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Exclusive: Ola and James Jordan are bursting with pride at Ella's first sports day - but worry for her health

The former Strictly couple share their concerns about their daughter's ongoing cough

james ola jordan column
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
3 June 2022
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We can't believe how quickly Ola and James Jordan's little girl Ella is growing up! The former Strictly Come Dancing duo reached a new milestone as parents this week, taking their two-year-old to compete in her first sports day at nursery.

SEE: James and Ola Jordan's daughter Ella takes after dancer parents in cute video from Turkey holiday

It wasn't all smiles for Ella though, who is still learning how to say goodbye to her parents at the nursery gates without getting upset. In this week's parenting column, James and Ola sat down with HELLO! to share all the details about their little girl's tearful day, as well as opening up about their concerns about Ella's ongoing cough.

WATCH: James and Ola Jordan enjoy playtime and sports day with toddler Ella

The couple also lifts the lid on James' struggle to cope with stressful parenting situations since he sadly lost his dad Allan in March last year.

Read James and Ola's parenting column below…

Ella has her first sports day

Ola: Ella's sports day was the cutest day ever! It's so sweet because the kids in her class are so small, they don't have a clue what they're doing yet. We loved watching them falling this way and that way as they took on the egg and spoon race.

James: Ella was great. I, however, definitely pulled my hamstring in the parents' race.

Ola: He was the oldest dad there…

James: (jokingly) I don't even want to talk about where I placed, to be honest.

Ola: He was really fast though! I was surprised James was such a fast runner.

James: I was always fast, I've still got it. I used to be really fast when I was younger, but I did struggle I'm not going to lie, ha!

ella jordan sports day

Go Ella! The two-year-old took part in her first sports day

Ola: Ella's still not doing so well at nursery when we have to leave her though. When we arrived for her sports day, we dropped her off at the classroom so she could walk out onto the field with all the other children. She started getting really upset when it was time to leave her. That's when James saw for the first time what she's really like when she goes to nursery.

James: I was trying to explain to her it was going to be a fun day. It was her sports day and she was going to have a good time with all her friends. But she went in and was so upset. I actually started to get a bit teary, it was tough.

Ola: It wasn't as bad as the time I took her by myself though. The classroom doors were open and she was standing looking at us crying. But what surprised me when her sports day actually started, even though we were waving at her, she didn't run away from her classmates and rush over to us, she just waved over at us.

James: It's amazing really how fast they learn.

Ola: After sports day was over, Ella's teacher came to bring her over to us. But Ella just wanted to go back and sit with her teacher and her friends - so I took her whilst I stayed with James.

ella sports day race

James and Ola cheered on their daughter from the sidelines

James: I think she's realising that nursery can actually be fun and interesting.

Ola: After I picked her up and she fell asleep in the car because she was so exhausted. Her teachers said she had a nice day and was dancing and singing. But then if you ask her what she did at nursery, she doesn't give you that answer…

HELLO!: Ella, what did you do at nursery this week?

Ella: I cried!

James: We're trying to teach her not to associate nursery with getting upset. We know that she loves playing and learning with her teacher once she gets settled!

SEE: Ola and James Jordan's heartache as daughter Ella battles separation anxiety

James and Ola are total homebodies

James: We went to my mum's at the weekend. She had some of my dad's family down for a meal, so we made the trip to see them.

Ola: Ella got a bit tired though, so we had to leave before dinner was ordered because she was totally exhausted from our holiday.

James: We didn't really do much else. We've become quite boring since having our daughter - but weirdly, we love it that way.

jordans at home

James, Ola and Ella like to enjoy weekends together at home

Ola: It makes us happy looking after Ella, chilling at home, maybe watching a movie in the evening or something.

James: We're not the type of people who go out to all these extravagant places. We like to enjoy nice holidays, but we've only just got back from Turkey so we're taking it easy. Are you supposed to take children out every day to 'do' something?

Ola: I don't think so, surely not. It is hard though because we do feel bad sometimes.

James: When Ella says she wants to go to the park, we always want to take her, but unfortunately as adults, we have to balance parenting with other things.

ella jordan smiling

Ella loves to play in the park with her parents

Ola: She has plenty of toys and games, a trampoline, a bike, a scooter - there are so many things she can do to entertain herself at home.

Ella's worrying cough at night

James: We're very worried about Ella's cough at night. It's bad, it's definitely not good. She's coughing so much that she's struggling to swallow. We can hear her struggling to sleep and waking up and opening her eyes. Sometimes she even sits up in bed.

The trouble is if we go to the doctor's, we fear they might just send her home.

Ola: That's what happened last time. They said that it's common for children to have coughs.

James: When we saw the paediatrician, he said there is a chest infection that only occurs at night. It sounds like the very early stages of what she had last time.

Ola: I agree. Maybe she's susceptible to getting chest infections.

James: You just know as a parent that something isn't wrong. I was beside myself last night, I barely slept because I'm so worried about her. We'll see how she gets on tonight and if she has another bad night we'll take her to the GP.

Ola: The day before we went on holiday she had a really high temperature, but it went away really quickly.

ella james ola holilday turkey

The Jordans recently returned from their holiday in Turkey

James: I even started saying to Ola, 'It's something in her room that's making her cough'. So we changed bedrooms!

Ola: But she still coughed, even after swapping rooms. We gave her Pirition in case it was something in the room she was allergic to - but it didn't relieve her.

James opens up about his struggles to cope when Ella is ill

James: I do think I'm struggling with 'normal' parenting worries. I spoke to my friend who is also a dad, and he said the same - he's always worried about his children when they have a temperature or a cough etc.

READ: James and Ola Jordan reveal toddler Ella's tough day: 'She was distraught'

Ola: But then other parents we know aren't so bothered when their child is ill. They still care, but they take a more chilled approach.

James: I know kids get coughs and colds and they need to build their natural immunity to things like this, but surely it gets to a point where you have to decide if it could be something more serious?

Ola: I don't think Ella is quite there yet, but it is horrible at the moment. The pools in Turkey were so cold, so she could have caught a cold from that.

ella sleeping

We hope Ella starts to feel better soon

James: I'm not going to lie, I find it really hard seeing her struggle. I know everyone who has children goes through the motions of this, but I think some people are just better at dealing with things like that. I am a control freak, and because her cough is something I can't do anything about, I'm really bad.

Ola: He throws a tantrum when Ella is ill.

James: But it's because I can't cope with it.

Ola: It doesn't mean that I don't care, I just deal with it in a different way.

James: I would say since I lost my dad, it's got worse. Maybe it's a feeling of a loss of control. I start stressing that we haven't tried every avenue to make Ella better. I ask Ola to call her sister who's a pharmacist for advice at one in the morning, and Ola has to calm me down.

Ola: You feel responsible too. You have this little person you're caring for. You don't want to make any mistakes or wrong decisions.

James: When people say 'just don't stress', I do find that hard. You're either a stressful person, or you aren't, and I'm just learning how to navigate that as a parent.

We're sure all parents can relate to James and Ola's very real parenting struggles. Join us next week for their HELLO! parenting column to see how the Jordans are getting on.

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