Toddler Tales – April 2019

The Explorer

As the weather has started to improve recently, we have been venturing outdoors much more. I try to get outside with the boys as much as possible, because a whole day inside has them both climbing up the walls and me ready to huddle up into a ball by the end of the day. More outdoor fun recently, means DB2 has had many more opportunities to explore and test himself – and my goodness has he tested himself! If there is a rock he will climb it, a hill he is up it and a ledge he will jump off it without a second thought. Many of these moments have left me with my heart in my mouth, but every time he has proven he is more than capable of the challenge.

I love children’s inquisitive nature and DB2 is at the age now where everything is fascinating. He has to discover as much as possible and does not like to be prevented. He has a great independence, but also a stubbornness which results in throwing himself to the floor and refusing to move until he is able to pursue whatever he is being stopped from doing. There is a fine line between encouraging exploration and allowing a potentially dangerous situation to occur, and clearly a two-year-old does not yet know the difference. This can make being out and about difficult at times, but our trusty reins (or ‘lead’ according to DB1) are great at preventing said dangers. Some situations you do not predict though, and although might leave you feeling slightly guilty, are learning experiences. Such as, the other day when DB2 wanted to go down a slide he has been down many times. Now, whenever he has been down this slide previously he has been fine, he’s gone at a steady pace and landed safely at the bottom on his own. The other day when he went down, there was one variation that I hadn’t considered – his all in one rain suit. Forgetting that this waterproof outfit is much more slippery than other clothes, we put him down the slide without me ready to catch him at the bottom and DB2 pretty much flew down and off so quickly that we didn’t quite know what had happened. This was one of those moments that you kick yourself over and feel that every other parent in the play area is judging you, but other than being a little shocked, he was absolutely fine and we have learnt a valuable lesson about rain suits and this slide.

As with any experimentation, sometimes we come across situations we do not like. With the Easter holiday’s being upon us, we have been making the most of our National Trust membership. Our most recent visit resulted in DB2 exploring the under growth at the sides of paths as he attempted to climb up the banks. As well as getting mucky hands, he also met some small creatures that didn’t please him so much. After placing his hand down the first time, an ant (a huge ant I might add) suddenly scurried on to it. DB2 quickly noticed this and screamed, waving his arm and hand frantically until the creature came off. Understandably, he was a bit shaken, but not deterred. A little further along on our walk, he attempted to climb up a bank again. This time we warned him about ants and just as he put his hand down, the moss next to it started to move. Noticing several large ants crawling around next to his hand, DB2 screamed even more piercingly than before and ran faster than I think I have ever seen him run. After tears and cuddles, he walked around much more tentatively, requested that we clean his hand because he was convinced there was an ant on it and would only move if his coat sleeve was pulled all the way over his hand, because he was now so fearful that these creatures were obsessed with climbing on it and were going to appear at any moment. As we sat down in the café, DB2 would not even allow the mention of ants and deemed them “Too scary!”. I feel a quick creepy crawly intervention is necessary in order to prevent what I fear could become a life-long phobia and having developed some weird phobias in early childhood myself, I would rather nip a fear of ants in the bud if possible.

The wonderful thing about exploring, is learning. DB2 is definitely doing a lot of this at the moment and with each adventure he is developing both from his achievements and mistakes. It can be hard as parents to let go and let our children get messy or do things that concern us (I know I have found this hard in the past), but unless they test themselves and investigate, they will not discover what they are capable of and neither will we. So, here’s to childish curiosity, may it infect us all a little more.

 

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Thank you for reading.

Mrs P x x x

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Toddler Tales – March 2019

Ah, toddlerhood… it has been a while since I wrote about you, but one thing is for sure, you are always interesting. Since the last time I wrote a Toddler Tales post, DB2 has definitely been busy. He’s grown, explored, learned, destroyed and continued to keep us on our toes every minute of the day. There has been good, but as with most things, there has also been a bit of bad along the way too.

DB2 The Destroyer!

Over the past few months, DB2 has been eager to learn and explore as much as possible. This is wonderful in so many ways, for it means he is constantly experimenting and learning. His language and understanding improves every day and physically he tests himself, so he is becoming very coordinated and strong. Being this inquisitive, also means that he often wants to find out about things that we would not expect him to. Such as, wanting to know what happens when he tugs on a loose piece of wallpaper in his room, or wants to see where the edge of the carpet goes, or even assessing to see how sturdy his bedroom door is. Having a curious mind is fabulous, but it does also mean that he has now ripped all the wallpaper he can reach off his walls, pulled up the carpet in his bedroom and yanked the door off its hinges (like I said strong!). My constant mantra at the moment is “This is why we can’t have anything nice!”, while crying into my tea.

