Husbands matter too!

Realising and remembering that it doesn’t always have to be about the kids. We all need some ‘me’ time and that goes for the other half too.

I count my lucky stars everyday, as I have 2 beautiful children, (I’m biased, and of course, all children are beautiful), and a very unselfish, hardworking husband that sometimes we might take for granted. (Please don’t think I’m bragging, he’s not perfect.) He gives up his time to be with our family by working away from home 5 days a week. He misses out on parents evenings, sports days, nativities and anything else that happens on a week day that can make the hard work all seem worth while. (If he reads this, it’s going to add to his, already huge, ego!) We do try to make the weekends count; treat it like quality time but they fly by, like they do for everyone, and then Monday morning rolls around and it’s time for him to set off again, for another week of work. I’m not saying I have it harder than anyone else or even complaining. Parenting, in all shapes and forms is a tough job, but with caring for the kids, working part-time myself and running a household on my own during the week means John is usually at the back of the queue with his needs. We’re not talking caring for him here, he is grown man who is quite capable of looking after himself and us; more his hobbies and things he likes to do. I know he feels incredibly guilty, going out to meet friends for a drink or play a round of golf, so often turns down invites. He feels his weekends should be spent with the girls as they haven’t seen him all week. We all need time out to do something we enjoy to appreciate why we work so hard. Some may say he should get his enjoyment out of being with his family and seeing the kids enjoy themselves and he really does, but the girls aren’t really into motor racing, car shows, and tinkering around with an engine. They might help him wash the cars sometimes but generally they are in side it pretending to drive somewhere while he washes the outside. (Cute)

When John asked if we could go to the ‘Oh so Retro Car show’ this weekend I made sure that we went. The plan was to go as a family but then my sister-in-law offered to have the girls for us which was handy. I don’t think the girls would have enjoyed walking around looking at antique and collectors cars. We could have taken them, and they probably would have been fine, but it wouldn’t be long before Emma is complaining her legs are aching and continually ask when are we going, as it isn’t anything that she wants to do. Kids, you’ve got to love them! It was weird being out without the girls, as it doesn’t happen very often (almost never). Weird, but really nice to spend time together, not watching what you have to say or talking in code. Also to have the time to talk to each other and listen, without being interrupted by an impatient child who doesn’t understand that the whole world doesn’t actually revolve around them. (Emma is still only 6)

Now Retro cars isn’t my thing but it’s John’s thing. I actually enjoyed walking around with him talking about all the cars he’s owned in his youth that have now become collectors and worth quite a lot of money now. Many of them I remember, we’ve known each other since we were 17, so we reminisced together, remembering some good times, even funny times that happened. Those few hours we spent together were important. For those few hours we were Husband and wife, back to being John and Bec, not Mummy and Daddy, we were us! We were only gone 4 hours but that’s all we needed. We were happy to go back to being Mummy and Daddy and listen to the girls tell us all about the mud pies that they had been making in Auntie Tor’s garden. Not sure Auntie Tor was that thrilled though, but I’ll make sure that I return the favour.

Spending that time just me and my husband, took me back to where it all began and reminded me of how and why we feel in love. (Sick buckets ready!) Sometimes, caught up in the hectic chaos of family life, it can all get forgotten and although I have never stopped loving John through it all, you can easily forget that you need time for each other too as well as the ‘me’ time.

When was the last time you and your partner made time for each other?

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Is the way I love my children hurting their self-esteem?

Can you love your child too much? Love them too much in a way where you never want them to take risks or know what it’s like to fail?

As a Mum I worry constantly about my children. Are they warm enough? Have they drunk enough? Are they eating well enough? Are they getting enough exercise? Are they Happy? The guilt trip of parenting, constantly questioning myself and worry. I do over think sometimes! I think this is parenting isn’t it?

One of my biggest worries, is my children growing up with no self belief or self-esteem. If they don’t believe in themselves then no one will. Every parent wants the best for their child, don’t they? How can they be their best if they don’t believe they can be the best or even work towards being the best. Now it sounds like I want them to be arrogant and big-headed but that’s not what I mean. Like all things in life it’s trying to find a balance. Making them feel special without them thinking they are better than everyone else.

