Monthly Archives: February 2017

Things I’ve Learnt About Toddlers

I’ve worked with children for years and of course that’s helped when I adopted our two amazing kids.. but working with and parenting children is so different especially with toddlers.

So here’s what I’ve learnt..

1)Their mood can be change by a swift change in the breeze… what I mean is, anything even seemingly trivial can take them from an angel to a devil in about 0.2 seconds.

2)There’s a delicate balance between awake, tired and overtired.. mess with the balance and you are in for it… which means not tiring them out too much or they will sleep anywhere.. but then if they get too overtired they might not sleep at all!

3)They believe they are 6ft tall and 10 years old.. now of course you don’t want to squash their confidence or creativity but for goodness sake of course they can’t go on an elevator all by themselves!

4)Saying no is like a red rag to a bull.. I try to think of other ways of saying no but sometimes the answer is no.. stand back everybody..  it’s about to go off!!!

5)Dinner times get interesting.. they like what they like and then little else.. and things have to be done in a specific way i.e the way they have their sandwiches cut or particular bowls or cups.. they’re beyond picky.

6)They will surprise you, refer to number 5 above.. you’ll go to a children’s party and watch them eat things they never normally would! I’m still not over my little girl eating that tuna sandwich!

7)Yoghurts (or their favourite food) can be used as leverage. The other day she refused to eat cheesy pasta at a restaurant so to stop the screams and slaps I gave in and gave her a yoghurt and a packet of crisps. She then began dipping the wotsits in the yoghurt,  because eating a piece of chicken or a carrot is disgusting but mango yoghurt and cheesy wotsits is the way forward!!

8)They will speak a language that possibly only you and your close circle will understand.. you’ll soon realise that but is boot and bah baby is bath baby, ga ga is Granny and a huge range of other unique vocab.. but for some reason NO will be pronounced as clear as day!!

9)Their levels of cleanliness will be baffling.. one day they will not mind if they are covered head to toe in mud, or avert your eyes for a second during a nappy change and the open pot of sudacreme will have been smeared across their face.. but when a dot of yoghurt falls on their top or the table you better drop whatever you are doing because this is technically the end of the world as we know it!!

10)They can disappear.. I genuinely pride myself on knowing wear my kids are we have rules for how far my older child can walk in front of me etc.. but even with all this my little girl can still disappear within a blink of an eye.. prime example the other day we were walking around Sainsbury’s one minute she was posing in front of the mirror by the time I’d taken a pack of vests from the display she’d disappeared.. she physically couldn’t of waddled very far so I just turned around and called her name.. I hear a giggle she’s hidden behind all the clothes.. hide and seek should be banned.. who knew they would start playing it without you knowing!!

All of the above happens daily.. but also everyday she makes me laugh, she does something new and sweet and caring that makes me love her a little bit more than the day before.

Give yourself a break..

We’ve had a really tough week this week, actually a tough couple of weeks.

Half term started with a dose of the flu. My little boy had it and then my Mum and then my daughter. We had two trips to the hospital, but the real difficulty has been my little girl has regressed by about 3 months.

Our beautiful children moved in with us 8 months ago, they have been the best and hardest months of my life.

For the first few months she would slap and bang her head off the floor. Always due to frustration. We managed to use signing for kind hands and it had pretty much stopped.

Well it is in full force again the last couple of days have been better but the other day from the moment she woke up she was crying, shrieking, or slapping. It was a school morning so there were moments when it was physically impossible to give her my full attention.

I could feel I was getting more and more stressed out. When we got to school and my little boy said “I love you Mummy, cheer up please” and looked at me in the way he does, I literally welled up and kept a brave face until I walked out of the classroom and then sobbed all the way to Sainsbury’s with my little girl in the buggy!

I realised that I’d taken it out on my little boy all morning, little things that either I’d normally let go of had been turned in to bigger issues and I’d told him off a lot!

I felt so so bad.  Luckily I was able to chat it through with my amazing husband, brother and Mum.

A few more tears and a lot of reassurance later I felt better.

It got me thinking about Mum’s who don’t have a support network,  if your reading this I think you are amazing and brave.

You’re probably given advice left right and centre. Follow your gut and when you’re  having a bad day remember so are a lot of mum’s.

Find someone to talk it through with, you’ll be reassured by how many people have been through the same or worse!

And give yourself a break, you’re doing the best you can, and despite appearances no one is the perfect parent.

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting and PMT

I struggle each month for 10-14 days with my PMT and then my period.

Recently after adopting my beautiful children I spoke to a councillor and we spoke a lot about my periods. She suggested keeping a diary, it has helped.

I often feel my period controls me, with a diary I have taken back some of the control.

I’ve also started weight watchers and really don’t want to enter in to the usual phase of giving up on the diet and giving in to the food cravings.

