Photo on 11-12-15 at 00.31 #3

“Twas` a few weeks before Christmas and all over the country,
Parents were elbowing their way into the na-tiv-it-yyyyyyyyy”

“Fear not….” said I… Um, I shall stop there with my shoddy parodic ( is that a word? ) attempts. This week I went to my first school nativity as a parent and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time, (possibly too much of an insight into my  non-existent  social life).

The highlights for me were;

1. Mary getting in a strop with Joseph and avoiding all eye contact whilst maintaining a distance of 65 cm from him, throughout the whole play.

2. The Narrator yawning her way through her script.

3. All the children standing up to sing; only the wrong CD is in the sound system and nobody noticing until the chorus.

4. The camel coming on with the shepherds and the donkey with the Angel Gabriel.

5. The innkeeper (aka Boy 1) forgetting he is on stage and having a cheeky pick of his nose and a nibbled of his fingernails and doesn’t realise all the other innkeepers have gone back to their seats.

6. The waving. The waving was the BEST bit! I LOVE how the most important thing for all the performers  is waving and stopping mid performance to greet their family and ask why they didn’t bring the hamster.

7. How everybody was having the best time ever. It’s like looking in on a fancy dress party, where the guests get drunker and drunker , sing with gusto, getting more and more out of tune and flapping their towels and bashing each others with their wings, before tripping up over their costumes and ending up in a huge love fueled hug, costumes in tatters but comradery lighting up the room like a slightly flickering guiding star….

Please accept my apologies and offerings of Gold, Frankenstein (another Nativity classic) and Myrrh for turning into an official Nativity bore   addict. My name’s Beth, I’m 36 and I’m not sure I´m going to last 364 days, 16 hours and 26 minutes until the next one. Anybody got a ticket going spare for theirs?

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I am not a violent person. However, if ONE more random stranger dares to point out that the boys “are very different, aren`t they?” with negative connotations mostly aimed at the non-show off of the two. I shall have to take action with whatever I have about my person (Most likely a stray lego brick , a snotty wetwipe or a soggy banana)

I am fully aware my children are different, and eternally grateful for it! If they were exactly the same I wouldn’t have needed to think of a name for the second , I could have just called them O and O, also quite honestly I actually don’t know if I would be able to cope if they had exactly the same personality traits. Variety is the spice of life and all that jazz. If they wrote their own personal ads F´s would read like this:

      3 year old male; slapstick hilarious, not frightened of anything,except for vegetables. Very good at getting out of tricky situations by putting on the charm. Interests: showing off to the max, making an almighty mess, kissing and dressing up.

and O’s:

                    4 year old male; dry sense of humour, very caring, very good at hiding when in trouble. Interests: Lego, crumpets and Lego. In fact, everything EXCEPT for School. 

  I think that I am particularly adverse to people comparing the boys negatively because when we were younger I was “the chatty one” and my sister was the “quiet one”. Nothing wrong with that, but when my sister went to the primary school I had just left, a teacher constantly compared her to me so much so that my Mum promptly whisked her out of that school and into one which I had never been to and she blossomed and was quite the queen bee.

It is natural to compare, we all do it. It’s how we gauge normality, development and tastes. I just think that when it comes to characters, it pays to be respectful and accepting. Yes, the boys are different  and I know I am nauseatingly biased, but for me they are as hilarious, as manic, as wonderful, as annoying, as loud, as quiet, as brilliant, as grumpy and as cuddly as each other. It just manifests itself in different ways. There are days when F is quiet and O shows off to new heights and when they are in  cahoots it can be flipping exhausting. Good exhausting but this is where a clone, a magic wand or a troop of staff would come in handy.

They may be different but I love them exactly, head over heels , not a lego brick in it, completely the same.