So with all this in mind I thought I’d do a bit of research and reading about building children’s self-esteem. What I thought I’d find was, articles on loving them unconditionally, praise the good, ignoring the bad, etc. ect. Blah blah blah. Thinking I’d just need to read a few reminders and I’ll be back on track at being an awesome Mum (debatable), boosting Holly and Emma’s self-esteem and all will be hunky dory. To be fair I did read a bit of that in some articles. Thinking I wasn’t failing too badly I then come across another article that made me really think about myself as a parent and whether I do too much for my children, potentially preventing them for being able to think for themselves. Smothering them with too much praise. Can we do that, praise them too much? After reading that article I came up with a list of top tips and what I feel I need to do to follow them.

  1. Stepping back. – Let you child take risks, make decisions and solve problems. This one, I find really difficult. Start with the hardest first. Not because I don’t trust my child but because I don’t want them to get hurt or anything to happen to them. Of course none of us do. Holly will soon be reaching the age where she will be wanting to walk home from school on her own. This freaks me out. Not because I don’t think she is capable but because I’m scared she’ll get abducted. (See I told you I over think things) With so many reports in the media these days it has got harder for parents to let their children go, so for me this is a difficult one. It doesn’t stop me discussing it with Holly and letting her come up with the solutions though, this may dull my fears if I knew that she knows how to be safe or even knows what to do in that situation. I also realised I talk for my children because I know they are uncomfortable talking to adults they don’t really know. I’m talking doctors and dentists not total strangers. I hate their discomfort and want to take it away so I talk for them. I know I shouldn’t and from now on I will hold back, it might be uncomfortable now but it will make it easier on them later on. I love that they need me and rely on me but it’s not helping them so I need to learn to love their independence instead. I need to stop fussing.

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    Letting them take safe risks. Their first rock wall climb.

  2. Let them make their own choices – Let them choose what they want to wear, decide if they need a coat, etc. Now this I’m quite good at, letting them choose their own clothes. To me, it’s letting them express their own individuality or personality, even if Holly used to look like Lady GaGa when she was younger. Holly and I do debate sometimes on appropriate clothing so I need to learn to butt out here. I do, also still remind them when they need a coat, sun cream, sun hat etc. though. I will have to try hard to break this habit.
  3. Let them help. – House chores, cooking etc. Bonus, cheap labour!!! Need I say more. Chore chart coming right up!!!
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    I have just started to let them help peel vegatables.

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    Holly made us lunch all on her own. Cheese twists. Did it all by herself, from start to finish.

  4. Encourage them to see it through. – If they start something, encourage them to complete the task and not to give up. Praise them when they complete it. How many people give up before they have finished? Both mine are a nightmare at this. Half completed craft sets and half built lego sets literally litter my house. So my mission in the next free weekend we have, is to sit down with them and help (not do) Holly and Emma, to complete some of them. Hopefully they will feel good for completing something and this will give them the motivation to finish other things too and not give up if it get’s too difficult. I do try to remind them of things they practised and practised until they could do it. Holly’s example is hula hooping and Emma’s is the monkey bars. They are both pro’s at these and far better than me at them. I can’t do either.
  5. Not to constantly praise or over praise.- Only praise when it’s really earned otherwise you lower the bar for them to achieve. This I was surprised at, at first but it does actually make sense. If you constantly praise the little things, it makes the big things insignificant and will give them less desire to want to achieve.

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    A time for praise, Holly ran her first park run with me.

