Thursday, 31 March 2011

Y3 - 182/365: Blooming All Around

We had many days of sun last week, then quite a few rainy days this week and although today is a bit overcast so far, I can see the blooms starting to pop up out of nowhere on the Damson tree and the green leaves are really sprouting on the apple trees. In the next week or so the Damson tree will be full of beautiful white flowers and things will finally start to look alive again. I can't wait.

And speaking of sprouting...someone has some more teeth so very close to sprouting. He only has six so far and by this age I'm sure his cousin had at least double that amount! He's been chewing on his fingers like mad and I've noticed a new sensation when breast-feeding in the morning and before bed.

In his 'First Year' baby book there is a space to jot down how he has coped with teething and I have left it blank so far, thinking that he might be able to handle it better as he got older, however that doesn't seem to be the case.

It hurts and he knows it hurts and he wants ALL of Britain to know...IT HURTS! Poor little mite. This is one of those things, and I think other mommies will agree, that we wish we could take the pain away for them.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Y3 - 181/365: The Burbs

A little jaunt around the garden tonight revealed a few things (after Ryan applauded his Daddy's exit from the house on his way down to join us). The first was that our neighbours on the end have apparently moved as all the curtains are wide open on the property and you can no longer see pictures up on the walls.

Hmm, that was quick.

Probably for the best though since two of the teenage kids living with her were down in the lower garden earlier last week being destructive. They were forever moving the garden waste bins to represent goal-posts and even found a pile of scrap wood that they proceeded to chuck over the back fence and into the park.

Between the way they left their own garden (naked palm trees and unkept flower beds) and our other neighbour in the middle section who has neglected to clean up anything since last summer (as evidenced by the bins and bags of waterlogged, rotting apples and weathered pyrotechnics)'s beginning to look like scenes from The Burbs.

The second thing that was discovered was a bit of vandalism. Last night Matt was out back and heard some kids from down in the park. He said he could hear snapping wood and the kids saying something about "finding a new hide-out." Low and behold, the hideout was our garden as they had managed to kick in an entire section of fencing panels in to allow enough room for people to squeeze through...even past the barbed-wire.

Needless to say we'll be ringing the letting agent in the morning to let them know about this so we can aim to get it repaired ASAP.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Y3 - 180/365: Just a Day

Another calls for work. Boo. The only bonus is that I get to spend it with this guy! And he is loads of fun, let me tell you. We played racing cars, Mega Bloks, read some books, went down the slide -- okay, Ryan went down the slide while I watched and cheered...

...and we also played with the magnetic letters a little. He likes to pull off the lid and one by one pull the letters out and put them back in. (Look at that after-dinner budda-belly!)

And when he starts to get too loud, he knows how to tell Daddy to be more quiet.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Y3 - 179/365: All You Need is Love

A "quick" trip to Tesco tonight to get some more 12-18 month vests for Ryan turned out to be not so quick in the long run. We found the vests, although not plain white, short-sleeved ones like I was looking for...but along with that we found a pack of socks as well as a much-needed tub of magnetic letters.


With this being their only time together tonight, Ryan and Daddy played with the letters for a bit while I got Ryan's dinner ready so we could get him off to bed. When I returned to the room I signed "eat" to Ryan and he signed it back and came running over to me where I sat near his Bumbo. He went to turn around to sit in his seat, except his foot must have caught the other foot and he tumbled forward, his right eye narrowly missing the corner of one of the coffee tables!

Thankfully, he only suffered a small scratch, but Daddy and I still felt awful that he had yet another little injury to his perfect, porcelain cheek. He did whinge a bit, but the promise of yogurt quickly took his mind of of it!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Y3 - 178/365: Your Turn!

Sunday tea was hosted at ours this weekend. Ryan was super excited to show off his new slide to cousin Amy, but she wasn't much in the mood as she wasn't feeling very well. Still, that didn't stop Ryan from going down his slide and running over to Amy, clapping his hands together to show her how much fun it was, and then back to his slide to have another go!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Y3 - 177/365: New Toys!

So, after the exciting visits to Haden Hill Park and making use of the slide there numerous times, Matt went out last night to Toys 'R Us and bought Ryan his very own slide! To say it was an absolute hit would be an understatement because he was in LOVE!

