Bashed for Bottle Feeding Baby …

Well, it seems that glamorous, new Mummy, Amy Childs, comes under fire again.

Can she do anything right at the moment?

First she was criticised for appearing to be using diet shakes only days after giving birth to Daughter Poppy., this was not the case.

Now she is getting scrutinised for posting a photograph on her Instagram of bottle feeding her baby.

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Credit: Instagram – @amychilds1990

Now some people don’t see an issue with this Mummy & Daughter pic and are full of compliments towards how well she is looking.

Whereas others, ‘The Mum of Year Brigade’ as they have been labelled on social media, have attacked the glamorous Mum for being ‘Neglectful.’

Reading this really drives me mad if I’m being completely honest.

Remember when ‘The Brelfie’ was trending, breastfeeding Mum’s were slammed for being exhibitionists and apparently rubbing it in other parent’s faces that they were unable to breastfeed.

They weren’t criticised for being ‘Neglectful’ for taking a selfie during feeds.

Yet a bottle feeding Mother, taking a harmless photograph of herself and her Daughter, sharing a moment, and suddenly all hell breaks out and she is the worst type of Mother going?

Personally, I am a breastfeeding Mother, and do I think she is neglectful? No!

I think she probably just thought, perfect opportunity for a nice selfie, whilst enjoying the sun in Ibiza with her baby.

Trolls have accused her of ‘wasting valuable bonding opportunities with her baby.’

Now come on, if we are all being honest, who hasn’t taken their eyes of their child whilst either bottle or boob feeding? … and if you can’t put your hand up and admit the fact that you may have either browsed Facebook or done a bit of online shopping, or even just replied to those texts that you’ve been struggling to get two minutes to reply to, then you’re a liar!

Don’t get me wrong, I have spent more feeds staring down lovingly at my baby girl than I have playing Candy Crush, and Amy has probably spent more feeds cradling her baby than her mobile phone, so give it up keyboard warriors.

Why should she be publicly slammed for her selfie?

Leave the poor girl alone!

She looks absolutely amazing, and if I had a body like hers 3 months after giving birth, I’d be papping myself doing every task imaginable.

It’s not like she was using one of these disgusting ‘Bottle-holders’ …

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Now, they are vile, and damn right lazy!

I have 3 children, and if I didn’t have the time to sit and feed my baby, I wouldn’t have had another child in the first place, cause let’s face it, you wouldn’t have time for sex either right?

 

 

 

Life Unfairly Lost After Confronting Louts

Well, it’s not often that I have to disagree with my Mum (anything for a quiet life!) but a few weeks back, we got into a discussion about confronting yobs outside your property and what we would do if this happened to us.

My Mum has known me for 31 years, and so has a pretty good idea on my personality by now.

She had brought up this subject to try and warn me about the dangers of challenging antisocial behaviour.

We live in Manchester  and back in August 2007, not too far from us, a father of three, Garry Newlove, had confronted a group of teenagers outside of his home in Warrington after suspecting they were vandalising his wife’s car.

Garry was beaten to death as a result of this, leaving his Wife and three daughters without a husband and a Dad.

More recently, just over 24 hours ago in fact, Mike Grimshaw, a young father from Sale Moor, was stabbed to death after approaching a group of yobs outside of his house, and asking them to keep the noise down.

Mike was stabbed in the neck and left for dead.

Neighbours tried desperately to save him, but unfortunately, his injuries were fatal.

Since, a 16 year old has been arrested and is being questioned regarding the murder.

 

So yet again, the question arose, ‘What would you do if a group were outside your property causing trouble or being loud?’ ‘Would you ignore them?’ ‘Would you call the police?’ or ‘Would you go outside and deal with them yourself?’ …

When I first had this chat with my Mum, I stuck to my guns. I was adamant that, as I have in the past, if there was a group causing annoyance outside my house, or vandalising my property, I would be straight out there telling them to politely ‘Do one!’

I have never really been the shy and retiring type, and if something needs saying, I am not afraid to speak out.

If someone is destroying something I have worked hard to pay for, or in some cases, still paying for, like hell am I going to let some low life scum bags damage that for their own amusement.

Likewise, if they were to be loud and disrespectful, causing any disturbance to my children sleeping perhaps, I’d be out there, telling them to keep the noise down, or go and make a racket elsewhere!

In the words of my lovely Mother ‘This is why I worry about you being a stroppy cow! You are not frightened of challenging people but I bloody wish you were!’

 

Well, Mummy dearest may have gotten what she wished for.

Myself and my partner were discussing this last night, after the sad news yesterday of Mike Grimshaw.

Why is this happening time and time again? How is it fair that people are losing their lives after standing their ground to these delinquents?

Maybe the best thing is to just let them do what they want and get away with it?

After reading about all of the incidents in the news, it does make you think, maybe I am best just turning a blind eye, or depending on the severity, ringing the police and waiting for them to deal with it.

Is it really worth your children being left without a parent? …

 

I have to say, sadly times have changed.

Where as in the past you could’ve stood up for what you believed in and perhaps dealt with these thugs yourself, nowadays it is just not worth the risk.

