gymnastics from 5-7.  Did I mention that my seven-year-old is doing way too much?

And here lies the dilemma, something has got to give.  The problem is, she loves both her gymnastics and ballet.  She also loves playing football with her friends at school.  While she does the girl’s football with her friends on Wednesdays during school hours, she also wants to join the football club which happens on Monday afternoons after school.  Her teacher plans to form a football team and she wants to be included in that team.  Her teacher used to be an ex-professional football player.  When he retired he went into teaching and he said to my husband “Your daughter is naturally sporty.  She has good strength and a natural balance” which of course pleased my husband no end.

But she can’t.  Not if she continues to do 2 hours-of gymnastics, plus the additional 1 hour on Thursday (if she decides to do this).  It’s just way too much.

My poor seven-year-old doesn’t know what to do.  What to give up.  She asks us for advice but we remind her that at the end of the day, it is her choice.  She has to follow her heart and decide on what she wants to do.

At the moment, she’s thinking of giving up gymnastics.  I’m a bit saddened by this.  She’s worked so hard for her badges and clearly, her coaches does see potential in her.  They say that she has the perfect built and stamina to be a really good gymnast.  Some kids in her development class do gymnastics three times a week, some even more.

My husband and I are thinking, do we want this for our child?  While it’s good that she’s really into sports, we also want her to have a life.  We want her to have fun with her friends. As parents, isn’t that what we all want?  At the same, I think we also have to remind ourselves that our kids, are just kids.  Let them be kids.

As mentioned, at the moment, she’s thinking of giving up gymnastics.  We told her to think about it over half-term break before deciding on anything.  She wants to keep doing ballet, she says.  I’m thinking maybe she could keep doing the two-hour gym session on a Monday?  But my husband reminded me that she’s in the development squad for a reason.  She can’t stay there forever.  Besides, this little girl wants to join the football club.  Such a dilemma, for one so young!  At her age, I think the only dilemma I had was which stationary could I afford with my pocket-money, nothing major at all.

What would you advice?

Conversations with a Six-Year-Old

Of Building Walls and Twisters

On our way home from T’s ballet class last Saturday she announced “Let’s have a family talk!”  Okay” agreed my husband, switching the radio off.  “What do you want to talk about?”

I suggested that maybe we should talk about our summer holiday, since the husband and I previously talked about it, especially since looks like our plans of going home to the Phil isn’t going to happen this year.  We are weighing our options.

We love doing road-trips.  Our first road-trip as a family was done when T just turned one, we drove all the way from Cornwall, around England visiting friends and some places we’ve never been, all the way to a tiny village called Dalavich in Arglle and Brute in Scotland.  It was bliss.

Then a few years ago, we drove all the way from Cornwall to France and Belgium, but used a Eurocamp in France as our base, as we took T to Disneyland and Paris.

Going back to T, we’re thinking of doing another road-trip in Europe or maybe this time going by train since we’ve never done it before.  The other choice is visiting family and friends in America.

Is he going to kill us?

It took awhile for us to figure out who “he” is.  We explained that he may be a lot of things, but he isn’t a murderer.

But is he going to let us in?

The husband said “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t.

But he said he’s going to build a wall!

Again we explained that “he” was going to build a wall between America and Mexico.  Thank goodness she dropped the subject when she realised that Baby Alive dolls came from the States and that made her excited about a possible trip there.

Then over the weekend, she suddenly became interested in twisters.  My husband showed her videos online of twisters and of course, most of these videos happened in the States.  She was mesmerised by them.

Do we have twister here in England?

Nope, at least not the kind they get in America.

Maybe we shouldn’t go to America then, T said.

On Religion

T and I are Catholics, although admittedly, I’m the non-practicing kind (much to the disappointment of my mother).  My husband on the other hand, is a Baptist, between him and I, he’s more the church-going type.

A few days ago T announced …

I believe in God, mum, not the big-bang.

Oh but God made the big-bang.

What about God then?

Did he come out of nowhere?

