Memory Banks Full of Love and Fun

Memory Banks Full of Love and Fun

Parenting is a journey full of trials and wonder. There are times when I’m surprised by my reaction or my kids’ reaction to a certain moment. For example, when my boys who are 5 and almost 7 hopped on the school bus for the first time, I thought “how little they look” I had become so used to their growing independence that this reaction caught me off guard.

Boys catching bus

This moment made me consciously aware of that every moment in your child’s life though may seem small can have significant meaning.

 

When I had my eldest boy I was so excited for him to say his first word and to take his first step because as a first time parent it was a huge milestone. Those milestones I wasn’t in so much of a hurry for when my other kids came along. Anyhow, as my children got older important milestones seem to be fewer and my excitement seemed to lessen, I was unaware of this fact yet the love I have for my kids has not lessened.

Alex and Jase award

There are moments where we’re not exactly thrilled about. When our child has their first public tantrum it can bring feelings of embarrassment and sometimes guilt. There’re probably moments in a tween or teen’s life that does not make us proud; it is something I have yet to experience.

With my kids, so far it feels like up until about 6 years old each age gets worse. My 5 year old can be defiant and/or disobedient to point that I want to tear my hair out. My eldest boy who’s almost 7 can be a big help – when he’s not fighting with his little brother.

My little girl is 2 years old in a few months and has already started with the “two year old” tantrums, though most of the time she is very sweet and easily placated.

Some of the moments that I love, are when my boys are caring towards someone else whether it be to each other, their little sister, another child or on rare occasions an adult. It’s those moments that I cling to when my boys seem to be doing their best to try and kill each other.

Clinging to those good moments, moments of kindness, politeness and empathy can help me feel like I’m actually doing a good job s a parent and up not screwing my kids’ lives up even though I lose my cool sometimes.

Those good moments are the things kids will remember the most as long as those times are the majority and not a rarity. Take every chance you can to build up their memory banks full of love, good times and fun experiences.

Childhood memories

 

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Opinions, Expectations and Reality

Opinions, Expectations and Reality

Just before Easter weekend, my youngest boy started school. Before he started I didn’t want him to be expected to have the academic ability that his big brother did when he started school. I let the teacher know that the brothers are different in their abilities.

Alex and Jase award

What I have figured out is that I myself had unknowingly but those expectations on my son even though I’m well aware of their differences.

This has made me think how sometimes as mum’s we compare our children to other children of similar ages and somehow expect them to have the same strengths or are achieving certain milestones at the same time.

If my boys are different in their abilities why would non-related children be the same; yes, sometimes children do progress the same as their peers but more often than not they progress at their own pace. While one child may be chatting up a storm yet they’re not mobile another may be running around yet have limited vocabulary and both situations are fine.

My husband and I love all our kids and are proud of any achievements they make even if it’s a small one compared to the achievements of one of their siblings.

Alex and JaseThere is only 20 months difference between the boys and sometimes that can seem to be a small gap, however the differences in their abilities are immense.

My eldest son Jason is definitely an academic with a strong flair for sports, whereas his brother Alex excels more at puzzles and patterns. Jason is an avid reader and though he is just over 6 and half years old can read books aimed for 8/9 year olds, Alex is slowly getting there in reading, he prefers more to be read to than to read himself.

Jason has a large appetite and always seems to be hungry. His meals can be almost as big as his Dad’s, yet he’s as skinny as a rake. Alex has a smaller appetite but is a bit more solid even though he is also very active; these differences kind of show that appearances are not always what they seem.

In this day and age with Social Media having such a strong presence it’s easy to make snap judgments about some-one else’s parenting practices. It’s very easy to voice our opinions but that doesn’t always mean we should. What we see on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook is merely a glimpse into a person’s live and very rarely tells the whole story.

As parents we are allowed to bring up our children how we feel is best – irrespective of the opinions of others. If we are truly putting our children in obvious danger then yes in those situations someone should speak up. Though if the reason is just because they do something different to how you do things does not make them bad parents.  For example, if a mum always gives their children nutritious home-cooked meals and another mum may allow their children to have fast-food a few nights a week does make either mum wrong, it makes them different and that they are doing the best they can in this thing called parenting life.Childhood is a journey

Social Awkwardness With A Smile

Social Awkwardness With A Smile

Birthday party

Birthday Party Season for my kids has started and its made me think about my reaction to social situations.

