Eeekkk I’m a finalist!!

I came home on Wednesday evening from the cinema and was flicking through Instagram when I saw someone posted about being a finalist in the MaDBlogAwards (mum and dad Blog Awards). My heart sunk a little. I guessed if I hadn’t been notified, I wasn’t a finalist. Nevertheless, I went onto Twitter and found the post that had been tweeted with the finalists and as I scrolled down, my heart stopped! There…3rd down in the Best Family Fun category was Mama Duck Quacks. I couldn’t believe it!!!! I cannot begin to describe how exhilarating it felt. Thank you all who nominated me!!

In May 2013, we were supposed to move to Barbados so I started my blog because I knew I’d need something to keep myself busy. When I had S I also felt like I was always given conflicting advice and opinions (that doesn’t change btw). After doing a lot of reading, I started to figure out the type of parent I wanted to be and what was important to me and I used my blog as a platform to share my ideals and opinions. 2014 was a tough year and a lot of my time and energy was directed towards the family court. I didn’t give my blog the time it needed. In November last year I attended Mumsnet Blogfest and it left me feeling inspired. I picked myself up, gave my blog a bit of a revamp and got going again.

Blogging for me has been cathartic. It has helped me to find my inner voice, become part of an amazing blogging community, read about (and in some cases meet) like minded people and I think, make me a better mom. Becoming a finalist is truly an honour and to win in the Best Family Fun category would be a dream come true.

I would love your vote. It only takes 2 minutes, I promise.

Vote here!!

Forever grateful xxx

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Cesarean Awareness Month, April 2015

I remember when I first got pregnant and was looking for a doctor in Hong Kong, one of the things people always talked about were C sections. Apparently private doctor’s there are known to push for a C section. Perhaps they make more money out of it or maybe they think it’s the easy way out. Either way, there seemed to be a lot of stigma attached to it and I didn’t quite understand why. But of course, what people said did influence me and by the time I was 9 months pregnant, I was adamant I was going to have my baby naturally (i.e. vaginally)

After about 20 hours of labour, my doctor came in and told me she was pretty certain I was going to have to have a C section and all I remember thinking was no, I can’t have a C section, I just can’t and I didn’t really know why. So I tried the whole “natural” thing. I pushed for about an hour. My dear doctor tried everything she could to give me what I wanted. Forceps and Ventouse! But S was spine to spine and he had a big head…there was no way he was coming out that way. Eventually the epidural wore out, I went into distress and was rushed in for an emergency C section. When they placed my baby boy in my arms, all I felt was relief. That he was safe and I finally got to meet him. In that moment, it didn’t matter how he got there.

A day later I sent out my birth announcement and it took me about 3 days to respond to all the messages of congratulations. As I read through them, I noticed that some people congratulated me and when I hadn’t responded after a day or two, they went on to say “Did you have a natural birth or a C section?” And I just didn’t get it. Why does that matter?

A few weeks post partum, I was on Babycentre when I read about women who had delivered naturally who had 3rd degree tears, women who had prolapse and other’s whose pelvic floors pretty much didn’t exist anymore and in that moment I thought “I’m actually so glad I had a C section.” I had an amazing doctor who did a great job with my stitches and although I needed some help getting out of bed for the first week, it healed well and 6 weeks after S arrived, it’s like nothing ever happened.

So why the guilt mama’s? Let me tell you…it takes great courage to have a C section. Lying on a table and being prepped for what is essentially major surgery is terrifying.  I remember as they tested how numb I was using cold water, I could still feel pressure around my abdomen and I only remember constantly saying “I can’t feel the cold water, but I can feel what they’re doing.” Having to give up on wanting a natural birth and being rushed into surgery was scary but knowing I was that much closer to seeing my little boy made it worthwhile.

But given all of that, if I had to do it all again, I think I may just choose to have an elective cesarean the next time! Want to judge me? Go ahead..

For all those of you feeling twinges of guilt or fear at the idea of giving birth via C section, for those of you who feel that way already having done so and for those of you who chose to have an elective cesarean, I say screw the idea of natural child birth and be happy. It doesn’t matter how you deliver your baby, what matters is that they entered this world safely. Children who are born vaginally aren’t any happier or any more loved than those born via C section..and surely that’s all that matters?!

Your children become you…

Let that sink in for a minute. Your children become you…

Is that a scary thought or a pleasant one?

Late last year I went to a parenting talk by Swaminiji Supriyananda who heads the Chinmaya Mission in Hong Kong. And the first thing she said was “Your children become you…” It’s quite an easy statement to make until you start to consider the implications of it.