He’s like magic isn’t he?

T said the last words looking really impressed, although I wasn’t sure whether the idea of God as magic impressed her or whether she was impressed with herself with the way she came up with her own conclusion.  Kids eh?

Kids Say the Darnest Things

“I’m so fat mum!

“Silly one, you’re as thin as a reed” I reply getting worried about how at such an early age she’s worried about her weight already.  You know when you’re a mum or dad and your child suddenly blurts out something and your head suddenly goes haywire and think of the worse scenarios in your head?  Yes that one …

Is it something she heard from the playground?  What has she been watching on youtube?  Have I complained about my weight in front of her lately?  No, I haven’t done that in ages, at least I’m not aware of doing it.  Oh my God!  Does my daughter have a poor body image?  Does this mean she’ll end up bulimic or anorexic?

And then I shushed the crazy-woman in my head and calmly asked T why she thinks she’s fat. My six-year-old replies nonchalantly:  Well, as you know, I have two Baby Alive dolls – Holly and Ivy and mums get fat after having babies.

Crazy-woman in my head explodes again …. Are you saying I’m fat?!

Husband lying beside me starts to giggle and whispers “She walked right into that one, didn’t she?”

Daughter calibrates instantly and declares “No you’re not!”

But the little bugger is actually giggling.

Life with children is never boring, isn’t it?

Has your little one said anything funny lately?

Confession Time: First Day School Blues

School Girl

It’s not T that’s for sure.  It’s actually me!  What’s even more embarrassing about this, is that this isn’t T’s first day in school, she came back as a Year 2 and is now actually considered one of the “older kids”.  I know I really should get a grip with myself.  I’ve been a bundle of emotions ever since she turned six.  Come on woman, stiff-upper lip!  No more of this nonsense! Yes, I have been trying to snap out of this soppiness.  I’m hoping it will be all gone come Monday morning.

Thank goodness T breezed through first day with nary a whinge or a tear.  Yes, she stood by my side and didn’t run around the playground like the other kids and only moved away from me when her friends came over to collect her.  When the bell rang, my husband and I said goodbye and she trotted off without even looking back, so different from the tearful reception girl two years ago.

As for me? I came home with a heavy heart.  I’m glad though that a good friend (mum of one of T’s closest friends) came home with me and as we chatted and sipped our coffee I felt a wave of emptiness wash over me.  My friend felt it too, even though she still has another child at home with her, we bemoaned what felt like the loss of our kids, even though in reality they were in school probably running around like loonies in the playground, not thinking about their over-emotional parents at all.

The truth is, if my husband and I had a choice we’d like little T to stay with us at home and wouldn’t mind homeschooling her.  I read blogs by mums who home educate their little ones and envy how much time they spend with their kids.  My husband and I love having our daughter with us. We love her company, doing things with her, and having little chats with her.  We genuinely like having her with us.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we’ve never used a babysitter.  If we can’t go to a place or attend an event that won’t allow us to bring her, then we’re not going.  It’s as simple as that.  Our daughter goes where we go.  But as much as we would love for her to be home-schooled, I’m afraid it won’t be a good option for T.

My little girl is a lot like me, you see.  We’re both quiet and reserved people.  T is friendly and will smile at anyone who smiles at her, but she won’t run up to other kids like her friends until she’s feeling comfortable enough to do so.  It takes her awhile to warm up, but once she has, she’ll run around like a loony and be like any other child her age.

We feel that home-schooling her might make her feel wary of people and other children.  I’m not saying all home-schooled children are like that.  All kids are different and we know our daughter well.

On the one hand though, she has an inner strength I really admire.  When her friends were quitting gymnastics because it got too “scary” for them, my little T persevered and didn’t quit.  She’s not a quitter and I’m really proud of her.  At the moment, we’re lucky that the village school she goes to is a lovely one, where the teachers and students are supportive and she loves it there. We will only consider other options, if the wind changes.  For now, we’re staying put.

What about you?

