Tag Archives: Parenting

Sleeping Like Babies

Neither MG or DG are particularly graceful at going to sleep. DG being younger is more likely to get so exhausted she just drops off anywhere. MG will suddenly become very hungry, thirsty, need the toilet and have to read ‘just two more books’…

On the plus side, both girls now sleep in their own beds all night long so we rarely have nights of musical beds anymore. They sleep quicker if someone stays in the room with them, this can get frustrating when there’s dinner to cook and a house to tidy and work to do and…

Tonight I took in my Kindle, I don’t know why I haven’t before. They like their bedside lamp to be so bright it was okay to read. DG muttered to herself until she snuggled up and drifted off. MG read out loud until she was gone too, still clutching her book. I got to read a few chapters of my book. Shhh… Sleep tight, small daughters of mine. I love you very much.

Note that both girls are clutching a tatty muslin. ‘Muzzies’ are the comforter of choice for the Chaos children, so no special toys to worry about losing. Phew…

Edit to add: I had an added extra treat this week when DG crawled onto my lap, snuggled into me and…


Emily from A Mummy Too has set somewhat of an impossible challenge – choose three books you love most: one from childhood, one from adulthood, one as a parent.

I stumble at the first hurdle: which part of childhood? How do you define “childhood”? I was reading adult novels as a pre-teen, but was a child until my twenties in other ways (not that I’ve ever truly grown up). In a quick burst of conciousness I could include: picture books listed here (and more besides); A Child’s Garden of Verses; The Hobbit; A Wizard of Earthsea; The Hounds of the Morrigan; The Wind on the Moon; The Ordinary Princess; Narnia; Enid Blyton; The Starlight Barking; Wolves of Willoughby Chase; The Snow Kitten; Asimov; Douglas Adams; Harry Harrison… and I’ve missed out so many.

I’m going to chose Dragons’s Blood (trilogy) by Jane Yolen. I borrowed it from the library when I was around 10 and it always stuck with me, to the extent I managed to track the trilogy down again to re-read in my early 20’s even though I couldn’t remember the author at the time. It’s set in a world where dragons exist and are bred for fighting, where there are two classes of people: free and bonded and it tells the story of how a bonded boy manages to raise his own dragon in secrecy. It’s a fully realised world containing politics, emotions and characters that stay with you forever. Now I’ve written this, I want to re-read them again (and get the fourth book which I’ve never read…)

Here I have the opposite problem to childhood: I read a lot of so-called children’s novels and then there’s my soft spot for vampire ‘young adult’ fiction 😆 I used to read at least one or two books a week but sadly those days seem long gone, maybe one day I’ll get back into reading as much as I used to…

My favourite authors for the bulk of my adulthood have been Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Other authors who have wowed me include Iain (M) Banks; Philip Pullman; Garth Nix… Far too many others, including non- SF/fantasy/horror books if you were wondering…

I’m going to chose Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A book by both my favourite authors, well it’s a no-brainer. It’s funny, intelligent, and… Oh, it’s just brilliant.

I’m avoiding choosing a children’s / picture book as I really can’t choose just one and I get to talk about those lots on this blog anyhow.

I’m going to choose How Children Learn by John Holt. It’s a very readable book based around a series of memos Holt wrote whilst he was working as a teacher. It not only gives a view on how education should (or shouldn’t) be but also lots to think about in how to parent too. John Holt obviously loved and respected children and is essential reading if you have anything to do with children in my opinion.

That was hard! Thank-you, A Mummy Too, I really enjoyed thinking about what to choose.


New Year 2012

This blog was supposed to be my memories of the good things done with my girls, but for the past few months I could just refer you to CBeebies/CBBC listings for what we’ve actually done together, and I don’t want to write about the difficult things – they’re nothing new in the world of parenting and I have nothing to add to the subject 😆

So this blog will be about things that me and my girls do together, but it’s also my headspace to rant and to share and to grow.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Any time I’ve ever made a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve failed it miserably. I gave up with them in the late 90’s:
1996: Resolve: to turn my work around and pass degree; to not live with parents. Result: Failed degree; moved back to parent’s home from student house.
1997: Resolve: to move out from parental home. Result: Still living with parent.
1998: Resolve: to move out from parental home. Result: Still living with parent.
1999: No Resolutions. Moved out of parental home by April.