  6. Tell them and show them you love them unconditionally.- Now that’s just teaching me to suck eggs!!! Of course I love my child, who doesn’t love their child!!! Reading into it deeper, extra love and hugs should be given when a child struggles or fails. This help’s them get over it quicker and show them it’s ok to fail or find things hard.
  7. Don’t lose any sleep over it.- If  your child fails or is struggling don’t worry about how it is effecting them, it’s a good opportunity to build on it. I suppose if they see your worried then it reinforces that it’s something to be worried about. It’s a good time to remind them of what they are really good at and what they have achieved. This I can do! Out comes the memorabilia. John says I’m a hoarder pfft !
  8. Set goals for them to work towards – No brainer. If they meet their goals they’ll feel fantastic. Just need to make sure their not unrealistic goals though or too easy!!!. Emma wanted to give up swimming but I said not until she can swim a length. Paid for the full term and she swims it in the first lesson. Hmmmm now how do we encourage her to see the full term, we’ve paid for, out!!!! She was incredibly proud of herself when she did it though, and so were we. Funnily enough she hasn’t asked about not going anymore so I think her own achievement has spurred her on to continue. wp-1474663256441.jpg
  9. Encourage them to keep trying. – This goes with encouraging them to stick it out and would follow a struggle or a failure. This can be incredibly hard to do if they are they adamant they don’t want to. This is where you don’t give up, keep reminding them and keep encouraging them until they get fed up with you keep going on.
  10. Be careful what you say – I know both Holly and Emma can be sensitive at times and can sometimes easily take offence to what is said to them. If I was to point out there failures I know that it would knock their confidence. I was always told I was the thick one of the family, when I was growing up. Although this gave me a tremendous drive to prove my Dad wrong, it has always stayed with me that he never saw me as quite good enough. Maybe if he dropped the insult and showed me he was proud when I achieved I still would have had the same drive and have kept my self-esteem. A good saying that comes to mind here is ‘If a fish is judged on its ability to climb a tree it will live out its life thinking that it’s dumb’. Sometimes I feel like that fish!!!

The main thing I’m going to take away with me after writing this post, is that I need to lead by example and show them that I trust them. Show them that it’s ok not to be good at everything because they have special qualities and strengths in other things.  Tackle these issues with a positive approach so they remember how awesome they are.

Is my love for them hurting them? Not anymore.

Anyone else hate seeing their children struggle and find it difficult not to rush to their aid?

 

 

 

 

 

Tuition and why I changed my opinion.

Tuition, is it right for my child?

As my eldest daughter, Holly, starts here 3rd week at school in year 5 she will be starting extra tuition classes, out of school, funded by us. What for? Well, before I explain my thoughts and feelings on tuition and why I’ve changed my opinion I need to explain what the tuition is for.

In some parts of the country senior schools are split in to 2 category’s, Secondary school and Grammar school. I am aware that this doesn’t happen in all area’s of the UK but unfortunately for Holly and her class friends, we live in a county where it does. Now, to determine which type of school Holly will go to, she will need to sit a test known as the 11 plus or in other parts of Kent, the Kent test. Not all children need to sit this test, parents can decide whether to let their children take this test and are guided by schools as to whether, academically their children are capable of sitting and passing this test. Some parents make the choice on not wanting to put that pressure on their child, whether they’re academically up to it on not, and of course we all know our own children and what they are capable of. Other parent’s might feel with the right tuition they could improve their child’s ability’s and give them the opportunity to have a choice.  If a child doesn’t sit or pass it, they can only apply for the secondary schools. If they pass, you have the option to choose. With this all explained it now time for me to continue on with my opinion on Tuition and why I changed my mind!

All through Holly’s schooling, her teachers have commented on how intelligent Holly is and how well she is doing academically, and although (without being big headed) we, as Holly’s parents know that, it’s comforting to hear it from professionals. We all think our own child’s is awesome, funny, clever right? If that’s the case, why would she need tuition?

I always thought tuition was meant to be an aid to help give students a boost in a subject they might be falling behind on or if they have missed out on schooling due to illness etc. If you had to tutor a child to pass the 11 plus test, that it would mean they might make the wrong school decision and struggle in a Grammar school instead of flourishing in a Secondary school. Better to be top of the class than struggling at the bottom, right?

A very dear friend of mine had a different opinion, which made me rethink my own. She said to me “If a child has the ability to learn than why not tutor to get the very best from them. They are never going to unlearn what they have learned but take that knowledge with them. It will build their confidence, they’ll believe in themselves” This got me thinking that maybe she could be right. After talking to other parents about the 11 plus and tuition, I began to realise that if I didn’t look into or even get Holly some tuition then she could be at a disadvantage, even if she is very capable of passing, because everyone else is getting their child tutored. It will push up the pass mark, possible pushing a usual top score down to middle score, it may end up not even be a pass mark.

What if Holly buckles under pressure? Maybe we shouldn’t make her sit it and hope she continues to do well in a secondary school? Well Holly has made the decision herself as she has her heart set on a Grammar school she wants to go too. She wants to sit the 11 plus, she wants to pass! So, we’re going to do what we can to help her, show her we have faith in her, we know she can do it!

