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Stuck for a Christmas gift….🎄📚

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Stuck for a present to buy someone for Christmas…?? 🎄🎁🎄
Want to give something unique,  personal, inexpensive, within budget, value for money…..something which can give that special someone a release, a story, an adventure, magic, mystery, truth, history or fiction…then for goodness sake go shopping in a book shop. 📚📖📚📖📚
Any book shop, whether it be a large wealthy chain or a small independent bookseller, it doesn’t matter. 📚📖📚📖📚
The gift of a book is something which everyone should receive.

Happy book shopping peeps.

Xx

Closing the bath-time chapter

That time has come. The time I never actually thought would ever happen.  My babies all of sudden, way too quickly, without me even seeing it have grown too big to share a bath any longer. This makes me sad, very sad.

T now 5, and G, now 3, have taken baths together since G was a small baby.  Initially I started bathing them together to save time, water, energy, as I imagine many other mums with do when they have more than one child under 2 years of age. It was a success on all counts. I managed to get both children bathed and ready for bed, two for the price of one, I established a good evening routine, and both T and G developed a good strong bother/sister bond, and I had two clean children!

But over the last three years, the bath times have slowly become more infrequent, the evening routine has slipped, and the playful baths have turned into more of a squabble over space, toys, attention, who gets to take out the plug, and who gets out last.

Tonight really was the last straw for me, a sad one I realise now, but the last nevertheless. I lost count of the number of times an argument broke out over the lack of space. T wanted to practice her swimming, G didn’t want to move out of the way so he splashed her in the face, she pushed him, he kicked her, he got her hair wet, she pulled the toy out of his hand, it went on and on and on and on. Referring siblings is difficult at the best of times, but add a bath full of water and it just becomes a nightmare.

Therefore, for the sake of my sanity more than anything, I announced rather loudly in the middle of the last shouting match “That’s it! From now on no more baths together. You will have baths on your own!” . I rather naïvely thought that that would bring a halt to the noise; it did but not in the way I expected. They both cheered! They seem to like this idea.

So, while I have been clinging on to the idea that they enjoy their baths together, they have probably been wondering when Mum is going to wake up and realise that they want to bath solo. So it appears that another chapter in their childhood is closing. I’ll leave the bookmark in there though and revisit it when I want to remember my babies when they were at such a fun time in their lives; it has been a period of time and growing that I actually enjoyed witnessing and will miss.

S

xx

Age appropriate reading….?!

My 5 year old, T is in reception class at school and I am extremely proud to say is a real whizz at reading, writing and spelling – Cringe a proud mummy moment, apologies!

T reads anything and everything; adverts, road signs, newspapers, magazines, everything and if it’s a bit too advanced she still gives it go. I will be honest sometimes it gets a bit tedious, but I ALWAYS try to encourage it. On the other hand my eldest daughter, L, who has just turned 11, hates reading. She can read and is actually good at it, but cannot be bothered and finds it boring. I accept this, not everyone is a natural bookworm and each child is different in a variety of ways. My Husband and I have tried in vain to temp L to read more, but she just will not do it.

T’s school actively encourage reading at home, books are sent home with a “reading diary” so we can keep a record of what is read by T and how she is doing. I imagine this is fairly standard in all primary schools these days. We use this and always make a record for her teachers to see. If however I were to write in there all the things T actually read when she was at home, I would be forever filling the blasted thing in and would probably be asking for another one.

Last Sunday evening, I had just sat down to start a book my sister had lent me, “The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly. I had never heard of it, and it looked quite interesting. (I now know that the book was made into a film in 2011 – a bit behind in the times on that one!) T came and snuggled next to me on the armchair and was asking me about the book, “did it have any pictures?” “Did it have any princesses in it?” etc, the normal things 5 year old girls want to know. I was four pages in to the book when T started reading along out-loud from the top of the page. I was happy to let her carry on with this and was excited that she wanted to. She did remarkably well.  T read probably one complete page, it took a while, but I was fine with that; it’s all good practise after all. I decided that I would put a note in her reading diary to let her teacher know, but instead of writing it in the book itself I put a wrote a note on a post-it, just outlining what she had done and letting them know. I thought, naïvely perhaps that they would think this was good progress. I was wrong!

