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Facebook has deactivated the NorthHantsMum FB Page

On Thursday, when I discovered that Facebook had moved my FB pages into a Business Manager, I moved them out of the Business Manager because I have no idea what it is and I don’t want to use it as it’s clearly yet ANOTHER attempt by FB to make money out of me.

Facebook moved my pages into the Business Manager with no warning.

Again.

I was then advised by FB that they would be removing my admin rights from the pages and deleting my FB Pages within 24 hours.

At first I was absolutely LIVID.

How DARE they do this. AGAIN!

Three years ago, in 2015, they “decided” to change my profile to a page and it caused me an extreme amount of stress and grief.

However, this time I was a bit more prepared. I’ve put systems in place to ensure that if FB decided to screw my business over again I would be prepared. (I know NHM isn’t a business, it’s a not for profit, but I class it as a business given how much time and effort it takes several of us to run!)

On Friday, I woke up with a great feeling of relief and calmness.

The decision has been made for me.

Every 6 months to a year Facebook does a massive change which “screws” those of us who are running small businesses.

I am absolutely sick of it. The time and effort it takes to get things “back on track” after another Facebook algorithm change or changing the notifications so no one can see what you post. I just don’t have the energy for it anymore.

I also learnt this week that Facebook track all of the websites that you click on from the device that you’ve connected to Facebook from (I kind of knew this already). I’m fairly sure that should be illegal!!! I also learnt that they own WhatsApp.

Ironically, in the past two weeks I’ve been moaning about FB to the Small Business Networking group and some of the Mum’s on the school run, so I wasn’t that surprised when it happened this week! lol.

I intensely dislike the way Facebook are trying to exploit people and I dislike the ethics of the company.

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As I am soooo over Facebook and their ridiculous changes that are only there to try to make money out of people, after 7.5 years, I’ve decided that I won’t be having an FB page again.

Someone had already commented on the annual NHM Survey that it was confusing having so many things being posted in so many different places.

So, from now on, you can subscribe on the website (see picture below) to receive the posts via email and you can add me as a friend at “Louise nhm Smith”.

That’s it.

I will no longer update the “NorthHantsMum FB Page” and if FB choose to delete the page – well, that’s up to them.

You can’t search FB pages anyway so it makes much more sense to keep the content in the website alone.

You can still share posts from the website to Facebook as the functionality is available at the bottom of each post on the website.

Subscribe on a phone

If you are trying to subscribe via a phone, the best way is to scroll to the very BOTTOM of the home page, as far as you can go (past all of the posts) and then scroll BACK UP slowly:

  • past the “Categories”,
  • past the “Navigation Menu”,
  • past the “Random Business Directory Listing”,
  • past the “Recent NorthHantsMum Posts”,
  • past the “Search NorthHantsMum”
  • and “Subscribe to NorthHantsMum via email” will be just there.

It takes much longer to explain than to actually subscribe on a phone! lol.

Hopefully if you subscribe you won’t be subject to FB and the limitations that they place on what you see from NorthHantsMum as subscribing on the website means you won’t miss ANYTHING that is published on the website.

It would be awesome if you were able to share this post with others who you know are active followers of NorthHantsMum.

As always, thank you VERY much for your support and understanding and thank you in advance for subscribing on the website.

Thank you!!!!

Louisex

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum on TwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

My Experience: The end of Y2

You may have noticed that I’ve been going on and on and on about our experience of moving Miss NHM to a new school so I thought it was time to write something about my experience of Y2.

Four days into September 2017 term we removed Miss NHM from her old school.

The school pastoral team were arrogant enough to do completely the opposite of the comprehensive care plan that myself, Miss NHM’s paediatrician and Miss NHM’s GP put together over the summer and made Miss NHM sicker during her first week back at school. I have since found out that it was illegal for them to do this, based on the Department for Educations “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” comprehensive document.

Needless to say that was the icing on the cake after two years of despicable treatment of my daughter.

It was an incredibly stressful time. During that week that Miss NHM started her new school my car broke, the washing machine gave up the ghost, my Mother had what the professionals thought was a mini-stroke and it was the Sitting with Jane Bench auction at which the Teaching Assistant, who had been subjecting abuse at Miss NHM for months, was also at.

(When I reflect on that time, I still wonder how I didn’t end up in the nut house!)

We decided on the Friday evening that Miss NHM would never be going back to her old school.

On the Monday morning I rang round all of the local schools and was beyond delighted to find that one of my favourite schools had one space left for her (I’d already visited a few in June and July in anticipation of her old school still being beyond sh*t).

We were so, so, SO lucky and I thank our lucky stars every day that she’s now at the school she is at.

