Well if January is anything to go by 2017 is going to absolutely whizz by! Can’t quite believe it yet here we are and the first Me and Mine post of 2017.
The first family shot this year was actually taken on the 2nd January! We had a lovely morning out at our local country park with family and were playing and having a generally great time. With us all so happy I decided to grab an impromptu snap, and, well it was a miraculous snap as I managed to get us all smiling in the first frame! It is much irretrievably favourite family photo and I just adore it.
We’ve got a couple of other snaps this month too. LM is growing up so much and she has really started to like smiling for photos (hooray!) so there have been a couple of other family selfies that are just lovely and capture how we are as a family at the moment.First up, a little snap of us all on the sofa one evening after school, reading LM’s current favourite Usborne ‘find the duck’ book.
In the next one we are in our bed, LM loves to play a game where we all snuggle up and pretend to be asleep then push the covers back and its time to get up. Monkey always loves a good snuggle and well, I’m sure you can all understand why mummy & daddy never say no to a game that primarily involves lying down :).
Rounding off with one final sofa snap, the kids are in their pj’s but I just love LM’s excitement at the prospect of a photo.
So there we have it, our little family in January 2017
So our little Monkey is about 4 3/4 and has been at school for about 5 months now. He has changed and grown up so so much in those 5 months that I thought I would write a little update about how he is getting along, and the ups and downs we have with our little school boy. Starting with some real positives, his learning is simply amazing. He is like a little sponge soaking up everything that they are teaching him.
His reading is amazing to listen to as he just reads so many words now, and sounds out and blends any he doesn’t know. It is wonderful sitting next to him reading his school book and he’s so proud of himself too. With a bit of encouragement (as he can be a bit shy) he has read his books to other family members too and they are all equally proud of him. We get him to read his book 5/6 times a week and can get a new book to read once he has read it twice. We tend to do this because after reading a book a couple of times he is more likely to try to read it from memory rather than looking at the words, so gets it wrong more often the more he reads it. The school recommends reading a minimum of twice a week but it has just become part of our routine now that he reads a story after dinner so he reads a few little books a week (pink band level) and this seems to be working well for him.
His writing is so good now too. It has been a bit harder for me to get him to practice writing at home, as quite often my suggestions to do it are met with a cheerful “no thank you” and if I push him he just gets grumpy and it’s not the right atmosphere for it then! Having said that he wrote the names in all 60 of his christmas cards to classmates and I think that all that practice definitely helped. I now try to get him to write things for a purpose. For example if we have been building something, and playing with something I try to get him to write a sentence about it. One day he came home from school so excited about what they had learned about ice that day and, as I normally struggle to get much out of him about what happens at school (“I can’t bermember,” “I just did lots of things”), I decided to capitalise on it and he wrote a sentence about ice and water. We’ve done similar writing a couple of times now and he is getting a tiny bit more enthusiastic about it.
I have been so impressed with the way he has been learning reading and writing with his phonics at school. Last week I went for a stay and play session at the school which was so much fun. It’s hard to know really what is going on behind the school gates every day so it was lovely to see it for myself. There’s obviously a lot of play and most of the time that is what they were up to, but there were also sessions on phonics and maths. I loved the games they used as part of the phonics lessons and the kids did so much writing it was lovely to see and made it quite apparent why his progress has been so fast!
I remember a couple of years ago, talking to a friend about whether to send her summer born 4yr old to foundation stage at school, because they don’t legally have to start until age 5. I remember at the time thinking the foundation is a good segway between nursery and school because they are at school but mainly still playing. I now actually think that it is really important kids don’t miss out on the foundation year, because of how much I have seen them all learning. Monkey is a May baby so technically could have started later, but I’m glad he didn’t. We always felt he was ready and now know we were right. I fear that any child starting at age 5 straight into year 1 may be really quite behind. I definitely don’t think Monkey’s progress in reading and writing would be anywhere near what it is, if his learning were down to me. I definitely don’t have the skills or knowledge that his teachers do in this area!