Both last night and today he couldn't get enough and he's so proud of himself after he climbs the steps and gets seated at the top. Then he takes his time deciding when would be the best moment to let loose and glide on down...and glide he does with a squeal of delight!

For only £24.99 it can't be beat really.

Later this afternoon at the Great Bridge Asda-Walmart Supercentre we picked up a set of racing cars for £4.50. It wasn't until we brought them home and had them out of the package that Matt discovered their level of awesomeness exponentially increase as you could manually "rev-up" the wheels and let them speed across the floor. So, after the slide was put away, Ryan and Daddy spent the rest of their night together playing racing cars.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Y3 - 176/365: Friday at the Park

As planned, we went to Haden Hill Park as a family this afternoon and as expected, Ryan LOVED his time going up the steps and then, with some help from Daddy, down the slide! Each time he'd get to the bottom, he'd stand up and run full-Ryan-speed back to the steps to go again!

He'd get to the top and hold onto the bar above him until Matt peeled his fingers off, one-by-one, chuckling and telling our dear son that he had to let go and sit down before he could go down the slide.

Ryan would then squeal his little head off all the way down to the bottom, get off, and race back to the steps!

He ran over to the swings a couple times, but they were occupied by other children (a bit daft to only have two infant/toddler swings available in the first place, really). We told Ryan he would have to wait his turn and Daddy even tried to placate him with a ride on his lap from the big swing, but no dice, it worked a whole 30 seconds and then he wasn't having it.

Since we had taken our walk by the lower pool when we first arrived, this playground was the last stop before heading to the car and then back home...

...well, almost the last stop. While Daddy took a brief smoke break, Ryan and I walked across the car-park to the upper pool to say goodbye to the ducks. Ryan felt his goodbye would be more effective if he could get a closer look at his feathered friends.

Once we got home, the fun didn't stop there, because Daddy popped back out to get a surprise for Ryan. You'll have to check back tomorrow to see what it was though!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Y3 - 175/365: Sunshine Again?! I'll Take it!

Today was so refreshing compared to my stressful daily routine the previous 3 weeks. I was assigned to Reception, Year 1, and Nursery and despite this school being located not three quarters of a mile from where I used to be, the children, in Key Stage 1 at least, are so much easier to deal with. I was even gifted a beautiful dandelion at lunchtime.

In Nursery the children participated in a focus group working with cornflour and water. What a brilliant activity -- even I had no idea it would be so interesting. It gives resistance when you try to push it, acting like a solid, but then it will just dribble off your fingers and act like a liquid at the same time. I can't wait to try this with Ryan!

My day got even better when I arrived at the train station at 10 past four, thinking I was 5 minutes late for the 4:05 train, only to learn it was delayed and was only arriving in two minutes! This meant I was able to get home to Rowley almost 40 minutes sooner, grab something for tea at the Tesco Express, and arrive back to the cottage with plenty of time to change clothes and throw a load in the wash, throw another load in the dryer, get tea in the oven, and head outside to take some photos of the freshly budding garden before Matt arrived home.

Feeling great now knowing neither of us are working tomorrow, so the plan at the moment is to take little man back to Haden Hill Park so he can show Daddy what all the fuss is about!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Y3 - 174/365: Good Day Sunshine

Home again today with that blond kid, whom strongly resembles my husband, and I thought we'd continue to make the most of our time, so around half-ten we walked down to the train station and took the train just over to Old Hill and headed for Haden Hill Park.

Looking back, the distance walked to and from each of the train stations was probably the same that it would have been to just walk to the park itself, but Waterfall Lane is really, really steep and I didn't fancy attempting to push the pushchair back up the hill, much less give the effort to control the downward pull either. £1.80 return so it wasn't bad.

Ryan had an absolute blast on the under 5's playground! He enjoyed the swings, of course, but really loved the slide most of all. Now that he has conquered the steps at home, he wants to climb up any he sees and these were no exception.

When I could see he was getting clumsy I knew it was time for us to go because he was long-overdue for a nap and we still needed to make it back home. We took a little jaunt through the rest of the park, exploring the paths and the lower pool with the ducks and geese, and then headed to Old Hill train station.

