My month in Instagrams: September 2014

September saw two significant milestones: my birthday (21 again, obviously) and Toby heading off to primary school for the first time. But before he did, we made sure his last days of freedom were packed full of fun.

Beaulieu and the beasts

Although they’re now at the same school, the boys started term a week apart. To celebrate Isaac’s final day of the summer holidays before starting year two, I took the boys to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu – and, more importantly, the World of Top Gear exhibit.

Although both Isaac and Toby are well versed in the programme, we did our research beforehand. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I made sure the boys had filled in the gaps in their knowledge by watching the challenges all the cars on show featured in, so they could relate to everything they saw.

It was time well spent. The boys wandered round, mouths agape, talking about who had done what to which car with impressive precision. It never fails to impress me how much capacity children have to soak information up – while I can barely remember the fact that I’ve forgotten something or what the point of this particular paragraph is … [goes back and checks] … the boys could relate exact detail back to me in a manner which put me to shame.

As we walked back to the car at the end of an exhausting day, Isaac spontaneously thanked me for taking them on “the most brilliant day out ever”. Bless.

Many happy returns

Normally on my birthday, Heather and I will have a quiet night in with a takeaway after putting the kids to bed (because we’re so rock ‘n’ roll). This year, however, I spent the evening at work as part of a launch event.

Brian Cox

Sadly, no one presented me with a birthday cake. And I somehow managed to make it through the event without actually eating anything (which, as anyone who knows my fondness for canapes or a buffet will tell you, is unprecedented). However, I did get to see Professor Brian Cox give a keynote speech, of which I understood as many as one word in four (and that included Big Bang and Large Hadron Collider). As far as science and technology goes, that’s about as rock ‘n’ roll as it gets.

Last days of freedom

With Isaac back at school, I had two separate one-on-one days with Toby before he started.

The first of these was at Legoland, where he got to do exactly what he wanted for once and came away with a big box of assorted Lego to get creative with. Then for his final day of freedom he simply asked if we could potter around Newbury looking at cars and going for coffee and McDonalds. There are few places Toby enjoys more than a big edge-of-town retail park and a car showroom. So that’s exactly what we did. I’ve never seen anyone get so excited over two Fiat 500s parked side by side.

The big day

The following day was his first half-day at school. We’d been a little apprehensive that he might struggle with the change – he’s very much a creature of habit – but in the end he had a brilliant time and was full of smiles and enthusiastic chatter afterwards.

Toby school uniform

Three weeks later, and school is proving to be the making of him. In that short space of time, he has visibly come out of his shell and grown in confidence. It’s been amazing to watch the way he has fully embraced school. Long may it continue. So that’s two kids down, one to go.

The boss

Kara (two years four months) may be the youngest of our three children, but she is very much an equal member of our little sibling gang. In fact, she’s really the one in charge, as both boys are brilliant with her, accommodating most of her demands. (Anything for an easy life!)

Her speech continues to develop apace, and with it her bossiness assertiveness. She’s not backwards in coming forwards with her opinions, and she’s quite happy to challenge anyone, whether it is one of her brothers or her parents. If she’s not happy with something, she will march up to the nearest person with a glare on her face that could end global warming forever, put her hands on her hips and declare, “I *don’t* like it!” It’s very funny – as long as it’s not me on the receiving end of it.

Next month we’re heading away for a long weekend at Butlins, so I’ll be back with half-term tales as Five Go Barmy in Bognor. (That was a book, right?!?)

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