Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas with a two year old

This is my third Christmas as a parent and I can whole hearted lay say it's been the best yet. The first was a crazy, exhausting time enjoying those fuzzy first few weeks as a new mum, the second was great but at just 1 and not yet walking or talking much D didn't really know what was happening but this year was amazing fun.

I spent Christmas with a 2 year old and it's been Special, funny, exhausting and pretty much everything in between! D has really embraced Christmas this year, she loves the lights, the 'pretties' and has counted every day waiting for Father Christmas to arrive. She's been able to wrap (and open!) her own presents, sternly warning everyone 'not touch presents till Christmas day' And she's loved being around her family, being centre of attention and keeping us all entertained with those amazing little things that only a 2 year old can!

Here's a few of our Crimbo highlights.

Decorating her first Yule Log

The Many renditions of Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer

Sprinkling Reindeer dust in the front garden and watching my brother try to throw a carrot on the roof and get it to stay there. Apparently they can't come inside they stay on the roof (seems logical)

D waking us up by reporting 'Father Christmas left his socks in my cot'

D Discovering hide and seek is the greatest game ever and playing with anyone and everyone  (and perfecting her counting from 1-10)

Visiting her 90 year old Gramps and making everyone smile in the nursing home with her aeroplane Impressions and Dancing

In the words of my little cracker 'Merry Christmas everybody!'

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Should we be allowed to smack?

So smacking is back on the political agenda as the Children's Commissioner for England has called for a ban on all smacking of children. I'm not normally overly opinionated in my blogs and this is always going to be an emotive subject which I am sure we will all have our own views on but I thought I'd mull it over (publicly!) and share mine.

For the record I don't smack Daisy and I hope I never will as I have never seen smacking as a solution to her misbehaving or testing me. Believe me there have been times when I've reached the bottom of my 'parent toolbox' and literally not known what to do next but I've always seen smacking as the sign I've lost control of the situation and on a personal level that would be a major fail for me as a mum. My job is to be the parent, try to guide and teach Daisy (who lets face it can be pretty feral at times!) about how to behave, how to treat others and how to control her emotions. What lesson am I setting if I cannot control my own emotions and resort to violence.

Pro smackers I find always tend to use the same old excuses / explanations for their choices - 'I was hit as a child and it didn't do me any harm' Well I'm no psychologist but surely the fact you continue to use smacking as a solution is in itself an indication that those 'techniques' used as discipline in your own childhood have strongly influenced your capabilities to deal with testing behaviours in a controlled and none violent way. I was smacked as a child and although I'm obviously not emotionally scarred by this, I have no doubts it's not the route I wish to go down with D. I don't remember feeling sorry for my behaviour or thinking I'll never do that again when I was smacked I just remember feeling angry, resentful and quite frankly sorry for myself - the reason for the smacking was completely lost. 

And this is one of the reasons I cannot accept people's opinion that smacking is an effective way to discipline children, surely if they stop said behaviours after being smacked it's more out of fear of being smacked again than as a result of them thinking about and changing their behaviour. On top of this there's the glaringly obvious violence of it all, yes we can sugar coat it by referring to a 'tap on the hand' or 'little smack on a bottom' but smacking is smacking. How can we expect our children to learn about respect, kindness and gentleness if we hit them? It's completely illogical. 

It's illegal to hit another adult, illegal to hit an animal yet the law doesn't stop parents hitting their own children. The details within the laws referring to smacking children state that it is not against the law as long as no marks, cuts or grazes are left. For me this lacks any real understanding about the true impact smacking can have on a child's emotional well being and the well being of the parent / child relationship. I can only guess this loophole exists as a result of a small proportion of old school politicans refusing to support a full ban - well shame on them. 

I appreciate that for many of us smacking was a pretty normal part of our childhood, smacking was an accepted form of discipline and not seen as causing any harm, however, like with most areas of parenting we're constantly learning and studies now show that using smacking to correct bad behaviour is not only ineffective but can also be damaging to the both the child's psychological well being and the relationship between said parent and child. It is for this reason I don't resent my parents for their choices, instead I embrace that I don't need to parent in the same way, I can make my own choices based, yes, on the research that smacking doesn't work but mainly on my own instincts as a mum which simply tell me it's wrong. 

I know a legal ban on smacking won't stop all parents using violence towards their children, I know it won't stop child abuse but I hope it would at least show some parents that there are other ways to manage difficult behaviours and allow the relevant authorities to help families who struggle with managing these behaviours without the ambiguity of the existing legal loopholes.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

'I don't like it, mummy'

So after being the proud mummy of a little girl who would eat anything I fear we have reached our first wonderful stage of fussiness at mealtimes

I'm guessing it's no coincidence that this has happened at the same time Daisy's speech has literally exploded, she's now very capable of telling me what she 'doesn't like' (everything it would seem!) that she's 'finished' or she 'wants to get down'

I must admit I'm finding it hard to get my head around, in 25 months we've not had a single meal on the floor, no food throwing and very little refusal of anything. I will openly admit to feeling a little more than smug as D tucked into olives, hummus and pittas while other mums would be prising their kid's mouths open or trying to sneak a spoon of mush in during yawns! I felt truly confident I had a fab eater on my hands but it seems nothing ever lasts forever! She happily eats lunch, mostly breakfast but gets super fussy in the evening. 

So far I've tried to avoid refusing her yogurt or fruit afterwards as I've always been keen not to use 'pudding' as a reward but I can't help feeling like I've been duped when she happily tucks into yogurt after refusing everything but a couple of baby sweetcorn and some carrots (yeah that's what's more even more frustrating, she generally eats her veg!) 

I'm trying to see this as another phase, something that'll pass. I get that she's asserting herself and can see food is one of the few tools she has to do this but it's so frustrating when you take another half eaten plate back into the Kitchen. 

With Christmas just around the corner I suspect her routines will be completely out for a while so I'm going to bite my tongue and hope this, like most other phases, will pass and we'll be back to her eating everything in sight and always wanting more.

I want this again!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Homemade Advent Calendar

I had originally intended to write this a week or so back and would have were it not for one major problem - I hadn't finished the blooming thing! However here it is, completed on the 1st December and if you want to know how, read on! 

Daisy had a traditional advent Calendar last year as she was only 13 months and wasn't really eating chocolates. I decided this year I wanted to make her an advent calendar myself so she could have a mix of sweets and presents but also try and make something which would be a decoration we could use year after year. 

So I started by getting lots of different coloured pieces of felt and making the individual pockets. I wanted them all to be different so used lots of colours and patterns. 

I wanted a raffia backing so cut out the right sized piece, turned the edges in and added biased binding to stop it fraying. I then started pinning the individual pockets on. Sewing on the pockets was by far the most time consuming, it would have been a breeze with a sewing machine but alas, I don't have one so had to hand stitch it all. 

Once all the pockets were in and straight(ish) I filled them with sweets, treats and toys. The beauty of being able choose what she gets every day means I can decide whether she has chocolate that day, something healthy like raisins or a little Toy. I decided to make Christmas Eve bigger to hold a decent sized toy rather than do one for Christmas Day as I reckon she'll have enough to keep her occupied on Christmas morning. 

So I'm pretty happy with the rest and D loves it after the initial 'what is mummy?' 

Silent Sunday

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