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School Mum

 

I really wanted to write this before I become more involved with being a “school mum” and cant really write about it anymore! It a whole new world

Almost as big as Christmas, on Tuesday 3rd September, Arlo started school. There had been lots of preparation for this so the kids would settle in smoothly. However, I had not been given a booklet on “How To Be A School Mum”, do they not do these???!! (Who do I stand with in the playground? What do I wear to “create good impression”? Do I wear gym gear to look like i’m really active and fit?! Do I need to befriend the teachers on FB? Do I need to be on the PTA? Do I need to bake cakes and read the Dictionary for fun…..etc etc).

My feelings aside, it was all rightly all about Arlo. He was ready. I was ready (champagne at school gate after first drop off would be wrong yeh?). I still had a couple of moments of “aw he used to be a little baby and now he’s starting school” tearful moments, but on the whole I was excited for him as I KNEW he would love it. He needed so much stimulation and exercising each day that I could give him, I knew school would be able to provide that. And he LOVES learning stuff, teachers are way more equipped to explain “Mummy, why does snot come out of your nose and not your ears?”

I’m still 100% sure that Arlo actually realised he was starting school?!

 

First day

The night before I cried into Arlo’s baby album. In the morning I was feeling excited but then cried approximately 5 more times (school uniform going on, when husband got cross because of state of car, seeing Arlos friends in their school uniform, waving goodbye, seeing other mums cry). But then I was fine and binged on chocolate for 2 hours until I picked him and haven’t looked back since.

Arlo was totally fine, oblivious to everything like normal, just preoccupied with the fact that everyone has the same jumper as him. What are the chances

 

Teachers
I remember in one of the pre school meetings one of the teachers said that If your child comes out last it might mean they need to talk to you. Every day it’s a nail biting wait to see where Arlo comes out….he has been last a few times now for “incidences”. I dread that beckon over. I wont go into all of said incidences, but there was the day of the “protest wee”….

Poor tired Arlo had not enjoyed PE that day. So later on he was spotted having a stand -up “protest wee” on some of the toys in the corridor…….(
I accidentally responded to teacher with “oh fuck”……well if thats who the parents are)

And the day of the frilly socks…..

Arlo was very tired again today. He has unfortunately gone through 4x changes of clothes and finished the day in shorts and girls frilly socks and slip on “pumps”

To make light of the situation I tried to make a joke about how Arlo calls his little brother “Tit” instead of Kitt. (must-stop-trying-to-be-funny and perhaps bring raw carrot snacks and eco friendly arts and crafts school pick up). This was also the day Arlo went in with a black eye from the coffee table.
Etiquette

So much school mum etiquette…..I’m still figuring it out

First of all, will who you stand with now determine who your school mum friends are for the rest of the decade??! I want to make sure I talk to everyone. Everyone seems super friendly so far. And when its raining, is it a case of “hood up. eyes down, get the job done”?? Do you hang around after to chat? How long? Is it rude to dash off after if you have to be somewhere? Do mums get there early to chat to people/hang out? How long before you friend request your new mum friends on FB?! How “free” should you let your younger pre school child be in the big school kids playground? Kitt seems to be the most free so far.

Parties….do you invite the whole class? Just boys? Do you just “drop off” the kids? Could mean you end up with 30 kids ALL BY YOURSELF. How much do you spend on presents (say £10…thats £300 for the year!)

Spare clothes……do you take these back if your kid comes home in a new outfit?? Or you just acquire bonus clothes?

DO WE GET TO KEEP THE FRILLY WHITE SOCKS??

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PTA
Do I want to be a PTA mum??? I wasn’t sure I was up for the job as I would 100% buy cookies from Tescos and pass them off as mine. However, having seen the PTA mums at various pre school meetings, they look like a hoot!! They sit at the back and drink!! (obviously do lots of stuff for the school too). I want to be friends with THEM!! Need to figure out how to work the oven first though. I do enjoy being a school mum, feel like I’m part of a community?! I have a purpose! But a PTA mum I think might be a little too full on?! Sure they wouldn’t steal frilly white socks
First REAL Friend
So far Arlos friends have been basically MY friends that have kids the same age. So a few days ago a mum came up to me and asked if I was Arlos mum??!! Uh ohhhhhh…..but she said that her son and Arlo play together and her son (lets call him *Garry) are friends. And not only that, Garry thinks Arlo is really funny!! (dread to think). Its official, Arlo has a real friend that he’s made all by himself! I felt quite emotional about it all. I fear I may have gotten so excited and scuppered Arlos chances as came on rather strong to the mum. Going to play it cool now

 

What The F*ck Do You Do At School???
Do any school mums actually know what their kids do at school?? I think the expression is “water out of a stone”. I want to know everything (who did you play with? What did you have for lunch? Did you eat anything that wasn’t beige?! Who’s your favourite teacher? What did you do? Did you learn anything today?). So far the most I have got out of Arlo is that him and another boy *Alan go to the toilet together because they are both scared of hand driers?! I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall during the school day.