As a kid, social situations seemed easier as I had my mum as a buffer. These days however there are times when I feel like I have to work at being social – especially when the kids are socially adept like their Dad, even my 19 month old daughter seems to have little issue. When Jason was little it sometimes took a while for him to warm up to new people, at Kindy he would mainly play with the same 3 kids. Alex seems to fit in anywhere and has a diverse range of friends.

Looking back to when I was a teenager I was socially awkward and felt out of place; being friendly was never an issue yet making close friends seemed to be. I felt like I was the square peg trying to fit in a round hole, I felt like I was one the edge of my “friends” group and never really a part of the group. Of course it could have been all in my imagination because of low self-esteem, like I was never good enough to fit anywhere.

social awkwardness

Being a mum means that I’m in social settings where I feel out of my comfort zone and there are times when I want to flee from that surrounding – especially when I’m in one of my negative moods. Sometimes it feels within me that I’m meant to act a certain way – yet don’t know what that way is.

 

I’ve always wanted my kids to thrive when it comes to life and that includes socially as well, so from babyhood would take them along to playgroups, music groups etc; even if I didn’t really want to be a part of it myself. It felt like a sacrifice which I’m finding is part of being a parent.

The boys especially seem to make friends easily and Jason will often ask to have a playdate at one friends’ place or another. If I myself feel comfortable around the other kid’s mum I don’t have any problem especially if I don’t need to be there. Yet if I’m unsure about the other kid’s mum I’m a bit hesitant to allow a playdate to occur.

I know I make mistakes socially, say things I shouldn’t or do things I shouldn’t. I will often beat myself up emotionally over what I deem or what I think the other parent things is faux pas in the social setting. Even if I feel like I have a god relationship with another person there will be times when I doubt whether the friendship is real or superficial. I know a lot of this comes from my struggle with self-esteem and often will try to bring myself back to a more positive frame of mind; however it doesn’t always work and the negative thoughts seem to cement themselves.

Most of the time I don’t allow this to bother me, there have been times though that I’ve allowed those thoughts to bother me, I just hope that none of my children ever have this issue.

4 Days of Christmas

4 Days of Christmas

gingerbread men

As a child Christmas always seemed so much fun and easy and now as a parent there are times when it feels complicated. As a child we were mainly in 1 or maybe 2 places; Now there are times when it’s 3 or more events.

 

Christmas Eve Eve

 

Today we had an early Christmas do at our place with some of my husband’s family to downsize the pile of presents that would be taken up to the lodge where we would be spending Christmas, especially considering there were a couple of large presents that would of taken up a bit of room in the vehicles.

Before family came round I went with my Mother-In-Law to do some last minute Christmas food shopping, it wasn’t too busy at the supermarket as we went there around 9am, if we’d left it later it probably would have been crazy busy.

 

After the family had left I made some gingerbread biscuits to eat over Christmas – because of how tired I was and because my boys insisted on talking to me while I was putting the ingredients together my attention was divided and the dough wasn’t as it should have been and took longer to come together.

I then got the boys to pack their bag, partially pack mine and Rylee’s bag before I could go to bed. Hubby was going to pack his bag in the morning.

 

Christmas Eve

Today was another busy day, after the kids got up and had breakfast, were dressed and Hubby was up and dressed we went to McDonalds for an early Christmas lunch with my Dad and siblings; we went to McDonalds as we only had a couple of hours before we needed to leave for the lodge where we would spend Christmas with some of my husband’s side of the family.

After we had finished at McDonalds we all went back to our place to open more presents which again couldn’t be taken up to the lodge or be opened at McDonalds as a couple for the kids were a bit large; as my Dad was putting together my four year old son’s new wagon my In-Law’s turned up, as Alex (4 year old) was travelling with them up to the lodge to allow me to put down the back seats in my car so there was more room to fill.

The journey up to the lodge felt long and arduous as I had to stop once for a carsick child, there was also a traffic accident which held us up and went got caught behind a caravan or 2. We finally reached the lodge so Hubby and I unpacked the car with help from my Brother-In-Law and I set up the room we would be staying in – I did need help from my Sister-In-Law to put up the porta-cot.

After dinner the kids opened their Christmas eve box – which included new pj’s and a book each they got ready for bed had a book read to them, Alex (4 years old) and Rylee (17 months old) went to bed. Jason (6 years old) got to stay up a little bit longer to play the new board game and then went to bed. Presents were then set up and “Santa” filled up the stockings.