If you are ever in doubt, ring 101 (Non-emergency police number) or 999 if it is an emergency.

Never feel like you are wasting police time by reporting antisocial behaviour.

It is a crime! Sadly sometimes a crime which costs lives.

 

 

Deadly Kiss: Is Kissing your child on the lips really such a bad thing?

With the newspapers reporting this week that a 18 day old baby has died after contracting Meningitis HSV-1, we are yet again asking the question of, is it right or wrong to kiss your child on the lips?

Parent’s, Nicole & Shane Sifrit, are warning other’s not to let people kiss your baby after they tragically lost their daughter, Mariana earlier this week.

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HSV-1 is the virus that causes cold sores, but rarely does it lead to viral meningitis, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

They describe the early symptoms of the virus to include sleepiness, nausea, fever, lack of appetite and headaches.

Babies younger that one month and those with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to the illness.

Many people harbour HSV without ever knowing they have it. Since they can transmit the virus without having symptoms, infection can be spread unknowingly to contacts.

Nicole told WHOtv.com: “Don’t let people kiss your baby and make sure they ask before they pick up your baby.”

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Personally, I had never thought twice about kissing my children on the lips, and have to admit, it is something I always do.

I never saw an issue with showing affection to my children and smothering them in kisses.

If I am honest, it does make me cringe slightly when I see other people kissing my children on the lips, especially after the stories recently of how poorly it can make children, and worst case, even resulting in death.

Many celebrities, including Katie Price, Jennifer Garner & Sarah Jessica Parker, have all been papped kissing their children on the lips.

It has hit the headlines quite a few times recently, after both Victoria & David Beckham shared photographs on social media kissing their 5 year old daughter, Harper.

Now again, when this all blew up, I jumped straight to the defence of The Beckhams. ‘Why should a father have to defend himself for kissing his daughter?’ ‘Why should any mother be criticised for sharing a loving picture of her and her daughter kissing whilst wishing her a Happy Birthday?’ …. it was ridiculous!

Infact, I wondered why the hell it had even crossed anyone’s mind that this was ‘so wrong’?

David replied to the negativity he had received by explaining that he and Victoria are ‘always very affectionate towards our brood’.

And why the hell not?!

Well, Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a psychologist at the University of California UCLA said
“A ‘peck’ on the lips from parents can cause confusion.
If you start to kiss your kids on the mouth when they are young, when do you stop? It’s extremely confusing.
Children grow up and stop being babies. When they reach 5 or 6 years old they become aware of their bodies and sexuality. Reznick said they can actually become stimulated by a kiss on the lips.”

What an absolute load of crap! I’m Sorry, but show me any documentation, the slightest bit of proof that backs up that kissing your child on the lips can lead to problems later on in life.

Dr. Fiona Martin from Sydney Child Psychology Centre is in total disagreement with the Reznick, and thinks it’s absurd that parents kissing their children on the lips can be considered sexual. “It is normal and healthy to show affection for your children. You are communicating to your children that you love them,” Martin explained to a local newspaper of Australia.

Likewise, Dr. Heather Irvine-Rundle, suggests that Dr. Reznick’s conclusion is outrageous. “It does not take into account relationships that are safe and trusting. There is nothing sexual about kissing a baby on the mouth.”

I understand that some parent’s do not believe in kissing children on the lips due to fears of contracting diseases such as Herpes & Meningitis, that I can totally sympathise with.

It has made me reconsider whether I should be kissing my children on the lips? But truth be told, its a natural thing to me and my partner and I don’t think that is something you can just switch off instantly.

I was brought up in a very loving family environment, full of kisses and cuddles, and always wanted that same warmness for my family.

But saying that ‘we shouldn’t kiss our children as it is sending them mixed messages’ and ‘it is considered a sexual act’, I’ve never heard so much crap in all of my life!

It is yet again, a topic which divides us all.

Some people totally agree with the fact that we shouldn’t be kissing our children on the lips, and should stick to kissing foreheads and cheeks.

 

 

And equally, there are those of us who think, each to their own, and kissing a child on the lips is simply a show of affection.

 

 

What do you think? Kiss of death? Or just pure love for your children?

My view is that as parents, it is perfectly normal to want to kiss your child and show your love towards them.
But, I agree, do not let others kiss your children on the lips.
Explain your concerns if you are worried, and do what you think is best for your child.
No one can tell you right from wrong, that’s down to you to decide.

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The Summer Survival Guide …

The summer holidays are in touching distance, and whilst some parent’s are super excited (I know I am!), some parent’s find the long break from school quite a daunting prospect.

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Not necessarily because they don’t want to spend time with their children, but other stress factors which come hand in hand with this.

Including;

  • Childcare worries
  • Children complaining of boredom
  • Constant eating out of house and home
  • Injuries, bumps & other incidents
  • Travelling with kids (a pet hate of mine!)
  • Toileting inconveniences
  • … the BIG one …. the expense !!

The summer holidays needn’t be so worrying for parent’s.