By this time he was fast asleep and I had to carefully navigate my way up a flight of steps to the train platform. With signs posted that instruct people to "collapse pushchairs" before using the steps, they certainly didn't account for sleeping a little PSA: Old Hill is not push-chair friendly! Bless the woman coming down who saw me struggling and offered her help. "You alright there, Mate, d'ya need a 'and then?" It's nice that with all the stories in the papers about violence and aggro towards people with pushchairs that there are still many who are thoughtful enough to lend a hand. I really appreciated her help.

I had gotten a phone call while at the park from my agency offering me a day's work for tomorrow, so definitely snatched that up without thinking twice...but low and behold, shortly after returning home my phone rang again. This time it was the new agency I have just signed on with offering me a day at a Catholic school in Tipton. Considering this agency pays a bit more for daily work I was completely ready to accept it and turn my other offer down, but because they're still waiting for my security checks to come through, the school couldn't chance it that day because they had meetings that afternoon with the school governors and to have a teacher without cleared background checks wouldn't have looked very good. Still, they said they may have work for next week to offer me, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

After a brief kip in the early evening, Ryan was awake again just before Matt returned home from work. Perfect timing to start his game of " this...and this one again" between the pair of us. Knowing now that I have to be up early in the morning to catch a train and I will be away from darling son, I'm so glad we spent the day in the sunshine the way we did!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Y3 - 173/365: Making the Most of It

Having this extra, unplanned, time at home with little man makes me want to make the most of it since I don't know how soon I'll have a placement back in a school again. I signed up with a second supply agency yesterday in hopes that with two I will have more luck getting some work. This second agency also pays about £10 more a day, so well-worth it.

Ryan had not one, but TWO trips out to the garden today for some exploring! He's getting so good now at walking on grass and can even manage a slight incline (walking uphill more so than down). He had a blast though picking up sticks and poking things and then picking up stones and throwing them. In general, just being a typical boy.

Not long now until many things start to bloom so it will be nice for Matt and I to be able to have Ryan in the garden with us while we're working on keeping it up.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Y3 - 172/365: Old Game, New Trick

Ryan was a hoot playing this game today...give the book to Mommy for her to read. When she finishes, then off to Daddy for him to read the same book. Then back to Mommy for another go, and then back to Daddy....then back to...well, you get the hint.

In between the running back and forth he would then sit down on his own for a bit to carefully explore the same story, and then repeat the process between Mommy and Daddy a few more times until he was bored of it.

Ryan has also acquired a new skill of climbing onto the gliding footstool and then trying to rock on it like he's riding a mechanical bull!

This boy will surely give me a heart attack!!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Y3 - 171/365: Sunday Snooze

Someone couldn't keep his little eyes open and ended up spark out on the settee at Em & Daz's. All this while his cousin, Amy, flitted about singing to herself and finding the noisest toys to play with. The sounds didn't phase him though...he was knackered!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Y3 - 170/365: Little Explorer

It has been pretty sunshiny the past few days so this morning I took advantage of that before Matt was up and Ryan and I went on a little explore of our garden. We were also testing out Ryan's new bumblebee rucksack, which doubles as a set of reins.

He really enjoyed the daffodils that have sprung up already. In fact, he was enjoying them so much that he wanted to see how they tasted!

Up on the patio, Ryan found a task to keep him busy -- sorting out the slate stones. He'd pick a few up, examine them, and then throw them into different piles on the patio. I'm not sure exactly what categories he was sorting them into, but he would clap for himself after dropping each lot.

When we got to Em & Daz's later in the afternoon, Em invited me to join her at Mecca Bingo. Of course, Matt wasn't against me trying to win a bit of money and Daz even instructed Em that if I won, she was to rob me.

Too bad for both of us...I didn't win. But still had a good time, nonetheless. And let me just say that British Bingo is TOTALLY different to American Bingo.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Y3 - 169/365: It's All So Backwards!

Bless him. Couldn't figure out where the "go" button was. It's been a long week for all of us.

Walking the two miles from the train station today didn't seem to take as long as it usually does. Then again, that could be because my mind was racing with so many other things that I didn't notice that I was traveling the route without much thought as to my surroundings and where I was going. I was anxious to see the kids for the last time, anxious to see my new T.A. friend and explain the whole story to her since she had been out, and also rehearsing how I would break the news to the students that they would be getting now a FOURTH teacher for the year and I would no longer be with them.