I also got to see a maths session at the school and that was so lovely. Again I have been impressed as they have been learning about counting in two’s recently and when I was there they were working out “3 lots of 2″ and how the x sign means the same as “lots of.” Basically they are learning the 2 times table already, and the kids were lapping it up. Just lovely to watch. Monkey has always loved numbers so he kept turning around grinning and giving me the thumbs up during that session!
Monkey has loved drawing for a while, and his drawings lately are just getting so good and so imaginative that I had to share a few here. He has a particular love of drawing instructions, like this one of instructions for how to build a house, but I just think all of is drawings are brilliant. Proud mummy moment!
On the whole, Monkey has been pretty happy at school. He comes bounding out of school so happy every day and like I say, he loves to learn. He has always been quite a shy and sensitive soul though. he has started off pretty well in terms of friends, there seems to be a fair amount of children he plays with at different times and on the whole he has been quite happy. He quite often tells me he played with so and so and so and so on the playground and they played superheroes or police or something. Recently though, he has had a bit of an upset with his closest friend, F. F’s mum and I are really close friends so we see quite a lot of each other and had even got into a bit of a rhythm of walking to school together. I think because F and Monkey are such good friends that they began to have a bit of a power struggle and F said some things that upset Monkey. Nothing major, but things like “I’m not sure if you will be able to come to my party, I’ll have to see if there’s room” and “that bell on your bike is a baby bell.” You know, 4yr old stuff but it did bother Monkey a bit.
Speaking to other mums and the teachers and it seems to be happening amongst a lot of the kids at the moment. They got really friendly with one or two children and then the power play started. It’s what kids do as they are learning about other people and friendships etc. as well as all the academic stuff, so it’s natural they will say things to provoke a reaction, or have their feelings hurt by another kid. Having watched some of the “secret life of…” programmes, I’ve seen it and I guess am not that surprised by it… but the reality was still pretty hard. F’s mum was horrified at what he was saying to Monkey and I’ve been torn between hating seeing my little boy hurt in any way… and knowing that he has got to learn to deal with it, because it is all part of life. Sometimes people say things either intending to hurt you, or not thinking about whether it may hurt you.
It was a tricky few days and Monkey didn’t want to walk with F to school anymore, and said “F makes me sad” which broke my heart a little. I think that extra bit of space has helped and they seem back on good terms again now. I know the teachers have been talking to the children about not saying things that are mean or exclusive too so hopefully that is helping all round! I’m sure there will be many more times where things like this happen over the years though!
This tricky patch coincided with us really taking a backwards step and Monkey being tearful saying goodbye in the mornings. Back in September we expected to go through this phase but never did, he was so happy and excited to be going to school that he didn’t cry at all. Then a few days in to the new term in January and he started crying. Possibly brought about by the slight change of routine they have introduced, where on a Monday and Friday morning they have to sit on the carpet and get ready for assembly, rather than having a play to start off the day as they did before. It could also have been the spat with his friend but even after talking about these things and trying to resolve the issue, it didn’t seem to be getting any better. He was so happy coming out of school every day, and was happy even when dropping him off, right until the very second we said goodbye, when his face would crumple and the sobbing would start.
It was such a depressing start to the day to leave him so unhappy, especially when we couldn’t figure out the reason. After randomly finding one of hubs’ old sets of lego in the loft that Monkey hadn’t seen before, we decided to try a new tack. Because it was feeling like the crying had become a bit of a habit, rather than because he was really upset about something, we decided to give a little incentive to stop the tears. One week without tears and he could have the lego we found. Right from the first day of this bargain being struck, the tears stopped. He left with a big grin on his face. His teacher also noticed and praised him for it so he told her “my mummy says I can have new lego if I don’t cry every day.” I have to admit to being nervous about her reaction to this but she seemed equally pleased that it was working. If there had actually been something bothering him, I doubt the promise of lego would have stopped the tears. Even now, after he has the lego, we still haven’t had any more tears. So, phew to that!
