My baby starts school in September – what am I going to do?

My baby boy is no longer a baby. He’s a strapping 3ft, four year old. And he starts full time school in September. Sigh. And if that wasn’t hard enough, for the past few months I’ve been fending off varying versions of the following questions:

What are you going to do when he starts school?

So are you going back to work inĀ September?

Just think of all that free time. What will you do?

People mean well I’m sure, but it’s starting to get tiresome. For a start no, no I’m not going ‘back’ to work. Primarily because I have no work to go back to. I have no career to pick up. I fell into every job I ever had. Some jobs I ended up loving, some I hated, but most I just felt ambivalent about. Also looking ‘back’ doesn’t feel a very positive thing to do. Moving forward is where it’s at surely? So no, I won’t be going ‘back’, to anything.

I have some ideas of what I might do when he’s in school full time. And I’m hoping that won’t be too long coming. But nothing is certain with Oscar. I have no idea how he’s going to react, to settle. His Autism makes life supremely unpredictable at the best of times, so who knows how he’ll react to something as monumental as starting school. My guess is that all my energy, at least for the first term, is going to be spent on transitioning him and supporting him with what ever he needs to get the best out of his school career.

But people are right, eventually he will (fingers crossed) be settled and my day time will be less constricted by him. So what could I do? What do other SAHMs of school age children do round our way?

The gym

I look around me and for those who don’t go out to work (or who work part time) in my town it would seem the place to be is the gym. Or at least I assume it is. The amount of mamas rocking the kind of gym wear I wouldn’t even wear in the gym let alone on the streets tells me that my fellow SAHMama with school age children spend at least some of their time working out. It’s definitely an option I guess. We have a local leisure centre. Maybe I would find a new tribe to hang out with there?

Have another baby

Another option seems to have a baby. So many of Oscar’s preschool chums who are starting school in September have pregnant mothers or new siblings. I mean it’s a pretty drastic way to amuse yourself while your older child is at school (šŸ˜œ) but it’s not for me. Done at one, that’s me, so no new baby for me.

Drink coffee

OK, so I spend most of my mornings in the various coffee shops of Haslemere, so I can’t really talk, but hey I’m alone, working. I see the mamas, often without children getting to enjoy a cuppa or two. I could quite happily keep doing that! Only problem with that is that I have no one to drink coffee with. All my friends work, or are in the gym, or popping out babies (see above). I wrote a post in 2013 about how hard it was to make friends when you’re an adult and you don’t work. But I thought I’d done it. Got over the embarrassment and let my little one break the ice for me. Only here I am, three years down the line and seriously having to consider how to find new friends. Again. Without the help of a cute little blue eyed bundle!

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OK, so these are definitely some of the options I see around, but what about options that are a bit more specific to me? Cos I can’t see me joining the spandex wearing, latte drinking, baby machines just yet šŸ˜‰

Blogging

Of course. I mean I’ve managed to do three years so far, all in either nap time or two hour nursery slots, soĀ imagine how much better it could be with more time. I could actually have a schedule and plan posts. I know right!! Also I’ve had to turn down all sorts of blogging opportunities as I’ve had no one to look after Oscar. I’m really hoping I can start accepting more opportunities and growing what I can offer. And who knows, actually start to make some money! Shock horror!

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Decorating

There are various rooms in the house that need attention, particularly the bathroom (and the kitchen is a whole other post!) But if I’m going to make a go of my blog then the thing I really need is an office. We have no spare room, or even a spare nook in our house, however we do have a large shed sort of thing at the bottom of the garden (we rather grandly call it the Summer House!) that, cleaned out and tarted up, could make a lovely office/writing space. We’d need to get electricity down there and some form of WiFi or network, but it’s definitely something to think about and could be a great project!

Learn to Drive

As I’ve mentioned before I am taking driving lessons at the moment. Well I was. It’s on hiatus at the moment, partly due to finances, partly due to not really gelling with my instructor. But the plan is totally to keep going and when Oscar is at school it’ll be easier to arrange my lessons and not have to race (not literally) back for him.

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Volunteer

There are all sorts of organisations round here that need assistanceĀ and as someone who worked in Volunteer Recruitment and Support back in the old days, maybe I should jump to the other side of the fence and practice what I preached all those years ago.Ā It’s widely acknowledgedĀ that volunteering is not only great for the community but also for the volunteers themselves, with studies showing altruism leading to the ‘helper’s high’.Ā And who doesn’t want to help their community and feel good about it while they do?

Get a job

Of course there is always the option to get a part time job, probably locally due to drop off and pick up times. I’m not happy to put Oscar into childcare either end of the school day (even at school) yet, and to be honest I have no idea if any one would even be able to take him! So a job would need to fit 100% around him and that’s asking a lot. And makes me think I should try harder with this writing malarkey!