Would you consider home-schooling your kids too?

Do share.

What the Little Girl Said

Feeling emotional just after her birthday I told little T. “Where has my little baby gone?” And gave her an exaggerated sad face.  For more dramatic effect, I added “My baby is gone!”  Gave her another woebegone expression and repeated …  My baby is gone!  Ended it with wailing sounds, giving Meryl Streep a run for her money and awards.  Then I turned to T and said “Instead … I have a little girl now!

T sighed and looked at me in the eye “But mum, if you didn’t have me.  You’d be sadder”, she said matter-of-factly.  Wise words indeed.  Wasn’t it Antoine de Saint-Exupéry author of the much loved children’s book Little Prince who said:

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

T must have been thinking just that by the look on her face and the tone of her voice. Today, my ever-so wise child goes back to school as a Year 2 student.


Does your child seem too wise for their age too?

Do share.

Little Miss Gappy

Last Monday, little T had a friend over for a play-date.  They were out in the garden playing with little T’s water-slide and trampoline.  The husband and I thought that we’d enjoy some nice quiet time together with a lovely cup of tea and cake and have uninterrupted bliss, since the girls were busy in the garden… or so we thought.

Just when we were about to take a sip from our tea, we could hear our daughter shouting from our garden and the excited voice was coming closer and closer …. “Mum! Dad! “A” knocked my tooth off!

If this happened in another time, I’d probably jump off and rush towards the little monkeys.  But little T’s two front teeth have been wobbly for some time now and we were waiting for at least one of them to fall out.  When the girls came in, T excitedly showed us her tooth and gave us a gappy big grin.

“Well done A” exclaimed my husband.

“Yay, the tooth fairy will come tonight”  gushed little T.

A, T’s friend who is normally the chatter box was suddenly silent.  Then she announced to T “I want you to knock my tooth off too!”

My husband and I laughed and said that teeth are supposed to naturally fall out, you can’t force them unless it’s an accident or something is wrong with it and the dentist has to take it off.

“A” burst into tears.  I tried to comfort her and told them both to go back and have more fun in the garden.  I thought that was the end of that.  But after a while, T came in and said that “A” was still crying in the conservatory.

True enough.  The little girl was crying her eyes out and this time she wanted me to knock her tooth out.  All because she was feeling left out since a number of their friends have had their teeth fall off too.  In fact, they could easily form a “Gappy club”.  Trying not to laugh I said “What will your mum say/do if I knock your tooth out?  She’ll never let you come here again!”

That seemed to have work since I know she loves coming over and playing with T.  She stopped crying.

Kids eh?

Here’s little T, showing off her gappy smile.  I think she looks so cute!   When she woke up yesterday morning, she squealed in delight because the tooth fairy left her £1.  She’s just waiting for someone else to knock off her other wobbly tooth.

Have you ever had a request to knock off someone’s tooth?  Aren’t kids the funniest?

What we did on a Saturday

Don’t you just love lazy weekends?  I do.  Last Saturday, I had a lovely long(ish) lie-in while the husband took little T out for a father-daughter brunch date at our friends cafe nearby.  They don’t do this often, so when a chance for a lie-in comes up I grab it as if my very life depended on it.  If you’re a mum with a small child, I’m sure you’ll know how precious and how rare these moments are.

T was in a good mood after lunch, so I grabbed this chance by asking her to wear some of the new clothes I got for her this week.  Of course, for any mum who blogs, this also means a chance for a photo shoot.  If your daughter is like mine, who doesn’t really being photographed and likes to annoy me by making the silliest and most ridiculous poses just as she sees me aiming my camera at her, I did what any other mum would do, I bribed her with ice-cream.  Yes, indeed, shame on me.

I also shamelessly, used Bob bear (the school mascot), as an excuse, since he is staying with us for a week and we do need to post some photos on his diary of how he spent the week with T.


Does your kids like being photographed?

What’s your best tip when taking photos of children?

Do share.

