Monday 17 March 2014

I Let My Toddler Use the Ipad, and other confessions

Recently I have come across some articles that make me a little upset. 

In this day and age where parents are constantly battered about every choice they make, being constantly told their choices are wrong, another article criticising parents choices is definitely NOT needed. I honestly think there are more parents out there who are stressed and worried and whose confidence is destroyed, because we insist on writing articles like these. Misusing statistics and data from small biased studies, to prove their own OPINION is not factual. There is SO SO much information out in the world, how on earth is a parent supposed to take it all in and make decisions, especially when so much of that information is contradictory?! 

The one that hit home this time was about letting children under 12, yep, 12 YEARS old, use hand held devices and technology and how we, as parents who let our children use these things, are causing irreparable damage to them.

Guess what? I let my toddler use the Ipad, my Iphone, watch TV and DVD's, even play on my computer! For the record I monitor her use. I make sure it is balanced with plenty of outdoor play, creative play, one on one time with me, etc.

One day while shopping I was criticised by an older lady for allowing Mini Miss to play a game on my phone while I shopped. 

      What that lady, who didn't know me was, that it was her nap time, that we had had a full on day and it was important I pick up these few things before I went home to start dinner. She didn't know that she was beyond tired and any little fight was going to quickly spiral out of control into a full blown, no holds barred temper tantrum and that little device was maintain our world peace!! 

      What she also didn't know is that normally I am more organised. I normally get to the shops when Mini Miss is in a good mood. She sits in the trolley, eating her devon and helping me find the groceries, naming the fruit and veggies, counting the items, finding colours and shapes. 

      What she didn't know was I only have educational games on my Iphone and Mini Miss loves them. Given how smart she is, how well she can navigate technology and learn, i doubt it is a bad thing!

      Finally, what this lady didn't know, is the number of hours we spend at home, playing together, learning together, doing craft together, singing in the car and even doing housework together. 

She was basing her criticism, her judgement, on another mother from one brief encounter, where she tried to engage my over tired child in conversation and was ignored because she was playing a game on my Iphone. 

And I am sorry, but that is uncalled for. KEEP your criticisms to yourself unless you have the full picture!!! 
(and really how can you, unless you actually walk in my shoes or at least live with me?!)

While I am at it, I'll admit a few parenting "fails". Things society tries to tell me is wrong and is ruining, spoiling, killing, creating bad habits in MY child.

I let my children eat MacDonalds once a week, and have the occasional chocolate or lolly or sweet! Sometimes, if we are busy, its twice! 

I don't use all natural products, I wash my child in bubble bath, nothing organic. I rarely wash her hair as the fight that ensues could cause our neighbours to call DOCS....and we live on acreage!!! 

When she was a baby I served her store bought baby food, I bottle fed (admittedly not by choice!!), I put her in disposable nappies. 

We cosleep when she is unsettled, scared, or sick and have since she was born. She still has a bottle at bedtime at almost 3 years old, because it makes her happy. She actually cuddles it when it is empty.

I guess I am a rebel. I won't have society tell me what is best for my child. I will allow medical and other professionals professionals that treat my child, or who have valid facts and data to back their claims, give me information to make informed choices. 

For example, yes, we co sleep, but no medications, drugs or alcohol is ever consumed while she is in our bed, we always move her as soon as she is soundly asleep, we don't use a heavy blanket etc. Sensible informed decisions that suit our family.

Or maybe, as I have gotten older, and more confident in my child raising (believe me I still have PLENTY of doubts about my abilities!) I have realised that the choices I make, we as parents make, are good. They suit our family and our children. 

They are healthy, they are happy, productive children. They adapt to change, they are secure in the knowledge that no matter what, we love them. My teen communicates well with me, and actually enjoys spending time with me (at least thats what she tells me!). They are smart, active, creative and imaginative. The use of technology has not stifled them creatively, socially or emotionally. 

So lets support parents, all parents. As long as they are not endangering or risking their child, not harming their child. As long as they love their children, making decisions with their children's best interests, and their families situation, at heart.

Sunday 16 March 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities - Part 1

So Mini Miss needs to be challenged and constantly wants to learn, be taught and understand. I try to do this through a mix of guided learning, and more importantly, play, art and craft. 

