My Sunday Photo – July 16, 2017.

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Is there anything better than running around a field in your party dress? Not when you’re three, it seems.

To see what other people have taken photos of this week please click on the camera below.

Oh, and please pop back tomorrow when I’ve got another fantastic Behind The Book post for you.

Wishing you all a fabulous week.

Photalife

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

New Milestone: Starting Nursery – It’s Tough (On The Parents).

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I’ve bought the uniform, the name labels (although I’ve put them in a safe place and they are currently m.i.a.), new shoes, a backpack. 

If it’s on the list, she has it. 

We are ready.

Or at least, one of us is.

Every time someone mentions nursery, and it’s surprisingly often these days, Mark and I share a look… of utter terror.

I know this is often the way; that bloggers with children starting nursery or (shudder) actual school will be writing similar posts this week or next. 

It’s comforting, sort of.

But it doesn’t stop The Fear.

While some change is inevitable, Mark is worried that we will lose our happy go lucky little girl – we rather like her, it would be good if she stuck around. He also wants to carry on shielding her from emotional or physical harm (forever), which we obviously can’t do if we are not there (and which we realise is part of growing up, to some degree).

For me, it goes further.

I hated school.

Ok, maybe not all of it. Definitely high school, for all sorts of reasons, and my mum says she had to take me out of play school because I upset all the other children by sobbing my heart out each week, even if it was only for an hour.

When I think about Freya starting nursery, the weight of my unhappiness presses down on me like a physical thing. 

What sort of mother am I to start her on that path, to consign her to 13 years, at least, of misery by making her go to nursery – even if it is only two mornings a week, at first – when she doesn’t really need to? 

And then I stop.

I think.

What I have to remember is that Freya isn’t me (or Mark). 

Whatever my feelings about it I have to be entirely positive for her sake. 

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And the thing is, she is ready. 

It won’t come out of the blue, I have been preparing her. Hoping to ease her into it, giving her the skills she needs to thrive.

We’ve been walking by the nursery since she was a baby and often stop and look through the fence and watch the children play for a few minutes. The teachers even wave at her. We talk about how much fun it would be to be in there. I’ve been excitedly telling her more recently that it won’t be long before she will be allowed to stay and play with them.

When we went to the open morning she didn’t want to leave.

She is desperate to make friends. At the park she will try and play with other children, any other children no matter if they are five years older than her (and often not interested) or too young to play the games she wants. At nursery they will be her age and probably interested in the same strange, often unfathomable  games she wants to play.

We go to different places, we meet new people. I encourage her to ask questions, not to be shy. I’ve gently been teaching her about being mindful of others but to stick up for herself where appropriate.

She might not have been out of my care (or that of close family) before but I’m hopeful that, once she’s used to a new routine, she will be in her element.

I have to be confident she will.

Now, whenever anyone mentions her starting nursery, instead of bursting into tears, as I want to, I repeat a mantra in my head.

She will love it.

It’s only for a couple of hours.

She will be fine.

Plus, if she doesn’t settle after a period of time, we can try again next year.

I’m not a powerless child now, I’m an adult, a mother, and I will make it as enjoyable, positive and meaningful as I can for her.

Any other tips for surviving nursery for an anxious mum (and dad)?

Nursery