I did think maybe we could by the books and papers and I’ll tutor her myself as this might work out cheaper in the long run, although the books are expensive. Would I be able to? I left school over 20 years ago! Also, would she sit down and do it for me?   I was recommend, by a few Mums, a lady that ran an 11 plus tuition class. She helps tutor them to understand the paper, it’s lay out and even run through some mock papers to prepare for the test. She helps the children to understand verbal reasoning which is where most students lose marks. After some of us parents doing some mock tests ourselves, online, we’ve discovered some adults may not be able to understand it either. (O.K don’t judge me, school was a long time ago!)wp-1474317671275.jpg

Holly will not need to sit this test until September next year, although it is 12 months away it would make this year an important one for her, so with everything taken into consideration; Holly starts her first tuition tomorrow!!!!

Are we doing the right thing? I guess only time will tell.

Let me know your thoughts! Do you agree?

 

Cooking with the Kids. Strawberry Ice Lollies, our cooking Disaster.

When cooking goes wrong! It’s not always a complete disaster.

When I was child, I always wanted to help my Mum cook but she was never a fan of having us in the kitchen. She found it too stressful and preferred to do it on her own. I don’t think she really enjoyed cooking much and it’s hard to get enthusiastic about something you don’t really enjoy. This meant, when I grew up I couldn’t cook. I didn’t even know how to boil an egg. At least I know John didn’t marry me for my skills in cooking. When Holly was born and I vowed that she would have healthy home cooked meals so, I taught myself from cook books and TV programs.

Now my children are growing up and want to help me in the kitchen and I’m encouraging it. At least once a week I try to get my children evolved in some sort of cooking. Sometimes is goes well, sometimes it’s a disaster. I’m far from a perfect cook but we learn from our mistakes, don’t we? It’ll make the kids better cooks, later on in life, knowing not what to do. The main thing for me, is we’re building memories and making time to be together, it doesn’t matter if it goes wrong, or so I try to tell the perfectionist in me.

I ummed and arrrred whether to share our mishap with you all. I had planned to share the Strawberry Lollies with you l just not it going wrong. I decided to share anyway to show it doesn’t always go to plan. So here we go, this week we made:

Homemade Strawberry Ice Lollies made by the Kids.

Going back to Holly and Emma’s summer bucket lists, one of the things they wanted to do on there were to make their own ice lollies. I know the weather has turned cooler and it’s no longer summer but it’s the first weekend we’ve found the spare time to do it. Besides, mine still enjoy ice lollies for their dessert at the moment, so why not make dessert a little healthier by making our own.

Holly and Emma both love strawberries so these are what we went for. Recipe found on Pinterest. We thought they looked very quick and easy to make (except for the freezing time).

Ingredients:

  • 150g Strawberries,
  • 90g Caster Sugar,
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract,
  • 500g Natural Yoghurt, we used Greek Yoghurt as we prefer the taste.

These ingredients will be needed after freezing:

  • 100g White Chocolate, melted,
  • 60g Sugar Strands or Balls. We call them Sprinkles. 🙂

You will also need:

  • 6/8 Ice Lolly Moulds

Preparation time:

  • 20 minutes

Freeze time:

  • 6 hours. We froze them over night.

Method

Put strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and crush the strawberries with a fork. Once they’re all crushed give the mixture a little mix to combine.

Pour in the yoghurt and mix together.

Spoon the mixture into your lolly moulds and place into the freezer for about 6 hours or over night.

So far so good. That was the easy bit, the kids did it all with just me directing and taking pictures. It all went well, the kids enjoyed doing it. Now for our disastrous bit.

  • Melt the chocolate.
  • Pour sugar strands/sprinkles into a bowl.

I usually Melt it over boiling water but for quickness I decided to microwave it. Hmmmm.  It melted but looked thick, not the smooth runny melted chocolate should have. We continued any way not thinking much of it.

  • Remove Ice Lollies from the freezer. Carefully remove the covers.

We soaked the covers in warm water to get the covers off.

Success, only one ruined, where the lolly stick came clean out so the lolly was stuck inside the cover. Oh well. Moving on.

  •  Dip ice lolly tips into the melted chocolate.

Hmmmm. The chocolate wasn’t sticking and kept sliding off. It just started to melt the lolly. We ended up using a knife to spread the chocolate on.

  • Dip the chocolate coated lolly into the sugar Strands.