In all seriousness, I think all children go through a destructive period at some point. My eldest (DB1) had a tantrum once and drew all over his white wardrobe in protest, but to be fair after facing our reactions, he never did anything like that again. DB2 is a slightly different kettle of fish and there are times when I just think he does not give a flying fig, but then there are other times when he knows he has done wrong and will not be happy until he has apologised and received our forgiveness. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back, might have been last week when he ran full pelt at the TV arms outstretched, banged into it and caused it to fall forwards off the unit. Thankfully, Mr P did a true Indiana Jones and caught it before it hit the floor. The falling TV, mixed with our reactions shocked DB2 quite a bit leading to a very apologetic two year old, who now avoids approaching the TV too closely and is slightly warier of following through with destructive… I mean explorative intentions upon the hearing of our voices.

Life with a toddler can be challenging and my experiences with DB2 are completely different than with my eldest, so another mantra has been, “DB1 wasn’t like this!”. It is unfair to say that though, because every child is different (my two are proof of that) and where one is destructive, another will be timid. Where one is outgoing, another will be reserved and so on. As toddlers they are different and as they grow I am sure they will change and differ again, but isn’t that what makes life interesting? That is what I have to keep reminding myself, because even with the redecorating, laying of new flooring and potentially replacing already new TVs, motherhood is amazing and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

 

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Thank you for reading.

 

Mrs P x x x

Toddler Tales – Week Four

Toddler Down – Another week of no sleep

My poor little one has had a bit of a rough week. After struggling to sleep at all in his new bed, on Sunday he started being sick. He was really off colour for the next day and refused to eat nearly everything until Friday. I think the refusal to eat was fuelled by his back teeth coming through, seeing as every time he would put some food in his mouth it would be followed by a cry and him pointing and shouting “mouth!”.

This has meant we have also not had the best week in terms of sleep again and it is really taking its toll. So many things are affected when you don’t sleep. I injured my neck, shoulder and back in an accident a number of months ago, and since not sleeping properly over the past two weeks, the injury has started to get worse. Yesterday, I was really struggling to move, which with a very energetic toddler is so hard. He doesn’t understand and so can’t alter his behaviour accordingly. I hate feeling as though I can’t do everything I need to and should do as a mum, so yesterday started as a bit of a down day. Thanks to my wonderful mum, who helped me out, it got a lot better and after a good night’s sleep (you heard that right he slept through the whole night!) I’m feeling better today.

DB2 also ate all his food yesterday. He didn’t refuse it or throw it around the room, he ate it! This is another reason to feel better too. It is so worrying when your baby/child is poorly and when they’re being sick or not wanting to eat, you feel so helpless. In my experience the being sick and refusal to eat is usually short lived, but obviously if you’re ever concerned don’t hesitate to get medical help.

One benefit of this week though, has been the extra cuddles. As horrible as it is when your child is poorly, they do definitely crave more affection. This is something I completely make the most of and have loved with DB2 this week, considering he is usually far too hyper and busy to bother with cuddles and kisses. I have had many this week and it has been the silver lining of the situation.

 

Toddler Up – Understanding consequences

This week has seen DB2 acting out in different ways a little more than usual. Tantrums have been less, but undesirable behaviour, such as hitting, pushing, throwing and biting have really taken centre stage. This has meant ‘Time Out’ has been used a number of times. DB2 is definitely at the age now where there has to be some consequence to actions and my favourite method to deal with this is ‘Time Out’ on ‘The Step’. I think Supernanny knew what she was doing, and I did use her method with my eldest which always worked a treat and I am continuing to use it with DB2 as well.

I now know DB2 understands his actions are wrong. The other day he had climbed on to a box of Duplo, which I asked him to get down from. Obviously, he refused and then attempted to hit me for my impertinence. After I told him not to hit, he stepped down from the box, walked to the door, opened it and went to sit on ‘The Step’ all by himself. I hadn’t indicated at this point he needed to go in ‘Time Out’, he took that upon himself and I have to say it was one of the funniest and cutest things I have seen him do.

I’m hoping this is a good development and means the option of choices can start to be introduced as a behavioural strategy. Only time will tell, but I’m pretty sure we still have much hitting, biting, pushing and throwing ahead of us, before ‘The Step’ will really work.

 

If you are interested in reading more Toddler Tales posts or more of my main blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

Toddler Tales – Week Three

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Toddler Down – I am a walking Mombie!

All I can say about this week is – I AM TIRED! This picture shows an incredibly sleepy mummy and toddler because DB2 has decided that it is time to climb out of his cot. This means we very quickly needed to turn his cot into a bed. This also means that he now cannot go to sleep without myself or Mr P being in the room.

A new bed is exciting, but a big change. Initially, running around the room and trying to jump off furniture on to the bed was the game. We have had to remove everything from DB2’s room, so that all that is left is the bed and a rug, to avoid any harm coming to him. This, at least, has taken the danger away, but hasn’t made nap or bed time any easier.

