Tag Archives: parenting

The Hunger Games – Insects Vs Toddlers

It was a fresh, crisp Sunday morning in October. The creatures of the woodland were going about their daily life, little knowledge of what was due to descend on them in a few hours. We had our boots on and were ready for one of George’s little buddies fourth birthday parties. But this was not going to be your typical birthday party. There would be no soft play, sugar and screaming children. As much as we love those types of parties, I was excited to see what would happen at a wild wood birthday party at the local reservoir.

We buckled up after bundling wellies, pressies and a change of clothes into the car of another mummy friend who had kindly offered us a lift.

creatures

Things quickly escalated from standard 10 minute journey to complete comedy sketch show. My influence clearly rubbed off and despite being a frequent visitor at the reservoir, we quickly found ourselves pulling over to ask for directions.

My phone had decided to play silly buggers and was going through a reboot so I could program the SatNav before I quickly realised I didn’t actually know what I was programming in and where we were supposed to be headed.

I messaged our host for the party and fellow Mamas in the group chat to ask for the address. I quickly had to abandon their response in favour of calling the police to report seven rogue Shetland ponies trotting merrily down the centre of the road. After leaving my poor friend driving blind I finally switched my phone call from the emergency operator to a mama friend who put us on the right track.

With the party underway we were having a fabulous time. The sun was shining, the leaves were crunching and the toddlers were marching. The party guide was a lovely lady who commanded their attentions well. We soon found ourselves searching for creepy crawlies. We each had a magnifying pot and flitted from log to leaf looking for something to catch.

I think over the years I’ve watched too many a cartoon and Disney film, giving me a knack for humanising any living creature. After playing some games we continued on through the woods, pots in hands, taking our creatures on a merry tour like they’ve never had before. Or had they?

Had this snail and woodlouse been collected by many a child at many a party and toured the woods like a pair of mismatched backpackers? The pot behind me contained a fly being devoured by a spider, taken fresh from the web. As I imagined the crane fly in front of us screaming “where the hell are we going”. Our own woodlouse was wondering when he would see his mum and dad again. Having carried him the equivalent of here to Australia for a woodlouse, we came to a new home.

creatures

Let the den building commence. As 20 toddlers collected wood and sticks to build our very own big brother house. For our unsuspecting creatures, they were about to meet their new housemates. Or were they?

With the house build complete (basically a pile of twigs on the floor), it was time to set our creatures free and introduce them to their new home. Our snail had ventured out of his shell and was roaming the inside of the pot, acquainting himself with the new neighbourhood.

However as the toddlers descended upon the new twig house it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t the Big Brother house. In fact these creatures were about to enter their very own Hunger Games. An insect Fornite if you will. As varying species of insect were dropped (minus canopy) into their new environment, it was every creature for his or herself. Ladybirds scarpered, the woodlouse foolishly didn’t roll into a ball and the snail quickly realised it was time to retreat into his safe haven shell.

creatures

For those that hadn’t already eaten one another or climbed a hiding spot deep into the ground, another challenge began. Forget your purple rain storms, it’s no match compared to a toddler armed with a huge log. With a crash, the den was flattened, or rather ‘complete’ in said toddlers eyes.

And so we left our creatures to rebuild their lives in the wood of nightmares as we ventured on in our party activities.

Honestly it was a great experience. It was just so lovely to be outside in the fresh air without all the carnage that can come from a kids party. We loved it.

How did you spend your Sunday?

Bing Live Show – a review

Round the corner, not far away, Bing is coming to your local theatre to play.

We are complete Bingster’s in our house. The CBeebies loveable Bunny Bing is a regular on our screens and I have even been known  to take some parenting tips from Flop. Bing actually came to Cbeebies screens the year George was born 2014 making it feel special to us in some way.

The Television show is actually based on books written by Ted Dewan. I found a fab interview with him here, which explains more about his vision for the show and what it should become.

I contacted the press team who were kind enough to not only send tickets to myself, hubs and George for the Bing Live Show but also a fab goody bag. Checkout what was in the goody bag over on our IGTV .

Bing

Details about the show.

Currently touring theatres across the UK, the show is 80 minutes long, including the 15 minute interval. The Bing Live show is touring 60 venues around the UK until April 2019. Tickets prices vary from theatre to theatre.

Bing
Credit Johan Persson – Images Courtesy of Bright Media

Our experience of Bing Live.

The Bing Live show was engaging, exciting and really well produced. I’ve been to a few theatre shows aimed at toddlers now and they can only be described as hilarious carnage! If you have read my previous post “What will my child become?“, you will know that George is the epitome of sensible. He’s able to sit still and watch shows from beginning to end without fidgeting, fussing or complaining he wants to do something else. I’m not bragging, but I forget that this isn’t “the standard norm” (whatever that is) for toddlers.

