We are working with PayPal this Christmas on their Magical Christmas Moment #PayPalMoments campaign. It is an ace competition where they are giving people the chance to win some great prizes (find out more on the PayPal Facebook Page). They challenged me to shop for Christmas using PayPal and then share with you our Magical Moments that we created with the time we saved. Well here is the first. The Polar Express UK The MiniMad’s are eight and nine and WANT to still believe in Father Christmas. They both often have questions about if he is real, but are unsure, so when we were offered a trip on The Polar Express UK at more »
My boys are nearly 8 and just turned 9 and last summer I championed #Freerange parenting. I tried to give them freedom to explore, play and investigate independently.
Maxi was never a child to find comfort in an object or a soft toy, but Mini has always had a comforter. His bears are worn and threadbare from over seven years of constant cuddling and affection. Now at eight Maxi goes to bed every night with a menagerie of soft toys to chat too or play with including my first ever bear, well rabbit that was made for me by my godmother nearly 40 years ago.
It was parents evening at the school this week. Safe to say we walked out of the school with the biggest grins on our faces. Mini’s conference was exceptional and he is coming on in leaps and bounds and his English work is fab (probably down to all the reading he does). Maxi is too steaming ahead, but we are going to have to have a conversation about effort as at the moment he is applying minimum effort to get the desired outcome (Hey I guess that is a typical eight year old boys thing).
Teaching the boys hangman
The log flume at Thorpe Park
Making the most of the sun – Maxi
Sunshine means water – Mini
The men in my life in the Crash Pad at Thorpe Park
Cakes by the minimads
Washing machine flooded our kitchen (insurance assessor coming on Thursday)
An adventure playground to ourselves on inset day
What you don’t see is that it was Maxi’s first week at Cub camp, he learned to canoe, BBQ, make a wooden catapult gun, planted seeds, made a cresshead, walked a lot and went to a theme park. He had the best time ever. Mini and I missed him a lot, but we made the most of our time with reading, playing, football, baking and one to one time. Oh and not being woken by Maxi the early riser at 5.30 am!
The good points:
The boys do not fight when playing Skylanders together. Although there is a lot of “battling” in the game, this does not creep out in to real life like it can in some games with the boys.
It is a pretty social game. They can share their figures with friends that also have Skylanders, even if they use a different games platform as the figures are universal.
Maxi loves the Mini games.
Even if you do not have extra figures you can still play a lot of the game.
No more worries about what birthday present to buy as it seems all the children play Skylanders, so a character is a great present.
The not so good points:
It can be hard for an adult to get their head around. I initially thought that we had to but the other 48 figures to be able to play all the game.
It is complicated getting to know which element each figure belongs too (for adults)
It could get expensive if you gave in to pester power
We have been making strides in improving Mini’s behaviour with help and advice from Franki. It is really hard to see clearly when you are in the midst of horrible behaviour. But she has really given us the ability to clarify what we need to do and support when things are not on track. So what are we doing? Firstly we have set realistic expectations with Mini. He has a reward chart with what is expected of him on and we also included Maxi on it so he didn’t feel singled out. We are making the actions achievable We are working together as a team. If he gets out of bed, we just tell him it is more »
I have commented that Mini is known in this house as “noise with muck on”. He stays clean for all of 5 minutes and his clothes take the brunt of his lifestyle. I expected this as a mum of boys, however, I also have to contend with Eczema which for me rules out using harsh chemicals when cleaning the boys clothes.
Maxi is my main suffer but both boys have periods of really sore and itchy skin, so I was delighted to be able to try out the new Ecover Zero products.
As you can see from above, they have worn them on numerous occasions and they are brilliant. We received some colourful denims in blue, which both the boys have worn. They have an adjustable waist and look great rolled up on Mini or full length on Maxi. Mini is seen wearing a block stripe top , what I like about this is it washes and dries really well without pulling out of shape and it made from the softest cotton. Maxi is seen in the PO.P stripe top, which is currently in the sale at £11. This is made from organic cotton and Maxi loves it. It has become his go to top. He has issues with sensitivity and this top does not itch, scratch or rub in any way. We were so impressed with the clothes that I have even ordered some more in the mid season sale, which just shows that the boys love them.
I used to think I was a crap mum. I used to feel that my family would be better off without me. I do not say these things for people to counter with “no you aren’t” or “no you weren’t”. The fact is that I really did feel this way and I truly thought that MadDad and the boys would be better off without me. I suffered with Post Natal Depression, I bullied myself, catastrophised everything and was filled with terrible anxiety. I couldn’t separate rational and irrational thoughts. I received fantastic treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy over five years ago now and it changed the person that I was and helped make me the mum and person I am now .
I was reading Kate’s post earlier in the week about how scared parenting made her feel and it brought all those feelings back to me, but rather than let them take over me, I remembered that I am parenting in an imperfect world and my imperfect parenting skills are just preparing y boys for the road which they will travel. This is one of the biggest things that CBT gave me, it helped be put things into perspective and process them. I am not a perfect mum, but I am the best mum the boys could hope for, I am their mum and I love them with all my heart and every fibre of my being.