These days, there is so much on offer for families, whether that be summer camps or daily events, the choice is yours.

Now, in Manchester, we don’t get ‘that many’ sunny days. So when we do, we like to make the most of them!

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You can choose to spend day’s at home, or go out for the day (depending on the mood of you, and your children).

My little one’s absolutely love getting a bucket of water and a pile of paintbrushes, and ‘painting’ the garden for me.

They paint patterns on the patio and up the walls, and even try decorating the cat (if he stays still for long enough!).

Other simple garden activities, that will keep little one’s occupied include;

  • Water guns – Buy a few cheap water guns at the start of the holidays, and keep them handy on the off chance we get any nice weather, fill them up, and let the children entertain themselves whilst burning off lots of energy!
  • Chalks – Once they have finished creating their masterpieces, it’s also fun to get the buckets of soapy water out afterwards and wash it all away, 2 activities in 1!
  • Dens – Give them some old bed sheets or blankets, and let them make dens. My eldest is obsessed with making dens, and this keeps her busy for hours!
  • Gardening – Supermarkets sell child sized gardening tools, which is a great way of encouraging them to help you with that tedious chore. Let them help with the weeding and planting some new flowers.
  • Washing the car – So simple, and does you a favour (whilst saving a few quid – or that’s the idea … I end up tipping my car cleaners which turns out more expensive than a cheap go in the car wash, but 9/10 the kids do a better job!)
  • Paddling pool – Again, buy one at the start of the holidays, and whip out first thing in the morning when the sun comes out. Keeps them happy all day.

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For those wet, miserable (typically Manchester) days, the kids can still enjoy a wide range of activities, such as;

  • Puddle jumping – My 6 and 2 year old, love nothing more than sticking on their wellies and puddle suits, and splashing around in the garden or at the local park. Peppa Pig and her little brother have a lot to answer for!
  • Library – My local libraries are running a really good selection of children’s activities and events over the summer break (Story/Rhyme time, crafts, animal handling, outdoor plays, Lego workshop’s, teddy bears picnics) and also offering children chance to sign up for a ‘Reading Challenge‘. This is a fun way to keep your little one’s interested in reading over the holidays, whilst gaining a medal and certificate at the same time. Winner, winner!
  • Museums – Take a visit to any local museums, find what your children may be interested in, and see if any are holding themed days or activities.
  • Check if you can visit your local fire station. Children love to watch real life superhero’s!
  • Most leisure centres are holding multi-sport camps each week. This solves childcare and boredom worries! Contact your local centre and check availability and timetables.
  • Life sized portraits – Stick a roll of paper to the floor, and draw around each other, cut them out, colour them and stick them up.
  • Slime – Make gloop, mixing cornflour and water, and add food colouring of your choice.
  • Baking is an old favourite
  • Decorate some cheap terracotta plant pots using paint or materials of your choice (shells, buttons etc).
  • Theme days – Encourage children to dress up and plan meal times around your theme.

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If you are feeling adventurous, or want a treat day out, they do not always need to break the bank. Try some of the following;

  • Get a play pass for your local theme parks (Gulliver’s World near me if offering special price ‘Summer Tickets’)
  • National Trust parks offer a huge range of children’s activities, including; outdoor Theatre days, Bear hunts, Craft Workshops and much more! Check the National Trust website for more information on your desired park.
  • Cheshire Ice Cream Farm – Free entrance, play passes bought from reception or can be booked online beforehand for different activities. Amazing place, lot’s to do for all ages and of course … delicious ice cream!
  • Zoo’s are always a hit! Knowsley Safari Park is one of our faves! Get up close to all of the animals, and afterwards, you can get out and enjoy the fairground rides or enjoy the sea lion show maybe? For all you brave people (crazy people in my opinion) there is also a bat house, where you can venture through and have the bats flying past you …. not my idea of fun, in fact, i almost knocked someone out the one and only time I braved this, by running so quickly past them, throwing my arms around! … but, each to their own.
  • Farm – Take the children to look at the farm animals and enjoy a picnic if the weather is kind.
  • Redhouse Farm, Chesire – Famously known for the amazing ‘Maize Maze’, also offers bouncy castle fun, face paints, tractor rides and much more !
  • Chill Factore – Offering ‘Snow Camps’ for children 6+, or you can take children of any age for a play in the snow activities. Wrap up warm and have lots of fun here!
  • Trampoline Parks – Offer special ‘Tot’s Time’ and also have lots of offers on during the summer. Local to us is Oxygen Freejumping, who are offering 20% off prices all summer, when booking online in advance, using code: FAMILIES20.
  • Trips to local parks (I have recently found Stamford Park, Stalybridge. We love it here as it has water fountains for the kids to run in and out of, sand pits and swings,slides etc. It is well maintained and a fab day out!)

