School’s out for summer (almost!)

Heather on her first day of school

First day of primary one- hard to believe we’re now almost at the end!

It’s hard to believe Heather’s first year at school – which started last August – is almost complete. In just over 3 weeks, she breaks up for the summer, and I honestly have no idea where the time has gone. None.

And yet, it’s not hard to see the changes in her that have happened in that time. She’s got taller, of course, and her hair is now rivaling Rapunzel’s, but it’s the things she’s learned, and what they allow her to now do, that are far more dramatic.

I don’t think Heather believed me at the start of the year, when I told her by summer she’d be able to read and write, but that’s exactly what’s happened. And I love how much of a buzz she gets out of it all – she’s even got herself a “secret” diary that every so often she records an event in… and then proudly shows us what she’s just written! Not so secret after all…

She’s been learning about numbers too, of course, and can now do adding and subtracting, sometimes without using her fingers. :) I’m guessing it will be next year (at least) before they move on to anything beyond two digits, though. At the moment, Heather seems to think that the bigger the numbers, the harder the sum, which is true to an extent, but “what’s a million add a million?” is nowhere near as complicated as she seems to think it is!

The school had a special assembly on Friday, to celebrate the end of Primary One, and to show us parents – and those whose kids will be starting school after the summer – what the year has been all about. Following a similar format to the end of nursery show, we were presented with a series of musical numbers covering the various topics the kids have covered. We got “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to school we go”, “Chick-chick-chick-chick chicken” (in honour of the chickens that were hatched in the school back in autumn) and “The Stable Ho-down” (from the p1/p2 nativity). Megan knew all the words and dance moves for that last one, and had fun joining in.

Heather’s big moment was in the section about their Scottish topic, where she had a line to say – “we even learned a Scottish song” – which she delivered with gusto before the kids all sang “Bonnie Wee Jeannie McCall” with appropriate actions.

Now, this is one I’ve sort of known most of my life, but it was entirely new to Gem. She could at least understand the words, having lived up here for 14 years… unlike her poor mum, who needed a translation!

It was a great show though, and a great summary of what the kids have got up to all year. I have no idea if this will be an annual event, or if it is specific to P1, but I know that if we are back in 12 months time I’ll be every bit as proud as I was on Friday. Even if the rate time is passing scares the bejeezus out of me!

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Once in a lifetime

Heather, ready for school

A momentous event took place yesterday, one that’s been a long time coming and that’s been greatly anticipated by all interested parties, every one of whom had their own opinion of how things would turn out, with most being optimistic of a good result.

No, I’m not talking about the England v Scotland game at Wembley, but Heather’s first day of school. Actual school. How did we get here so fast?

I actually had the chance to go down to London for the football, but didn’t take it once I realised the horrendous date clash. There will be other games against the Auld Enemy (hopefully sooner than the 14 years we waited since the last one) but Heather will only ever get one first day at school, and there was no way I was missing out on it. How could I?

Naturally we took a bunch of photos of the new schoolgirl in her new uniform, and I’m pleased to report that Heather even posed nicely for some of them. Some of them. One of my favourites is one where she’s holding up a sign saying what she wants to do when she grows up. Gem got that idea from Pinterest, and it’s a cracker – the idea being, of course, to do the same thing every year. Heather’s chosen career path, owning and running a toy shop, shows a certain entrepreneurial flair, and is definitely more sensible than my ambitions at a similar age (circus clown, if you must know).

Heather on her first day of school

After photos, we walked along to the school, where the playground was heaving with all the other new starts and their families. Heather spotted her friends from nursery and was off like a shot, sharing hugs and catching up on the summer. Not wanting to miss anything, Megan climbed out of the pushchair and ran off to join her, although it wasn’t long before she headed off to the other end of the playground, to play with some of the boys. I need to watch that one…

Once we got inside the school it was all a bit chaotic. The corridors are nowhere near wide enough for the volume of people who were there, and it was made clear that the kids were to be left as soon as possible. I never even got inside the classroom, staying in the corridor with Megan to keep out of the way. And… well, that was that!