Wednesday afternoon (2 days later!) T came out of school and inside her reading diary was a post-it note in reply, basically saying that T should be reading material more suited for her age, and they have given her more books to read at home. I was a bit dumbfounded, and felt like a criminal, like I should be run out of the school playground and locked up. Had I done the wrong thing by allowing her to read one page from one of my books? Could I have scarred her for life?

I relayed this to my Husband that evening, and he much like myself was slightly stunned. What is age-appropriate for a 5 year old? Only the books the school sends home? Am I only to allow her to read those? Do I have to discourage her from reading anything but those? If I had been sitting reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” then yes I could see where the school was coming from, but I was FOUR pages in a book about an American lawyer – nothing sinister had happened in the book at that point! Lets be honest here, T is only 5 she will not have taken in the story from the page she has read! However, now I each time I pick up my book to continue reading it’s been tarnished, as I get a heavy feeling in my chest, I’ve been made to feel like such a bad parent.

I have yet to speak to T’s teacher about this, and with the parents evening just around the corner I am very much looking forward to!

Do you censor what your children read? Was I wrong to encourage reading an adult book? I would be very interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else or what you would do, if anything? Please leave me a comment, let me know what you think.

Thanks

S xx

 

 

Personality Vs birth placement

So I saw this picture on Twitter recently…..

children

 

It got me thinking about my children: Girl one is 10 years old (going on 17!), Girl two is very nearly 5 years old and the boy is 3 on Saturday. Does this apply to my children in any way?

Coincidently, I was recently struck by a realisation that despite I have brought my children up in the same way, by the same rules, values and beliefs; they are all very different in personality. Girl one is sporty, tomboy-ish, nervous and eager to please and fit in. Girl two is a girly-girl, wants everything purple and sparkly, wants to wear dresses, be a princess with lipstick. Boy is football mad (yes even at the tender age of 2!), loveable, stubborn and loves laughing, and wants a bit of everything. So even though they have been raised following the same rules as each other, their individualism is starting to creep out.

But does the pecking order of birth into the family have anything to do with it? I have looked at the list and broken it down.

I will start with the First born: Girl one

Natural leader: When amongst her siblings, yes she is very much a natural leader!

High Achiever: As with most children I suspect, only when it comes to subjects she likes, enjoys and is good at. Jujitsu for example, she is doing brilliantly with this.

Organised: Not at all! I am afraid that her bedroom is like a constant bomb-site, clothes everywhere, can never find anything let alone remember where she left something. Very much the opposite in fact.

On-time: Mostly, but as with any child her timekeeping is usually handled by the parent. I suppose I will have to watch this space on this one.

Know-it-all: She very much likes to think so, but she isn’t afraid of asking. She will argue her point, especially if she knows she is right. Like Mother like Daughter!

Bossy: Yes Very. A mini-me in this respect. Occasionally she will over step the mark with her siblings. But she does like a good boss-about.

Responsible: She likes to think she is, and when given the confidence is showing good signs that she can be.

On to Middle child – Girl two

Flexible: Mostly yes. Although routine has always played a big part of her life, as she is getting older change doesn’t faze her, and usually as long as she sees that the end result is the same, she isn’t overly bothered.

Easy-going: Yes she is very easy-going. She doesn’t look for arguments, and is a delight to spend one-on-one time with, but she can be demanding when the need calls for it.

Social: Extremely, especially with people she is comfortable and confident with.

Peacemaker: To date she is showing no signs of being a “peacemaker”. Unless you want to turn it on its head and use the phrase “walk-over” in which case I would say that she can be a walk-over, particularly when she is the less dominant child in the room.

Independent: A close relative recently defined Girl two as “having the perfect only-child personality” By this they meant that she is more than happy to go and play on her own, she doesn’t require her siblings to entertain her. Yes, independent she is.

Secretive: Oh my goodness, She is a child of such subtle cunning, you have to see it to believe it. She is such a good little liar, actress, and sneak that I have to stop myself from smiling a lot when telling her off. Her slight of hand is AMAZING!