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Things Not To Be Missed:

  • One Big Summer Weekend – Comes to Manchester Friday 28th July – Sunday 30th July – Exchange Square (Outside Selfridges), will include Clownfest, Food Festival, Live music, Flower shows & much more! 10am-6pm, free entrance, small charge for activities.
  • Beach on the Park – Heaton Park, Manchester. A giant beach is coming to the park. Will also include character appearances from Moana and Paw Patrol. Opening 22nd July, 12pm-5pm, for the whole of the summer holidays! Attractions will be priced individually or you can get an unlimited wristband for the day, for £8.99.
  • National Play Day – Torkington Park, Hazel Grove. Will have Face painting, Arts & Crafts, Sport Skills and refreshments!
  • Barton Square Beach – The beach is open now until 25th August and is free of charge. Offers activities such as; Water walkers, Boats, Bumper Cars & much more!
  • Sunday Funday – Manchester Airport Viewing Park – Every Sunday, 11am-5pm – offers bouncy castles and lots of children’s activities. Free of charge but parking is pretty ridiculous on site so may be worth sussing out parking elsewhere or using public transport.
  • Trafford Centre Emergency Services Day – Returning to The Trafford Centre, August 3rd, 10am-4pm, let your children come down and meet the emergency service teams and hop on board fire engines, ambulances and even have a nosey in a police car.

 

So, all in all, no reason for splashing the cash everyday and certainly no excuse for boredom. ENJOY the summer holidays and remember, to help you stay sane …

  1. Always plan a day ahead.
  2. Have a picnic ready for any hot days.
  3. Always save messy play for an hour before bed, that way they can be bathed straight away, and ready for bed!
  4. Plan ‘Lazy days’ once a week. It is fine to have days at home, don’t pressure yourself to always be out spending money. I used to think I had to be somewhere everyday, doing something different, but sometimes kids just like to entertain themselves and have ‘free days’.
  5. Invite friends around, other wise you might go a bit stir crazy without any adult conversation.

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But most of all, ENJOY and HAVE FUN! Quality time with children is what they remember, not how much you spent!

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Thank you xx

 

Dinos ‘Don’t Quite’ Soar at Jurassic Kingdom …

As you may have already noticed from previous posts and pictures, we have a dinosaur crazy 2 year old.

So when we heard about Jurassic Kingdom coming to Phillips Park in Manchester, we were thrilled and instantly knew that we NEEDED tickets!

With our tickets booked, I took to the Jurassic Kingdom website to check out the selection of attractions.

The experience is described as ‘A spectacular outdoor dinosaur experience aimed at family audiences with over 30 impressive installations of animated dinosaurs with electronic moving parts. Animatronics include arms moving up and down, tails swaying side-to-side, heads moving up and down, eyes blinking and jaws opening wide with roaring sound effects. Making for a truly awesome educational and entertaining Jurassic experience!

With that in mind, we were eagerly counting the days …

FINALLY, today was the day!

We booked weekend tickets as we wanted to take our eldest (although, as a very girly girl, we weren’t sure how much she would enjoy it).

We kitted Ellis out in his favourite dinosaur t-shirt, hat and wellies (as true Manchester style, it was raining).

 

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And we were off!

Altogether, there was myself, my partner Justin, our 6 year old, 2 year old and 6 month old, and Nana & Grandad. So as you can imagine, it was not a cheap day out.

Tickets are slightly lower priced if you buy them online, and had cost us £63 in total, the youngest two got in for free.

The event offered free parking, which surprised me, but it was close to the park and we managed to find a space straight away.

We setup the pushchair for our 6 month old, and decided to brave the reins for the 2 year old. We followed the signs to the entrance, and walked with the crowds of people heading to see the ‘amazing animatronics’.

After carrying the pram down some stairs (Would’ve been fun if I had chose to go on my own!) we were inside the park.

We showed our printed out tickets, and headed into the actual exhibition …

The first thing that we came across was a small sit on dinosaur and a dinosaur egg which the little people could climb inside. There was a big queue of children, eagerly waiting to have their pictures taken on these, and of course, we had to join the queue.

No sooner had they climbed onto the dinosaur and inside the egg, there was an impatient parent pushing them out of the way to squeeze their child on, in order to hurry on around the rest of the exhibition.

We walked further down the walkway and came across a few more animatronics, Ellis was amazed!

He screamed with excitement and was very keen to give the Brachiosaurus a cuddle.

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Obviously we had to chase after him and stop him from going past the little blue rope surrounding it, and try to explain that he wasn’t allowed to touch the dinosaurs.

Telling a two year old that he can not get up close and personal to his favourite thing in the whole wide world, as you can imagine, wasn’t an easy task as we walked around the 30 animated dinosaurs.

We trudged further along the pathway, and in the distance saw the impressive looking T-rex.

Now this was what we had been waiting for.

Ellis’ best-loved friend!

He is forever screaming ‘T-REX, T-REX!!!!!’ whilst running around the living room, or walking around The Trafford Centre.

We pointed it out to him, and well, we didn’t quite get the reaction we expected …

 

He was absolutely petrified, and so after a few minutes of trying to encourage him, we gave in and said ‘Bye bye T-rex!’ like Ellis insisted.

We walked passed a Euoplocephalus, which if I’m honest, with his missing/broken eye, was looking his age!

