I have written before about our experience with Puddle Ducks swimming lessons but now we have come to the end of our block of lessons and I wanted to follow up with how much Lucas has progressed over the course. I have been amazed at how perfectly their programme has suited him; it would be fair to say that he really is not a natural in the water so I was a little anxious when we started Puddle Ducks swimming lessons. I wasn’t sure how he would take to it, if he would improve; I was terrified that he would spend each lesson crying and protesting.
On our very first lesson our swimming instructor told me not to worry about him crying, that he would settle down, she was obviously experienced and had seen this before. Each lesson the crying would become less and less then he would laugh and giggle in the water, every week he would do a little bit more. On our last lesson we had the most incredible breakthrough; Lucas volunteered himself to swim under the water! None of us could believe it as he allowed us to guide him under water and through a hoop. I really didn’t think he would progress so quickly and it really is a testament to this swimming programme that he has done so well.
One of the key things about the Puddle Ducks swimming lessons is that they make the whole experience fun; fun for the parents and fun for the children. Even getting in the water is fun and every skill is taught very subtly through a song or game. They work on building up a child’s confidence in the water, teaching them important skills and making sure they are comfortable. They involve the children and the parents and I believe that I have become more confident with guiding Lucas in the water.
The Puddle Ducks swimming programme has worked brilliantly for Lucas and I think there are several reasons for that. Firstly, I am in the water with him; this puts him at ease right away and he always has me there for reassurance. Secondly, each activity can be taken at each child’s own pace. Lucas was in the Kickers class and even though the other children are younger than him they were amazing in the water, so confident and gave everything a go. Lucas wasn’t at that stage yet so each activity the instructor gave us a different option if she thought Lucas wasn’t ready. Each week we tried more and more, tipping water over his head, holding onto my back as I swam, jumping off the floats until finally he was happy to go under water himself. Being able to do it in his own time has undoubtedly helped him gain confidence.
If you are thinking of starting swimming lessons for your child I would say it is never too late! Lucas is 3 1/2 and he had never had a swimming lesson before so don’t let it put you off. There is a friendly and approachable atmosphere in the class and everyone involved with Puddle Ducks is happy to help with any questions. Our class had an instructor who was in the swimming pool and a poolside assistant; both were brilliant with us and always encouraged Lucas to do his very best. The best recommendation I can give is that I’m signing Lucas up for another term of lessons, the progress he has made has really encouraged me to keep it up. I now know that he can become happy in the water and will learn important swimming skills if we keep encouraging him and keep up our Puddle Ducks swimming lessons.
Lucas showing off his special sticker for going underwater.
Disclosure – We have received a series of Puddle Ducks swimming lessons for free but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
I’m getting a little fed up of saying it but yet again there has been more illness in our house. Coming to the end of the chicken pox we all caught a stomach bug but thankfully, now we are all better. I have my happy little twins back, the chicken pox are gone and we are starting to return to normality. We are making plans for some weekend adventures with the boys, I think we are all sick of the sight of our living room.
Last week was a quiet one but before that we did manage to get some much needed fresh air on the school run. One of the days was just beautiful; Lucas, as usual, chattered the whole way, finding sticks to use as wands and casting spells. I’ve really missed our walks to school, I love that it’s a chance to talk with Lucas about the things we see. The twins now point and chatter at things and have a good nosy out the pushchair. Now we are back to normal this week everyone seems so much happier when we can get out for a walk!
This week has been such a busy one that even finding the time to look though my old photos has been difficult so instead I’m sharing one of my twins from a few days ago that pretty much sums up our week. Lucas had chicken pox a couple of weeks ago so I knew it was coming the twins and sure enough they started with the dreaded spots on Sunday morning. Although it is good to be getting it all out the way I think it may have been a little easier if they had them a few days after each other. They haven’t really been ill before and it’s hard to have to comfort both of them at the same time. They have both been totally covered and very clingy, it’s been horrible to see them so upset but I think we are over the worst now. I was so relieved to get them out of bed this morning and see smiles and little chatters rather than cries.
This morning I was giving the twins their breakfast when Boo started crying, this hasn’t been unusual, obviously he’s uncomfortable and doesn’t really know what to do about it. All of a sudden Bear reached over and started rubbing his back, it was the sweetest thing and the first time they have ever really done anything like that. Having twins you always think they are going to be close, which they are, but when they are small they are just so used to having the other one there sometimes they don’t even show signs they are aware of each other! Most of the time they are just squabbling over a toy or trying to push each other out the way to get on your knee. This little moment was such a small thing but after a tiring few days it was especially lovely to see.