May feel life in unfair: I am sure if you asked her this, she would say that it is unfair, and then probably perform the worlds best sulk to prove it.

Finally, Last child – The boy

Risk-taker: He knows no fear. He is the boy who will jump feet first into the swimming pool without any armbands on and give Mummy a heart-attack in the process. He is the boy who will try every type of new food put in front of him without asking what it is. This is the boy who will jump off anything. Why? Because he can. Because he wants to be Superman and fly.

Outgoing: At first he isn’t. Put him in a new environment with new people and although he is comfortable and confident, he is not what I would call “outgoing. For example he recently had his first settling in session at his new preschool, he went in and focused on the toy cars and trains. He was more than comfortable playing on his own with these. He didn’t immediately hunt out someone to play with. When other children came over the join in with his game, he was more than happy to make friends. He seems to be more silently confident than outgoing.

Creative: When he goes off on his own with his many toy cars, planes, trains, action figures I love listening to him. His imagination is simply wonderful to witness.

Self-centred: He is mostly a very caring and loving little chap, however he does have a streak of self-importance about him. This comes out occasionally but not all that often.

Financially irresponsible: Not relevant in this child – He is not yet 3 years old. Time will tell, but I sincerely hope he isn’t.

Competitive: This should be his middle name. Everything is a race or competition. Who is going to be first up the stairs? Who will finish breakfast first? Who will get dressed the quickest? It drives me absolutely insanely nuts! I am always the referee!

Bored easily: Like any child he is capable of having a short attention span. However, he attends football matches and manages to stay focused on those (which is more than you can say for me!).

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What’s my conclusion of my children and whether or not their personalities match up to the picture. If I am honest I don’t really have one I suppose. Not at this stage of their lives. I feel it unfair to base their entire temperament, personality and outlook of life on their ranking of birth. I am sure that many people could turn it around and say that Girl one is bossy because she is the eldest, but I can assure you that the other two are equally as bossy.

Each child is different. Each child has their own sparkle. Each child has it faults. And each child brings something different to our family, whether is it stubbornness, kindness or competitiveness. By bringing them up in the same way and loving them same, they will grow and develop in their own way. And I will continue to love them regardless of where their “ranking” is in the family.

 

 

Third time lucky

Me and my boy

Me and my boy – Summer 2012

This post was recently published on the blog of Emma from www.emmaandalfiesworld.co.uk . A lovely blog by a lovely lady. Emma collated and published a large variety of birth stories. Thank you Emma, it was lots of fun and surprisingly emotional for me to sit and recall all the details of my third birth!  Below is my contribution to Emma’s blog.

