First Trip to the Theatre

On the 18th March Noah got his very first experience of the theatre and it was an absolute success.

For Christmas, Auntie had bought us tickets to see the ‘Direct from the West End’ stage performance of The Tiger Who Came To Tea (one of Noah’s favourite books) at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter. We had lunch with Auntie and David before the performance and from the moment he saw the stage he was captivated.

In fact the look of sheer wonderment when the performers took to the stage left both David and I blubbing like babies, thank god the lights were low at this stage.

His expressions were awe inspiring and I found myself studying his reactions to nearly everything, thus missing a large part of the performance itself. He eagerly got involved with the audience involvement pieces and was leaping around with the best of them, when it came to ‘Tigercise’


The actors; Abbey Norman (Sophie), Harry Howle (Daddy, Tiger and others) and Ashley Tucker (Mummy) were perfectly cast and worked with child audience wonderfully even from the first moment where they entered the auditorium silently, then slowly built their voices up so as not to scare or frighten the youngsters.

They were simply brilliant.

As was Noah. I was worried that maybe an hour having to sit still would be a bit too much, that his attention would dwindle and he’d lose interest but I really had no cause for concern. He was, quite simply mesmerised.

So that’s that, his theatre days have started. I am now on the mailing list for Northcott and will be eagerly looking out for more children’s productions.

I’m a little upset that we’ve missed out on seeing the Northern Ballet’s performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears as it is now fully booked anywhere near here. He would have LOVED that, but hopefully we’ll get to see another child’s ballet before too long.

The Most Successful Session Yet

That’s what Mrs White said when I picked Noah up from Pre-School on Monday. To say I breathed a sigh of relief is an understatement given the sheer hell we went through to get him there that morning.

From the moment I mentioned the ‘S’ word, as it’s become known as in this house, that morning we had the most heartbreaking tears, sobs and begging to not send him.

I mentioned it to Miss Brown as I attempted to ‘drop’ him off (seeing as he wouldn’t declamp himself from my hip for half an hour). I also mentioned the nightmares and the dread he expressed when the ‘S’ word was mentioned.

On pick up Mrs White said those immortal words. I could have cried with joy. Noah was so excited to show me all the drawings he had done whilst he was there and couldn’t wait to tell me about the trip they will go on next week. Mrs W suggested we move his Froday session to Tuesday afternoon but this would mean him finishing at 5.30, this unfortunately is half an hour past his tea time and only an hour before bed so I think we’re going to stick with the Monday and Froday for a couple of weeks before we do that.

On driving past the school he cheerily waved singing, “Goodbye school, see you next time”. My heart skipped with joy. 

Until we got home to put his well earned stickers on his reward chart….

Then he said he’s not going again. Lol

Monday Activities and Treats

Friday (today) started hopefully. I didn’t mention school until he did which was when I started getting him dressed at about 7.15. No tears. I said we could go swimming afterwards as a treat, still no tears. Then they came, thick and fast, accompanied by the most heart wrenching sobs and begs. I managed to pacify him, sort of, with a few episodes of Ruby and Max before we left in a deluge of tears and snot.

I had decided that I was going to leave him fairly quickly today, prolonging the inevitable wasn’t working so I paid up the money for his trip and gave him the biggest of hugs, told him I loved him very much and pushed him away from towards Mrs White and left, I felt terrible.

As I got to the school gate I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was one of the staff who had come out to tell me that Noah had stopped crying and was playing already, the quickest he has settled yet. Perhaps we are turning that corner after all.

On pick up I arrived ten minutes early so spent 5 minutes peeking through the window and watched, with delight, Noah playing ‘walk the plank’ off the low window sills with the other children. It was lovely to have this fly on the wall opportunity to observe him without him knowing I was there. He was smiling and enjoying himself so much, my heart exploded. After I rang the bell I could here them tell Noah it was me and it still took several minutes for him to come, Miss Brown said what a wonderful day he had. I really couldn’t be happier. 

He had earned two stickers, which we put on his award chart along with two more that we match for school days.

It’s been an hour since we’ve been home and he hasn’t mentioned not going back. In fact he’s getting excited about the school trip on Monday so hopefully that’ll get us through Monday morning’s possible trauma.

We just need to crack these tearful send offs now, for both our sanity.