There were a few Pteranodon located in the trees, which looked a lot more realistic than the other half-hearted efforts we had passed.

I mean, without being too graphic, the T-rex had genitalia to make it look life-like, yet they made no attempt to disguise the metal frame and cables which it was attached to.

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When looking on the website, the different dinosaurs are shown in their natural habitats.

Some are stood in sand, some surrounded by boulders and others in the middle of foliage.

It seems that on their travels around the world, they lost all of this, and just went with the basics, travelling light.

This just looked feeble in my opinion.

So far, I wasn’t impressed, as you may well have gathered.

It was as if every corner that you turned, you were expecting to come across the high light of the exhibition.

Upon reaching the half way point, there was a cove like area which had various food vendors and different activities, to wake the children up a bit.

There was a large sandpit, excavation area, where you could dig for fossils. This was a bit of a wash-out due to the wet weather.

There was a couple more smaller sized models which the children could climb inside (but again the wait time for these was much longer than a 2 year old is prepared to wait).

Also, in the centre of the field was a gruesome looking raptor attack. The kids obviously loved this, and it triggered one or two questions, but once again, the cables and socket covers were all on show, which really dampened the realistic look.

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We managed to find a table and sit down for a quick coffee and food stop.

The food was really nice, I was pleasantly surprised.

The 2 year old and 6 year old spotted a dinosaur which you could actually climb on, unlike the many others, which had signs stuck to their heads or chests, warning not to climb or touch (this didn’t really add to the authenticity of life-like dinosaurs but hey-ho!)

Walking over to the queue of the ride on dinosaur, we could see that there was an additional charge for this attraction, and again, the children got fed up of the wait, so we gave up, and continued our adventure around the park.

We passed some interesting signs, and more really ‘convincing’ looking models.

After seeing a couple more shoddy looking beasts, including a Carnotaurus and a Pachycephalosaurus, we were back at the T-rex, though this time Ellis decided it wasn’t so bad, and went for a closer look.

Result!

Overall, I was really disappointed.

I feel the whole experience was massively over hyped and for the price you pay, it isn’t much of a ‘Spectacular experience’ as described on their website.

I have summed up the highlights & the ‘not-so’ amazing points below:

The Good:

  • For dino mad ‘younger children’, you can’t go wrong. The dinosaurs move and make sounds, so it pleases the fans!
  • Free parking
  • Food vendors were good quality
  • There was a huge selection of animatronics, and they were spaced out so never felt too crowded.
  • The Manchester exhibition is situated right next to a park, and so after your walk around the event, the kids loved playing on here.

The Bad (and The Ugly!) :

  • The informative signs explaining dino-facts could’ve been more child friendly & colourful, as oppose to small print and no pictures.
  • The cables and bases of the models should’ve really been disguised as to ‘set the scene’.
  • There were a few of the attractions which had eyes missing and ride on’s which had been damaged, looked really poor and was dispiriting to see.
  • As an attraction for children, I would’ve liked to see more in the way of interactive exhibitions and perhaps allow the children to be able to touch some of the dinosaurs (Under supervision of course).
  • There was a 9D experience by the entrance, but yet again, this was an additional fee and ridiculous queues.
  • I pictured it, as it was described, as a festival type event. I assumed there would be face paint attractions and dinosaur balloons for sale … but there wasn’t any of this.

 

I wouldn’t go again personally, but if you have little children (I would say under 6 or 7), and you can find a discount code (there are a few available at the moment) then it’s worth giving a go.

The major downfall was the lack of authenticity. I just feel a bit more effort could’ve been made when setting up the dinosaurs habitat.

It was a nice way to start the summer holidays, but I wasn’t as amazed as I was expecting to be, and felt a little bit deflated afterwards sadly.

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Research Reveals That We Do Not Talk To Our Children Enough…

A recent poll carried out by family brand ‘Fruittella’, reveals that British relatives spend only 44 minutes a day talking to each other, despite spending more than 8 hours a day together.

The poll was put to 2,000 relatives of children aged 4-16 years old, and results alarmingly show that conversations between parent’s and children before school, last only 9 minutes.

During an evening meal, that extends to 11 minutes, and that’s for those who still make the effort to sit around a table together,  bedtime a further 10 minutes (Usually stalling tactics to delay bedtime) …

I know my 6 year old tends to leave it until bedtime to talk about really important matters, such as, “Mummmmmmmmmmm, you know today, a unicorn ran across the school field and we all had to all jump on an aeroplane, fly around the world and then walk back, but don’t ask my teacher, because she will say she can’t remember.”

 

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Unsuprisingly, 9/10 parent’s say they wish they could spend more time with their children than they currently do.

87% say they would like more meaningful chat on a regular basis.

Some parent’s even say that conversation with their children after school is just ‘impossible’ and usually only gets reactions such as; ‘I can’t remember’ ‘Not sure’ or ‘I don’t know’.

 

Generally, it is believed that early evening is the best time to get your child to open up and have a chat.

My little girl goes into great detail, and we have some really lengthy discussions before bed.