Adults then socialised, as it was nearing midnight I headed for bed, the older generation had gone to bed earlier and my husband came to bed not long after and the rest I have no idea.Sleepy Rylee

Christmas Day

Today I woke around 6am as Rylee decided it was time to wake up, Alex was awake about half an hour later and then an hour later Jason got up. I got the kids breakfast and made myself a coffee, after breakfast the boysJason Present

went and got dressed and I dressed Rylee. It was hard for Alex to wait to open presents until all the adults were up but they all did. Seeing the look of excitement on my boys’ faces made the early morning worth it. After presents had been opened and the adults had cleared the paper and packaging away it was time for a breather – my B.I.L and his partner took their daughter and Alex up to the mountain, Jason read one of his new books, Some of the males put up the new BBQ and my M.I.L and her sister started preparing lunch.

Christmas Day

Lunch this year was at a decent hour and again was very filling; however Rylee didn’t eat much as she didn’t have a nap earlier so was over-tired.  I felt the same but managed to push on through – Christmas with young children can be hectic and tiring.

After lunch Rylee finally had a nap and the other kids played with their new toys while the adults’ tidied up and then rested, we had a pretty simple dinner of leftovers and cooked sausages – I think.

 

Boxing Day

Another early morning, as it seems that Rylee is a morning person. As soon as I get up I start packing our bags and then get the kids breakfast, a first breakfast of cereal; while they are getting dressed I strip the beds and try to have the room in the same way it was when we arrived. After this was done it was time for second breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs and tomatoes. After second breakfast we packed the car as I wanted to get back home before lunch.

We set off home with Alex going with his Uncle and Papa (Grandfather) and leaving just before us. We arrived home just after 11am and unpacked the car, I then went down the road to get Alex and dropped my B.I.L at the motorbike races that happen on boxing day; I contacted my Nana to let her know we were back and around 1pm get an invite to go to where they were staying for tea. Rylee refused to have a nap that afternoon so by dinnertime was so over-tired she didn’t eat much except when it came to pudding.

It ended up being a late night for the kids as we didn’t get home until around 8pm, as soon as we got home the boys got ready for bed and I got Rylee ready and the boys went to bed after a story and I put Rylee in her cot to sleep.

Boys on Bikes

 

Conclusion

This was a snippet of how our Christmas played out this year, a lot more happened but if I wrote about every single thing that happened it would be quite a novel. I hope you all had a great Christmas and look forward to what the New Year will bring.   

Do What We Do, Not What We Say

Do What We Do, Not What We Say

I guess the beginning of this post is a bit of a rant, I wrote the draft to this when I was a bit emotional and recently found it in a journal I was using earlier this year.

Parenting

 

Why is it that some males seem to have difficulty processing anger, I’m sure its not the case for every males but I have read al lot about how the percentage is higher amongst males when it comes to anger management issues; some dad’s have a expectation of their young sons to be able to manage their tantrums better by telling them to “harden up” or “take a concrete pill” this doesn’t make much sense to me  as children are young and haven’t had time to learn to manage their emotions and it is up to the adults to teach them and I believe the best way to do that is to show them; and the best way to show them is by adults managing their emotions in a less destructive manner.

Children are more likely to pay attention to a person’s actions than their words; it’s a case of parents “practicing what they preach” Parents are human so are not likely to get it right all the time but when we do slip up then that is the time when we need to apologise to the child/ren for our behavior and try our best not to repeat it. As no-one is perfect us as parents shouldn’t expect our children to manage their emotions any better than we would. To have those expectations is living with double standards; just like it took time to learn to walk learning to manage emotions takes time and won’t happen overnight.

Parental Example

 

As a teenager I know I was anything but tidy but now as a mum I expect my children to try and keep their room clean. I give their room a decent clean every few months to show them what it should look like when it’s tidy. I tell them that if they put away their toys after they’ve finished playing it wouldn’t be as big a job as they think.

There are days when I feel like I tell my kids over a hundred times to clean their room and put away their toys when they’ve finished playing. I frustrating as the repetitiveness of it all, I can only trust that eventually it will sink in and that putting away their toys will become a habit. Habits aren’t formed overnight and breaking habits can take longer.

My boys are Four and Six years old, so it’s been a short while that I’ve expected them to put their toys away after they’ve finished playing. With my Four year old I don’t expect him to be able to make his bed well but I do expect him to at least try. I do have more expectations of my Six year old because I know what he is capable of – he’s pretty good at making his bed but often needs to be reminded.