So with all that in mind here are the things that I have found have helped my mood swings and maintain my weight loss so far..

1) Avoid takeaways, they only make me feel worse. I’ve been using skinnykitchensecrets.com recipes a lot and creating my own. some recipes that have curbed by CFC’s (crap food cravings) are below.

2) Drink loads of water- no need to go on about this, I actually don’t like the taste of water so I add a sugar free juice. Or squeeze lemon juice in to it.

3) Reduce alcohol and caffeine- this I find really hard I cannot give up my coffee in the morning but I have found reducing alcohol consumption really helped with my moods.

4) Go outside, whatever the weather, take the kids out. Honestly 8 times out of 10 it makes me feel significantly better. The other 2 times I just wish I’d wrapped us all up in a blanket and made the kids watch the labyrinth for the 20th time.

5) Keep your sleep patterns regular- I set my sleep times on my fit bit and stick to it mainly. It’s helped a lot.

6) Do something nice for yourself. I know how hard it can be when you have kids and you just don’t have any time. But if you do get the opportunity even if it’s to have a nice hot bubble bath then do it.

7) Play happy music- I do this a lot.. if I’m feeling anxious, sluggish (in the morning) we’ll put the radio on, you can get it on your tv- I never knew this!! On sky just go on to any program tap in 999 then go up on the program changing button and loads of radio stations are on there. Don’t take the mic technologically minded people!!

8)Hugs – I am a hugger, anyone who knows me knows it. I genuinely think a hug can change your mood.

9) Eat iron rich food- kale you either love it or hate it but stick it in stirfrys or curries, you can even roast it and make kale crisps!!

10) Remember why you are feeling the way you are feeling… my diary has helped with this. Yes your kids may annoy you on any day of the month, or you may worry that you’ve upset someone at any time but your hormones will make stressors seem more stressful, patience levels non existent and anxiety flourish.

I also take Biocare AD206 and most recently primrose oil tablets which have also helped and I’m seeing my doctor to see if anything else can be done. Please note that the above have helped but haven’t cured my PMT.

And while I try my best the kids often takeover and I forget to do one or any of the above!

But then I remember one of the conversations I had with my councillor about the order of love, something which as a parent I find impossible but elements of it ring true.

She asked me to put in order my husband, my kids and me.

I said “my kids, husband then me”

She said that for the order of love to flow it needs to be me, my husband and then my kids.

At first I thought your kids always have to go first they have to be your priority, what on retrospect I think she was getting at is that you have to look after yourself so you can look after others properly.

So hug, listen to music and do one thing that’s completely for you. Because the happier you are the happier your children will be.

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Growing Together

Dear Big Pig and Piglet,

Sometimes when I look at you both in the morning.. I swear you have literally grown overnight.

There’s a subtle change, length of hair, the way your arms stretch round me when you give me a hug.

Or there are the unsubtle ones the ones we’ve been working on together.. Piglet you are saying so many more words and piecing together short sentences.

You can sing along with my crazy singing.. I’m quite delighted you learnt how to sing Daddy Cool, just those two lyrics mind you but you have got it pegged!

My Big Pig’s behaviour consistently improves and you are trusting us more not only with yourself but with Piglet. Your kind heart and ways amaze everyone you meet. You genuinely care very deeply about things which is very tough for you at times but it makes your soul so beautiful.

I’m changing too, I’m definitely not as hard on myself.. I give myself a break (sometimes).

I wanted to thank you both for that… I genuinely think you are making me a better person.

You’ve also cemented my thoughts on family and friendship.

Friendships develop and change over time and my true friends have adapted to you coming in to our lives and welcomed you and fallen in love with you. They have listened to me cry and moan and they have reminded me of the post parent Ali.. who I’m still allowed to be and they help with that.

My family.. I’ll keep it short and simple (for once). Their awesome. We’re lucky. We feel loved.

You can both in the space of moments drive me crazy and then as quickly be making me laugh and smile and feel so full of love my heart could burst.

I love you both so much.

Love Mum xx

Oh what a beautiful (cough cough) morning!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a parent. The love you give out and get in return is like nothing I’ve experienced.. there really isn’t a but, because i wouldn’t change anything (except getting sleep every night!). But don’t be fooled in to thinking every day is a joy, some days are harder than others.

But those days aren’t different for any child related reason so I’ve decided the bad days tend to depend on me! Yup! If I’m hormonal, sleep deprived or just not on it, then we definitely have a worse day.

Initially I was shocked at how much effort it takes to have a smooth morning and by smooth I mean getting a child to school without having 5 meltdowns. There is bound to be 1 or 2 but we’re having a good morning so there are definitely less!

On a good morning we have  all slept through the night and I wake them up at 7 am. My girl of 2 wants instant cuddles. My boy of 5 takes a little longer to come round- at this point any direct question to him will send him over the edge! I ruffle his hair, tell him I love him and open the curtains…gently!!