However I need to make some BIG changes to my life, so here are my non-resolutions for 2012:

Health: I have always been overweight. Festively plump? I don’t think so. Apparently there is a category over morbidly obese, and I’ve just entered it 😦 I want to start swimming again, but maybe I should wait until all the New Year’s Resolution people have stopped clogging up the swimming pool and I can swim in peace and quiet. Fortunately the local ‘leisure centre’ has a creche. Not to mention mental health, but that’s a whole other story (as the monkey says in Tinga Tinga Tales :lol:)

Me, aged about one

Driving: My NINTH driving test is on 1st February. One of my sucesses for 2011 was failing the 8th test merely due to not keeping to speed limits. On three ocassions. I have been ‘learning to drive’ since 2002, but after the seventh failure I stopped lessons between October 2004 & July 2010. I will, will, will, WILL pass this year. Preferably before my provisional licence runs out in August…

Writing: I used to write when I was younger. It’s a very long time since I did. From about age 14 to age 22 I wrote so much, and being a hoarder I still have notebooks of snippets and ideas and plans of family trees (I read a lot of fantasy, creating the world was more fun than writing the books :lol:) in a box somewhere. The last thing I wrote was Buffy fanfic 10 or 11 years ago. Oh dear… Blogging is a good start to practising the words again. I also need to read much more, I used to read avidly, now I barely get through 5 books in a year 😦

It's amazing what you can still find online...

Parenting: This belongs at the top of the list, but I’m avoiding it. I’m not the parent I want to be. I don’t think anyone is. I don’t want to be super-parent, doing fun and creative things all day and providing a perfect house, being a wonderful wife and so forth – that’s never going to happen! But I want to be true to my ideals as much as possible: child-led, respectful, uncontrolling, living in an ordered environment.

Clutter: I have always been a hoarder. I married a hoarder. We have stuff. Things, possessions, belongings, objects, STUFF. Everywhere. I am queen of putting things in boxes. Put it in a box, sort it out later. Get 5 boxes down to 3, then get more clutter to sort out making 7 boxes and repeat… Paperwork, artwork (children’s), toys, books… I am too overwhelmed by the mess to know where to start. Did I mention living in an ordered environment?

A teeny selection of the clutter, looking quite tidy comparatively 😆

That’s probably more than enough non-resolution areas for a year. See you on the other side?!

Share Your Birth Story

Actually MummyI wrote this when Destructo Girl was 2 days old, she was a much easier baby than her big sister so I had time to write. I might have written something for Mighty Girl when she was born, but I can’t find it off hand so will just do DG’s for now.

Mild contractions started around 8.30-9pm on Thursday evening, and after a few hours were lasting 30 seconds 3-5 minutes apart with lower back discomfort that was bearable but uncomfortable. As we’d been told we were likely to have a quick labour, I called the hospital who advised us to come in. We got there at 4am and I was measured as 3cm dilated at 5am and taken to a delivery room. The contractions were more painful but I could breathe through the pain. Then I shot from 3-10cm dilated in 90 minutes and Destructo Girl was born at 6.39am on Friday. Gas and Air is wonderful. The End!


On the evening of Thursday 21st, I thought I was having contractions as I was having bump tightening and lower back discomfort which started around 8.30-9pm but I’d had the feeling once or twice before (although I never really had Braxton Hicks) and it had previously disappeared within an hour at best so I tried not to get too excited but as these continued over a couple of hours (not really increasing but not dying down) I started to get excited although I was also trying not to get my hopes up and figured it was probably wishful thinking because I had wanted the baby to be born on 22nd of the month like big sister (even said that to my midwife on my check on the Monday.)

I didn’t go to bed but kept moving and monitoring how I was feeling and spent ages looking up the difference between Braxton Hicks and early contractions on Google and getting more convinced that I was actually in labour. Having been induced at 42 weeks for my first labour, I really didn’t know what to expect. I printed off the birth plan and put it in my maternity notes. At 1am DH went to bed but I said I wouldn’t and actually I couldn’t sleep at that point because the lower back discomfort was more uncomfortable and it was happening every 2-4 minutes so there wasn’t really a chance for me to get comfortable enough to sleep. It was bearable though and contractions lasting only 30 seconds so I thought it would probably die down then remembered that having a bath was a good way to find out if it was labour as a bath would ease fake contractions. So I went into a warm bath with lavender oil at 2am for 40 minutes and the contractions didn’t die down. At this point as I’d been having 30-40 second contractions every 3-5 minutes for over an hour so I thought it was an idea to phone the hospital and ask whether it was worth coming in as I’d been told that I was likely to have a very quick labour after only 7 hours active labour after induction with the first.