A Creative Child

I don’t like labels or any sort of stereotyping.  But we tend to do it, don’t we, whether it is intentional or not.  In class, there’s always the naughty one, the smart one, the funny one, the graceful one, or the quiet one.  Apparently my daughter is the creative one.

Reading is exemplary, but just not interested in numbers.

A few weeks ago, we had our parent-teacher meeting in T’s school.  Her teacher is very pleased with little T, her reading is excellent, however, like her mum and dad, she’s not as good in maths compared to her reading, although to be fair, her teacher reiterated that she isn’t struggling.  It’s more like there is no interest in numbers at all.  She says that during maths, she actually asks little T, to sit in front because she knows perfectly well that my daughter’s mind is off to lala land when discussing numbers.  Sounds familiar?  I was like that as a child too, and apparently, so was my husband.

The One with the Creative Mind.

Her teacher also praised her for being creative.  The whole class had to write a story based on “The Hungry Caterpillar”, but theirs was called ” A Hungry Panda”.  All the kids wrote it the way Eric Carle, the author penned his famous children’s story.  As for little T?  She decided that she wanted to re-write the whole storyline and wrote an original “The Hungry Panda” by Little T which had nothing to do with the original story.  Her teacher promised to give us a copy.  I might even ask her aunt to illustrate her book 😉

And so of course, my husband and I left the room with big smiles on our faces.  We also giggled at the thought of our little girl not good with numbers.  But reminded the other to try to practice maths more with her.

And then we received her Cello Progress report.

Her scores were good, but guess which category did little T get the highest score in?  Creativity of course!  We laughed again when we read the report.  Does this mean though that T plays her assigned music a different way from the way it’s supposed to be?  I ought to ask her cello teacher 😉

Mind you, not that I believe in being labelled anyway as I’ve mentioned earlier, especially when the term used is hurtful and demeaning.

My husband’s primary school teacher called him “the absentminded professor”.

Like T, I was also the “creative one”.

What about you?

What were you like as a child?


Country Kids: A Chocolate Egg Hunt

I know Easter is finished and everyone has moved on, though we still have loads of chocolate left-overs since we’ve been rationing them to T, we don’t want her to over-do it like she did on Easter Sunday.  The down-side is, it’s taking ages to get through them.  I know, some of you may think I’m nuts for complaining about having chocolates around.  Is it me, or do you also hear a tiny voice that says “Eat me?” every time you see one lying around?

A few days ago, little T had some friends over and since we still had loads of chocolate, even a tub of chocolates for an Easter egg hunt we planned to organise in the new garden.  But since the move hasn’t happened yet, a friend and I decided to do it in the playground.

The trick was, how do we hide the chocolates with the kids around?  Luckily, there is a skateboard ramp near the playground.  When we arrived, we suggested to the kids, why not play at the skate-ramp first which thank goodness, they happily obliged us with nary a complaint.

They didn’t suspicious that we sent them off and were happily playing on the ramp while their mum and I quickly “hid” a bunch of chocolates around the playground with little clues arrows pointing on where to find them.

We didn’t really hide them of course, after all they are only five and one three-year-old little boy.

On the merry-go-around.

Under the see-saw and a few other visible places.

The biggest eggs we put on the fort, but since there were only two big ones, we told them that they all had to share it.  Was a bit worried that it might end in tears, thankfully they were all happy about sharing.

Once my friend M and I were done with the dispersing of chocolates, we called the little rascals in.

Of course it is was easy to find …

We told them though that they had to hop to where the chocolates were, but I guess they were too excited and ended up hopping-running-jumping like little loonies.

Then they sat down to eat some of their chocolates.  I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t gobble them all down in one sitting.  I guess it was because they were after all in the playground.  Who wants to eat more when you can play with your friends and run and jump around like a pair of little monkeys?

Do you still have left-over East egg chocolates?