 

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She must think I was born yesterday, and am not aware of the fact that she is only telling me half of this stuff as it means she gets to stay up a bit later.

But, to be honest, I think I would feel really guilty if i didn’t stay to listen to the story of ‘Child A pushing Child B off the climbing frame’ or ‘How school had tried poisoning her with  witches food at lunchtime.’

 

 

A spokesperson for Fruittella said, “There is no greater pleasure than hearing about how they have made a new friend, a skill they have mastered or a funny thing that has happened’

 

Fruittella carried out the research to encourage parent’s to take an extra 2 minutes a day, to sit down with their children and chat about all the great stuff that they do that we don’t normally hear about.

 

I made a little jar for my children (only the eldest one really understands and makes use of it, but we encourage the toddler to join us too!) which contains question cards.

 

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She picks out three cards each night (we don’t ALWAYS get around to it to be fair, but we try our best if we are home) and this encourages fun conversation.

It beats the regular ‘What did you do today?’ ‘Who did you play with?’ and ‘What did you eat?’.

The cards include:

  • What is the best thing that you did today?
  • What was the funniest thing that happened today?
  • What games did you play at playtime today?
  • What made you smile today?
  • Did anything make you sad today?

 

Some days in our house, with three young children, it seems like a big rush to get everything done, a military operation almost, but conversation with your little ones is so rewarding and beneficial to both us as parent’s, and them as little tiddlywinks!

… and come on, what’s two extra minutes of your time? They’re not little for long, make the most of it I say.

 

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The Marvellous Miracle of Messy Play …

Messy play is often defined as ‘children using all of their senses in the process of exploration, especially the sense of touch, by offering different materials.’

Experts encourage messy play from birth to three especially, and say sensory stimulation is key to early learning.

 

Examples of messy play activities include;

  • Gloop (Cornflour & water)
  • Jelly
  • Shaving foam
  • Baked beans/ spaghetti/ pasta
  • Sand/ water
  • Ice cubes
  • Finger painting (edible paint can be used)
  • Playdough
  • Bubbles
  • Mud kitchen/ soil
  • Puddle play

 

 

 

As a qualified nursery worker with over 10 years experience, I have done my fair share of messy play, and now offer this to my children. We love every minute of it!

 

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Today, I did ‘Jelly play’ with my 6 month old.

I setup a small paddling pool, stripped her off to her nappy and let her loose!

She had a whale of a time.

 

 

 

I had a bath ready and waiting, so straight from the sticky mess to bubbly bliss (which again can be used as a messy play experience).

 

 

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Some adults find it quite stressful, and the fear of clearing up afterwards can be somewhat daunting.

 

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This shouldn’t deter parent’s,  the benefits (listed below) are absolutely incredible;

  • Children learn important information about the world around them.
  • Stimulates senses
  • Helps children to relax (parent’s not so much apparently!)
  • Enables children the opportunity to express their feelings.
  • Helps to develop hand/eye coordination & fine motor skills.
  • Builds on children’s confidence & self-esteem.
  • Allows children to investigate through their natural curiosity.
  • Great way to learn concepts, such as; hot, cold, full, empty etc.
  • Can encourage babies to try new foods (add food purees or new foods to highchair table and allow them the opportunity to explore for themselves)

 

As children get older, messy play can also help with counting, investigating space, measuring, questioning and naturally encourages children to use scientific processes to explore.

 

Adults need to remember that what can often look like a huge mess to us, is truly a great learning experience for a child.

 

Clinical psychologist, Claire Toi says,” A small child’s life is riddled with do’s and don’ts – how lovely for them to be presented with an activity that has no right or wrong way of doing things.”

… and what a fantastic way of putting it!

Children of all abilities can be involved with messy play, so no need for anyone to feel excluded.

 

Messy play classes are now on offer from organisations such as ‘Messy Monkey’s’ & ‘Splat Messy Play’ and can therefore be a great social opportunity too (for children, and Mum’s & Dad’s!)

 

The brain learns from body experiences, so get adventurous and get messy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Give Me Space’ – Parent-led campaign for safer parking facilities for families …

Back in October 2016, whilst 7 months pregnant with my third child, I was horrified to exit my local Tesco supermarket, return to my car and find that I couldn’t even open the doors.

It was just before 5pm, on a Tuesday evening.

I had done as I always do, and when arriving at Tesco, drove to the parent and child spaces, only to find that they were all occupied.

So, I drove around the car park and found a normal space, and parked up.

I had purposely chosen a spot which had vacancies either side, to lessen the struggle with an ever growing baby bump, a 16 month old child and a 5 year old to get out of the car.

I went inside the shop, got my shopping and exited the store.

Approaching my car, I realised a white van had parked next to me, and it seemed at a very unusual angle.

Once I actually reached my car, I could see that there was no possible way that I was going to be able to open either of the doors on my drivers side, which is where my son’s car seat was fitted.

 

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The van had parked on an angle with its rear end inches from my door.

 

 

I was furious. This person had parked a marked works vehicle in such a manner that there was no way anybody could’ve gotten into my car via the drivers side, let alone me being the size I was at the time.