I signed in at the office and immediately went to my room to prepare for morning lessons. My own T.A., who has been helpful in some instances and a huge thorn in others, told me she was going to prepare downstairs for the assembly as our class was doing a performance. She then asked what I had planned for the afternoon since it was Red Nose Day and each class was supposed to have planned a fund-raising activity. I told her I didn't recall being told I had to do this so I didn't have anything planned but would figure something out. She then went on to harp about how it was mentioned in briefing and blah, blah, blah...well, forgive me if I hadn't been mentally including myself with the rest of the staff at the school knowing all the while that today, Friday, would be my last day. So, this is when I clued her in that I wouldn't be back after today. I didn't get into the details since I didn't care to be gossiped about, so I told her I asked my agency to find me another school...which is true as I did make this request. I just left out the bit about the school's un-professionalism towards me.

She didn't seem phased in the slightest and I suspect she was secretly happy. I don't think she liked the fact that I took control and made some changes to put my own stamp on the class. She was pretty "old school" in the sense that she wanted to keep things the same and wanted me to follow in the ways things had been set up from the start of the year, despite them clearly not working for this class.

Oh well, I won't miss her.

She asked that I take the children down to the hall at 5 minutes to 9 so they could help set up, so I agreed. However, between collecting the childrens' money for Red Nose Day and parents coming in to question about the assembly, we were only just lining up at 9am, which is when my T.A. had returned to the classroom to question why I hadn't brought them down yet. I reminded her that I had parents with questions and students aren't even required to be in our room until 5 to 9, so it takes a bit more time than simply lining them up. She snapped at me to not raise my voice to her and I had to assure her I was not doing any such thing, simply explaining that it wasn't possible. She felt, however, I could have just ignored the parents and told them I didn't have time to speak to them.

Wow. Really? Right, because that would be totally professional of me.

The kids did a wonderful job performing the story of The Ugly Duckling at assembly and singing 'Don't Worry, Be Happy.' As people were leaving and the class was tidying up, a parent of one of the boys in my class approached me to compliment the class on their performances. I remember this parent had told me when we first met only 3 weeks ago that her son didn't deal well with change, so I pulled her aside for a quick word to explain how I wouldn't be returning, in case he had any questions over the weekend or in case there was any change in his behaviour. She was quite upset that the school would do this yet again and told me she really appreciated me letting her know. I know, as a parent, I would be furious if my child was constantly getting a new teacher and the school wasn't making me aware of this.

The children returned to the classroom where we began our literacy lesson and then they went out for morning play. When they returned, one of the girls approached me with tears in her eyes that someone had taken her red nose from her tray. I asked the person who took it to step forward and be honest, but no one budged. So then I told the class I would give the person until lunch time to come to me and return the red nose anonymously and no one else would have to know. I pointed out that their classmate was in tears and how even if it was meant as a joke, it was really hurtful to her.

Then surprisingly, ten minutes into our numeracy lesson, one of the boys raised his hand. He said he was thinking about what I had said about his classmate being in tears and it really made him feel bad for making her feel that way as he was the one who took her red nose. At this he pulled it out of his pocket to return it.

Such a shame my time with the group was closer and closer to being cut short and they had no idea.

At lunch time, I sat quietly in my room eating my sandwich and contemplating how and when I would let the kids know. That's when I see the headteacher walk into my room to inform me they were actually sending me home then and still going to pay me for the rest of the day. She said she wanted to introduce their new teacher and give her a chance to start getting to know the class -- a courtesy I was not given when I began work here. I asked her if she would allow me to stay until they came back in from play so I could say goodbye and she agreed. I didn't want them to think I had just abandoned them.

When the children began to filter back into the room at half-one the headteacher was ushering them to their seats and a fresh new face was already in the room standing next to me. The head began by telling the children there was going to be "a bit of a change" and that they were going to have a new teacher effective immediately and I would no longer be teaching them. At this they all started looking at each other with puzzled looks and asking why. The head then gave me the floor so I could say what I needed to say to them.

I had rehearsed in my head that if I had to say goodbye to them in front of anyone, I would make sure to show the progress I have made with them in the way I was able to grab their attention, so I stepped to the front of the room and began...