One definite downside to school is the tiredness it brings for our little Monkey. He can be quite crotchety at times and he really is, just, tired. He gets really tearful sometimes, and often about the most irrational of things. He had a meltdown about putting his shoes away one afternoon, and a full on meltdown over the weekend about blowing his nose because he insisted that he couldn’t do it. This morning was particularly frustrating as he started to cry about his name. Yes, his name. At school, when there is a word that can’t be sounded out phonetically, it is called a “tricky word”. Such as “go” for example, it isn’t guh oh, goh, it’s go, and that is a “tricky word.” Monkey’s name is a “tricky word” too and this morning we had sobbing because “I don’t want my name to be a tricky word.” There is just no reasoning with him when he is in that mood so I just decided to change the subject and move on! Daft Monkey!
He also uses tiredness as an excuse though, especially when it comes to eating dinners. He is so slow at eating and often sits there and says “I’m too tired to eat.” We, of course, point out that eating food gives you energy, and stops you being tired…. but he refuses to accept that fact!
So, negatives aside, he is doing so well at school. He’s such a happy chap and on the whole, such a good boy. He loves the PRIDE code that they have at school and loves to recite the words it stands for “polite, respectful, independent, do your best and everyone matters.” He gets quite irritated that is little sister doesn’t yet follow these rules too lol.
Monkey’s learning and growing doesn’t stop at school. He loves to learn basically constantly. I got a couple of new books recently that he loves, one is an atlas and another is a book about the human body which has lots of flaps you lift to look at. It’s a great book and he said yesterday “I was just imagining if like in the book, we had flaps that you open and see inside our bodies.” Bless him. He loves baking with one or the other of us and a LOT of time is spent playing lego when he is at home, and some of his creations are brilliant. We went on a nature hunt at the weekend which was great fun, and he’s just getting so grown up.
As a result, we have also been asking him to help out a little more. Just simple stuff, he makes his bed in the morning, lays the table at dinner and puts his clothes in the laundry basket at the end of the day. So far he is doing really well with those and most importantly is happy to do them.
Feeling very proud of our boy after writing all of this down :).
Happy New Year! It’s January 1st, traditionally the day for making promises to ourselves to be better somehow over the year ahead and beyond. Not for me this year though.
For nearly the whole of 2016 I have been trying to change myself. I often feel like I would be happier if I were somehow different. If I was thinner, if I ate more healthily, if I was a better mum, if I tried harder. I reached a point recently where I just had to say stop. I need to stop trying so hard to be more than I am.
I am who I am.
I have decided that I need to be happy with who and what I am rather than constantly trying to be something else. Something I’m not. I have hopelessly unattainable goals and all they do is make me feel rubbish about myself. They are not making me happier as they are always out of reach.
Take my weight, as an example. I’m not humungous or obese. I am larger than I would like to be and larger than I have been in the past. But I am in my 30s and after 2 children my body is not the same as it used to be. I know many will say that having kids isn’t an excuse, and I would say the same if after 2 years of trying I wasn’t in exactly the same position. I have taken up running, changed my diet and in many ways I am healthier than I have been in a long time. I never thought I would be able to run for over half an hour without dying, but I can now. My weight however has not changed. The shelf I have over my c section scar is still there. My thighs rub and I have cellulite. Even running 3 times a week did not change any of that.
This may be because I like my food but I have struggled to diet and count points mainly because I find full time parenting pretty exhausting at times. LM and I are constantly on the go, I cycle over to the nearby country park, go for walks, run round at her gymnastic group, not to mention walking the school run twice a day. So sometimes I eat to keep me going and stop me being such a mardy mum (I can get seriously hangry which isn’t fair on the kids). Whatever the ‘excuse’ even with added exercise my body has not changed. It has really gotten me down at times but honestly, why? What is so wrong with me and my body right now?