Friday rewards

Pre-School

Today I dropped you off for your third session at pre-school.

You started your regular, twice a week, session at St Petroc’s Pre-School on the 9th January.

To say I’ve been dreading you starting at pre-school is an understatement. You’ve never been left with anyone other than myself or your Daddy, apart from on two short occasions and it’s times like this I feel dreadful that you’ve missed out on having grandparents that are; a) alive or b) live close enough that you know them well enough for you to stay with for any length of time. There’s nothing I can do about this unfortunately, but this means that I fear you’re probably suffering separation anxiety a little more than on average.

The taster sessions went ok, though after we left you for the second one you became quite fixated on the whole, leaving you thing and this has, and continues to be our biggest hurdle.

Day 1

Both myself and Daddy dropped you off for your first day at school and although you asked us not to go, on the whole you seemed ok, especially when I spotted the Treasure Chest and Miss Brown kindly got it down only to discover it was FULL of pirate paraphernalia. That was you suitably absorbed enough for us to say our goodbyes and leave. I’m not ashamed to say we cried in the foyer, we hung your bag on your own little peg and I pretty much sobbed all the way home. 


I felt lost without you and filled my time with doing some yoga, had a bath and did some housework and what seemed like a lifetime later (4 hours), I picked you up.

I got there 5 minutes early and met the lady that runs the early years, who was lovely, and told me that you had experienced a couple of wobbles but, with the help of Bing, and distraction, you recovered ok and that you had been hanging about with another new boy called Carson and you had both been a great distraction to each other as he had been missing his mummy too. On seeing me you burst into tears which broke my heart all over again and you came over trying to hide your tears behind the pictures you had drawn. You gave me the biggest hug and practically dragged me out the door telling me you had got two stickers for being a ‘good boy’ and ‘helping tidy up’. You said you had fun, but categorically told me that you weren’t going to go back.



We went for a swim at Splash as a treat afterwards where we had a great time for over 2 hours.

Day 2

All started fairly well until I put your coat on and you asked me where we were going. As soon as I said school you fell apart. You begged me and sobbed all the way down there. It broke me. I couldn’t keep it together in the car, I felt so guilty. You clung to me as I walked to the front door and refused to let me go. Ms White was there that morning and you were the first in but nothing would calm you. I desperately tried to hold it together in there, we found things that might distract you but you were inconsolable. In the end I had to go and Ms White took you away from me. I’m so sorry I had to leave quickly my darling boy because I didn’t want you to see me fall apart. The guilt I felt was incredible. If I was leaving you there to go to work I would have a valid reason, but to leave you there for no reason made me feel like the worst parent ever. I pretty much sobbed on and off, all morning until I went to pick you up.

I wish I could explain to you in a way that you understood, why it’s important for you to attend pre-school. I really don’t want you to have to start big school full time without ever having experienced that sort of setting. That would be just dreadful.

There were no tears when I picked you up this time (despite mummy being told off for not providing wellies, which were actually in your bag, and waterproofs despite it not being wet) You told me you had been playing outside on your own, had been told you weren’t allowed in the mud kitchen and that you had got two more stickers. You were also covered in blue ink so you must have done some drawing at some point in the session.

Afterwards we went to the toy shop to buy a treat, and much to my amazement you went for the much cheaper option of what I was going to get you. You did state, however, you weren’t going to go back to school, ever!


Day 3 (today)

This started a bit more positively, we discussed starting a reward chart with you, where you can collect all the stickers you earn from school, add them to ones you can earn at home, and when you fill it up you can buy something you want. I said that we could make the chart after school and this seemed to help but the closer we got to leaving, the more you said you didn’t want me to leave, I ended up telling a heinous lie. 

I told you that I would wait for you in the car outside but that you wouldn’t be able to come and see me but you’d know I was close by and you’d know what I’d be doing. This meant you trotted into school without one complaint and sat down and played with Isabelle, said goodbye and didn’t even watch me leave. When I got into the foyer I heard you start to cry but Miss Brown was ever so nice and I could hear her comfort you and tell you that you were being a brave boy, to which you agreed. 