These did actually stick to the chocolate we had managed to get onto the lolly, but there were sprinkles everywhere. Our dog was enjoying himself cleaning them up off the floor for me, saves me getting the hoover out. They didn’t look to pretty. Lumps of sprinkle coated chocolate stuck to the sides of the lollies. We did a taste test and ate them anyway. They were delicious.  They may not have looked that edible but they were a success as far as taste was concerned. So not a too bad result really.

I’m sorry, we were getting in such a pickle with the chocolate, I didn’t take any photographs, regrettably. I wasn’t planning on publishing our disaster.

These to are what’s left and they don’t actually look too bad. Even if I do say so myself. They were the best looking two though.

On reflection it doesn’t matter that it didn’t go as planned. We had fun and we laughed. We do plan to make them again as they were very nice, but we will melt the chocolate the way I always do it, over boiling water.

Anyone else have any cooking disasters they’d like to share?

 

 

 

Family Day Out to Knockhatch Adventure Park

A family review on Knockhatch Adventure Park, is it worth a visit?

Our family day out this time, took us to the Knockhatch Adventure Park in Hailsham, East Sussex. We had seen pictures of friends visiting the park during the summer holidays and decided we’d like to try it out for ourselves.

The weather was now a lot cooler than the last few days and it was a little drizzly this morning but we decided to chance it anyway. The weather forecast said the rain wasn’t meant to last all day and we could see from the Park’s website that their was some indoor stuff to do, so thought we’d be able to dodge any rain showers should they we have any. Armed with information from their website, our exchanged Clubcard tokens, excited kids and a change of clothes (in case of heavy rain) we set off for our day out.

It took us about an hour to get there, with the girls entertained with their DSs’, we found it easily, with no hic ups. (Yeay) There was a huge sign outside the entrance so you couldn’t miss it and although it has a long driveway, the car parks are well sign posted too. There was plenty of parking in its gravel car park with 2 other overflow car parks for busy peak season. At the main entrance there is lot’s of signage advertising the park, its prices and any extra activities that cost extra and aren’t included the park’s entrance cost. They do package family prices which work out a bit cheaper but because we were paying with Clubcard tokens we had to pay 4 x individual entrances a £9.99 each. We knew this before we came as it was clearly stated on their website, I suppose what I’m trying to say is the website is very well-informed. You can pre book entrance tickets on the website too, this gives you an extra saving to the on the door price so if you’re not using Clubcard tokens this may be worth doing. We paid the extra to do the Go Karts, Climbing Wall, Bungee Trampolines and some animal feed.  The other extra paid activities were Laser Tag, Mini Quad bikes and Mini Diggers . In my opinion, if you didn’t want to pay the extra for these activities, there is still plenty to do. There is also a height restriction of 1.3 m or above to ride the Go Karts.

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When entering the park there are Rabbits, Peahens, Peacocks, Chickens, Cockerels, baby Chicks, Geese and Ducks. All can be fed with the animal feed. Other animals that can fed further around the park are Sheep, Goats, a very noisy vocal Donkey and a really fat Pig. We didn’t realise this and used up all the food on the Chickens. There is also a walk in Wallaby enclosure, Cows, Reindeer, Pheasants, Cockatoos, lot’s of different species of Owl, Meerkats, Raccoons, a Skunk, A Macaw and a very chatty African Cockatoo named Barney. He actually said “Hello Holly” to Holly, we were all very impressed.

The 5 Bungee Trampolines were very well organised. The staff was on hand to put on the safety harnesses and operate the bungee. They helped Holly and Emma to Jump higher and encouraged them. If your children or adults like to jump there is also the giant jumping pillows. Holly and Emma had a great time on these but it can get a bit busy at times.

Holly and Emma’s favourite was the water slide and yes you do get wet, so John and I discovered. It’s quite high up, you sit on a board and it’s nearly a vertical drop till you skim along at the bottom. The heavier you are the further you skim and wetter you get.wp-1474185050588.jpg

There are 2 outdoor adventure play parks, snow tube slide, Quadrapilla tractor ride, Owl display, drop slide and a boating lake, where you can row your family around amongst the ducks. John discovered that rowing is harder than it looks but it was a giggle and I got a wet bum, again. (Glad to have that change of clothes in the car.) John is already complaining he aches, guessing he won’t be able to move his arms in the morning, oops.

