Untying of the Knot!

The time has arrived. After being home for the past 4 years and tied to either myself or my mum’s apron string, Mia’s knot has been untied and she is now officially a preschooler!

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This moment has been discussed and prepared for over the past few months and although we knew it had to happen, it always leaves me with an empty and sad feeling. The thought of Mia being in the care of someone unfamiliar to her and the fact that she is my baby and the last one to enter the world of education, was always going to leave me feeling an overwhelming sense of emotions.

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For the past 4 years, it’s been mum and I nurturing and caring for Mia. We’ve been the ones to teach her numbers, colours and shapes. We have been the ones to encourage her to be independent, give her cuddles and kisses when she is sick, reassure her when she is scared. We’ve read millions of books, sung a trillion of songs and been there to wipe her tears when she’s fallen or become overwhelmed by her fears. We have, WE have!!!

For me this isn’t the end of this road. I’m still lucky enough for Mia to go to preschool the two days I work and spend the rest of the week at home doing what we love to do best – hang out together!! But for my mum, this is the end of the road for her baby caring days. For 14 years mum has looked after each grandchild, one by one until they reach their preschool age…Mia is the last grandchild to do this! What a huge end of an era. My sisters and I were so blessed to have our mother by our side until we went to school…our children have also been blessed to have their nanny for the same time! I thank my mother from the bottom of my heart for being there for my children while I’ve worked. Mum has spent my part-time working days nurturing and educating my children just as I would. It’s been so comforting while my babies have been little to know they’ve had the next best thing to their mumma when I haven’t been there…nanny you are one in a million!!

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And so Mia’s first week of preschool is over and done with already and she’s about to start her second week! She did a lot better than I thought she would do and am very proud of her. There were tears upon drop off and she was scared and apprehensive particularly on the first day, but on her second day she was an active participant in her class. She is currently experiencing separation anxiety like her big sister, but she is letting herself embrace the life of a preschooler a lot sooner than Sienna did.

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Having already gone through separation anxiety with Sienna, I’m not as worried this time. I know from experience that Mia will settle. It just takes time. I know that she has an awesome teacher and staff at her centre that nurture her and make her feel safe which makes me feel better. I’m certainly riding the karma train as I did this to my mum lol! Turning 4 next month is a big step in a little person’s life! Since coming back from America, we’ve seen a huge shift in Mia’s confidence and independence and she has already been telling me that she is 4 now lol! But she’s still young and innocent. She still has meltdowns when she is extremely tired, is as stubborn as a mule and has her own Mia idiosyncrasies, but she’s socially engaging and developing like she should which makes me one happy mumma!

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So with the new school year officially starting on Tuesday, the knot for everyone will be untied. Apart from me working 3 days last week, the kids have been by my side for 7 weeks. Bay is keen to go back to school but my little separation anxiety baby is already telling me she is going to miss me! I know how she feels, it was hard to leave them last week, especially after our amazing holiday!! But everyone is ready. All books are covered, bags are packed, uniforms have been tried on and ready to go. This year will be a year where we stand on our two feet and not rely on mum as much. This will be a new challenge for everyone. But we WILL make it work – provided we work together as a party of 5! It really is the year of untying of many knots….!!

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Here’s to a fantastic school year!!!

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Another Year Older!

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Another school year has started. The routine of being out of the house by 8am has stumbled upon us once again. School lunches are always needing to be sorted, as well as making sure uniforms are washed and ready and bags are packed! And of course the afternoons are now spent doing homework!!!

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It’s been quite a smooth transition back to school and work this year. Bay started grade 3, loves his teacher and has a few of his old-time friends in his class. He is mister cool this year and kisses me goodbye at the car and I don’t see him again until the bell goes at 2.30 when he walks down to Sienna’s classroom. Then there is my little (but big) grade one girl, who if you’re a regular follower of my blog would remember how she had separation anxiety at the beginning of prep. She had been super excited all holidays to be going into grade one, especially as she has Bailey’s year 1 teacher. The tears started the night before school started back…it’s never because she doesn’t want to go, it’s always because she’s going to miss us!