I phoned the delivery suite and they asked about how I was and I said the contractions were only 30 seconds and I could talk through them but about the previous labour but also no waters broken and no mucous plug and was 3 days before due date etc and they advised that we came in to be checked over to be on the safe side. So I woke DH (3am) and phoned his mum to look after MG and we got together last bits and pieces in case we did end up having the baby. MG was of course sound asleep but I kissed her goodbye and told her where we were going so that if she did hear me in her sleep she’d know! We got to the hospital at 4am by the time DH’s mum had managed to get to us and we’d driven there. At this time, the contractions were more painful but still quite bearable and I could still speak through them but they’d obviously progressed even though still only 30 seconds long, but every 2-4 minutes.

We were taken into an admission room and a midwife checked my urine, blood pressure and the baby etc plus there was waiting around to be seen and I was at the stage where I was having to breathe slowly through contractions (but still bearable!) and had taken to kneeling on a chair and leaning over the back of it to get more comfortable. I remember being checked when it was 5am and the midwife said I was 3cm dilated and we would go to the delivery room. Later she said she wasn’t sure whether I was in active labour at this point but it seemed likely so she went to set up a room and we walked to it. As we walked down the corridor I saw where we were going and said “Are we in room 10?!” as that was where we were heading and she said yes – which was the very room I had MG in!! So that was nice – same hospital, same room, I wore the same nightie, we put them in the same sleepsuit as their first outfit 🙂

In the delivery room I changed into my nice HUGE comfy nightie and the contractions got more painful very quickly. I was on my knees leaning over a beanbag and in about 20 minutes was no longer able to just breathe through the contractions but was on the gas and air too and clutching the mouthpiece as if my life depended on it! I was saying to DH I was a wimp with pain and he was asking if he should get the midwife to ask for the epidural. As we’d only been there such a short time I felt like it must be too soon but it was getting so painful so we called for her and she said she’d just been discussing me with the anaesthetist and a doctor had to come in to talk to me. Everything is a bit of a blur as it all happened so quickly and I was in a lot of pain! So around about 6am, a doctor came in and talked, the midwife set up the epidural stuff for the anaesthetist, I complained lots, had a cannula in my hand for fluids because of the epidural and they had just managed to put in the epidural line between my (very very painful) contractions when I felt myself “pop” and I mumbled “my water’s have broken” through the gas and air mouthpiece. (DH told me that was actually the only coherent thing I said and I said it quite calmly – before and after I was incoherent and I also possibly nearly broke his fingers I was squeezing so hard!!)

Then everything happened really quickly, within about a minute of the waters breaking I was in agony and started to scream “no no no!!!” They’d literally just put a tiny bit of drug in the epidural line which would take 20 minutes to take effect and I was in pain and all I knew was I didn’t have the pain relief and it all just hit me. I lay back on the bed, the midwife was trying to talk to me and saying “Anne-Marie, Anne-Marie, is it a contraction or are you wanting to push?” and through the fog of pain (and that utterly fuzzy gas-and-air feeling) I realised that I wanted to push so managed to grunt “push!” so she grabbed the mouthpiece from me and I guess several people got me lying down and I was incoherent with lots of “no no no”s because I didn’t have the epidural and was just in pain! Two pushes and she was out! I vaguely remember them saying it’s a girl, and I think I was sitting up because I remember seeing her lying there and she hadn’t started to cry but then she did and they cut the cord and whisked her to one side for a whiff of oxygen and put in the injection for the placenta (which I’d asked to avoid but she said afterwards that they had to do everything quickly so I didn’t mind!) I felt the placenta coming out (weird feeling) which with the epidural I didn’t even notice with MG!

So I went from 3-10cm dilated within 90 minutes! In retrospect, we’re not sure why I wasn’t examined before the epidural as there wasn’t enough time really but I guess they assumed that I couldn’t be that far gone so quickly. The midwife also said that she’d been back-to-back and came out looking upwards which was why it had been so painful in my lower back. Then things slowed down. DH cuddled DG while I was tidied up – the bed was like a scene from a horror movie as I’d been lying in my waters, DG had pooed on the way out, then there was the blood splatter!! This time I was injected with local anaesthetic before the internal stitches so felt all that, whereas with MG I’d had the epidural so just didn’t feel a thing. I had no problems getting up as the epidural had never really hit so I didn’t have numb legs and I wasn’t sick afterwards like I had been with MG. So directly after birth, I felt a lot healthier than I had with MG, despite being awake all night. I also managed to have a shower easily so was nicely refreshed by the time we got taken to a ward at 10.30am.

