Sunday, 25 October 2009

Should she stay or should she go?

Earlier this year, I applied for part time places at nursery for our 2 year old. One replied saying they had nothing available and would reconsider us in January. The other didn't even bother replying. I was secretly happy as I felt she was too young to go. And I was also quite reluctant to have someone other than me or my hubby change her. Then once the horrific stories of child abuse at nurseries this summer came out, I was very happy with my decision.
Life does throw curve balls. Last thing on Friday I got a call from the first nursery saying they could offer us afternoon sessions. I have been given the weekend to discuss with hubby and make a decision if tot should go.
I have to say this seems one of the hardest decisions of my life. I keep to and fro'ing.

IF SHE GOES: she makes new friends (I hope) and has some stimulation outside of mummy. Mummy gets time to clean the house, do the weekly shop and maybe in the long term, get a hobby or actually go back to work.
IF SHE STAYS: I know she is safe, we are free to decide each day what we want to do and I spend most of the day entertaining her. She laughs and sings all the time and even amazes us by singing the whole alphabet..we know she doesn't know what the letters are but her memory is remarkable. I see every development she makes and am amazed by what a wonderful child she is.

IF SHE STAYS: our house doesn't get cleaned, my nerves sometimes get frazzled by the relentless "What's that", "Why", "I don't like it" and "Please mummy PLEASE". If I spend any time on the computer, I feel guilty, then I feel annoyed as she tries to play with the keys and destroys anything I'm working on.
IF SHE GOES: she has not been left with anyone for over a year. She has never been left with a non family member or a very well known neighbour.
The nursery which only scored a Satisfactory with ofsted 3 years ago may not have the right staff to stimulate her, she may get bullied, she may get bored, she may pick up all sorts of colds and germs in general making her eczema go wild. Her routine will be disrupted as she has lately taken to napping in the afternoon. We go bankrupt with the cost of the sessions. The separation anxiety may be more than she can bear...OK more than I can bear.
What is the right age for a child to go to nursery I wonder and will we be able to decide by tomorrow? I hope so as she's getting confused about why mummy keeps grabbing her, holding on tight and showering her with kisses through teary eyes.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Better the devil know

I'll be watching Question Time tonight and sincerely hope that Nick Griffin appears. I'm not a fan. Quite the reverse. I'm hoping that the show will reveal him for being the insidious snake that he is. If he comes across well, that will be worrying but at least we will know the devil for what he is.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Useful links for toddler stuff

I haven't got around to doing a calendar of events for toddlers. However, if you are looking for activities here is a list of links I use:

Netmums Greenwich site: Also worth joining the Bexley site if you live nearer Welling etc.

Greenwich gov site:
Family days out:

Tramshed site a lot of activities are based at Plumstead Leisure centre:

Leisure centre activities:

Online activies:

Milkshake on Five:
Baby First:

Direct gov site on childcare options

Things to do with kids site:

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Tudor Barn Eltham

We went to Tudor Barn today for lunch. It still has the feel and foibles of a newly opened place. On first walking in at around 12.30ish, the place was virtually empty apart from a pair of old ladies. We decided to walk around and I bumped into another mum from Toddler World. As they had baby chairs we decided to give the food a go. Unfortunately, there wasn't a menu for toddlers (ours wanted pasta!) although we later overheard a waitress state that all the menu items could be ordered in children portions...something our waitress hadn't told us. They did happily produce a cheese sandwich for her so we were happy. The pricey menu is limited but even so, there were options for vegetarian me. Hubby and I both opted for baguettes which were lovely and fresh, accompanied by a fresh crunchy salad with the hint of a delicious dressing and fries (when did they stop being called chips?). The desserts were limited but still we enjoyed a donut and a brownie.
I was a bit miffed that I had to change tot in the function room above the restaurant as they didn't have a baby changing room. This did give me a chance to have a quick look at the room which has impressive beams and a nice view of the surrounding park. Anyway, there are plans to add a baby changing room so it's not the end of the world. I didn't notice if there were toilets for the disabled but I sure hope so as there were at least 2 elderly people in chairs by the time we left who would not have managed the steep step in the ladies loo.
The best part was saving the tot's crusts and feeding them to the ducks who were floating in the moat surrounding the Barn together with the fattest fish I've ever seen. The ducks must have been overfed as they didn't bother with the bread unlike the pigeons that nearly mobbed us!
I wasn't overly convinced that the Barn would be a good venue for a wedding reception as there is a lack of local parking but for a lazy Sunday lunch it's not too bad and there are some Boppin Bunnies classes being run here on Mondays which we are thinking of joining....try to support any toddler classes that are not in Blackheath or Greenwich.

