Tag Archives: Child-friendly holidays

My irks with home working

Home WorkingIt’s been a tough couple of weeks, with yet more change and adjustments that need to be made, some much bigger than others. One of the positives (I’m starting to over-use that word) is Baby D’s new nursery which has so far gone well. I say new as after just a week’s notice (!) his first nursery closed its doors eight weeks after he started, and we had to find another one pronto and get him fully settled in. Thankfully, day one at nursery two went very well (despite the over-tiredness in the boy I put to bed an hour or so ago).

With both children in childcare full time, I had a day to work, work, work. I’m enjoying working for myself (although I have to say I’m now over the initial euphoria of being at home with a hot coffee and a laptop screen not being pawed at or slammed shut).

We’re creating a home office but in the meantime it’s the kitchen table, once the breakfast things have been cleared away. There are so many positive parts (that word again) to working for myself and I sometimes pinch myself that it’s actually happening. However, there are also the niggles that only come to light once you start. Here are a few things that have made me wish it wasn’t just me here today:

The printer – I consider myself reasonably tech savvy but I fail to be able to default to the right printer (why do I have a list of 15??), print on the right side of the paper or push page 20 of said paper in far enough to keep on printing.
My new email account – where’s the IT support when you need it? Answer – thousands of miles away on a virtual chat (probably answering a lot of other queries at the same time). I can receive but I still can’t send, a week later…
The workman’s drill – do you choose a day when there are no children to trip over pipes and wires or have a full day of drilling when you’re trying to have a client phone call?
The coffee overload – hot, freshly brewed coffee? Mmmmm. How many cups can I enjoy without getting the shakes? Not as many as I used to I realise as I bounce to the door to greet the postman manically.
The housework – not the temptation to spend my whole time doing it – the opposite. I feel like I need to make every moment of work count so I end up with a house messier than the days with the children plus a basket full of wet washing.
The mum guilt – it’s still there, niggling away. This isn’t a vanity project – I’m earning money for the family as well as doing something I hope I’m good at. Plus hopefully setting a good example for my children. But working from home feels the same as going out to work – you still get those moments where you feel you should be with your children, rational or not.

However on balance what a privilege to be able to do this and hopefully fit my work around my life rather than the other way around. I’m off to pick up the children (once the coffee shakes have subsided).

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A mini-break to Arras with a toddler in tow

Vimy Memorial Toddler StandingWe did something we haven’t done before last weekend – we went on a mini-break as a family. As we were warned by others who’ve trod the path before us, these aren’t like the mini-breaks of old with lazy breakfasts, sight seeing all day and a bottle of local wine each night. This was a trip punctuated by playground stops, sandcastles Continue reading

Cornwall: Callestick, Cyder and Children’s Choppers

At the risk of sounding very English, we’ve been so lucky with the weather this week – we’ve been enjoying a week of sand, sea and child-size pasties in my native Cornwall. I can’t remember it being this hot consistently for a week – it’s so much warmer than our week in Limoges was, back in June.

Cornwall beach

Scrip’s done a lot of running around, too – we’ve hardly had the pushchair out. We’re fortunate enough to be able to stay with my parents with lots of things to see and do – like feeding the chickens, putting pebbles in the paddling pool (she’s not that keen on putting herself in it just yet) and destroying the sand castles we enthusiastically and carefully make for her. We’ve been to the beach, which is just 5 minutes down the road, each day – going after her dinner which has been perfect timing for low tide, the temperature and to tire her out before bedtime, which has crept back to 8pm this week…

I’m keen that Scrip gets used to the sea – so we’ve had lots of encouragement and shallow paddling. It’s helped that there are quite a few little ones running in and out of the water for her to copy. She’s christened the wetsuit she had for Christmas from her Cornwall grandparents – it’s been great. It’s easier to put on than the wetsuits I remember struggling in and out of when I was little, and there’s room to grow, so that it should still be useful next year. It’s a baby shortie from Two Bare Feet. It’s also helped that there’s been very little surf each day – so even though we’re on the north coast we haven’t had to worry about waves crashing around her.

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Five things we’ve learnt on holiday

We’re just back from a week near Limoges in France – freshly bronzed (those of us who weren’t plastered in factor 50) and so relaxed that we feel even more tired than when we went away. We had a lovely week and we’ve come back wiser (on at least five things):

IMG_50251.¬† Swimming pool alarms are no substitute for a gate. Apparently, it’s the law in France to have either an alarm on your pool or a gate around the outside – ours had an alarm. It was fiddly and temperamental – we forgot about it on one occasion and my husband was half way through a length when it sudden went off. We watched Scrip at all times and introduced the ‘holding hands near the pool rule’ (rather unpopular) but I’d have felt a lot happier if there was a gate instead.

2. Saying ‘thank you’ works. Those repetitions have finally paid off – Scrip can now say thank you (in her own rather appealing way) and seems to understand what it means. Unfortunately, she also thinks if she points at Continue reading

Changing times

When we were in Greece last October, sitting by the pool in the last of the summer sunshine (with a slightly subdued Scrip), we got chatting to another couple staying at the resort. They had a 2 and a half year-old, Cameron. In amongst the general anecdotes and advice I like to soak up from parents slightly ahead of us, I remember them saying how slowly the first six months go, and then how everything speeds up, and before you know it, your baby’s 18 months and you wonder where the time’s gone.

photoFor me, it was probably the first eight months that went at the most leisurely pace. I was grateful for that as time went on – I remember being on maternity leave during the summer and revelling in the fact I had a few months of sunshine (hopefully) and Scrip gradually growing and changing stretching out in front of me. But, as I’ve said before, the first three or four months were pretty tough and I vividly recall counting down the hours from around 5pm until my husband came home, and being particularly relieved when the weekend came around.

At eight months, Scrip started crawling competently, and I went back to work, part-time. I was still getting my weekly and monthly baby updates (‘your baby at ten months’) and reading them as much as I could, but each month seemed to roll by much more quickly, and my newborn became my baby and then my little toddler. Her first birthday was suddenly upon us and before I knew it she was 13 months, and developing all the time. Cameron’s parents were right.

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Happy holidays

Quite relieved to be back from our second family holiday. That’s not to say it wasn’t a lovely place – it really was. Periyali in Zakynthos is made for parents and pre-school age children in particular, with a friendly creche, plenty of safety features and toys on tap. No, it was more about the tummy bug Scrip picked up just before going away. That made for some long grisly days and us seeing far too much of the inside of our pretty villa, plus my husband succumbing to the nasty virus.

As Scrip is so small, bugs tend to hang around so the plane ride home was probably the most challenging part – luckily for me my husband was in the aisle seat and so had to do the majority of the changes (and there were quite a few). So we’ve vowed to return next year to the same place – something we’ve never actually done before – and see much more of Zakynthos.Image

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