After lots of positive encouraging and keeping the morning quiet and calm, I’m so proud to say my baby girl started grade 1 with NO tears…they came the next day and the next…but no where near as bad as last year! They are very minimal and stop very quickly. I’m so grateful that Sienna has the most beautiful natured teacher who is very understanding and has taken her under her wing and nurtures her like her own. I really can’t wait for the day though when she happily skips off without needing 5 minutes of reassurance;(

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Sienna has come such a long way from the little girl who started school 12 months ago though. Already her teacher has noticed the confidence in her, that even her brother didn’t have in year 1. It’s just that pit in the bottom of her belly (you know that home sick feeling) she gets and when she doesn’t have that, she oozes confidence and spark!

Each morning always brings a new start to the day and I wait with positive encouragement and distraction when I can see my baby girl let her emotions take over….separation anxiety sucks – for everyone involved! But my tough love approach is the only way to kick it to the kurb….this parenting gig was never meant to be easy! We are almost at the end of week two and there are still a few tears, but they are decreasing and I know she is so happy as she is making so many new friends…and OMG girls at that…and always comes out of class each afternoon with a smile from ear to ear:)

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It’s comforting knowing that Sienna has her big brother and cousin there. The other day Bailey was walking past Sienna’s classroom when she had a few tears…quick thinking from her teacher promoted her to call Bay in to comfort her and that helped heaps! She sure pulls at the heart-strings this girl. I asked her yesterday who she played with at lunch. Her response…”no one today, just myself!” I asked Why? Her response…”I just couldn’t stop thinking about you mum!” “I was picturing you where you stand and wait for me!” God bless her…it’s so nice to be loved!

My response to her innocence was “I love that you love me and want to see me, but I don’t want you to let your thinking of me spoil your fun at school!” “You know I will always be back to pick you up when the bell goes…school time is your time to learn and have fun!” I know exactly how she is feeling as I did the exact same thing to my mum…karma really is a b;$@ch Lol! I know she’ll get there…time is the essence to this issue!

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It’s hard to believe that my babies will be turning another year older – 8, 6 and 3…where has that time gone?? As I watch them grow and develop, it makes me proud to be their mum. I’ve certainly been dealt some rough times with my trio, especially when it has come to their health, but apart from the usual ups and downs of children, we are in a good place at the moment!

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Now that things are in full swing and we are back to routine, life ain’t that bad. Yeah things are busy again (especially on my two work days) but they are going to get a whole lot busier next week when all the after school sport starts again. But like usual you manage and when the chips are down and the exhaustion sets in, I will be making sure I still stop and smell the roses….and look at all the wonderful memories we created on our summer holiday lol!

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Connie Confidence!

Am I dreaming? Is it really the end of term 3? That’s really scary. This means in about 3 months time my little preppie won’t be a preppie but a big grade one girl!! How can that be. It only feels like yesterday I was nervously walking her into prep for the first time. It only feels like yesterday that she was screaming while clung to my leg not wanting me to leave her behind;( It only feels like yesterday she was suffering from separation anxiety…..how things have changed!

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First day of prep…

If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you would have read all about the troubles we encountered with Sienna at the beginning of the year when she started prep. To sum it up – it was two weeks of hell!! Two weeks of tears and fears. Two weeks of my heart being ripped out of my chest every time we said goodbye. Two weeks of me experiencing one of my parenting fears, but thankfully it only lasted two weeks. After two weeks the tears stopped, the pains in the belly before school became less and less and my beautiful girl started to smile and relax into the place that she calls school! It took the whole of the first term to really settle into the routine of school and the expectations of learning, so by the time term 2 came around she was completely in ‘drive’!

Today as I write this piece, my little (well not so little but very tall) preppie is far from the girl she was 8 months ago. She now beams with confidence. She now walks with her shoulders back and her head up high. She now participates in anything that is offered to her. She is now independent and is starting to take risks. She now can confidently read, write, count and make connections and apply what she is learning to the real world. She is the girl that we’ve always seen at home at school. As a parent all you want for your children is to feel happy, safe and have the confidence to ‘have a go’! Now that this has been achieved, I’m so happy and content. It’s been a long road ‘in progress’, but the foundations that have been built so far, is an amazing starting point for my daughter’s education.