I’ve been pretty quiet online this week as the days have been so hectic and I’ve been ready to take myself off for a few early nights. Hopefully this will be the last of the germs for a while, it feels like there has always been someone ill for the last few months. I think we need to plan a Grand Day Out for when everyone is recovered; a family day for us all to look forward to.
Had to share this photo of Lucas for Living Arrows this week, he started his first swimming lessons a few months ago and he is most definitely not a natural in the water. Nearly every week we have a few tears and protests going into the pool but once he is in he settles down. This week he volunteered himself to go underwater! He swam through a hoop, under the water and up to the instructor; he wouldn’t do it again but still it is a massive achievement for him. At the end of the lesson they gave him a sticker, he really has come so far since he started. I just love how proud he was of himself, how he beamed when I told him how well he had done and I asked him to show off his sticker.
Our weekends seem to pass in a blur at the moment. This one though was a little but different so I thought it was worth documenting. Our family is starting to shift and change again; the last few months have been pretty exhausting as the twins have suddenly started to get into everything, they are just so inquisitive and I barely sit down in the day. However, I can feel it changing again and we are heading toward a new phase. It is becoming easier to go out with all three; we don’t have to take masses of stuff with us and each weekend I know we can go out without it being a military operation. Our routine can change without devastating effects, we are all becoming more relaxed and can enjoy family time together.
We went out shopping on Saturday with all three children which has always been tricky but was necessary as the twins are ready for their first shoes! They have been cruising for months and Boo is constantly walking holding onto our hand; I thought we might just get shoes for him as Bear was showing no interest but all of a sudden he too has started clinging onto us and taking steps. Now they both hang on so we can wander round the house and they chuckle away when they spot each other. If I’m honest it was actually quite nice to be able to get their first pair of shoes together. They have never worn anything more than socks on their feet so wearing shoes did puzzle them but it was a relatively stress-free experience. They are both exactly the same size but I did choose different styles, if nothing else so I can tell him apart!
While we were out we stopped for tea and cake; the boys had all been so good considering we had to rush round a few shops so it was nice to just have a little treat. I feel like we are finally starting to do things I have been longing to do, normal things like having tea and cake in a cafe, just because we feel like it. I actually don’t think we have even done that in the last 14 months, it just wouldn’t have been possible.
We had planned a little day out for Mother’s Day but the twins woke up with the dreaded chicken pox, we knew it was coming so had prepared ourselves. Instead we opted for a quiet day in and I got a lovely lie in followed by a bacon butty. We had a little afternoon tea together with yet more cake. After dinner the boys were all playing together and suddenly we spotted Boo take off walking; he has been taking steps if we coax him from one of us to the other but he just went. I’m not sure he could quite believe it himself, he kept stopping as if he thought he would fall. He’s been ready for a while but has always needed the security of our hand; I just love seeing his little face when he realises what he’s doing, so pleased with himself. I’m sure that Bear won’t be long after him as he was taking it all in!
Sometimes I can’t quite believe we have our three boys, it has been such a busy time since the twins were born it almost like you just do it without taking it all in. This weekend has made me stop and think how lucky we are to have them, to be able to have all these moments with them. To buy their first shoes, to take the time to stop for cake and see their grins as they devour it, to sit and talk to Lucas in a cafe and the amazing feeling when he tells you he’s had a fun day even though you’ve done the simplest of things; just being together is enough. I look back in the car at all three of them and when I catch their eye they smile, they giggle at each other as we drive. They all make me so proud that just thinking of them makes my heart burst. My memories, my thoughts on being a mother, are all made up of so many of these moments. I can think back over them and I can actually feel the love. I didn’t take any spectacular photos this weekend but I do have a whole load of memories; a little snapshot of their childhood that I am so grateful to be a part of.
I’m a little late with my February books basically because it was a terrible month for my reading, I only completed one book and it was a very small one, Clockwork by Phillip Pullman. It was one my husband had in his stash for school and I can’t leave a Philip Pullman book unread. It only took me an hour or so to read so you can tell how small it is but quite a quirky, dark little tale, as you would expect if you have read his other books.
I did start World Without End by Ken Folett but I have only read the first few pages. The problem I am having with this book is that it is so big, over 1200 pages, and the text is really small. The book is so heavy that I can’t read it in the bath, which I usually like to do. Still, I’m determined to keep it going; my husband bought me this for my birthday last year. He nearly always buys me a book, often one he has chosen himself so that is why I especially want to read this. I read Pillars of the Earth a couple of years ago and despite the size of his novels they are surprisingly easy to read and very gripping. I know that once I get going with it I won’t want to put it down!