I decided we would look at the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

If you haven't read this book, then go out and buy it! Now! Go!! Especially if you have kids! Its an endless source of educational points, and kids just LOVE it! The illustrations are colourful, the story simple but entertaining, and Mini Miss LOVES the ending! 

I read it to Mini Miss, who immediately insist that we read it again, and then she wanted to "read" it to me. Being able to retell a story is a great skill, and she did a fantastic job using the pictures as guides for her story!

Then we got stuck into a couple of craft activities! 

Egg Carton Caterpillar

Materials Needed:

Egg Carton
Red and Green Paint
Pipe cleaners
Googly Eyes

Mini Miss loved this activity. As I said, I don't often do a guided activity, but I also find value in following step by step instructions to make something. We started by painting our caterpillar just like the Hungry Caterpillar in the book.

Then, when the paint dried we stuck on his Googly Eyes, and I put small holes in his head and his body using a skewer, and Mini Miss added antennae and legs.

So simple, yet a lot of fun for miss almost 3!!

Then sticking with the slightly messy theme, we made some

Painted Butterflies

Materials Needed:

Coloured construction paper
Paints in the colour of your choice
Pre cut butterflies (I did these beforehand as Mini Miss is not yet ready for scissors)

This was as fun as it was messy! Mini Miss LOVES paint! The hardest part was convincing her to just put the paint on 1 half of the butterfly! I got her to put some blobs of paint on the butterfly, then fold it in half. We used 2 or 3 different colours each time, so we could look at how colours mix to create new colours. These butterflies also help us talk about mirrors and how things can be the same on both sides.

These were 2 simple and fun activities, and a great way to start looking at this book. As she is SO obsessed with the story, and insists on reading at least 3 times a day, I figure we will continue with some more activities based around the story tomorrow. Some more advanced, possibly challenging activities. Will post these next week! 

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Pregnancy, Auto Immune Disease, Anxiety and other fun stuff

So this is a topic I have been avoiding, but feel I really should share this journey. To date I have kept my pregnancy pretty quiet and there are a number of reasons.

I am scared. I am scared that at my age (39!) a normal pregnancy is fairly high risk, and this is anything but a normal pregnancy. I have a heart condition (that I knew about & accepted that risk), I am overweight, we HAD a blood clot between the placenta and the uterus (its resolved itself now thank God), I have Gestational Diabetes, I have auto immune disease that can affect my unborn baby....yeah, the list goes on. And so I am scared that my precious little baby won't make it and it will be my fault.

I am aware that this pregnancy, without any intention to, is hurting some very close friends of mine. They don't begrudge my pregnancy, they don't say hurtful things, they don't ignore me, they at least on the surface celebrate the small milestones with me. But regardless, for one friend this baby is due right around the same time they gave birth to their beautiful angel sleeping at 38 weeks, for another friend, she should also be going through the same milestones as me as she was due just 4 days after me, but sadly miscarried at just 8 weeks. After years of struggle to have a child of their own, it is, it must be, incredibly painful to watch us have yet another child. 

I don't blame them for feeling the way they do. If the situations were swapped, I would no doubt feel the same way. They are beautiful and gracious and tell me not to hide my pregnancy.....but I can't help it. I hate that something that is filling me with so much joy, is hurting them so deeply.

To put it like any 2 year old (or teenager for that matter!)...


To add to my mixed and confused emotions, people seem to have suddenly forgotten I have an illness. It's like the pregnancy cancels out everything else I have been dealing with in the last 12 months. Sadly, the opposite is true. Sjogrens, possible Lupus, and certainly anxiety and depression do not stop because you are pregnant!! 

I still have pain, lots of pain, pretty much all the time. Certain joints are worse than they ever have been, but given how blessed I am to be pregnant, I feel like I don't have the right to complain about it. The dryness, particularly my eyes and my skin, is the worst it has ever been, and I can't take most of the medications that keep the symptoms under control as they simply are not proven to be safe in pregnancy. So, while most people in the second trimester are partying with the news they are past "the danger period", they have endless amounts of energy, they have that "pregnancy glow", I am finishing each day by collapsing into bed and wondering how I will do it all again tomorrow! 