For the first few days/nights it took a long time to get him to sleep and stay in the bed. Once he was in bed, I stayed with him and stroked his back until he was asleep. At times this would happen a little faster, but within 30 minutes of him being asleep we would suddenly hear a distraught cry and be faced with an incredibly distressed two-year-old. We would go through the process of getting him to sleep again, only for the same thing to continue to happen. This happened constantly through the night, until Wednesday, when he finally only woke up once.

Now, he is sleeping through much better and only waking up once in the night, but it is taking about 3 hours to get him to sleep. This week has left us feeling as tired as we did when we were in the newborn stage, so has confirmed that we are not thinking about having another baby any time soon!

 

Toddler Up – Kids say the funniest things!

In the past week, DB2’s language has improved so much. He is picking up all sorts of words and trying really hard to put short sentences together.

He disappeared from his room the other day and ran into his brother’s room. Mr P went in and saw DB2 sitting on the bed with the blue, soft toy snake wrapped around him. “Look Daddy, blue snake! Ssssssssssssss,” shouted DB2 when he saw Mr P. He then carried the snake around the house and continued to repeat this sentence and snake impression for a good 20 minutes.

He is also understanding so much more. When Mr P asked, “Are you ok?” as he was going to bed last night, DB2 responded with a long sigh and “Fine”. We’re getting lots of “Yes please” and “Thank you Mummy” as well, which does melt my heart. This also means we’re getting a very definite and decisive “No!” quite a lot too, just to even everything out.

There are so many things he has said and done this week, but I think we’re too tired to actually recall them all. One thing is sure though, we are going to have to watch everything we say, because DB2 is also becoming a bit like a parrot and trying to copy so much. I mentioned that our meal contained chickpeas the other day, and that led to the word being repeated throughout the rest of the meal by DB2 in between each mouthful. Luckily, he hasn’t repeated anything undesirable yet, but we are going to have to be very conscious to avoid a potty mouthed toddler.

 

If you are interested in reading more Toddler Tales posts or more of my main blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

Managing the School Holidays with a Pre-teen

Half Term has just finished and although it was so lovely to be able to spend quality time as a family, there are definitely some challenges that occur whenever my eldest (DB1) is off school.

He is ten, and just like the majority of children his age, he loves to look at screens. He likes to watch TV and play on his tablet and games console. As many parents, I don’t like him spending too much time watching a screen. This undoubtedly has led to many an argument, particularly during school holidays.

Quite a number of years ago, I was fed up with feeling as though I was having to battle to limit screen time. So, I decided to create a School Holiday Routine. This was something I created with DB1, so he was fully aware of what he was expected to do and the benefits of doing this. I have to say Pinterest did give me some ideas when creating this, but over the years we have adapted it to work for us.

 

DB1’s School Holiday Routine

 

After waking up and having breakfast you must:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush your teeth
  • Brush your hair
  • Make your bed
  • Tidy up your room

 

In order to get screen time, you must:

  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Complete Maths work for 30 minutes
  • Do Handwriting/Grammar for 30 minutes
  • Play outside
  • Create something
  • Help a family member
  • Practice the piano/guitar for 30 minutes

 

This is the outline of our school holiday routine and dependent on what we have planned, it can change. There might be days when he doesn’t manage to do all the activities or any, because we are having a family day out, are away on holiday or DB1 is out with friends. In those circumstances, the routine is adapted to work around what we are doing.

I can’t say this is right for everyone, as every child and parent are different, but this works for us. DB1 responds well to structure and needs routines, which makes sense considering when he’s at school he has such strong daily routines throughout the week.

When we first introduced this, we did have some unhappiness for the first day or so, but once he knew the expectation and understood the reward for doing the tasks, it became much better. Now, whenever it is a school holiday, DB1 knows this is what he will be doing and quite willingly gets on with it. The arguments over the amount of screen time have lessened and I find he is so much more productive, occupied, independent and content. It may not work for everyone, but it definitely beats having to hide the tablet and games console.

 

If you are interested in reading more of my blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

Toddler Tales – Week Two

I was going to write that this week was a much better week in terms of tantrums, but that was before our visit to Mothercare yesterday. Even though DB2 was rolling around on the floor screaming because we had to leave, I can say that has been the only major melt down of the week. That has to be an improvement, right? That isn’t going to be this week’s toddler up or down though, because quite a number of new developments have happened this week to make me smile and grimace in fear.

 

Toddler Down – I need eyes in the back of my head!