They have been….FANTASTIC!! I literally couldn’t ask for a better school. ALL of the staff are so lovely and compassionate. It’s such a brilliant school and Miss NHM has THRIVED  since she started in September 2017.

Seeing her get better over the past year as a result of just over a year of the Gluten free diet and seeing her in such a safe and happy environment has made my heart sing on a number of occasions.

She’s made some wonderful friends and she really has grown into a healthy and more confident child.

Her anxiety when she started at her new school was through the roof and I was extremely concerned about the impact of moving her to a new school but we realised we didn’t have any choice and despite her anxiety and Coeliac Disease she has completely flourished at her new school and I am eternally grateful to all of the staff at the new school who have helped with this.

Now that she isn’t in pain all of the time her reading has gone off the charts! I’m having to go to the library to borrow books for her as she’s read everything at home and for her year in school! (did you know that you can now borrow 30 books at a time on a children’s library card? Thanks Su for the heads-up!)

Her maths is still behind because she missed most of YR and a lot of Y1 as she was so poorly but she’s getting up to speed quickly.

She has lots of friends in her year and is WAY more chatty that she used to be (double edged sword) probably because she isn’t in pain now. It’s been wonderful to see that she’s been in a year where the children are all down to earth and, apart from one child, there has been no bitchiness or nastiness.

Even the school Mum’s are all lovely. Yes, there are a few cliquey’s but nowhere near as many nasty Mum’s (there were lots and lots of lovely Mum’s there too!! Just in case my friends from there are reading! <facepalm>) as there were at the old school.

With hindsight we probably should have moved Miss NHM to another school earlier but we were struggling with getting her well again and that was our focus. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and when it happens when the time is right.

I’m thankful that we moved her AFTER her diagnosis so that her “unexplained” sickness didn’t carry with her and I’m beyond grateful that the “new” school have been so fantastic.

Based on my experience, if your gut is telling you that your child isn’t happy in their current school have a look around at other local schools and go and visit them. Literally everyone I know who has moved their child to another school has found it a very positive experience for the child in question.

I’m really looking forward to Y3 and seeing how Miss NHM continues to bloom, to become more healthy and overcome her anxiety and thrive. Thank you to those of you who have supported us along this journey so far! I’m very, very thankful for all of you!!!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

I’m now on holiday until the 4th of September 2018! WHOOOP!!!!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I’m going to (properly) take the summer off from NHM this year.

This means that I won’t be posting daily on NorthHantsMum.co.uk although I will still have “recur” post working which means that historical posts will be re-published to NorthHantsMum FB Page every afternoon, around 4pm.

I also have a backlog of posts that I’ve promised to publish so will get to those at some point next week, but I won’t be “accepting” any new posts on NHM for the rest of the summer.

I need a break! 

I am still happy to take anonymous questions on “Louise NHM Smith” over the summer and I will continue to share posts from others that are useful for the NorthHantsMum Community.

However, I will be out of the country from Friday 17th August until Tuesday 4th September so will be doing NOTHING on NHM then.

I will still be working on my “day job” during the summer but I plan to spend more time with Miss NHM and to dramatically reduce the amount of stress that I normally have to deal with during the academic year.

It definitely feels like the last few years are catching up with me and I desperately need a “proper” break.

September Emails

I am quite worried about being bombarded with emails in early September, so if you already know about class changes, etc, please email them to me now and the NHM team and we will work on them in the background.

If you plan to send me emails about class schedule changes, etc, please note that it may take me a few weeks to get through them when I get back from holidays.

Please also ensure that what you send me can just be copied and pasted into the Class list as I don’t have time to format stuff anymore.

If you have any questions at any point, please don’t hesitate to get in touch but apologies if I don’t come back to you quickly.

I’m really, really, reeeeaaaalllllyyyy looking forward to a bit of a break!!! I hope you have an AWESOME summer too!

As always thank you for your amazing support!

Louisex

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Questions I would ask if Miss NHM was starting YR now

I’ve learnt a few things during the last three years, since Miss NHM started school.

We’ve changed school in that time and we’ve experienced two very different schools as a result.

These are the questions or the things I would be thinking about if Miss NHM were to start school all over again.

As I’ve said here before, I’m very aware that I only have experience of two schools so please take this with a pinch of salt.

You don’t have to agree with me and that’s fine. These are just my ramblings, as a parent, on what I would be asking or considering if Miss NHM was to go back and start school again.

Oh and apologies to any teachers or teaching assistants who read NHM and take offence to any of this. I think that the majority of you do a PHENOMENAL job under very difficult conditions and I’m very thankful for all of your efforts.

Visiting Schools/Questions to Ask

“What are your objectives for the school?”

“What do you want the children to get out of their time from school?”

