It’s the last day of 2015 and while we’re are up in the Alps learning to Ski (more on that to come), all this fresh air has had me contemplating the last year and my journey in Parenthood.

Top 5 parenthood highlights - Skiing in Serre Chevalier in our Protest Gear

Reuben turned 3 in August and is developing into quite the cheeky chap. In fact he has tested me to my limits this year!

He’s also been the best and cutest company I could ever hope for.

Top 5 parenthood highlights - on the beach at Druridge Bay

So, here are my top 5 moments in Parenthood for 2015.

Starting preschool

We moved house in February, which meant a total change in childcare. Up until this point Reuben had been going to my next-door neighbour, who is a child minder, for 2 days a week.

Top 5 parenthood highlights - moving house and starting Pre-school

Breakfast in our new kitchen

I tend to rely on childcare experts quite heavily for advice and reassurance as I think my natural instinct for knowing what to do with my children is a bit broken! So, I was very close with my neighbour and would call her if anything seemed even a little wrong with Reuben.

After the move, he started at a local pre-school – lots of children his own age and a complete change for him from being the centre of the world! He would have to learn to share.

Top 5 parenthood highlights - starting Pre-school

Reuben’s new peg

It’s been great for him. I really like all of his ‘lady teachers’, as he called them today, they are such naturals with childcare. So calm, reassuring and full of fun ideas. He also loves his new friends – it took a little while for him to fit in as he was one of the youngest, plus he is incredibly forceful with his opinion of how things should be done… and, worst of all, he’s a biter. Which I’ll come to in a minute.

It’s also been lovely for me as I’ve finally made some local mum friends! It was quite isolating in Blyth as I didn’t know anyone. Here I have friends. Real friends who live near me! It took a few months to meet my crowd but it’s quite a change that I’m really enjoying.

Potty Training

I wanted to pretend that potty training didn’t exist. However, as Reuben approached his 3rd year I started to feel the pang of guilt mixed with not wanting to feel judged; Probably not the best place to come from when you’re trying to introduce a totally new concept to your child. You both kind of need to be in a happy place, surely?!

Well, I’m not sure you will ever be in that perfect place when it comes to potty training and despite reading a book and getting a LOT of advice on the subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no right way to do it.

Oh, and I’ve realized it really isn’t that bad.

I basically decided on the 1st day of the Summer Holidays that he wouldn’t wear nappies at home. For the most part, he got the hang of it. There were jubilant moments where he announced with gusto a wee in the middle of the floor, but over time that stopped.

However, it took a full month until I was ready to take him out the house without a nappy. It was always the wrong time – we were driving a long way, we were out all day, etc.

It was actually his nursery that pushed me to commit. So one day in the new term, that’s just what we did. I packed 5 changes of clothes and they all came back wet, but they were happy with him and felt he was ready. The next day he came back with 2 wet trousers, and the next day 1. Within a week he was dry all day.

I think for me, I just needed that external support and reassurance from his school, so I’m really thankful to them for that.

The biggest surprise was nighttime. From that very first day at nursery he has been dry overnight. I had no idea. I expected him to need pull-ups overnight for years. He may well have a relapse, what do I know?! But so far so good, touch wood!

Top 5 parenthood highlights

Getting over the biting Phase

Now, I thought we were over this having had a good month or two without incident but there was a relapse on the last week of term. Gutted doesn’t cover it.

I’m not really sure how it started. He did get bitten once at school but I don’t think I can really blame that – either way, finding out your son is a little thug biting kids is mortifying.

I had a conversation with one mum to apologise – she told me it was a really bad bite but not to worry as long as it doesn’t happen again. He wasn’t even 3 at this point so I didn’t know what I was going to do. I figured cry and then see if I can come up with something.

Top 5 parenthood highlights - getting over the biting phase

In the end, what seemed to work was every morning I would say to Reuben the following…

“If anyone makes you cross or won’t share a toy, you must go and tell a grown up {I listed their names to be sure}. Do not bite them, you must be kind to your friends OK? Deal?”

“Deal,” he’d say and we’d shake on it.

It had worked so I stopped saying it. I think the relapse was partly due to the run up to Christmas being bonkers for children. But I’ll be giving him my little talk in the New Year, just to be on the safe side.

Learning to swim

Top 5 parenthood highlights - learning to swim at the Holiday Village in Tenerife

Over the summer and Reuben’s 3rd Birthday we went to Tenerife for 10 days and spent every afternoon in the pool.

From day 1 Reuben was throwing himself in and I had to catch him. Thank god for waterproof mascara.

He’d never worn goggles before and once he had put them on, he got a surge of confidence and I was able to move further and further away.

He can now swim about half the width of the pool but he’s not quite got the knack of breathing so if you go too far he gets very cross with you! I think with some lessons in the New Year, he’ll be a fully-fledged swimmer.

Northumberland Castles

In 2015 we took on the challenge to see all the castles in Northumberland. We saw all 40 castles; all 20 of the ‘true’ castles and a further 20 of the other castles (houses that were made to look like castles!).

Top 5 parenthood highlights - Northumberland Castles Challenge, Morpeth Castle in December

Morpeth Castle in December – our 40th Castle

I wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the motivation behind the challenge, but basically I had a bit of anxiety about going out with Reuben on our days together, so I wanted a project that would get us out of the house and doing something fun in our beautiful county.

Top 5 parenthood highlights - Northumberland Castles Challenge, Edlingham Castle in February

It has been an absolute blast and such a fun thing to do with my boy and our friends. I just need to quickly think of a new challenge for next year…only 8 months until he starts school!!!

Those are my 2015 highlights in parenthood, what are yours?!

I’d love to hear in the comments below or come and join the conversation on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page