So whenever we attend a show where the bulk of the audience are toddlers, I’m often in hysterics at how funny it is to be in a room with 100+ toddlers all trying to be kept ship-shape and quiet. Hence the description “hilarious carnage”. With Bing Live , it is anticipated, hell, expected even, that the little ones will roam around, shout, clap, scream. It’s embraced. I think this helps to take the pressure off the adults from trying to maintain the decorum expected of a visit to the theatre.

Bing

As I was saying, at previous theatre shows aimed at this age, the carnage has sometimes been a little distracting and over ridden the show itself. I didn’t find this with the Bing Live show. The volume was somehow magically loud enough to always be able to hear it despite the excitable audience. But it wasn’t excessively loud that it unnerved or upset any of the little ones. I don’t know how they did it but it was really clever.

The narrator gave us a typical countdown to the show starting so our little audience could get excited. George is pretty reserved so it was so lovely to see him anticipating the show starting. He was so excited bless him. As the curtain rose and Bing and Flop entered the stage, we got out first look at how the show was present.

We had already watched the trailer video on Facebook, so we knew the characters were all puppets. The thinking behind this was that the characters could be a relatable size for the children. Not too large they are scary, but not too small you can’t see their expressions. I loved reading more about the Magic Behind the Puppets on the Bing Live site.

Each character was cleverly manoeuvred around the stage using rods attached to the puppeteer’s feet and body. Whilst the puppeteer voiced the characters.

They all sounded more or less the same as the characters on the show, although Bing himself was a little more shrill and not as husky as he is on the show. He was voiced by a female. They all did a fabulous job. I would love to know if their voices are naturally that tone and pitch or if they were enhanced at all.

The live show is literally like watching toddler play and imagine and explore. The characters were as excited to see us as we were them. They then played out before us, their own make-believe theatre. Imagining and dressing up and exploring through singing and dancing.  There were moments the audience were encouraged to participate in the singing and dancing and this was lots of fun. It was also really helpful that the lights went up for these parts of the show.

I don’t want to give away much more except that it’s a great show that appears to be written by people who understand young children and parenthood. Little touches like announcing the interval with Bing declaring he needs a wee and everyone getting all aboard the toilet train. Cue a room full of grown ups asking their child if they need the toilet train, instead of the usual battle to get them to try for a wee. We loved it!

Bing

George’s verdict:

He absolutely loved the show and took his Bing and Sula teddies along to share it with him. When the crowd were asked to join in the singing and dancing, we did this with his teddies instead. He is quite shy to sing or dance out of the comfort of his own home with just us watching so this was the perfect way for him to still take part and enjoy it. Our seats were perfect and he had a great view. His feet were tapping and he couldn’t sit still from excitement. When I asked what his favourite part was, he replied “All of it”

Our local show was held at The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre in Southend-On-Sea, Essex.  It’s not the first time hubs and I visited the Cliffs, but it was the first time we have visited with George and fully explored the theatre grounds. It’s modern, comfortable with air conditioning inside the theatre. There’s plenty of seating inside and outside to relax and enjoy a drink or a snack before the show. Upstairs is a pretty cool and comfortable selection of seating booths. Decorated in a funky seaside print. it’s the perfect place to sit and enjoy the stunning sea views. After the show we took a walk down the steps to the seafront and as the tide had just gone out, we watched lots of tiny crabs making their way back to the water’s edge.

Bing

If you do attend the show, be sure to have a piccie in front of the photo wall. Share it on social media with the hashtag #Bingstar.

Bing

**Disclosure – we were provided with tickets to the show and a goody bag in return for our own review. All opinions are our own and do not affect the integrity of this post **

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Predicting The Future – What Will My Child Become?

We all want our child to become something amazing…don’t we? An astronaut, the next intellectual mastermind, a doctor, olympic gold medalist. We enrol them in piano lessons, footie trials, phonics classes, making them count every step so they can be ahead of their peers.

When he was still in my womb, I was adamant George was going to be a genius. He wasn’t going to get it from me, even his Dad isn’t of genius status. But was Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking’s parents of a high IQ level? I honestly don’t know, but I really thought it was something I could nurture George to be. It’s becoming evident that he wasn’t born a genius. Some of his peers are already ahead of him and amaze me so much with their knowledge and abilities. I’m pretty sure if you have a genius on your hands you would know by the time they are 2 years old.

So genius status out of the window I’m thinking rock legend, footie player, olympic snowboarder or maybe an architect? I’m totally not one of these pushy parents. Whilst we try to include learning in our everyday play, I’m all for enjoying the world around us. I totally believe in the notion that children learn best through play. With George I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Right now, in his three long years, I can’t pinpoint any one particular skill that he has. Anything that seems extraordinary for a child of his age. Except one thing.