"Class, class." I said. And without missing a beat, they all sat up straight and tall and replied, as they were taught, "yes, yes." Their immediate cooperation had such an effect on me that I immediately teared up despite praying that I wouldn't. I wanted to hug each and every one of them but knew the administration were just trying to get me out of there as soon as possible, so I did my best to compose myself. I told them that it was true I would no longer be with them, but that I would miss them so much and I wanted them to really think about the choices they were making in how they were behaving and that I wanted them to do their best work every day. I reminded them that I would check up to see how they were doing as well.

They gave me some "good luck" wishes and told me they would miss me too.

From this point, I picked up my bag and coat, gave one last wave and exited the room before I felt my cheeks flame up with tears. The look on their faces was heartbreaking to me because here was a group of inner-city school children who had little to no respect for any adult authority, actually showing empathy over someone who actually wanted to take the time to know them and who cared for them so much in such a short amount of time.

I walked all the way to the train station fighting back tears, got back to Rowley and carried on walking back up to the house.

I tried working out in the garden for a bit to get my mind of things, but I felt so incredibly vacant. I just wanted to curl up in a ball because although I was still technically employed by my supply agency, I felt as though I had just been sacked and not even for a reason that was truly within my control.

Some Ryan-cuddles helped a bit when he returned home and so did a phone call later from another supply agency ringing to schedule me in for an interview next week. I can't afford now to not have work and that means I can't afford to sit around and wait for my one agency to ring just being a bit proactive on my side.

I know things will get better in time, but the whole nature of the situation has really done a number on my self-esteem.

Here's hoping the weekend brings a fresh start.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Y3 - 168/365: What a Slap in the Face!

I got mine yesterday...and it looks as though Matt has gotten (or is about to get) his today. I only wish mine was just as playful.

Thanks to my persistence, for the first time since the children started in Year 4 this year, their interactive whiteboard is finally interactive. I hounded the technician a bit until he came to my room today to fix it.

Makes me a bit grumpy that I've put in all this effort only to basically feel like I'm not good enough or strong enough to continue on with the class. It's left me feeling quite blue for the day and it hasn't helped that the T.A. across the hall hasn't been around as she's the one person who can relate.

Part of me feels really guilty for my crap attitude now. I'm feeling like I shouldn't really make any effort and just show up and get paid, but I know I won't really follow through. There are so many people who are going through so much more than me and it's unfair for me to be so whingy when some of these people have very little or little to nothing.

Ugh...please let us all wake up from this bad dream!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Y3 - 167/365: Out of Nowhere!

I had to cheat today and take a photo that Matt had taken (off his phone) for the day as I had received some shocking news this afternoon and it completely threw me for a loop...enough that I forgot to even take a photo.

After the drama-filled morning yesterday, I thought things were on the up and up with my class, but then I received a bit of a low-blow this afternoon on my way home.

First, I'll point out that our activities held so much excitement today that one of my boys came up to me at lunch time and begged to have permission to carry on with his literacy work where they were profiling characters for their play scripts. He told me it's the first time ever he has wanted to miss afternoon play to voluntarily come in and do work!

As a teacher, that made me feel so good inside and I'm sure many other teachers can relate.

However, on the train ride home...somewhere between The Hawthorns and Rowley Regis my phone rang and I answered. It was one of the consultants at my supply agency and she was telling me that my position at my school, that was supposed to run until Easter, was being cut short two weeks after a phone-call they received today from the school. The school  asked my agency that my last day be this Friday because they felt the class was "just too much" for me and that they felt I had "little knowledge of the UK curriculum" based on what little work was done in their books.

Never mind the fact that NOTHING was said to me that day at the school!

How DARE they go behind my back with such an untrue accusation. Not to mention without trying to clarify with me first WHY so little work was in their books -- because I was having to deal with the childrens' awful behaviour and the school's inconsistent and ineffective behaviour plan. They wouldn't settle long enough to get through lessons properly and not having a T.A. in the afternoons didn't help.