I left and walked home, sobbing all the way. I felt dreadful. I felt terrible that I’d lied to you. I envisaged all manner of scenarios where this lie would unravel and really hurt you. I knew the teachers would probably say it was a terrible thing to do, and that by doing so I was going to mess you up mentally forever. I just thought, in that moment, that it’d make it easier for both of us and help you through the session.

On picking you up we had no tears, thogh you certainly looked like you had been crying. The teacher told me that you had a few wobbles through the morning and that unless you were with one of them, or absorbed in something, then you become a bit lost and they are the moments you wobbled. This made me feel terrible. I hate the thought that you feel lonely, lost and sad. I wanted school to be a positive and fun experience. I wanted you to love it. I just wish you had a couple of your friends in your class, I thought you’d make a friend quicker. I thought lots of things, I hoped for lots of things and although I know that you will find your place eventually, I really hoped it’d come easier to you.

The teacher said that you sat beautifully for story time and enjoyed the book and although you sat for snacks, you didn’t eat anything. You made gingerbread men and must have done some drawing at some point because you were covered in orange pen today. Song time was a bit of a disappointment as you angrily announced that you weren’t allowed to sing Jingle Bells because Miss Brown said it wasn’t Christmas anymore. I said that next time you should ask for Wind the Bobbin Up or Wheels on the Bus. You got 1 sticker today for helping tidy up.


We went home and you said you had fun but didn’t want to go back and asked if I’d stayed in the car, I knew this lie would come back and bite me, I really didn’t want to have to continue the bloody thing. Anyway, we went home and made your reward chart and stuck all your stickers on it and here’s hoping for a more successful session on Friday.


Dear God, let it get easier. I’m not sure my nerves can cope with much more of this. I actually don’t know who dreads it more, you or me?

The 3rd Party

On Saturday 26th November you had your birthday party to celebrate you turning 3 years old.

I don’t think I’ll ever find these stress free but it was all worth it in the end. It would appear the party was a hit, you and your friends seemed to enjoy yourself and there were no major traumas.

For months now you have wanted a pirate theme and I had such amazing and wonderful ideas for it. As we had to hire a room at the Parkhouse Centre a lot of these ideas weren’t possible but I tried to make the room look as bright as I could with pirate flags, banners and bunting alongside the inflatable palm trees and LOTS of balloons that Coral immediately gathered up into one giant cluster which became the most sought after item of the party.


We had hired some equipment from the toy library for the day, you had the whirligig (which was Luka’s firm favourite), the Thomas roller coaster (which everyone fought over), a big slide and a ball pit. The latter I actually got in for the babies to use but it soon became apparent that none of you are too old for some pit action, especially you who went running towards it and dive bombed into it, much to everyone’s surprise, not least your father.

The pass the parcel wasn’t as successful this year, there were only a few that actually sat down patiently for the whole thing, everytime the parcel came to you I had to wrestle the parcel out of your vice like grip because you thought it was your present and wouldn’t grasp the concept that it was for everyone. In the end we opened one of your other presents just to stop you sulking. A famous Lesley Gore song sprung to mind in that instant.


The Guests:
Coral, Mila, Luka, Leo & Toby, Roo & Harvey, Grayson & Cooper, Finn, Blake, Theo & Sandy, Connor

The Food:

I kept this to a minimum this year as there was so much waste last year. We had Cheese sandwiches, Marmite sandwiches and Ham sandwiches. Crudités and houmous. Cheese straws. Bread sticks. Crisps. Fruit. Matchsticks. Chocolate coins littered the table for treasure and of course the cake.

Gemma had made the most amazing fruit bowl out of a melon which got an awful lot of attention, she is very clever.


The Cake:

I’d spent a long time deciding on a cake and settled on a 3 dimensional Pirate Ship which I’ll write a separate post about as a few people have asked for details. As it goes it wasn’t that horrific to do in the end but it didn’t quite look how I had it in my mind’s eye, but for a first attempt I was quite pleased with how it turned out. Besides, you loved it and that was the best and biggest compliment I could have ever got.


I love you my beautiful boy. Happy Party Day.

Happy 3rd Birthday

It still amazes me that you have been part of our lives for a whole three years already. On one hand it seems like you’ve always been part of my life and I can’t remember what life was like without you being in it and yet on the other hand it only feels like yesterday that you were born.

