Celebrating The Small Things:Week Three

Im a little bit late with this entry as life has got in the way and things have been sidelined. Last week was full of mundane tasks but I certainly have a few special moments to record.

Isla’s First Haircut: Being a grandparent is a completely new ball game to being a parent and one thing that I have found hard is bitting my tongue when Alice does things differently to I would. I have to hold myself back and remember all those times I got annoyed with my own mother for voicing her opinion so I told myself I wouldn’t be that fussing, interfering mother.
For months Isla’s hair has been growing out of control and I have wanted to take the scissors to it for so long.
Finally this week they decided it was time to be taken for her first haircut and I was so please to have been able to take her along for this experience.

Eyesight Improvement For Frankie: Last year Frankie was prescribed glasses and the vision in the right eye was a lot poorer than his left. The glasses alone hadn’t made any improvement so just over a month ago he was given a patch to wear for four hours everyday.
To be honest I thought we were going to have more trouble getting him to wear it then we have and apart from a few strops he’s been pretty good with it. This has paid off and he had improved by two lines on his sight test last week which was a big win for us.

Shopping With The Boys: Walking round the shops is somewhat of a distant memory for me since having children…well actually it’s only the last two that have put me off shopping with children for life.
All my shopping is done online and it wasn’t until we had a walk down Carnaby Street at the weekend that I realised now the boys are older they actually loved being able to walk around picking out things they like and trying the on.
They both certainly have and know their own minds when it comes to their style and Frankie was over the moon to be able to choose his first pair of ‘real’ trainers.

Making Boredom Fun

Today I woke up to a miserable, grey day with no plans and no intentions to leave the house at all. This of course an absolute bombshell drop on my children!

With their eyes out on stalks they looked at me in sheer disbelief and repeatedly chanted, “what we’re doing nothing at all”.

I take full responsibility for this as I feel the need to continually occupy the children and fill their days as much as possible. A weekend rarely goes by where I haven’t tried to arrange something exciting and the times there is not much on I always feel the need to get out of the house and do something, no matter how small.

This has certainly had a detrimental effect on us and I feel I have taken away the children’s ability to amuse themselves and be happy in their own home with their own time and space.

I remember as a child making shops with my sister, playing fashion shows and thoroughly enjoying simple things such as colouring or dancing around my room; yes of course I remember those times where I moaned to my parents about being bored but there was never that expectation to be occupied every waking minute, it was down to me to make my own entertainment.

Being bored allows children to explore their own imaginations, to be creative and inventive and to find activities that they have a real passion for.

Society has made us feel that we should be continually stimulate our children, to make their weekends as jam packed as possible and to be enrolling them on every activity possible where their entertainment is already structured for them and limits the chance for them to use their own imaginations.

After the day from hell with the children continually craving my attention, demanding to be amused and begging to be taken out they finally found their own entertainment and settled down to word games and books that they wouldn’t ordinarily pick without being promoted, they made up their own workout routine and the youngest two baked a cake together with little intervention from me.

To them this has obviously become learnt behaviour and so I have come up with a list of things I am going to stick to the fridge to help then get started with enjoying their own free time:

Read a book
Do a puzzle
Dress up
Paint
Draw
Play with playdoh
Make a cake
Make a Lego creation
Have a puppet show
Have a teddy bear’s tea party
Play football
Skip
Bug hunt
Jump in puddles
Make an exercise circuit
Make up a dance
Make a show
Practice magic tricks
Climb a tree
Write a story
Build a cardboard car/house
Junk modeling
Make paper aeroplanes

I would love to add to this list and know how your little ones spend their free time.

Watching My Child Have Her Baby

It’s been a little over a month now since I became a Nanny and the little bundle of joy has fitted herself into the family as if she has been here forever… although it seems like yesterday I was there watching her come into the world.

One of my biggest regrets through my births was not having enough to photos to look back on.

For me a large part of labour is always a blur and I would love to have been able to capture those moments be they good or bad to document the highs and lows of childbirth.

I spoke to Alice about this and she was more than happy for me to be there with my camera to capture those moments you will never get back.

The original plan had been for Alice to stay at home for as long as she could and then once she had got to the stage she needed to go to the hospital I would meet her and her partner there.