I'm supposed to speak with my agency yet again to find out what needs to happen to get me back onto the books ASAP for work, but as soon as I got home and after venting on the phone with Matt, I rang around to a couple more supply agencies in case whatever was said to my current agency has ruined my chance for any work in the future.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Y3 - 166/365: Something Just Isn't Right

Our little angler fish isn't feeling too hot tonight...or rather, that's exactly the problem, he's feeling TOO hot, quite literally. I took his temp shortly after he arrived home because he had been acting lethargic and didn't want me to put him down. His fever was only low-grade, but we still made sure to dose him with some Calpol to help bring it down before we put him to sleep in his cot.

I had a bit of a crazy day at my school that I feel the need to vent about. It started just as children were entering the room and I was speaking with the flute teacher about getting a bit of a crash course so I could start joining my students in their lesson on a Tuesday. I look up at the doorway to see the Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Deputy-Head who were ushering me into the corridor to "have a quick word."

Immediately I had a bad feeling and my intuition was spot-on when I was being told that I would not be with my class today, but instead doing PPA cover around the school as they were going to "try a fresh face" in my class and "see how it went." She said that in the (minimal) two weeks I had been there, their behaviour had not improved and despite the children going through lots of change throughout the year, me being their THIRD teacher, they felt the need to see if they would behave the same for someone new.

I re-entered the room, head down, and gathered my things, a bit deflated as I was looking forward to their lessons that day and now I was being carted off to a classroom where I didn't know the names of any children nor any of their habits. I could feel my eyes begin to tear and as I was leaving the room I noticed the T.A. from across the hall coming towards me to help me find where I would be going.

She's been so helpful to me in my transition at this school, especially in the afternoons when my own T.A. isn't around. She has seen first-hand how difficult these children can be and how challenging and arrogant their behaviour towards women is.

When we got to the lower KS1 building, she first showed me into the disabled toilet where she suggested I let it all out before going into my assigned classroom. And let it out I did...I didn't get why the school or admins felt that yet another change to a consistent routine I was establishing in the classroom with students whom I was building a rapport and trust would create an instant fix. She assured me I had every right to feel the way I did and to try to look at my new schedule like a welcomed break from the class, so I decided to do my best.

I felt so out of place all morning in this class and even though I followed the plans that were left for me, I found my mind wandering and wondering how my Year 4's were getting on with the new person.

At lunch time, I ate in the staff room in the main building where I saw the other supply teacher who took over my class. Admittedly at first, I didn't even want to speak to her. It wasn't her fault, to be fair, but I envied that she got to be with the children I have worked so hard to get control of.

She spoke first asking how my morning went and after exchanging how we both felt "out of place" in our newly assigned roles I learned how she worked for the same supply agency that I did. I then learned that she actually preferred her PPA schedule because she didn't much fancy having to get into all the planning that was involved over taking over one single class. By the end of our conversation I decided that I really liked her and she even made a suggestion that we go right then and speak to the Assistant Deputy-Head.

We knocked on her door and she was running around inside looking clearly frazzled and much like a head-less chicken. She agreed to give us a few minutes of her time where we both just discussed our thoughts about the situation and how my two weeks in the class were really not enough time to gauge a change in behaviour. We requested that she give me a bit more time and assured her that we respected whatever her decision would be, but that we'd both like another chance in our previous roles.

She agreed and we left her office grinning from ear to ear.

This really made my day and so did the huge smiles from my class as they re-entered the classroom after lunch when they saw I had returned.

I'm hoping I can really make some progress this week to show the administration at the school that I am capable.

Funnily enough, upon my doorstep when I returned this afternoon was a book I had purchased off Amazon a while back, called Cracking the Hard Class by Bill Rogers. I've only read bits and pieces so far, but it really has me pumped for what's ahead!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Y3 - 165/365: First Class

Ryan went to the childminder today for the first time in his brand new Britax First Class Plus car seat. Matt and I were looking for a seat that would offer extended rear-facing without breaking the bank, and for £99 this seat was perfect for us. It will allow Ryan to stay rear-facing to 13 kgs (which should be until he's at least 2) and from there will last him forward-facing to four years. The best bit is that it can accommodate newborns so it will be able to be passed down to any sibling(s) if needed.