Emma discovered she is a pro at rock climbing, combating all 3 climbing walls like Spidergirl. No surprise there as I’m always telling her to stop climbing and she should have been a monkey.wp-1474183124282.jpg

You can take your own picnic, there’s a sheltered out-door picnic area, with a cafe to be able to get a cup of tea, but I didn’t see many other benches around the park. You can take your picnic indoors to one of the indoor soft play areas. We chose not to take a picnic this time as my husband isn’t a fan of carrying it (me either) and as we used Clubcard tokens to get in we thought it wasn’t being too indulgent paying to eat at the park. It wasn’t too pricey actually and their was plenty of choice. We chose a 10 inch Margarita pizza, 2 teas, a diet Coke and an Oasis and it was £9.90. We shared the Pizza between the 4 of us, not quite enough, should have bought 2, but we were planning to eat out on the way home so we were saving ourselves for then anyway. Besides the girls didn’t have time to eat they were far to busy playing in the soft play area.

There are plenty of places to wash your hands around the park and they have warm water. Always important when being around animals, especially as some of them are so friendly and don’t mind being petted. The toilets were central to the park and were pretty clean and not smelly, again important as I feel like I spend half our day out, taking the girls to the toilet. I’m sorry I must confess, I forgot to look if they had a baby change or disabled toilet or what they were like.

To end our day at Knockhatch Adventure Park, we went on their Run Away Train Simulator. Now, bit of a warning here, it is very dark so could frighten small children but there is no height restriction for this ride. I thought it was really good, bit like a rollercoaster, but both John and Holly felt a little sick on it. It’s usually me that gets motion sickness!

I asked the girls how they would describe Knockhatch to their friends, Holly said “It’s fun” and Emma said “Exciting”. All in all, we had a fantastic day out and would definitely recommend it. It has something for all ages, even us bigger kids. So, yes it is worth a visit. We had no rain either. 🙂

Anyone else been here who would like to add anything I may have missed? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments. xx

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Capturing Moments

 

Why I’m learning to grow patience.

When I was pregnant with Emma I was worried how I was going to share the love I had for Holly with another child. Of course this was silly, and I’d often tell myself that too, but I just couldn’t grasp the thought of ever loving anyone as much as I loved Holly. The second Emma was born that fear was gone, like everyone told me it would. I realised I didn’t have to share my love for Holly with my new baby because my love grew and I did indeed, love her as much as I loved our eldest. Sorry, I know it’s corny but that’s how it was and I’m sure many of you understand where I’m coming from, right?

Recently, in the last few weeks, I have come to realise, that something that didn’t grow when I had Emma was my patience. With Holly, I had so much patience and time to spend with her raising, teaching, nurturing and playing with her. We were never rushing or stressing to get anywhere. I only worked 6 hours a week at this point and John was working nights so home during the day. I had plenty of time on my hands. Then when Emma was born I suddenly found I needed extra hands and I was torn on who needed my attention first. I found I was spending very little time doing things with Emma, teaching her the things I taught Holly. Not because I didn’t want too but because I had Holly to focus on too. Then with Holly starting school and an increase in my working hours meant we needed to be somewhere by a certain time, John started working away from home Monday to Friday and all patience went out the window. After reading tips on other blogs about ‘how to be patient’ I don’t think it was a planning fail as I plan everything!!!! (I drive myself nuts sometimes) I really think it’s about being a second child and having too much on my plate. I didn’t have time to let Emma get herself dressed in the morning leading to her still not being able to do the small buttons on her school blouses. I didn’t have time for Emma to take her time putting her shoes on herself in the mornings, working out which was the right foot. This resulted in Emma putting her shoes on the wrong feet for years afterwards up until a few months ago. I could go on, there are lots of goings that Emma should be able to do for herself but can’t/won’t. I believe, by not having the patience to allow her to do things for herself, she now can’t do certain tasks Holly had mastered by her age. I know I shouldn’t compare and every child is different but I really can’t help but worry.

I have also noticed she lacks confidence in her own abilities and gives up easily which then results in her wanting me to do it. Emma, herself, has mimicked my short patience span and has a terrible intolerance to waiting for things. So, I need to lead by example and teach her.

Feeling massively guiltily and like I’ve failed her in someway, especially as it’s taken me this long to understand, I have vowed to be more patient and encourage Emma to start to do things for herself, grow her self-esteem so she can be a strong believer in herself; she’ll need this to go on and achieve great things.