As with many births things don’t go to plan and I got her face timing me at 6.30 in the morning bouncing around on a birthing ball, hair like a mad woman and a real sense of panic on her face.

Anyone that has experienced labour for the first time will understand the worry and fear of the unknown and sometimes all you need is that little bit of reassurance that everything will be ok.

I got round to her as quickly as I could and  told her to take it easy as it was going to be a long day!

We reached the stage that she felt the need to go in and although she had managed to get to three centimetres without to much worry there was still that one centimetre to go before she would be admitted.

Home again, food eaten and a long bath was had and it wasn’t long before we were back in the car and in our way back again.

For me this is always an anxious time but Alice was taking things in her stride. Listening to the advice from the midwifes, staying mobile and coping much better than I would have thought…then the fun began!

The birthing pool was filled and for a good while she managed to stay calm and take each contraction as it came with a little help from gas and air.

The pain suddenly got far to imence for her and she started to lose control.

As much as Alice was going through the worst pain she had ever experienced, I was feeling the pain of ultimate helplessness and all I wanted to do was to take that pain away from her but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

She was moved from the birthing pool to the labour ward as she was desperate to have an epidural and being so close I was trying my hardest to talk her round and just battle though those last few centimetres.

In my head I had for her my idea of the perfect birth and as bad as it seems I found it really hard to sit back and let her take control of her own decisions.

That Mum instinct kept kicking in and I realised that she was now a fully grown woman, capable of making her own decisions and I was going to have to let her go ahead and do what was right for her.

With the lack of anethitist and Alice not wanting a drip she managed to get through the next few hours on her own.

Screaming, shouting and in a complete state of panic there was nothing anyone could do to calm her down and it was honestly the most painful thing to watch as a mother.

She had lost control and nothing anyone said or did was going to comfort or calm her and I spend the next hour watching the clock that seemed to be on go slow. It was one of the lifestyle hours of my life.

It is your instinct to want to do all you can to comfort your child and childbirth takes this completely out of your hands.

You can be there but the battle lies with them and all you can do is support them as much as you can until that magical moment happens and your grandchild makes their way into the world.

That overwhelming rush of love flowed through my body in exactly the same was it had done with all my own births.

The tears were flowing and I knew from that moment things were going to change forever.

All the pain, worry and fear had left us both and we were left gazing at this perfect new life that was going to bring us such love.

All those new things we can help her discover, all those milestones that we can enjoy watching are laying out there in front of us as I was enternally grateful to have been allowed to be part of this once in a lifetime experience.

Birth is nothing short of a miracle and each new life coming into this world is a unique and beautiful event.

I was privileged to be able to go through every moment of this with my own daughter and is something that will be etched in my memory forevermore and I am so pleased that Alice now has a collection of these and more intimate photos to look back on and share with her own daughter in many years to come.

My Size Potty Review

For me potty training is one of the worst stages of parenting.  The endless trips back and forth to the potty, the accidents and the stress of being out and about when they scream for the toilet at the most inopportune moment!

Number five had been showing a lot of interest and had been using the potty sporadically for a while but I was yet to take the leap and go for it.

When I was asked by Summer Infant UK to try out their new My Size potty I realised this would be the perfect time to take the plunge.

When the parcel arrived all the children were so excited to see a potty that was just like a miniature toilet.  To be honest I was even really taken with how lifelike it was.

The package came in several parts and was really easy to assemble.

There is a liftable lid which can also have a splash guard attached to save any accidents from little boys.  We haven’t tried this out as being the youngest of three boys he had taken to standing already!

Under the lid is a removable bowl that is really easy to remove and clean as it is a lot smaller than a traditional potty.


In the top of the potty there is a little compartment to store wipes and if the top is removed you can place a few books or toys to keep them amused.  This has come in really handy as number five had a tendency to jump up from the toilet before he is ready so something to keep him occupied that is close to hand is perfect.


The selling point for us though was definitely the toilet flush they when pulled gives a great flush and giggle sound which makes for the perfect reward for doing a good job.

For me anything that make such a tricky task fun and as easy as possible is a hit in my book.  It is the perfect potty to make the transition from potty to toilet go smoothly as they look so alike.