Everyday you amaze us, everyday you bring such joy and happiness to our lives, everyday I’m so thankful that we’ve been blessed with you, our gorgeous, most precious gift. You continue to thrive, you are developing the most wonderful personality which can be both brilliant, and not quite so much. You are stubborn and headstrong, kind, loving and caring in equal measures.

Today (Tuesday) you turned three and the pure delight on your face when you opened the door to the lounge and saw all your presents and balloons was just magical. You’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that you are turning three (p: fwee) for weeks now and today is the day.


We are having a family day today as you’re having a party on Saturday so that your friends can all come. Despite you waking up with a stinking cold, the day started (early, as is the norm) with opening your main presents from us (the rest hadn’t arrived, despite paying extra to get them here on time), Uncle Daniel, Auntie and Auntie Ann and a bit later in the morning (at a more socially acceptable time) your Granny and Grandad came to help you celebrate and brought you their gifts then we had a wander into town and had a birthday tea cake at Wroes where everyone wished you a happy birthday. You were so in awe.


Because the weather wasn’t that great in the afternoon we all went to Splash and you had your very first Waves session with Daddy. You delighted in jumping over the waves and kept shaking off Daddy’s protective hand because you wanted to be a big boy and do it yourself. Daddy also swallowed his fears and took you on the slide, to say you loved it is a real understatement, we heard you screaming and laughing from the moment you sat down at the top to the moment you shot out the bottom shouting “More! More!”, it was truly delightful watching you having such a wonderful time and I’m so glad Granny and Grandad got to see it too.

 

I think the excitement took its toll on you mind, because at the end of swimming however, you suddenly felt really poorly so we got you dressed and took you home. I think you’d probably drunk a bit too much pool water, along with your water and it made you feel a bit icky, by the time we got home you were feeling a little better.

Back at home we had a little birthday tea with Granny and Grandad and we sang you Happy Birthday and gave you your first  (of two) cake. I made the same as I did for your first birthday so that you could have slice. Once more you delighted in blowing out the candles so I had to relight them… several times.


The Presents:

From Mummy and Daddy:

  • Playmobil Pirate Ship
  • Pop up Pirate
  • Jigsaws
  • Pirate costume
  • Jim Jams
  • Dressing Gown
  • Playdoh


Auntie:

  • Playmobil Fire Engine

Auntie Ann:

  • Playmobil Ambulance

Uncle Dan, Auntie Sam, Ella and Tommy:

  • Playdoh Icecream Treats
  • Playdoh Cake Party
  • Playdoh Sweet Shoppe Cookie Creations

Uncle Simon & Auntie Jacqueline:

  • £££

Andrea:

  • £££

Great Granny Pat:

  • £££

Granny & Grandad:

  • Playmobil Landscaper
  • Dinosaurs
  • Personalised Bag Chain

Gemma, Seb, Leo and Toby:

  • Playdoh Activity Table
  • Pirates Sticker Book

All in all it was a quietly busy and successful day and all I hope is that you enjoyed every minute of it my beautiful, darling boy.

We love you to the moon and back, and beyond.

    Pre-School Taster

    On Friday I took Noah for his first, of three, taster sessions in preparation for him starting pre-school in January.

    Choosing a pre-school was never a hard choice for me, I knew where I wanted to send him and after reading all the Ofsted reports of all the pre-schools in the town my decision was cemented. It had one point that prevented it being Outstanding and it was such a minor thing that it seemed ridiculous (to me). The one outstanding nursery truly is marvellous but is in the middle of nowhere and with an old jalopy as a car and knowing how bad those lanes get in winter it was never a contender.

    I have been feeling a little (who am I kidding, a lot) nervous about sending him to Pre-School as he has never been in this sort of setting before. In fact, barring a couple of occasions I can probably count on two hands, he hasn’t been left with anyone other than ourselves in his entire (nearly) three years.

    Don’t get me wrong, he mixes with other children well and I’ve always taken him to baby/toddler groups and he has friends whom he plays with it’s just I’ve never left him in that sort of setting before.

    I worry about so many things. I worry that he will integrate and not just want to play on his own, that he’ll be a bit of a push over, that he won’t communicate as well as he does with us so will get sidelined or forgotten about, that he won’t ask to use the toilet, that another child will hit or push him and I won’t know why, I just want him to be happy and dread that he’ll be sad at some point and I won’t be there to make him better again. (Jeez I’m crying just writing those things down).