*his name isn’t Alan

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Blank Canvas
Someone once told me that teachers like it if you send your child in as a “blank canvas” when they start school. That way they don’t have to un teach bad habit etc. Well I can reveal I have well and truly sent Arlo in as a blank canvas. I have tried to teach him to write/ recognise letters/ read etc but he was just not interested. So we have just played for 4 years. One totally blank canvas for you reception teachers. Star points for me?!

 

School Pick Ups
This is honestly the best time of day. I get so excited to see his excited face when I pick him up. I go all weird and squeaky and really enthusiastic when I say hello?! He normally falls over on his run to me (I bought school shoes to big “to last him”). He once bought home Tidy Up Trevor (or was it Terry?) for good tidying. After questioning if he had “stolen” Trevor, I then nearly cried because I was so proud/ disbelief. Trevor had seen better days, but emotional all the same. I’ve gone soft (er)

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New Chapter
Kitt now gets to do classes JUST FOR HIM and its lush to spend time with him, and my days are A LOT more mellow. I can blog again! Although, he has really found his voice in Arlos absence and become rather feisty no longer living in Arlos shadow. We both miss him though, its very very very (lovely) quiet. I’m sure I’m more lazy now I’ve just got one during the day, or maybe I’m just not used to not having to do things at a million miles per hour all the time.

Arlo is now so exhausted when he comes home that he SITS DOWN and “chills”. He’s almost become better behaved? Its like he was so wild because he was bored and needed more stimulation. Plus he does love a routine. He now also looks 18 years old. Obviously there has been a few hairy moments (needed staples to fix handbag he made at school but I couldn’t find any staples etc) and a few emotions (he wanted roasted potatoes not boiled), but in general school has been a success. Sure the novelty might wear off when he realises its for the next 12 years??!

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School also warrants earlier bedtimes

Winning

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ps. There is a grey area where you are still technically allowed to take children out of school until before their 5th birthday……. #travelling

pps. How many times do school mums day “put your shoes on” every morning????

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The Philippines- FINAL PART

We arrived back encrusted with puke onto mainland Bohol.

We purely picked the next accommodation because it had a slide (although sure my husband picked it because it was called Mario…..Super Mario???). Weirdest place ever. Was sort of like a building site with random scuba divers walking around? I cant even describe it really! Slide was a hit though, the kids liked the slide too

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It was only one night and it was actually the cleanest place/ insect-less place we had stayed so far. Once we all got bored of the slide, we made an executive decision to go OUT OUT and sack off any type of bedtime routine (kinda been the go since we got to the Philippines). We got a trike down to the “main strip” which was buzzing. Again, I actually felt like I was a (younger) backpacker again, I bought some “tat” (essential holiday jewellery to make me look more travelly) and had a last ditch attempt to let Rich allow me to get some henna and get my hair braided. If anyone has been to Thailand, it was kind of like Koh San Road, but a waaaaaay smaller scale. I LOVED it!

Next morning we had one last swim in the pool. We had remained accident free most of the trip, but on my way to the toilet I FULLY wiped out. Not just a little fall, like a full blown wet jelly fish blubbering around on the floor. Literally couldn’t get up, everytime I tried I just slipped again. Im not sure what the floor was made of. About 4 men ran over to me to try and help the “poor white british wanna be backpacker damsel in distress” wallowing on the floor. Massive cut on my leg, but I told everyone it was a shark attack. Not fall on pissy bog toilet floor.

Flight up to Manila was a breeze with semi well behaved children. Ran them ragged in the airport before so think that helped. Landed into the big smoke of Manilla. Such a change from the little remote island and rickety villages. This was a proper big city. Actually nice to have a change. The people of Manilla seemed totally unaffected by the earthquake a couple days ago, felt rather silly carrying my “evacuation bag” (just like normal bag but with more snacks). I did feel a bit uneasy about staying somewhere so high with a roof top pool after all the videos I had seen on the news with a roof top pool during the earthquake. But I soon got over it when I had a dip.