I’ve always been impressed by women who are proud of their stretch marks and bodies after birth but I’ve never been one of them. After Monkey I lost the weight fairly easily so honestly I assumed the same would happen 2nd time round. It hasn’t. The things that worked first time have not worked after baby no. 2. Clearly my body is hanging on to the excess weight this time for some reason. Again, I’m not humongous, so what does it matter if I am carrying a bit of extra weight? We are all different, some women are naturally slim and lose the baby weight more easily than others. Does that necessarily make them somehow better than me?
I have been trying to convince myself that I am OK as I am. My husband likes the way I look and isn’t disgusted by my wobbly bits (far from it in fact as he loves me the way I am and genuinely prefers curvier women) so why should I be? Then I happened upon an article about Ashley Graham, a “plus size” model being on the cover of vogue. Now she is gorgeous and probably slimmer than I am (though definitely with bigger boobs) and for once seeing a picture of her strutting down the catwalk made me feel that maybe it was ok to be my size. That someone my size can be beautiful. That not only slim women are beautiful.
There’s always a lot of debate about the sizes of models and I often find they end up in an either/or solution. Larger models promote obesity, smaller ones promote eating disorders. I don’t think it is that simple and actually believe that as there are variety of shapes and sizes of people in everyday life, that there should be a variety of shapes and sizes when it comes to models. In general, clothes aren’t one size fits all, so why do the models all have to be the same size? It’s the same with actresses. Why are all the women in films so skinny… Unless they are the funny fat girl? It’s not real life but it’s easy to get sucked into believing that it is.
I’ve slightly digressed from my point and that is that I am fed up of believing the lies I see all around me that say I am not good enough the way that I am. I’m not about to stop running as I do enjoy it (though a couple of chesty coughs have slowed me down a bit lately) and I won’t ever let myself get obese because I hated being slowed down by the extra weight I carried when I was pregnant. But it is nice to feel I can stop trying so hard to be something that is unattainable for me at the moment. To feel that maybe I’m ok as I am.
My weight isn’t the only thing I’ve been trying to control either. After a friendship group broke down a few years ago I have worried a lot about not being a good enough friend to people. I’ve made a fantastic new friend recently but I have almost sabotaged it a few times because I’ve been worried about what they thought of me, to the point where I was almost pushing them away. This has to stop. I can’t let a negative experience with a few women ruin or prevent future friendships. I am who I am. Some people will get me and like me for who I am, flaws and all, while others won’t. I have to learn to be ok with that as no matter how I try I will never be perfect. I can’t change that. I can’t change me. I have so many wonderful friends who are there for me for better or for worse, and I am there for them in the same way. I don’t expect them to be perfect so I need to stop expecting that of myself.
I’ve also been trying to be some kind of perfect mother, which again, isn’t possible.. I always want to try my best but I also have to remember that I’m human. I get tired and snappy some days and some days I am lazy and the kids watch more TV than I would like. I try really hard the rest of the time though, we do all sorts of activities and get out and about a lot. I need to stop focusing on what I don’t do, and look at what I do do. To stop criticising myself and instead be proud of the way I am raising my kids and of the good job I’m doing. Because I’m not the perfect mother, but I am their mother. I am who I am and I’m doing the best that I can.
Perfect mum? No way! But I do ok
I’m trying really hard to apply this to every aspect of my life. I may not be the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect sister, perfect daughter, perfect daughter-in law, perfect friend, perfect blogger or the perfect anything, but then none of those things exist. All I can be is me. I will always try to be good to those around me. To be kind and considerate and just generally do my best as that is who I am. But I’m human and I will always have off days, grumpy days and sometimes I will say or do something stupid, and I’m not going to berate myself for that. I’m not going to keep fixating on all the things I’m not and never will be, but instead I am going to try and be happy and proud of all the things that I am. A good wife, mother, friend etc.
I am who I am and I am going to be happy with that.
So here we are, the last days in December and the last Me and Mine Project of the year. I find myself to be a bit of a rubbish blogger these days, but I try and at least keep going with this and the Siblings Project linky, both run by Lucy at Dear Beautiful, as I do find them to be a lovely record of our family over the year.