Annoyingly, despite me being perfectly healthy and despite DG being perfectly healthy (even though she had a whiff of oxygen, her Agpar scores were 9, 10, 10 the same as MG) as she’d passed meconium when she was being born she had to stay in to be observed in case she’d swallowed or inhaled any so we had to stay in until the next day. And we didn’t get discharged until 5pm the next day because she had to see the paediatrician before she could be discharged. So it was pretty dull andso hot in hospital I couldn’t really sleep either. It was lovely having lots of snuggle time with DG but by the time we got home I was completely shattered.

Work and School

I took voluntary redundancy at the end of May this year and here I am, less than 4 months later, back at the same organisation… It’s only for 8 days spread over 4 weeks and I did the first day today. In some ways, it was as if I never left. In other ways, everything is completely different. After one day I have a killer headache and although I do enjoy the work and am appreciating the change in routine from being a stay-at-home-mum, I don’t think I want to return to the ‘workforce’ just yet. I do realise I am fortunate to have the choice.

Mighty Girl started school last Wednesday, so has done nine school days now. Walking to school she says she doesn’t want to go and school is boring… When I collect her she says she’s loved the day and she wants to go back tomorrow! So far (early days I know) I am very happy with her school experience. I am not parenting my girls as well as I’d like to and having the break from each other is good for both myself and MG at present. I do miss her though.

On Tuesday it was Roald Dahl Day and everyone at MG’s school had to dress as a character from a Roald Dahl book. Erk, my first creative challenge. Fortunately I found an easy-looking idea for The Enormous Crocodile and we made her snappy croc arms together the night before.

Today was MG’s first day with before-school and after-school with her old nursery because I was at work. I left before drop-off time but Daddy said she was quite shy as no one else had arrived yet (I thought she’d be in the Casa before and after school but she was upstairs in the after-school area) but she was with people she knew and when we picked her up she was running and playing happily in the garden with her friends.

Destructo Girl has been sad that her big sister has been going to school so I sold nursery to her telling her she was going to school. She had three one hour settling in sessions as it had been three months since they were last there (MG had one one hour settling session) and generally screamed at being left but was okay during the session if a bit unsure. However, her first full day she completely loved. Daddy said there were screams at dropping off but the IC (infant community) staff said it was as if she never left – she knew where to choose materials and put them back and she joined in with everything. She was also playing happily in the garden when we collected them and chattered away happily about her day at school, singing songs. It’s made me realise that I’m not really doing enough with her. She loves singing and joining in the actions and she had that at nursery but I don’t do it at home. I must do a ‘circle time’ with her. She’s always been the one to get on with things happily while MG took all the attention but now she has one to one time with me I really should use it better. One of the things I really want to do is start some Montessori ‘tot school’ work at home, I should start with this Montessori Minute post from 1+1+1=1. Or this post on setting up a Montessori toddler environment from Living Montessori Now.

In four weeks I shall be back to being a stay-at-home mum again, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about that. I’m hoping this brief return to work will remind me why I left in the first place. And maybe the structure of a work day will influence a structure into all our days and a little less chaos 😆

Advice for new Parents

I’ve just read this post by Mamasaurus and it reminded me of the advice I wrote for a friend of mine expecting her first baby. I am by no means an expert, but these were things I found useful (and she didn’t mind me writing this for her…)

1. Ignore all advice. Except this one on ignoring advice 😆 Every baby is different and you will be the number one expert on everything to do with your baby (Daddy too, but you most of all). What worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. It’s nice to get ideas, it’s nice to talk to other people and it’s good to ask for advice when you need it. But don’t feel obliged to follow anything, trust your instincts and definitely ignore well-meaning but unsolicited advice – it’s nice but it’s usually not useful.

2. Don’t stress breastfeeding. Definitely try it, persevere if it’s something you really want to do, there are breastfeeding peer support groups etc and plenty of help. It’s not easy. But if you don’t want to, can’t for any reason or just don’t like it (like I didn’t) then don’t stress it. A happy mummy is better for baby than breast milk. If it comes easily and naturally, enjoy it – no sterilising, no bottles to carry around etc.