So I decided to take some photographs and capture the company name and registration number.

I became stressed, as obviously, 5pm on a school night, the children were reaching ‘witching hour’ and I was keen to get home.

The only option I had, was to open my passenger side rear door, and ask my 5 year old daughter to climb over her car seat and sit her little brother in to his and attempt the complicated safety harness.

Luckily, Lilly was capable of doing this, although she became worried that she might not have fastened the seat belt correctly.

I then fastened Lilly into her seat. Phew, all in! …except me! The heavily pregnant woman with a big baby bump.

I had to climb over the passenger side seat, over the handbrake and gear stick, and finally into my seat, after putting unnecessary strain onto my bump.

I was so upset.

I sat for a moment to catch my breath and calm myself down before setting off for home.

Whilst stationary, I saw a workman returning to the van. I wasn’t going to just let him get away with what he had put me and my family through!

So I wound down my window and shouted ‘You haven’t parked very considerately have you?’

His reply ‘So?!’…. and he went to walk away.

I shouted again, ‘I have just had to struggle to get my children into the car whilst 7 months pregnant you idiot!’

He then spouted a load of obscenities, of which I won’t lower myself to repeat, and he attempted to maneuver his badly parked vehicle and reverse out of the spot, and sped away.

 

I was then able to get out of my drivers door, ensure Ellis was correctly fastened in to his car seat, and head for home, after what had been the most stressful shopping trip of my life!

 

This is unfortunately a very common problem which families and pregnant women encounter on a regular basis.

 

A parent-led campaign has been setup by business owner and mother of two, Lisa Roberts.

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The campaign titled ‘Give Me Space’, was created after Lisa suffered a similar experience to myself, and she thought ‘enough is enough!’

Lisa said: “When heavily pregnant I returned to my car to find that the cars either side of me had parked so close there was no way I could squeeze my bump through either gap. I was faced with trying to enter the car through the boot (impossible) or phoning my partner to come and rescue me. Not a great start to the day.”

After carrying out extensive research by conducting a study of 2,000 parent’s and caregivers, it revealed that 4 in 5 share her frustration and 83% would like the government to introduce change.

Lisa found that 90% of parents more often than not cannot find a free parent and child space.
Of those who can’t, 93 per cent then struggle to get their children out of the car safely, due to lack of space to remove car seats and pushchairs.

 

The figures are astounding!

What’s more, 52% of pregnant women who answered the survey said they have been forced to apply excessive pressure on their unborn children, by squeezing through tight gaps or climbing through their own cars.

The campaign is designed to bring together the views of affected families, which will be presented to government and urge them to introduce official recommendations regarding parent and child spaces in public car parks – similar to guidelines already in place for disabled drivers.

 

 

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Currently, there are no recommended guidelines as to how many parent-child spaces public car parks should have.

 

Whilst trawling social media sites, I found that not everybody agrees, and some even think there are ‘too many parent-child and disabled spaces’, and this is coming from ‘a serving U.K police officer’.

Also, people joking about how precious us parents get upon finding people parking in these spaces using excuses such as ‘not my fault I can’t park’.

 

 

‘Give Me Space’ simply ask for families to follow these three simple steps;

 

 

Surprisingly, it isn’t just supermarkets that have this issue.

I found that visiting Wythenshawe Hospital for my antenatal checks during pregnancy, that the spaces they offer are ridiculously narrow.

This is a very busy car park at the best of times, but even so, the small spaces make it very difficult for heavily pregnant mothers, of which they obviously see many of on a daily basis.

 

Something needs to be done, and ‘Give Me Space’ is working towards making this change happen with your support.

The spaces don’t even need to be close to the entrance, I would happily walk from the other end of the car park if it meant having more space for my children.

 

 

Have a read all about the campaign at http://www.givemespace.net and sign the petition to stop this on-going issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talking terrorism with children in the approach to peak holiday season …

Let’s face it, this is not a subject which we ever thought about discussing with our children.

But after the recent attacks around the U.K, terrorism is one of the most serious threats we face in the world today, and with holiday season fast approaching, police, the foreign office and the travel industry are telling British holiday makers to be alert and be prepared.

As a mother to a very inquisitive little 6 year old girl, terrorist attacks and threats were unfortunately something which I had to sit down with my partner and decide how best  to inform yet not scare her.

Thankfully, the other two are oblivious and just happy watching Baby TV or dinosaurs singing on YouTube.

 

It is terrifying enough for us, let alone little people with imaginations which work ten to the dozen about the simplest of things, such as ‘Which bow to wear in my hair today? Where shall I hide this dinosaur? Which toy should I chew first?’

 

 

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With a partner who is heavily involved in news and the goings on around the region, the Manchester bombing was something which effected our household massively.

Whilst constantly wanting to have the news on the second my other half left for work, so to keep an eye on everything happening, it was hard, because little eyes were around and I wanted to shield them from the horrific scenes and deeply upsetting appeals from family members looking for loved ones.