    I needn’t have worried too much about most of these. As soon as we arrived he wandered off on his own and immediately started to play with the toys that were out. He investigated the room and sussed out where everything was, where he could get a drink, etc. Before long he was engaging with the play leaders and making efforts to join in with the other boys in the group, whom I think he was a little in awe of as it was Children in Need dress up and they were dressed as Iron Man, Batman and a Wolf (they are all he’s talked about since we got home when school is mentioned).

    It was only an hour long session so no sooner had we arrived, we had to leave again. This was when he threw probably the worst meltdown he’s ever thrown. It really was quite impressive. When questioned by the leaders as to why he was playing up (I think they were a little horrified to be fair and probably, for a moment, wondered what the hell they had let themselves in for) I told them it was because he didn’t want to leave, they immediately relaxed, smiled and told me that was a really good thing! For them maybe, not me who had to literally wrestle him out the building a little red faced. Not even promises of tea cake pacified him until we were three streets away.

    On calming and reflecting on the morning I have no worries Noah will love it there (and he’s only going to be there two mornings a week). When talking with him about it he says he really loved it and couldn’t wait to go back. Though when I mentioned that next week I’d be leaving him there he simply said; “No mummy, you no go, you stay and watch” so we’ll see how next Friday goes with that!

    Goodbye Cot, Hello Big Boy’s Bed

    Firstly I feel I should apologise for my total lack of blog updates for the last (nearly) year. My only excuse is the WordPress app went through a really glitchy stage which made posting infuriating and then I left it so long before an update I couldn’t catch up with myself. 

    So here we are, we find ourselves nearly a year on in the life of Noah and nearly three years of us being parents and although LOADS has happened this last year, nothing major has either. I will give an update on Noah’s development etc on his birthday blog (in less than two weeks….. Eek)

    This week has seen a MAJOR leap for our little boy. Last Sunday, after much discussion, we put together Noah’s ‘big boy’ toddler bed. I bought this months ago as it was an absolute bargain and although I’d have rather got him into a full size single straight away we are still in the flat (that’s another post in itself) so space doesn’t allow this. 

    We decided to take the leap now because Noah has got some major changes coming up in the next few months with starting Pre-School (keep an eye out for that update), moving house (in spring) thus moving into his own room and to add in a new bed at the same time didn’t seem right. Plus he now said he wanted a bed whereas previously he categorically said ‘No!’. All this coupled with the realisation the heater we have to have on to counteract his lack of covers is costing us an absolute fortune made us get a move on.

    So Sunday was the day. I had talked with Noah all week prior to this about his move and whether he wanted to move, which he did. So we got the boxes out.

    Noah helped me dismantle his cot which he did with a smile, and I did through quiet tears, and clear a space in the room. He wanted to get in for one last time and said goodbye to it.

    Saying Goodbye


    The next stage was to make the new bed which Noah did with Daddy. He was thrilled at being allowed to use the drill and hex keys and thoroughly got into the task in hand.

    Last stage was to choose his bedding, it was dinosaurs or cars… Cars won. I got these from Next and I’m pretty pleased with the quality, and the price. 


    First night was a dream. After an initial struggle getting him into the bed (had to settle him on ours and then transfer him) Noah slept like a dream… 8 until 5.30 (we are still cursed with seeing the sun rise. Every. Single. Day) without the heater on. 

    Result. 

    We’ve cracked it.

    Or so we thought.

    Since then it’s been terrible. A week in and he’s waking at between 10 and 11pm every night wanting to get into our bed and will not get back in his own so I wait until he’s asleep and then transfer him again, this usually happens once or twice more. Last night he fell out for the first time (at 10.30pm), he was distraught bless him as had really clattered his ear. Again, got him to sleep in our bed then transferred him again, he then woke again at 3.30. I swear it’s like having a new born again. 

    Sleep is overrated, yes?

    He’s never been the best sleeper but he has improved greatly and if he did wake up at night then it would be about 8 hours after falling asleep, not 3!

    I’m hoping this won’t continue in this vein for much longer but am mystified at what to do. He says he misses his cot but don’t feel putting it back up will achieve anything so am not going to do that.

    Here’s to another week.

    Wish us luck.