Our children basically repeat what they hear and copy what they see. Yesterday S was riding his bike around outside before we set off to nursery when we saw our neighbour leave home with her two sons. She was trying to get her bike out the door and lock up when her son shouted “Come on mum, chop chop.” I wander where he got that from? If S is doing something he’s not supposed to he he almost hurts himself or falls, he’ll say “See?” I def. know where he got that from! *guilty*

Our children pick up what we give value to very easily. Do you sometimes find your children know which buttons to push and you find yourself getting frustrated because they do the exact thing they know bugs you? I hate to be the bearer of bad news mama’s but they pick up on what bugs us because they know that is what we give energy to or place value on. While our children imbibe what they love and respect about us, they will do the same with what frustrates us as well.

So with that in mind, the question is, would you be happy if your child became you? And if not, then what are you going to do about it?

Parenting is a journey – it’s hard and treacherous at times but also filled with so much wonder and joy. It’s a constant work in progress! There are no perfect parents but everyone just doing the best they can given their version of the world. I’m certainly not the parent I set out to be but one of the things I try my best to practice (and sometimes fail miserably!) is to be the type of parent I’d want my son to grow up to be.

While parenting is no easy task, I think it’s a privilege. Our children are our masterpieces, they are the culmination of all our sweat and tears, our doubts, our fears and our mistakes. But they are also the product of our love, joy, positivity and time. I think we owe it to them to be the best version of ourselves so in turn they become the best versions of us.

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Threenager

I’ve heard the term “threenager” before but never fully got it until S turned 3. He’s always been a clockwork baby/toddler and this change was no different. When he turned 3 it’s like someone whispered “game over mama”!! To say it’s a difficult phase is an understatement. Not so much because his behaviour can be challenging (it really can!) but because it’s like dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Just before lunch we were lying down and I was doing silly dance moves which had him laughing hysterically (my favourite sound in the world) and this evening I had him screaming, hitting and being downright strong-willed. Even when on holiday I try to keep him routine because a tired child is a cranky child and often I can put his behaviour down to him being tired but at other times it comes out of no where.

The other thing I’ve noticed is it’s only really with me *should I be offended?* If I leave S with my mom for the afternoon, he’s an angel but he feels the need to test his boundaries with me. I suppose as his mama I am his main care taker and he looks to me for guidance/limits.

We’re in India at the moment and I can tell you that the heat makes me a lot less patient (I think it’s time to go home now!!) and I was questioning how to handle my strong willed boy when my cousin put this link up on Facebook:

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Parenting-Strong-Willed-Child

One of the things I’ve always tried to bare in mind with S is that it’s a good thing he knows what he wants. I truly believe those that know what they want, get what they want and so I don’t tend to push him if he says he doesn’t want something.

I also try to judge if he’s tried and put him down for a nap before he gets over-tired. Although he cut his naps out completely back in November, I guess the heats been getting to him too because we’ve been in India and Sri Lanka for the last couple of weeks and he’s napped almost everyday.

As I was saying to a friend just the other day, parenting is a work in progress. Just when we think we’ve found our parenting groove, our protégé’s grow, develop and change, forcing us to do the same.

Have you gone through the “threenager” phase yet?? Any pearls of wisdom?

Only child syndrome?

It’s no secret that S is thoroughly pampered. He’s the first child, the first grandchild, the first (and sixth) great grand child and generally commands everyone’s attention…even those he has just met. But I didn’t realise just how much my attention meant to him until another baby came into the picture. No, I haven’t had another baby, I’m talking about my gorgeous niece Aura. S met her last year when she was 3 months old and immediately fell for her. Every time we went over to my cousin’s house, even if she was sleeping, he’d run in and give her a kiss on the cheek. And this year when he found out we were coming to India, he remembered Aura and started asking about her. That is until he actually met her…

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A week into our trip, my whole family were flying to Sri Lanka for my cousin’s wedding and Aura and her mom were on the same flight as us. I was having a great time re-living the baby years (she just turned 1) by holding her and playing with her until I noticed S getting a little stroppy. After I handed her back to her mom for take off, S looks at me, then looks at her, points at me and says “That’s NOT Aura’s mummy, that’s my mummy!” It was cute until later in the trip when he tried to exert his authority over her. Such toddler envy…who knew?!

He’s no doubt very fond of her, as long as his mummy isn’t giving her too much attention! I guess it’s a good thing I have no plans to have any more children in the near future.

The ParentCast goes live!

At the start of this year, Amie contacted me saying she had an idea she wanted to run by me. I was all ears (I thought it was a linky) but turns out it was even more fun…a Podcast!!

After a few weeks of brain storming, recording, re-recording and a whole load of editing and techie stuff on her end, we’re finally live!!

In my teens and early 20s I always disliked the sound of my own voice (when I heard it back) so this is a big deal for me but talking about parenting and S in particular brings me such joy, I think I can overlook how I sound 😉

So without further ado, we present The ParentCast. We promise you fabulous tips, advice from various experts and lot’s of laughs…don’t miss it!

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Mama, I put a carrot up my nose!

Children children they keep us on our toes,
Why just today my son had a carrot up his nose.