Health and safety.

Since he was a dot he has been meticulous about health and safety. Constantly risk assessing everything. Whilst he learnt to walk at 11 months, it wasn’t without some blatant risk assessing going on. He was too scared to sit himself back down again when he learned to stand by himself. He would stand himself up then cry until someone helped him sit back on the ground again. Bumping on to his bottom was not an option. And so it’s continued.

He once spent 20 full minutes at the top of a baby slide at the soft play, assessing whether it was safe to go down. I was directing the other children to go round him until eventually he decided to climb back down the steps and abandon all notion of it. You can’t force him to do things he deems risky either or he will cry for a lot longer than just the task in hand.

As time as gone on though I have noticed that this behaviour isn’t fear. He isn’t scared of climbing or jumping or running. He’s more than content to lean over the edge when we are at the top of a really high castle wall. He loves going fast on his bike and scooter and whizzing them up ramps.

It appears he is actually scared of anything which makes him feel out of control. Swings, slides,roundabouts, fair rides…if he can’t be in complete control of what happens he won’t enter into it.

So that’s his niche. His forté. He likes to be in charge, in control, getting his own way. I often liken him to a mini communist dictator. What three-year old doesn’t like getting their own way though! Only we have noticed a pattern lately when hubs pointed out this is very much Mummy’s forté.

I am master of getting my own way and not in a diva dance but just skilfully and tactfully willing people round to my idea. Failing that I’m so laid back sometimes I often go with the flow, I do like a surprise.

So what of my control freak child. What future will this trait lead him to? I’m so excited to find out. Of course there’s absolutely no pressure on him to be anything fabulous. Someone at George’s school recently shared a quote on the group page which really struck with me;

‘Don’t become preoccupied with your child’s academic ability. Instead, teach them to sit with those sitting alone. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to offer their help. Teach them to be a friend of the lonely. Teach them to encourage others. This is how they’ll change the world.'”

Author unknown. 

I think this says it all.

George is amazing. You can literally see him analysing and processing tasks during play. He is master of building and creating things. His imagination is much like my own and he loves nothing more than to watch the world go by.

He has a passion for living creatures and making sure they are safe. We once spent 10 minutes in the street, waiting to ensure a snail had safely crossed the pavement. I offered to assist, I wasn’t allowed. Maybe he will become the future David Attenborough?

In all honesty as long as he is happy and enjoys what he does and it sustains his way of life then I’m happy for my future son, whatever he may become.

What hopes and dreams do you have for your child(ren)?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Parenthood epitomised with epic song lyrics

I think I’ve spent way too long living with hubs in that I now randomly walk around at home singing. Sometimes it’s songs that have already been made, other times the poet in me makes up little rhymes to summarise whatever emotions or activities I’m going through. I’d actually love to be a songwriter, but not a singer, save that role for someone who can actually hold a tune.

This is a side of me that no one except hubs and George see as I manage to stifle it if we go away with family. People often laugh when I say I am shy but in certain areas that I lack confidence, my shyness prevails.

Since I became a Mama to George and quit my career in pharmacy, I spend ever-increasing amounts of time at home. Often not seeing many other adults in person for more than a few minutes. The joys, stresses and tribulations of parenting go unnoticed by the world and so I need an outlet for dealing with the variety of emotions a parent at home with a child goes through in a day.

This outlet is song. As I warble my way around the house I find myself singing songs to express how I’m feeling. It is by doing this that I’ve discovered some artists are unknowingly epitomising parent life…for me anyway. See if you agree. Sing along if you know it.

Sam’s Town – The Killers

“Now, why do you waste my time?
Is the answer to the question on your mind
And I’m sick of all my judges
So scared of what they’ll find
But I know that I can make it
As long as somebody takes me home
Every now and then
You know I see London; I see Sam’s Town
Pulls my hand, and let’s my hair down
Rolls that world right off my shoulder”

Kids are forever wasting our time with their indecisive whining..just my house? It’s always the wrong cup, the bread is sliced in the wrong shape, the list goes on… We have all been judged by at least one person in our role as a parent right? This song represents for me everyone who’s had their parenting skills judged. But also for everyone that just wants to have a day off of parenting, have someone grab them by the hand and take them to London or their nearest fun town so they can let their proverbial hair down. Just me?

Somebody to love – Queen and George Michael

“Ooh, each morning I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
Take a look in the mirror and cry
Lord what you’re doing to me
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief, Lord!”

This opening verse completely epitomises how I feel when I get woken up at 6am or earlier each morning. Par for the course, and whilst I’m not religious I totally imagine every parent getting up and wearily singing this into the bathroom mirror whilst one or several children hang from their legs demanding milk and CBeebies. Just me?

