Thursday, 21 January 2016

...and then there were four

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen our announcement last week.

That's right, we're adding to our little team! 

Right now, I am about mid way through my 24th week of pregnancy. 24?! I know, kept that one quiet, didn't I?!

It wasn't my intention to be so secretive, but the weeks have flown by! Is that normal for a second child? For it to go so quickly? It's not like we haven't known about it - we actually realised that we were expecting around week 3 so no excuses there! After the 12 week mark we obviously then waited until we had told all of our relatives - though that did take an insane amount of time (not through want of trying - we love you all!). I did suffer for quite a while with sickness and tiredness (thankfully we've now seen the back of that!) which meant I wasn't really in the mood for telling people, then it was Christmas and all of a sudden we were over half way through, the countdown has begun and we only just got around to announcing it to the wider world (*waves* hello wider world!).

But you know, apart from when I was heaving over the toilet whilst Ruby rubbed my back and told me that she would keep me safe, I haven't thought that much about this pregnancy. I keep having to remind myself that this is going to happen!

I even contemplated applying for a job that I saw advertised! A quick reality check put paid to that idea!

BUT despite all of that, we are absolutely ecstatic. We had our 20 week scan during Christmas week which is when we found out we were flying the flag for blue (sorry, no Pinterest-style gender reveal over here!), Mr. D. is over the moon - he practically shouted at the sonographer when it was revealed. Our family feels complete (don't hold me to that!) and he hasn't even arrived yet. Ruby is so excited and keeps telling everyone that she's getting a brother, the bump has well and truly made an appearance and is getting lots of hugs from big sister and all the girlie hand-me-downs are finally making their way to younger friends and charity shops to make way for all the cute boy stuff that we're about to stock up on (who thinks boy stuff is so much cuter, anyway?!).

I am so excited to experience parenting both a girl and a boy. Mr. D. is wonderful with his best girlie, but I have always wanted to see him father a son. I'm sure he will be raised a Spurs fan (Ruby is most definitely a Palace fan so we'll allow Mr. D. that pleasure), and that we will throw ourselves into football, mud and glorious boy things. It's going to be fricking awesome. 

So, that is our big 2016 news! I would like to say I've made lots of goals and resolutions for the new year, but really it's just to safely transition from three to four - however that might happen - and to survive the months that follow relatively unscathed. Wish me luck!
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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Why Times Tables Don't Equal Success

I have a confession to make.

I don't know most of my times tables.

I know, shock horror, right?

I know what you're thinking.

I'm probably a bit of a down-and-out, who barely scraped enough GCSEs to get into further education. I probably never went to uni. I have probably worked a minimum wage job my entire life. I've probably never travelled. Never lived away from the town I grew up in. In fact, my life probably reflects the generational cycle that society has stuck me in where my entire family lives off the state and no one in living memory has ever worked a day in their life.


Because, you know, that's what happens if you don't know your times tables by the age of 11, isn't it?

What if I told you, that actually, I managed to take my GCSE maths a year early and get a B?

What if I told you, I then took the higher paper in year 11, and also got a... B?

In fact, what if I told you that the lowest GCSE grade that I got, out of 11 qualifications, was a... B?

This isn't to brag, I'm merely making a point.

You see, I just can't do mental arithmetic. I can't.

You throw a sum at me, of any kind, and I will just hear a jumble of numbers, my brain freezes, I panic and I can't think of the answer. Under pressurised or timed conditions, the effect is even worse. I've always been this way.

Trigonometry, I can could do.

Pythagoras Theorem, I can could do.

Algebra? Well, once I understood that x was merely a missing number - I could work that out.

Just, you know, give me a couple of hours. And don't ask me to do any of these things 15 years later. I don't remember squat.

My husband? Well, he's a grammar school genius. Give him any sum under the sun (seriously, test him) and he'll throw the answer back at you in seconds. His mental arithmetic is, well, sharp. Did he get a B at GCSE maths? No. You know why? The teacher only entered him in for the intermediate paper, meaning the highest grade he could achieve was a C (why all grammar school pupils are not put in for the higher paper is beyond me!). Is he waaayyy better at maths than I am? Of course he is! Does he know his times tables? Of course he does!

I'm not saying that kids shouldn't learn them, and that maths is a skill no longer required. I'm just saying we shouldn't judge our kids, our teachers or our schools on the basis that all children know their times tables by the age of 11. Should they? Yes. Will all kids meet this standard? No.

Even though my mental maths is atrocious. Even though my understanding of numbers and mathematical principles is astonishingly bad. Even though I only know my five times tables if I count the sequence on my fingers....

...My teacher believed in my limited abilities enough to take a chance on the higher paper and somehow I managed to get a B in the end - a grade which wouldn't have been available to me had I done the intermediate paper. (Whether you think GCSE exams should be harder is a debate for another day!)

And that's what we need. Not more tests. Not more pressure before our kids even enter secondary school. Not more criticism for our teachers who work damn hard to ready every kid for the big wide world. We need teachers who believe in our kids enough to take a chance on them.

And we need them to know that they will not fail at life if they can't recite every times table by heart.

Because I haven't failed. I might not be able to recite my times tables, and I've never been able to do that. But I did get 11 GCSEs (A*-B). I did get three A-Levels (A-C). I did go to university and get a 2:1 degree. I did work in my chosen field for a number of years and was good at what I did.

But you know what my biggest success is?

My daughter.

And at two years old, she doesn't know her times tables either!
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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Well, blogosphere, it's been a while hasn't it? The last quarter of 2015 rung some changes for our little family (all to be revealed) which meant that my small corner of cyber space had to fall by the wayside for a little while, but new year, new start and all that, and I'm back.

And I've missed this.

I've missed writing.
I've missed having a voice.
I've missed sharing my thoughts and my life with people.
I've missed the community.
I've missed the sense of purpose that comes from taking part in something bigger than my little world.
I've missed the creativity.

So, in 2016, I'm ready to fall in love with blogging again.

I've done a lot of soul searching over the past few weeks about whether to carry on, and in what capacity, but now, I'm ready to go.

I'm ready to get planning, writing, tweeting, facebooking and all the jazz that goes along with having a blog.

My life is constantly changing, evolving and adjusting, and there's going to be some huge changes over the next few months - which is why I was unsure about whether to begin again. But I'll never know how it will go, unless I try. So I'm jumping in with abandon and eagerly waiting to see what might happen.

I hope that 2016 holds many blessings and adventures for you all, the best is yet to come!
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