The Sjogrens gives me an antibody in my blood known as Ro+. This antibody can affect our babies heart at any stage from 18-36 weeks and interrupt the electrical impulses, causing heart failure. This is a constant source of worry as there is very little we can do unless we catch it in time, and the time window is small. So prayers and regular scans is really all we have. 

And depression. Wow. The worst of my depression and anxiety was sparked by Antenatal and Post Natal Depression, so of course things are worse. Pregnancy hormones do not do nice things to my brain chemicals. Thankfully this time we are prepared. I have not stopped my anti depressants and my amazing husband and friends and even employer are supportive, understanding and accommodating to the "bad days".

So is this post all just one big whinge? Am I looking for a whole heap of "poor you" comments?


I simply want people to understand. 

I am beyond THRILLED to be pregnant. I love this baby so much already, that at times I cry from happiness. I feel blessed, not burdened. Despite all these odds, all the hurdles, I am carrying this little person I am honored to be mummy too! I am, all things going well, going to be a Mummy one last time. And that makes me the happiest person alive! 

So PLEASE, do not confuse my bad days, my cries, my whinges that things are hard as me saying I don't appreciate the blessing I have been given. I appreciate it more than you can imagine. Each and every day this baby is a part of me, a part of this family, is a blessing. But the pain is exhausting, and the exhaustion is never ending. Sometimes it overwhelms me, gets the better of me and I crack. I am just a human!

And PLEASE do not confuse my seeming lack of excitement or silence about this pregnancy with disinterest. On the contrary, I am bursting with excitement at each and every milestone! I share with my husband and family the joy I feel at every little kick, every scan that shows things going well. I choose not to blast it all over social media, simply because I love the people who are suffering watching this pregnancy. I want to protect them, although I know I can't. Any little thing I can do to lessen the pain, I will do. Not because they want me to, but because I care about them so much, I can't bare to continually hurt them.

Monday 10 March 2014

Letter A Day

So Mini Miss is almost 3 years old.

She knows her shapes, her colours, how to count to 20, how to count to 100 by 10's, she knows the alphabet, she can recognise and sort of write her name....this isn't me boasting, she is just a sponge, and ALWAYS wants to be learning something! 

It's like she is ready for school!!!

Except, of course, she's not even close.

So where to from here? Normally with this age groups we are looking at learning all the things above! So we are moving forward a bit. We are looking closely at each letter, we are reading books and doing craft based on them. Basically, we are doing early reading learning....which is scary!! 

For those who are interested, I have joined a couple of great websites that focus on homeschooling. They have amazing resources and are a wealth of knowledge! 

Free home school deals
The Kinder Corner
Teach With Me

For more pages, check out my Education & Activity Monday boards on Pinterest!

So first up is the Letter A. Seemed like a pretty obvious place to start, but nonetheless, she knows this letter well, so introducing her to some more in depth learning, discussion and crafts was easier done with a letter she already knows well (at least, I thought so. To be honest, I have no idea what I am doing here, I'm just making it up as I go!).

So I printed off some craft worksheets, simple easy ones for us to ease into this new phase of learning. I encouraged Mini Miss to fill the letters, both upper case and lower case with pom poms. We talked about the 2 different types of A, she traced them with her finger, and it is really good for her fine motor skills, something she has a lot of work to do on!

When she was done, I wrote her name in the corner and Mini Miss wanted to copy it, so I gave her a pencil and was very surprised at the results!

She needed help with the M, but the rest was all her! 

Then since she was very focused and interested in doing "more A crafta mummy" we continued, colouring in an Apple tree and tracing more letters. Then, finally, using her favourite paddle pop sticks, we made some letter A's and glued them onto paper.

Mini Miss loves this one on one time. She knows Mondays are "her" day, where we do lots of activities together. I put aside housework, chores and errands and spend time with her. We read, we do craft, we play with toys. Its our very own special day. The fact that I am helping her learn at the same time is just a bonus!! 

*Please note, I am not paid, nor affiliated with any of the websites I have shared. I just share them as I find them valuable resources*