It’s all about perception

I love going to my cousins house…to see her of course, but also for her mirrors. I know, call me vain! But her building and her home have some fantastic mirrors that have the power to make you feel really good about yourself. I remember eyeing my blooming belly in my 3rd trimester (I stayed with her for 6 weeks) in the mirror by her front door. And now every time I walk in, I give myself a once over and smile.

Before you judge how vain I can be, let me finish. I also love these mirrors because it is a constant reminder of perception. I’m looking at the same person in my room and in her home and yet this person looks different. Her mirror makes me *feel* better about myself…and yet I’m the same. So imagine if we can train our minds to see ourselves and situations differently. Wouldn’t that change our perception of things?

I guess you could call it optimism, seeing the glass as half full and all that. But I see it as more than that. I think perception is not just how you see something but how you accept it. We all go through our lives facing challenges. Even the rich and famous have their set of issues. But if we were to face our issues head on and accept them (rather than play the victim), perhaps how things appear would change as well.

Food for thought huh?! Happy Monday :)

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Topsy Turvy, Brent Cross

As much as I love taking S outdoors – the Zoo, the playground, the park – it’s freezing, literally!! To be honest I wish it’d snow already. It’s started snowing in other parts of the UK and I’m very jealous! I know S would love the snow and although we’d freeze, it’d be worth seeing the smile on his face.

But until it snows and we have reason to freeze, we’ve been staying indoors a lot. Sometimes having friends over and other times going out to friend’s houses or soft play areas. One of our firm favourites is an indoor play area not far from where we live. Topsy Turvy at Brent Cross. It’s on the North Circular and a fab place to go to when you need somewhere indoors.

It’s really big with lot’s of levels:

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They have a fab newly refurbished under 5’s area upstairs (which S grew out of at 2, the little adventurer):

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An area for babies and crawlers:

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And most importantly, a great café:

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If you’re in the area, check it out, kids absolutely love it! They also host birthday parties and more recently have opened a nursery. Lucky kids!

Family Fever

Toddlers and sharing

I want to talk about the S word. The word so many parents have such trouble with. You might have guessed it..SHARING!

We all want our children to be polite little beings who share their toys happily but that is far from the reality of things. Toddlers don’t always understand the concept of sharing and they also monopolise the word “mine”. I don’t blame them, they have some pretty cool toys!

Now I have pretty mixed opinions about sharing. On the one hand I want S to be able to share and I encourage him to. We borrowed a tricycle from his friend Kaz and I try and explain to him that as Kaz shared his tricycle with him, so he must share his toys with his friends. We had a playdate at home last week and this rational sat well with him.

However, on the flipside, if S is playing with a toy and someone else wants it then I don’t think he needs to share, until he is done playing with it. We live in a world where no one is going to readily hand you what you want on a silver platter and so it should be the same for the way we teach our children to share. If I was hanging out with friends and someone grabbed my phone to play with it, that wouldn’t be socially acceptable. And in the same way, why should S have to hand over something he is playing with? It works both ways though…if another child is playing with something and S wants it, I’d explain to him that he needs to wait until that child is done (as you would for swings in a playground).

As always, Dr. Markham explains it beautifully: http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/raise-great-kids/socially-intelligent-child/toddlers

How do you encourage sharing with your toddler?

Late Fragments by Kate Gross

I stumbled upon Kate’s blog a few months ago and was saddened to read of her illness. I think it makes it sadder when the world loses someone who was doing so much for it. In her mid 20’s, Kate was working at No. 10 Downing Street with Tony Blair followed by Gordon Brown, as their personal secretary’s. She then went on to be CEO of the Africa Governance Initiative of which Tony Blair is a patron.

She passed away on Christmas day but what makes her story even more tragic is it happened 10 minutes before her 5 year old twin boys came running in to ask “Is it morning?” Earlier this month her book Late Fragments was published and I immediately ordered a copy which I practically devoured in one sitting.

You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking this is a book about cancer and in many ways of course it is (it’s the reason she writes the book). It tells of Kate’s story and how she deals with knowing death is coming knocking at her door. But to me it’s also a book about life. The book is filled with one liners that make you sit up and think. When asked by someone “What is the best thing cancer has given you?” her response was “a feeling of being alive, awake”.

It reminds you to really live your days, make the most of your life and follow your heart. She wrote the book for her two “knights” whom she hopes will one day read it and know her a bit better.

