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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

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.

 

 

A new venture begins

So my Mum and I have bought a beach hut, which we are calling Doll’s House.

It’s very exciting for us, something we have wanted to do for a very long time, and recently we found ourselves in a position to actually go ahead with it.

I have created a new Blog for our  adventure, where we hope to capture the fun we have and keep a record our endeavours. Please pop over and have a read.

http://www.Dollsbeachhouse.wordpress.com

If you have any comments or advice that you want to share, please do!

Thanks

x

Explaining funerals to a child

I was asked today for my advice on how to explain about death and cremations to a 6 year old.

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Explaining death to a child is always hard, whether you’re referring to a pet, a person on television or a relative. But to a child, death is death. The meaning of death is something they will learn and experience the older they grow.

I am in no way an expert on this subject; I do however have recent personal experience.

My lovely Granddad passed away last year and my eldest daughter L was in the room with me when I received the phone call. I cannot comment on how anyone else would have reacted, but upon receiving the news, I broke down. I couldn’t control it. It was probably quite scary from her point of view. One minute I was happily putting make up on, the next I’m crying my eyes out crouched on the floor; the newly applied mascara running down my face.

I had to explain to L that her Great-Granddad was so very old and had been poorly for a while, and that he had died. I didn’t use the term “passed away” or “gone to heaven”.  I’m not sure why, and thinking back now, I am not even sure that I explained what dying was. I must have assumed that she would know. I feel awful now typing that, but dealing with your own grief kind of takes over I suppose.

L  had experienced the death of a various pets previously (rabbits mostly), and so was aware that the body had always been buried on the garden.

But with Granddad, there was a funeral  and he was being cremated, not buried. So now I had some more explaining to do.

The only way I could think to explain a funeral was to compare it to a wedding. Everyone in the family would get together at a special place similar to a church to say “goodbye”. There would not be any cake, or dancing, no bridemaids, no photographer. There would be a car though, a black one which would carry the coffin.  Once we had said goodbye and talked about Granddad, his body would be cremated, not buried. I explained that his coffin would pass into a massive oven with fire and be burned until all that was left was ash. Then the ash of Granddad’s body would be put into a jar and given to Nanny to bring home.  I think I said something along the lines of “Great-Granddads body is too big to bury in the garden, and at least if he is in the jar he can always be with us.”

I didn’t find it difficult explaining the processes involved. L  sat and seemed very grown-up all of a sudden, and asked me sensible questions. And I like to think that I gave her the answers she wanted without scaring or lying to her.

I would like to say now that L did not attend the funeral/cremation. She was 8 years old at the time, and in my opinion it would have been too much for her.

We didn’t talk about heaven or God. I didn’t want to make it any more complicated. I am aware that those questions will arise one day. But instead I told her that he would always be with us. Whenever we see sun shining through the clouds, L says that Great Granddad is looking down on us and asks me to take a photo. This is something she has come up with herself. This makes me very happy and proud that she seems to have such a mature outlook on this.

Taken during walk to school along the seafront

They were like two peas in a pod. They laughed together, talked about school, The age gap of 80 years did not seem to matter, they kind of met in the middle, and enjoyed talking to each other.

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So, here is how I believe death, funerals and cremations should be explained to a child:

  • Be honest – Don’t lie or make it out to be something it isn’t. There will come a time when they find out for themselves.
  • Try comparing it to an occasion they can relate to. In my experience it was a wedding.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate the matter with information which is irrelevant to their age.
  • Always answer any question they have. Don’t be afraid to talk to a child. Sometimes, they will knock you off your feet with how their innocence and maturity can help your grief.

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I would point out that I am NOT a childcare expert. I am NOT a counsellor specialising in loss/grief.

I am quite simply a Mum.