I start to do my girls nappy, “hang on Mum”. Oh shoot I’ve forgotten to do NAPPY VERSUS PAAANTS!!

Quickly I get a pair of pants and socks and pass them to him! Basically he has to put his pants and socks on before I do the nappy, he always wins! If he didn’t there would be a meltdown.

If he is in a good mood he will put his dressing gown on.. if he is in a bad mood he will not be able to move from the floor after putting his pants and socks on and maybe sob about needing help!

But at this point I’m normally physically unable to help him as my little girl’s favourite thing to do is step over my arm while I’m doing up her poppers, I’ve got long arms and  she’s got long legs for her age… so normally we get tangled.

But we get there and we move on to the teddy saga. My little boy has 9 teddies and a Spider-Man.  I say he can bring down 3, he starts negotiations, how about 8 Mum, no 3 is enough, you don’t even play with them down there and then I have to bring them up.. shoot why did I say that, his foot is stomping the lip is going!! Ok how about you bring 3 and Spider-Man! And I bet you can’t get them downstairs before me the babies and your sister do!

A cheeky grin appears and he is off! The babies by the way frankly save our lives! They go everywhere and have solved many a potential drama from occurring!

We venture downstairs and he asks me to wait until he’s put his teddies down so he can help with breakfast!

Now help is a funny word with kids, he is very helpful but some of the help requires adding an extra 15-20 minutes to your getting ready routine!

A prime example of this help is my boy insisting he puts on my little girl’s bib which takes ages and is never quite right but I am not allowed to help. I have to then secretly adjust it normally while I distract him by commenting on something interesting (and imaginary) in the garden!

It’s quite a nature reserve out there, squirrels, hedgehogs the occasional badger (yup one day I said badger!!) luckily I don’t think he’s ever seen a badger, so didn’t realise the impossibility of it disappearing behind a small bush as he got to the window to take a look, and yes when he saw a dead badger in the road a few weeks later he reminded me that I saw a badger! I thought on my feet and said oh it must have been a baby one!

They eventually start to eat their breakfast!

WINDOW ALERT

This is about the only time I have to make a coffee, QUICKLY. My little girl will notice in about 2 minutes that something my little boy has, is slightly different from hers, even though I’ve given them the same bowls, it may be that their spoons shine differently in the sunlight, however small she will spot it, it’s at this point I down my coffee and yell from the kitchen ” would you like a yoghurt drink” this allows me a few more moments to get the yoghurt drinks and finish downing my (triple shot) coffee.

Once breakfast is finished he has to get dressed if I let him play he gets engrossed and then he doesn’t want to get dressed!

My little girl is already sensing that he is going to get my undivided attention and starts clinging on. I try to convince her that pushing the dolls in her push chair is a good idea, ooh a bus, ooh a teddy, look a gorilla is climbing from the fence outside..

I eventually put on the tv knowing that the
hypnotising sounds of nursery rhymes of her one and only program she’ll watch little baby bum (weird name, right?) may stop her from wanting to cling on to me. If she is not able to be distracted from me then we have to try and get him dressed with her on my lap.. see she knows that my attention is going to be on my lovely boy whose patience with her is so amazing.

We somehow manage to get him dressed and then he wants to watch some tele and even though my little girl won’t of been watching her program she will get very upset that we’ve changed channel, so I try to distract her and then look at the time.. shit it’s 8.25 we need to leave in 5 mins…

So then I try to gather everything I need, crap it’s raining… everything I need has trebled with a simple shower of rain.

I take off his school shoes and put on his wellies, I put my little girls wet weather stuff on. I find his book bag and P.E. kit. I make sure I have everything I need for my little girl.. if I’m going on somewhere after this involves grabbing snacks. We are almost ready to go it’s 8.32.. I call my little boys name… come and get your coat on. NO.

Uh oh it’s one of those mornings. IM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL. We don’t really have time to have a debate so I start some tough love, bribery or a combination of both.

Oh I said I’d never bribe my kids, or give them sugar or let them watch too much telly!

All of the above lasted precisely 5 seconds!

After a two pronged attack of offering chocolate as a treat after school and reminding him that he won’t be able to use his Amazon fire if he doesn’t listen to me we eventually leave the house.

The walk is usually quite pleasant we get far too excited to see buses and we might sing some songs, sometime I like to rap common nursery rhymes, just to mix things up… this has sometimes led to actual critique from Simon cowell I mean my 5 year old boy.. correcting me on either my tone or levels of silliness.. I carry on regardless of his comments or the odd looks is getting from passers by.

We finally get to school.. normally late but before the second bell. And there we go that’s the first 90 minutes of our day!!

I should be more organised.. when I go back to work I’ll have to be!!

And parents of more than 2 children who successfully manage to get anywhere on time.. I salute you!