Ten types of parent found at indoor play

29 February 2016

Dear friend,

it was half term and rainy. We had been stuck in the house most of the weekend and desperate to get the boys away from those screens again and against my better nature I decided to take them to the indoor playground.

The boys were very enthusiastic and excited, I knew this as it only took one shout to get them to come downstairs instead of the usual five. We piled into the car and headed off. The first hurdle was finding a parking spot as we were not the only family who had decided to escape the confines of their home, oh no, I think half of South Holland had had the same idea. Then we had to navigate the queue to get in. Standing in a long line of excited children, screaming at each other, jumping around and asking how long it will be is not my idea of fun and another mum gave me that knowing smile and uttered the words; I don't think we are the only ones!

As the door opened I was met by a scene of pure carnage. Kids were quite literally everywhere and parents were wandering aimlessly after their tiny charges, beads of sweat dripping from their red faces, other parents searching fruitlessly for that elusive empty table some were sitting smugly sipping their coffee and reading the newspaper. I am one of those lucky ones who gets to sit here, with my laptop, drinking my coffee whilst my children run off and play but it hasn't always been like that. I remember the days when I used to look at people like me with envy in my eyes.

Ten types of parent found at indoor play

1. Baby parent: Goes with friends or the baby group. Their little cherub spends most of their time asleep in the buggy and secretly they are quite happy as that ball pool looks a bit dirty and they don't want any of those unruly toddlers throwing balls near their angel. Baby parent sips their coffee but then baby wakes up, wants feeding, a clean bum and a burp. Now they have to show willingness to join in so place baby on one of the soft cushions using the large cubes to build a wall of defence and sit protectively next to them their smile hiding a secret warning to any child that dare to enter the vicinity.

2. Harrassed parent: their little one is off; walking, crawling, climbing. Harassed parent spends half their time dashing off to stop their child from falling and the other half crawling after them through tiny spaces, one hand pushing their bottom up. They feel (and look) like they've just completed a boot camp. What's that it's time to go? Harassed parent realises they have spent a maximum of 5 minutes talking to the other parents.

3. Cool parent: drifts effortlessly between the different areas, toddler on hip, shouting encouragement at the older kids as they traverse the rope bridge with confidence and style. Not a hair out of place. They have achieved the perfect balance of supporting their kids and socialising with the other parents. An air of calmness surrounds them.

4. Fun parent: can be seen whizzing down the longest slide and racing all the kids to the top of the frame. They are often found surrounded by children, organising the games and encouraging others to join in. These parents can also complete amazing tricks on the trampoline or build fantastic constructions. When they leave, your kids ask them if they can come next time.

5. Social parent: has little idea where the kids are, they threw their shoes and coats on the floor and ran off on arrival. Social parent sits drinking coffee and chatting with the other parents. On occasion
they will have a walk around with another parent (chatting) and take a cursory look at where their children are and what they are doing.

6. Protective parent: tries to relax and join in the chat or read the paper but spends the majority of the time frantically searching the room for their kids who always seem to be hiding in the darkest corner. Can often be found standing on the outskirts of the play area watching their offspring like a hawk. You can bet that it will be the child of protective parent who gets a bloody nose or friction burn from the slide.

7. Working parent: brings the laptop, sits behind the laptop, types, looks up occasionally to check their kids are OK then goes back to work.

8. Policing parent: takes it upon themselves to monitor the behaviour of all the kids in the play area. They can't relax as they constantly have under surveillance those two big boys (age about 6) who just happened to push past their little darling earlier. Policing parent will be able to tell you exactly where your kids are and what they have been doing. They are mostly found sorting out minor infringements in and around the ball pool.

9. Multi-tasking parent: alternates between flying down the slide, encouraging toddler up the climbing frame and chatting with the other parents, whilst balancing baby on their hip.  May also answer a couple of important calls, whilst sipping on an espresso and wiping a snotty nose.

10. Knackered parent: can be found sleeping in the corner.

Which one are you?

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

23 February 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

20 things I swore I'd never say to my kids

22 February 2016

Dear friend,

Ever catch yourself saying ridiculous things you swore you'd never say to your kids or hear your parent's voices coming out of your mouth? It seems to be happening to me more and more lately. I'm not sure if it's an age or just an exhausted frustration thing!