Starting today. Holly had gone out, laden with her super soaker water pistol, to a friends Water Fight birthday party, so this was the perfect time for Emma and I to do something together, I let her choose. She chose arts and crafts and she decided she wanted to make collage pictures out of sticking down foam shapes. I encouraged her to make the decisions and we talked about the best way to do it, and I let her tell me what to do to help her. I realised I have never really sat down and done anything like this with Emma. I just usually set them up with things like arts and crafts to do then go off and get on with some mundane housework chore. I’d much rather prefer doing this with Emma. Wouldn’t we all? Why haven’t I done it? If I do art and craft things, it’s usually grown up crafts, on my own, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Emma and I finished our master piece and then she went off to play while I tidied up. That’s our Emma, short attention span and won’t sit still for long, but the main thing was she was happy and enjoyed our time together.

Now I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, and I won’t be holding back the erge to do things for her as it’ll be quicker, or fighting back the words ‘hurry up’ through gritted teeth, that are on the tip of my tongue but I am going to try my hardest, smile, count to 10 and show her I believe in her.

Am I alone in these guilty feelings?

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Emma and Holly’s Top 10 things to do with a Balloon 

I never realised how much fun Holly and Emma could have with a bag of party balloons. They have giggled so much, a better sound than them bickering or whinging.

After Emma discovered her McDonald’s balloon deflated on the floor this morning she decided to blow it back up herself and asked me to tie it up. After hitting it around the house for a while she wanted it untied again to do something else with it, except I couldn’t, it was well tied by yours truly, so I promised to get her some later that day. I kept my promise and bought her a bag of balloons which cost me the huge sum of 99p.

Holly and Emma have played with these balloons nearly all day and have been quite imaginative and inventive in their games. There were many many games they played but here is a list of their top 10 fun things to do with a balloon.

1. Blow it up and then let it go so it flies all around the room. Not recommended after it’s been blown up a few times, unless you’d like a shower.

2. Emma’s Prank. Ask someone to tie up a balloon that you’ve just blown up as you hand to them let it go. Funny the first time, raises a smile second but can become annoying quickly.

3. Decorate a blown up balloon with whatever you can find.

4. Treat your blown up balloon like a baby. Cradling it, pushing around in a buggy, making a cosy bed for it. Even put it up your t-shirt and pretend your pregnant.

5. Make you very own stress ball by filling a balloon with sodium polyacrylate crystal (water absorbing crystals) that’s been soaked in water and then tieing it up. Squish and squeeze it, maybe even throw it at a wall as hard as you can before you get caught by you Mum. Makes a fantastic slap noise when it hits the wall.

6. Balloon tennis. Needs no explanation really.

7. A good weapon to bash your opponent with in a play fight. Yes girls do like to play fight too but just not as boisterously (well Emma can get a little rough) and it does usually end in tears.

8. Balloon basket ball. You need a willing volunteer, preferably an adult to stand and hold their arms out in a hoop shape. Volunteer needs to be prepared to be hit in the face, a lot! Rules – keep balloon up in the air, you can’t move while holding the balloon and the aim is to get the balloon through the volunteers arms. Taller players have the advantage, this leads to smaller players having to play dirty and cheat.

9. Header keepy uppy. Keep the balloon in the air with your head.

10. Strictly come balloon dance. Dance using your balloon as a dance partner.

I’m sure they could come up with more but nearing bedtime we thought it best to end their balloon olympics and get them to chill for a bit. As I pick up the deflated, soggy balloons lying around the house it’s once again been proved to me that it really is just the simple things in life. If you have a good imagination then you can make anything fun. Also, from now on I’m always going to keep a pack of balloons in the cupboard.

What do you think, did we miss any that you think should be on that list?

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6 Easy Hairstyles For School. 

Found this post while reading the Hair Helpers blog. I often struggle for ideas, (and time) so this post is perfect to kick-start the new school year. Tried and tested one out on Emma this morning and it went well. Big thumbs up from her and me. Check it out. (Excuse the un coordinated hair bands need to be more organised next time).

6 Easy Hairstyles For School That Will Make Mornings Simpler

http://www.mykidstime.com/back-to-school/6-easy-hairstyles-for-school-will-make-mornings-simpler/#.V9AKorx0QE4.mailto