If you are visiting lots of schools I would recommend seeing if you can get some time with the head. They are top of the food chain at the school and as everything flows down from them it would be important for me to understand what their “ethos” is for the school.

I would ask them about what their objectives are for the school and what they expect the children to get out of school. If they don’t mention the word “fun” at least twice during that conversation I wouldn’t even be considering that school.

If all the head or the teachers talk about is education and maths and english that would be a red light. For me, infants school (in fact all school) needs to be not just about education but also about the welfare ofeach child and how the school would support that.

I believe that there needs to be a fun element in school. Children should not be expected to sit at their desk all day long, especially not in YR.

I would also be VERY reticent if that head teacher came across as very cold and didn’t share anything about their thoughts or feelings. This will reflect throughout the school.

Length of service of the teaching staff

“How long has the head teacher been at the school?”

At Miss NHM’s first school the head teacher changed during the summer holidays just before she started YR. Parents were not informed and I only found out about this by accident. It was handled appallingly by the school and things changed dramatically from when we originally saw the school to when Miss NHM started school. To the point that we didn’t even know when Miss NHM would be starting school until a month before. This should have been an early warning sign to me.

Also, it was clear that the head teacher had no idea what they were doing and this reflected in Miss NHM’s experience of YR.

“How long have the teachers in YR been at that school? ”

This is really important. It’s very interesting to note that often when a new head starts, a lot of the existing staff leave within 6 months, so you will essentially be starting with a brand new staff team.

School Visits

We were given a tour of one school by a parent governor. I wouldn’t attend this tour again. They did not give us a clear picture of the school and we only found this out once Miss NHM started at that school.

I also attended another school visit that was led by children who attended that school. This was a DREADFUL way of seeing a school because it wasn’t possible to ask questions as we went round because the children were unable to answer them. Or maybe that was the idea…

Visit during the school day

As I’ve said before I would also ensure that my visits were during the day time whilst the existing children were in the school. This is VERY enlightening. If the children are all sitting well behaved behind desks, that wouldn’t sit well with me after everything we have experienced.

In YR children should be free to roam. Their focus should be on play activities. I would stand in the YR rooms and turn around slowly and take in the environment. Are the rooms free flowing? Are there mostly toys and sensory items available for the children to play with? Are several of these outside? These are the kinds of things I would be considering as a parent.

School Uniform

“What’s the policy on school uniform?”

Are the school really, really strict on school uniform? This speaks volumes to me if they are strict about uniform in infants school.

Particularly if they demand that the children wear logo’d T-shirts. The stress that we went through because Miss NHM wouldn’t wear logo’d T-shirts because they scratched, is still firmly etched in my mind.

“Extra” classes

“Does the school allow for any other “classes” during the school day?”

I know of some schools that have extra classes during the school day that parents can pay for. Things like sports, music and art, the stuff that the government doesn’t deem important enough to be included in the school curriculum on a regular basis.

If the school doesn’t allow external providers into the school, to me, this indicates the philosophy of the school.

Forest School

“Does the school have any provision for forest school.”

I know of several local schools that have forest school and I’m GUTTED that Miss NHM missed out on this at her school as they mainly do it for the YR and Y1’s in her current school and her old school didn’t have forest school at all.

The children turn up in casual clothes and spend the day outside. The fact that some schools recognise how important it is for young children to be outside would be important to me.

Holidays during term time

“What’s the school policy on taking a child out of school during term time?”

This was my “killer” question when we were going round to view schools before Miss NHM started YR.

All the schools will say the same. It’s illegal, the children will miss out on their education and become illiterate, stupid and will fail at life, you’ll get fined, blah, blah, blah. However, it’s not WHAT they say it’s the WAY that they say it. One head teacher of a school we visited literally tried to rip my head off after I’d asked her that question.

Her response made me think very long and hard about whether I would want my child in a school where the head felt it was appropriate to behave like that with a very reasonable question from a parent who was new to the schooling system.

Failing YR

“How does a child fail YR at this school?”

If a teacher or head teacher balks at the word “fail” then that’s what I would be looking for. If I got a long spiel about how children fail YR for whatever reasons, I would NOT be sending my child to that school.

Time outside

“How often are the children allowed to play on the school field?”

Does the school even have a school field and if they do are the children allowed to play on it or is it “just for show”. I would also want to know about break times and the times that children are allowed outside.

For example, if it’s a heatwave are children still allowed outside to play in the shade during their break times or do they need to remain in the sweltering heat in the classroom?

Additional Needs Children

“How are children with additional needs treated at this school?”

Even if I didn’t have a child with additional needs this would now be a key question for me.