We headed home one down, killed an hour or so, then went back to collect her. This time we got to spend some time in the class, which was good, not least because it’s very different to the classrooms Gem and I remember. One of the things I remember vividly from my own first day (aside from the boy who cried and wanted to go home) was having my name taped to the top of my desk, and thinking the boy next to me was called LAN. How was I to know that a “l” and an “I” might look the same, but are quite different things, and his name was actually Ian?

Handwriting practice

I’m not even sure there are desks for every child in the class (there are 35 of them! And two teachers!) but with activity stations dotted round the class and even a PC in the corner I’m sure finding somewhere to sit/play/learn will never be a struggle.

After that we headed off to Pizza Hut for a celebratory lunch (Heather’s call) and that was that. Day one over. Being me, I did some rough calculations, and worked out that there are roughly 2,500 school days before Heather leaves. So that’s one down, 2,499 to go!

It will be interesting to see how Megan adjusts over the next few weeks, without her partner-in-crime by her side. I guess this first couple of weeks will be similar to when Heather was at nursery, but when she full days start in a couple of weeks it’s a whole new ballgame. I think it will be good for her though, and will give her more space to be herself instead of copying everything her sister does.

And of course, it’s a big change for Gem as well – moreso than for me, because I’ve always been used to Heather being away from me all day, every day during the week. She’ll cope though, and getting to spend more time with just Megan will be nice too.

Last night, watching the football (which I don’t regret missing, and that’s nothing to do with the result) I realised something else – if it takes another fourteen years to stage a game between the two oldest footballing nations in the world, Heather will have left school before the next one.

Which was possibly the most frightening thing I heard/saw/thought all day!

The Mad House
This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

It’s the end of the world as we know it

Heather's first day of nursery, and last week

I’ve been writing a lot recently about changes, and today one of those changes actually happened: it was Heather’s last ever day at nursery. Sadly we weren’t there for this momentous occasion, but both Gem and I were able to attend yesterday’s summer show yesterday. Working full time, I’ve not made it to as many of the nursery events as Gem has, but I’m so glad I got to this one because it was absolutely fantastic.

The show consisted of a series of songs that the kids have learned through the year, each led by a different group of five or six kids dressed to suit that song. Heather’s group were dressed as flower fairies, and sang a song about sticks, something that linked into the art project they’ve been involved in all year. She was a busy girl, though, because as well as singing that, she also had a line in the short drama (also linked to the art project) and even bought a currant bun from the baker’s shop during another group’s song.

The highlight, though, was the finale, which was introduced as a song the kids had been practising all year especially for Mr Reid, the retiring headmaster. After one round of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the kids all yelled “KIDDING!” at the top of their voices… and started dancing to Gangnam Style! Hilarious, and a perfect counterpoint to the slideshow we were shown afterwards, once the kids had taken their bows and gone to get changed, which was a series of photos taken throughout the year.

I think someone must have been chopping onions in the school kitchen, because there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. And yes, there was a wee tear in my eyes too!

There were more tears when I got in from work today, and asked Heather how it felt to no longer be a nursery girl. When she burst into floods of tears I was quite taken aback – she’s been really excited about going to school after the summer, but I guess it never occurred to her that this would also mean no more nursery. I felt a bit bad, but how was I to know?

So that’s the story of the last couple of days. Maybe not the end of the world, but definitely the end of an era. And I’m sure we’ll all be fine.

Especially Heather.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Everything changes

Megan and Heather

The Usual Suspects

It doesn’t feel like almost four weeks since we took the side off of Megan’s cot, and yet it totally is – doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! Not that it’s been all fun of course, but I’m pleased to report that things are still going well with the transition. So well, in fact, that the next (and final!) stage in the transition will be occurring tomorrow: the big girl bed!

We’ve bought her a Barbie pink (not my description, it’s what’s on the side of all 3 boxes it came in) metal bed frame, which I’ve got to build tomorrow, and then that will be it – no more cot. What a strange feeling!

