Having children really messes with your head. Suddenly, not only are you responsible for the health, well-being and very survival of another human being, but you are fully aware that your own life would cease to be worth living if anything bad ever happened to them.
But being a parent is a constant guessing game. None of us know how things will work out. We can never predict what events – good or bad – await us round the corner. All we can do is prepare the best we can for every eventuality, and hope for the best!
But it is that preparing for every eventuality that can really send you crazy, because how can you ever predict what eventuality you are planning for? I wonder if you are like me… Are you an OCD parent? Let me explain;
I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried my hardest to successfully pack a bag for a family day out, only to find I’ve spent so long thinking outside the box for the random items I may need, that I’ve forgotten something essential, like money, or worse still, baby wipes!
Fed up of feeling like a failure, I started to make reusable lists: a list of things we need at the beach; a list for trips to restaurants; a list of things to keep in the car.
And I started packing bags. LOTS of bags.
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As a new parent, you have a clean slate. You can create your ideals of parenting, discuss them at length with you partner and friends, watch and deliberate over other parents’ ways of doing things, and look forward to your perfect life with your perfect children.
And then your children start to develop personalities of their own and you realise that they are in fact people in their own right with thoughts, feelings and behaviours all their own. And suddenly the perfect picture you created in your mind starts to morph into something else. Something that is not under your control.
Do you have the perfect family?
At first, you find yourself wondering why your family doesn’t look like the one in the Boden catalogue, despite all your plans to always dress your children in matching-yet-effortless outfits that would be equally at home on a boat or at a garden party.
You wonder if other people shout as much as you do, or if their children just comply. You wonder if you should change your parenting style – you wonder what your parenting style is!
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As if giving up copious amounts of coffee and tea isn’t hard enough – now the docs are saying the pregnant women should be consuming even less than the NHS prescribed 200mg/day (2 cups of instant coffee/ 2 cups of regular tea).
So why the change? Should I give up caffeine totally when pregnant?
Well, recent research published by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has found that even low levels of caffeine increase the risk for low birth weight (also known as SGA – Small for Gestational Age).
And the study is not one of those ‘100 people, week long’ things; it involved 60, 000 women and took place over 10 years. So the results are pretty conclusive.
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Children are creatures of habit (aren’t we all?) – they like routine and they like repetition; it makes them feel secure. How this translates when it comes to story time is that you usually are asked to read the same story… about a billion times. Okay – it will never be a billion but thirty times sure has the knack of feeling a whole lot like a billion!
My three-year-old goes through phases. I have read her masses of different stories but within that mass she will pick favourites. Favourites usually last obsessively for about a month, sometimes three or four (if I’m very unlucky).
Here’s the thing: I love reading to my both of my children but there is only so much enthusiasm I can muster when it comes to reading the same story a hundred times over. How does one do it? – Feign enthusiasm, that is. And trust me, it can be done!
Enthusiasm is all about eyes, body language and tone of voice. Children get excited about a story if you’re excited about it. Reading is quite a lot about acting – exaggerating and over emphasising for effect. How do stage actors bring enthusiasm to the script they have repeated a million times?
After consulting with Google, it seems true that stage actors do sometimes get bored with the sameness of the script and most say that one has to find a way of staying in the moment and not zoning out because this is usually then something will go wrong.
The number of times I have zoned out whilst reading to my daughter are too numerous to count, and I have even done the ‘skip sentences’ trick when I am reading a book for the hundredth time – usually to my detriment because my daughter knows the story so well that she’ll call me out.
The way I stay in the moment and psych myself up for reading the same story yet again, is to concentrate on my daughter’s love for the tale; her happiness really does make me smile and it makes mustering enthusiasm so worth the effort.
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How does your child react when meeting an unfamiliar dog on the street? My daughter is petrified. And I have no idea why.
Just the other day we took a walk to the shop and my daughter screeched a panicked “mummy mummy mummy” as a beautiful German Shepherd looking creature strolled past us. He was admittedly a big specimen but size is irrelevant in my three-year-old’s mind; Poodle, Chihuahua, Golden Retreiver, Great Dane – it’s all the same to her.
We don’t have a dog, I wish we did but our property is rented and our garden is not our own. So we don’t have a dog. But our family has dogs, including a Dachshund and bullterriers, and she is fine with them.
I’d chalk my daughter’s fear down to the unfamiliarity of the dogs she meets on the street, but she has also expressed the notion that cats will eat her. Maybe it’s her vivid imagination and the all-round unpredictability of animals that freak her out? Whatever the reason, I’m having to teach her how to behave around animals, dogs especially, so that’s he doesn’t unintentionally incite them.
My daughter is afraid so I don’t really have issues with her randomly approaching dogs but if you your child is an animal lover and can’t resist all things furry, here’s some children and dog safety tips:
- Ask permission from the owner (who will tell you whether dog is friend or foe). Continue reading →