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Ventured out to a mall that evening, it seemed to be the thing to do?! Then we had the age old crisis of trying to buy nappies and wipes again, not easy in a mall either. Rich went off to try and find some, I stayed with the boys in the “soft play” (sofa department). Arlo announces he needs a poo (you get 5 mins warning before it comes out), so queue me running around shopping mall like a crazy women trying to find a toilet and realising we have lost rich and no phone signal

Toilet found, poo deposited, Filipino sanitary towel bin opened a million times, anti-bac applied, husband found, nappies purchased then back to the hotel for our last night in the Philippines. I cannot describe how much I didn’t want to come home. Arlo mainly enjoyed standing naked in front of our hotel window.

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The flight home was SO much better than the way out. We got the bulk head seats…together….so the boys had their own little play bit down by our feet (obvs still wanted to jog up and down the aisle). We got offered a sky cot for kit, even though he was too big for it really, I forced him into it. To not have a kid on your lap for 14 hours was so much nicer. I even managed to go to the loo a couple times! Sleep was still minimal and Arlo still puked, but Rich and I didn’t want a divorce at the end so it was a success

WE MADE IT!!!!!! Backpacking in a crazy Asian country with 2 children!!! I felt quite proud of our little family. I also realised (well I kinda knew anyway, but this trip had just confirmed it) that THIS is want I wanted to do with our lives. I want to be one of these cool backpacking families that travel the world, giving their kids the best life lessons ever and best memories ever and realise there is a whole world out there to explore. I am going to do everything I can to make this possible, new life goals

And I 100% found it easier than being at home….
1) No housework- your staying in hotels/ beach huts/ home stays and you don’t have to clean woohooooo
2) No cooking- you end up just eating out for all your meals as its so cheap and don’t have cooking facilities anyway
3) No Routine- no school run, no deadlines, no packing school bags, no toddler groups, just your own time all day every day
4) Extra pair of hands-normally at home I’m on my own, whilst travelling I had an extra pair of hands every day
5) High spirits- everyone is generally happier as don’t have the stress of every day lief to argue about
6) Less life shackles-you literally have everything you need in a couple bags. It liberating. Don’t need Tezza the Turtle, toy frying pan and weird one-eyed squeaky fish thing after all.

7) We were happy! It felt easier to be happy without all of the above!

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Arlo still talks about the Philippines now (Uncle Janice and Aunty Jamie, bless him, he gets confused), but mainly about the boat and the plane??!

We have started talking about the next trip…VIETNAM BABY!!! (my husband bought me the Lonely Planet to Vietnam so he must mean it??). We’ve agreed that we will go when Kitt is out of nappies and doesn’t run away so much and Arlo doesn’t want to shit in the sofa section of shopping malls….2020/21???? I will be shaving my head for this trip

I really thought my backpacking days were over, but they really aren’t. They have become VERY different but way better! Its almost like more fulfilling with kids and more exciting and rewarding. Also slightly harder work than drinking your way round Asia when you’re 18 AND there is a hell of a lot more luggage. There are lows, there are highs (way more highs) but travelling with kids is so much fun…in a “travelling with kids” kinda way

The world is your oyster boys….and your mum might just come with you!!!

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The Philippines… PART 2

Next stop…..Bohol

(not to be pronounced “bow-hole”- people will look at you funny)

The wedded couple, my mum and dad, Rich and I and the 2 boys all set off for a little island off the coast of Cebu. It was only an hour or so flight away which was literally a breeze compared to 14 hours. The children were almost enjoyable on this flight. The only hard thing was that yet again we had run out of nappies but also (holy shit), wet wipes!! Weirdly these things are not easy to get hold of in the Philippines. Managed to locate both of the above at the airport finally. They were kept hidden “behind the counter” in a random shop. Had to ask for them and the ladies exchanged a “look”. Felt like I was buying Crack.

Landed in beautiful Bohol. Already it felt more “travelly” than Davao. We had all booked to stay in different places on the island. This was due to different budgets/criteria’s, but mainly to give the newlyweds some romantic time together (you know, the sort of married bliss that doesn’t involve children shitting on a sun bed and pulling your swimmers down in public). My parents didn’t require accom with pool to keep ginger children cool. A must for us.