This week Sienna received her first student of the week. All year she has watched and celebrated her peers getting an award on parade and never once has she been upset or disheartened by not receiving it yet. I work on parade day and each week I would feel sad that I wouldn’t be there to see her standing up on stage holding her award, but luck was on my side!! Parade for the first time ever, was changed to a Wednesday. When I dropped Sienna off at school it was like music to my ears when her teacher told me she was getting student of the week! I quickly made a call to my mum who met me up at the school and together we sat there with such great delight and watched a very proud and excited prep girl, who walked confidently across the stage holding her award! I was so proud it brought a tear to my eye. Her award was for working really hard on learning her sight words and reading!!! She so deserved it and was well worth the wait for everyone!!!

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I titled this blog ‘Connie Confidence’ as Runcorn Heights do a program called ‘You Can Do It’. It’s a program that promotes engagement and achievement, positive behaviour and well-being while supporting the students social and emotional capabilities. When students are seen showing confidence, resilience, persistence organisational skills and getting along with their peers, which are the four key areas, they receive a ticket which goes into a barrel and names are drawn out on parade for a reward. It’s a great program that is heavily immersed into each classroom and has thoroughly assisted my daughter with the issues she faced at the beginning of the year!

It’s so wonderful to see Sienna happy in her own skin at school now. It’s going to be a sad day when she has to say goodbye to prep and leave behind her safe haven and her amazing prep teacher and aide. But my Connie Confidence daughter has fought her toughest battle and from here on she is only going to become better and better as her schooling journey continues. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction her path takes – it’s such a great experience to be apart of!

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So proud of my girl:)

From One Term to the Next!

As I sit here in the peace and quiet of my home while Mia has a nap and the two bigger kids watch a movie, I start to wonder how term 2 of school is going to play out. With the school holidays coming to an end and what a great time we’ve had, I can’t help but pray that it starts differently to term 1.

As you know, my prep baby Sienna, suffered terrible separation anxiety at the beginning of the year, but with lots of perseverance from her wonderful teacher and myself, she overcome her emotions and settled so beautifully. The worst part was over within the first two weeks, but then it took another couple of weeks for her teacher to knock down this brick wall that Sienna had tightly built around herself hindering her confidence from shining. By the middle of the term Sienna finally relaxed. Relaxed enough to let her guard down to show her teacher what she is capable of. We saw a huge difference in her at home. She was finally coming home and talking about school and all the wonderful things she was learning…it was like music to my ears!

When we reached the last day of term, I thanked Sienna’s teacher for all the hard work she had put into my daughter and we discussed how far she had come. I felt such a sense of relief that term 1 was complete! Although it was only a short term of 9 weeks, we were all ready for a holiday and to celebrate that Sienna made it through her first term of school….and came out the other end a better student!!!

We’ve had a wonderful time this school holidays. Our Easter long weekend celebrations were fantastic and the kids had a ball celebrating my birthday with me! We’ve gone for bike rides, played at parks, swam, had lunch dates and play dates with friends. We’ve laughed together, chilled together, read books, sang songs, baked and had the odd disagreement here and there, but all in all it’s been a great couple of weeks! Mia has thoroughly enjoyed having the kids home. She plays so hard with them now or should I say bosses them around while playing with them lol, she will be lost for a while when they return to school next week and so will I! I LOVE school holidays. No rushing, no lunches, no ironing uniforms, no homework. Life is cool, calm and collective…it’s like the calm before the storm (of the next term lol)!

Sienna has been pretty good these holidays. She has continued to engross herself in her love of learning which is lovely to see. She’s asked several times when are we going back to school. At first we had to go through each day how many days until school went back. I didn’t think too much about it until the other day when I said 7 days and she replied “that is ages away” I said “yes” and her response as she skipped off was “yesssss!” I instantly thought “oh no!!!”

It’s getting to the point now where I need to start counting down the sleeps with her until school starts back. I need her to be emotionally ready again to tackle another term of school. I feel that Sienna wasted half a term of her learning in term 1 and I can’t wait to see what she will be capable of once she has a full term under her belt. I think I’m worrying for nothing and I believe she will be ok, but Sienna can be unpredictable! I return to work on Monday so for the first couple of days mum will be dropping her off. So far this year she hasn’t cried with mum, it’s only me she cries with. I’m hoping she doesn’t but am expecting her to hold it together Monday and Tuesday and lose it on Wednesday with me!! I just asked her if she is looking forward to going back to school and she said “yes, I just want to go everyday and not have so many holidays!!!” We may just be onto a winner…but like always I’m always ready for the unexpected!!

