Thursday, January 31, 2008

Much fun and "My Nini"

Last weekend, we decided to go swimming as a family. I was a little bit apprehensive as Lauren is quite afraid of the water and has cried and wailed in the pool on previous visits.

However, I think as we've been going more frequently, she has gradually accepted the idea that it might actually be fun. She managed to enjoy the pool this time and didn't cling tightly to me the whole time like a limpet. She even managed to splash and kick in the water (as Jocey was doing this too) and we all enjoyed playing a game of swimming away from the crocodile (Daddy). There were even squeals of laughter!

We had a bit of a nice surprise this Tuesday. I went with the girls to the park near our home to play, as the weather was quite mild. It was a really glorious day; it was sunny, mild and not too windy. I was sitting with Lauren on the park bench having a snack when she suddenly took interest in one of the other little girls in the park.

"Nini! Nini on swing, Mummy," Lauren kept saying. I was a bit puzzled and asked her if she was sure. "Yes, my Nini!" Lauren said. I decided that since Lauren was so adamant that we should confront "Nini" and her grandad.

Turns out that the little girl was Lily, one of the little girls from Lauren's group at her old nursery. Lily's grandad told me that Lily was about to start at a new nursery locally. I told him how much Lauren missed her little friends (the other night, Lauren asked for "her Tony") but that she seemed to be settling into her new nursery.

"Nini" and Lauren had a great time playing together on the climbing frame until it was time for her to go home. Lily didn't want to leave; maybe she misses Lauren too. I was sad to see the effect the breakup of the nursery has had on the children.

On the plus side, this week we've had a breakthrough on the nursery front. She hasn't cried at all this week when I've dropped her off. Today, she even went willingly into her room and joined in with the other children straight away without any fuss. Maybe it was the lovely firemen that did the trick yesterday. When we arrived yesterday, there was a big shiny fire engine outside the nursery, along with some very nice firemen. Lauren immediately joined in with the rest of her group and seemed to thoroughly enjoy looking at the fire engine and meeting the firemen.

I am very relieved. It's so much better now that I'm not worrying about her.

I'm now looking forward to more fun at the pool and the Park Club this weekend!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Car jinx

Now I really don't know what we've done to deserve this but both Jase and I have had car trouble this week. On Wednesday, poor Jase and Lauren were stranded outside the nursery in Richmond after breaking down. The AA had to come out to jump start the car.

Two hundred and fifty pounds later, we found out that the starter motor had died and needed replacing.

This morning, I was on my way to nursery with Lauren and Jocey when I had a blow-out in my car. Luckily, we were not going fast but there was a sudden loud bang as we were driving, followed quickly by the wibbly feeling you get driving on a flat tyre.

The AA came out again to help me change the tyre as I decided it would be definitely safer them doing it than me with the children in the car on a busy road. It was fabulous; they came within about 5 minutes of my call.

Lauren was really excited (!) as it was the second time she'd seen the AA man this week. She was fascinated and insisted on watching "man fix Mummy car" because "Mummy car broken".

After dropping Lauren off at nursery, we limped to Kwik Fit on the temporary tyre to get a replacement. The guy in there laughed when he found out that hubby had been in only yesterday with his car (and he remembered Jase as well)!

Sixty pounds later, I am feeling decidedly sorry for myself and desperately waiting to be paid. Our finances have taken a horrific pounding recently, and I still have all sorts of repairs to do to the house before I put it on the market, none of which we can really afford but have to do.

The new car will have to wait whilst we sort out everything else. Thank goodness Jase is back at work and I am back to work in March! Money is now a rude topic of conversation in our house...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Much cause for celebration

Today is my dad's and my brother's birthday. Jason is 30 today, but I won't reveal how old dad is! We celebrated their joint birthday last weekend when my parents were down visiting us in London.

It was quite a celebration as not only were we celebrating their birthdays but also the upcoming Chinese New Year and the wonderful news that Jason and Charlotte will be having a baby in July!

We can't wait to welcome the new arrival into the family! Everyone is so excited.

Such an occasion (as always in Chinese tradition) demanded extra special food, so mum and I cooked up a handsome feast of celebration food which all the family enjoyed. New year cakes, fish, prawns, squid, Buddist vegetables, longevity noodles - we all ate like kings.

Today, for the birthday boys, we're wishing them both many happy returns!

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Happy birthday GungGung and Uncle Jase!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Festive Fun

I can't believe that almost a month has gone by since Christmas. The time has flown by - I suppose it's been because we've been so busy since then.

We all had a great time over the festive period. My parents stayed with us over Christmas and Jason's parents and Aunty Madge visited us over the New Year. The whole family feasted over some yummy food (as you can probably tell from this picture on Jase's blog) and everyone had fun.

On Christmas day, Jason and Charlotte came round for our family lunch. Here we all are opening presents under the tree.

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Lauren was very excited that Po (from the Teletubbies) had come to live with her. Mind you, with all that excellent food in the house, who can blame her?

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However, freeing poor Po from the confines of her box created quite a headache for Mummy!



Lauren was also very excited by the trike that all the grandparents collectively bought for her. Soon, she was racing around the house on it!



After the presents were opened and enjoyed, it was time to bring out the beautiful goose with all the trimmings and everyone settled down to Christmas lunch.

Jason and Charlotte at the table with their pink champagne.

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Jason and Charlotte with Mum and Dad.

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Here we are with the girls and the grandparents.