We purchased the seat yesterday from the Babies R Us in Oldbury and the staff who check to see if they fit weren't very knowledgeable about its rear-facing ability. Initially they tried to explain, as if we weren't aware, that with Ryan being 14 months, he was "allowed" to go forward-facing. We then kept responding that we were well-aware of this, however, rear-facing is 5 times safer and for our peace of mind, we preferred to keep him rear-facing. Still, when they went to check the fit of the seat in the Corsa, they showed how wobbly and unstable the seat was rear-facing despite Britax's site confirming that it did fit our car's make and model.

Rather than argue, we simply said we would take that seat anyway and we'd just have to use it forward-facing, against what we intended.

It wasn't until we got it home and Matt modged with it for a bit late last night that he found a stabiliser "foot" that folded out from the bottom of the seat. He found that when he pulled it all the way out and secured the seat in the back, rear-facing, that the seat was perfectly stable. So, this morning before leaving to drop me at the train station, Matt installed the seat and placed Ryan inside.

Perfect fit and our little man couldn't have been happier.

He sits up a great deal higher so he can see clearly out the back window, which is convenient for when I pass by and wave when I'm dropped off!

In other news, Ryan has really settled in well at the childminder's. He now has a notebook that she writes in daily to tell us what he's been up to and what sorts of things he has eaten. He's having loads of fun meeting all of the children there and seems to especially like his time with the older children when they're back from school in the afternoons.

Now that both Matt and I have less time with him during the week, we try to make the most of his bedtime routine, including his bath and story time. He has now moved on to That's Not My Dog and he loves when Daddy reads!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Y3 - 164/365: A New You?

This past weekend Matt and I have seen a new side to Ryan that has started to open our eyes with what to expect in the near future. He seems to throw an absolute fit for any reason at all...having his bum chnaged, his mouth wiped, or even being told something isn't for him. We've sussed that it's down to him being frustrated that he has a genuine need he wants to communicate, but doesn't yet have the verbal capacity to vocalise what he wants.

For now, we're trying to remain as calm as possible and help or offer an explanation when we can.

Distraction is another great tool we like to use. Looks like it's working on Matt, nicely.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Y3 - 163/365: Wheel of Fortune

We went to Merry Hill today to get a few new shoes for Ryan (who has gone up to a 3.5). While we were there we stopped at the little soft-play area and Ryan had a ball runnning around in his new, flashy LED-light shoes.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Y3 - 162/365: Keeps Going and Going

No one would have even guessed he had bumped his head earlier today at the childminders'.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Y3 - 161/365: Family Portrait

Such a lovely picture I snapped coming home from my school today...these boys walking with their mom and discussing which cars they would be about to hotwire.


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Y3 - 160/365: Too Tired...

...for PANCAKES?!?!

We had our 'Pancake Day' pancakes today and Ryan only had a small amount because he was too knackered to eat.

Are we SURE this is our child??

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Y3 - 159/365: New Record!!

His stacking ability is really coming along nicely! I'm kind of sad that I have to miss all of this now during the daytime.

But unfortunately, duty calls.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Y3 - 158/365: Recruitment

Ryan has taken matters into his own hands at the childminder's and decided to induct some new members into his gang.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Y3 - 157/365: Undercover?

No Ryan, of course no one can see you hiding behind the fireguard. What a clever disguise! I never would have guessed who that tiny little boy in my front room was!!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Y3 - 156/365: Sharing is Caring

At least he's not greedy with his he, Uncle Daz?!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Y3 - 155/365: Are We Forgetting Something?

The funniest thing happened tonight when I was getting Ryan ready for bed. He was showing signs that he was tired long before he normally does, so I followed his cues and decided to skip his bath and just get him upstairs, jammied, and fed.

Whilst changing his nappy he had a right wobbler and managed to flip onto his belly before I completed the change. Rather than fight him, I allowed him to calm down and rubbed his back until I heard the sobs fade away. Along with the sobs went his eyelids and consciousness because within 2 minutes he was fast asleep on his belly on the floor...minus his nappy!

I performed the amazing trick of getting a fresh nappy on without flipping him back, getting on his PJ bottoms, and nearly getting his whole top on before he woke again desperate for a feed.

Matt and I aren't the ONLY ones with a hard week, I suppose.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Y3 - 154/365: By Request...

A friend has requested a "shampoo mohawk" (or mohican as they call it here). Unfortunately, Ryan's hair doesn't spike straight curls naturally.

And this is where I begin his lifelong apologies. Sorry, ickle mate!