Saturday, 29 January 2011

Hey You Guys!

Hubby was talking the other day about how he can't wait for the boy to get a bit older so he can start sharing some of his favourite movies with him, Star Wars, The Goonies, The Princess Bride, all the 70's and 80's classics that helped to make Hubby's childhood. And of course with the magic of DVDs and big screen TV's it's easy to do at home. I think when the boy is old enough, he'll really love it, and I love the fact that there will be something that hubby and the boy can bond over by themselves.

It's not that I won't watch the movies, I mean who doesn't love The Princess Bride? (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” and “never get involved in a land war in Asia”).  But my childhood wasn't defined by movies and TV, it was defined by books. I love to read, in fact if I had my choice, I could quite easily sit and read all day, and on occasions when I've got a new book that I'm really into, I find myself encouraging the boy to have a long stretch of quiet time or a nap so that I can read more! Not the best parenting moments, I'll admit.

So I love the fact that the boy is now old enough that he's really into books, and I can start sharing some of my favourites from when I was little. Little Miss Bossy gets read quite a lot, (especially since the boy seems to have inherited that trait...) and we both love Eric Carle and the caterpillar that turns into a beautiful butterfly. When he gets older, I'll be pulling out my collection of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys (have I mentioned I've kept almost all of my books from as far back as I can remember, I'm bit of a pack rat) so that he can discover the Secret of the Old Clock along with Nancy, Bess and George.  Even better is that some of my favourite authors have also written children's books so we can share the same sense of humour and giggle at the same things. (Terry Pratchett's 'Where's My Cow?' is currently on our nightly reading list) On the flip side, there are some not so great kids books out there, that just grate on my nerves having to read out loud. Some of these of course, are the ones that the boy wants to hear over and over and over again. On a daily basis. Sometimes hourly. But as much as it drives me crazy to keep saying “Banana”, anything that fosters a love of the written word in the boy can't be all bad.

So while hubby and the boy bond and learn the 'Truffle Shuffle", you'll also find the boy and I curled up under a blanket, reading. Maybe we'll be sharing one of his books, or perhaps enjoying some peace and quiet while we each delve into our own favourite authors. And if the boy turns out to be anything like me, then it won't be bad parenting on my part if we are both reading and ignoring everything else right?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Judgy McJudgerson

I have a friend who is currently pregnant with her first baby, and a number of us were talking a while back, and trying to come up with some Mummy wisdom for her, which was hard to do! But the one thing that I thought of, and we all agreed with, is that you will be your own worst enemy in judging what you do and looking at how other people raise their kids. So don't do it. Know that you are the best person to know what works for your family and remind yourself of it daily.

Lots of people have said it, and there's lots of articles out there, but let me reiterate it. There will always, always, be another mum out there, in your playgroup, at the school yard, wherever, that does all the things you think you should be doing, but aren't. As long as you are doing what you think is best for your baby or child, then go with it. You will twist yourself up in knots if you try and do everything.

For the record I cloth diapered, partially EC'd, did extended BF, made my own baby food, kept the boy in my room till he was one, wore him in slings and carriers for as long as possible, taught him signing, let him have a soother (that he still uses at bedtime), and he now watches TV occasionally,  he's also very handy with hubby's iPad. These were all things I felt I had to at the time and they were what I thought was best for him, and for me. Does his using a soother make me a worse mum than someone who managed to not give their little one a pacifier. I hope not. Does breast feeding or cloth diapering make me a better mum than someone who used disposable diapers, or bottle fed their baby? Not at all. If they were making those decisions based on what was best for their baby, then they are the best mum for their child. 

It's so easy for us to see something and make a snap judgement about someone's fitness as a parent. All we see is the surface though, we don't know the hours of lost sleep a mum has had trying to get a baby to nurse before giving them a bottle, or the stress that someone is under at work and so needs 10 minutes of peace and quiet so puts the TV to entertain their toddler. We do know our own struggles with those issues and so many more that keep us questioning everything we do, and that should be enough to make us realize that we're all under the same pressures. We should be more supportive of each others choices and our own. Deep down remind yourself that if you are doing the best thing for your little ones then it's the best thing for you to do, no matter what anyone else is doing. And then remind yourself that it's true of every mum the next time you see someone feeding their baby a bottle, or letting their little one watch tv, they are doing what is best for their family, which is the best any of us can do.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

High Fashion? Hardly.

When I'm out in public, I like to look good. I don't mean that I need to look like a super-model (I never will!) or that I'm always wearing make-up or dressed to the nines. I just mean that if I leave the house I like to be in clothes that match, without any major stains on them! And that's just my outfit, then I still have to dress the boy in neat and tidy clothes. Some days, with a toddler in tow, that's easier said than done. So I aim for tidy and clean, and hope for the best.

Dressing the boy is fairly easy. He's still pretty happy to wear what I pick out for him, so all I have to do is make sure that they're neat and they match. Tidy and clean aren't the only criteria though that I have to think about for my clothes though. I also have to make sure that my clothes are toddler friendly. That means I need to be able bend and talk to the boy when we're out walking, so no really short skirts. I need to be able to pick him up when he's getting tired, so out go any really fitted dress shirts. I need to be able to run after him in case he decides to walk his own path in the grocery store, so bye-bye fantastic high heeled boots (sob). I also need pockets for tissues, snacks, wrappers, and a purse with more snacks, tissues, band-aids, and toys. Looking at this list, it's amazing I get dressed and leave the house at all. This means that the times I get to dress how I want, without thinking about anything else, are real treats for me and I try and break out my best clothes, and step out of my mum persona.

However, this rarely happens. When I do go out without the boy, whether it's a volunteer meeting, or a fun girls-night out, I often find little mementos of my son, especially in my purse, that serve to remind me of my primary role as a mum! My favourite was the other day, I was dressed up, out for a night on the town, and then dug in my purse to come across half a granola bar, a mini magnetic doodle pad and a plastic rhino! Nothing is more grounding than a rhinoceros! So no matter how nice I try and look, or even if I'm out on my own, I'm still going to be a mum. Maybe I should try and convince the boy that stylish jewellery and nice accessories are really his toys and ditch the plastic rhino. Although, I think I'll still have extra tissues and snacks, so I'll always be a mum, even if there's no one around to need a rhino to stave off boredom.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Meet Monster Mum

I have one child, the boy, and he is the best thing that's ever happened to hubby and I. Like all parents out there, the boy means everything to us, and we'll do everything to make sure he has the best life we can give him. At 2 ½ the boy has a a firmly entrenched personality and a definite mind of his own. This means, like all parents, we have our good days and our bad days, and since he's a toddler, good hours and bad hours.

Besides being called the boy, we also have a slew of different names for him, His nicknames mostly depend on what he's doing at the time, he's an 'eating machine' when he can't seem to fill his hollow leg, he's a 'cheeky monkey' when he's being funny, he's a 'silly goose' when he's being well, a silly goose. The one that gets used everyday though, is monster. I called him monster the other day, and saw another parent give me a judgy look, so I thought I'd best explain myself.

I love my son, to the ends of the earth and back, but he is still my monster. Some days that's a good thing, he's my tickle monster, my snuggle monster, my cuddle monster, my sleepy monster, my kissy monster and more. On other days though, he's my grumpy monster, my whiny monster, my cranky monster, my grabby monster, or my complaining monster. Every day though he's still my monster, good days, bad days and in-between days.

So whether I'm calling him a monster because he's cranky or cuddly, he is still my monster and I will love him always.