DB2 is incredibly physical. As soon as he realised he could move as a baby that was it, nothing stopped him. He was rolling, crawling, standing and walking all in very quick succession and by the time he was 10 months old. It is no surprise then, that now he is trying to find new ways of moving and his favourite at the moment is to climb up and into everything. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING! This week has seen him climb into the TV unit, try to climb up the bookcase and climb onto any toy that is above floor height. I turned my back for a split second the other day and when I turned around he was sitting in the sink area of his IKEA kitchen watching Biggleton. That means he had used the shelf to climb on to the unit, then climbed into the space where the sink should be and was sitting on the shelf with his upper body poking out. This was quite a hilarious sight, but the fact he had done this so quickly was also pretty terrifying. Needless to say, I cannot and do not let him out of my sight. This is very difficult to cope with because it makes it a lot harder to get anything done during the day, but the fact he is so inquisitive to see what he is able to do is also great for his development.

 

Toddler Up – Being helpful

Although he very rarely stops moving, DB2 has been showing a real desire this week to help out around the house. He has loved dusting and sweeping for a long time, but this week he seemed to want to help in more ways. I was changing his nappy earlier in the week and he is now very aware of the process we go through. So much so, that he passed me a nappy sack when I had taken his nappy off, he then handed me the wipes and held on to one for when I needed it and finally passed me the nappy. This is a great improvement to the usual nappy changing fiasco, which feels as though you are trying to change a freshly caught fish. So, I’m hoping this may continue.

Another moment of toddler helpfulness, was as I was trying to sort out the clothes yesterday. I was trying to gather DB1’s clothes together for his camping trip from the clean clothes basket. DB2 saw me doing this and thought he would give a helping hand. He came over and started to pull every item of clothing from the basket and put it on to the couch. Now, in reality this wasn’t overly helpful because I was trying to separate clothes and he had just piled all the clothes on top of each other, mixing up the already sorted clothes again. I didn’t mind this though, because his intention was a good one and he just wanted to be involved in helping with the washing. Even after he had done this, he did spend a few minutes moving clothes into separate piles, so he was showing how much he had observed and wanted to try to take part. It didn’t last overly long and before I knew it he was walking around the living room with the basket on his head, but the moment was a good one nonetheless.

 

If you are interested in reading more Toddler Tales posts or more of my main blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

Becoming a Young Mum

Eleven years ago, I had just turned 19, started university and found out I was pregnant. It wasn’t the easiest time, as I had to come to terms with being pregnant at a point in my life I hadn’t planned for. I left university after 3 months of starting and lived 3 hours away from Mr P, who stayed at university to finish his degree. The hardest part was feeling as though I was being judged and had ruined my life.

These were not feelings I imposed on myself. I have to say, that there were certain people who made me feel this way; at times unintentionally. Their words resonated though and for quite a while I felt ashamed. I felt that I had failed in some way and I think it was those feelings that sowed a seed which ended up growing into anxiety and depression many years later.

Coming out on the other side though, I now know I have absolutely no reason to feel ashamed and nobody has or had any right to judge me. Yes, I had a baby at a time in my life that many wouldn’t consider to be ideal by present social standards. Maybe going to university, getting a job, getting married and then having babies is seen as the correct thing to do. Everyone’s circumstances and decisions are different though, and really isn’t it more important that we do our best with what we are given and support everyone no matter what their situation is? I feel that is what I believe and have done. I had a baby at 19, I also went back to university a year later, got married to Mr P and came out with a First-Class Honours Degree. I then got a job, studied to be a teacher and earned a PGCE with Distinction. Is my life perfect? No! Would it be more perfect had I not had my eldest son? I doubt it because life is never perfect, and I have actually worked so much harder to be an amazing parent and do more with my life because of my son. The people who judged me for having my child so young, actually spurred me on so much more. I wasn’t going to be what they expected. I wasn’t going to sit back and not do something with my life because that’s what they stereotype young parents as doing.

At the end of the day, whether you are young or old, being a parent is hard. Age does not and cannot indicate what kind of parent you will be. That is down to who you are as a person and your experiences and expectations of life. Therefore, no one should judge anyone for being what they consider a young mum. Especially, if they don’t know you, your circumstances or desires.

I have been very fortunate and had a lot of support from family and friends, which has enabled Mr P and me to pursue and live the life that we do with our children. All I can say is do not pre-judge anybody for when they become pregnant. Yes, there will always be those that perpetuate a stereotype, but if you look hard enough you will see that actually there are probably far more young mums that are parenting and living successfully and happily than not. I know of so many other teenage and young parents who are the exact same as me and have done everything in their power to provide the best life possible for their children and themselves.

It hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. If you know someone who is going through something similar to myself, please offer support and not judgement. I always believe that you should treat everyone with kindness and maybe if certain people had shown more to me during this time in my life, I would not have felt as if I had done something so terribly wrong. So, I finish by asking everyone, no matter what your views and opinions, to just spread support, love and kindness because, at the end of the day, we all need it.

If you want to read more of my blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

Thank you for your support.

Mrs P x x x