I was shopping the other day when Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ came on the radio and remembered the crazy video with Madge singing in her double denim and the super quick video in the background. Well, this is like my life at the moment – minus the double denim. I’ve had it in my head for days now and its like the background soundtrack to the school drop offs, pick ups, teacher gifts, birthday parties, summer camp sign ups and constant cycle of swimming stuff to be washed and re-packed ready for our frequent swimming sessions since joining the gym.
Last Friday night was Amelie’s pre school graduation ceremony. They sang songs, including one about feelings which made me cry and a very theatrical rendition of ‘let it go’ which had me ruined, I am pretty much turning into my mum. The pre-school she attended is amazing and I’m sad she is leaving to go to real life big school, during her time there she has gone from a quiet and shy little lady into an outgoing, caring and friendly young lady whom we are all very proud of. With 5 kids close together the expectation is that I cant wait to get them out the door and off to school. While an element of that is true I have to say I do miss them dreadfully when they aren’t here. There is nothing like your child starting school, and getting in the door of the ‘education system’ that they will be in for the next 15ish years of their lives to give you the fear. Did I do enough when she was at home? Will school change her? Will she be happy? is all this standardised testing bollocks worth it and should I just take off with them and travel the world (that last one is a recurring theme now isn’t it – maybe I have commitment issues). Deep down I know this is her time and its good for her, but I am savouring the shy moments and extra cuddles while I can because I know it wont be long before they are fewer and further between. The photos here are her last day at pre-school and her first day earlier this year.
In further evidence of the warp speed effect, on Saturday little miss Vivienne turned THREE. She starts at the preschool Amelie just left in September. Finally after a week or so and many loads of washing cracked potty training. My top tips would be to keep it casual, not stress about accidents and give heaps of praise and attention from the moment the nappy comes off and pants go on. I also think its much easier on parent and child to leave it until the child is really ready, Vivi has been waking up dry for about a month now but made the decision herself to wear knickers at bedtime over the weekend with only a little push from us and so far so good. To celebrate her birthday we went camping in the back garden. Lidl came through with their 30 euro 3 man tent, its a squeeze but was certainly fun for a few nights and the kids LOVED it. Her request for a cake was ‘lellow’ so I just made a sponge and whacked yellow icing with a few neon sprinkles on top – she was beside herself!!! I was so worried, well we all were, when she was born and for a lot of her babyhood, the difficult pregnancy and birth took its toll on her but her little personality is really starting to shine now. She is crazy, funny and fierce independent, she keeps telling us that she is “tree euro” now!. A bit like Amelie starting big school I know that this is Vivi’s time to enjoy herself, learn and grow but there’s a part of me that still sees her as the little 6lb early bird who couldn’t even cry properly and needed lots of extra love.
As if time wasnt going fast enough already Sunday was Fathers day. We have a fathers day tradition of sorts now where I take the kids out shopping and let them pick their own gift for Daddy. Everyone did a really good job of choosing stuff and Mr Clev made out with Port, iphone accessories, the obligatory novelty socks and a few other bits. Miss Amelie decided that the one thing Daddy would really need and like for Fathers Day would be blue glittery false nails from Dealz, she even told everyone in the shop that “these nail stickers are for my daddy, they are his favourite”. She knows him so well #callhimcaitlyn!!!!
It was the boys last day at school today, we walked home yesterday and Luis held his Daddys hand. Luis is going into 4th class in September (year 5 in uk years) and is growing up. In a lot of ways he is still very childish and needs a lot of love and reassurance from us but in others he is so mature and grown up already. I’m glad I snapped this photo as the walks to and home from school are such a nice part of our day and I don’t ever want to forget them – not least the hand holding.
Maxi also finished after what has been a really difficult year, he will be going up into second class despite questions over him being ready for it. I have 100% faith that we made the right decision for him and that with access to extra help he will do great in Second Class. Its a tough gig being a parent isn’t it? I’m having a big U turn in my thinking about education in general, mainly prompted by my rediscovering my love for Kanye West’s College Dropout. I always did really well and standardised testing just worked for me, and I kind of assumed my kids would all be the same and just love learning, always strive to be the best and generally do pretty well. In many ways I think Maxi would benefit from a different type of education but such is life in rural Ireland there’s not a great deal of choice. This year, especially hearing so many people voice their opinion on my son, has just strengthened my resolve to get our own patch of land somewhere, and get the hell outta here and take the kids travelling. The world is huge, and not everyone is the exact same, and I want to encourage my kids to realise that sooner rather than later. Of course those are pretty large dreams and the reality is looking more like a few nights camping in Roscommon in a 3 man tent – but hey ho, everyone has to start somewhere!
So as we travel at warp speed towards the final moments of term time it hits me how fast another year has gone. I cant wait to meet the boys, ditch the uniforms and go for a celebratory swim – welcome Summer!!