I have two quotes that help me navigate the waters of perfection, for as soon as I realised that I didn’t need to be the perfect mother, that it was OK to give shop bought food and not beat myself up about formula feeding and ensured that if I was happy so would the boys be, things started to come together for us all.
“There is no one way to be the perfect Mother, but there are millions of ways to be a good one!” – Jill Churchill
“Being Happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections” – Gerard Way
So on those days when I am screaming like a fishwife at my boys or wondering how to find the words to tell them about challenges that life may through at them, I hope that I can remember that it is OK to be an imperfect parent in an imperfect world and give myself a break, for this parenting lark is the hardest, unceasing, but most rewarding job I have ever done or will ever do.
They all tell you the same cliches:
You won’t know that you did with yourself before they came along
There is nothing quite like being a mother
You will have so much respect for your mother once you are one
They grow up so fast
We heard them all and so many more, but we didn’t listen. We had waiting many a long year to have a child. We both longed for children, but had convinced ourselves and each other that we were fine as a couple and that we couldn’t keep on trying and failing at being parents. Then one day we had a little boy and then 15 months later another new born. Those first years past by in a blur of nappies, exhaustion, feeding and joy, inescapable joy. I can not put into words how lucky we are to have two amazing, unique and challenging children.
Those children that each night before bed we both go and watch sleep, just as we did from the first day we brought each of them home. It is part of our nighttime routine. MadDad goes to one door and I the other, then we pass on the landing as we swap. Then we move on to our room safe that we have breathed in a special piece of our family to infuse our sleep with. I like to use the excuse that I want to make sure they are tucked in and their lights are off and books off the best, but in truth I want to just watch them and breathe in their smell.
Take a look at the very short edited video and let me know what you think of the quality. I was really impressed at the footage taken in the reading room at The British Museum as the light was really poor and photographs without flash did not turn out, whereas the video camera took perfect pictures. The camera retails at £240 on Amazon and I really wish that Panasonic had given me one rather than just loaned it to me! So if you are reading this Clara, it got lost in the post, OK!
Sunday came and Mini apologised to all the parents for his behavior but this wasn’t enough for this parent who has stated that he is pulling his son from the team. This has been such a terrible experience for all of us. We have come very close to pulling both boys from their teams and moving them to another club. MadDad’s enthusiasm for the game has been shattered and we have all felt emotionally bruised by this judgement in to our parenting.
It was the first week back at school and Mini was tired. He is six years old, he had a tantrum. I am not trying to make excuses for Mini, but these things happen and nobody should be making judgement on our life without walking a mile in our shoes. The fact that this parent is so offended by his behaviour now makes me wonder just who has the issue here. I do hope that his son still plays as all the children seem to have a fab time and love playing.
But then it came to me. Both my boys are very academic and sporty and excel in these areas. However, Maxi is a pretty sensitive young man and although he is more than happy to get up and speak in front of an audience, he finds dressing up and expressing himself challenging. This year he was asked if he would like to be part of a drama group and even though it was way out of his comfort zone, he accepted and did an hour after school every week leading up to a show this week.
Both MadDad and My sister in law took the time off to come and see the show we me. We didn’t know a lot about it as Maxi had kept us in the dark, all we know was it was Joseph and His Technicolor Dream-coat and that he had a solo in it. What can I say, my boy astounded me and left his Daddy speechless. He was amazing., He stepped out of his comfort zone and put his whole heart in to his performance. He smiled through the play. He sang with gusto and his solo brought a tear to my eye. But the best thing about it was that he enjoyed the whole experiance.
o this summer we will be doing the following:
Sending postcards – my boys love receiving mail and postcards are a great starting point to encouraging writing. They do not need a lot of completing and are great fun to collect, write, stamp and post.
Keeping a scrapbook – We are going to keep a book and include in it all the things we do over the summer. Keep receipts, ticket stubs, print out photographs and add personal notes to it
Make our own note paper – I thing that by making our own notepaper of letterhead then I can encourage the boys to do paper work whilst I am.
Write our own Newspaper – Everyday is filled with news, but looking at what has happened over the day we can p
Whilst they were playing, Miss Frugal (who is the eldest of the bunch) taught the boys kiss, dare, truth or swear, which led to much hilarity in the car when Mini was picked truth and told me he had a girlfriend, but he had to share her with his friend at school too and that they took turns on which days they could kiss her on the cheek!
I have been tagged by Mum of 3 boys to tell you who was at number one in the chat when the boys were born
Maxi – 16 March 2005
Do you label your children. Do you always call one children noisy or clever? I remember reading something very early in pregnancy (sorry I do not know where) about the fact that you should never label the child just the action. For instance not saying naughty Mini, but that was a naughty thing to do Mini. This is something I have always tried to do with both the children, especially when it comes to actions and emotions.
However, I am finding myself slipping. I have been heard to say on many occasions that Maxi doesn’t do dressing up. This is something that I have just got used to saying in a way to explain why he will not join in on world book day or for a fancy dress party. We have lots of dressing up outfits on the house, but he has never chosen to use them. It was only this Christmas that MadDad mentioned to me that I was stereotyping him and that I needed to be more careful about attaching this label to him.
My boys are growing up and learning about the world they live in all the time. Today was the first time Maxi has took part in the remembrance parade in the village adn also the first time that Mini has sat in the congregation.