WEATHER DEPENDENT  

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Have you ever noticed the difference the weather makes to your kid’s behaviour?

I find on a rainy day they are lethargic and only want to lie around watching television. A bright and sunny day seems to make them keen to get active swimming and running around. It is the windy days that seem to bring out the worst in kids.

On windy days kids seem to be whipped up by the wind. They seem to be full of energy without having anywhere to expel it.

I remember when my kids were in pre-school, one of their teachers confided in me that she dreaded windy days as it affected the kids’ behaviour so much. She said it turned them hyperactive and made them hard to control. Having just had a few days of windy conditions, I think I concur with her judgment. Combining ‘holiday hypos’ and windy weather is a lethal combination – one where kids act like you’ve just handed them a double shot of espresso and told them to go play.

I’ve checked the weather forecast for the next few days and thankfully it is predicting a calming change in my kid’s behaviour – or at least I hope so!

 

Have you noticed a change in your kid’s behaviour that correlates with the weather? Let me know your thoughts.

 

(Image courtesy of digitalart, freedigitialphotos.net)

PHOTO PRIVACY  

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Where do you draw the line between sharing images capturing innocent kids having fun and overstepping the mark and violating their privacy?

In this day and age when social media is used to update everyone on every aspect of your life, people often take the liberty of taking photos of kids and posting them on the World Wide Web, without a second thought. Unfortunately, prowling through that same media are people whose actions are not very honourable.

I recently heard about a lady who took it upon herself to go into her child’s classroom and take photos of the whole class. Without gaining any parent’s permission, this professional photographer then published the photos as a photo book and put links up to every photo on her website and social media in a blatant attempt to make money. Not only did she exploit the trust of parents by taking the photos in the first place but she did it in an obvious attempt to promote her business and profit from this exploitation. She did not password protect the photos and put the photos in the public arena with an explanation of which school the kids attended

On every level what this lady did was unethical, but more worryingly is the fact that she did not take any safeguards to protect the privacy of these children. She instead handed out enough information to make tracking down these kids an easy task! A number of parents of children in that class don’t have social media accounts, as they are weary of giving away their personal information. Such an intrusion sent shockwaves through the school community and sparked a debate over when it is ok to show photos of kids.

The general consensus seems that you should always in the first instance gain approval from parents before uploading photos of their kids and should always check your privacy settings to ensure that only the intended recipients can see the images.

My daughter just attended a birthday party where photos of the group were taken. The mother specifically emailed all the parents to gain their approval to use the photos and asked whether the lady hosting the party could use the photos to promote her business. I was happy to oblige with letting her use the photos and was grateful that she sort out approval before doing so.

This post is a timely reminder to check your privacy settings on social media and ensure that before you post an image of any child (be it at a party, school event, in the sporting arena or in a personal environment) that the child’s parents agree to these photos being used.

 

(Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images, freedigitalphotos.net)

 

 

HOLIDAY HYPOS

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It starts about a week out from school holidays. There is a buzz of energy that passes through our children. No one does any work for the last week of school as reports have already been sent and the whole school seems to be in a wind-down mode.

Then the first day of holidays hits and my kids are well and truly hit by the ‘holiday hypos’. My husband coined the term a few years ago after finding the kids were hyperactive from being delirious with excitement at the thought of no school. In a kid’s world, it is the perfect storm: a chance to stay up late; go on fun excursions that leave them exhausted and a diet of convenience foods.

The ‘holiday hypos’ consist of very animated, giggly kids that are ready and raring to do every activity possible right here and now. They act a bit like they’ve consumed a few too many red cordials to help kick start their holiday.

I always forget that it takes a few days of the ‘holiday hypos’ for the kids to settle down into a semi-routine and get used to the freedom and fun that each day holds.

I guess I’m guilty of having a mini case of ‘holiday hypos’ myself – except it is more at the thought of having a chance to sleep in and getting a reprieve from making lunches before herding the kids off to school each day. Of course, it is just swapping one chore for another, as holidays see me turn into recreation organizer, ATM and taxi driver!

