Happy as a Sand Boy

Here we are in Little Chap’s last term of Reception already. Seriously, how?

It seems like yesterday the new school year started but we quickly got used to the newness of the year’s school routine. Here’s a quick review of all those things I really meant to blog along the way…

At Harvest Festival, our boys amazed us all with their ability to memorise so many songs and sing them so tunefully and with such gusto to a packed hall. At Christmas, they impressed us again with their growing sense of humour as they made us all chuckle at their rather hilarious bespoke Christmas version of The Pirates of Penzance.

After a lazy and well-earned rest over the Christmas holidays, Little Chap tackled the Spring term with the knowledge of a seasoned school child. Under interrogation his

“I don’t want to go to school today Mummy. I think I need a rest. I might have a cold.” wilted into a more pathetic “…but I’ve got Read, Write, Inc. today Mummy. I hate Read, Write, Inc. Miss H makes us work really hard!” and, faced with my now standard response to such whiffle on a school day, a less than sympathetic

“Glad to hear it darling. You know she’ll never ask you to do anything you aren’t capable of if you give it your best effort.” it thankfully disappeared altogether!

Little Chap is developing his personality further with each swiftly passing day. An energetic child, he loves to run and is already training to beat his fastest friends on Sports Day. He clearly doesn’t enjoy rough play (unless its on his terms of course!), typically preferring to engage with the running around games and any kind of goodies vs. baddies where he can be lead story teller.

He seems to be coping well with the academic demands of school life, despite his lazy protests, with clear enthusiasm for creative pursuits, making the most of the freedom of expression offered him in his art and music and creative writing and this term he’s already loved the mini cricket and tennis sessions they’ve had in PE.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though, I’m somewhat relieved to say. This term, he easily learned a short poem for the Pre-Prep Poetry Competition that all boys from Reception to Year 2 take part in. Being extremely competitive, he was desperate to at least get into the final and perform to an audience of finalists’ parents. Unfortunately for him, for reasons I can’t be sure of, he fluffed his lines on the day! There were very healthy tears about one of the other boys distracting him and his disappointment at not doing as well as he hoped. I didn’t want to let him down so gave my shoulder for him to cry on and just let him experience his pain. I can only hope he will remember it well and learn from his disappointment next year.

Being a bright boy and not having any sibling rivalry at home, I’ve always had the feeling that he’s had success on a plate far more than is good for him. So I have relied heavily on his time at school to offer him the opportunities for disappointment as much as for success that he needs to develop. I’m very glad that his school don’t subscribe to the “success for all” ethos, allowing him instead to learn how to dust himself off, pick himself up and learn to survive and try harder another day. Though rare these days, this lesson alone has to be one of the most important for success in life surely? We’re bracing for Sports Day – we believe he can do well based on enthusiasm and clear talent shown last year but there’s more competition this year, so we’re prepared to manage more disappointment if the medals don’t come home this time.

This year, our Easter Holidays were three and a half weeks. They loomed large in my mind and in my calendar. Even working part-time, it is a challenge to ensure adequate planning is in place to secure childcare for Little Chap on the days I can’t take leave. This involves extensive co-ordination with my amazing support network (Mayfair Dad, Mayfair Grannie and Mayfair MiL to be precise). Little Chap was quite keen to go to camp again for a few days but, having scheduled the support network, I then learned that camp wasn’t running for his first week off, so we managed with a few days each instead.

I tried not to put on too much for him, so he could enjoy a well-earned rest, but we did still manage to squeeze in a few treats. We started on the last day of school, with a lovely trip to lunch and a theatre production of Scamp Theatre’s rowdy Pirate Gran at Watford Palace Theatre with some school chums ‘n mums on the last day of school, which would have been much nicer if we both hadn’t been too tired to behave nicely (cough!). We visited the Tower of London with Mayfair Dad, caught up with a few little friends of his from outside school, making the most of a local park in the warm spring sunshine. Something so good for the soul after the long, wet, winter days.

We also managed a few crafting sessions, something we’ve come to enjoy and bond over as special one to one time. We made some pipe cleaner animals courtesy of a stocking filler from the Mister Maker range. These were perfect for a quick half hour in between washing and cleaning jobs. We also took a trip to the library to find as many books on Super Heroes as Little Chap could, enjoying a coffee together afterwards to read one of our new finds together.

I treasure these stolen moments with Little Chap, as he’s growing up so fast. Spending this magical time alone with my “big” boy, who often likes to just chat about things that are important to him (he’s full of surprises!), I still find (to my selfish maternal relief) glimpses of the little boy inside, the one that still adores a cuddle or a tickle.

imageIn the last week of the holidays we made Easter egg place holders for when Mayfair Grannie and Grandpa came to lunch on Easter Sunday. Little Chap made these cute little fellas with the help of the latest CBeebies Art magazine – I just hard-boiled (and cooled!) the eggs for him first.

But Kids Bee Happy provided the best entertainment by far. They kindly popped one of their starter kits into the goodie bag at BritMums Live a few years ago, which I parked in the Rainy Day Box at the time, thinking Little Chap would get more out of it when he was a little older.

The set was promoting their franchise business, providing Sand Art to parties, events and schools. The set comprised a picture card and a generous supply of different coloured sands. The picture is sticky, with each part of it having its own removable piece of paper covering it. This means each section can be coloured with a different sand assuming you peel each one off one at a time. We managed to lose the “cocktail stick” supplied which was for lifting each sticky section. We used a combination of our own and our nails!

Step 1: lifting the sticker

Step 1: lifting the sticker

I preserved the surroundings by giving Little Chap a tray to contain the sand, which worked very well. He studiously peeled off each section. There are thick black edges, which it is ideal (if tricky) to leave behind as an outline for your picture. This might be almost impossible to ensure with a younger child, without taking care of the sticker peeling part for them.

Step 2: Sprinkle!

Step 2: Sprinkle!

Little Chap sprinkled it with sand with gusto! I had to contain his enthusiasm here a little for fear we might actually run out before he’d used it everywhere he wanted.

Step 3: Spread!

Step 3: Spread!

He opted to use a paintbrush to spread the sand as it was quite coarsely textured (as sand goes!) and his little fingers were getting a bit irritated by it.

It really was as simple as 1-2-3. In little over half an hour or so, we had a presentable picture ready to wrap in the clear plastic bag supplied complete with a sticker hook, enabling me to display it proudly for Little Chap without shaking sand all over my floors.

Disclaimer: Kids Bee Happy provided me with one Sand Art kit. I purchased all other products mentioned myself. All views and experiences are my own.
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