The My Size Potty was a huge hit with number four and it is a shame that this great potty was not around through the struggles of my other four!
*we were gifted this potty for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Count To Ten And Hang In There Until Bedtime

A family with five children is always going to be hectic.  I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for and I live for everything it brings me, yet today was one of those days!

I woke up late getting everything off on the wrong foot.  Rushed breakfasts and missing clothes always create stress for all of us.

After finally getting out of the house and dropping the older ones off to school I pull up at home realising number two still had my house key meaning I was locked out with number five screaming for juice.

Bundled back in the car I collect a spare from my Mother taking the telling off for needing to be more organised!

Handbag collected and food shop surprisingly easily done we set off to get number four.  He happily skipped out of nursery until the reality of swimming lessons kicked it and he turned into the child from hell!  Screaming, refusing to move until finally launching a huge pot of yogurt at my back covering me and the entire hallway.

  
He had won as we now had no time to get out and make it to the class in time.

Housework was then the plan for the rest of the afternoon which took twice as long due to number four creating a path of distrution in every room he went into.

Peppa pig flying out the window and a whole load of batteries thrown down the toilet were just two of the things I had to contend with.

   

 
With a vaguely clean house I get started on the dinner.  An unnerving silence filled the house so I went to investigate and found the boys trying to devour an entire multipack of crisps I had just bought.

Crisps removed they managed to get into number three’s room and cover their faces with her favourite Zoella lip gloss.

 
 
Lip gloss smoothed over to try and prevent a melt down from number three I made my way to the gym for a few minutes of peace.

 

My stress relief was short lived as I returned to a nappy less two year old that had pooed his way up the entire staircase just in the perfect position for number four to the walk it through the entire house!

After this horrendous day I’m sitting her now reflecting on everything that has gone on and I have come to this conclusion.

Raising children is a little like childbirth-you go through this massively, stressful and painful time that is forgotten within minutes when you are handed your beatiful bundle of joy.

Parenting is similar as you spend many hours slogging away and dealing with massively stressful situations and then the little angels do something so wonderful and heart wrenching that everything they have put you through is forgotten, well most things!

XBox Wars

  

Number two was absolutely desperate for an Xbox One for his birthday at the end of last year.  

With the hefty price tag my husband and I were reluctant but he agreed the whole family would chip in and this would be the only present he would receive.

His face was a picture as he opened the box and for a normally emotionless teenager this was so lovely to see.

Little did I know this moment would be completely life changing for us all!  This probably sounds pretty extreme to most but the Xbox entering our home has caused nothing but dramas. 

First came the arguments of how long he was allowed to spend on it.  We are apparently the only parents in the world that implement a time schedule and I’m totally unreasonable for not allowing him to spend hours on end stuck in front of a screen.

Next came the sneeky sessions where he thought we wouldn’t notice late at night and he was trying his luck by going back on when we were busy with the other children.

He turned into a child that’s one and only interest was gaming.  In days out it would take him ages to engage with us as all he wanted to do was be at home playing on his console.

The breaking point for us though was XBox Live.  This allows them to play games online with others.  He would get so into the game and massively aggressive when I would go into his room to get him off.  If anyone dared enter his room whilst he was engrossed in a game you would get his full wroth!

After countless bans due to unacceptable behaviour and homework not being completed the straw that broke the camels back happened and he managed to rack up a bill of over £500 by buying points online.

I felt completely sick that over a few months he had managed to do this without any thought for us.  He denied all knowledge and blamed his younger siblings for sneaking into his room and pressing buttons.

The console has been removed and thankfully Microsoft were fantastic and refunded me the full amount.

After the initial week of pleading to have it back and trying every trick in the book to get on my good side I finally have my son back.

He’s engaging happily with the family, enjoying time out together, getting on with his school work and getting up without a struggle in the morning.

The problem is where do we go from here?  Every part of me wants to get rid of it for good and there is then my soft side on my shoulder telling me it’s awful to completely remove something he loves so much.

Reading back through what I have just written would easily suggest there is only one option but I have always been to soft of the children and want them to be happy, what would you do?
  

The Horror Of School Performances With Toddlers

  
So your school ages child comes bounding out of their classroom after school clutching an invitation to their much rehearsed school play.