At kindy they were/are expected to help tidy up and I have those same expectations at home. My Four year old helped his Dad put together our new chairs – but I wonder if it was more a tactic to delay his bedtime than a genuine wanting to help.Positive Parenting

As I was writing this I found it interesting how it flowed from a rant to talking about expectations of our children but the key point is that as parents we need to show our children how to behave through our own behavior.

Anxiety, Epilepsy and Kids

Anxiety, Epilepsy and Kids

Epilepsy mindmapAnxiety plays an underlying role in my life, when it does affect me it can seem serious, most of the time I can manage it and not allow it to affect my daily life. The epilepsy that affects my husband Rob can be a daily occurrence especially during the night, medication is helping him to live but the quality could be better, the only option he has left is surgical which is what is hopefully in the works.

The other week Rob went up to Auckland for a consultation with a Neurosurgeon. Due to the limited availability of flights he had to fly up the day before. That night I was missing him which is weird as when he’s been away for longer I normally wouldn’t miss him until the next day or so. During the day the possibility of him having neurosurgery had me feeling torn between being with him away from our kids or being with our kids but not by his side.

Anxiety mindmap

I was playing the “what if” game in my head which allowed anxiety to rear its ugly head. Having a husband who has a serious medical condition makes keeping the anxiety under control a bit harder, as there are more situations to worry about – especially when you have young kids; there are times when both parties need me to be there and because I can’t be in 2 places at once I have to be there for the party that needs me the most.

 

Rob seems to have a gift for minimalising big issues and exaggerating the smaller issues, whereas I’m the opposite, there are times when small issues are important in the grander scheme of things and there are times when bigger issues need to work themselves out and there’s nothing you can do about them, so it doesn’t pay to worry. However because of anxiety sometime worry is just part and parcel of the situation; for me there’s the anxious side and then there’s the rational side. In some cases the rational side can suppress the anxiety, and at other times it is anxiety that suppresses all rationality.

With everything Rob has to deal with, what with the epilepsy, medication and physical limitations I’m glad to know that anxiety isn’t on his plate – other than trying to help me through the anxiety I sometimes have to deal with. He does try to help but sometimes the only thing that gets me though it is time. Anxiety is not something I can just get over, and it feels very real. I’m thankful for the support of family and friends as they play a big part in my fight with anxiety. Rob doesn’t really understand how hard it is to fight anxiety sometimes, just as I don’t know what it’s like to have epilepsy

It’s the same throughout humanity; unless we are dealing with exactly what someone else is dealing with – or dealt with we will never completely understand what that person’s going through. People deal with their stuff in different ways, and if someone is having a hard time with something that someone else might find inconsequential then that person needs support not judgment.

Children are children – Let It Go

Children are children – Let It Go

My eldest boy had an anti-bullying awareness day at his school and was asked to wear either a pink OR loud shirt, I ended up buying him a bright orange shirt as there was little chance he would wear pink.

I have tried to explain to my boys that there are no “boy” or “girl” colours – they are just colours; however Jason has a very set idea on what is ok for him to wear, he won’t even wear the dark purple jeans he has. He said that the other kids would laugh if he wore them.

In my opinion we should let our kids wear what they want without parental judgment, especially towards boys. There seems to still be a bit of double standards going on when it comes to what our children wear, their favourite colour or how they play.

It seems to be more acceptable for girls to play with trucks, cars and so on yet not so acceptable if our boys want to play with dolls or pretend to be a disney princess. Its like when our girls play with car, trucks and the sort they are being toughened, however if our boys play with what is deemed “girls toys” then they are sometimes labelled “sissies”.

Children are just children and why should we put on them expectations that they don’t understand. In doing a bit of surfing on the net I found that pink didn’t become a “girls colour until after the 1920’s, before that it was more popular as a “boys colour”.

I remember as a child one of my favourite toys was a yellow dump truck whereas my little sister preferred to play with dolls – I didn’t mind playing dolls with her as to me it was more about just playing with my sister.

I can’t remember the last time Jason played with a doll, mind you he loves to carry his baby sister around. He’s very sensitive and very empathetic, he’s not a boy that likes to try new things straight off the bat and is cautious. My youngest son who’s 4 doesn’t mind what he wears and is a boy who will give anything a go, seems to have no fear and has no problem playing with dolls or dressing up.

What a child likes has more to do with their personality than their gender, as adults I believe that we should let them keep their innocence as long as possible we should try our best not to allow our own preferences to affect their choices. If a boy wants to dress like “Elsa” then let them and try not to analyse their reasoning – after all children are children they don’t reason like we do, they just want to have fun.