Categories
Parenthood

The boys in blue…purple, green and yellow too

I often get told I have gorgeous girls, I’m asked how old they are as strangers gush over their long hair, colourful clothing and love for each other.
I usually state ‘they’re both boys’ more times than I can count on both hands, once a day. I’m going to leave the reason my boys have long hair for another post, this one is about clothing.

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When infinite colours exist between the dark and the light, who among us would choose to see only black and white? – Gene Bertsche

I missed the memo about boys only being allowed to wear variations of blue, brown or grey. Children are happy, curious creatures and their clothing should reflect their colourful, individual personalities.

We buy most of our clothing from Polarn O’ Pyret, because it fits my criteria:

  1. practical
  2. unisex
  3. slogan/character free

We are a family that encourages risky play, we will go out in all weather and therefore our clothing ne14435345_10210009322526647_3758558064334007730_o-2eds to be practical. Unisex is not necessary requirement but I don’t feel comfortable assigning children’s clothing based on gender, when both my boys were younger and it was cold they wore tights. Why? Because they would just pull their socks off and it was one way to keep them warm in the harsher winter months.

The slogan/character free requirement is a personal one. They do have the odd spider-man socks, Avengers pants and Paw Patrol hat floating about, but that’s it. Children are fickle and I would not be able to cope with a child demanding Peppa Pig tshirt one day, screaming for a Batman onesie the next day [choose your battles].

You may notice that they tend to match/compliment each other. It’s not a requirement as such, but I think they look cute…at least while I can get away with it!

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Categories
Parenthood

When is a disability, not a disability?

When it’s invisible.

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W arrived into the world with a cry, and then he stopped breathing. His heart stopped, it took the team 3 minutes to resuscitate him and his APGAR score at birth was 3. Barely past 28 weeks gestation, no reason other than spontaneous labour for his early arrival. Nobody knew what the future held for him, and how long that future was; an hour, a day, a week?

He will be 4 soon, and he continues to amaze me everyday. He loves his little brother, he’s obsessed with dinosaurs, his favourite colour is ‘orange like Flop from Bing’ and too many other fantastic qualities to list. He’s also got additional needs.

This is the first year during ‘flu season’ that I haven’t had to sit in A&E with him, waiting for him to receive steroids and oxygen support. This is also the first year that he walked far enough away from his caregiver for me to receive a phone call  at work, from the police, to inform me they had met him and had reunited him with his childminder and brother. When asked about the incident, his response was ‘but I’m not lost, I’m here with you mummy’.

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Every day is meticulously planned, every detail relayed to him constantly. If he asks whats for dinner, I tell him it’s a surprise as sometimes I’m so exhausted coming home from work that I’m too tired to cook what I had originally planned and I don’t have the energy to deal with the fallout a change of plans would produce.

He has a diagnosed mobility disorder that affects his motor planning and coordination skills. It means he’s the child that walks into a tree, falls over on a stationary bus, walks into a wall, and, when tired enough, completely ignores one side of his body.

There are so many aspects to being his parent that others chalk up to him being ‘hard work’. He’s considered disabled, but not enough to receive support that’s available. He’s considered disabled, but not enough for people to take it seriously. The most common and probably most inconsiderate thing for anybody to say to me is:

Don’t worry, he’ll soon grow out of it.

He won’t and that’s okay.

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Categories
Parenthood

How to get your toddler to walk

If a red-faced toddler with tears streaming, screaming to be carried while you struggle with an expedition’s worth of ‘absolutely essential items’ required for a trip to the park sounds familiar then keep reading!

As my boys get older, I’ve found myself struggling with not needing to deal with the hassled of a buggy on London transport for short trips and the need to use it so I can actually get somewhere on time. With the added pleasure of a ‘velcro baby’ for a 2 year old, here are my top tips to get your over 2’s walking:

1. Mini backpacks

I bought the Cath Kidston mini backpacks for the boys and will never look back. They carry their water bottle and a book, and a toy each. They relish the responsibility and it encourages them to walk further.

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2. Wheels

15380686_10210718631498928_1281442686008540722_nANYTHING with wheels works; a bike, a trike or a scooter. At present, B’s favourite set of ‘wheels’ is his baby’s buggy. He loves taking his baby for a walk and pointing out all the different things he can see (it’s SE London, so we’re limited to pigeons, squirrels, the odd parakeet and rare daytime fox), before we know it we’ve arrived at our destination and he’s so exhausted he’ll have a nap long enough for me to enjoy a hot cup of tea!