3. Slings are fab. A stretchy wrap sling is best for a newborn – for example a Moby or a Close Carrier.  Certain structured carriers are not good for babies (they hang by their crotch, rather than being supported by their bottom). A stretchy wrap snuggles baby and allows you freedom to do other things. I never had one with MG but did with DG and it was definitely essential with two: MG in a buggy, DG in the sling. But with one, it saves having to always take a buggy out, if you just want to go for a walk etc. Also apparently you can breastfeed in them, but I know nothing about that. But I definitely recommend. It’s lovely being close to baby but also having hands free to read a book or make lunch…

4. A digital ear thermometer – definitely an essential. Much quicker and non-obtrusive than other thermometers. They’re £30-£40 but well worth it for the peace of mind. I got one when MG was born and it’s still on the first set of batteries. On a similar note, newborns should never have a fever. If an under 8-week old has a fever (over 38C or 37.5C depending on what you read) then take them to the GP immediately, out of hours if necessary. It happened to me with DG at 5 weeks and a friend with her 2nd baby at 3 weeks. Both of us didn’t think it was important, both of us ended up in hospital with the babies. In both cases it was viral meningitis, of the kind that is not dangerous but as it takes a test of spinal fluid to find out, it’s treated aggressively to be on the safe side. In our cases, the babies would have recovered and didn’t need to be in hospital, but it’s best to be safe.

5. A baby gym – essential to leave baby lying under so you can do other things like go to the toilet, or eat! Any will do, I had a plastic 2nd hand one that did fine for both girls but there are also lovely fabric or wooden ones. Basically arches with things hanging down for babies to look at and to reach for when they get bigger. They only last until they start crawling (from 8 months ish) so not worth spending a fortune on. NCT sales are good for picking up 2nd hand ones.

6. Nearly New Sales – search online for NCT nearly new sales. They are fab for picking up bits and pieces that are “nearly new” for very little. I’m now selling more than buying at my local one but have got a lot of bargains at them.

7. Visitors in the early days / weeks / months – let them do things for you. I know it’s hard, I never managed it, but especially with baby’s grandparents, let them cook and clean and do your clothes washing and get their own cups of tea. You and baby are the most important, you need time to get to know each other in the early weeks too. If you don’t feel like visitors, don’t have them. Concentrate on you and baby. The house can stay a mess. You can live in PJs. On a similar note, preparing easy to cook meals for the freezer before baby arrives is good, or live on microwave meals for a bit if you need to! Let your friends come round and cook for you at your house. Let yourself be looked after, you have the baby to look after and nothing else matters when they are tiny and helpless.

8. Routines and baby books – your baby won’t have read the book, it won’t do what the book says it should. Every baby is different, sometimes you get one that fits one book, sometimes one that fits another, more often than not they don’t fit any recommended routine. Sleeping through is a myth – tiny babies have tiny tummies, they can’t eat enough to keep them for 12 hours. If they’re feeding every 2 hours, don’t stress it. It will change. A 4 hourly routine sounds great, but if you’re trying to get baby to stop crying for 2 of those hours then it’s not worth it. I managed to get MG into a 4 hour feeding routine, but she took an hour to take a bottle so night feedings were hellishly long. DG I never bothered with any routine. She fed every 2 hours but took 10 minutes so night feeds were no trouble. DG settled into a day-night routine in about 8-12 weeks, the same as MG but without me trying to enforce a routine. Having tried both ways, baby-led was much easier. But then DG was also a much more laid back baby. So back to my first bit of advice – ignore other people’s advice! :-)

9. You don’t need to buy everything that the lists tell you to buy – most lists are written by people who want to sell you stuff! This is a good list, but again you don’t need everything: The List

10. If you haven’t already, join the Boots advantage card and sign up for Parenting Club – the changing bag that you get free with a pack of nappies is the only changing bag you need. You could spend a fortune on them if you like, but really this free bag is a great size, has enough compartments and has a good changing mat in a bag, will hang over a buggy’s handles etc.

