Back To School With Spearmark

It’s back to school time again and Spearmark kindly sent us some back to school goodies to help us out. Spearmark has a fantastic range of lunch bags, water bottles, snack pots & more. Whatever your needs, Spearmark products are just perfect for back to school!

When we buy back to school supplies, Eva loves anything pink! She is easily spotted in her bright pink coat and bag at school already. Why not have a matching lunch bag and water bottle too!? Spearmark sent us the perfect products!

Back to School With Spearmark

Back To School

Pink Glitter Backpack Lunch Bag

This very glittery pink backpack lunch bag had Eva squealing with excitement! We love the backpack style with its main compartment and front pocket. Eva loves the cute heart zips and can’t wait to show it off at school! She knows her friends will love it too! The handy front pocket is great for storing her break time snack. Available exclusively from Sainsbury’s along with some other great Spearmark lunch bags and products.

Cool Gear Water Bottle 828ml/28floz

Of course, you need the perfect water bottle to match a pink glittery backpack lunch bag & we love the Cool Gear Water bottles. Simply fill the freezer stick and freeze overnight to keep drinks cool all day. It’s so important kids stay hydrated at school & a warm drink is a little discouraging. Knowing you have a nice cold drink waiting for you across the day will ensure your children stay hydrated. These water bottles come in a range of sizes and colours including Eva’s favourite, pink! 

Locksy Ultra Clip Snack Pack 440ML

The Locksy Ultraclip snack pack is perfect for all kinds of snacks and is guaranteed not to leak! Perfect for fruit, pasta, rice and so much more, these handy little pots will take the stress out of emptying lunch bags. Discovering a leaky pot in a lunch bag is such a pain, these pots put an end to that!

Which Spearmark back to school product do you love?

Two Year Funding – Why I’m Not Sending My 2 Year Old To Nursery

Two Year Funding  -What Is It?

Two year funding allows children to start nursery a year earlier. This scheme is offered in most deprived area’s and Thurrock is one of them. It’s run to help children learn & socialise a little bit earlier and to give parents a chance to get back to work etc. We have been offered each term a chance to enrol Izzy at a nursery since she turned 2.

I had previously considered taking up the offer but I sat and thought about it. Could I use the time to myself? Yes. Do I thijnk it would benefit Izzy? No. Eventually I decided not to take up the offer and to wait until September when she will be 3.

Why?

I can’t justify sending Izzy to nursery early just because I’m able to. Whilst it is a great scheme especially for parents looking to get back into work or to save a few £’s on childcare or even to get toddlers playing with other’s their own age, I’d rather spend this year helping Izzy develop at home. Although I doubt myself constantly as a mother, I know my girls are learning plenty at home. Children spend so many years in school already & I can’t see why I should add another year to that. Especially whilst I am home all day.

Izzy loves being at home & she has learnt a lot from our usual routines. Shopping with daddy, finding what we need and popping it in the trolley is so much fun for her. Chatting to people all around town from shop staff to people she passes regularly. School run’s to get her ‘Ea-yaye!’ gives her a chance to run like crazy on the way home. Helping around the flat with chores makes her beam with pride. Teaching her everything’s has it’s place & needs cleaning. even if it’s just been sat for a while.

Reading is Izzy’s absolute favourite thing to do, we read a lot of books together which is why we started Our Favourite Books This Week series. She can count to 12 & has started learning basic math. Just this morning when asked what is 2 + 2 she said 4 then counted 4 with her fingers then showing 2 fingers plus 2 fingers make 4. Izzy recognises most letters in the alphabet & has begun to recognise words whilst we read. I’m confident she will keep up when she does start nursery in September.

At home we pull out the craft boxes, paint or draw. Izzy loves getting creative and making lovely pictures to put up around the flat. Her fine motor skills are pretty good, in fact as Eva is a lefty Izzy holds her pencil better.

Going to the pub on paydays with daddy and talking to all the regulars in ‘her’ pub & playing with Saphy the staffy. Then there’s baby Finn who she has watched grow over the last year & become good friends with. Whilst ordering her fruit shoot & crisps she say’s hello to the women at the bar. Whilst she only goes once a week or every other week she loves it. Izzy has a better social life than me and learns so much from this.

