Parenting a tween

28 November 2018

Dear friend,

Life has been a bit hectic lately. I’ve started working more. We’ve had new routines to get to grips with, big lad started his new secondary school, little man’s been struggling to come to terms with Opa’s death. We’ve been stuck in the merry-go-round which is our life going through the day-to-day just getting on with things, you know, like you do, just keeping on going.

Occasionally things happen to bring you back down to earth with a big bump. I guess that’s what’s happened now because the last couple of weeks, when illness knocked me off my feet, it gave me time to think. Pressing the pause button has enabled me to recognise that I’m feeling stuck.

My safe and cosy family bubble has changed. It is like I went to bed one night with my family and woke up the next morning living with another. Okay maybe I’m being a tad dramatic. But living with a pre-teen is pushing me to the limit.

 

As I hear the words; Oh my God how embarrassing, I’m not singing to Sinterklaas, coming out of my son’s mouth I question my parenting skills. Now that his belief in Sinterklaas is over, have I built a lasting memory, have I given him the best childhood I could? Did I do enough, make it fun enough, was I enough?

Shopping trips are boring and going into the city can’t compete with a Fortnite tournament with friends.

Every day begins with the question; What are we doing today? And then; Do I have to come?

I dangle a carrot in front of his nose; Let’s go to the zoo, have dinner at your favourite restaurant, go and see that movie that you wanted to watch. I’m desperate to keep the connection alive. Only to be brought crashing back down to earth with one simple question; How long will we be?

When he deigns to come along, he is with us but at the same time not. Focusing more on the world held in his hand, tapping away expertly on his mobile phone.

I’m left mourning the days when, we jumped in the car and headed off on weekend adventures. It didn’t matter what we did as long as we did it together. Now we are stuck in arguments. I’ve heard myself yell; Put the bloody phone down, are you part of this family?

I’m hurting from the rejection. With every barked, angry retort my best by date is looming. I can feel my parental shelf life dwindling like a bargain item in the supermarket.

I am also confused by the conflict of interests I’m feeling. Whilst I am mourning the end of family time as we knew it, I am also delighted that it is happening. I wanted him to have friends, to have independence, to have a ‘normal’ life. In the early days of his autism diagnosis I could never have imagined this moment. I am proud of his rebellion.

Nobody tells you when you become a parent that it’s all consuming. When they are small you are their world. They need you, want you, can’t live without you. But equally no one prepares you for the time when you are not. Did you know that they grow up?

What will this new parenting phase mean for me? I want to be a good mum. I am prepared to put my feelings aside to give him more of the freedom that he craves. But that doesn't mean I won't miss what we had, won’t miss being needed.

I am an imperfect mum but I love unconditionally. I hope that is enough! 



20 signs that you are addicted to blogging...

17 November 2018

Dear friend,

In celebration of 4 years of blogging I wanted to reshare this tongue in cheek post about blogging. A huge thank you for all of your support over the last 4 years! 



20 Signs that you are addicted to blogging:

  1. You go into a panic when you don't have wifi
  2. Your iphone/ipad/macbook is always within reach
  3. You check your twitter feed last thing at night and first thing in the morning
  4. Every conversation is blog fodder
  5. Your house work routine is sporadic (related to the post your working on)
  6. You have a detailed linky list
  7. You take your camera everywhere and even have a mummy photo pose
  8. Your kids make comments like - Mummy take my photo on the seal, that will be good for your blog
  9. You have even got your kids involved in blogging
  10. You constantly have a blogging narrative in your head
  11. When not blogging you are reading other people's blogs
  12. You mentally blog and then kick yourself for forgetting the brilliant snippet you had created...
  13. You wake in the middle of the night and go downstairs to write because you've remembered the idea you mentally blogged earlier
  14. When talking about your friends you qualify with 'my blogging friend'...
  15. You know more about your online friends lives than your 'real' ones
  16. Your real life friends don't understand half the things you say (linkies, tribes, Klout, DA) it's like you are talking another language
  17. You check your page views/followers/klout/DA religiously
  18. You can't go on holiday before scheduling everything
  19. You have a laptop shaped indent on your thighs/Carpal tunnel syndrome from holding your phone. 
  20. Your blog is your home page

Are you an addict too?


Encouraging children to write

14 November 2018

Dear friend,

Want to help your child at home with their writing but not sure how.  There are many easy activities and things you can try to support your children without being too heavy going. The worse thing you can do is force your child to write if they really don't want to. It should be fun! Here are a few simple things you can do to promote a love of writing at home. 

Encouraging children to write


1. Read together!
Read read and read some more. The best activity to improve writing is reading. If your child reads good books, they will be a better writer.

2. Talk about their drawings. 
This is the beginning of story telling.
Label the drawings as they tell you about them (check first as some children don't like you to do this!)

3. Use lots of different materials.
Foam, chalk, paintbrushes (various thicknesses), aquadoodles, a variety of pens, pencils and paper, draw on the shower door etc 

4. Make writing or mark making a game or use games
There are numerous games and puzzles that help children with spelling while increasing their vocabulary including crossword puzzles, hangman, word games and anagrams.

5. Make Books. 
Turn your child's writing into books. Act as scribe for your child.



6. Be a good role model
Make sure your child sees you writing

7. Write for real purposes together
Shopping lists, letters, birthday cards, thank you notes, messages, have a chalk message board in your kitchen. Send e-mails to relatives or friends.

8. Encourage keeping a journal
Become a mini blogger or reporter write photo stories or recounts of days out.



9. Connect writing to your child's passion. 
Write a report about a favourite animal, game, character, Skylanders figures.

10. READ!!!

Yes I know I've already said read but it is so important that I am saying it twice. 


Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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