Category Archives: Parenting

Childcare logistics – childminders, nurseries and schools!

One of the major things I have come to accept since having children is that just as you get the hang of one thing or situation, something changes. Whether this is part of the child’s development – getting more independence, learning a new skill, etc. or something in your own life – health, change of job, etc., it can have a huge impact on all your lives. At these times, it’s good to feel in control of at least one thing. And the main things you can control are the logistics.

Over the past few months, my youngest was spending a lot of time excluded from nursery owing to various illnesses. During the most recent bout of sickness, we all got brought down by the bug so health and energy levels were at their lowest for everyone in the family. It was time to make a change.

I had been very keen on the nursery model – lots of children and carers to provide guidance and social skills experience. In fact, I still am! However, the downside of multiple children is multiple colds, viruses, etc. My eldest must have had everything in his nearly four years on this planet as he now seems fairly indestructible (fingers crossed!) but my youngest seems to get two bouts of everything going. Taking time off work at unplanned times is never easy so finding a solution needed to be done quickly.

Without a wider family support network we looked at nannies (direct and agency) and childminders – all over a frantic weekend. By luck or fate, I’d just got to know a mum through one of our weekend activities. It turned out she had just started as a childminder after a decade of nannying.

It was hard to disrupt a pattern that was working well – both children going to the same nursery (company and support for each other and easy for drop offs and collections!). As with anything to do with your children, it created worry. Were we doing the right thing? How should we explain the change to them?…

Well, one week in and it’s as if this has always been the set up. The boys have accepted the change and are both very happy with their busy days and respective (old/new) friends.

With school starting for my eldest in September, it was actually a change that was going to happen at some point in any case.

My take-outs from this process?

  • Children adapt to change quickly and well (more than their parents!)
  • Logistics are never as bad as you think (there is normally a way!)
  • Talk to other parents (they’re fantastic supporters!)

If you’re having to make a change in your childcare, do share your experiences.

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Terrible twos times two

“Time flies when you’re having fun” or so the saying goes. I think having two children and a full time job also helps the time to speed by! This is my attempt at apologising for not writing posts for over a year! I’m really not sure where that time has gone, but as we’re now celebrating Second and Fourth birthdays in my family of four I have a vague idea.

Yes, we’ve entered the terrible twos stage – and doubly so!

A couple of weeks before my youngest turned two, the full on throw myself on the floor and kick my feet style tantrums kicked in. After various attempts to calm, cuddle, distract, bribe with food, etc. we found that just leaving him to ride it out (as long as he wasn’t in harm’s way!) was the best way forward. One month into the twos and the tantrums are slightly less impressive and shorter, but still lurking.

What adds some interest is having an older brother adding their contribution. It’s amazing that an extra two years can offer such wise words of wisdom as ‘I think he’s upset..’! No, really?

Of course, the fact that the tantrum was probably caused by the older sibling taking a toy / snack / parent’s attention in  the first place is beside the point.

As I sit on the sofa with them sitting companionably in relative piece it seems hard to believe the drama that can unfold so quickly. Having said that, I’m already planning the activities that will keep them running about for a good part of the day to release some of that energy!

Glad to be back here. Hope you’re all doing well. Speak again soon!

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Potty training or testing?

I am a bit of a geek on the quiet and love looking at what new gadgets get introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year didn’t disappoint – combining my love of tech and my current focus on getting my eldest into (dry) big boy pants.

The iPotty for iPad is genious – a simple brightly coloured plastic potty but with an integrated stand for an iPad (with essential splash cover sheet!). Anyone who has tried coaxing, encouraging, motivating, dragging… their toddler onto a potty – and keeping them there! – knows the importance of keeping them entertained while they sit waiting for the big moment. I spent many an evening before my son’s bathtime sitting on the floor reading up to six books waiting for the ‘wee’ to come. Whilst a nice bit of bonding time and educational for my son to have so many books each night, crouching on the floor for over half an hour did start to wear thin after a few weeks.

The idea of an integrated screen in the potty to keep them entertained is brilliant and so simple!

Downsides are that I don’t have an iPad or the budget for a hi-tech potty, but hey, you can’t have everything!

Luckily my son has decided that his big boy status includes being potty trained – problem solved. Well, at least until my youngest is ready to come out of nappies…

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Too old for a mid-day nap?