The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars

“Today I don’t feel like doing anything
I just wanna lay in my bed
Don’t feel like picking up my phone
So leave a message at the tone
‘Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything”

I sing this song and reminisce, for just a moment, about when days like this were possible. I love and loathe the responsibility of parenting. Of course it has so many rewards but from the moment that little dot is conceived, they will forever be in your thoughts. Doing nothing at your own pace is a distant memory once you become a parent. AHHHH the days of playing GTA on the Playstation are but a distant memory lol. Still love this video though.

Cbeebies Bedtime song – Goodbye Sun, Hello Moon

“Goodbye sun
Now that the day is done
Its gonna be
Night time soon
Good bye sun
We’ll have more fun tomorrow
Now its time to say
Hello moon
Goodbye sun hello moon”

Oh come one! What self respecting doesn’t have a CBeebies tune as their current soundtrack for life! I know as soon as I start singing this song, that the daily parenting grind is nearly over as we approach the bedtime hour. George quite enjoys me singing this as he dozes off. My 13 hour slot as children’s entertainer, laundry women, caregiver, maker of food, wiper of arse is nearly over. Thus approaches my evening chill time.

I’ve very fortunate that at 3 and half, George now more or less sleeps through the night. Trust me this is only something he started in recent months and he still has his moments. I’m totally grateful for a bit of evening time to myself and hubs. I know so many friends and family, who for one reason or another don’t get this. Back when George was newborn, nighttime was most definitely not something I looked forward to.

I’m completely aware that these tunes all focus on the stresses and strains of parenting. But for every moment of difficulty, there are hundreds of moments that give your heart that warm glowy feeling.

Being a mum is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s also one of the most rewarding. You don’t always feel like you are getting it right, but you know you try your hardest to make these little humans the most incredible versions of themselves they can be. And so I end with this song, which I planned on having on my birth playlist. Something I pointlessly made, thinking I would give two shites about listening to music whilst I was in labour. It a song that’s forever stuck in my mind when I realise how incredibly lucky I am to be a mama to a happy, healthy little angel.

Special Angel – Malcolm Vaughan

“You are my special angel
Sent from up above
The Lord smiled down on me
And sent an angel to love (to love)
You are my special angel
Right from paradise
I know you’re an angel
Heaven is in your eyes
The smile from your lips brings the summer sunshine
Tears from your eyes bring the rain
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again”

I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to some of my favourite songs that, for me,epitomise parenthood. What are yours?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

“We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”, a book review

** Disclosure – I was sent an electronic copy of the fabulous compilation of parenting stories in return for my honest review. This does not detract from the fact that this book is fucking hilarious and I can’t lie about it!**

I was recently fortunate to be sent a digital copy of the wonderful, “We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”. This compilation of rib tickling parenting stories was sent to me by the fabulous Susie.

Susie is one of my favourite bloggers over at So Happy In Town . Mrs S.H.I.T as she is known under her blog persona, is a part of this fabulous book along with many other fantastic bloggers from across the U.K, USA and Australia.

parenting stories

With a glass of some yummy cloudy lemonade in hand (it was the middle of the day!), I set about reading some of the most truthfully hilarious 186 pages of my parenting life! When I became pregnant and as the pregnancy progressed, I became rather angry with the world.

Despite researching my heart out over what to expect, this pregnancy malarkey was total BS! Don’t get me wrong, it had its magical and wondrous moments, but my word was it tough! In ways I never thought were possible, my body punished me hourly for making it endure the supposed magic of growing a child.

Cut to once the Georgeous was born and that wondrous magicalness again returned until reality hit. As hubs returned to work after his 2 weeks paternity leave, the shit storm that was now my life hit me. And yes I loved it BUT it wasn’t as other mums had led me to believe.

It was tougher than my spinal surgery which I endured as a teen and spent a year recovering from. Tougher than climbing one of the more difficult paths of Mount Snowdon in Wales as I had done in previous years. Often relentless, overwhelming,intense and sometimes depressing.

I so wish I had a book like this brought to my attention prior to becoming a mama. Now mama to a 3 year old George, it’s easy to relate to. Whilst non parenting types reading it may think you can’t possibly live like this, trust me…you can’t make this stuff up!

This collection of hilarious parenting stories has been compiled by the amazing Michelle Tan.

“Michelle is the absurdist comic writer behind the Facebook persona, Ms. Awesome, Mother Extraordinaire, where she dispenses unsolicited funny advice about surviving parenthood.”

It’ll make you feel human, restore your confidence that you aren’t actually insane and this is in fact life for many parents across the globe even! Most of all it will leave a big, fat smile calorie free on your face. Better than any glass of wine or bar of chocolate.