Why should I cut that short when she’s already going to spend the next 15 years in school?

Don’t get me wrong 15 hours a week of peace & freedom again for me would be AMAZING! But I will have plenty of time to myself when she starts in September. I am in no rush. I want to make the most of these last few months before she starts nursery in September. I don’t want to send her early and miss out on our time together when I know she’s always learning & socialises better than I could ever dream of!

When Eva started nursery she changed so much, and so quickly too! I guess I’ve realised the years fly past so quickly and I want to make the most of this time. Soon Izzy will have her own little world & circle of friends at nursery & then school. She will be interested in things I am clueless about & wanting time to herself. So for now, I want to make the most of the terrible two’s, have those lazy sofa snuggle days & enjoy these moments before Izzy grows up too fast.

Izzy will start nursery in September and is really looking forward to it. She will be coming with us to take a look at the local nurseries over the next few month’s to find somewhere she will be happy. I’m looking forward to the free time as I fell pregnant after Eva started nursery. I spent that time feeling fat and awful. I will definitely be making the most of the time come September & enjoying some me time but for now I’ll be enjoying our time together.

Whilst I’m not jumping for the early years funding I do think it’s a brilliant scheme which allows parents to get back to work/learning or finally catch up on 2 years worth of clothes washing & dishes or even just getting a few hours to relax each week.

What do you think of early years funding? Is it available in your area? Would you take it up or have you?

DIY Daddy Blog

A Positive Start In Year 2

Last year we had quite a few problem’s with Eva’s school and to be honest it made me quite nervous about her going back as last year got so stressful & we strongly considered moving her to a different school but we decided to ride it out and see how things went.

a positive start

I’m pleased to say I don’t think we will be having anywhere near as many issues this year. Her new teacher seems great, she seems to be friendly and rather jolly yet at the same time strict enough to not let Eva get away with too much silliness.
Eva has been changing her reading books regularly so she is happy she’s earning her reading air miles as she loves reading and her confidence is growing with each book which is so lovely to see as  last year seemed to really make her feel like she wasn’t good at anything as none of her achievements were being mark down. She came home several times upset as she had been told to just get on with her work when she needed help so she started just giving up.

Whilst I think she’s doing amazingly learning at her own pace, she feels she has to have these marks & awards like everyone else, so I try to support her in that as much as I can whilst also pointing out she’s always learning and doing well regardless of marks. However now she is earning her air miles & getting stickers and a lot more praise she seems a lot happier and I am pleased for her.

 

We sat with her Math & English homework books on Saturday and she flew through them with confidence whilst still making sure her letters and number were written the right way and neatly, it was amazing to see the change, she finished 5 sheets of work in 10 minutes! 10 MINUTES it takes her 15 to put on her shoes!!! I’m really pleased she’s enjoying it again as I love getting involved in her learning and helping her find a way to work out the answers.

It’s been such a postive start to the school year for Eva and I really hope it continues as she seems a lot happier in herself and is coming home happy again instead of moody or in tears.

How did your kid/s get on for their first week back at school? Have their been any improvements/issues compared to last year?

RUN!

Yesterday was Eva’s first day back at school and of course before we even got to the morning there was a problem. A rather bloody problem!

Eva managed to slide down her plastic steps scraping her foot leaving a long flap of skin hanging off which we had to cut off Sunday night.

We told teachers about her foot the following morning as she wanted to go in, she soldiered on through the day but by the time she got home it obviously needed airing so we will see how she goes over night, she may have to stay home tomorrow to keep it aired.

Apart from Eva’s foot the day started off great! The Mr & I woke well before the alarm and managed a cup of tea before waking the girls. Eva’s written morning routine helped keep her on track and she was actually ready well before she needed to be. Eva struggles to stay focused when getting ready and normally needs constant reminding, this morning I was really impressed with how quickly she got ready, maybe it was the excitement of her first day back at school but hopefully she keeps it up.

The Mr took Eva off to school & Izzy stayed with me as it was raining but as I let her have the TV on she was ecstatic and let me get the kitchen cleaned in peace. By 9.10am my kitchen was done & although my hip was aching I felt like I could do a bit more so started on the girls room. 

