Friday, 17 July 2015

Well it looks like we might have made it...

The end of the school year is upon us. Today is the last day of term. My daughter has completed her first full year at school with no absences. She is exhausted as she graduates from Reception class.

We should take a moment to reflect on the achievements of the past year:

When my daughter started school, she could not read or write (apart from her own name). She could count to 20 and just beyond but not perform mathematical functions. Now, she can easily manipulate numbers: she can double and halve; add and subtract; count to 100 in ones, fives and tens and count to 30 in twos. She can estimate and determine whether one amount is greater or lesser than another. She can read books and try to sound out new words that she doesn't know. She can write simple words and likes to help with shopping lists, meal plans and to write stories and greetings cards.

She is confident and articulate, stubborn and determined. She has the ability to try and test her limits. She takes pride in her school and was delighted that her house colour won the annual house-points prize. She has received certificates for sporting achievements, including being in the top-5 in a hula-hooping competition! She has been Star of the Week, had her written work displayed on the writers' wall of fame and been recognised for good behaviour in the playground.

It has been an incredible year of learning and fun. She has thoroughly enjoyed herself and worked hard. She has made new friends and discovered new abilities and skills.

I am proud of her.


Friday, 10 July 2015

Time piece

My year on maternity leave is drawing to a close. How quickly the time seems to have passed! I look at my baby girl, who seems so very grown-up now and yet still needs me for so much.

This time last year, I was preparing to take a couple of weeks' holiday before starting maternity leave at the beginning of August. The weather was hot and I felt heavy, tired and uncomfortable. One year later, the weather is hot again and the Health Visitor has called to make an appointment for my baby's 12-month health check.

I'm still breastfeeding three or four times a day, including once at night. I'm usually the person my daughter reaches out for when she is hurt, upset or hungry.  I'm still her primary carer and we spend almost all of our time together. However, she is growing more and more independent. She has started to attend nursery two mornings and one afternoon each week. She finger-feeds and has begun to try feeding herself with a spoon. She rolls with confidence and is on the verge of crawling. She has slept through the night on four occasions (not that I'm counting...) She is playful and curious and, for the most part, contented.

For the first time, I will be returning from maternity leave to the job I left. Whilst I feel a little anxious about putting my daughter in the care of others three days a week, I am looking forward to re-balancing my sense of self and purpose. I will work three days per week, which will give me two days a week at home, allow me to do some of the school runs and get to the school's celebration assembly on a Friday, and give me time to continue some voluntary activities.

I have enjoyed my maternity leave. It's been hard work at times but I've tried to make the most of it and have fun with my girls. This has been a year of transitions: my baby has gone from newborn to pre-toddler; my elder daughter, from pre-schooler to completion of her first year at school.