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I'm mid thirties, two smallish children, one delightful husband, one car and one mortgage kinda lady. We left the big smoke some time ago and live in one of the most charming places in England.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Playground dramas or bullying...?

It’s a fine line between bullying and normal six year old girl behavior. Our latest quandary in the household is eldest munckins dilemma that kept her up in a mild state of anxiety till well past bedtime last night.

One of her friends, lets call her Jane, appears to be a very popular young lady. Eldest describes everyone wanting to always sit next to Jane, Jane being the leader of the gang and slightly disturbingly Jane using gullible boys to ‘attack’ anyone who upsets her. I’ve always been a little suspicious of Jane, as she has such impeccable manners around adults – a sure sign she’s trying to win us over. My daughter describes her as having a little of the ‘dark side’ in her. I can’t seriously believe we are breeding Sith Lords and Ladies in Middle England  but ….

So last night eldest explained how she had to find a crystal to give to Jane, as she had been told by Jane, she would only gain her friendship on production of a crystal. Disturbingly eldest was given 24hours to produce the crystal. I suppose, I dismissed it as playground antics, until I heard that timescales had been given.

Eldest was very torn between not wanting to break a promise, to give a crystal but also not wanting to give up any crystals. To her the notion that a crystal was a down payment on friendship seemed completely natural.

So in trying to understand eldest emotions I had to keep check on my own. I realized advising her to tell Jane to fu*k off ,was not the right move. Overworked husband came home 40 mins into this anti Jane session. He announced straightaway that Jane was obviously a bully, and that eldest should stand up to her and make new friends. Five minutes later she was content and asleep in bed. So I’d spent 40 mins patiently hearing the finer points of the emergence of a Sith power in the playground and overworked husband nailed it in 3.

I’m hoping it will now just fade, as my part of middle England is not so large and the parents of the Sith lady are coming to dinner this Saturday. Advice please – should we get involved in playground dramas – if so when, or is this just part of growing up?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Children’s Relationships with Children...

 We all just click with some people and just don’t with others. But this isn’t some adult preserve is it,  our children do it as well.

Three-year-old munkin is a case in point. Her best friend is another little munkin she’s known since she was a baby, when they first met at nursery. At that age, nursery is a room filled with similar looking babies all crawling, pooing, gurgling, yet these two somehow singled one another out.

My youngest is nearly four and very happy in middle England with friends, nursery, pre school yet she still knows, that her best friend, is the little munkin she first met when she was at nursery in the big smoke. Guided by this, we have stayed in touch with the parents, who as an aside.. luckily for us turned out to be lovely people as well. So the two munkin friends see one another 4 or 5 times a year, but they are like your best girlfriend now. Time apart doesn’t matter, they could have been at the park playing the day before, they just slot right back into where they left off.

The bond between the two is so strong, you feel you could reach out and touch it, yet neither is four. I wonder as I write, is this a female thing? Do little boys also develop strong friendships that stand the test of time and distant in this way?

I know, possibly I’m getting a little carried away, but I don’t see this friendship fading.  But how amazing to have a friend you have known since you were in nappies together. These are truly precious friendships and ones that as a parent I will do all I can to facilitate.

As an aside, overworked husbands best friend, he met, when they were both six months old. I have another friend, who has pictures of her and her husband playing together as babies, as the Mums were friends. I’m curious…has anyone else got any nappy friend stories?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

We have converted...


Legoland…we were dreading it, the carpark was so full we had to park in the overflow field, the queues to get in were so slow we had lunch whilst waiting, the cost was so high we almost bailed at the last minute. So how come 7 hours later we had parted with more cash and bought annual membership!

I think we may have been drugged, the coffee had to be spiked. I remember, noting how I’d never seen so many miserable looking adults, no one was smiling except the children. The easy answer here, is that we were not the only ones who presumed inset days were school specific and so it would be quiet. For future reference inset days are not school specific but I’m guessing by the numbers – region specific.

One ride had a queue of two hours, yet people were still queuing. One ride was round a lego ‘dinosaur park’, we queued 30 mins and then we blinked and the ride was over. Even youngest munckin didn’t rate it and she was giddy with excitement about everything. Therein, is an explanation for the season ticket. The munckins loved it.

So we queued, we went on rides. The best ones were the ones we did collectively as a family – the log flume was amazing…because it was our family together having a unique shared experience. So good we bought the photo. Suddenly we got it and we were charging round looking for the rides, accepting the queues.

Leaving we realised we had to do this again, then we realised we had to buy the annual expensive pass. Now some of my fellow playground Mums will see this as a betrayal. They prefer leafy walks around the local national trust property with kids tearing up perfectly manicured lawns. Whilst I’m not saying that doesn’t have it merits, you need the other manufactured fun stuff as well.

Don’t worry though we haven’t booked Disney yet! Am I alone as a convert to theme parks with children?