Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

My brother is in town visiting us and this afternoon we decided to take S down to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. I’d been last year with my friend Anushka who is as obsessed with Christmas as I am (we’re even going to “Father Christmas Land” this year) and I considered taking S but I thought he was far too young for it and so we ended up going only once he was in bed.

This year however, he has proven what a little dare devil he is and so I figured he’d enjoy it. We only got there at 4pm and ended up leaving at 6pm but in that time he got to go on quite a few rides and we managed to stop for dinner and a cup of hot mulled wine. Yummy!

The best thing about Winter Wonderland is that it’s free and really, given the extortionate prices of the rides and games, it’s a saving grace. Is it possible for you to go to Winter Wonderland and have any sort of experience without spending money? I’d say not really. It’s nice to walk around, take in the sights, listen to some christmas songs and overall feel totally Christmassy but to truly enjoy it, you need to have a heavy wallet.

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A cup of mulled wine will set you back £4.50, a cup of hot chocolate about £3.50, marshmallows (which you can roast over an open fire) were £2.50 and the rides varied from £2 for children’s rides to £6 for bumper cars!!!

I much preferred South Bank last week (post coming soon). There weren’t Christmas songs but there was lots else to see and do. I have to honestly say we didn’t get to really check out the entire place and so I can’t totally judge it (we may go back to go to Santa Land) but from what we saw, Winter Wonderland is just a glorified theme park.

One proud mama

I had my first parent teacher meeting today. The nursery S is at is really good and I get a chance to have a quick chat with his teacher every time I pick him up but sitting down with her one on one was a completely different experience. Twenty seconds into her praise, I burst into tears. She was slightly startled but very sweet. Why you might ask? Well being a single parent can be really difficult. While every parent worries about their child, you worry that little bit extra because essentially, you’re doing it on your own. As a primary caregiver, you’re taking care of your child’s mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and financial well being. Now if that’s not a weight on your shoulder’s, I don’t know what is.

While I think S is such a happy, thoughtful and awesome little boy (if I do say so myself), it’s quite nice to hear that coming from someone who can be more objective. Who sees him in a different light as his teacher and not his parent. So when I wiped away my tears and got past my little emotional outburst, I was beaming :D and very very proud.

Sure, he has areas that have room for improvement but overall he’s doing great and I couldn’t be happier.

Dear NHS…

Dear NHS,

I like you…alot! I am blessed to live in an area where you’re pretty good. I like my local doctors, getting an appointment is quite easy and I’ve stayed at my local hospital when I had gastro back in 2009 and I was treated with great care. I praise you, I tell everyone how the US need to have a system like we do and I’m blessed that when my son has had any issues, your healthcare system has always sorted it out.

So, you can imagine my dismay when I read this afternoon that the NHS is planning on “bribing” mother’s by offering them £200 shopping vouchers for breastfeeding. As if the debate between breast and formula is not tumultuous enough.

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I wanted to breastfeed and I had every intention of breastfeeding until my son was at least 6-8 months old. But as you know, life has a way of throwing us surprises. I had a perfect pregnancy but a hard labour. 40 hours after my waters broke, my son was born via emergency C section. I lost a lot of blood, I unfortunately didn’t have a transfusion and my extremely low haemoglobin levels affected my supply. My son had a great latch but there was just never enough for him. I fed for an hour on each side (every 2 hours) and then topped him up with formula. I battled with this for 6 weeks before I stopped. And the guilt ate at me. Because all you hear is “breast is best” and as a mother who couldn’t feed, you feel like you failed your child.

But I didn’t. I didn’t fail my son. I realised that a happy mom = a happy baby. And he is a happy toddler now and a smart and healthy one too. So by you rewarding mom’s who breastfeed, you’re not really thinking about the ones who can’t. The one’s you are sending a message to…a message that says “What you’re doing is not good enough.”

Please take that money and use it to help mom’s like me. Mom’s who want to feed, mom’s whose children have tongue tie, mom’s whose children don’t have a proper latch. Put that money towards recruiting specialists who can help us. Put more lactation consultants out there. Put more people in hospitals who are going to talk to mom’s about breastfeeding and tell them how difficult it can be.

As a first time mom everything is so new. We worry about our baby crying, our baby sleeping. Are they too hot, are they too cold. Why is their skin dry, why is their poo so yellow. Don’t make breastfeeding another one of those things we worry about. Support us!

You can raise a hat to mom’s who succesfully breastfeed but put your resources to those who can’t. I’ll like you even more!

Jumping in muddy puddles

As a whole, I feel most parents these days (myself included) feel like they have to constantly “teach” their kids. We feel guilty if we leave our kids to watch television for an hour (while we put our feet up) or leave them to play alone or going by a day when we don’t either read to them, do a puzzle with them or practice some phonics with them.

But there is so much learning to be done by having some serious fun as well. S has been watching peppa pig and one of the things he keeps saying he wants to do is jump in muddy puddles. But we all know “If you want to jump in muddy puddles, you must wear your boots”. And so off we went to Morrisons on Saturday to buy him some boots. It rained earlier today and so it was the perfect time!!

After his lunch we headed to Primrose Hill and started puddle hunting. And oh how he loved it!!

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The best part? He was actually learning. We went through the colours of the leaves, we talked about the clouds, we spotted puddles from a distance, we counted from 1-20 and lots more. He was having a blast and watching him made my day as well. He makes me miss being a child again!

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People complain about the English weather but there’s a lot of fun to be had, no matter what the weather.

The Self Soothing Babies who are not Actually Soothing Themselves at all

natasham:

Absolutely love this post by Sarah Ockwell-Smith…reminds me just why I decided to Wait it out!

Originally posted on Sarah Ockwell-Smith - Parenting Expert:

One of the top criticisms I get of my disdain for ‘experts’ who insist that babies should learn to ‘self soothe’ in order to sleep through the night is those who comment “but my baby DOES self settle and I’ve never done any sort of sleep training” (those who ‘self settle’ after sleep training are a completely different kettle of fish – learn moreHERE).

If self soothing is a developmental skill – that occurs once the emotional regulatory areas of the brain are well-connected (from about the age of 7 onwards) – then what on earth is happening to those babies who DO self soothe? Are they a freak of biology? Super fast developers? or something else.

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The answer is “something else”.

You see these babies are no more capable of self soothing than any others. The difference is that they are often the ‘naturally calm’ babies. When…

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