Do your kids suffer from ‘holiday hypos’? Do you have any tips on how to calm them down, or is it better to get swept up in it yourself?

(Image courtesy of Vlado, freedigitalphotos.net)

EXCHANGE

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We are about to take a huge leap of faith and entrust our sixteen year old daughter to a family on the other side of the world for a few weeks. Whilst on a cultural school trip to China last year our daughter met a girl from Spain and they became firm friends, organizing a private exchange to take place this year. Thankfully this girl speaks fluent English, however the same can’t be said for her parents.

We have skyped the family to ‘meet’ them, however it was a slow and interesting process having the Spanish daughter translate everything we said to them and then translate their response in return. 

As much as we are a little nervous about sending our daughter to Spain, we actually host the Spanish girl first, so her family is taking an even bigger leap of faith entrusting us with their daughter first. Our plan is to show her the sights of Sydney and give her a glimpse of our life in Australia. I’m not sure how she will cope being thrust into our family, as with four children, our household can be loud and raucous at times, whilst she is an only child that is used to peace and quiet.

Our daughter will miss a few weeks of school whilst in Spain, but I believe she will learn life skills and have cultural experiences that will far outweigh the lessons she will miss. It is such an amazing opportunity for her to be welcomed into another family and be shown how others in this world live. I’m interested to see if it changes her outlook on life and influences her in anyway when planning her future.

So next week, we will meet our new little Spanish friend at the airport with banners, balloons and open arms and I will mumble the only real statement I can think of in Spanish ‘Mi casa es su casa’ (my home is your home) and hope that she feels at home with our family!

 

 

(Picture courtesy of pinkblue, freedigitialphotos.net)

BABY VS BRA

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I recently read a post by a mother who justified her choice to not breastfeed because she wanted to wear pretty bras and wanted the convenience of bottle-feeding over breastfeeding. The premise of her post was that it wasn’t a selfish choice, but I had to disagree. Research shows that breast milk is best for babies to help them gain improved immunity and is the perfect type of sustenance for growing babies.

 

Maybe this woman was trying to be witty by inferring wearing pretty lingerie was more important to her than her baby’s health. We all know how ugly maternity bras are, but in the scheme of motherhood, I think it is a rather small sacrifice to make! Furthermore, she has a better chance of slimming down to her pre-baby body if she breastfeeds, so that when she does put on that pretty lingerie she will look better in it! As for the convenience of bottlefeeding – what is more convenient than breastfeeding on demand where there is no preparation, sterilization or waiting for water to cool to the right temperature!

 

Having said that, I’m not a breastfeeding Nazi and I believe there are times when bottlefeeding is a better option for the mum and child:

–       If a mother doesn’t have sufficient supply and the baby isn’t thriving then formula is definitely necessary.

–       If a baby can’t attach properly and both mother and baby are suffering!

–       When there is a multiple birth and the logistics of feeding more than one baby at a time is required.

 

I would have thought that for all mothers the number one priority is their baby’s health. Of course the formulas for babies are great these days, but I believe they should be used as a last resort, not a choice based upon bras!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of Jomphong, freedigitialphotos.net)

WASTED PLACENTAS

I had a bizarre conversation the other day that began with a friend saying ‘Hey, guess what I had on the weekend?’ then followed with ‘my friend’s placenta!’

I know how that sounds as I had visions of a slab of slimy placenta served up on a silver platter, but she went on to explain her friend had her placenta encapsulated (a process where they dry, grind and encapsulate the placenta into handy little tablets). Apparently it assists new mums to avoid postnatal depression, helps with healing after the birth, keeps iron levels high and results in vitality and a sense of well-being. If refrigerated properly, the capsules are said to last a long time and may even help a woman through menopause. My friend had been feeling run-down so her friend suggested she try a placenta capsule. The next day she said she was bursting full of energy and couldn’t believe how good she felt!