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Yes, there are plenty of options for things I could be doing when Oscar starts school. For one we’ve decided to stop having a cleaner so I’m going to have to start cleaning the bathroom again at some stage (boohoo). But to be honest, right now, I want to enjoy my time with him. In a few months he’ll be uniformed up and off into the big world, forging his own unique path, whatever that may be.

So stop asking me what I’m going to be doing in the future. I just want to concentrate on what we’re doing today.

Wicked Wednesday – 2nd Dec 2015

He asked so nicely. With words! How could I resist?

“Paint. Paint. Purple. Please.”

So OK, it’s late in the afternoon but he’s got a nasty cough and we’ve done nothing else today, so why not.

“Right, mummy’s just going upstairs, I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Hello baby are you having fu……”

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Ahhhh

That would be my fault for leaving a 3 year old unattended with paint.

Remind me, when does messy play, become just a mess?

 

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You crafty thing….

Despite only using it it for the past six months, Pinterest and I have had something of a bumpy relationship. I avoided it for so long because I worried that, once I jumped in I wouldn’t find my way back out! To be honest I have had moments like that, but all in all I have found it to be a great resource. I don’t tend to pore over it, looking at interiors I would never be able to replicate, and homes so tidy I’d be scared to breathe in them. Doing that tends to make me feel a tiny bit miserable. So instead I tend to use it to find ideas for specific projects, like when we redecorated our room, and the Pretzel Pumpkins I made at Halloween. Just lately I’ve been trying to be a bit braver when it comes to crafting with Oscar. I wrote recently about how he’s started to really enjoy play dough, so last week, with the rain pouring down and me without a car, I decided to pull my finger out and try some ideas for entertaining toddlers with cabin fever.

The first thing I tried was home made Moon Sand (using this post from the wonderful frugalfun4boys.com) and I can’t tell you how easy it was or how successful it was. To make it I emptied one can of shaving foam in to my maslin pan and mixed in a few drops of blue food colouring in until it was evenly distributed. Then I mixed in one box of cornflour a bit at a time to make sure it was all mixed thoroughly. The end result was the texture of damp sand and smelt like my Grandad (I’d forgotten he used to use Gillette Sensitive until I squirted it out!).

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I then dumped the whole lot into a cheap underbed storage box (wide and deep), covered the kitchen floor with a plastic dust sheet (I had no idea how messy this stuff might get, so thought I better play it safe), put a few of Oscar’s toys in it and called him over. I couldn’t believe I’d managed to prep and set up a craft in such a short space of time and with the boy in the next room!

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He was a little cautious at first

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Then he realised he could bury things in it

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His favourite game was driving the car into the drift of moon sand. I think he was re-enacting the episode where Thomas (the Tank Engine to those not in the know!) gets suck in the snow!

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We played together and when I tried to leave him, he came and got me and sat me back down – most unusual for the boy!

We had a great time together. He listened when I asked him to keep the stuff in the box and I loved making little sandcastles with him

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He’d fill the ‘bucket’ and I’d press it down. He’d then shout Ready, GO! and I’d turn it out

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His favourite thing to do was to pick up the ‘sandcastle’ and crumble it back down.

This stuff was amazing. Let’s forget for a moment that I got the recipe from Pinterest and it actually worked for me (Yay!), he absolutely loved playing with it. The sand stayed pretty much in the box and what did get on our hands, clothes and the floor came off so easily (I patted myself on the back for the bright colouring – it meant I could see it to clear it up!). It was easy to assemble, the ingredients were easy to get hold of and cheap. But the best bit was it is reusable. After we finished with it, I shook as much off the toys as possible and pored the sand into a smaller airtight container (you could leave it in the box you used to be fair, it was just easier for me to store it in a smaller container). Then on Sunday we set it all up again and Daddy got to have a play with it too!

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Second time round he had just as much fun. As did Daddy!

Buoyed by my success with the moon sand I decided to have another crack at my own playdough, with a recipe I’d been given by our local Children’s Centre.

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I didn’t use glycerine in mine and I coloured it red. I would say 1 minute was probably enough in the microwave for me, but your machines may vary so start with a short burst and keep checking it. It came out a treat. Wow! I can do crafting after all and the boy loved it!

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I was so proud! Really pliable and not at all the colour of surgical stockings

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Not sure Percy was so thrilled about the set up though! Looks to me like Toby is smirking in the background! Don’t worry Toby, your time will come!

I think I just need to be a bit braver when it comes to crafts (and mess). I’ve been looking into making my own paint and I found an awesome post of how to get any stain out of children’s clothes. I just need to find a good, reasonably priced craft supplier. Where do you guys get PVA and glitter from? I miss Woolworths!