Get your copy here We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment…and other funny parenting stories.

Press release :- 

The book will be launched at a public event on Saturday 21st April 2018 at XSCAPE, Yorkshire. There will be activities for children and many of the writers. Families will find solidarity and humour on offer throughout the day. People will be invited to share their experiences of the absurd, surreal and downright funny things about parenting.   We want to spread the message that eating their chocolate in hiding is perfectly normal because some things in life should not be shared.

The dictatorship – life with a two year old toddler.

**This post has sat in my drafts for a while, forgotten and lonely.  My toddler model is now over three years old and still thriving. But before I tell you all about how “the model” has evolved, let me take you back to a year ago when I was living with a two year old. Continuing on from one of my more popular posts Life with a toddler – the 2014 model .Enjoy!**

As the parent of a toddler, I’m finding myself under the dictatorship of a two year old. In a similar fashion to a communist regime, I’m regularly told where to sit, who to talk to, how to play certain “games”. To be honest it doesn’t feel like playing when I’m being ordered what car I can and can’t play with, and exactly where to drive it. 

Mainstream music is limited to anything on the CBeebies or nursery rhyme playlist. Disney films and CBeebies get the seal of approval but otherwise the only other programme to frequent our screens are Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Our day begins at a semi reasonable hour but orders to “go downstairs” ring out on on the toddler tannoy before I have time to even open my eyes. His lordship dictates specific rules such as;

  • The bath must be completely empty of water before exiting.
  • Face washing will only commence once there are at least three toys in the sink of water.
  • Drinks will only be drunk if provided in a container to Sir’s satisfaction.

You may be familiar with the term “terrible twos”. It’s a widely used phrase that many people now know and use. Closely followed by the supposéd “threenager” phase.  As my parenting journey began as a follower of the gentle parenting regime, I was led to believe these were not ideal terms to label a your toddler with.

However, being a good few years into this parenting shizzle I can confirm that these are inevitable stages that your mini dictator will go through. At two years old you will have days that you will swear this model truly can be terrible to be in the company of. My own experiences are teaching me that patience and calmness help.

When your mini dictator goes into terrible mode whilst in a public setting, a huge dose of trying to ignore what’s happening  goes a long way. People may stare because they either don’t have this model or they haven’t for a long time and they have forgotten what it’s like to take it out. Remain calm, composed and patient and this will help settle your mini dictator back to it’s usual lovely self whilst showing the world that “you’ve got this shit”.

So if you’ve recently installed a future mini dictator into your fine self and you are reading this, never fear, we’ve all pretty much dealt with this in year two. For anyone going through year two with their model I hope my tips help. I’m learning that the cuteness mode is ever increasing and the fun mode has now been upgraded. This upgrade allows you to enjoy their marvel at everything and days out feel a lot more worthwhile. Gone are the days where you take your early model out, waving it at fish tanks in an aquarium hoping for a reaction.

If you have read all of this and have no idea what I am going on about, please rest assured that this is a tongue in cheek account of living with a two year old. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Can you relate?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Do we push our own fears onto our children?

I’ve been pondering, as I do most things, whether as a nation of Brits, whether we are pushing our own fears onto our children?

George is now three and we’ve attended many a baby and toddler class, read many a children’s book and watched many a program aimed at children his age. He’s a child who is learning all about his surroundings, feelings and emotions and how the world works.

The most recent thing we watched that actually sparked this post was a program on a well known British children’s channel. In the show, the children were practicing their nativity play. Two of the girls got up on a stage and acted out the role of Mary and the Angel. After the girls had said their lines, the teacher asked the girls if acting on a stage had made them nervous. They both said no. “Did it make you excited?” she asked. A weak yes response came from both. Fair do’s for asking if it incited varying emotions but what the teacher said next irritated me.

The teacher then turned to the rest of the class and said;

“It’s very hard to get up on stage in front of everyone. “Girl A” usually has a lot of confidence in class but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get up here, she did really well”.

I get what she’s attempting to do. Praise and credit the girls achievements, but can you see the point I am trying to highlight here?

She has just told a class full of impressionable children that it is a difficult thing to stand up and talk in front of others. And so (to my mind) a potential class of nervous and shy children have been created. You tell a child something, they believe it (typically) For many you have just planted a seed of negativity right there.

And before you think I’m one of those 2017, gets offended by everything types, I so couldn;t be further from it. What I am is someone who says things as I see. We all know that if I tell you long enough the sky is green that eventually, if you are impressionable (as children are) you will start to believe it.