I have also started a book on my Kindle which has caused some controversy in our house, it is All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot. My husband thinks it is ridiculous, that I should be embasrrassed, I am only 30 but there is a reason I love these books! When I was younger, maybe around 13/14 I started to raid my parents bookshelf. I read a lot so when I had gone through my Sweet Valley High stash from the library I would choose one of their books. That is how I first read James Herriot and when I had to admit that it was my next book and posted my photo on Instagram I was surprised so many others said the same! They are more popular than I thought and this makes me happy. I downloaded it from Amazon daily deals and I am really enjoying it! It is quite a big book but the beauty of his novels are that you can just pick them up and read a couple of chapters as they are all little anecdotes, you could come back to it at any time and enjoy it.
I thought I would also share a couple of book related bits each month that I’ve been enjoying. This month I finally got round to watching Books and Quills on Youtube; my friend Vicki from Let’s Talk Beauty has been telling me for ages that I would really enjoy them and I do! It definitely inspires me to read a little more and it is great to see what books are out there, not that I really need to add to my ‘to read’ list! Also my husband introduced me to this great website, Abebooks, which is an online shop for second hand books. Obviously charity shops are a great place to pick up old books but we can’t often get to one and you don’t know what they are going to have so this a great alternative. He’s ordered a few books though it and they have all been in great condition, good to bear in mind if you are on the look out for something in particular.
If you are joining in and have done a post about what you are reading please let me know as I would love to have a read!
When I was asked if my boys would like to try out an item from the House Of Fraser toys department it couldn’t have come at a better time. Lucas wasn’t well and we were facing a week off pre-school. I knew a new toy would help to make the week run a little smoother so I was eager to have a look around the House of Fraser website.
I must admit that I don’t usually consider House of Fraser when I’m looking for toys but I will in the future. I found their website easy to navigate with plenty of filters so I could narrow down what I was looking for. The prices were very competitive and they had a great selection of toys from recognisable brands. At first I thought I might get a craft set or some Playdoh but I wanted something that all the boys could play with. There were so many great toys aimed at pre-schoolers and a lot of toy brands that I love, I was spoiled for choice. In the end I wanted something that would become a part of our toy collection for a few years.
I finally decided on Lego Duplo Creative Building Box; we already have a few Duplo sets and I knew that it would be a favourite with my boys. Even at 14 months the twins can enjoy it and at 3 and a half Lucas very much enjoys building with it. I chose the mixed box so there was something for everyone and it is a a creative pack so a little more open-ended for imaginative play. It is ideal for Lucas who has endless imagination; he spent hours playing and we built little houses, trees, gardens, roads, shops, cars. I let him have a play while the twins were napping so he could have some peace to build! When the twins came to it they love to pick up the blocks and scatter them, occasionally they will put them together and they like to build up the blocks with wheels on the bottom for scooting around. The bricks that have details on, such as ice cream or sea shells, really do grab their attention and this creative box has a fabulous range of Duplo bricks.
I love that this is a toy which will grow with them. It is suitable for all of them and isn’t small enough that I have to worry when the twins are playing. The building aspect of it is fantastic as all of them love construction (the twins are more into the destruction side of it at the moment!) and it I love that it really opens up Lucas’ imagination. He used some of the pictures on the box to start building but after that he just created whatever he fancied. We had lots of towers and started to make a little town. The Duplo people had a house that they welcomed each other into, the doors and windows were particularly exciting for him! Although he is quiet while he is building once he starts playing he chatters non-stop, speaking the voices for the people. As his speech development was late, I’m always very keen to pick toys that encourage him to speak more so this was perfect.
As with all Lego products you know you are getting a high-quality toy that is good value for money; everyone remembers Lego from their childhood and you know it stands the test of time. Duplo is durable, stimulating and I love that you can build up the collection so there is something for everyone to play with. This set is perfect for either starting a collection or adding to an existing one. The Lego Duplo Creative Building Box is available from House of Fraser and is currently priced at £25.00.
Disclosure: I was sent the Lego Duplo Creative Building box for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This week has passed in such a blur, Lucas was off pre-school all week with chicken pox and while it was lovely having him home we couldn’t really go anywhere so we were all fed up with being stuck indoors. That meant it was a quiet week but we did lots of colouring and stickers, Nanny brought us some magazines to keep us going and we must have had every toy out at some point during the week. On Saturday we made it out for a quick walk round the park, it was such a beautiful day and I loved the walk in the fresh air. I’ve really missed getting out on the school run and will hopefully be back to it this week.