Having seen the IMMORAL and inhumane way that Miss NHM was treated at her old school and having heard that several other children with additional needs have now been removed by their parents from that school, I would want to know exactly what the school was doing to support children with additional needs.

Even if my child didn’t have additional needs I would want to meet the SENCO and the ELSA of the school so I knew who these people were and I got to see how sympathetic and understanding they were.

You never know if your child is suddenly going to need extra support, like we did, and knowing these people in advance and what their “ethos” is would be important to me.

Reception Staff

Having experienced two school receptions I know EXACTLY what I would be looking for.

If the receptionist on the front desk is rude, dismissive or patronising, this speaks volumes about the school.

They will potentially be the first person that you speak too or meet. If they can’t be civil or understanding of a new parent who has no idea what is going on, I wouldn’t want my child at that school.

If the reception staff are bubbly and happy and very willing to give you advice if you are a new parent then this is what I would be looking for.

Sports Day

“What happens on Sports Day?”

This is a bit of a random one but having experienced two very different Sports days at two different schools I would want someone to explain to me what happens on sports day.

If there is no mention of Mum’s races, Dad’s races, toddler races or teacher races this would raise a red flag for me.

For me, Sports days should be a really lovely family affair and if parents and families aren’t invited to take part and it’s just about rigidly following the “structure” of the schools Sports Day, I would be concerned.

Primary Schools vs. Infants Schools

“Is the school a Primary or an Infants school?”

In my naivety before Miss NHM started school I was adamant that she went to an Infants school because I thought it would be better for her to be with children roughly the same age as her and that she would be with lots of her peers.

However, now that we’ve been through two schools I would ALWAYS opt for a Primary school, for many reasons.

Primary schools are normally smaller schools with smaller years, so instead of 3 or 4 classes of 30 children in YR you have 1 or 2 classes of 30 children for each year in a Primary school.

Younger children are also mixing with other children a lot older than them and I have only seen good things come from this. Miss NHM is in awe of the children in Y6 and is always trying to emulate her favourites.

Also, if your child is in Infants school you then have all of the anxiety and stress when they move from Infants to Juniors. I have several friends at Miss NHM’s old school who are living this reality and it looks like it’s quite stressful. Not knowing what the new junior school will be like can be very worrying (they often operate independently of the infants school), as well as stressful wondering about how things “step up” in Y3.

Go with your gut

Most importantly, I would trust my instincts. I wouldn’t let Mr NHM do some of the school visits on his own because I was busy working and trying to look after Miss NHM whilst she was still an un-diagnosed Coeliac. I would want both of us to go and see ALL of our local schools either together or independently during school time.

I wouldn’t just follow the system and think that the school that’s closest to us has got to be a “good” school because aren’t all schools “good”? (No, they aren’t).

I would trust my parenting instincts and if a school didn’t feel right for whatever reason, even if I couldn’t verbalise it, I wouldn’t send Miss NHM there.

When you go into a school and you speak to the staff and the children you will just “know” which school is right for your child.

I hope this hasn’t been too stressful to read for new parents who are due to join the schooling system soon.

Hopefully it’s given you some things to think about that I had never considered when Miss NHM started school. (I wish I had had the benefit of reading this post when she was 3 years old!)

Good luck!

What would you add to these questions?

Feedback from NHM Readers on this post:

Alison: “Some interesting points although I was rather shocked to find out that the school closest to you might be the only one you got even if you didn’t chose it.” 

Leanne: “Lots to think about although your bit about infant/junior schools I would say is unnecessarily worrying for parents who live where there is only a choice of separate schools and no primaries. There are also some enormous primaries! I’ve taught in both and I don’t think the type of school has been a significant factor in children’s happiness.

Also-no teacher or parent races at sports day would not raise a red flag. For every parent that enjoys that sort of thing, there is one that dreads it and hates the thought of letting their child down. Also, the more races there are, the longer the children are sat doing nothing which is especially not great during this hot weather!

I totally agree with listening to see if the HT talks about more than just English and Maths.”

Lucy: I’d add that your child isn’t legally required to be in school at all. It’s your choice how and where your child is educated.”

Leanne: “Oh and it is worth knowing that you can take your child out of school legally until the term after they turn 5 (when they then have to be in education). So if your child is 5 in May, for example, you can take them on holiday any time during their Reception Year but if they are 5 in November you only can for that first term.”

Lizzie: “Couple of things I would like to add. Firstly, your child is not compulsory school age until the term after they turn 5 so it is your right to choose how much they attend until then. Also, if your child is born 1st April – 31st August you can apply to decelerate them and start them at school a year later at age 5. You can ask for them to start in reception.”