Shrewsbury House

Shrewsbury House, Bushmoor Crescent, SE18 3EG
OK not quite Plumstead but close enough. I decided to have a look at this place as there is a toddler group based there. Autumn always produces lovely colours and our walk was chilly but in lovely sunshine.
I expected Shrewsbury House to be in the Shrewsbury Park but its nestled in among houses nearby in Bushmoor Crescent.
There is some parking in front which is useful. I went in hoping to pick up a leaflet detailing the activities in the House but sadly there wasn't one. They could do with producing something along the lines of the list that Mycanae House which shows activities by day of week and all contact numbers on the back. Luckily, the porter was able to answer a few questions and the activities, which are far and few, were listed on the board.
I made an appointment for the toddler pre-school and returned a few days later to have a look around. The room they use is large and has a gorgeous ceiling. They also have sole use of the gardens at the back so there is plenty of outdoor space for the kids. So I've put tot's name down even though she's got to wait nearly 14 months to get in as they only take children who are over 3 years, 3 months old.
Other activities at the House include a ballet class for older toddlers, Aperture - a camera club and a Shooters Hill local history clothes.
On our way back towards Plumstead, we noticed some rather impressive trees.

Friday, 16 October 2009


Tomorrow is the most important day in the Hindu calendar. I'm not overly religious but I do observe this day...probably in the way most people observe Christmas.
Diwali is a 5 day festival but the end day tomorrow, which marks Hindu New Year, is the one we get together for as a family. And that means food, glorious food. This year , the food is being ordered in. I only found out this afternoon after having spent the morning going up and down Plumstead High Street trying to buy fresh rations. Considering there is a large Hindu and Sikh population round here, there didn't seem to be much celebrating going on. I had to abandon a basket in Dadoos as the queue was so long (down to a broken machine rather than hordes of customers). So off I went to Fiveways. At the checkout, I asked if they sold sugar coated almonds (a family favourite) and when the boy said no, I exclaimed shock that they did not have this Diwali staple. His rude shrug indicated he was not either Hindu or Sikh. Ah well, I was able to get a lovely pack from Tesco Express. I did find it funny that the Express was stocking Indian supplies but if the attitude along the high street doesn't improve, you can't blame people for going off to the big giants.
Diwali is the Festival of Lights. For different Indians, this means different things. I take it as the homecoming of Lord Rama after exile and a celebration of Good over Evil. It's celebrated by lights and fireworks so from tomorrow night, expect lots of bangs around here. In reality, that'll go on all week as we merge with Guy Fawkes. Bang bang goes the toddler's sleep routine.
We will be doing it a bit more quietly, by stringing up fairy lights and lighting divas. I managed to find some beautiful ones in the internet cafe on the high street. They were painted by the owner's husband's niece. And very pretty they will look too with white tealights in them.
Happy Diwali everyone and a glorious New Year.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Time to change passwords

Seems that a lot of online email accounts have been phished.

As it's raining and we are stuck indoor, there is plenty of time to spend a few minutes creating new passwords for all your accounts. Should do this on a regular basis (I don't. I should but heck there are other things to do like eat and stuff).
If you can, use a phrase and mix in numbers etc. For gawd's sake don't use the name of your pooch, your street, your kids' names or anything even more obvious such as your birthday. If you do that, you are just asking for trouble. And get a decent Antivirus software (but not Norton which I reported in a previous post is too heavy on the old OS).