I’ve also on countless times heard the mention of “scary spiders”. Yes, agreed, arachnophobia is a big thing in the world but we are never going to stop it by teaching children that spiders are scary. It’s a never ending cycle of fear being programmed into one generation after the next. Children don’t come out being scared of spiders. We teach it to them. I know the end moral of stories like the one I’ve seen on Peppa pig is that you needn’t be scared of spiders like Mr Skinny Legs but by then it’s too late. You’ve planted the seed. Where are the programs about scary sheep, scary balls or scary paintbrushes? There aren’t many you can name are there!

Then there’s rain. Think about it. As a British nation, specifically in England, the majority of us believe that rain is a negative thing. Admittedly this mentality is changing but there are countless posts about what to do on a rainy day at home. But why does a rainy day have to mean you stay home? And so I draw your attention to a well known nursery rhyme.

“Rain, rain go away, come again another day”

Don’t even get me started on;

“It’s raining, it pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning”

I’m sure you are thinking that children don’t over analyse these things.  But you have to admit that we could be planting seeds in our children’s minds that suggest rain is negative. You can’t go out in the rain, it needs to go away, no one likes it. Why!?

It’s hard for me as a mother who grew up scared of almost everything. The dark, spiders, going fast, swimming, the wind, loud noise, heights, going upstairs by myself, ghosts, dead people, being shy. I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault I was that way. I can almost pinpoint a life event that caused each of those fears but I bet I’ve forgotten about the episode of a programme that first instilled that idea into me, or a lady saying something to me on the bus, or a book that was read to me at the library.

As an adult I now try my hardest to not be fearful of anything. Using willpower, hypnotherapy and just a basic “couldn’t give a shit” attitude I’ve managed to conquer most of those fears. Post natal depression will do that for you as well I found. Once you’ve seen the lowest parts of yourself you aren’t scared of much else your daily life has to offer. But for George I’ve always wanted different. If I can avoid him gaining a fear of things I will.

He has already developed several fears that affect him in fits and starts and to be honest I can only think they are things he has seen on television as he certainly hasn’t witnessed them from me or his dad. We greet spiders like they are long lost friends, we poo poo suggestions we hear on tele of people saying they are scared of the dark etc. We encourage him to discover, explore and push himself, safe in the knowledge that we will be there if he feels he needs us to support him.

Once he starts full time school I know this will become harder. Perhaps we all need a little fear to make us rounded individuals. I personally feel fear holds you back and you miss out on areas of life because of it. Shyness for example. Would I have taken part in so much more, been part of so many groups had I not been shy. I wouldn’t have taken so much bullshit and I may, possibly, have been happier for it instead of feeling bitter about a lot of my school years.

What do you think? Do you think this is a British thing? I can’t help wondering if children raised in other countries/cultures/environments have different fears because of different exposures. For example in countries where they don’t a lot of television, if any, do children have these fears? Or as Brits are we creating the next anxious and fearful generation?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Drowning emotionally

After feeling on top of the world Monday, this morning has just drained me. Having to justify George’s personality and behaviour to the swim teacher and all the other mums listening. 
I dunno. 
George has been doing marvellously at his swimming lessons and his teacher has taught us so many ways to get him familiar and content with the water. She did tell me weeks ago to expect him to have a relapse at some point but not to be concerned. 

Well that relapse happened. And why did it happen? Well it happened because she raised the pool floor to allow him to touch the bottom which he thought was wonderful and it was a development until the following week when he expected to be able to touch the floor. When he realised he couldn’t he went into fear mode and began clinging to me again, despite the fact he was wearing armbands and even with the aid of a rubber ring or pool noodle. 

Add to this the week following the floor raising his usual teacher was off. George is a stickler for familiarity and a new teacher was just not what he had in mind. 

All this taken into account, today’s resolve boiled down to the fact that I allow him to be to clingy to me. I’m not firm enough. And for someone I need to leave him with family and friends more. This all sounds idyllic but if he doesn’t want to stay with someone I’m not going to just leave him him there crying. But I should. Completely forgetting we had this relapse on the expected horizon and how did we even get onto the subject of who I leave him with? 

So feeling confused and embarrassed that my clingy child is in the class below his age group, he’s scared to let go whilst in the water. I now feel like the child I have given up my career to look after is supposedly playing me because I should be dumping him at everyone else’s house and be doing I don’t know what? Reading books on how to teach him to swim? 

Cut to the changing rooms and mine is the only child screaming about not liking the shower whilst everyone looks on like we are a pair of weirdos. He then needs a wee and when we get to the toilet the towel must’ve put him off because he couldn’t control the direction and the wee all went up the wall. I cleaned it all with tissue and left it pleasant. It was clear anyways. It was only the swimming pool water he drank. 

Teacher appears as we are are washing our hands and he’s screaming because the tap is so fast. She must’ve heard all the events so I tell her what just happened in the cubicle and she asks me which one and says she’ll get it washed down. An extremely helpful gesture. I recognise that but another way that I felt crap. As far as I was concerned I had cleaned it up. Now I felt inadequate for not thinking I should ask for it to be washed down. 