Just waiting to borrow a friends hoover

I managed to get it looking tidy after 7 whole weeks! I felt like crying by the end of it but the Mr took Izzy shopping, so I put away the washing and curled up in bed for half an hour to rest. 

Not long after they returned my brother arrived quite stressed and tired after struggling to sleep for days so we got chatting and cheered each other up a bit. I decided to pick Eva up from school as I felt awful that I missed taking her in the morning & do it so rarely now. 

My brother decided to come with me when I mentioned I’d take Izzy. Before we even left he took over Izzy’s trike & wouldn’t let me push it as he knows it really hurts my back & I struggle with the walk. It was lovely to see him thinking about me and enjoying pushing Izzy. They really had a laugh once he got the hand of the handle, weaving along the paths and zooming ahead and we joked with a group of women about Alex needing learner plates as it was his first time.

Run

Once we got to the school I found Eva’s new classroom had been moved again. We had to ask for directions to find her and as soon as she heard my voice and saw my brother she came running out shouting ‘Uncle Alex!’. She was so happy and surprised we were both picking her up.

Unfortunately as I looked up from Eva I suddenly felt extremely overwhelmed by the amount of people surrounding us and began to panic. Alex spotted it straight away and asked what I needed so I told him to just get us out of the gates so he charged through the crowd with trike clearing a path for me to follow.

Once we were out of the gates I was fine and felt a bit silly, especially as its normally me calming my brother down, not the other way round.

We got walking and suddenly I looked up and saw Alex running off full speed to the end of the road giggling his head off with Izzy. When we finally caught up with them they were still laughing & my brother said ‘Sorry about that Izzy told me to run, so I did’. I cracked up. My brother is normally VERY careful with the girls and scared he will do something wrong or hurt them so I was really proud he just went for it & trusted himself enough to do so, his confidence with the girls really is coming on leaps & bounds!

On the way home I began to struggle with the walk and asked them to walk on as I find it awkward slowing everyone down. By the time we got home and checked Eva’s foot the skin had gone white where it had been covered and damp all day so we left it uncovered to air out over night to see how she got on, she ended up staying home today as although it is healing and looks better the skins tightening & scabbing making it harder for Eva to walk and very uncomfortable for her, sofa day it is!

Once we had sorted Eva’s foot and the girls had eaten after Alex ruined a microwave pizza and I nearly burnt the chips trying to calm an upset Eva, Alex sat with them playing with Eva’s doh Vinci set which is of course now ALL over my carpet! 😂😂😂

I really do enjoy watching these 3 play together and love that they now see their Uncle weekly and spend time playing & doing things. It’s hard sometimes not having much family around for them so it’s lovely they have at least one blood relative they are really close to & where I struggled across the day it was nice to have some extra help.

I also really appreciate just how much Alex helped me yesterday especially as I really had over done it with cleaning & then went on to do the school run making things worse & the panic attack on top. Oh and yes I HURT today!

It wouldn’t be a Monday morning or the first day back at school without a few hiccups though aye? As I climbed into bed last night I just suddenly hear Izzy shout ‘RUN!’ in my head and picture them speeding ahead and cracked up.I ended up texting my brother before falling asleep to thank him for his help, his Asperger’s can make it so difficult for him to know what to do in most situations and I was so proud and grateful he had managed to do so well and help so much across the day!

If your little ones gone back to school how did the first day go? Do you ever have panic attacks in the school playground? How do you deal with them?

 

School Issue’s

Eva is now in year 1 and up until she began this year we were fairly happy with how her schooling was going. She had a very lovely teacher who you can tell genuinely loves her job and working with children to get them ready for the following year. Any problems we had were sorted via her teacher and the year ran pretty smoothly.

This year however from day 1 we have had constant problems. Eva absolutely loved nursery and reception, she could not wait to get up and ready each morning to go and learn something new and play with friends. That changed quite quickly after her first week in year 1 she started getting upset getting ready in the mornings and tried to come up with excuses to not go in, obviously we realised something had changed and at first thought it was just the pressure of moving up and doing some serious work so we sat her down and some really long chats about school and any worries she had.