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At New Year, we went out to the Park Club with Jason's parents and Aunty Madge. Lauren and I had a lot of fun in the soft play area. I was "adopted" by a little boy who was also playing in the soft play area.

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Later she had more fun out in the giant sand pit.

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There was plenty of time for hugs with us and the grandparents.

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On New Year's Eve, the party hats and crackers came out and we celebrated the New year in style.

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All the pictures from Christmas and New Year can be seen here on my Flickr page.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Much wailing

I'm finding the whole nursery thing pretty stressful at the moment. It takes 20-30 minutes to get there from the house, although when the traffic allows it can take as little as 15 minutes to get back. It therefore takes about an hour to take Lauren to nursery and come back home (and thus two hours of every day, as I am currently doing both drop off and pick up).

Lauren has been quite unsettled by the move to the new nursery. When we were at the old nursery, she used to look forward to going and run in when we got there. Now, every morning I get "Not go blue nursery, Mummy" from her. I know she misses her old nursery and I don't think she really understands why we're not going there any more. I have tried explaining it to her but she is only two years old after all.

When I can persuade her to the car, she is no trouble. However, when we arrive and go to her room at the nursery I am faced with a full blown tantrum with lots of crying and wailing. It is very upsetting. I've had to endure a week of this and suspect that there's a lot more to come yet.

Despite this behaviour when I try to leave her there, I know that within a few minutes she's back to normal. I often wait downstairs in the nursery to check that she settles; her room in the nursery is on the first floor overlooking the entrance atrium, so I can hear her from the entrance.

It is frustrating because I know she still enjoys going. When I go to pick her up in the evening, she is full of smiles and chatter so I know she has had a good day. However, the upheaval of changing nurseries and finding herself with carers and children she doesn't know is obviously upsetting for her.

I am hoping that she will make friends soon and feel a bit more at home. I feel so sad to see her upset.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Aaachooo!

Poor Lauren had a quiet weekend because she was full of the cold. This time, I don't think her immunisations had anything to do with it. She was incredibly brave and surprised me - she didn't even flinch or wince when the needle went in. In fact she just calmly looked at what the nurse was doing and never complained.

I was so proud of her.

However, on Friday she started to run a slight fever and the poor girl was full of mucus and phlegm all weekend. Despite that she slept well last night and today seems to have turned the corner. She was much brighter and despite a wobbly start when I dropped her off at nursery (she really didn't want Mummy to leave) she soon recovered and had a really good day. Her carers told me that she was still a bit shy with the other children but she is beginning to talk more and join in with the activities. She even managed a sleep at nursery, so is getting back in to her normal nursery routine.

The carers I've had most dealings with in the room, Lacey and Chris, have both been fabulous. They've really done everything they could to make the transition as smooth as possible for Lauren and me. I am so grateful that they are there looking after her!

Tomorrow, Lauren has her day with Mummy. I'm hoping that she'll be in the mood to go to the Park Club to play (also slightly weather dependent). Later this week, I'm getting ready for a big Chinese feast to celebrate my dad's and my brother's birthdays. It will also be chance to prepare some New Year food, as mum and dad are away for the actual event as they are going to Hong Kong to see my grandparents.

Jocey and I will go raid the Chinese supermarket on Thursday in preparation!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy Times

I'm happy to report that Lauren had a good day at her new nursery. It helped that there was one familiar face in the form of Chris, who was a carer for some of the older children at the Hammersmith nursery.

She had a short day there during which she ate well, played with the other children and even had a ballet lesson with the rest of the boys and girls in her class. Whilst she was settling in, I popped into work to practice the route and to chat to friends and colleagues.

When I went to pick her up she was full of smiles and chatter about her day and her new friends. Very encouraging!

Her next settling in session is on Friday. Tomorrow, I have to take her to the GP for a set of immunisations. I'm not looking forward to it as I suspect there will be tears and wailing!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Last day and The Quest for Good Childcare, Part V

Lauren had her last day at her nursery in Hammersmith yesterday. It was really upsetting. Lauren has been at this excellent nursery in Hammersmith for almost two years. She has grown to love the nursery and her carers and has made many little friends.

We had assumed that the threat of closure over the nursery had blown over because we had heard nothing for so long. However, just before Christmas the staff and parents were given the devastating news that the nursery is being forced to close after all.

It is open until the end of February but many of the parents have already pulled out. We had been given the option of moving to a sister nursery in Fulham or Richmond at reduced rates in compensation. However, neither nursery is particularly close by, so many of the children are going elsewhere in the local area.

We have decided to try out the Richmond nursery, as it is on the way to work for both of us with only a minor detour needed. I took Lauren around the nursery to see it just before Christmas and was relieved to find that she instantly recognised the familiar Happy Times routine and settled in to play with the other children almost straight away.

I am confident that she will settle in quickly to her new nursery, as it has exactly the same routines and activities as her old one, being run by the same company. However, it did not make yesterday any easier as we had to say goodbye to the fabulous carers (Papia, Ilona and Zanetta in particular) who have done such a wonderful job of looking after Lauren over the last 19 months. I know she will miss them and so will we. I know Lauren will also miss her little friends (Tony, Alice, Amaana and Finn in particular) as well.

There was a lump in our throats as we left the nursery to come home for the last time.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow, when we go for our settling in session.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!!

We've had a wonderful family Christmas and New Year; hoping you all have a happy and healthy 2008!!

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From all the family.