I’m really not laying the blame at this woman’s door. Her intention is to make my life easier and help us both. My perception is that I’m doing everything wrong and people can’t believe what a mess I’m making of this child. 

How can you feel like you are doing such a wonderful job of raising your child one day, and feel like a complete failure the next

The pathetic thing is I don’t even stand up for myself or my parenting choices. I just go along with agreeing that he should be the way this stranger says he should be 🙄😔 whilst everyone looks on thinking god knows what. 

Aside from being a bit clingy he’s doing amazingly well for his age. I know that. So what the fuck! Why am leaving the swimming pool holding back the tears and getting home as quick as I can to just cry so hard? 

It’s not even her fault. And I’ve always said I agree that the reason swimming teachers get such fab results is their tough love strategy. 

Pathetic. It’s not even like I take him to other swimming lessons because I can’t drive out of this stupid town due to ongoing vertigo. Ongoing for the last 4 years before you start chucking all your solutions at me. I’m under a neurology consultant but that’s another story. 

You know those days where you question everything. 

Tomorrow is another day. Although it’s quite scary not knowing what kind of day it will be. 

Tips to encourage your child to wash and brush their teeth

We are all looking for ways to maintain our sanity  make parenting easier. Three years into parenting, myself and Gorgeous George’s Daddy are still devising ways to encourage George to wash and brush his teeth.

George was two weeks old before hubs and I plucked up the courage to give him his first full bath. Scared of him being a slippery bugger and flying out of hands, thus causing himself  us to have hurt him, we waited until it was really necessary. We quickly realised this was going to be something George needed convincing was a fun and relaxing habit.

 

We have since devised many ways to encourage our child that the essential act of getting washed and brushing your teeth can be fun. I’d like to add that George has pretty much always loved bathtimes and teeth brushing. His main issue is either that he is too tired or the desire to want to play with his toys is too strong.

Here’s are my top tips to encourage your child to wash and brush their teeth twice a day;

  1. Explain what’s expected. I’ve always explained what is ahead of us. I think it helps to make tasks or trips seem less daunting.
  2. Get them involved. Yes it might take longer but let them have some control. George is almost three and can
  • Fill the sink
  • Wash his hands and face with soap and a flannel
  • Dry them on a towel
  • Load his toothbrush with the right amount of toothpaste
  • Clean his own teeth
  • Spit (Rinsing is not actually recommended by dentists)

I don’t know if this is typical for a child his age and although I still supervise him to help him remain focused, he is more than independently able to complete these tasks. I do assist him when I feel he’s missed a bit. I also try to clean his teeth myself a few times a week to ensure they are getting properly cleaned. I have taught him the proper brushing technique though.

  1. Get a chart. Ask your dentist for a teeth brushing chart or download one. A fun toothbrush with a character on also helps. Getting your child to choose their own toothbrush in the shop is good encouragement. Just make sure they are age appropriate.

  2. Make up songs. Back in the day where I was forever wet wiping George’s face clean of food from weaning etc, we made up a song. To the tune of E I Adio;

We’re cleaning George’s face/arms/bum

We’re cleaning George’s face

We’re making George all gorgeous

We’re cleaning George’s face

This also worked for brushing teeth, brushing hair, putting on socks, coat and so on.

  1. Challenge your child to a “teeth race”.

Teeth brushing is important and needs to be done properly for it to be sufficient.

The teeth race in short is you cleaning your teeth at the same time your child cleans theirs. If your child doesn’t clean their own teeth yet you can do this in conjunction with your partner. They clean their own teeth whilst you clean your child’s.

This should also help to get your child from anywhere in the house to the bathroom in a matter of minutes. You can also use this for handwashing etc.

  1. Get the toys involved. George’s favourite toy changes almost weekly. Over the years we have tried to suggest that “rabbit” or his “Lightning McQueen” would love to watch him getting washed and cleaning his teeth.

Show them Mr Monkey how you wash your hands

If the toy is waterproof it goes in, or even simpler, use a favourite bath toy, or the toy can sit on a ledge from a safe distance to the water and “watch”.

This method can often mean that wash time takes up to 10 minutes or more but I often leave him to get on with having fun whilst I sneakily get a face wash in. I’m then free to do my makeup or get dressed, empty the litter tray, or even have a quick clean up.

  1. Following on from the “bring a toy” idea, suggest that mr car is all dirty and needs a wash. Before you know it your child will be elbow deep in bubbles and foam and getting clean without even realising it. Let’s face it, if they are that grubby then the bath is an easier option.

