BABY’S SEX  

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Nine months of cultivating and carrying a little person around inside you is a long time. Some people want to find out as much as they can about their little bundle of joy before it’s arrival, including it’s sex, whilst others want to keep it a surprise.

When I found out I as pregnant with my first child I was keen to find out it’s gender at the first ultrasound, but my husband insisted that finding out the sex of your baby is like peeking at a gift under the Christmas tree. Once you know what you’re getting the surprise is gone. Having experienced this phenomenon a few times as a child when the lure of a wrapped present under the tree was too much for my curious mind to handle and having expertly peeled back a corner of the wrapping to take a peek, I never got the same joy out of that present, as I did a complete surprise. As I could appreciate his argument, we agreed to not find out the sex of our baby – although I was pretty sure it was a boy.

We kept the nursery neutral and bought pastel baby clothes. I obviously missed out on the female intuition gene as in fact, as our beautiful baby wasn’t a boy, but a gorgeous girl.

The following two pregnancies we again chose to not find out the gender of our baby, and strangely enough, I thought they were both going to be boys, only to find out at the birth they were girls. I was so certain with my third child that I had seen a ‘bundle’ between the baby’s legs in the ultrasound that I actually bought boys clothes in readiness. It turns out the ‘bundle’ was the umbilical cord!

By the time I was pregnant for the fourth time, I was certain that we could only make girls! Statistically, you are only supposed to have a 5% chance of having the opposite gender after you have three of the same sex in a row.

Due to concerning test results I chose to have an amniocenteses where they actually look at the genes of the child. I knew my husband didn’t want to know what we were having, but I couldn’t help myself and found out. I was shocked when I was told it was a boy. For five months I didn’t tell a soul that I knew what I was having, as I didn’t think it was fair for someone else to know when the father didn’t know.

I did however; take advantage of this time to buy loads of boy’s clothes, telling my husband that I would sell them on Ebay if we had another girl.

I must admit the surprise was gone from this birth, but the joy and unbridled love for your child is as intense, regardless of whether you know what you are having in advance. Irrespective of whether you choose to know your child’s sex or not, you still have the wonder of seeing your newborn for the first time, because no matter how good ultrasound technology is, you don’t know what they will look like, until you hold them in your arms.

 

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net)

ONE PRESENT

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On Christmas Day my kids are spoilt beyond all reason. My husband and I are both one of four kids, so not only do they get gifts from Santa, us, friends and two sets of grandparents, they also get gifts from six sets of aunts and uncles. 

The day is an over abundance of receiving and the more they receive, the less impact each gift seems to have. 

Last night I did something I’ve never done before. I suggested to my husband that we give each of the kids one major present early so they could really appreciate it.  

We gathered the kids around the Xmas tree and they were all very suspicious. In fact the girls asked whether we were planning a ‘Jimmy Kimmel prank’ where we videoed them receiving a really lame gift.

We assured them that we genuinely wanted to give them each a gift. The excitement and honest appreciation for that one gift far surpassed the reaction we have seen on previous Christmas Days when they have been inundated with presents.  

I did however make the mistake of giving them their gift just before bedtime, which of course delayed them getting to bed as each of them wanted to try out their new gift. 

Each gift was as diverse as the child and this morning they have all woken up and immediately used their presents. It is so lovely that this one gift has already brought so much joy. I just hope on Christmas morning they can show as much appreciation for the pile of gifts they receive as they have for this one early present.

 

 

 

(Picture courtesy of aeopsan at freedigitalphoto.net)

SPOTTO

As I pack the car to head off for a few days at a farm stay, I am thinking about how the kids will be amused on the trip there and home

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It occurred to me that there is not enough recognition for those selfless people out there who purposely purchase ugly bright yellow cars to provide entertainment to kids on car trips. My kids can’t drive past a yellow car without yelling ‘Spotto’. Where this game began and how it became part of everyday car trips is a mystery to me, but if it keeps the kids focused on something other than elbowing their siblings then I’m more than happy to play.

When there is a drought in yellow cars, we play the number plate game, making up silly sentences out of the letters on number plates, eg. GEB may be Giants Eat Boogers; Go Easy Baboon or Gassy Echidnas Burp!