In honour of World book day, I thought I’d have an attempt at channelling Dr. Seuss. How did I do?!

I was called in early to nursery today because S decided to put a piece of carrot up his nose. He was totally fine and when I got to nursery very proudly announced “Mama, I put a carrot up my nose!” How can you not smile?

I brought him home and after many attempts at massaging his nose, using one of those bogey sucker things and asking him to sneeze, I resorted to using a straw to suck it out. Not my finest moment!

Eventually it came out and he now proclaims “Carrots don’t go in your nose, they go in your mouth.” Well, I’m glad we got that clarified!!

Dear first time mom

Dear first time mom,

I often find myself congratulating first time mom’s, only to then say things like “Get lot’s of rest while you can” or “Breastfeeding is harder than it seems” or “I hope you’re taking antenatal vitamins” and while I’m sure hopeful you appreciate my advice, there’s some other things I want to tell you.

Enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can, because life will never be the same again. But this is a good thing. I want to tell you how amazing it’ll feel when your baby kicks for the first time. How you’ll always have one hand around your bump protecting it. How you’ll lay awake at night wandering what you’ll name your child, what colour hair they’ll have, will he/she have your eyes or your partner’s.

I want to tell you about the overwhelming surge of love that will rush through your body when you hold your beautiful child for the first time and the tears that will form in your eyes before you even realise they’re there.

I want to tell you that it’s not always easy, your emotions are all over the place and in the first few weeks post partum you may find yourself burst into tears, for no apparent reason. But then one night at 3am, while you’re feeding your baby, you’ll look down and your heart will feel like it’s about to burst with joy and love.

Your child will test your patience, find all your buttons, push them and push you to your limits but that smile, that giggle, those eyes filled with mischief, you won’t be able to resist them.

You’ll encourage your child to crawl then walk and you’ll take videos and clap with glee when they do. And then right before their 3rd birthday you’ll find yourself sitting quietly one night, with those same tears of love in your eyes because you realise your little baby is not so little anymore.

You’ll answer lots of questions, you’ll get frustrated by many of them and you may even snap when you’re over tired and cranky but when your child is sitting quietly playing with his toys and minding his own business, you’ll miss him.

While being a mother feels like an emotional rollercoaster, and your heart will quite literally hurt when you see them hurt, the pride that comes with raising a child is second to none.

So dear first time mom, be weary, be nervous but also be joyful for the best relationship you’re ever going to have.

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Growing up too fast

As parents we’re such a funny bunch aren’t we?! When our babies our born we wait for when they feed less, then we wait for them to sleep through the night, to giggle, to roll over, to wean, to crawl, to cruise, to walk, you get the picture…

And then our baby gets to 1, 2, 3 and I hear myself and so many friends exclaiming: “How did that happen?” “When did my baby grow up so quickly?” And the simple answer is: While we were encouraging him/her to.

I guess with S’s 3rd birthday coming up, I’ve been thinking about it. I can’t believe he’s going to be 3…that came around quickly! I have to admit though, apart from the whining, I’m absolutely loving this age. He says the funniest things while still being my “baby” and needing cuddles. He loves to exert his authority and put on a tough guy voice but he still loves snuggles in the morning.

My baby is turning 3 soon, I wish time would move just a *little* bit slower.

Saying that, I can’t wait till he’s 5 and I can take him to Disney Land 😉 haha I did begin by saying we’re a funny bunch!

It’s just a phase

There’s one phrase that I hear lot’s of moms use…whether talking about a child who doesn’t sleep, a child who won’t eat, a child who throws tantrums…you name the issue and you’re most likely to get a “Don’t worry, it’s just a phase”. And to be perfectly honest, it’s so true.

When I think back over the last couple of years, there were several things S did and I’d think “I hope this doesn’t last” and it didn’t…a few weeks tops and he was on to something else.

He went through a phase of wanting to eat his meals in the car…I kid you not, we were eating in the car at least once a day.

He went through a phase of having to “drive” the car every time we came home, before he’d come inside. Even if we were in a rush, even if it was cold!

He went through a phase of needing to turn the microwave off when it started beeping. He could be engrossed in an episode of Peppa Pig or busy playing with his train set but if he heard the beepbeep beepbeep, he would drop whatever he was doing and run into the kitchen saying “I want to press it, I want to press it.”

He went through a phase of “bubbling his milk” (he drinks his milk with a straw). My patience wore thin with this one. When I got rid of his bottles, I went through a couple of weeks of having to pretend one sip was for me and one sip was for him. Or one sip for dinosaur and one sip for S.

Whether it was throwing his food off his high chair, emptying cupboards or fussing over bath time, it was all just a phase while he learnt, grew and developed emotionally and physiologically.

When friends with kids tell me they’re exhausted or their child is doing xyz…I just say “This too shall pass” because in reality, they’re all just phases and they grow out of them so quickly.

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