I hope everyone has enjoyed the school holidays and I wish you all a successful term 2! Ours starts with parent/teacher interview on the second day and Bailey starts the term with a new teacher! I shall be thinking of all the school mums on Monday as the rush of life begins again for another 10 weeks!!!

Some pointers to assist you in term 2:
*take the time now to check all bags, lunch boxes, clothes, shoes, uniforms etc to make sure nothing needs to be replaced.
*rename or relabel if they have worn or fallen off.
*term 2 is the start of the cool weather – buy at least one jumper before school goes back and keep it in your child’s school bag incase they need it!
*on the same note, start to organise their school winter wardrobe.
*term 2 is report card term so the kids will be facing lots of assessment – allow them plenty of chances to go to bed early at night, this will help them from being super cranky after school!
*finally term 2 for me is the term where I expect the kids to do more for themselves – I allow them term 1 to really settle back to school and from term 2 my expectations go up a notch and I really focus on independence,
independence, independence!!!

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To Send or Hold Back…..

This week’s hot controversial topic on several a current affairs shows, is knowing when to send your children to school! Should we send our children to school as the very youngest child (at 4 and a half) or hold them back a year so they are a year older?? As a teacher and a mum, I couldn’t resist but to right a blog on this topic that is very dear to my heart and to give my two cents worth!

Is 4 and a half too young to start full time school? How long is a piece of string? There are so many variables when it comes to children and their readiness for school. As a mum of three children who are all born in the second half of the school birthday calendar year, they will always be on the younger side compared to their peers, with my middle child being born on the 30th of June…the absolute baby of the class! when I fell pregnant and realised when their birthday would be, it didn’t really phase me too much, I was more happy that none of them had to spend another year at home and they would start school like we all did the year they turned 5. Ask me now though and my opinion is some what different!

I believe age is just a number. No matter how old you are, depending on what you’ve been exposed to will depend on your level of knowledge, understanding, maturity and readiness. Genetics play a part in the physical side of growth and cognitively sometimes we are lucky to be born a genius or the complete opposite. And then there is simplicities or complexities of one’s personality which would make no difference to what order a child is – oldest or youngest!

When watching 60 minutes on Sunday night and listening to the reasoning behind why those parents held their children back, I could understand their concerns and reasoning, but I was most impressed with the mother of twins who were 4 and a half when starting prep say “let them be!” When the reporter asked “do we as parents wrap our kids up in cotton wool too much?” she simple and honestly answered “yes we do!” I really loved how she kept it real!

The Gift of Time….

Well it’s happened…my second child has started prep! She was excited, happy, a little nervous and even shed a few tears but by the time I left, she was all smiles and focussed ready to start her new adventure in life!

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I on the other hand felt sick in the tummy for days leading up to this event, but was quite calm all morning. There was no stress as everything was organised and we were WELL on time!! Yay to that:) lol! But that moment as I walked away, I felt like I was letting go of her precious little hand that I’d held so frequently for the past 4 and a half years! I was so happy that she was happy. A year ago her preschool teacher had to untangle her screaming little soul from around my legs, so to see her content made me feel at ease. But then I it dawned on me…I couldn’t believe my Sie Sie girl was actually a school student. My life that had been with my girls for the past two years would change…now it will be just me and I my Mimi! (at this point a few tears flowed)…

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So many changes in one day! My eldest baby was so cool calm and collected…obviously grade 2 is when kids start to play it cool “I’ll be right mum!”…another bit of the apron string was snipped;( I had to ask Sienna to say good bye as she was all “I’m good mum” and the eldest grandchild of our family Sebby, started high school! No wonder I’ve walked around in a complete lost daze all day!

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To over come this sense of loss, Mia and I went and did some very necessary retail therapy:) I must admit that always cheers me up lol! I saw a couple of other preppie mums while I was out and about, which was quite comforting:) My first venture with just me and Mimi…mmm is that girl going to keep me on my toes and make for a long three years before she goes to prep lol…lucky she’s cute:)

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Then I returned home! While I was starting to feel good about everything, I walked past the kid’s bedroom and spotted Sienna’s teddy! I couldn’t resist and had to pick it up and smell it! It was lathered in my darling girl’s sent. I was desperate to find out how she was going. I imagined her drawing, singing, laughing and having a great time just as she should have been! How these years are rolling by so fast! All I can say is cherish each and everyday you are blessed on this earth with the ones we love!