Lizzie: “In regard to forest School – I am a forest School and outdoor learning teacher. If you really want forest school make sure it isn’t just one class that get the opportunity, look for a school that continues the provision throughout the school every year to get the most from it. Also, don’t get hung up on forest school itself. There’s schools out there that don’t have actual forest school sessions but outdoor learning and is embedded across the curriculum throughout the school. If a school values outdoor learning they will be telling you about it before you ask.”

Other questions to ask suggested by NHM Readers

Good Afternoon Everyone! I’m putting together a post with questions to ask and things to look out for when visiting Infants/Primary schools. I’ve had some great suggestions in the YR 2018 group but thought I’d ask the whole of the NHM Community if they have any suggestions? TIA 

Charlotte: “Ofsted report, exam results, behaviour management, teaching method as in topic based etc, class sizes, mixed year classes or years on own”

Mary: “Ask about toilets and the dignity of children when using them.”

Lisa: “Mainly go with gut feeling but also look at how happy/polite/well presented the kids are, how much homework do they get in each year, after-school clubs, staff turnover, parent involvement (trips etc), friendliness of staff particularly office staff, how often parents get feedback (i.e reports/parents eve)….”

Victoria: “You can ask all the questions in the world but you will ‘just know’ when you’ve found the right one for your child. When forming questions think about your child’s needs, current ‘academic’ interest, emotional maturity and then base your questions on that. In some way generic questions about OFSTED, sat results are not really going to give you the answers you need!”

Hannah: “Look for how the staff interact & engage with the children. I’d want to know more than anything else that staff would be able to build a positive relationship with my child (no matter how difficult they were being) so they would feel safe and happy… only then will the learning etc take place.”

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

My Experience: Body shaming 7 year olds

On Saturdays, after Miss NHM’s swimming lesson, her and Mr NHM go out for a “Daddy Daughter” date, so they can have some quality time together and have a chat.

It was during their “Daddy daughter” date on the morning of the Royal Wedding when Miss NHM suddenly said to my husband: “Daddy, I need to be skinnier”. Just matter of fact, in the way that my daughter is.

It was so out of the blue and not related to what they were discussing and he was so shocked that he just asked her why she thought that.

She said “Because ***** says I’m too fat and I need to be skinnier”.

He continued to be so shocked that he just changed the subject. When he got home he asked to talk to me in private and told me what had happened. I was just as shocked. I had NOT anticipated dealing with things like this when our daughter has just turned 7 years old.

We agreed that we wouldn’t make a big thing about it but would try to re-iterate a positive body image.

However at dinner the next evening I made a flippant comment about it being really healthy and Miss NHM piped up with: “good, I’m glad it’s really healthy as I’m too fat and I need to be skinnier”.  I was so shocked again, but slightly more prepared, so I told her that she is definitely not fat and her body is just perfect as it is.

(Miss NHM already has challenges with food because of her coeliac disease and she is anything but fat.)

I emailed the head teacher on Monday who had asked me to keep them informed previously, as it’s not the first time that Miss NHM has had things like this happen to her.

The head teacher confirmed that body shaming at 7 years old isn’t as rare as you would think.

A few days later I spoke briefly to some trusted parents in the playground and a couple of the Mum’s of girls said that their 6 or 7 year old daughters had also said, at one time or another, that they were “fat”.

WOW. Just WOW. What is our society coming too?

I was very naive in thinking that because we don’t have a TV Miss NHM would be avoiding this type of thing. I hadn’t expected some of her peers to be projecting it instead!

Miss NHM hasn’t mentioned it again since that weekend but she’s being kept away from the other child in school because of their negative impact on Miss NHM anyway.

I’m sharing this not because I have any answers. I don’t have any, but in case any other Mum’s and Dad’s are freaking out about their young children saying things like this, you are not alone.

If anyone has any specific professional advice about what to do with this, then please do let me know.

I don’t know whether it’s right to not make a big thing about this with Miss NHM or whether we should be talking to her more about these things.

Why is parenting so hard at times?

Louise: I wrote this a few weeks ago and I’m not as worried about it anymore as Miss NHM hasn’t mentioned it since but it does make me a little concerned about the future and what that might bring. 

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

I’m taking Summer 2018 OFF from NorthHantsMum!

It’s less than a month until the end of term so I thought I better give you the heads-up that I’m taking the summer off from NorthHantsMum like I have for the past 4 years.

As you know NorthHantsMum is my hobby and I fit it in around all of the other things going on in my life. My family is my priority and it’s really important to me that I spend the six weeks summer holiday with Miss NHM, so that we can have some fun and a proper break.

After the last few harrowing years of Miss NHM’s health, this will be our first summer where she is healthy and well and we won’t be struggling with the complications of her Coeliac Disease.