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My third baby was due on 24th August 2011. It has been a long hot summer and I was getting very uncomfortable. With my first two pregnancies the baby had arrived early; so at 39 +6 I was getting very bored of waiting. In the last 3 weeks I undertook a lot of walking, spicy food, raspberry tea and sex…NOTHING!
On the 23rd August, it started. I had just woofed down a plate of my homemade chilli, (with extra chilli), literally as soon as I had finished my last mouthful, the contractions started. Maybe the baby was fed up of me feeding it unnecessarily over-spiced meals. I was over the moon.
And oh boy did the contractions start coming! I know that with each pregnancy, labour usually is quicker; so as eager as a beaver, Hubby and I jumped in the car and drove to hospital (I had rung them first to advise I was en-route). I timed them using the clock in the car, and during the journey, they increased in length and got stronger, much stronger.
I know what you’re thinking. No I didn’t give birth in the car. That would be Hubby’s worst nightmare, and mine as he would be completely useless.
We made it to hospital, and were put in a room on the labour ward for observations. Typically, my contractions slowed! I was only 2cms dilated. But as this was my third pregnancy, they said I should stay and put me in a bed on the antenatal ward. Hubby was unceremoniously dismissed, and so at 2am(ish) he drove home.
The ward was as you would expect at 2am, dark and quiet – no babies in THIS ward. It was full of sleeping pregnant women, probably stocking up on all the sleep they knew they would forfeit once bundle of joy arrived. And I can’t blame them.
Unfortunately, I found this disturbing. I was given a bed at the end of the ward, next to a window with the curtains pulled around, and left. It didn’t occur to me until some weeks later, that I was not offered any kind of pain relief, paracetomol, gas and air. I had nothing, just a bottle of water, a pillow and a buzzer for the midwife. I lay there for what felt like hours and hours, writhing around, doing my deep breathing, taking sips of my now warm water, trying to keep in any kind of noise to prevent waking up the women who were not in pain. I was convinced that things must have progressed. I called the midwife two times, and on each time following an inspection, she whispered that I “was not dilated enough, I was doing well and try to relax”….!!!!! This is the worst thing to hear when you’re in pain, and alone in a dark ward full of sleeping mummas-to-be.
So I endured this torture on my own for what felt like an eternity, until finally I simply could not bear it anymore. For the third time, I buzzed for a midwife – they have the patience of a saint, truly they do! – and FINALLY following a third inspection, she looked at me and informed me I had gone up to 6cm dilated. “We’d better get you down to the labour ward, you’ve progressed quite quickly.” AT LAST!
I don’t recall much of the wheelchair trip down in the lift. I don’t remember being helped onto the bed, and I certainly don’t remember having those horrible itchy uncomfortable oversized elastic-band-type products being strapped around my tight and contracting belly. I bloody hate those things. They don’t help my mood during labour one bit. They get in the way, and are like wearing a bra in bed as far as I am concerned. I DO remember telling everyone and anyone who was within earshot that I had requested an epidural. It was in my birth-plan, so I must absolutely must have one. For everyone else’s safety and wellbeing I must have an epidural. I was not prepared to not have one. It was not even a possibility. I put my hands up, I am a wimp with labour pain, but I also turn into a complete and unreasonable ogre. I swear like a sailor. I am not one of these ladies who can sail through (no pun intended) labour looking lovely and serene, smiling, enjoying and embracing the pain. Not me. I want drugs. Don’t care what type, but after a certain point of the labour I do not want to feel anything. They invented pain relief for women just like me!
So at around 6am(ish), epidural plugged in, belly strapped up, midwife positioned in the corner writing up her notes, Hubby walks in, clearly in a state of excitement and trepidation.
And so the waiting and the vomiting began….my labour slowed right down, thanks to the epidural. It plodded along at a very boring and frustrating rate. So much so that I had a change of midwife three times! But all were absolutely lovely.
You have noted I made mention of vomiting….yes I did. It turns out that epidural makes me sick, literally. Throughout my entire labour I was unable to keep anything down. The only thing that kept me going was fruit polos. I sucked them to death, desperate for something. Was I jealous when Hubby walked back in from the hospital restaurant having just had his dinner, a curry? No, not at all. I was happy for him to have enjoyed something to eat. He needs to keep his energy up. After all a man who is hungry is nearly as grumpy a woman in labour.
Time ticked on; it continued raining; we lost count of the amount of the cardboard sick bowls which had been disposed of; I lost count of how many doctors, registrars, students had all inspected my nether-regions; Hubby had been sent down to the hospital shop at least twice to re-stock my fruit polos; texts were sent advising still no baby……oh my god it didn’t want to come out. Clearly I was destined to be pregnant, strapped up, drugged up and throwing up forever!
At around 6.45pm, the midwives (there were two with us at this point), left the room for a teabreak. They deserved and needed one. I was giving Hubby instructions and about to send him out to get something – I can’t remember what for – but I felt another bought of sickness coming. “Sick bowl” I hollered. This was the worst lot of retching I had (apologies for going into details), I felt like my ribs were about to pop out of my throat. I had nothing to bring up, but continued violently retching over and over. Hubby, bless him, stood there holding the bowl like a trooper.
I didn’t think anything of it, this had been happening ALL DAY, but I did feel a bit tight down below between my legs. I put my hand down to have a feel……I had wretched so much I had pushed baby’s head out! Oops! It was at that point the midwives came back in. And it was all go. The button was pushed and in flew more midwives; my body then chose at that point to start retching again. This of course, made the rest of the baby pop out too!
Baby boy made his unique appearance at 7.07pm on 24th August, his due date! I am sure that the midwives won’t forget that birth, and I will take get joy in reliving the experience to my Son when he is older.