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This conversation led me to think about the four wasted placentas I had that were just discarded as medical waste. Based upon my friend’s rave review of placenta capsules, I would have had a lifetime supply of capsules for all my family and friends to feel amazing!

The only other use I have heard of for a placenta was a ceremonial one where a friend of mine stored her placenta in the freezer until her child’s naming day and then planted it under a tree to symbolise that the child can always return home. I really liked the idea of the planting of the tree, but not so much the months of having to push the placenta aside to rummage through the freezer in search of meat for the nightly meal!

 

The idea of using your baby’s placenta may turn your stomach, but it is something that many cultures have promoted for centuries, not to mention animals in the wild do it. Maybe now that you can have your placenta dried and ground in handy capsules, we may see a removal of the stigma attached to consuming this source of rich nutrients.

 

If you used your placenta, I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment!

 

 

(Image courtesy of arztsamui, freedigitialphotos.net)

SOCIAL DISCIPLINING  

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I know all parents have been put in a situation where their child misbehaves whilst they are in a social setting. This leads to the awkward position of deciding how to deal with the child’s behaviour without ruining the whole mood of the event.

If you turn a blind eye to keep the peace, will you be encouraging your child to misbehave when they go out, as they learn they can get away with it? Furthermore, will your friends also think that you let your child run riot without setting boundaries for them? On the other hand, if you choose to discipline your child, will it highlight your child’s poor behaviour whilst putting a dampener on proceedings? Will your friends think you are a tiger mum who can’t relax whilst your kids play?

In short, it sometimes feels like you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

As with every element of parenting, I believe the answer lies in your gut feel. Sometimes a glare is enough of a signal to your child that you are aware of what they are doing and that there will be consequences. If a child is in a position where they are hurting another person, then of course you have to intervene and discipline your child. The severity of the child’s behaviour should guide your reaction.

Consistency is also paramount. If you enforce the desired behaviour all the time, your child should learn how to behave and understand the expected outcomes for poor behaviour.

No one wants to socialise with someone whose child is a monster wreaking havoc, but neither do they want to socialise with a person who can’t focus on a conversation because they are constantly interrupting to counsel their child. As parents we need to find a happy medium that works to satisfy our social needs, as well as our child’s.

It is human nature to want to show off the best version of ourselves in front of our friends, so we don’t like to show our ‘disciplinarian parent side’. However, sometimes you need to unmask this side of yourself when socialising to ensure your child doesn’t run riot. Don’t worry if you have to reprimand your child in front of your friends – if they have kids, there is a good chance they have been in your shoes at one point in time!

 

(Image courtesy of vlado, freedigitalphotos.net)

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SOCIAL DISCIPLINING  

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I know all parents have been put in a situation where their child misbehaves whilst they are in a social setting. This leads to the awkward position of deciding how to deal with the child’s behaviour without ruining the whole mood of the event.

If you turn a blind eye to keep the peace, will you be encouraging your child to misbehave when they go out, as they learn they can get away with it? Furthermore, will your friends also think that you let your child run riot without setting boundaries for them? On the other hand, if you choose to discipline your child, will it highlight your child’s poor behaviour whilst putting a dampener on proceedings? Will your friends think you are a tiger mum who can’t relax whilst your kids play?

In short, it sometimes feels like you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

As with every element of parenting, I believe the answer lies in your gut feel. Sometimes a glare is enough of a signal to your child that you are aware of what they are doing and that there will be consequences. If a child is in a position where they are hurting another person, then of course you have to intervene and discipline your child. The severity of the child’s behaviour should guide your reaction.

Consistency is also paramount. If you enforce the desired behaviour all the time, your child should learn how to behave and understand the expected outcomes for poor behaviour.

No one wants to socialise with someone whose child is a monster wreaking havoc, but neither do they want to socialise with a person who can’t focus on a conversation because they are constantly interrupting to counsel their child. As parents we need to find a happy medium that works to satisfy our social needs, as well as our child’s.