Although I will still be working for most of it, we will be squeezing in lots of fun stuff in between and catching up with lots of friends that we haven’t seen during term time.

I’m also NOT going to get involved in any bloody bench auctions or anything similar. Last year’s fundraising exercise (I know I only have myself to blame for that one! Facepalm! lol) for the Jane Austen benches nearly KILLED me and although it was an amazing experience I am DEFINITELY not doing anything similar again this summer.

(If you suddenly see me doing something like that again, please, please, PLEASE send me lots of abusive messages about talking crap and slap me if you see me!!!)

I will probably post every few days over the summer as I can’t seem to help myself. But it will be more the stuff that I WANT to post than posting for everyone else.

Or I may just decide to take the summer off completely from posting on NorthHantsMum.co.uk. I haven’t quite decided yet.

We will still be working in the background on NorthHantsMum.co.uk though, cleaning things up and making it easier for you to find the posts that you are looking for.

I’m hoping that myself and the “Awesome NHM Support Team” will be putting together our annual posts of “The Ultimate NHM Summer Holiday Posts!” and “Classes still running over the Summer Holidays” so look out for those in the next few weeks.

I will still be around on “Louise nhm Smith” on FB so if you want to ask any anonymous questions please PM me and I will get to them when I can.

BUT I will be totally offline from August 17th until Tuesday 4th September because we are having a “once in a lifetime” holiday (WHOOOOOPPPPPP!!!!!), so if you would like any posts to be published in early September please email them to me now as I will be doing NOTHING from 17th Aug to 4th Sept on NorthHantsMum.

As always thank you for your amazingly fantastic support and I hope you have LOADS of exciting things planned for the summer too!

Louisex

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I started NorthHantsMum 7 years ago today!

Seven years on.

I’m still here.

So are you.

I wish I had something insightful and witty to write about 7 years of my life leading the NorthHantsMum Community but I’m too exhausted today! lol.

I STILL can’t get my head around how I’m considered to be NorthHantsMum. I think it’s because it’s not just me. There’s a whole team of us who work in the background.

Thank you especially to Juliet and Shona who have helped me so much in the past 3 years, putting posts together. Thank you also to Tina for her expert wordpress help. And the many others who have helped me during the past 7 years: Wendy, Andy, Jo, Abi, Sophie, Peta, Claire and many others (apologies if I’ve missed your name off!).

I also can’t believe it’s ONLY been 7 years. It feels like it’s been part of my life for much, much longer!!!! In a good way, of course :-D.

Anyway, Happy 7th Birthday to the NorthHantsMum Community!

Roll on summer, when I’m taking my annual 6 weeks off!!! 😀 😀 :-D.

As always, thank you for being part of the NorthHantsMum Community and for all of your support!

Louisex

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My Experience: Let’s talk about sex…

Yeah, I thought that might get your attention! Hahaha.

It certainly got my attention when Miss NHM came home from school a few weeks ago, talking about “hairy bhajina’s”. It took me about 5 seconds before I twigged what she was going on about!!?!?!?!?!

Then there was a “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I’m not READY, I’m not READY, I’m not READY!!!!” in my head for about another 5 seconds whilst I did some very quick thinking.

Then I realised that I’m never going to be ready for this one, so I corrected Miss NHM with the right wording and said I would see if I could find a book that could help her understand some things.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to parenting. I’m making the whole thing up as I go along. We all are and anyone who says they aren’t is a great, big, hairy fibber.

But I do know that it’s important to Mr NHM and I that Miss NHM doesn’t learn about sex from playground gossip.

I know this isn’t strictly about sex but when I was 8 years old one of my best friends, Rachel P, her Mum had a miscarriage. Rachel’s parents obviously tried to explain this awful situation in a way that Rachel would understand. What Rachel took away from this conversation was that the baby had died and that it had been flushed down the toilet. She then told everyone in the playground that this is what had happened. For YEARS I had nightmares about small babies dying and being flushed down toilets, like goldfish.

So I was adamant that Miss NHM doesn’t find out about the birds and the bees or anything like this from playground gossip.

I don’t ever remember having the “sex talk” with my parents. I still have a book that was given to me when I was 6 years old, which explained how things worked.

I discreetly asked a few of the Mum’s on the school run about whether they had come across this yet, and one of my lovely friends (Hi H!) suggested the following book: “Let’s talk about the birds and the bees”.

I got our copy from The Book People, because it was a third of the price of what it was on Amazon or at Waterstones.

It’s a hard back book and really good quality.

The following weekend, Miss NHM and I sat on the bed and read the first few pages of the book.

I can’t say it was an easy read for me. I was cringing  a lot of the way through those pages, which says quite a lot about me I’m sure. Hopefully this didn’t come across as I was doing my very best to read it naturally.