You are of course so proud and can’t wait to see their performance, yet the whole experience it going to be one full of stress if you have toddlers in tow!!

This is of course my own experience and I’m sure lots of you have wonderful little ones that sit there watching intently as the play is performed.  In fact I have sat through many a performance jealously looking on at a well behaved toddler sitting with their box of raisins taking everything in without moving a muscle.  After five children however I am still longing for that day.

I always start out well prepared with non messy/crunchy foods to pacify for as long as possible,  drinks that can’t be easily tipped over the poor person we are sitting next to, toys that will keep them amused without being massively noisy or can be rolled into the audience with no hope of getting back; which will obviously cause mass hysteria!

Through experience though even with my military precision planning nothing will stop me from having to fireman carry them screaming and shouting from the hall.

My sweaty palms start the moment the headmaster introduces the children followed by the same sentence about removing noisy children that I can’t help but think is always aimed at me.

After this point they usually spot their older sibling on the stage and from there continue to bellow their name whist waving furiously.  Once this is over and the singing begins we usually get a rendition of a beautifully sung nursery rhyme at the top of their voice which has no connection to what is going on on stage.  

This causes uproar from the audience and the hundreds of children which just adds fuel to the fire as they are loving the attention.

If we make it this far every toy, set of keys, bit of rubbish is then emptied from my bag in a bid to keep them quiet.

Lastly boredom really kicks in and they need to be removed.  Usually before their sibling has got to do their main part which in turn then sends a massive wave of guilt as I am bundling a screaming child through the door whist looking at a forlorn face standing on the stage.

I then have to congratulate my poor performer and try to convince them that I could hear every word through a fully closed fire door!

I am sure that a free classroom and a classroom assistant keeping a watchful eye on bored toddlers would save a lot of stress on everyone’s part and would leave parents to enjoy their offsprings performance and I will be taking this suggestion to out PTA soon.

How do you cope with little ones in the same situation? 

Please let me know if you are in the same position as me as it would make me feel so much better!!

  

  

  

  

Hours Of Fun With A Cardboard Box Car

  

As we all know cardboard boxes are a massive source of fun for kids.

We have all bought that super expensive, much asked for toy for it to be thrown into the corner in favour of the massive cardboard box!

After a boring trip to the supermarket today to purchase a new microwave we came home and removed it from its oversized box much to the delight of number four.

We had a few hours before the school run so I decided to change the box into a car with the help of a couple of things we had knocking around.  

 If you fancy giving this a try you will need: 

  • A large box
  • Five paper plates 
  • A plastic milk carton lid
  • Coloured paper to cover box
  • Four cupcake cases

First I pushed the flaps of the box inside leaving one end slanted to create a dashboard.

I then stuck a paper plate to the flap with the milk carton lid stuck to the centre to make a steering wheel with a horn.

To the side of the steering wheel I cut a small hole that he could put in a spare key I found.

   
 

Next I covered the outside with some red paper and then added the paper plate wheels.

 
Lastly I made a number plate on a piece of paper for either end and added the cupcake cases to make some lights.

   

 

For a boy that has a massively small concentration span this kept him occupied for hours.

He was pretending to drive his friends around, watched a bit of TV and then finally crashed out in it!  Well worth the small amount of time it took me to make.

   

   

  

  

Am I Wrong To Have No Routine?

  
With five children to care for surely routine should be my top priority you would think.  Well not in this house!

  
Don’t get me wrong when I’m rushing around first thing in the morning trying to iron uniform and find shoes I really wish I was more organised.  

 

There have been so many occasions that I’ve had the radiator on in the blistering heat to try and get clothes dry that are needed, I’m constantly running back to the school with forgotten PE kits and school lunches, we are always running out of milk and cereal as I never remember what I need on the weekly shop.

 

But what are the children going to remember?  Their perfectly packed PE kit or a last minute trip to the park, a beautifully scrubbed kitchen floor or a messy craft session, an empty washing bin or helping out making their favourite dinner.

 
Life passes us by so quickly and I would much rather be remember as a scatty Mum with a dirty kitchen floor and overflowing washing bin that tried to fill each an everyday with something fun than the other way round!

What is family life like for you?  Do you find routine makes your life easier?