This month I had high hopes of some family shots over Christmas. We did snap a few but they weren’t quite the polished and posed pictures I hoped for, largely down to an uncooperative LM…. And partly because I couldn’t find my tripod haha. So despite my efforts we once again have selfies with the 4 of us in instead, taken at various times over Christmas.
The best, I think, are these that Hubs snapped on his new phone while we were all sat snuggling and watching TV on Christmas Eve in what we call ‘the new room’ as it used to be the garage. It’s not really new anymore but I have a feeling it will be ‘the new room’ for many years to come. Anyway I love the soft light of these pics, even if we struggled to get us all smiling at the same time! I particularly love LM trying to copy her brother’s thumbs up by putting her finger up instead…then she looked at it so confused bless her, such a toddler thing to do isn’t it?
We also have the obligatory shots on our bed on Christmas morning, blurry in the terrible light, sleepy and with a semi-naked hubs but full of excitement on Christmas morning.
Finally, my attempt at some nice posed ones when we were all dressed and smart on boxing day morning… Which LM was really not in the mood for, as I’m sure you can tell.
So there you have it, that was us in December. And because another year has passed (in the blink of an eye it seems), here is the last year’s worth of family shots, to show how much we (or at least the kids) have grown and changed over the past 12 months.
I did a similar collage last year too, if you fancy a look.
Phew, so, here we are, the day after boxing day and the big day already over for another year. Rather than write a really long post I thought I would write something short and sweet, mainly as a way for me to remember the highs (and a few lows) of Christmas 2016.
Monkey’s excitement about putting things out on Christmas Eve
Reading “Twas the night before Christmas” to both kids on Christmas eve, even if LM wasn’t that interested this year.
Hearing LM shout ‘wow’ and ‘ho ho ho’ when she saw her stocking on Christmas morning.
Monkey’s excitement at finally getting a new magnet in his stocking (he got one last year but broke it and all he has wanted this year from the big man, was a replacement magnet. Bless him!
Excitement that ‘he’s been!’
Seeing hubs’ family on Christmas day and watching the kids open all their pressies
Seeing how happy hubs was with his pressies
Opening my pressies
The team effort between hubs and I cooking the dinner meaning all went smoothly and was delicious.
LM trying out her new balance bike
Being able to sit and relax and read a little of my book ‘Harry Potter and the cursed child’, that I got for Christmas, while lego building was happening and LM was napping.
Hubs and Monkey playing the daft laser gun game I got for them.
My parents and Aunt joining us for Christmas Evening and Monkey handcuffing everyone with the police toys we bought him, saying they were his favourite presents :).
Playing silly games once the kids had gone to bed (and I actually won for once!)
A relaxed boxing day morning before heading to my brother’s house.
Seeing how lovely my brother’s house is and how much they’ve done since they moved in 2 weeks ago!
The lovely spread they put on.
Watching LM be very gentle with ‘tiny cat’
LM’s excitement at the party balloon that whizzed around the room.
Playing balloon animals… The fun of this lasted hours! Making ever more complicated animals (when the balloons didn’t pop half way through) and chasing LM with them.
Hearing LM’s giggles as she played with her great Auntie.
All snuggling up watching the Gruffalo on boxing day afternoon.
Going to bed at 8pm on boxing day to catch up on sleep!
A few lows
(Because obviously no day is perfect with 2 little ones, even Christmas day!)
Being woken up in the night on Christmas eve by a terrified Monkey, who thought he heard someone outside his room (the trouble with telling them someone comes into the house in the middle of the night?) then being unable to get back to sleep myself, even hours after he had.
Getting up at 6am with the kiddies
Feeling hugely stuffed after the Christmas dinner
LM having a major meltdown when we tried to take her out to play on her new balance bike.
LM having a huge meltdown on boxing day too leaving us feeling stressed and like we should take her home, though thankfully it was averted by a bag of skips.
