Monthly Archives: August 2011

Oh my god…

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Lately I’ve started to become conscious Freya isn’t talking as much as some of her peers…  At 21 months she has a grand total of 13 words – (mama, dada, nana, cat, hiya, hello, slide, ta, tea, yeah, oh no, mine and more).  Which I’m incredibly proud of. But each time I meet a mum at the swings whose little girl has six words at 12 months, or a toddler who says please and thank you, mummy starts to panic. Even Jo Frost’s Confident Toddler Care couldn’t offer me reassurance on this one, she says a child should be saying up to 50 words by the age of two. And putting two words together. That means we need to increase Freya’s word count by five times in three months! I tell myself that every child is different, and she is developing in different ways. And Freya is clearly thriving, she can point out all the features on her face, do the actions to Head, shoulders, knees and toes like a pro and point out animals in books. She can shake hands and high five and nearly put her shoes on all on her own.

But I now have a new worry to add to the mix. My mum looked after Freya on Saturday and watched as she looked at her toys and said, quite clearly, Oh My God. Well, apparently it was more of an, oh my ga… but both nana and grandad knew exactly what she was saying. I was indignant and determined that I never say that. But of course, ever since, I’ve found myself saying it all the blimmin time. From when I’ve burnt the toast to forgetting a cup of tea. So, not only is my child not reaching her development milestones, she’s actually saying the wrong words. And, it’s all my fault!

Again, the sensible side of me knows that Freya will talk in her own time and as long as Marko and I make sure we think about how we speak in front of her – she’ll soon have a beautiful vocabulary, blasphemy free. But just to make sure, I’ve been collecting tips on encouraging my toddler to talk…

  • Ask her open-ended questions which she has to answer to get what she wants. I.e. What would you like for breakfast? Rather than, do you want toast for breakfast?
  • We’ve bought the Let’s Talk Sound Book from the Early Learning Centre. With big pictures of a dog, cat, boat and ball, you can press the buttons along the side and hear the word out loud. Freya is already matching the pictures with the buttons, so we’re hoping she’ll pick up on the words soon!
  • Sing songs – music is a great way for children to learn, Freya and I have been singing songs at our local children centre for the last year – from Wheels on the Bus to Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wind the Bobbin Up. I’m now making sure we sing them everyday, bath time is ideal for Row, Row, Row Your Boat. If you need a little help you can buy a DVD like A Day Full Of Songs which has all the classics.
  • Baby Words Flash Cards, again from the Early Learning Centre, are a great way for you to go through pictures of real, everyday things, and say the words out loud – eventually together! You could also make these yourself by taking pictures of things around the house and showing them to baby.
  • Talk through all your activities with your toddler, from drinking water from her cup to playing in the park.

If you have any extra tips which could help Freya and I, please share them!


Find the Perfect Childcare

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I’ve written a day-by-day diary of my search for childcare for Prima Baby’s September issue, which is out now. You’ll find all my experiences from deciding on the type of childcare, to choosing the right setting, to saying goodbye to my baby for the first time! Plus there’s lots of info to help you in your search; whether you’ve decided to use a nursery, childminder or nanny share. Check the website here. 

Cherry’s Parenting Dilemmas

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Since becoming a mum I’ve developed an insatiable need to read, view, listen, heck even overhear, every little bit of advice going. The woman at the Sainsbury’s self checkout is practically my parenting counsellor. In fact, I’ll even take advice from the crazy lady at the bus stop!  Why? I hear you ask. Because, with every new stage, I feel like I need it. So when I heard Cherry Healey was back with a new documentary on BBC3 entitled Cherry’s Parenting Dilemmas I sat up with interest. I had my baby around the same time as Cherry had her daughter Coco and I’ve loved her programmes on becoming a mum. Her documentary Cherry Has a Baby looked at whether there is a right time to become a mum and she bravely took on a sensitive subject with her programme Is Breast Best?

Within a few seconds of last night’s programme, Marko and I were looking at each other with relief. Cherry’s beautiful baby Coco was a) refusing food, b) hitting her mum in the face, and c) throwing tantrums. So, it’s not just us.  During the programme Cherry met mums from all over the country who have each developed very different parenting styles. A mum who smacks her child, a mum who home schools, a mum who lives in a gated community for fear of knife crime, a mum who gives her children absolutely everything she can – even if that means practically owning shares in the Disney Store. And she finds both positives and negatives with each style.

Here are some of the issues we related to from last night’s programme:

  • The pain which comes with watching your child push away a healthy, nutritious, expensive meal. Even having the cheek to throw it in your face. And it is painful. And infuriating.
  • To smack or not to smack?
  • As a mum you want to give your children the very best of everything, but at what point do you go too far?
  • No mother wants to put their child in danger, but when do you let them free in the outside world and how do you equip them for that?
  • What kind of mum do I want to be? Laid-back earth mother or pushy preppy?
  • And, finally, what kind of teenager is Freya going to be??

The mind boggles, but it’s nice to know other mums are going through it too…

Check out Cherry’s Parenting Dilemmas repeated on BBC3 at 8pm tonight, or on BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.