This book will bring you to tears but it will also raise your spirits. From the little I’ve read about Kate and the work she did, I think this was exactly the kind of reaction she was hoping for.

MamaMummyMum

Negotiating with a toddler

S used to love the water. When he was a baby, bath time was his favourite part of the day and when we moved to London I enrolled him in swimming lessons with Aquababies. Last summer we went to Goa and Cebu for my cousin’s weddings and he spent a lot of time chilling on the beach and in the pool, which he’d practically do running jumps into.

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But somehow after the summer we didn’t keep up with the lessons and going swimming seemed to have fallen by the wayside. That is until I got an email in November from Aquababies offering 50% off a block of 5 sessions, which prompted me to re-enrol him. Last Sunday was our first session. I started talking to S about swimming from the preceding Thursday and while he didn’t seem keen, he wasn’t totally against it either.

When we got to the changing room however, everything changed. I got ready first while he took in his surroundings and then attempted to get him ready but the boy was having none of it. “I don’t want to go swimming mama”. I knew once he got in he’d love it but I didn’t want to force him into doing something he really didn’t want to and who am I kidding? Anyone who has a toddler knows they have a mind of their own and there’s no forcing them (at least not happily) to do anything. So I told him he didn’t need to swim but I had to so would he come with me and just dangle his feet in the water? He seemed okay with that…except he didn’t need to wear his swim nappy and shorts then. So then I explained that to go by the pool area, you had to wear your pool clothes. He didn’t seem to buy it. To cut a long story short, I whipped out all my best arguments from my “toddler’s handbook” (including having a pretend conversation with my cousin to tell her to buy S 2 Peppa Pig cakes *cringe*). He finally relented and let me get him ready on the agreement that we wouldn’t use the hairdryer (very logical!).

We arrived at the pool and I got in but told him he didn’t need to so he sat on the sides (with his feet well away from the water). After a couple of minutes I put some water on his feet to show him how warm it was and a few minutes later when I thought he was ready, I picked him up, held him close and brought him into the pool…and he was fine. We joined the class 5 minutes late but at least he was in.

It took him another 5 minutes of clinging to me before he really started enjoying the class and when I say enjoying, I mean all I heard on the way home was “Mama I want to go swimming, I want to kick my legs…I want to go to the swimming pool”. *sigh*

Now I love these bad ass American TV shows like 24, Scandal and Homeland and it dawned on me that apart from not getting shot at or involved in car chases, sometimes being a mom is like playing Jack Bauer especially when it comes to negotiating with terrorists toddlers.

1. You have to give in to their demands before they give you what you want.
2. You never know if they are going to change their minds or go back on the “deal”.
3. There is often no logic to their demands.
4. They find your Achilles heel and know exactly how “exploit” it.
5. They know where all your buttons are and just how far they need to push them.

What are some of your negotiation tactics?

Mums' Days

Plain Jane

Someone asked me why my blog suddenly looks so different. The simple answer? I’m turning it into AWESOME! I kid (not really!). In reality I’m putting my blog through a bit of a transformation and the lovely lady designing a banner for me is busy until the 6th of March!! (She’s clearly that good).

So until then I’m playing around with ideas and trying to get all my badges back up. Any WordPress experts out there?! HELP!!

However, the content is the same, so keep reading :)

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This girl CAN and so can you

It’s no secret that I love ads. I know I know, ads make us mindless consumers buying things we don’t really need by working at a subconscious level. And while I too often fall into the trap, the one’s I actually love are the one’s that pull at the heart strings. The ads that motivate us to do better and feel better. Ads that you finish watching with either a smile on your face or adrenaline running through your veins, or both.

In December I shared my favourite Christmas ads and today I came across this one:

“I kick balls…deal with it!” Love it!

Now ladies, if this ad doesn’t motivate you to get moving, I don’t know what will. I couldn’t even sit still watching it.

It made me want to put on my trainers and go running…but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s almost 10pm, it’s raining and its bloody freezing. But I will…maybe not tonight, but tomorrow. I’ve been going to the gym since I was 16 and it bores me to tears now. So my resolution goal for 2015 is to do other activities that get me moving. Walking, running, cycling, yoga…anything but the gym! I’ve signed up to start yoga at Fierce Grace and I’m really looking forward to it.

What exercise do you enjoy? And what motivates you?