And we’re done for another year? Well sort of. Now it’s time to see a few friends and enjoy some family time while hubs has some time off work.
How was your Christmas? Hope you had a lovely one?
I wasn’t sure what on earth to get for Monkey’s Teacher and Teaching Assistants for Christmas this year. It’s our first foray into presents for teachers and to be honest I didn’t want to spend too much money or time on them, but I still wanted to give them something nice. Having seen lots of seemingly simple recipes around for homemade fudge, I decided to give it ago. I’ve typed it up below as mine are a bit of a variation on some others I saw, and ooh they are scrummy.
I made two, a white chocolate and cranberry fudge and a minty white chocolate fudge. The first part of the recipe is identical then you add flavours later.
Chocolate Fudge ingredients
397g Tin of Condensed Milk
550g White chocolate, broken into small pieces
40g Icing Sugar (sieved)
For the minty version
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Handful milk chocolate chips (to sprinkle on top)
For the cranberry version
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
Line a baking tray (deep ones work best) with greaseproof paper.
Melt the chocolate and condensed milk. I did this on the hob in a Pyrex dish over boiling water, but you can do it in a microwave, if you do it in 10-20s bursts. With both methods stir well throughout.
Once melted take off the hob and add the sieved icing sugar. Mix well (you can use an electric mixer).
Add other ingredients of your choosing (peppermint extract, or cranberries, or nuts etc) and again stir well.
Pour the mixture into your lined tray and spread evenly. For the minty version this is where I added chocolate chips and gently pressed them in for the topping.
Refrigerate for 3-4 hours at least.
Take out and cut as desired. Our tray was quite long which meant the fudge wasn’t very deep but I got at least 30 bite sized chunks from each, though it would depend on the size of baking tray you use and how big you cut them up!
My word of the week this week is Christmassy (I know that’s not really a real word but it’s still going to be my word this week) as there’s only a couple of weeks to go until the big day and things are definitely starting to feel festive around here.
We weren’t planning on having our tree up until this weekend, but with a free afternoon last Sunday and a busy weekend ahead this week, well long story short, we found ourselves in a garden centre buying a tree last weekend. It was a very exciting visit as we also saw the big man himself. If you follow my Instagram you may know that we have a slightly suspicious Monkey when it comes to the big man and he has asked a couple of times “are you sure he is really real?” to which our answer is obviously a wholehearted “yes!”
He seems to be believing again so this year will be fine but I do wonder how many years we have of him believing to come, as he is such a thinker and things clearly aren’t quite adding up in his head!
When we got home it was time to get the decs out and get the tree up. The kids loved looking at the decorations and finding the santander hats, and Monkey was so helpful with the tree which was adorable! Madam didn’t cause too much mischief with the tree either thank goodness
We’ve also got down the playmobil Christmas scene that Monkey was given as a present last year. Both kids have adored playing with that and there has been some very Christmassy play going on as you would imagine.
The main event though, that has really made me feel Christmassy is that this morning was Monkey’s school Nativity! He has been singing the songs for weeks and I think I know the whole thing off by heart as well! We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the performance itself though this snap I got at the beginning makes me chuckle. If I stood at the right angle then this was my view, through a sea of heads haha and most of the time it wasn’t even this good.
He said his line brilliantly though and clearly enjoyed singing all the songs and doing the actions, I properly welled up at one point, soppy mummy but I was so proud of him! We got some pictures of him afterwards looking so happy and so proud of himself.
Tomorrow I am off to York to meet a friend and hopefully get the last bits of Christmas Shopping done so that should be nice!
Are you feeling Christmassy yet or is it still a bit early for you?
It’s really turned a lot colder here lately and winter is well on the way. My little toddler can be inclined to laziness and would probably be happy sat in front of the telly all day long (I say sat but she rarely actually sits still, she climbs and fidgets and wriggles and goes and potters and comes back again) but she likes the tv on and she likes to be inside. While that is all well and good some of the time, I don’t like that much TV time for her, and it does both of us good to get out and about.