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Midday came around so fast, which means one thing…Mia’s nap time! This is where I kicked my own butt back into reality! There is nothing I can do with the changes that have occurred, all I can do is embrace each moment for what it is and relish in the excitement of my children! Do I wish they would stay newborns forever – yes! Do I want them to grow old – no! But I don’t have a choice so I told myself – suck it up princess and move on!!!!

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But with each new change brings something great and for me personally I’ve been given the gift of time! Now that I have two children at school, for the first time in 4 and a half years, I will only have one child at home which means I’ll have two hours a day to myself while Mia has her nap! Once I realised that, all those emotions I was left feeling quickly did a 360 turn lol only kidding! So this is what I shall embrace (until Mia drops her day sleep anyway lol) from all of this! I have big plans this year. I am hoping to be as organised as I’ve ever been within myself as a person, as a mother and as a house wife! Today is not included as I walked around for a while wondering what the hell to do as it was just soooo quiet! I’m sure I’ll get use to it though, with tomorrow being MY day one! I will have more time now to spend one-on-one time with Mia, I’ll be able to scrapbook and craft more and maybe even organise cupboards and rooms better than I have them!!

Before I knew it I was back up at the school to pick the kids up. I couldn’t wait to hear all about Sienna’s first day and how Bailey settled into grade 2. If Sie Sie came out smiling I knew it must have been a good one and alas she did! It’s that first day. Once it’s over and hopefully a great one, there maybe some bumps along the way but generally it’s all smooth sailing from there!

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This one day of every child’s life is so big…do we as parents make it bigger than it needs to be?? Maybe we do, maybe we don’t! All I know is it’s a major deal and the beginning of a very long journey that I think needs to be made a fuss of! I’ve done this twice now and today was no easier than when I did it two years ago with Bailey! All I know is, that in three years time when my littlest, my baby starts school, I will be given more than the gift of time and possibly will be found in the fetal position somewhere lol!

Highlights from first day back at school….

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When I Grow up I want to be……

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It only feels like yesterday I was sitting on the carpet of 1 Green’s floor in front of Mrs Brown listening to a story. I was 6 years old, as fresh as a daisy ready to embrace the world of learning. I was shy, reserved (I know shocking lol), apprehensive about what to expect. I cried from one day to the next when mum dropped me off, for at least the first couple of weeks. Eventually I learnt to trust the situation I was in. I loved my teacher. I loved my friends and before long I loved school. That little shy, reserved 6 year, who would enjoy playing make-believe teachers always asked herself the question….when I grow up, what do I want to be? I remember saying a hairdresser, medical receptionist, a nurse and a teacher was commonly spoken about!

It seriously felt within a blink of an eye, I was being asked that very same question by my high school’s Guidance Officer! This time it wasn’t a hypothetical question. I had to respond. I had a Qtac form to fill out! It’s such a huge time of life completing high school and then being faced with the big bad world. Where to from there? It’s been 16 years now since I answered my Guidance Officer’s question. I didn’t originally put teaching first, I actually preferenced nursing first and it wasn’t until I changed my Qtac form to primary education before second round offers were handed out, that my teaching journey was to start!

Going from a year 12 student, where I was school captain, everyone knew me I knew everyone to a university campus with many different age groups of people, was so daunting to begin with, but I was lucky enough to have a few friends from high school studying the same degree, which helped with some of the nerves. The first semester was the hardest. Learning the way of university life. Learning the expectations of assignment writing, research techniques, exam procedures….it was a whole new world which became a part of my everyday life for the next four years! I remember stepping in a classroom for the first time. I was only to observe and I had butterflies. Then in my third year it was my turn to teach for the first time. I was up to my ears in lesson plans, resources and activities and I loved it all! It was in my third year where I sincerely knew I made the right decision to become a teacher!

My final year at Uni was brilliant! I loved every minute of it! As each month passed by, the puzzle to this big picture was closer to being complete! I had a fantastic experience for my final prac, which I believe was the making of the teacher that I became and still am to this day! And if I thought I had butterflies in my stomach when I first stepped into a classroom as an observing prac student, they were nothing like the night before my very first day of teaching! I hardly slept a wink! I couldn’t stop thinking about everything. What was my class going to be like? Will I be able to cope? Am I organised enough? My very first day of teaching was nothing short of fantastic!!!! I was finally doing what I loved. A teacher with my very own class….who to this day will always hold a special place in my heart!