11. Did I mention ignoring other people’s advice? 😆

So what advice would you have given? It would be lovely if you could comment with any advice you would add, or take away… 🙂

Musical Beds

Writing anything has very much taken a back seat this week due to lack of sleep. A typical night goes some thing like this:

1800: Mention to girls it’s an hour until bedtime
1830: Start getting pyjamas and night nappies ready
1900: Read 4 or 5 stories while girls brush teeth, rebrush girls teeth
1920: Read another few stories
1930: Tucked up in own beds, black-out curtains tight, night light on, try to leave room
1931: Girls scream, go back to settle them, lie on end of bed until they’re nearly asleep
1950: Try to leave room, girls scream…
2000: Give up and put them in our bed
2003: Girls asleep, leave them; do finances, dishes, clothes, tidy toys, watch TV, read…
2200: Carry sleeping girls back to their own beds
2205: Girls scream, lie at end of bed until they sleep again
2230: Sneak out of room and go to bed
2300: Girls climb into our bed
2330: Carry sleeping girls back to their own beds
0000: Girls climb into our bed
0001: Mummy leaves parent bed and tries to sleep in MG’s bed
0010: Girls climb into MG’s bed. Three in a single bed not much fun…
0100: Mummy sneaks back to own bed
0105: Girls climb into our bed
0106: Daddy leaves parent bed and tries to sleep in MG’s bed
0200: Girls fidget too much in their sleep, return them to own beds. This time they’re so asleep they stay there
0430: MG wakes up screaming about ‘ladybird spiders’ – calm her down
0530: Return to own bed
0600: DG climbs into our bed and bounces on our heads
0610: Convince DG to sleep again, there’s no way we’re getting up
0630: MG climbs into our bed
0700: Girls wake up, try to wake Mummy and Daddy up but can’t; go downstairs and get own milk and breakfast
0900: Mummy and Daddy wake to wrecked house; Daddy is late for work; both are grumpy all day; Mummy and Daddy argue about who had the least sleep; Girls are grumpy because they didn’t sleep enough…

So we’ve been trying a few routines to try to get them to stay in their own beds. A quick fix would be nice, but we’ll just have to persevere 😆

So angelic when they’re actually asleep 🙂 Comments welcome on your own sleep troubles and solutions!

On Schooling

It is difficult to be unbiased. I was good at exams, so school wasn’t a problem for me, and I was lucky I was never bullied considering my personality but looking back I can’t see what I really learned from the schooling I was forced through. I knew most things from primary school from having older siblings – I have memories of lessons where I’d be whispering answers into a friend’s ear (I never spoke at primary school) because I knew it. At secondary school I was good at what I liked and rubbish at what I didn’t like because I didn’t work hard, I wasn’t interested. I was good at swotting up for exams and passing things. I have done loads of complex subjects at degree level at both bricks and mortar university and Open University and I can’t remember any of it – looking back at old work is like reading something in an ancient lost language. So, in retrospect, schooling was fairly pointless and irrelevant to my life. Anything I have been interested in I’ve read up on, “played” with and learnt because I wanted to. I needn’t have ever finished my degree with OU other than feeling I needed to prove I am degree educated, as I got through my working life from what I knew and not from what I learnt once and forgot.

So yes, I am biased. In retrospect, and only after reading several books that got me to re-examine my education experience. My views on schooling are coloured by the writings of John Holt; John Taylor Gatto; Maria Montessori (although I need to read her actual works rather than interpretations of it); books on Home Ed; my local Home Ed community; TED talks from Sugata Mitra, Gever Tulley and others; I’m starting to read Alfie Kohn, Margaret Donaldson, Ivan Illich; blogs of Montessori home educators (mostly US); blogs from UK home edders; Home Ed and Montessori mail groups… I read to my interest, and my interest is away from the mass schooling system.

So, I do feel, given my feelings on schooling and my realisation that actually I didn’t get much out of it either that I should choose an alternative for my girls, that I should give them different opportunities to become the best adults they can be. Everyone is different, and I don’t believe that people who send their children to school are wrong or not giving their children a good education or are not engaged parents who have thought through the options and are giving their children the best education. But for me, I just have this niggling feeling that school isn’t the right place.

But MG talks about school all the time, she’s so excited about going, she wants to be at school. She definitely doesn’t get that from me! So, if I “follow the child” which is my ultimate aim (I’m not there yet, I try…) then school it is, because that’s her choice. And I remind myself that I am an engaged parent, I am an interested parent, I will have more time with her when she’s at school and I’m not working than I did with three days a week at nursery, all year round. Not to mention how lucky we are to live where we live, with the primary school that we have… So I shall just have my doubts and niggles, which I have to keep quiet around MG and DG, and just be the best parent I can be.