Monday, 5 October 2009

Baby bingo

I'm sure some of you have heard of Bullshit bingo. Well I think we should make up baby bingo. I am painfully aware that as I try to control my tot so that she doesn't hurt herself (in a manner that is like herding cats), I often use the same words or phrases. So tomorrow I'm going to start playing baby bingo. All I have to figure out is what to do if we score on all words/phrases.

Good girl
Well done
You are a clever monkey (or some variation)
Wow you ate all your breakfast/lunch/snack
Would you like some apple/cheese/other food stuff
Let's play
Lets read a book
Sit down
Stop that
I said NO
Just eat it
I take it you don't like mummy's [insert name of today's culinary creation]
What do you say [required response is Please]
What do you say [required response is thank you]
Shall I sing you [insert nursery rhyme. I have to sing all of them but she selects the order]
Shall we go to [insert playgroup, name of playmate's house, co-op, the park, the playground, to bed]
Go to sleep darling
GO TO SLEEP for heaven's sake! (note the tone of exasperation creeping in here)
That's a nipple (she keeps pointing to body parts and asking. Today's obsession was her and my nipples)
Behave yourself
Stop being naughty
In a minute
Come on (usually said when on a walk with the tot who could win awards for dawdling)
Move it (see above)
Don't touch that,it's dirty
Don't touch that, it's hot
It's naughty to throw food on ... the floor/at someone
Well say something (she likes to call up people on the phone but then goes all shy....sweet but not for the person being called)
Stop that! (usually putting a figure up her nose)
Good girl, you did a poo. (unfortunately potty training's going a bit slow so its still nappy time here)
Have you done a poo?
Wow that's a stinky one.
Tidy up please
You are very naughty so you stay in there for 5 minutes
Do you want a smack?

She amazed me today by being able to sing the whole alphabet. She of course is too young to know what it means, but wow what a memory. Maybe she'll start telling me what words/phrases I've missed out.

All these phrases are in English because unfortunately I don't know enough of my mother tongue to keep up a one sided conversation with her. But perhaps if I did she would feel the fear I did on the few occasions I was disciplined as a child in my language. It's just so much more scary - a bit like when your parents use your full name to call know you are in trouble! I do that with tot but she thinks it's hilarious :S

Sunday, 4 October 2009

My beautiful laundrette

Our washing machine has been broken for about 4 weeks now. Frankly this is a nightmare of epic proportions for us. Mountains of washing piling up, stinking out our house and so I had no choice but use a laundrette.
None of local ones seem to be open in the evening so my poor tot has made the trips with me.
We began with the laundrette on Plumstead Common Road. Luckily my mother-in-law was with us to help carry bags since it's impossible to park in front.
Once in, I was transported to the 70s and memories of going to laundrettes with my dad and brothers. It was a treat then and we played around a lot. In those days not many people had washing machines so laundrettes were better run and had longer opening hours.
A long chat with the nice service wash lady in the Plumstead laundrette revealed that the owners used to open from 8-8 (rather than 9-4 as they do now) but they just didn't make any money and couldn't afford to keep the service wash lady in there for longer.
After a few hours we emerged with lovely fresh clothes. My tot was happy as she got a walk in the park in between washes and enjoyed this first experience.
After that, I did a service wash. How expensive...who can afford this on a regular basis?
Last week, I tried out the laundrette on Conway road. Again had a bit of walk as there are parking restrictions in the road. This one doesn't offer service washes, is more run down but had a choice of 3 machines and the dryers stayed on longer for 20p. The clothes washed and dried very quickly.
It's different being down that road. There is a strong Asian community who seemed to know eachother well. I bought some veg from the grocery shop (not fresh but better than nowt). I also noticed that Wild East is now called Purple Chilli and during a walk we could smell the most delicious curry smells. Will have to try that out at some point.
If and when our machine gets fixed, we will not need to do these trips (though I'm convinced my towels were better cleaned than at home). But maybe once in while when the towels need a cleaner than normal wash, I just try a few more local laundrettes as it gives me a couple of hours to explore the neighbourhood and see it from a different angle.