Thursday, 26 September 2013

Leibster Award

So I've been nominated for a Leibster award, the very kind Mental Parentals have sent the award my way and (abeit much later than I have hoped due to craziness at work, but that's another blog) I am gratefully accepting it.

For those that aren't already aware the Leibster award is presented by an existing blogger to another as a kind of recognition for their blogging, it's a fab way for new bloggers to show appreciation for each other and find out a little about us all!

As I understand it the rules for awarding the Leibster goes a little like this;

If you choose to accept the award you answer the questions about yourself which have been set by the blogger who nominated you, you then nominate other bloggers and set them your own questions. Now I'm very, very new on the scene so like the Mental Parentals who nominated me, I will nominate another 3 bloggers to keep sharing the blog love!

So here are the answer to the questions I was given...

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging because I love sharing and felt it was a great way of remembering this amazing time in my daughter's life.

2. Is this your first blog? If not, what was your first about?

Yes, first one and I'm still very, very new!

3. How would you describe your parenting technique?

Fairly gentle but with boundaries. Daisy is my first so I'm very much learning as I go along!

4. If you could choose your last 3 course meal, what would it be?

French Onion Soup, Steak & Chips, Panna Cotta.

5. Who would you get to play you in the film of your life?

Winona Ryder in the head, probably Miranda Hart in reality.

6. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Terrible television.

7. What do you consider your best talent / skill?

I cook a mean Roast Dinner and have an infallible memory!

8. Who is your favourite singer / group / band? 

Beth Orton.

9. What was your favourite toy growing up?

Sylvanian families.

10. Summer or winter?

Summer (but Christmas makes it a close call).

11. Is there anything you think your readers should know about you?

I have a degree in Fine Art painting.

I have chosen to nominate the following blogs...

And here are your questions...

1. How long have you been blogging?

2. What do you blog about?

3. What's your favourite day of the week and why?

4. How do you relax?

5. TV or Radio?

6. What would be your 3 desert islands items?

7. What is the first Single you bought?

8. Restaurant or takeaway?

9. What would your recommend to a new mum as a must have baby item?

10. Describe yourself in 3 words?

11. What was the happiest day of your life?

Friday, 20 September 2013

It's Friday, I'm in Love!

Dear Daisy

At nearly 22 months old your funny personality is truly starting to appear and every day little things you do remind me just how much I love you.

Here's today's, I love........

1) how you tell us 'not' instead of 'no' when you don't want something

2) how you only ever want 'tatoes' when I ask you what you'd like for tea

3) how you scrunch your nose when you smile, just like me

4) how you tell me 'nice' when I wear something new

5) how counting only ever starts at six, who needs one to five anyway!

6) how you just have to shout 'I'm king of castle' whenever you stand somewhere high

7) how whenever we talk about Daddy being at work you make a 'toot toot' sound (I'm sure you think he works on the trains)

8) hearing you shouting 'its my mummy' when I collect you from the childminder 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Changing Seasons

I love Autumn, I love the clothes, the chilly sunshine days and most of all I love the expectancy of good times ahead.

Normally having to put the heating on signals the end of a summer which never really started but this year feels different. We had sunny days, we enjoyed BBQs and for most had one of those long summers I remember so vividly from my childhood. So when I started to feel the first little chills of Autumn for once I didn't feel cheated I felt ready for a new chapter.

For me Autumn brings birthday celebrations, long walks on chilly Sunday mornings wrapped up in woolly jumpers, that unmistakable smell of bonfire night and the build up of excitement as the festive season (I won't mention the C word!) gets closer. There's a feeling of unmistakeable expectancy of good times ahead and it's all wrapped up in snug clothes and warm hearty food! 

Yes I'll miss sitting outside with a glass of wine on barmy summer evening but I'm welcoming Autumn with open arms and giving it a big warm hug, I think we're going to get along just fine!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Childminder Part One – Choosing

Daisy has been with her childminder for nearly a year now and although I miss her everyday I feel really happy with our choice, so thought I would write about some of the decisions we made when choosing her childcare and offer some tips for parents who are perhaps considering a childminder for their little one.

Firstly we needed to decide what kind of environment we wanted for Daisy, she was less than a year old when I returned to work so when weighing up the nursery vs childminder options we decided we would prefer her to be in a home environment. We didn’t consider a nanny for cost reasons but in hindsight I feel the social aspect of her being with a childminder or nursery would have led us to the same conclusion even if money hadn’t been a factor. We did visit a couple of Nurseries.  Some were absolutely lovely (some weren’t!) and we particularly liked the way a nursery can prepare a child for the schooling environment. However with my big bundle of chub only just crawling at the time school seemed as very long way off, Daisy wasn’t even walking so it all felt a bit big and scary for her, and when I say her I mean me!

So childminding it was, we visited a few in the area, thankfully there were quite a few available in the village and as soon as news spread around the childminding circles that there was a baby up for grabs, we realised we were in demand and consequently we were in control. We narrowed our choices down, visited the final 2 a couple of times, discussed it, discussed it again and then some more. Both our final choices ticked all the practical boxes we required so it was down to one thing – we followed our instinct – never a terrible choice in parenting I like to think!

And thankfully it worked out great, Daisy loves her Childminder, has lots of fun with all the other children there and her development came on leaps and bounds with all the socialising. I still feel that little wrench in my tummy every morning when we drop her off but seeing her run into the house (sometimes barely looking back to say goodbye) it's so so clear she has a great time.

So my tips...

· Visit as many childminders as you can and go during work times where possible to see how he or she interacts with the children in her care

 · I know it seems obvious but take your baby with you, it’s really important to see how they respond to one another

· Try and see where the children will eat, sleep, what the car/carseats are like.

· Find out what kind of activities they do, whether they attend groups, spend time outside, bake, draw (whatever is important to you)

· Ask for examples of menus if food is provided or talk about how meals are dealt with if not.

· Ask for references and actually contact them.

· Check the Ofstead report and not just the rating – it may be that the reason for the childminder being rated a good rather than excellent isn’t actually something you feel that strongly about and if you are happy with the childminder in every other way you may be happy to compromise.

· Arrange a couple of visits and try and do some settling in days to see how baby reacts to being left alone with the childminder.

· Check how they report back to you each day, do they do a diary, send photos, report on eating, nappy changes etc.

· Ask questions, lots of questions and be very clear from the offset what is important to you as a parent. The childminder can’t read your mind so if you feel very strongly that your child isn’t left to cry make sure the childminder knows this. If you don’t feel they will comply, then they are not the childminder for you. There is always an element of compromise with a childminder as they will almost always have other children to consider but you need to clear what can and can't be compromised.

Finally once you’ve made a decision, leave it and enjoy the final few weeks or months you have left of your maternity leave. I remember spending a lot of my final few weeks thinking and worrying about leaving Daisy, when in hindsight I should have just enjoyed that time I had with her. I remember so vividly taking Daisy to the park on one of our last days but I couldn’t get parked and I was getting more and more upset - I ended up calling Mr R in floods of tears as I had so wanted this day to be a special one as it felt like one of our last together. I was so preoccupied with the thought of needing to enjoy the last few days that I probably didn’t enjoy them as much as I could at all. I should have just hung out with Daisy, having lazy daytime naps together (something I miss so much now) rather than trying to go for days out when she was far too young to remember them anyway!

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