 

One part of me wanted to protect my children from the nastiness of the world, and thought ‘Ignorance is bliss!’, but then on the other hand, I was worried that my six year old would hear whisperings at school and become anxious and worried.

 

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A four minute film has been released this week, depicting a firearms attack at a hotel, which stresses to holiday makers to RUN, HIDE, TELL.

 

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It may seem self explanatory and pretty basic, but this could be life-saving advice.

 

The short film has received mixed views. Some say ‘Too much scaremongering’ ‘Making people scared to go on holiday’ and ‘Should we even mention this to our children?’

 

 

Personally, I wouldn’t show this film to anyone 11 or under.

So I took to the internet to see what alternatives were available, to aid parents in approaching this difficult matter.

 

I came across a book called ‘Please explain terrorism to me’, by author Laurie Zelinger.

 

 

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Zelinger is a certified phycologist and has a range of books which tackle sensitive everyday situations, and complemented with colourful artwork, explains new and frightening concepts, in an age appropriate manner, helping parents to reassure their children.

 

I love it ! I straight away purchased this and was really impressed with the strategic setup of the book.

Dr. Zelinger provides parent coaching to further the dialogue in her P-E-A-R-L-S of Wisdom section (Prepare, Explain, Answer, Reassure, Listen, Safeguard) where parents and caregivers are given scripts to guide them, as well room for individuality.

 

This book is aimed at a much younger age group than the recently released film, and I think is a must buy for any parent looking for advice on how to explain this horrendous subject in a diplomatic and sensitive manner.
I purchased ‘Please explain terrorism to me’  at http://books.telegraph.co.uk/Product/Laurie-Zelinger/Please-Explain-Terrorism-To-Me–A-Story-for-Children-PEAR/20533020 .

 

 

 

Some parent’s have also decided that they will watch the film for themselves, and then decide together, how best to explain to their child, as lets face it, no two children are the same.

 

 

It may seem daunting and we always tend to have the ‘It won’t happen to me’ attitude, but I feel much happier having discussed this with my little girl.

 

 

Nursing your child whilst intimate with partner?

Feeling the need for a rant this morning

I was having a quick look down my news feed this morning on Facebook, when something caught my eye … ‘Would you consider nursing your child at the same time as getting intimate with your partner?’.

This is a topic that they are covering on ITV’s ‘This Morning‘ today.

I assumed they meant, during the months/years that you choose to breastfeed your child, would you still feel confident to have intimate moments with your partner.

As a nursing mother to my 6 month old (Esmae), this seemed quite an odd question.

Of course I am still able to have sex with my other half. I understand it can make you feel very self conscious at times, what with leaky, sore boobs, but eventually, you learn to overcome this, and nursing shouldn’t effect your sex life.

Anyway, i chose to have a read through the comments, and realised, I had read the question totally wrong! … in actual fact, ‘This Morning’ were asking, would you be happy to have your child fully latched and having a feed, during intercourse!

Wow! … was this even a serious question? Where do they get these phone in topics from? Do people actually do this? How could you even get turned on, whilst having your child feed from you? I sure as hell wouldn’t fancy eating my tea whilst having sex, so why should my child?!

 

 

To me, when I nurse Esmae, the emotions I feel are that of love and affection towards my daughter. Observing how much she is changing day to day, the absolute joy inside me of knowing that I am providing my baby with what I feel is best for her.

 

 

 

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The breastfeeding relationship with my child is a bonding experience, why on earth would I then wish to mix this with the emotions I feel for my partner during sex??!

 

Each to their own, but having scrolled through the hundreds of comments, I haven’t come across any saying that this is something that they would feel comfortable with.

 

One woman who doesn’t see an issue with this, is mother of three, Tasha Maile. Who often takes to YouTube with her video blog’s.

 

 

 

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Now Tasha has built up quite a large online following due to her spiritual beliefs and the way she raises her three son’s.

But even her devotee’s won’t back her on this one.

Tasha told ‘The Sun’ newspaper ‘From what I remember, I remember sleeping with my ex-husband and my son was on me breastfeeding and we would have sex from behind or something‘ …..

 

Personally, it just makes me cringe!

 

 

 

Some of the comments on the ‘This Morning’ Facebook page really got my back up!

 

Apparently ‘Breastfeeding is no longer about what is good for baby. It’s more about the Mum getting noticed and getting attention by not being discreet and feeding in public’.

Views like this really make me see red!

Why should children have to have their food underneath a bloody blanket? Would this narrow minded idiot eat her tea with a duvet on her head? ….

 

Anyway, I am going off subject, and could easily write pages and pages regarding breastfeeding in public (this is something I will be covering soon) but just wanted to get this out there and hear peoples opinions whilst Holly & Phil cover it this morning.

 

 

My personal opinion is no, intimate moments with your partner should be exactly that.

 

 

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Nursing my child lovingly and giving her my undivided attention whilst she usually feeds herself to sleep,in a calm and soothing manner, is not something I will be mingling into my sex life with my fella! (and quoting my other half when I asked his opinion ‘That’s just disgusting and wrong!’ … and I whole-heartedly agree!