Another favourite game we play with the kids to pass the time on car trips is the ‘Yes and No’ game. It’s simple, you ask them questions and talk to them. If they say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ (or yeah, nup, aha etc) they are out. To put a modern spin on it for our teenagers, I add in the word ‘Like’. It is such a huge effort for them to not use this word, as like, you know, it’s like, really hard to think of like, words other than that!!!

When we are really bored, we play the number game (I’m thinking of a number between one and one hundred). The winner is the one who takes the least guesses to get the number.

By the time we have made it through these games, it is time to put on a movie to distract the kids for the rest of the journey.  I guess the old adage, ‘Time flies when your having fun,’ is true, because travelling with children in the confined space of a car without any distraction drags on interminably! 

 

 

 

(photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net)

OH CHRISTMAS TREE

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Have you ever looked at a Christmas tree through the eyes of a toddler? All those twinkling lights, glittery tinsel and sparkling ornaments all look so enticing – you just want to eat them all up, or stick them up your nose – whatever your preference! So the question remains, how do you keep your tree safe from those marauding tikes whose soul purpose is to pull off every decoration within arms reach?

Anyone who read my post yesterday ‘Baby Jail and Other Safety Ideas’ will know that I used a playpen to keep my kids contained when they were young. The first few Christmases our toddlers were out of harms way when they were playing in their ‘baby jail’.  Then as they got older and were wandering around the house I was left with a dilemma – how do I stop them from pulling the tree down onto themselves, electrocuting themselves with fairy lights and choking on ornaments? That’s when I came up with my brilliant plan – I put the Christmas tree in the playpen. I raised it up on a small side table so the munchkins couldn’t reach the bottom branches, then put it at the back of the playpen, so that I created an exclusion zone the kids couldn’t enter. As a bonus, they couldn’t touch and feel the presents underneath either!

I was reminiscing about this the other day as we put up our Christmas tree for this festive season. As my kids have grown up, the tree is no longer only decorated on the bottom branches. This year the kids decided to have a colour scheme on the tree, so all hand made ornaments made from paddlepop sticks and cardboard were left in the box.

I think back to Christmases past and how I couldn’t wait to have a beautifully decorated tree the kids wouldn’t touch. Now that those days are here, I feel nostalgic for mangy handmade decorations and the tree stuck in solitary confinement!

MANAGING CHAOS

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I, like many of you out there, manage a few of my kids sporting teams. It’s funny how a room goes silent when there is the question put out as to who would like to nominate themselves for this role. I think in this world there are the doers and the whiners (have you ever noticed that the parents that whine the loudest about the way things are being done are the ones that don’t offer to do anything themselves?) The other thing that I’ve noticed is that once you put your hand up to help, you are then forever more stuck in that role. I naively thought the first time I offered to take on managing a team that it would be passed around to all the parents, but alas years on, I’m still in the same role.

I don’t mind the texting to co-ordinate everyone or dealing with the governing association for that sport – what I can’t stand is being in charge of subbing players on and off the field/court. No matter what I’ve done in the past, someone has complained that it’s not been fair to their child. I tried doing it alphabetically to make sure everyone had their turn but the mother of the little girl whose name was at the start of the list took offence to this method, so I changed to subbing the kids off in order of their jersey number, until one of the dads complained that it kept our two best players off at the same time. Add to that the grief from the child that just doesn’t want to come off the field. Some days I just feel like pulling my hair out!

So I was ecstatic this week when someone told me about a phone app that does all the hard work for you – all my wishes have come true! For all you parents who are coaches/managers do yourself a favour and download ‘FairCoach’ (I’m not paid to endorse this app – I am genuinely thrilled to have found it). It allows you to mark off which kids are present, set the format for the game (halves, quarters etc), set the time of the game and then it spits out which children are to come off at what exact time. It even allows you shuffle the players so it changes week by week – Hallelujah!

I used it for the first time last night at my son’s basketball and it was great – any time a kid moaned about it not being their turn, I could just say ‘the phone app says it is your turn’ and that shut them up. I love when technology makes your life easier in the most unexpected ways. Now if someone could just design an app that could drive the kids to their sport and wash their uniforms after, then life would be truly perfect!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net)