  2. Songs, songs, songs. I had a tiny turtle, row row row the boat, I jumped aboard a pirate ship, any songs or nursery rhymes, preferably water related to distract your little one whilst you wash them.

  3. Bribery! I insist that we cannot go downstairs in the morning until we have washed and cleaned our teeth. The bathroom in our house is upstairs, playing with toys happens downstairs. If like mine, your little one is eager to get up and play with the toys, then insist that they can’t until they have had their wash and cleaned their teeth. Works for me.

  4. Buy fun soap. Here are a few of our favs. George enjoys mixing different colours and textures so we often have several different soaps on the sink edge at a time.

  • Johnsons easy rinse foaming shampoo
  • Lush Rainbow fun soap
  • Carex handwash in Bubblegum/Love Hearts or Strawberry Laces (Even my visiting nephew complimented me on the epicness of this soap)

So what do you think of our top tips? Do you have any to add? Obviously I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and means of encouragement.

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mummy’s first day at preschool. 

Ah it’s here. September. Back to school. It feels like when you are starting a new job. Excited but nervous. The kid? Well he’s oblivious. I have a two (nearly three) year old. He doesn’t NEED to go to preschool. So why am I putting us through this?
 

Well he’s always gone to nursery as I DID return to work for a few months. After I left I kept it on just to give myself some child free time if I’m honest. 
My health hasn’t been fab in recent months leaving me unable to drive to where George attended nursery. We had to make the difficult choice to remove him from the wonderful privately owned nursery that he attended from ten months old. 

We opted to get him a place in the government preschool adjoined to where will hopefully be his school in the future. 
This was always going to be somewhere he had to end up eventually. 

So why the anxiety Mummy? Well in his private nursery he was in the presence of two carers and roughly six children per room. I was reassured he would get the love and attention he would at home. He would be in view all the time so no one could hurt or bully him. 

His new preschool is linked to the primary school. When he starts tomorrow he will be in the regular presence of 27 children and 6 carers. I attended the settle in day. It’s a large space both indoors and outdoors. The carers physically could not be everywhere and see everything. 

There were what can only be described as several sadistic shitbags that I wouldn’t want to be left alone with George. I know the apron strings have got to be cut loose at some point and he’s got to learn to find his own way of dealing with things in the world. But he’s two. You can’t even explain to him. 

When George has been upset by other children I often respond by removing him from the situation and giving him a cuddle. I know some parents may argue that he should “man up and hit back”. I’ve asked George if he would hit another child back that hurt him and his response was “why?”.
This left me realising this little boy is being kind, thoughtful and considering just like his mummy and daddy. We are raising him to be as such so why would we suddenly tell him to hit people!
That said, hubs is teaching him to box. Although he currently only uses that on hubs. 

So I turned to my gentle parenting train of thought and suggested that if another child hurts him anytime I’m not around he should say 

“stop! That’s not nice, I’m going to tell a grown up”. 

Again I asked him if he would do this instead of his current method of simply standing and crying until someone rescues him and he said “no, I’ll just stand and cry”. 

So here I am. So excited for my little boys first day of preschool. All the wonderful new toys and children to play and interact with. New staff to meet and learn the schools ways. We have attended several seasonal open days there and he has never wanted to leave due to the sheer expanse of the place and how many activities there are to do. 

Yet my protective, worrying side is scared. I know children, as fickle as they are, can be put off by things after only one traumatic incident. That said he still absolutely loves any child that hits him so perhaps he is also going to be a forgiving soul too. 
As I wave goodbye tomorrow and give him a big kiss and a squeeze, I’ll run home and immerse myself in some wall knocking down (yes seriously, it’s on my to do list). And when I return I know my fears will be banished. I know he will have had a fab time. I know he will excel and flourish even more there. But I know this worry is here to stay. 
As he grows, so will my worry. I’m losing the grip. He will no longer have me to protect his every move. He’s two for crying out loud. It’s ok I tell myself. There is always home schooling. 
And then there are the other mums. What if none of them want to be friendly. What if they all know each other and aren’t very welcoming. Perhaps you can tell but I was bullied at school. If I was the person I am now I don’t think they would have been so successful but then perhaps if I wasn’t bullied I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. 
We all just want our children to be happy, safe and protected. Don’t we? 

So for all the anxious mummies in the playground tomorrow, I feel you. A few words of wisdom for each other and a bit of support and I’m sure we will all get through this. And for the mums of the sadistic little shits, (although you probably don’t call them that) I feel for you, really I do. It must be tough looking after a kid like that, you have my empathy. 

Good luck to everyone starting or returning to school tomorrow, Daddy’s too. I’m sure this probably applies to you. Although I can’t help feeling Daddy’s just get on with things without all the worrying us women do. Would love to hear from some Daddy’s with little ones starting or returning to school. 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday