Grandparents… Very precious commodity in the lives of their grandchildren.
Not that you always think it…

My two munchkins are lucky enough to have all 4 of theirs in their lives. My in-laws live right next to us, and my own parents are 3 hours away, but still here and actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives.

I never had the pleasure of even meeting my paternal grandparents, they passed away when my Pops was young. He lost his father when Pops was a child himself, and his Mother when he was in Mumbai studying to become a dentist, far away from her in Kenya. But I hear of them as being loving, amazing people, and I wish I had a chance to meet them, just once, to thank them for making my Pops the person he is.

My mum’s parents have also both left us, but at least I met them. But they never lived close to us, always in Kenya, while we were in the UK. My Nanaji, granddad, is a person I remember as such a strong, respected character, well known in his community, a charitable man who always tried to help better the lives of others by paying for the education of his employees children, and encouraging his own to be what they could. He even sent my mum abroad to University in the UK, not a usual thing in the 60’s for a young indian girl, because he believed in equality and gave all his children the same opportunities. He passed away when I was 6, but even from such a young age, my memories of him are etched in my heart. My Nani, grandma, was the sole grandparent I got to know. We had snatched holidays to spend with her, over in Kenya, and she would sporadically come over here to stay with us. She was a funny lady,never saying anything correctly, with all sorts of funny foibles! Telling my cousins, brother and I off when we were together for making too much noise, but them worrying when we were too quiet! OCD about her cutlery, I remember her counting spoons on numerous occasions! Plus she had so much love to give. I was 22 when she died, old enough to really understand what I was losing. All my grandparents, gone. My one consolation was that, though she had not met my Hubby Dearest, she had known about him, and had spoken with him on the phone.

Getting married, I was so happy, and one of the many reasons I was happy was that I would, by default, be getting some grandparents! Hubby Dearest had both his wonderful grandmothers alive at the time we got married. One in India, but one lived here too, so I would get to experience that grandmotherly affection once again!

India Grandma was the loveliest lady, she accepted me into the family with open arms, was forever hugging me when we would go to India to see the family, and was a wise woman, with sage advice to give. It was a blow to lose her 2 years into our marriage. UK grandma was another great character! She never managed to say my name correctly, I was Mitu to her, right until the end! We forged a strong relationship, and I had the pleasure of giving her 2 great-grand kids, whom she doted on! But, again, a few short years ago, just under 3 actually, she also passed away.

Knowing these inspirational people, with so much knowledge, time and stories were no longer with us made me sad, but more determined that our kids should be able to have unlimited access to their own grandparents. It made me look at our parents on a different light.

My in-laws, born and brought up in India, came over here, with minimal education, and worked their fingers to the bone to create a loving, secure home, not only for their kids but for my father in-law’s parents and siblings too. Dad worked 14-16 hour shifts, didn’t see his own children growing up properly, to secure 2 homes for the family. Mum in-law worked in various menial jobs to support her husband too, along with looking after the family. They bring a sense of security to our children. They are spoken to in our mother tongue by my in-laws, to ensure that they still have a good knowledge and respect for their culture. My lovely mother in-law has learned all sorts to keep the kids happy and occupied, always having their favourite programmes recorded for them to watch when we go to them, and even learning how to Loom Band!! Dad in-law always tells me how he loves this time with them, he missed it with his own children. Lil Princess was even born on his birthday, so he shares a special link with her! Me and Hubby Dearest are here to make sure they are good British Citizens, speaking English, and educating them on things they need to know growing up here.

When we can, we go to my parents, where they get a different grandparently experience! It’s like holidays all the time, and yes, they do get a little spoiled, but on the flip side, having English speaking, educated grandparents too, gives them a chance to converse and learn from a different perspective. Plus, they get the Kenya boost from them then too!
Lil Man is an excellent Dhol player, so when he’s with my Pops, they make music and dance around! And, not sure how, but he also shares a birthday with his grandparent… My mum! Lil Princess is always dipping in my mums endless boxes of treasures, finding things to inherit!

The great things with grandmothers, both of them, is they appear to have infinite patience! Where I will get agitated after a short while of ‘help’ from the kids in the kitchen, they can be with them for hours, and put up with the mess created, much to the joy of the kids! And the same with grandfathers… a park outing is mentioned once and they are off. If they say the same to me, I have a list of things to do first!

And if you mention your wishes to these amazing grandparents, somehow they seem to fulfil most of them! ( though I do have to curb that ability sometimes, to stop the kids getting too spoilt!)


Sometimes, when we’ve had endless after school activities, and I’m shattered, the last thing I want to do is go anywhere, but still, I make sure these kids see their local grandparents almost everyday. These are the folk who, in emergencies, are there for us, when the kids are ill, are able to go see that christmas show that the kids are in, as we, as parents, couldn’t get the time off, are at the end of the phone for any advice.

Ok, so that opportunity is not available for my parents, but we try and ensure contact with them too, everyday. That good night phone call happens without fail every night! And again, precious advice given, words of encouragement, it’s all important!

There’s a quote by someone, “Grandchildren are so much fun, I wish I’d had them first!” Because you, as a grandparent, aren’t fully responsible for the child. You can do the fun stuff, but leave the essential discipline to the parents! Then there’s the quote ” I love my grandkids, I can give them back!” Again, enjoy your time with those precious bundles then refresh yourself until the next time they descend! Parents don’t have that outlook on things. So this is why its so important to have time with those oldies! (Though they’re not always old!)

You see, grandparents ARE a precious commodity, and now mine are gone, I want to make sure my children fully appreciate theirs, and get the love and affection only a grandparent can give.

Too cute!

This particular meme came up on my Facebook today, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate!

We had parents evening, you know that time we probably all dreaded as children, not knowing what those teachers would tell our parents. And now we are the parent, dreading what the teacher will say about our child!

Well, I have to say, I couldn’t be more proud today. Lil Man is coming on in leaps and bounds, and this year, yet again, another teacher tells me how his smiling face is a joy to have around, and how he is really doing well, no worries!

Lil Princess got just as great feedback! She is creative, has a wonderful imagination, but tends to daydream… Both need more times tables practice, but I hold my hands up, I was rubbish at them too, in fact I can’t remember them even now!!!

But the best little snippet? Lil Princess’s teacher telling me she is always talking about her brother! And not telling tales, or negative stuff. Her teacher said she is so proud of her big brother, and comes up to her everyday with something or another to tell her, staring with “My brother…”

I was amazed! The amount they fight and argue at home, you would never guess there was that affection there, but …… How sweet!!!

The Next Big Decision

No, not a big decision concerning me, but more for Lil Man this time!

We’ve been through the whole 11+ shebang… and as you know, he didn’t take it. It wasn’t for him, and I feel that was the best decision him.

Now it’s that next step. Secondary school application time! Oh My Goodness! When did he become old enough that we now are applying for secondary school places for him??!!

Now, it’s a minefield out there. There are great schools, some close, some not. There are Ofsted reports to read, opinions to gather, from people whos children attend the schools, to the kids themselves, along with the thoughts of more ‘in the know’ professionals… I get that perk being a teacher, I can get more honest opinions from heads and teachers I know!

We have been advised to go to the open days, not only for the schools we are interested in, but also those that we are not planning on applying to, as you may get a different feeling once you are there, and more importantly, what is your opinion, may not be that of your child, who ultimately is the one who will be going there.

I have at least 4 open days in the next 9 days for us to attend. And I think I’m more nervous than Lil Man is!!! The deadline for the forms is still over a month away, but still, I’m petrified that I will muck something up! 

Added to the application forms, certain schools have additional forms that need filling in too, like your faith schools, or those that have an allowance for talented children in certain subjects. Didn’t I say this is complex?! 

I’ve been checking out the websites of schools. Printing forms and researching dates. The mind boggles!

This one decision could affect his whole life! I sincerely hope he gets the place we decide is the first choice, but the rest is in God’s hands, I guess…

Oh, and sitting there going over these things, I didn’t get to do the work I had hoped to do, for school. But at least it isn’t urgent!

Friday Funny

kids_catsThis one is for my Lil Princess, who at 7, is STILL stealthily sneaking into our bed in the middle of the night!

I am so shattered, I don’t even realise until I wake sometimes, but Hubby Dearest is a much lighter sleeper, and he ends up suffering the brunt of the Awkward Child Sleeping Positions!

Before you act horrified, we have tried so many things, walking her back to her room, laying with her, reward and incentives, taking things away, nothing works! And being as tired as we are, we can’t keep up the walking back thing… she’s a stubborn child, she just comes back!

I think we have had 2 full nights in her own bed in the last 3 weeks!

So from a tired Ritu, have a fun-filled, frolicsome Friday Peeps!

Thursday Thoughts – The 11+ Nightmare

my-right-brain-is-cartoon_finalThis Thursday, my thoughts turn to all those Year 6 students who are going to be sitting their 11+ tests.

Yes Lil Man is in Year 6, and no, he won’t be one of those stressed kids today.

It was a big decision, the whether to get him to sit, or not, and I posted about my thoughts here.

Ultimately, at the big meeting, where parents were given all the information about this dreaded test, I spoke with both his class teacher and the head, and was advised to at least sign up for the test if we were unsure, it was better to have signed up, and not sat than to not sign up, then regret your child not having this opportunity.  I was also advised that Grammar School my not be the best choice for him. This I agree with, but I wanted him to have the opportunity to decide for himself.

I dutifully got all the books, and was there for him.  If he wanted to do it, we could go through the books, and tutor him.  He looked, but found even the simplest questions quite trying,

Now, this mum is very proud of her Lil Man. He’s gone from lagging behind all the time in his academic career, to actually hitting the expected level of progress, well that was last year, before all this crazy grammar stuff hit! I was not going to push him.  I have been realistic when talking to him as well. But he is registered to take the test, just in case.

For those that don’t know, the 11+ tests are a set of tests that are done so children can apply to Grammar Schools, where there is a very high academic standard.  It’s a hard slog, of you were tutored to pass the test… you may be playing catch up the rest of your academic life. But if you are naturally a bright child, then you will be pushed to reach the heights that you can achieve.

But this, by no means, means that if you aren’t at Grammar School you are thick, unintelligent, or that you won’t get anywhere in life.

Education, especially secondary, is what you make it.  If you want to learn, and make something of yourself, you will try hard wherever you are, and your teachers will be great at either school, it’s up to you to reach for the moon… if you miss, no worries, you’ll still end up in the stars!

Good luck those who are taking it.

Lil Man made the decision to not sit it.  He feels he would struggle at a school where academia is the be-all and end-all.  He is an intelligent little guy, but it shows in different ways!

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