Five Life Lessons I’ve Learned from my 5-Year Old

My daughter’s strength astonishes me. I’m not putting her down, I’m proud of her, but I also know that she can be shy.  If you’ve been following my posts for some time now, you will know that she was the child who cried her little eyes out and desperately clung to me, for two whole weeks straight when she first started school last year.  She cried as if her little heart was breaking, as if I was going to leave her for good.  To be fair though, she cried and clutched, but would let go after, and would be led crying inside by her teacher.

For any parent who has school age children, and have gone through this, will know how difficult it was.  How we questioned ourselves as parents. It was heartbreaking. I thought that I had made the wrong decision about sending her early. She just turned four you see, two weeks just before school started. She could’ve stayed another year at home had we wanted. But I thought she was ready, but those two weeks, made me feel like I had failed her.  Yes, it’s true after a while, she was fine.  But those two weeks was one of the worst weeks of my life as a mother.

She also started her gymnastics lessons last year. And during her first day, I braced myself for a repeat performance of what she was like when she started school (this was months after), but surprisingly there were no tears, though she nervously chewed on her sleeve that first day, she came home with a very wet one, but with a big smile on her face.  She knew she did well.

She’s changed a lot.  She’s still shy.  It takes awhile for her to warm-up with strangers or in a new situation, but her strength as a person really is admirable for someone so young.  As an adult, I am learning so much from my five-year-old daughter:

1. Always Have A-Go: Be Brave

No matter what it is, especially if it’s something new and even though it’s a bit scary, little T will always give it a try.  She’ll look at us a bit nervous and say “I’ll have a go mum”.  We’ll ask “Are you sure?”  She’ll nod her head quietly and I too try to be brave for her, even though in reality all I want to do is cuddle her and say “Oh it’s fine. You don’t have to do it!”  Instead I bite my lip and take her lead.

I’ve already written about how she volunteered to read in front of a large group of people during a school activity and how she helped a friend who got stuck and couldn’t read the words on her paper.  Some her friends may appear more confident than her, but when push comes to shove and put on spotlight, they crumble and cry.  But not little T, who will always have a-go.

2. Never Give Up

Little T had some friends from school who joined her in her gymnastics class every Friday.  These kids were seemingly more confident than her, but in the end, they gave it up, which was a shame because they seemed really keen, but seemed too scared, too uncertain with the big groups of kids in the class.  Not little T though, she would always stand shyly (and she’s also one of the youngest, not to mention shortest!) amongst her team-mates, but no matter what, come Friday, you would expect to see her there, standing with them.

3. Stand-up for Yourself

She knows how to hold her corner.  Whilst my daughter isn’t the shortest in her class (there’s another lovely little boy who is the same size as her), she won’t back off if someone puts her down.  Her teacher told us that she is vocal about her feelings and is not afraid to state her opinion, even if she has to raise her voice among all the bigger children in school.

4. Stop Worrying

As parents, we are all worriers, aren’t we?  We worry about the smallest little thing and my daughter is the one who patiently calms my fears down by saying “It’s all right mum.  It doesn’t matter” she’ll say, or “It’s going to be fine”.  I wonder sometimes, when did she become this wise?

5. Trust

My daughter has taught me to trust her, even though she is only five.  Most times I want to hide her away in my little bubble and not let her try anything new, or anything that she’s nervous about.  In her own little way, she lets me know that I can trust her.  Trust that she’ll be in her best behaviour when out on play-dates with her friends in their house.  Parents have commended her  with her lovely manners.  She doesn’t forget to say “No thank you, yes please” And thank the person for the lovely meal they’ve prepared.

She’s not perfect by any means.  No one is. She has her meltdowns too, especially when she’s tired and can be really grumpy after school. But hey, she’s five right?

When she’s old enough, I know it will be difficult for me to let her go on her own, to allow her to experience everything life has to offer.  I know it will break my heart, but once again, I’ll take my cue from her.  I’ll stand by the doorway and wave her off, but I’ll make sure that I’m also there to welcome her back home.

For those who have children, what are the lessons you’ve learned from them?

Or what was the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in life?

Do share.