What I realised about Freya starting school (it’s not you, it’s me).

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I longed for this day.

During that first year when, on top of the huge changes that motherhood brings, the reflux, intolerances and sheer exhaustion of never sleeping in more than 10 minute snatches brought me to my knees, I thought ‘One day I will get me back, when she goes to school.’

What I didn’t realise, what I couldn’t realise back then, was that when that time eventually came, I wouldn’t want to let her go.

People told me ‘it won’t always be like this’ and, a personal favourite, ‘you need to make the most of it’. That’s easier said than done when my baby was crying in pain 80% of the day and night, refusing to feed, losing weight, not wanting my comfort but refusing to be put down – and no one was either willing or able to help. The only thing I could do was hold on and wait for it to be over.

I know it could have been far worse but it was still hard. I’m not going to pretend otherwise, even though I feel guilty about it.

They were right about one thing though, it did get easier. At nine months the reflux settled down, at a year I saw glimpses of what was to come. The fun, the laughter. Yes, there were also tears and tantrums – and a continuing lack of sleep – but by then we were bonded. She was my sidekick, my little shadow or, as our postman described her the other day, my co-pilot.

He was used to bumping into us, off on some sort of mini-adventure.

“Where’s your co-pilot today?” He asked, not realising she was now at school full time.

The truth is, for the last couple of years she’s been much more than co-pilot – quite often she picked the route, made the announcements and was flying the plane. Our days together, when I wasn’t working, were dictated by the journeys she wanted to take. Now she’s handed back the controls but after an initial rush of euphoria where I got a hot chocolate (and sat and drank it in the shop without having to colour anything in or make conversation about My Little Pony), had a henna tattoo and got my hair cut, I’m…directionless.

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I miss our outdoor adventures, exploring new places, visiting somewhere on a whim – even going to the local playground.

I. Miss. Her.

While I don’t miss endless hours of playing games that make no sense, the four-year-old rage or the constant commentary on anything and everything, I do find myself counting down to 3.30pm.

I realised on her first day that my fears about her starting school had nothing to do with her – she loves it, can’t wait to get in each day – and everything to do with me. My role as a mother to a baby, a toddler, a small child is over. There are no more babies for me and Freya will spend the majority of her time with other people now.

Early motherhood is… done.

And, as bad as of some of it was, I’m not quite ready for it to be over. I’m not quite ready to be flying solo again. 

It’s going to take some getting used to, just as motherhood did – although hopefully with more sleep this time.

Bubbablue and me school days linky

 

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A Mother And Daughter Afternoon At The NUA Degree Shows.

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By Tina Hannay.

And then it just stopped. The constant arguing, the blistering anger that would ignite over the most unlikely things, the need to control every. single. thing; like a summer storm it blew over almost as swiftly as it arrived.

Well, maybe not entirely. Freya is still three, after all – and has a very definite opinion about when it’s appropriate to wear sandals (pretty much any day it’s raining).

Thankfully, while she remains feisty and opinionated, it mostly seems more measured (for now).

It’s better.

Definitely easier.

I can (sort of) understand where she’s coming from and wade through it rather than just (mentally) throwing my hands up, at a loss as to know how to help her but holding on for dear life anyway.

I’d go as far as to say that nearly four is my favourite age so far.

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Last week I wanted to visit the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) degree shows and, as the only day I could do it was Friday, I decided to take Freya, as I thought she might like it too.

 

By Rebecca Goddard and Emily Willgress.

After lunch we hopped on a bus into the city and strolled down to the campus where we toured the various buildings looking at the work of some of this year’s 600 graduates.

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By Sean Hancock.

 

Works on display include “paintings and illustrations, fashion garments and textile patterns, architectural drawings and models, sculptures, photographs, short films and animations, portfolios of graphic design work and video game demos”.

I’ve listed links for all the work I’ve featured at the end, where I could find them, but there were so many I didn’t get chance to take photos of but were equally brilliant (and many more I didn’t get to see at all) so really you need to go and look for yourself, if possible.

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By Nancy Peart

Getting Freya’s take on things was entertaining (she was really engaged and inspired to create her own painting as soon as we got home). There were tiny brains, an animal skull which she was fascinated by and a work that included sand which she found particularly hard not to touch.

She thought the photo on the left (below) was the Northern Lights.

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By Faryal Waiz.

I also found it really inspiring – there are definitely some stars of the future just waiting to be discovered.

I was buzzing afterwards (as I treated Freya to a tub of Norfolk strawberry ice-cream in a nearby cafe) – and not just because I had given my brain what felt like an intense workout for the first time in ages but also because we both seemed to enjoy it as much as the other. So often we either do something for the pleasure of one (softplay) or the other (hunting for butterflies) or neither of us (supermarket shopping). I hope we can find more things we enjoy together.

This photo by Victoria Brooks is one of my favourites, I just found it arresting. Then there was an illustrated book by Lauren Phillips I was very taken with.

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By Victoria Brooks.

Freya really liked the textiles, including these models by Danielle Taylor but also the video games (particularly as she got to wear headphones and play with a controller).

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The degree shows are free to visit but you only have today and tomorrow left so get in quick! Please check the website for opening times. There’s also a shop, Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area, full of beautiful things to buy.

To find out more about the work I featured please click on the links below.

Tina Hannay

Emily Willgress

Victoria Brooks

Nancy Peart

Lauren Phillips

Sean Hancock

Rebecca Goddard

My Sunday Photo – May 28th, 2017.

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We visited Sheringham Park last Sunday but only when I got home did I realise my camera had been on the wrong setting all day (I thought it was my eyes!).

A couple of them sort of came out ok, including this one.

I hope you’re all safe and well.

Photalife