That day was 12 years ago now! My gosh how things have changed since then. For the first four years of my career, teaching was my everything! I lived breathed and ate it every chance I got…I didn’t have a choice at first, that’s usually what happens when you first start a job! The students became like my own and I had such a wonderful relationship with my fellow staff members, admin, students and parents of the community! From year to year I built on my skills, confidence and ability as a teacher. I took on roles and responsibilities that suited my strengths and always loved the challenge! Then I bought a house, then I got married, then I had my first baby, then I had my second baby, which took me to 7 years of teaching!

Like I said I loved being a classroom teacher. I loved educating, helping and supporting kids and challenging and extending the gifted. The bond between a teacher and their students really is something so special and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to experience that time and time again. But at 7 years I was faced with teaching special ed. Like anything it was a bit daunting at first, but within a few weeks, I knew this would become my new passion. I was ready for my career to take a path change and the flexibility when having little ones at home yourself, really came in handy. In such a short space of time I went from a class special ed teacher to a TAEA which in plain English meant I was at a small school 2 days a week and ran their special ed program. This job was brilliant! It allowed me to challenge not only myself as a professional, but it has given me many leadership skills that I still use to this day. It also helped me in the next role that I took on which was a behaviour teacher.

Being a Behaviour Advisory Teacher (BAT – teachers called me Nat the Bat lol) gave me a great opportunity to experience a different field to special ed, although dealing with a lot of the behaviour was very similar, the processes of each job is quite different. In this role I was also given several opportunities to experience a Deputy Principal role which I thoroughly enjoyed. I felt at this point in my career I was at the crossroads of deciding what I wanted to pursue….a Head of Special ed role or a Deputy Principal role….then I fell pregnant with my Mimi girl! Didn’t this throw a spanner in the works. We were all but convinced that we weren’t able to have any more children due to a thyroid problem that I had, turns out once I had half my thyroid removed, that completely fixed any problems conceiving!!!

Something changed in me having my third baby. My whole perspective on life, my attitude, it just all changed. I know that being diagnosed with a heart condition while pregnant had a lot to do with this. My focus changed. I always loved being a mum and being a mum was the most important job, but once I became a mum of three it was my only role in my eyes! When I had to return to work after my third baby, after having 13 months off, I didn’t want to be there. I’d lost my ‘teaching’ focus, my passion went missing and I really didn’t see it coming back anytime soon! But then I was placed back in a special ed role, with wonderful people and although it took quite a few months, I eventually found my way back on the right track again!

I’ve been back to work for 12 months now and I’m happy to say that my passion for teaching and learning is as strong as it’s ever been. I absolutely love my special ed role. I’ve gone from a middle to upper school teacher to a prep/1/2 special ed teacher and no matter what I’ve experienced so far as a teacher, I’ve loved every minute of it. Like anything there has been many lows which I’ve reflected on and learnt from, but a mountain of highs that I’ve been able to share and celebrate with many. Am I still the same teacher I was 12 years ago, hell no way! I’ve grown up, I’ve become a mother! I still have the same beliefs and philosophy, but I’m more compassionate than ever, more patient then ever and I have a better understanding of children, their parents and the world in which they come from. So many people are still pondering and reluctant to finish the sentence – when I grow up I want to be…..I’m happy to say that I’ve made a great career choice in becoming a teacher and wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Back To School!

Almost 5 weeks out of 6 are already gone for the summer school holidays! I don’t know about you, but they have flown by!!! They really have been awesome though! The weather has been sensational and we’ve managed to squeeze in almost everything from the beach, movies, theme parks, play dates and swimming…did I mention swimming!!! I’m sure my kids must be water logged by now! And of course this time of year is always spent the best with family and friends!

But as the holidays draw closer to finishing, there is so much to think about and the hottest topic on most mum’s lips at the moment is back to school! Are you organised? Have you started? For some they’ll be old hats at the back to school schedule but for others they could be entering a whole new world! I’m an old hat now, with my son starting grade 2, but my daughter is about to be a little preppie!!!

