Cute but contrary

As her 7th birthday approaches, Ellie is currently going through a new and … er… interesting (aka annoying) phase. It seems to have 2 distinct features although I’m hoping a third is that it will be short lived.

1. White lies
Ellie has developed a weird habit of telling pointless, small, white lies. Not about anything big and mostly it seems to be about wanting to be better, show off or pretend she knows best.

For example when talking about Mary Seacole, who they were studying at school, we discovered that there is a portrait of her at the national portrait gallery in London. Immediately Ellie told me that she’d been to see it – with her Dad (who lives in London). Now don’t get me wrong they do go to museums often when she’s with him, but I have to ask what are the chances that they went specifically to see a portrait of a woman that until a week before this conversation Ellie had never heard of. You get my point?

The thing is, it’s constant and it’s driving me mad – it’s nothing major so I don’t want to make a huge deal out of it – but essentially it is lying and that’s not ok with me. It’s a dilemma but what I’ve decided is that when I look back now at things that worried me when Ellie was younger I think maybe I should have chilled, so that’s what I’m going to do this time (for now). Well – I’m going to try.

2. Ellie knows best
The second feature of Ellie’s new phase is that she is always right – literally always. I can’t tell her anything but more than that, no one can, because she knows. I have to add that there are two exceptions to this – Aunties and teachers. To be honest there is little I can say about this except – I suspect teenage years are going to be a challenge.

And so there it is – a quick and effective portrait of the least attractive features of Ellie at almost 7 and a reasonable explanation as to why I have entitled this post ‘cute but contrary’. On the plus side I still get lots of hugs and kisses, she’s doing really well at school, she still enjoys bedtime stories with me and I’m truly incredibly proud of her. I guess that kind of balances it out.

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Welcoming in 2015

I’m going to start this, my first post of 2015, by apologising for my lack of posts in the last few weeks. I actually had lots to share about our Christmas plans and preparations, my Christmas stresses and of course our Christmas highlights. Unfortunately my mum became quite ill and was in hospital all over the festivities, so with life more hectic and stressful than normal the post never got written.

I’m pleased to say that my mum is home now (recovering well) and despite everything we actually had a great Christmas. This year was especially important to us because our little family of four were together for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – something you can’t take for granted when you’ve joined two families and the children have other parents to see.

So then, I’ve decided that my first post of 2015 will be to share some of the highlights from our Christmas as sign of defiance to life – which has a nasty habit of throwing things at you. Happy New Year everyone – I hope your 2015 doesn’t have any bumps in the road, but if it does – I hope you can step right over them.

(I should probably explain that the first picture is my little Mary from the Christmas nativity!)

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Christmas cuddles with new teddy

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It’s making me scream!!

For the first time in ages, this is a post that I’m writing because I have to. This is my virtual scream – please don’t let that put you off though, there’s some things in here that you really need to know.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that Ellie had got threadworms. That isn’t what made me want to scream though.
It’s actually the second time she’s had them now. Even that though, is not what has made me scream.

What’s really made me scream is the reaction from a very very small number of people. I did what any responsible parent should do – I informed the school and I also told some of my mum friends directly, so they could keep an eye out for their children. I did this because it’s the right thing to do and because your child having threadworms is nothing to be ashamed of.

When you hear the reactions from some people who clearly don’t know anything about threadworms, it was hardly surprising when Ellie came home from school one night this week saying that one child had told everyone ‘not to touch Ellie’s legs because she’s got worms.’ Fortunately the other children were far too sensible to pay any attention and supported my daughter – not least because they know she doesn’t have worms anymore since they were treated immediately almost two weeks ago.

So, for the sake of clarity, if you haven’t come across threadworms yet, here are a few facts from the NHS direct website:

Fact 1. Threadworms are the most common type of worm infection in the UK, and they are particularly common in young children under the age of 10. [It is estimated that up to 40% of children under 10 years of age may be infected with threadworms at any one time.]

Fact 2. Threadworm infections are most common in young children because they often forget to wash their hands regularly and they often share things like toys with other children.

Fact 3. A threadworm infection is passed from person to person as a result of swallowing threadworm eggs. Crucially though, eggs can survive for up to 3 weeks on surfaces [i.e. your child might well wash their hands rigorously but if they touch an egg from anywhere and then touch their mouth (sadly under 10's do that alot!!) then they can catch them.]

Fact 4. If you or your child has a threadworm infection, it is not necessary to stay off work or school.

So just to be clear Threadworm infection is not about being a dirty person. Washing hands is crucial but that does not guarantee anything – it reduces the risk, but can not get rid of it.

So please please please if you hear that a child in your daughter/son’s class has threadworm don’t use words like dirty and don’t over react – be vigilant, remind your child about hand washing and think before you speak.

Rant over.

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Being away from Ellie

I knew when Ellie’s Dad and I divorced that I would have regular times when Ellie is away from me and I knew it would be hard. By and large we’ve always had a regular pattern of every other weekend and some holiday weeks going to Daddy’s and it’s worked pretty smoothly.

To begin with, as I dropped her off, I always had a tear in my eye as I walked away. (Usually walking away as quickly as I could so that Ellie didn’t see.) I always knew she was in good hands and I always knew she’d have fun – but it was still always sad. That said, once I was home and busy it was fine and I can hand on heart say that when she was little those breaks were my single chance to have a little ‘me time’ and rest. Don’t judge me – I missed her of course, but I also truly needed and enjoyed that time.

Fast forward several years and this half term Ellie was once again away with her Dad. This time though, as the week went on, I realised something quite surprising – I really wasn’t coping with her being gone very well at all. I found myself sitting in her room thinking about her, daydreaming about what she might be doing and counting down the days until she was home. I’ve always missed her of course, but as I thought it over I discovered something I really didn’t expect – Ellie being away isn’t getting easier – it’s getting harder. I truly didn’t see that coming.

When I think about it, there is actually some logic in it. For a start, I’m less in need of a ‘break’ these days – partly because she’s older and partly because we’re now part of a bigger, supportive family of four. More than that though, and whilst I’m not suggesting we don’t have our moments, I think the crux of the matter is that time in each other’s company nowadays is just simply brilliant time: we laugh, we cuddle, we play and mostly – we just enjoy it.

I’ve no idea if it getting harder is the ‘norm’, or how I’ll feel as Ellie get’s older and hits new interesting phases (eeek Teenager?!) but right now there’s no getting away from the fact that when my girl comes home I’m simply whole again.

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