It turned out there was a whole group of boys in her class making fun of her and scaring her every chance they got and from what she had told us she was ignored by teachers several times when she tried to get them to stop. We told her teacher what was happening and asked her to keep an eye on Eva and the boys to make sure it stopped. A few days went by and Eva was happily going into school again but then the following week she came out of school crying, the boys had been jumping out and shouting in her face again.

I was struggling to leave the house at the time so the Mr went to the school and asked for a meeting to be arranged so we could get these issues resolved. We were both bullied as kids and are well aware the impact it has on a young child. Unfortunately during this meeting the staff decided to turn things around on us and tried to say we had a problem with the boys due to their race. Up until this point we were actually unaware of who the boys were but Eva had pointed them out in the playground and we relayed this on to the headteacher. To be honest I was quite offended when I found out as we both come from families with a range of backgrounds, My great grandfather on my fathers side was Maori, My mother’s father was greek, we both have a lot of scottish across both families etc and neither of us are bothered if your black,white, green or blue! We have friends of all races & nationalities, It simply doesn’t come into it at all. We asked for the situation to be monitored regardless and it did calm down for a little while but has since started up again but again we are being ignored.

Eva’s homework and reading books stopped being checked after the 3rd week of school which we brought up with the teachers as we dont see how they can monitor her progress if they dont know wether or not her homework has been done. As I mentioned before homework is something we do take seriously and expect it to be checked regularly by her teachers just as we are expected to help Eva with her homework and make sure it is in on time. Even after bringing it up with the school her books still go unchecked and sit in her bag week in week out so over the last two week’s I haven’t sent them in as I dont see the point if they aren’t being checked plus I wanted to see if the teacher would notice and say something.. surprise surprise nothing has been mentioned!

To add to it all Eva being born a preemie falls ill quite regularly with coughs and colds and the odd chest infection, she has always been a strong little thing though and usually copes and recovers well so we tend to try and get her into school unless she is really unwell and tell her to let a teacher know if it get’s too bad and at worst we can pick her up again. Obviously she has days off if she is really bad, some of you may know both girls got chicken pox and were quite ill with high temperatures so we kept her off for a few days after calling the office and being told to keep her home until the spots had scabbed up. We continued calling in each morning and leaving a voicemail on the absence line to let the school know she wouldn’t be attending that day and update them on how she was doing. No one called us back at any point but we recieved a letter about her attendance dropping and made to feel like we were in the wrong for not sending her in to infect the whole class.

This week Eva has had conjunctivitis and bad headaches and seeing floating dots, we worked this out after several accidents with her chasing these dots and hurting herself. So we kept her off whilst trying to get into the Dr’s to try and work out the cause, by the third day i managed to get her booked in for the following monday and took Eva for a quick eye test to make sure it wasn’t a vision problem. The school was notified every morning of what was going on and Thursday we sent her in as she seemed a little better. They were asked to keep an eye on her as although the conjunctivitis seemed to be clearing up the headaches are really bothering her.

So when she came home and I found out she’d told the teacher’s several times she had a bad headache she was told to just get on with her work I was fuming, to top it all her eyes were gunked up again and were really sore. I saw for myself on sports day just how much the teachers ignore what the children say to them, there were kids begging to go to the toilet jumping up and down trying to hold it in being told to just wait until the events were over.. halfway round when they were being given a cup of juice after each event so I believe what Eva has said and as her conjunctivitis has now worsened again I have had to let her have yet another day off school as she can barely open her eyes!

All of these things have been adding up over the last few months and we now feel as though any problem we take up with the school just gets ignored and brushed over instead of being dealt with and resolved fairly. When I send my daughter to school I expect her to be well looked after, I expect any problems she has to be dealt with properly, I expect them to listen to my child when she is in pain, being bullied or just need’s a little help. We are now at a point where we are seriously considering pulling Eva from this school and moving her elsewhere because it is affecting her so much. She is nowhere near as happy as she was to go to school, she plays up when she comes home and then eventually breaks down into tear’s and tells me what’s gone wrong that day to put her in a bad mood and I cant just sit back and watch it carry on any longer and see Eva and her education suffer because of it.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with their child’s school? If so I would really like to hear other parents experiences and hear how you dealt with it etc. I also would like honest opinions, am I being over the top? Am I expecting too much of the school? What can I do to possibly make things better for Eva overall? I would love to get some feedback!