Even though I’ve done this before I always feel a sense of anxiety in the pit of my stomach when my children start prep…I just want everything to be perfect for my poppet so she feels safe, comfortable, happy and relaxed! I was like this with Bailey and worse as he was my first at this whole school mum thing! But last year when he started year 1 I was fine and now starting year 2 even more fine!! It’s the prep year that pulls at the heart strings…and anxiety ones lol! I’m happy to say I’ve just about organised everything! Just a school hat for Bailey once the uniform shop opens next week, a library bag for Sienna and hair cuts each and the kids will be all good to go for another school year!

So what is the back to school essentials on everyone’s list?

This is what mine are…..

*Uniform….shirt, shorts/skorts, dress shoes, sports shoes, socks and a hat!
Most of this stuff can be purchased from the school’s uniform shop. I always purchase the school shirts and hats from the uniform shop, but the shorts/skorts I always purchase at Best and Less or Big W along with the socks and track suit for winter.

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Brings happy tears to my eyes to see my little girl all ready for prep!

*Bag….something not to small that very little will fit or not too big that it weighs them down and a backpack I think is the way to go!

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*Lunch time…lunchbox, food containers, ice block and water bottles are my four essentials.
I always go through a trial run with the kids to make sure they can manage opening all of their own things as well!

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*Labels….I label everything and if a label won’t stick I’ll use a marker to write their name! Too many times things go missing around a school yard and if it’s clearly labeled then the chance of it being found is greater!

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*Library bag….as long as it has a draw string that can be closed tight so their library bag doesn’t fall out if tipped upside down!

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*Hair clips for girls…I have a friend on Facebook that has her own business called Candie Clips who custom makes school clips in the school colours. They are gorgeous and so reasonably price. Sienna’s pack cost me $22 with postage!

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*Front Pouch…in the front pouch of my children’s backpack I always include a zip lock bag with a couple of spare pairs of undies and socks and I also include in the pouch a raincoat!

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At Runcorn Heights, they have a policy until grade 3 where all stationery is provided by the school at a cost to each family. It certainly takes the pressure off of having to cover and label every piece of equipment…I’ll have the pleasure of doing that for the first time next year!

Once everything is purchased, we always have a trial run or should I say dress rehearsal to make sure everything is ok, fits nicely and feels comfortable! We did that today:) The kids were so excited. It brought me back to when I would start each school year! I loved new things. New socks, new shoes, new bag! And Now that I’m a teacher I still love the beginning of a new school year…now it means a new diary, pens, notebooks and just a whole new beginning!

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All ready for grade 2…although by his size he looks like he should be in grade 4 lol!

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My little big girl ready to take on the world of Prep!

So on that note I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful and successful school year for 2013. I get to start my working school year on 3 weeks long service leave so I can be there for my preppie while she settles in! Enjoy the remaining time of the school holidays, I’m having a ball with my babies and will continue to enjoy them as life will be different for me only having one child at home now! Good luck to all the preppies starting school and all the mums (be strong) and new school mums! Being a school mum is great…lots of social gatherings and relishing in our children as a community!

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They’ll be back to school before we know it!

The End of a Road….

Today marks the end of another class of graduating year 12s! It’s such a massive thing finishing school. For the past 12 years, these young adults have been spending 6 hours a day, 5 days a week institutionalised and suddenly they are now set free to conquer the world! Some will go onto study, some will travel, some will get a trade and some will get stuck into working straightaway! Amongst the class of 2012 there will be doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, builders, plumbers, athletes and the like! It’s up to them now to make of themselves the best they can be, after having many influential people in their lives since the first day they started school!

This day and moment brings me back to my last day of school! I still remember it like it was yesterday…even though it was exactly 15 years ago! For me it was such an emotional time in my life! I loved school and what it provided for me! It was fun, it was full of social gatherings be it discos or sports days! It served a purpose and most of all it brought me wonderful friends and the person I would one day call my husband!

The last week of high school was one of the best and memorable weeks of my life! The formal, speech night, graduation day, our celebration trip to Dream world…memories that will last forever!

The Formal….

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Oh the day after the formal….

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Lol

Speech Night….

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Literally a handful of awards:)

The last day of school….