I am not ashamed to say that I would gladly shut my eyes for a short siesta at the weekends if I was given the chance. This does not happen often – if ever – since we’ve had children. I wasn’t even very good at following the midwife’s advice of taking a nap when your baby does when they are young!

Today I was reminded though why it is still a good idea for a two year old to have a short nap!

We had a quiet morning at home, followed by a late lunch. We had a party to go to at a neighbour’s house so a nap just didn’t happen for our eldest. We had a lovely time at the party with plenty of children and toys for my eldest to play with. The journey home went fine until we reached our front door.

In short (and with a few less tears), he wanted to go back to the party. After a good ten minutes of upset, we re-opened the front door and offered to let him go back to the party – there was a brief silence, followed by “it’s a bit dark”. I have to admit to having a quiet smile at that.

His coat was quickly taken off, hung up and a cheerful voice asked “where are my snacks?”. Normal service resumed.

Bedtime came and despite the busy afternoon, lack of sleep and a nice big tea, sleep didn’t come earlier than any other night.

I’m always amazed by the resilience of children and I’m glad for it! But wow, do I value an early night myself!

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Child superstar

Child developmentI was able to walk my children to nursery today rather than the usual frantic piling into the car on the way to work (a story in itself!). My eldest (at the grand old age of two) scooted to nursery. As I looked at him then my seven month in his pushchair, I couldn’t help thinking how amazing children are. Within just two years my eldest has learnt to walk, talk in almost sentences, feed himself, get out of sleeping bags (argh!), use the potty and so much more!

I can only imagine what he can achieve in the next two years, let alone twenty.

Every parent is proud and believes their child is a superstar or even a child prodigy. I don’t believe that my children are going to be winners of a Nobel prize or Prime Ministers, but I do think that they as children are amazing. They absorb so much knowledge, develop so many physical abilities and experience a whole host of emotions within such a short space of time. If they throw in the odd tantrum alongside the smiles, well, who can blame them!

I’m jealous of my son’s energy and ability to learn and retain information and skills. I try to remember (no pun intended) that I was a child once too with similar abilities asa part of natural child development, but watching it happen in my own child is a sobering experience.

I’ve a while to wait before seeing what my children decide to do for a career, but I’m enjoying seeing the people they are becoming every day.

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Be prepared – then wing it!

Preparing for parentingI started this blog because I was getting apprehensive about my ability to cope with a second child as my due date got ever closer. It’s not that I was changing my mind about having a second child, but rather I was going over every possible scenario in my head and trying to work out how I would manage it when two children were involved. Everything from bathtimes to nappy changes – how would I keep both of them happy and safe?

Friends kindly gave me parenting survival guide books to read with guidance, but the more I read the more I became convinced that I would just have to wait and see what happened.

Every child is different – how they sleep, eat, cry, smile and develop – and there is no way to pre-plan for looking after a tiny character you’ve not yet met. Apart from that, every day and mood is different so no one set rule will work all the time for every child.

Having had our second child, it became clear that you do just manage. Some days are easier than others – for you as the parent as well as the child. Planning works well when it comes to what to pack in bags for a trip out for the day, but for day to day care I truly believe it’s a case of one step at a time. The good news is that every day I’ve learnt a little bit more about my children and myself.

What I love is that through the stress, worry, craziness, there are the most amazing smiles which make it more than worthwhile!

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Filed under Expectant mother, Parenting

Protective big brother

One of my biggest worries when my due date for my second child got ever closer was that my older son wouldn’t like the new arrival or would feel jealous of them. So I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I see my eldest going for kisses and cuddles with my youngest and the look of joy on my baby’s face when he sees his big brother – fascinated by his antics!

I don’t think it’s bad that my husband and I can ask our two year old son to ‘look after his younger brother’ while we pop into the kitchen for a minute only to return to see the youngest surrounded by a huge selection of toys and being told a story from a book his big brother has memorised.

I have a number of friends who have got children of a similar age gap and they tell similar stories. I don’t know if there is a difference between brothers and sisters or whether it is down to an individual’s personality. I’d love to hear your experiences.

I’m hoping my children stay close as they get older, although I have no doubt there will be some highs and lows! It should be an interesting ride though!

 

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