My round-up of the events of 2011.

Child celebrated 4th birthday.

Had party in house.  Was a bit chaotic, and I was exhausted, but the kids enjoyed it.  Can’t bear Wacky Warehouse parties and the like. Traditional party games, small numbers, personal atmosphere while they’re still small enough I say.

Discovered child could walk.

And by that, I don’t mean he didn’t take his first steps until he was 4, I mean we discovered he could walk more than 300 yards without whining.  This was a revelation. My husband and I used to be keen walkers, but this all ended once child became too big for the carrier. Now, after a couple of years of pining for the great outdoors, we’re back in business.

On a holiday in Snowdonia, where we had expected to spend our days mostly riding small steam trains and visiting petting farms, we thought we’d just set off on a walk and see what happened.  7 miles and a considerable ascent and descent later, entire family very happy, child very pleased with himself.  To add to our delight, after we spent the week mixing walking days with steam train and playground days so as not to push our luck, child said the best thing he’d done on the holiday was climbing big hills, and the only regret he expressed was that he hadn’t climbed Snowdon.

So, to everyone who told us we needed to force him to stop using the buggy or he’d never learn to walk far – HA!!

Trying to force a child to do something before they’re ready is nearly always counter-productive.  There are so many examples of this in parenting, potty training probably being the best known one.  Patience please.

Discovered the art of having a holiday with your child, from which you don’t return home needing a holiday from your child.

 Child is amazingly hopeless at amusing himself whilst parents attempt to get ready to go out in morning/relax after day out etc within small confines of holiday accommodation. However, child is not shy – this is a major asset. Cue other children and lots of safe outdoor space visible from window/patio.

Child started school.

My post ‘Starting school before the rest of Europe – a head start or a pressured start?‘ will fill you in some more on my feelings about this, but suffice to say that I worked myself up into unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety over the summer, whilst considering home schooling and/or emigrating.

Am relieved to report, however, that not only is child enjoying school so much that he expressed some displeasure when I announced school would be closing for two weeks over Christmas, but I am no longer at loggerheads with certain key members of staff following unexpected u-turns from both parties (ie: me and them) on the subject of child’s part-time attendance, resulting in a happy union somewhere in the middle.  All is harmony.

I still think they start far too young though…….

Child stopped waking us up at hideous times of the morning.

See ‘How a slice of bread changed my life‘ for more details. So far, this is still working, although I still live in fear that it’s just another phase which will one day end. Also, strangely, the slice of bread is no longer an absolute requirement. Perhaps it was just required to break a habit, or change a situation, and has now served its purpose. I’ve really no idea. I’m too busy enjoying my extra 1 – 2 hours in bed.

Happy new year to all my readers.  Come back in 2012 when normal service (including some more serious posts!) will be resumed.

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