Fresh air is good for her and there is so much to see and explore outside of these four walls… Plus I go a bit stir crazy indoors. A change of scene and some fresh air really refreshes me and makes me a better mummy the rest of the time, so I definitely need to get outside, whether madam likes it or not.
It can be tricky to persuade her though, especially now it is cold and wintry out, and the more she says no the harder it is to motivate myself when it is cold too, but still, it is necessary. So I have a few tricks to tempt madam out the door even on the cold days.
I’m yet to meet a child who doesn’t like bubbles and they are used regularly in our house to get us outside. A wand is my preferred tool as it is easy to get big bubbles, but I will use whatever we have.
Both kids enjoy a good chase of some bubbles and I must admit I think they are so pretty… I may have 1 or 2 (thousand) pictures of them!
Simple choice but again it works, both my kids like a good chase of a ball and giving it a good kick about. We have had some lovely sibling moments out with a ball too. (and some less lovely moments in truth, they are siblings after all!)
Thankfully LM loves a ride on the back of my bike and even seeing her little helmet will get her racing to get her shoes on. We are lucky to live very close to a country park with gorgeous views and lovely play parks. The other day LM didn’t want to get down and play, but she loved seeing the ducks on the lakes, shouting “choo choo” near the train tracks and neighing at a horse in a field, and I got a bit of exercise too.
One thing LM is, is sociable, and our girl loves seeing our friends and family. One sure way to get her out the door is the promise of seeing some of those. We have some very good friends who live close by. Their eldest is at school with Monkey and their youngest is a little older than LM. Add the promise of meeting them for a bike ride and well LM is literally running for the door (seriously she did this yesterday, I have never seen her move so fast as when I suggested we get on my bike and go out with them ha). The kids have a lot of fun together and LM adores their Mummy the most of all I think haha.
I don’t use this too much but there have been a couple of times recently where I have persuaded LM outside with the promise of a treat. Bribery I know but sometimes the end justifies the means and we ended up having a lovely time in the garden, away from the tv, all thanks to half a mini twix bite (I may have eaten the other half haha) !
Winter can absolutely be a time for snuggling up in the warn with a hot soup of a warm drink… But it’s even more fun to snuggle inside when you’ve had lots of fun outside first. You can see a few more simple ideas for playing outside in the Winter here.
Do you like getting outside in the Winter? What are your top tips for getting the kids outside?
How is it the last day of November? This year is flying and I nearly missed posting this in time. Just crazy. Monkey starting school this year really does seem to have changed the pace of our lives and every week seems to whizz by faster than ever before.
With Monkey being at school all week, weekends are now such important family and relaxing time. We have some really slow paced weekends now, which do us all good and Monkey especially needs after a tiring week at school. Last weekend was one such weekend. I had a horrible bug and Monkey was coming down from a cold too and we basically just pottered about on the Saturday. At one point Monkey hid in our bed then demanded we all got in with him for a family photo. That’s my boy! LM is less keen on sitting still but we did manage to get one good shot though I was ill so do look pretty rough!
Sunday we headed to a local farm we are members of for a potter about and a play. Don’t ask me why but when we stopped at the top of the soft play for a cuddle it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a family shot.
So this is us at the end of November. Vaguely healthy but a happy little bunch.
Nope. No. No! No is LM’s favourite word at the moment. She says it all the time. Do you want to get out of the buggy? No. Shall we go outside? No. Anytime she isn’t happy with something, No! It’s such a satisfying and easy little word for her to use to assert her will until her language overall improves. But this isn’t really a post about her saying no, it’s about me saying no. And how hard saying that simple word can be, but how important it is that I do.