Even more strange, in the midst of changing her sleeping arrangements, Megan has stopped wearing nappies during the day, and is doing remarkably well – in two weeks, I think I could count on one hand the number of accidents we’ve had, which is incredible. Especially when you consider that most of the accidents we’ve had have been bottom burps with follow through rather than not knowing something was coming at all.

The final stage, of course, will be going nappyless overnight, which we’re going to leave until a) she’s settled in her new bed, and b) we’re consistently getting bone dry nappies in the morning. I don’t expect it to take more than a couple of weeks though, that was certainly our experience with Heather, and if there’s one thing we know about our girls it’s that Megan wants to do whatever her sister does.

Speaking of Heather, she’s going through big changes of her own just now, having just a week and a half of nursery to go! Gem has already started buying bits of school uniform, and I have to say, the sight of Heather in her school blazer made the whole thing seem so much more real. How on earth have we got to this point already???

Heather’s more than ready for school though, in exactly the same way as she was more than ready for nursery when she started 18 months ago. And having visited the school, and had an overview of how primary 1 works (totally different to my day!) I’m confident it will live up to her expectations. What’s more, from the glowing report we got from nursery (which is passed on to the school as part of her transition) I’m sure she’ll live up to theirs.

Of course, the changes aren’t limited to the girls. I’m still planning my new commute, and as for Gem… I’m not sure I’m allowed to share what she’s up to yet, but suffice to say things are going well there too.

So everything’s good, although some more sun over the summer would be nice. I guess some things never change!

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

365 pictures: 11-20

So we’re on to the second batch of pictures in my 365 pictures project, and I’ve got to be honest, it’s starting to get tough already. I’m trying hard to take pictures because they’re interesting, not because I’ve need to, but it’s almost come to that a couple of times in the past week and a half. I guess that’s the challenge, though, to be creative and make something interesting. That’s the attitude I’m going with – we’ll see how I get on. Anyway, here’s pictures 11-20…


11. 15 Minute meal
Gem got Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals for Christmas, and we’ve vowed to cook every recipe in the book. This was (I think) my first contribution, and very tasty it was too. Moroccan Lamb and chickpeas with harissa yoghurt, salad and wrap, if you’re interested.


12. Story time
Possibly my favourite time of day, I love reading bedtime stories to the girls. We went through a spell of “double bedtime” recently, but as you can see Megan wasn’t really a fan, so we’ve reverted to separate bedtimes and stories.


13. Hoping for snow
While the rest of the UK has been covered in snow, the greater Glasgow area has escaped. Which makes a nice change, although the girls are none too impressed. We have had a few flakes, they just haven’t amounted to anything. We had some just before this picture was taken, but by the time Megan got to the door they’d stopped again.


14. Moon gazing
In lieu of snow, we’ve had a lot of clear nights, and this was one of them. It was so clear you could actually make out the dark side of the moon, which I’ve just about captured here.


15. Milk time
Since we stopped heating it, Heather hasn’t been a fan of milk, unless it’s of the flavoured variety. Or comes from nursery in a cow-patterned carton. Megan, on the other hand, loves the white stuff, and even gets upset if her bedtime cup doesn’t appear as quick as she’d like. Which is definitely a good thing.


16. School registration

I already wrote about school registration day, so I won’t say much here, other than to restate my disbelief that we’ve reached this stage already. Time really does fly!


17. Sleeping
I love the weird and wonderful positions the girls get into when they’re asleep – this is actually quite tame compared to some we’ve come across!


18. Morning princess
Most days start with Heather coming into our bedroom to announce that the sun on her gro-clock is up. Teddy normally comes with her, and often she brings other toys too. No prizes for guessing what came with her this day.


19. Chicken cacciatore (a la me)
Another 15 minute meal, this time one for the whole family. Our girls love pasta, so we were pretty sure this one would go down well. And it did – Heather even ate the mushrooms in the sauce, despite saying she doesn’t like mushrooms. Win!


20. Porridge
Heather recently remembered that she likes porridge, and has had it for breakfast every day since. Megan was never a fan – she never even liked baby porridge, although I’m with her on that one – but with the addition of blueberries and a little honey she’s a convert.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!