It is human nature to want to show off the best version of ourselves in front of our friends, so we don’t like to show our ‘disciplinarian parent side’. However, sometimes you need to unmask this side of yourself when socialising to ensure your child doesn’t run riot. Don’t worry if you have to reprimand your child in front of your friends – if they have kids, there is a good chance they have been in your shoes at one point in time!

 

(Image courtesy of vlado, freedigitalphotos.net)

NO USE CRYING OVER SPILT OIL  

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The other morning I was packing away the breakfast cereal (as I seem to be the only person in the house that would think to do this task). I walked into the pantry and as I reached to put the box of cereal on the shelf I bumped a bottle of olive oil sending it crashing to the floor, coating the ground of the pantry and every surface knee high in a film of oil and glass splinters.

Of course, this happened on the morning that I had no spare time as I had to rush to school to assist with a craft activity.

Cursing under my breath, I tried to calmly gather up the glass that miraculously managed to fly metres from the impact zone. I grabbed the paper towel and that’s when my acceptance of the job grew. One of my kids had written ‘Have a nice day’ on the edge of the paper roll. This random little kind message was left for whomever may next have need for paper towel. This tiny gesture made my day. It also helped me to put this situation in perspective – whilst it wasn’t a fun task; it also wasn’t the end of the world!

I guess there’s no point wasting energy fuming over a situation that is out of your control. All you can do is accept the task and get on with it.

So with my ‘happy‘ paper towel in hand, I cleaned up the mess before washing down the area with hot soapy water. I even managed to have enough time to jump in and out of a shower before racing to school.

In hindsight I know that I could have spent the morning frustrated by this accident and how it impacted on my day, but instead, my child’s random act of kindness set my mind on a different path. Although our kids are often the source of frustration, in this instance, my child was actually the cure!

(Picture courtesy of m_bartosch, freedigitalphotos.net)

KIDS TV SHOWS  

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I have long wondered whether the writers for kid’s television programs are tripping wildly on drugs as I often find it hard to believe that a sane person can write such weird and (in my kid’s eyes) wonderful stuff. 

When my kids were toddlers I thought ‘Teletubbies’ was odd when it first came on – who on earth comes up with four rotund fluffy characters that don’t speak English as being appropriate entertainment for kids? Then ‘In the Night Garden’ followed in its footsteps being equally as weird. My kids have now progressed to ‘Adventure Time’, which follows the two main characters (I’m not really sure how to class what they are because I’m confused as to whether it is a boy with a dog, or just two odd creations that defy description!) I find this show particularly mind numbing as I think you need to be stoned to understand the storylines. Then there is ‘Regular Show’ – which I might say is anything but regular! Yet again, I struggle to work out what its cast consists of: I think it’s a bird, a raccoon, a gumball machine and other characters that I struggle to identify. Who comes up with this stuff? Another recent addition to my kid’s viewing has been ‘Uncle Grandpa’ which maybe isn’t that strange – I think I know a few dysfunctional families where the Grandpa might also be the kid’s Uncle, so maybe I won’t comment on that concept.

Whatever happened to cartoons like the ‘Flintstones’? They were just your average stone-aged family holding down jobs at a quarry, socialising by going bowling and to drive-ins (which is quite a pre-historic thing to do in this day and age) with cute wives and gorgeous babies for whom they may or may not have been organizing an arranged marriage! They spoke English and the plots were easy to follow.

Our household has a no television rule for weekdays, so at least my exposure to my kid’s preferred shows is limited to weekends and school holidays, but I must admit since my kids are deprived of these shows during the week, they tend to want to overdose on them when they are free to watch television.

Perhaps these weird programs are aiming to educate our kids to be less racist, because if a raccoon can get on with a gumball machine then maybe people that are different to one another will learn to accept each other! Then again, maybe they are just brainwashing our kids into becoming morons – I’m not totally sure! If I sat and watched an episode the whole way through, maybe I could work out if there is a subliminal message, but then that would waste 11 minutes of my life!

 

What are your thoughts on the shows your kids watch? Love them or hate them – let me know!

 

 

(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)