Miss NHM was quite fascinated by it all and she clearly took it all on board because a few nights later she asked about it over the dinner table, which wasn’t quite was I wanted to discuss whilst eating spag bol, but I’d rather she feels safe to discuss these things with us than not.

I have tried to explain to her that we only talk about these things at home. I’d like to apologise to the other school parents if she hasn’t taken this bit on board (face palm).

I have no idea if I’ve done the right thing or not. “Just turned 7 years old” seems FAR too early to me to be discussing things like sex, but then I remember being that age and being quite fascinated by it all.

There is a section at the back of the book for parents, which says that if you talk to your children about sex they are less likely to be hung up about it.

They better be right!!!!

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My Experience: Being Authentic

One of my objectives for NorthHantsMum is to share some of my experience of being a Mum.

The past three years of Motherhood have been really tough for me.

I haven’t talked about it on NorthHantsMum because it’s been a very, very difficult turn of events that we’ve dealt with privately as a family. Not knowing what was “wrong” with Miss NHM for nearly 3 years was indescribably draining and stressful.

However, I’ve realised I can’t be authentic on NorthHantsMum without talking about my experience of Miss NHM’s Coeliac Disease.

We’ve had many discussions as a family about whether it’s the right or wrong thing to share this with NHM Readers as it’s a very private thing.

I’ve talked to Miss NHM (6 years old) about it and she was very wise and told me that it’s ok to tell other people about it because it might help them too. That, right there, is one of the reasons why my daughter is so awesome.

Coeliac Disease

Miss NHM was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in May 2017.

Coeliac Org say this about Coeliac Disease:

” Coeliac disease is a well defined, serious illness where the body’s immune system attacks itself when gluten is eaten. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food. Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease.” (Coeliac.org).

1 in 100 people have been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease but the belief is that it is actually 1 in 25 people who have it.

There are over 200 possible symptoms of Coeliac Disease and it takes the average sufferer 13 years to be diagnosed. Medical advances are moving forward so quickly that it’s easier to be diagnosed these days, but Miss NHM is still incredibly lucky that we established what the issue was in just 2.5 years, particularly as there is no history of Coeliac Disease in either of our families, that we know of. (Coeliac disease does run in families but not in a predictable way)

The journey

I’ve alluded to it on the blog before but the 2.5 years leading up to her diagnosis were harrowing. I’ve written a post which explains the impact that Coeliac Disease has had on our lives but I’m no where near ready to publish it. It’s still too raw.

When your child is sick and you don’t know why and it takes years to find out why…yeah, it’s been really tough.

I was a bit naive about coeliac disease. I’d heard of it and knew people with it but I thought it was just a case of someone avoiding gluten in their diet and then everything would be fine.

It isn’t.

It’s far more serious than that.

We have to monitor EVERYTHING that Miss NHM eats, to ensure that it doesn’t contain gluten. She has regular blood tests and we have to monitor her energy levels very carefully as gluten free (GF) carbs don’t have the same energy density as “normal” carbs.

However, I am so, so, SO very grateful that Miss NHM was diagnosed so early in her life.

The impact of Coeliac Disease

Coeliac Disease has had a huge impact on my role as a Mum.

Every time we do something or go somewhere I am continuously thinking ahead. Do we have enough food? Will there be any alternatives that she can eat if we don’t have enough? Can we take our own food? Do they have any understanding of Coeliac Disease? Will someone offer her something and I will have to leap in and whip it away from her before she eats it? Do we have a subsitute to hand? Have they even heard of cross contamination?

There are the things that you would expect to look out for, like anything containing wheat, e.g. bread and pasta.

But it’s the things that you wouldn’t expect like barley squash, chocolate, chips, marshmallows, soy sauce, most ketchups, some fromage frais, and even playdough which is made with gluten. There are many, many, many more products which contain gluten which we have had to remove from Miss NHM’s diet.

On the rare occasion that we eat out or at someone else’s house, I’m checking to see whether they understand about cross contamination which is really important for people with coeliac disease. For example, you cannot put a knife in butter that has been used on “normal” bread, because even one crumb can cause Miss NHM weeks of pain and discomfort which affects her wellbeing, her health and her education.

I feel like I spend a lot of my time educating our friends and family, who have in the most part been amazingly supportive, about what cross contamination is and what Miss NHM can and can’t eat.

Using the coeliac.org phone app is second nature now. It’s fantastic!! There are over 100,000 food items listed and you can search by product name or bar code. This little app has been a life saver on many occasions.