Here are 20 things I swore I'd never say to my kids:

1) If you eat any more cookies you'll turn into one.
2) Give yourself a shake 
3) Is that normal? 
4) Money doesn't grown on trees.
5) Don't pump on your brother.
6) We'll see (just say no).
7) If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you too?
8) Are you sure you don't need a wee?
9) If the wind changes your face will stick like that.
10) Can you hold it for 5 minutes?
11) Because I said so.
12) Well I'm not X's mum so there.
13) When I was your age we...
14) I've had it up to here with you.
15) Wait until your father comes home.
16) Another girl/boy would be very happy to have/eat/see/do that.
17) How many times do I have to tell you that?
18) No means no.
19) Can you leave your willy alone or it will drop off! 
20) How old are you?

Do you ever find yourself saying these?
What would you add to the list?

10 things having a hysterectomy taught me

16 February 2016

Dear friend,

It is a month since my hysterectomy.  Last night I read though the whole of my H Days diary. It is strange how your brain quickly forgets about the pain and discomfort of those early few hours and brushes away the fears and doubts of the days before. In a way it feels like it all happened to someone else and I am glad I took the time to record my feelings. 

Life is slowly returning to normal. It may sound like fun, being banned from house work but it is really annoying. Imagine watching your favourite plate slipping off a table in slow motion and knowing, you can stop it shattering but you aren't allowed to move. This experience has been hard for everyone but mostly my hubby who has worked full time and looked after us all. It has been a trying time and we are so glad it is almost over and we can start planning for the spring.

There are of course massive positives; ultimately that my medical problems will be over. No more days wasted because mummy has tummy pain. No more searing pain!  No more periods. Looking back there have been some surprising lessons learned through this journey too.

10 thing having a hysterectomy taught me

1) I can't be in control of everything.
There are some things we can't control like our health and our emotions. I needed to accept that I cannot control my body. Yes I can do things to try and keep healthy like eat well and exercise but ultimately I can not help it if get sick. 
2) I can rely on other people.
I have a really bad habit of thinking I'm the woman for the job and trying to do everything myself, in my way. Having a hysterectomy has shown me that not only can I rely on other people to do things but that sometimes their way is better. I need to let people help.
3) Put down the duster!
I am rather compulsive when it comes to tidiness in my house and this experience has taught me to relax and let go a little. I like everything to be tidy and in its right place. In the beginning I hid out upstairs so I couldn't see the chaos. This is still difficult but when there are other priorities like getting to a Dr appointment or taking a kid to swimming lessons then the vacuuming has to wait. 
4) I need time for myself. 
I also needed to learn when to play monopoly with my kids or read that article instead of cleaning the loo, or ironing those pants. I often feel guilty for doing things just for me but I will do that more now. I realise that having me time is important to my general well being too.
5) I don't need to do everything for everyone. I just need to be there.
My eldest thrived on being given responsibility for a few small everyday jobs. This will continue. My boys can tidy away dirty dishes and put their own clothes in the washing basket. Sometimes I did things for 'quickness' but really it is quicker and better in the long run to share the responsibility. I won't be martyr mum. I realised that doing things for others is my way of being there for them but when I couldn't physically do things I found the importance of being there emotionally for them instead. 
6) Don't see illness as weakness.
You are not weak. You are ill and need help. Fact!
7) Stop apologising and say thank you!
People appreciate words of appreciation so much more than self depreciating behaviour. You are not a nuisance or a bother so don't act that way. People are here to help you because they want to be, they love you. Say thank you, say I really appreciate you doing this. Don't apologise.
8) I am not indispensable.
Life goes on even when you don't! Your health is everything. 
9) Listen to your body.
Take the time you need not the time you think you will need. You can not prepare for the tiredness you will feel. Take time and rest as much as possible.
10) I'm stronger than I thought.

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent kind words of encouragement to me over the last month. I really appreciate all of your support. 

Read more of my Hysterectomy diary...

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Book Corner: Shark in the Park

15 February 2016

Dear Friend,

welcome to this months book corner. I love rhyming and rhymes, not only are they fun and sound great but they are the initial step in learning to read. My family has always made up simply crazy rhymes around names e.g. I am auntie Catie Pat-hay-tee to my brothers children (will you ever look at me the same again?) even our dog is Nova Bova Wova.