When booking our accommodation back in the UK, I had got swept away with the prospect of being a hippy traveller and “we don’t need anything fancy, we just need each other”….and ….”memories are made from experiences, not from nice hotels”…..so had booked some budget accommodation. Cheap skate. We arrived and actually it was really lush. The pool area and restaurant was lovely and there were lots of cats (with rabies?). We paid up BEFORE being shown to the room. Massive school boy error. I forgot when we used to travel that we always checked out the room first. HELLO COCKROACHES.

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We used to stay in some pretty grotty places before kids…..like the one with frogs living in the toilet that you had to try and time your “toilet time” so they didn’t jump up your bum. Or the room with “half a roof for half the rent”. But we just sucked it up as it was cheap. I definitely began to realise that we just couldn’t do this with the kids now. Kitt wanted the cockroaches to be his friends and pretty sure Arlo wanted to eat them. They were crawling everywhere. Just freaked me out that they would land on the boys in their sleep. Plus HELLO BEDBUGS. Itching and squirming all night long. Kitt was still really poorly and there was no aircon (it was 37’). We stomached 2 nights then we bailed.

They did have great Pizza though. This had become the boys staple diet. Also could walk to a nice beach:)

During the skank-fest, Kitt was getting worse again. So I decided to take him to hospital. ROAD TRIP!! Actually, a great way to see more of the island and local way of life (zero westerners at hospital), but obviously for a shit reason. Just felt so bad for him and he was so unhappy which is not like him. Turns out best decision as the first lot of medicine he was on was making him worse. So got new drugs and Kitt got some new friends. A little girl was sharing her snacks with him in the waiting room, I was trying to figure out how poorly she was and whether Kitt should be sharing her snacks .But before I could think, they had already shared some slobbery snacks and a little cuddle. Only time would tell. What do you do in this situation???

Kitt had a whale of a time in hospital and didn’t seem poorly at all!!! Sods law

Whilst me and Kitt were in hospital, Arlo was living his BEST live and had his first (of 4643920) rides in a Trike.

The cocky Cockroach pit a distant memory, hero Rich had moved all of our stuff to a new place. OMG it was bloody lush. So out of our league and so beautiful. Words can’t even describe how nice it was….the pool, the beach, the food, the room, the staff, the view. So well set up for kids. It’s amazing what a difference a bed bug free bed  and decent accom can make, even though I did feel like I was cheating somehow.

The next few days we focused on getting Kitt better. Chilled days, lots of naps, lots of water, new medicine and lots of milk (boobs), thank god I still had this to go to.  The staff even gave Kitt a ‘throne” for breakfast everyday which I think help his mental state. Took it in turns to take Arlo out on Kitts nap time ie: felt guilty the focus had been on Kitt so fed Arlo ice-cream. We went on some little trips out on the trikes but mainly *chilled by the pool and beach and in the hammocks/ next to toy diggers and beach bar . I may have even had a sip of a Mojito one evening, shhhhhhh.

* I mean run around after the boys trying to stop them eating sand and jumping in pool- but we were in the vicinity of the pool and beach……again, how do parents tan on holiday???

I feel my hair deserves a mention at this point. I had made an executive decision not to bring hair straighteners with me and go au-naturel. By this point I had also given up brushing it to go for the “I think I’m a cool surfer chick” look

It was getting bigger and bigger and bigger…….

We had all this stuff planned in Bohol but sacked it all off to get Kitt back on track. Really is so different with kids, def their health and happiness first. I had to remember that I wasn’t a 20 something back-packer anymore with henna tattoos and an infected dodgy nose piercing. We shall just have to go back to do the “Chocolate Hills” and “Root Climbing” next time. In hindsight, I think trying to explain to Arlo that the Chocolate Hills WEREN’T actually made out of chocolate would have been very difficult. Dodged a bullet there.

Kitt finally better, and Arlo finally getting a semi sun tan, (well freckles) time had come to say goodbye to my parents (off to Nepal!) and my brother and his new wife. So sad as you just don’t know when the next time you will see them again. Who knows, maybe next time they will have children (hint hint) as long as we hadn’t put them off

I ate lots of chocolate that’s night:(

Couple more days in paradise then it was time to hit the road again. Arlo said an emotional goodbye to his girlfriend from Honk Kong (well emotional on her side, he had a girl in every town) and we tucked in for our last night in Bohol.

We got moved to a different room- equally as lush. The bed was fricking HUGE. That night we all slept in the same bed, zero sleep was had obviously but I remember feeling so happy and content that everything I needed was right next to me

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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

PART 3 coming soon…….actually might be 4 parts all together as so much more to tell!