Let me start of by saying that in terms of being a ‘perfect’ parent, I know I am nowhere near. I get things wrong, I say the wrong thing. I can be lazy and irritable and I have apologised to my children more than once for being cross with them for no good reason (and I’m sure I will have to do so many more times). But on the whole I think we are doing an OK job of it. We have a very polite and friendly 4 year old who is well behaved at school and who people always compliment. We have a 2 yr old, who lets face it is 2 so kicks off and has tantrums but is also lovely and is learning. I know some of this is luck but some of it isn’t. Some of it is down us and to the hard work we’ve put in.
I hope this doesn’t come off as arrogant as that’s not how I feel but I am proud of us and the way we are raising our kids. And I’m proud of me. I am a SAHM so this is what I do. I can’t get a promotion or a pay rise or be patted on the back by a boss and told ‘well done.’ But I hope I can acknowledge that I have had the strongest role in raising my kids and can take pride in the people they are turning out to be.
I hope I can do that as it is so hard sometimes to stick to my guns. To be the bad guy and tell them not to do things. I don’t do any of it for my benefit you see, I do it for theirs.
We know a family, and this may sound horrible and judgey, but their son’s behaviour is terrible sometimes. He runs over the back of sofas without being told not to. He is rude to old people who pass by, screams when he doesn’t get it own way and doesn’t do as his parents ask. He’s 7. Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for live and let live with parenting and how anyone does it is utterly their choice. Except that getting to know this family a little has made me feel a bit sorry for the child. He doesn’t have many friends at school or outside. I’ve spoken to other parents who don’t want their children playing with him and some children don’t like playing with him because of the way he behaves, and I can’t help feeling that it isn’t really his fault.
Like it or not we live as a small part in a big society and our society has cultural norms. Socially accepted behaviour. Our kids aren’t born knowing this. They don’t automatically know what to do in a given situation and it is our job as their parents to guide them through this. And sometimes this means being the bad guy so that we can be the good guy in the long run.
I don’t get it right every time. I’ve given in when I should have been firmer and I’ve been firmer than was absolutely necessary at times too. Sometimes I say no without thinking it through and then have to be very careful because if I seem to give in to their demands it can set a precedent and give them the wrong message. They have to know that I mean what I say and that no does mean no. So sometimes I have to stick to a no that I regret but I feel I have to stick to it. I try very hard to avoid this happening though as it is no fun for anyone.
Sometimes even when I know I am in the right about something it can be hard sticking to it. Hard to deal with the tantrum when the easy option would be to have let them do what they want. I hate seeing my children upset when I could be the one to fix it and especially when it feel like I’m the one who has caused the upset.
I could have an easier time in the short term but whenever I have made this mistake it only leads to worse tantrums or worst behaviour in the long run. Giving an extra biscuit may make them happy now but then leads to a tantrum at mealtime, refusing to eat their dinner then being tired and grumpy all evening or even the next day. So I may be a bit strict sometimes but my hope is that by giving them boundaries and expecting certain things of them, that it will help our children to be kind and polite, to be children others like and want to play with. To be children who are respectful of others and know the difference between right and wrong.
Maybe I am wrong though. I hope I’m not doing my children a disservice. I certainly don’t want to be too strict and shut down their own personality. I also don’t want them to grow up to be walked over. I want them to be strong but to be good and kind too. I guess all any of us can ever do is hope we are making the right choices for our kids!
I suppose I’m thinking about this a lot for a couple of reasons. 1 being LM reaching an age where she needs me to say no, to give her boundaries. 2 year olds do a lot of experimenting and they need to know what is ok. For example drinking out of my cup is ok, but then deliberately slowly dribbling it all out again is not. Taking a toy that is offered to you is ok, snatching is not. You get the gist.
I think Monkey starting school and socialising with different kids also plays a part though. That and his tiredness from school makes him act up sometimes.. and he has copied some behaviour he has seen other kids do. That’s always a tricky one as how to explain that it’s not OK when he sees other kids to get away with it?
Parenting is a never ending learning experience don’t you find? It’s also tricky to talk about these things as we obviously all have different experiences and think differently about things, so I hope I don’t offend anyone with what I write!