Research has proven that sensitivity to rhyme helps children with reading as it helps them to detect the individual sounds within words and therefore develop their phonetic knowledge. Children who are good at detecting rhyme will be more successful and quicker in learning to read (Bradley, 1988c, Bradley & Bryant, 1983, Ellis & Large, 1987).

This months book is full of rhyming fun and your little ones will love it!

Shark in the park by Nick Sherratt

Valentines gifts for the man in your life for under £30

9 February 2016

Dear Friends,

I am really bad at buying valentines presents. In fact over the last couple of years I haven't bought anything for hubby. We have chosen to go out for dinner instead of buying gifts and last year hubby cooked a very special dinner at home. This year I want to get hubby a little something as he has been so good taking care of me and doing all the housework whilst I have been recovering from my surgery. I wanted to get him something different from the usual smellies or drink but not break the bank.

Here is my pick of Gifts for the man in your life, for under £30.

 Personalised Favourite Lyrics Poster by Not on the high street.com RRP £21.10

I received one of these posters as a gift from my best friend last year and the frame and print are of really good quality. I like the stylish design. This is available as a frame or a canvas. I love the idea of using favourite Lyrics and would use our wedding song. Stevie Wonder for once in my life. It is important to note that only the first 150 words are used.

Moon and back Keyring by notonthehighstreet.com RRP £14.11

I love this small, sweet keyring as it has such a lovely message and would remind hubby of one of the boys favourite books. 

Personalised love you lots like jelly tots bag from notonthehighstreet.com RRP: £9.52

I like the idea of buying this gift as a treat from the boys but the teacher in me thinks it would be nice to create this ourselves using fabric pens.

Name a star gift tin from findmeagift.co.uk RRP: £15.99

My uncle bought one of these gifts for my auntie years ago and I found it really romantic, the idea stuck with me. Find Me A Gift will send you a presentation tin with a registration form, full details, star facts, a souvenir poster and more.

Batman eclipse light from findmeagift.co.uk RRP: £15.99 

The perfect gift for your superhero. It can be used as a bedside table lamp or wall mounted. I think the boys would love this too and perhaps steal it for the playroom.

Whiskey Rockers from findmeagift.co.uk RRP: £11.99

Rocking Glasses were first invented for use in ships, boats and aircraft to prevent spillages. This sounds ideal as hubby is slightly clumsy and he loves his whiskey.

Original Newspaper from Ijustloveit.co.uk RRP: £24.99

I really like these original newspapers and I just love it specifies that it provides the original papers not copies like some other sites. What fun to be able to read about what was happening in the world on the day you were born.

Micro Drone from red5.co.uk RRP: £24.95 

This is the perfect small toy for someone new to drones. Most suitable for indoor use but can be used outdoor when it's not windy. I think hubby would enjoy playing with this big boys toy!

Which one would you choose? 

Do you have plans for Valentines day this year?

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Bedding Lust: Injecting colour in your bedroom

6 February 2016

Dear Friends,

I've spent a lot of time in the bedroom lately... resting and recuperating after my surgery. Quite frankly it has driven me mad. Hubby and I had already decided that our bedroom would be the next room on the hit list in our house. Last year we renovated the attic room for the little man and the play room and this year it's our turn.

I want to make our room into a peaceful haven where hubby and I can relax and unwind and have some special time together. I'd also like a small spot where I can lock myself away from the general craziness and get on with some blogging work. 

I love the scandanavian style. White walls, lots of neutral fabrics, wools, maybe a sheepskin rug and some natural wood too. I've put together some ideas on a Pinterest board if you'd like to take a look. But I'd also like to inject a bit of colour, bring in a bit of passion.

The thing that's driving me most crazy at the moment is our duvet cover. It's a pretty butterfly design and was great value for money but it has certainly seen better days and has me lusting for something new. 

With time on my hands I began a bit of retail therapy, I love a spot of Internet shopping. 

Here is a short list of beautiful bedding sets I discovered from the Yorkshire Linen Co and Ponden Home Interiors.

1. Stag Natural Duvet Cover Set - Double. RRP £17.99.

The stag design is bang on trend and the beige colour makes it feel really warm. I love that this design is also fully reversible. The red tartan injects that pop of colour and you can always swap the cover over when you fancy a change, like getting two covers for the price of one. I love the Scandinavia feel here too with the woollen throw. This would bring comfort and style to our room at excellent value.