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Walking out of the school gate for the very last time was both scary and exciting! Scary as I was saying goodbye to my safe place, the place where I was the most comfortable and confident, but exciting because I had the world at my feet and the rest of my life ahead of me to pursue my dreams! And that I have! I live with no regrets – wishes yes, but no regrets! I’m proud of who I am and what I have achieved in the past 15 years! I’ve become a teacher, a wife, a mother and a home owner! I’ve travelled overseas and along the way have experienced many ups and downs which has helped shaped the person I am today! But of course I owe a lot to my wonderful parents and the up bringing they provided us!

So if I was to give a speech to the graduating class of year 12 it would be….

Live life to the fullest, but keep safe. Life is a precious gift that should never be let waste away! Enjoy your younger years while you still have them and if you can travel and see the world through different eyes! Reach for the stars and don’t give up on your dreams. You have the ability to be whatever you want to be so keep striving to turn your dreams into reality! Think wisely and use your common sense! Don’t do what others tell you to do, do what you know is best for you and your future! When you’ve got something good going, don’t let it go and keep working at making yourself better! It’s up to you now….you are now after all these years in complete control. This maybe the end of the road for school, but it’s only just the beginning of what could be something pretty special!

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If you are doing your absolute best than that’s all you can ask yourself of!

A Snip in the String!

Things are changing. Bailey is becoming a mature little man, Mia has left her baby days behind her and is becoming an independent little lady and the biggest change that is round the corner is Sienna starting prep. That means when school resumes for another year next year, I’ll have two out of three of my children going to school!

When you become a mum for the first time, you really only think about the kisses, cuddles and laughter that will be shared with your little ones, but my goodness it’s so much more than that! With each age brings a new phase. For the first few years the phases are ones that are managed from the home and then they turn 4 and 5 and they have to go to school! School! That means 5 days a week, 6 hours a day of being under the influence of someone other than yourself, husband or grandparent! It’s the first bit of the apron string that is cut forever and it’s really hard to stomach!

From the second Sienna was placed on my chest she became my little princess, the sun that brightens up my day with her infectious smile and laugh. Up until the age of 3 and a half she was only ever cared for by myself, my husband or my mother. When she started preschool she was so sad:( She cried when we dropped her off and was ecstatic when we arrived to pick her up! She would beg me to let her stay home with nanny. But then she started to cry less and less when we dropped her off. She started to become confident when having to leave me. She finally found a love of learning and enjoyed having a place that she could call her school!

Thank goodness! I was beginning to think Sienna was never going to want to cut her piece of the apron string, but slowly, bit by bit she has. You spend days and days leading up to the first time they have to leave you feeling sad and terrible and then when they cry and have to be ripped off your leg, you wish that they were happy and excited to be there…you can’t win! Sienna is so much like me. I always cried when I started school for the first time, which makes it even worse because I know exactly how she is feeling! Bailey has always been so different! He has hardly shed a tear when he’s been dropped off somewhere for the first time!

Yesterday was the beginning of what will be a wonderful prep journey for Sienna. It was Runcorn Heights prep orientation day. Sienna was exposed to her teachers, aides, peers and classrooms. She had a wonderful time after feeling a bit apprehensive before we got there. Yesterday showed me that my baby girl has matured and developed so much in terms of her confidence and self-esteem since the beginning of the year! I know I didn’t leave her, but there was no sign of tears or shyness, just lots of smiles and her having fun! This made my stomach feel settled and I was left feeling happy and content:)!

Then the moment when you purchase their school uniform for the first time! They wish for you to rush home so they can try it on. The shirt went on first, then the shorts and finally the hat. They instantly go from your baby to this big grown up that secretly you wish you could squish back up to a baby! You feel the tears wanting to drop from your eyes, but you don’t want them to notice! How did this happen? How did I go from breastfeeding, changing nappies, celebrating her first word and first steps to a prep student, in what feels like a blink of an eye!

This time should be easier, I’ve already done this before. But it’s not. No matter how many times I get one of my children ready to embark on their school journey, I always feel sad…happy for them, but sad that another chapter has closed! But as they say as one door closes another one opens. The new phase for us will be strange and different! I haven’t had one child home with me for 4 and a half years and Mia is going to miss her best gal like crazy! But I know this is the beginning of my little poppet’s education, where she will begin to stamp her mark on this world and for her to do this successfully, I have to set her free and snip that part of the string!

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My big prep girl…she looks so adorable and grown up in her uniform:)