Monthly Archives: June 2012

Parent-Proof Your Relationship

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If you’re expecting your first baby you’ve probably started to do your research – you might be tracking her development as she grows in your tummy or perhaps you now know the pros and cons of every buggy on the market! The question is, have you given the same care and attention to your relationship? Having a baby turns your couple into a family and while that’s a fairly seismic shift, it doesn’t need to be stressful. I’ve written a feature for Prima Baby & Pregnancy on this very subject and you can check it out here!


After The Storm…

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Since my delightful two-year-old turned into a diva on (precisely) Tuesday of last week, I have found myself taking a good long look at my parenting skills. You’d have to be pretty thick skinned not to when your child is screaming “Don’t call me naughty! YOU are naughty!” at you. And I have admitted something to myself. As much as Freya and I love going to the park, children’s centres and our weekly music class, when we do have an afternoon to ourselves it’s far more tempting to start the zillions of things I have to do around the house than it is to sit down and play a game with her. Talk about a guilty secret… Since when did the hoovering become more important (interesting?!) than playing a game with my own dear daughter?

There is a happy ending to this shameful story, we decided to come up with some ideas for games we could play together. And it’s been an epiphany of sorts, because there are far less temper tantrums and much more cuddles when we are playing together rather than apart.

Here are a few of our new favourites…

Bathing baby – we filled the kitchen sink with bubbles and water and bathed our babies (dolls, not real ones!) with cheap sponges. Then we put their nappies on and put them into bed – this also proved a helpful trick at bedtime because we had to be very quiet and soothing so as not to wake baby!

Pasta necklaces – We painted/glittered/stuck paper on to some pasta tubes and threaded them on to string to make necklaces…

Make a Face – If you want to do craft but you just can’t face the mess, we love the Mister Maker kits and they are on offer at the Early Learning Centre at the moment.

Meet the wildlife – Now Freya is walking to the park/shops/everywhere she has a growing fascination with slugs, snails, spiders and creepie crawlies in general. This isn’t my favourite past-time, especially since I have to pretend I love holding a ladybird (least favourite thing) in the palm of my hand for several minutes at a time. But, we’ve found the Chad Valley Insect Collecting Kit and it’s a great way to keep them entertained either at the park or in the garden for hours. Time enough for a cup of tea while they hunt them out if insects aren’t your bag either…

Music – If all else fails, we bought the Jump Up and Sing CD which has most of our favourite songs – Wheels on the Bus, Happy and You Know It, Music Man (personal fave because it stays in my head for days on end… I find Pia, Pia, Piano! has a habit of popping into my head at around 4am when I can’t sleep) etc.

I’m still looking for fun new games we can do together so if you have any ideas please let me know!

All packaged up…

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I am wishing all the luck in the world to my quilts and bunting as they make their way into the world all tucked up in their new cellophane packaging!

They are now on sale at Home and Kids, Staplehurst Road, Hither Green, you can also buy the quilts on the website

The Real Terrible Twos

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I’ve uttered the words “terrible twos” with a shrug and a knowing look several times over the last year, and I honestly thought this phase in my lovely little daughter’s life would involve the odd tantrum here and there. Once again Freya has reminded me just how little I know, and how tough being a mum can be. Because when it really happened there was nothing knowing about me. The real terrible twos happened over night and her usual easy-going nature turned to perma-frustration, uber-bewilderment and endless-tears. With me mirroring these emotions in no time at all. The morning she threw her cereal bowl off the table because she didn’t have her favourite spoon, went into meltdown because I advised her wellies on a blazing hot day might not be very comfortable, then slapped me in the face because I also thought her snowsuit might not be a great idea…we both lay on the floor crying together. I found myself really questioning my parenting skills and panicking I had done something wrong to make my daughter this way. It felt as though every single thing we tried to do had become a battle. My boss had gone from being lovely to making my life hell overnight. I turned to Jo Frost Confident Toddler Care: The Ultimate Guide To The Toddler Years. I turned to the internet. And I turned to my mum.

Of course, every child is different but with Freya I quickly learnt that I had to be strong, calm and in control. By raising my voice alongside her I simply elevated the tension to another level, by panicking I panicked her – she needed to know I was in control, and by backing-down I merely put the problem away to rear it’s head another day (hour/minute/second). Instead I found it really helped to calmly ask Freya how she was feeling, patiently wait for her screams to subside, give her a cuddle and talk her through the situation. If she raised her hand to me or shouted at me I would give her two minutes on her thinking chair, keeping on returning her to the chair every time she got up. Eventually she would stay, calm down and say sorry. I found some really great advice in Jo Frost’s book as well as lots of great parenting blogs, and what really helped most was the knowledge that Freya and I weren’t alone, that this stage is normal and that it wouldn’t last forever! We are still having moments of madness, but on the whole I have my lovely little girl back. Here’s some of the amazing advice I found which really helped me cope…Thank you!

Domestic Goddesque: Terrible Twos: tips for dealing with tantrums? Understanding Tantrums Coping with toddler tantrums Dear Terrible Twos