Another Ultra modern design from Yorkshire Linens. Beautifully styled, just the kind of look I want in my room. This would make any bedroom feel cosy and comfortable. I really like how this one comes with a matching fitted sheet and pillowcases for a fully completed look.

3. Kelso Red Duvet Cover Set - Double RRP: £17.99.

Another reversible option is this red duvet cover by Yorkshire Linen. I love the daringness of the red tartan but it can also be toned down by swapping to the lighter white based version. This would certainly add some fire and passion to the bedroom but not at the expense of comfort.

4. Darcy Red Duvet Cover Set - Double RRP: £14.99.

This set is a complete bargain as it is currently retailing at less than half price. I love the crispness of the soft ivory offset by the beautiful quilted red panel. This is precisely what I was hoping to achieve. The panel has a floral and sequin detail adding that touch of glamour I was also hoping for in a timeless design.

5. Canterbury Red Duvet Cover double. RRP: £17.99.

I love the vintage look to this cover and the polka dot reverse adds a dash of modern design too. I hadn't thought about a floral pattern but this is so pretty and such great value, I couldn't miss it out!

Yorkshire Linen pride themselves on supplying luxury bedding, bed-linen and soft furnishings at low prices. What is great about Yorkshire Linen is that they also have a no-quarrel return policy so if you find your item isn't exactly right you can simply return or exchange.

The following sets come from Ponden home interiors:

6. Life From Coloroll Delicate Flower Duvet Set Red RRP: £21.00
I choose this beautiful duvet set from Ponden home interiors because I thought the faux silk material would add a touch of luxury. The delicate flower design is very pretty and understated, being limited to the embroidered panel and picked up with detailing on the cushions. I also like the option of buying matching accessories.

The Hearts and Flowers set would add romance to any room as the name suggests. The classic script design interspersed with the look of handprinted hearts and tiny flowers has a vintage feel. I love the feminine design of this set but I'm not sure my boys would! The styling of the room is beautiful in this photo too, just look at that mirror!

My final choice is the Cosy up set. It also follows this seasons Tartan trend but I like how in this design the tartan has been limited to one panel. Whilst it is not as glamorous a choice as some of the others, I think the boys would like this design and I could see us all cosying up under this pretty yet practical cover.

Which one is your favourite? 

I hope you will follow our bedroom makeover adventure. I am super excited to get started.

Collaborated post.

H Days: The end is in sight...

5 February 2016

Dear friends,

It has been 3 weeks and 3 days since H day. Its one of those weird memory tricks where it feels like only yesterday but also feels like ages ago, as though it all happened to someone else. Pre op I was given a pamphlet by the hospital that told me what to expect. I read it in a kind of panic only taking in about 10% of the information but one thing that stuck out to me was 3 weeks after surgery you can go back to work if you feel ready. I am not ready to go back!

I've been really stressing about going back to work. It's been on my mind every day. Don't get me wrong, no one is putting pressure on me but me. In fact I have my hubby, mum and mother in law telling me the opposite, saying I'm not ready, telling me not to rush! Perhaps it is the curse of being a teacher that you can't stand feeling like you are letting people down, letting the kids down.

I have driven a couple of times, short distances e.g. Little man to physio. I have walked to the shop (for bread nothing heavy) and to school to collect the boys (end of the road). I am getting stronger but I can't walk around for too long or I get pain and need to sit. I also get tired quite quickly. I am still going to bed when the kids do, poor hubby! But on a positive I am feeling less dizzy and I am getting stronger. 

I think I am disappointed with myself. I wanted to be Wonder Woman, the strong, in control type, to return to work 3 weeks later fighting fit, lippy and heels, ready for anything, running around like nothing had happened...

And there it is, I want to be able to pretend like this hasn't happened to put it behind me, forget it, brush it under the carpet. It is like part of me sees illness as a sign of weakness. I need to be strong and in control at all times, I cannot let anyone see I'm struggling or I am weak.

What a lot of pressure to put yourself under and I certainly wouldn't want my boys to feel it. But I'm not sure how to stop feeling that way.

Any tips? Am I the only one who feels like that? 

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

2 February 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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