3If all else fails…

Take regular breaks, stop off at a place of interest and have a snack or take some pictures.

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Categories
Christmas Parenthood

A Simple Christmas

In December 2014, I found myself in Mothercare about to pay over £30 for matching pyjamas for my then 23 month old and 1 month old sons.

When you have one child, £16 on a pair of cute pyjamas from Mothercare doesn’t seem so bad, add another child into the mix and you’re trawling the aisles for discounted clothing in Tesco and Primark.

With a November and an January birthday either side, there had to be a better way without breaking the bank. After reaching out to friends and family I came across this little rule:

Buy something they WANT, something they NEED, something to WEAR and something to READ.

I have stuck by this saying ever since, and my boys couldn’t be happier with the 1452481_10205047307279367_6397077974839313913_n
personalised Christmas sacks they receive from Father Christmas every year.

P x

(I did end up giving in to the matching PJs, but they looked so adorable!)

Categories
Christmas London

Which Santa’s Grotto?

I wish I could tell you which Grotto to visit but there are so many fantastic Father Christmas’ out there, I couldn’t possibly decide. Instead, I will give an overview of 3 of the best Santa Grottos in and around London, that we have visited over the last 2 years.

1. Harrods

We did the Harrods Afternoon Tea Experience last year, there were a few games to play and stations for photo opportunities as we made our way to Father Christmas. I use to go every year as a child, for me the magic just wasn’t there. It was very stressful experience having to book a slot in the first place and I felt that we were rushed through the grotto without really being able to enjoy it. The Afternoon Tea Experience was enjoyable and I would have gone back again this year, but it wasn’t an available option on the booking system.

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2. Royal Albert Hall

We were greeted with mince pies and hot drinks. The children were provided with various activities as they waited to be called to see Father Christmas who’s grotto was dwarfed by a Christmas tree, complete with falling ‘snow’ – a magical experience for all. The experience ended with a tour of the Royal Albert Hall.

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3. Ruxley Manor Garden Centre

Despite the 45min delay, there was plenty to do. We had snowball bowling games in the first room, before being ushered through to Mother Christmas’ kitchen to make magical reindeer food and sing a song, then onto the next room to write letters and make Christmas Tree decorations. Finally we saw the big man himself, who gave each child a present using Elf Magic (a Paw Patrol bag for Wynter and a reindeer stuffy for Bodhi).

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Categories
Activity Ideas Christmas Parenthood

Top 5 Christmas Activities

With the season of goodwill upon us, I’ve decided to list my top 5 favourite Christmas activities to do with children this season.

1. Sensory baths
There’s nothing better than a Christmas-themed sensory bath to get little ones into the Christmas spirit. All you need is:
– shaving foam
– Christmas-themed bath/foam shapes
– a few drops of peppermint flavouring
– food colouring (optional)

2. Homemade decorations10404118_10204951615767139_197490713677375670_n
We made a paper plate wreath last year for their bedroom door. All you need is:
– a paper plate with a circle cut in the middle
– green paint
– glue
– Christmas craft decorations (Tesco usually sell packs of these)
– a festive ribbon
– glitter (optional)

 

3. A Carol Concert/A Service
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A Service can be great fun for children. We have attended the Christingle Service at Southwark Cathedral in the past, where children are encouraged to make their own Christingles, meet Father Christmas and take part in the procession to Borough Market for the ‘Switch On’. Usually followed by mince pies and mulled wine (for the adults!).
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a Christingle Service being held at Southwark Cathedral this year. If you would like support a good cause in the process, then I would highly recommend the Bliss Carol Concert.

4. Ice skating
Want to go ice skating but unsure what to do with your two year old? 12369120_10207734003885103_2717599367334637204_nRuxley Manor Garden Centre in Sidcup, Kent offers ice skating for the whole family. There are strap-on ice skates for children who’s feet are too small to exchange their outdoor shoes for skates. Plenty of penguins and bananas to help assist budding ice skaters, young and old alike (though these must be reserved in advance).

5. Christmas Market
There are so many to choose from in London, here are a pick of the best 3 Christmas Markets for families:
– Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
– Southbank Centre Winter Market
– London Bridge City Christmas Market