They were all getting a bit tetchy Sunday afternoon so I decided to pop them in the bath, always a good way to keep them entertained and we had tea in our pyjamas. They have so much fun in the bath together now and while it was light I took a few photos. I can still remember the twins looking tiny in their bath supports, kicking their feet in the water and Lucas peering in looking at them. Now they all splash away together, fight over the toys and tip water over most of the bathroom. They might not always appreciate it but I love that they have each other, they are so close in age which means that they can go from hugging to squabbling in the blink of an eye. It’s not often I get a photo of all three together and I love their expressions in this; it sums them up perfectly.
Sometimes I can have something in my head for a while, a little thought that I’ve squirreled away and tried not to worry about. All of a sudden that something is brought to the front of my mind and it is all I can think about. We had parents evening for Lucas last week and it was great; she is so happy with his attitude coming into pre-school and how he socialises and makes friends. Overall he is good…for his age. He isn’t behind for his years and months but as he moves up the school and he is expected to reach a level for his year group I am well aware that it is going to take him a while to catch up to his peers.
Not only is he the youngest in his class, he is also young for his age. He started talking late and although his speech has improved massively it still isn’t quite up to where it should be. It is being monitored should he need speech therapy and if it is needed it will be put in place before the end of this academic year. Yet, I’m afraid it will hold him back in Reception when he isn’t able to express himself quickly or join in effectively. Emotionally he is still immature and I know they have problems getting him to settle to an activity in pre-school. He is just the same at home and although it is improving I’m not sure how much better that will be by September. As the teacher herself recognises this isn’t because he is badly behaved, it is because he is young. He doesn’t quite have the attention and listening skills of some of the other children.
He has a fierce independent streak, he knows his own mind and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He has taken things in that he won’t show the teachers, or even us. He learns best by doing, something that we focus on at home as getting him to sit down and write often ends in a battle. We were told that she knows he is capable and she can see the understanding but there is no evidence to support it. It’s sad that these things matter so much now but that is the nature of modern education and it will only get worse the further up the school he goes. He is smart in so many ways; he loves building and construction, books and jigsaws, his imagination is endless and he can tell a fantastic story, he loves to be outside and can talk all about animals and nature. He can see when someone is sad or happy, he can emphasise and tell us his emotions. Sadly I know these things aren’t as important when it comes to assessing children now and although I’m sure he would eventually catch up to his peers, will the damage already have been done? I couldn’t care less what level he is; it is a number on a piece of paper, that is all. It doesn’t tell me all I need to know about my child. It isn’t as if he doesn’t learn to read or write by a certain age he will never learn how to and if he could progress at his own pace I’m sure we wouldn’t have a problem. He will never be the most academic child, it just isn’t in his nature, and yet he does love to learn.
The fact is that had he been born 33 hours later he wouldn’t even be in pre-school yet and he wouldn’t be starting school until 2016. This is something I feel conflicted about; without a doubt pre-school has been fantastic for him and he just loves it. He loves the children, the teachers, the environment. Everyday he runs to the school doors to see his friends, he leaves me without a backward glance bounding into class with a smile. He was ready for it, he needed it, but is he ready for full-time school in September, I’m just not sure? It seems a big leap and it makes me anxious to think he will spend the whole of his primary education being given extra support just to reach an ‘average’ that he isn’t capable of as it isn’t suitable for his age.
I think maybe he is lacking the maturity and understanding to be ready to make that leap to full-time education. I’m worried that years of being given extra support and interventions may stifle his learning and result in a dislike of school. On the other hand I’m worried that holding him back a year may isolate him from other children. He loves his class and in some ways I can see signs that maybe he could flourish in school, given the right environment.
Summer born babies are being discussed in the media more and more and although the guidelines state that schools should be flexible, in practice it isn’t actually happening everywhere. Even though I have applied for a school place for Lucas this year I am going to talk through our options with his teachers. I don’t see the sense in delaying a term or skipping a year group. Surely, the only way to do it is to do an extra year of pre-school, join school in Reception and stay in that year group? I still don’t know either way what would be best for him but I do know that it is time to at least open the discussion.
A few years ago we decided to move house; we moved back to our hometown, somewhere I never thought I’d end up living again. Lucas was 10 months old when we moved and it was the right decision for many reasons; we had the opportunity to buy our own house, my husband had a new job, we wanted to be nearer family and I was able to become a stay at home mum, something I had wished for since I went back to work when Lucas was six months.
Not long after we moved we went to the park which was at the back of our new house, we already knew the area pretty well as it wasn’t far from where my husband had grown up. It was July and the weather was lovely. There is a big hill there and we spent ages playing on there, Lucas was crawling and doing wobbly walks. I remember taking the photo while we were there. It is still one of my favourites and for me it marks the start of a big change in all our lives.