Attending events and going anywhere new is now a BIG thing. Birthday parties are a nightmare, with birthday cake and sandwiches. We have been incredibly lucky that parents who we don’t know who have hosted birthday parties, have gone out of their way to ensure that Miss NHM doesn’t get singled out and isn’t treated any differently. We are very, very thankful for that. I try to make it as easy for other parents and friends by offering to provide food as it’s already a part of our reality.

Holidays abroad just aren’t an option at the moment although Coeliac.org has lots and lots of awesome advice for this.

I frequently get invited to review restaurants on NHM but we have to be so careful these days that I just ask one of the NHM Writers to go instead as it’s not worth the drama of having that discussion about the food not just being gluten free but also being free from cross contamination.

It’s such a HUGE part of our lives that I can’t write about being a Mum without talking about it.

Coeliac Disease and NorthHantsMum

As a result of the experiences that we have had with the NHS (unfortunately pretty dreadful in this instance) and The Prison for two years, most of my energy has been spent dealing with all of this and more. I’ve been fairly quiet on the blog over the past few years because of this.

However, now that Miss NHM has been on a Gluten Free (GF) diet for nearly a year and we’ve moved her to a far more sympathetic and understanding school, and as my energy is returning because I’m no longer battling with the institutions in Miss NHM’s life, I’m finding the urge to write more about our lives and more about my experience of being a Mum.

I don’t want NorthHantsMum to turn into a blog which is all about our experience of Coeliac Disease. I don’t want to bang on and on about it (well, I will try not too!) but I do feel that one of the reasons that we’ve been through this experience is so that I can share what we have learnt and also use this as an opportunity to educate people a bit more about what Coeliac Disease is, what it’s like being the parent of a child with an autoimmune disease and how it impacts our lives.

I never, ever, EVER wanted to be that Mum who has to make a big deal about what their child eats ALL the chuffing time.

I never wanted to be the Mum who has to check every…single…item that passes my child’s lips.

But I am and I’m dealing with it.

We’ve been incredibly lucky so far with the support that we have received from our wonderful friends and family and I hope this post goes a little way to explain what it’s like being the Mum of a child with a serious autoimmune disease.

Coeliac.org

If you would like to help Miss NHM with managing her disease, one of the best ways you can do this is to help raise funds for Coeliac.org. They have been invaluable for us.

For example, last month Miss NHM presented to the whole of Y1 and Y2 about Coeliac Disease as part of “Inclusion week” and we used one of the “Young Champions” packs from Coeliac.org to help with this. I won’t dwell on the fact that she told the Y1’s that she got Coeliac Disease from when a tarantula bit her as a baby (facepalm!) but I’m so proud of her for doing this because less than 6 months before she wouldn’t have physically been able too.

One of the ways you can help to fundraise is to join Coeliac’org’s weekly lottery where you can win up to £10,000 every week. It costs just £1 a week to enter, or £2 to double your chances of winning.

https://www.coeliac.org.uk/get-involved/support-us/weekly-lottery/

The money raised will not just help Miss NHM but anyone impacted by Coeliac Disease.

As always, thank you for your support and thank you for reading NorthHantsMum!

Louisex

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Miss NHM is 7 years old today!!!!!!

I am now the Mum of a seven year old! I have NO idea how that happened because, as cliched as it sounds, it seems like only yesterday she was born!

This also means that the NorthHantsMum blog is nearly seven years old. Wow, that makes me feel old!!! lol

I started NorthHantsMum when Miss NHM was 3 months old in 2011 and it was originally for pregnant Mum’s and parents of babies and children aged six and under. Now that she’s 7. that kind of puts a spin on things! lol.

I decided about a year ago that I would carry on running the blog anyway. It’s such a huge part of my life now, I cannot NOT run it!

I’m incredibly proud of the person that my daughter is becoming. Yes, she is very often frustratingly determined and opinionated (No idea where she gets that from…). Yes, she very rarely listens to what I have to say. (Right now, for example, she’s reading what I’m writing at the same time as telling me knock knock jokes. Which isn’t annoying at ALL whilst I’m trying to concentrate! Face Palm!)

But when I think of the things that she’s had to endure during her short life and that this hasn’t affected the caring and generous nature that she has, her wicked sense of humour and her love of history, books and fashion, I am filled with awe that I have the privilege of being her Mum. (Ok, so I’m not ALWAYS filled with awe because a lot of the time she’s really bloody difficult to parent, but you know what I mean!! lol)

Without her my life would literally have no meaning and despite the really crappy bits of the past few years, I wouldn’t be the person that I am now if I wasn’t her Mum. I’m so very, very, very grateful for her and the light that she brings with her everywhere she goes.

Happy 7th Birthday to my amazing, smart, courageous, beautiful, sparky, fantastic little girl who is the inspiration and drive for everything I do!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!