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Second time around

Our first day at School is still a week and a bit away. “Oh, for O?” I hear you say. No, O (4) is going into year one and F (2) will start Reception class.  “F?!” you yell “But he’s only 2!” Yes I know, but here (Spain) they start the year they turn three (Jan-December). Which is too young for my liking, but despite trying, there’s not a lot I can do about it. School doesn’t start until 15th September and we have had THREE months of holidays. Which have been manic and brill, but there have also been a large smattering of fractious moments, where a bit of  routine other than lunchtime would be handy. And as much as I have scraped the bottom of the barrel of `fun` things to do with not really very fun Mummy, I’m not Mr Maker,


or Bear Grylls,


or Mary Berry,


so they are quite looking forward to imminent schooldom.

Yesterday I took F to meet his new teacher, all the way there he was babbling excitedly and all was going deceptively well. Until we got to the school gate. He slowed down, and  started to walk backwards a la moonwalk and there was a wail. “But this is O’s school, not mine ” he yelps trying to peg it.  “But now you’re a big boy, and you get to go to big boy school” I say in my best over the top tour guide voice. He’s not buying it. “I’m 2, that’s not big” he reasons. “But you’re nearly 3 and you’re going to have a party!” I remind him. “No. Today I’m 2. Not a big boy” he retorts, basking in his cleverness.

This goes on for a while, and finally a squished laughing cow cheese I find in my bag coerces him through the gate. After what feels like forty days and forty two nights but is actually 27 seconds, we get to the classroom and in we go. He shuffles in and then shakes his head every time the teacher tries to talk to him. He gives her his drinking cup. She is surprised that it is a Frozen one. He sticks up for himself, “Anna and Elsa, MY princesses” he says matter of factly. The teacher relieved to have made a breakthrough, laughs and tells him that he might need to fight the girls away, as they will all want it. He goes quiet, the meeting is wrapped up, he bolts to the sink and grabs his cup. “It’s my cup, not no girls cup” he pouts and off he struts.

On the way to the car, I try to appease him and then just as we climb the hill to the car. He says in his own inimitable “Oh Mummy, silly you. We need to give this cup to the teacher” and i am promptly pulled down the hill, behind F as he strides through the playground and bounds into the classroom, pops the cup by the sink, gives the teacher a huge cheery wave and off he goes.

When F started nursery, I wasn’t remotely worried about it. He was my happy go lucky, giggling little F. What could go wrong?  So the first day of nursery, when I left him for half an hour, I sat happily outside feeling quite relaxed about the whole thing, which was a huge change from weeping like a willow, when I left O for the first time, a year previously. I went back in after 33 minutes, walked past the crying Mums in the entrance, giving them a sympathetic “Been there, done that but now it’s a breeze look” and knocked happily on the classroom door. Only the door was being barricaded by a headbutting, punching, angry 11 month old. Mine.

When I finally got in, both the teachers looked paler than sponge cake and were shaking ever so slightly, oh and the nursery director was there too. F lunged at me from the floor and clung angrily onto me and my boobs like an angry and disgruntled piglet. And my heart clunked into pieces. Yes, it was distressing seeing F like that, but I was distraught because I hadn’t for one second imagined that he would have any problems, not one. I had just presumed that my easygoing second born, would breeze on in without a second thought. Fail. “I don’t know him!” I sob to my Mum on the phone.

The next few weeks, were interspersed with doorbanging, my guilt, bit of pinching, all night long hugs and probably too many chocolate and ham based foods. Then one day, I handed him to his teacher and he didn’t give me a backward glance. I saw the colour come back to her cheeks and my feeling like Cruella de ville–ness started to subside. And soon, once he learnt to walk, he would waltz into the room, do a star jump, shake his wild hair and all his friends would come to greet him and I was pushed out of the room. He LOVED it.

DSC_1814 IMG_6695

At the end of year meeting with his teacher, she told me that his induction  had been the worst one in the history of the Nursery. Ever. Followed closely by O’s. She leant forward and said guffawing “Remember, you were a wreck!”

Last night, F wouldn’t stop throwing lego at O’s head. I asked him if he wanted me to cancel his birthday party. He looked at me and says smugly “I’m a big boy Mummy, don’t need a party, Thanks”

I wait with intrepid curiosity for the first day and make a mental note to pop a hard hat in his school bag.

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