Sometimes nice girls do pick their nose!

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Sometimes nice little girls do, in fact, pick their nose. These same nice, little girls also burp, run, laugh loudly, throw balls. They play rough and tumble, play with mud, play with cars, play with dolls. They climb, fall, jump, balance, shout, rage, dance.

These ‘nice’ girls do all the things that all girls, and boys, nice, or otherwise, do all the time.

As they say…. Girls will be girls!

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Expectations and Definitions

20160807_195612What constitutes as civilised when eating out? When is it acceptable to wake up for the day? Neither question had I ever given much thought to before becoming a parent, but it struck me recently that since being a mother my expectations and definitions of many things have changed somewhat.

To give a recent example, this week a friend and I decided to brave a local chain restaurant with our 11-month old babies and 2-year-old toddlers. At the beginning of the meal I commented on how civilised the meal was, my friend agreed, and we were very pleased that despite our fears; A busy chain, way past our children’s usual lunch time, was in fact going very well. However, I can’t help but wonder if the ‘civilised’ 2 adults and adolescents on the table next to us would have agreed with our definition. My friend’s toddler was just wearing a top and a nappy as he had fallen in the mud prior to lunchtime. My weaning son was eating off the table and throwing half the contents of his lunch on the floor, over his shoulder, across the table and at his sister. My daughter was scooping ice cubes out of her water, sucking them and putting them on anything she could and my friend’s baby managed to get a good tug on the paper tablecloth sending cutlery flying. We laughed at how this could be seen as civilised, yet it was for us now. It was as good as it gets as we were a) able to order our lunch, b) able to eat our starter in peace, c) have a full conversation about one topic from start to finish.

Needless to say the rest of the meal quickly escalated into chaos and by our main meals we took turns to eat whilst the other rocked one of our babies or settled one of the toddlers. Yet, this was definitely a win. A successful meal out. A pat on the back all round. I expect of course, that’s exactly the opposite of how the staff and the family on the table next to us felt as when we left as it looked like we had been participating in a food fight.

As well as my definition of ‘civilised’ having a slightly new slant. I also now have a different view on when ‘morning;’ actually starts. My pre mother self would have been appalled at the idea of waking before 7am on a weekday and probably before 10am on a weekend. My post baby self considers 5:30am a good innings. This is because for about 6 months my firstborn liked to start the day at 4:30am, despite readjusting bedtime to try and overcome this. By 5am she was ravenous for food and many a morning we would have finished breakfast and be washed and dressed before sunrise, even in the summer!

It is funny to think that so much changes when you are a parent, but I wasn’t expecting my definitions of such things to change. Perhaps you could argue I have just lowered my expectations, but I like to think of It as just adjusting them to fit around my relatively new family life. Think of all the extra hours I have now to enjoy my civilised days!

( I originally wrote this piece for ETC magazine Horsham and Mid Sussex Edition, published June 2016)

*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/ I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so pop by and say hi:)

Rhyming with Wine

 

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Don’t tell me what to do!

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Following on from last weeks toddler tantrum post, I thought I would look at this issue from my children’s point of view; and you know what, I get it!  I too would tantrum (or at least want to throw a tantrum) if I was faced with some regular situations that our little ones are.

1. Expected to share your stuff

I hate sharing, there I said it. I have never been very good at it. Turn taking I get (although I would prefer it to be my turn always i.e. having control over the TV remote every night) but to expect children to share is nearly impossible. Imagine if your friends come over and you had to give them a turn with your laptop, or mobile? It’s mine!! Use your own one! Sharing is hard for adults let alone toddlers.

2. Expected to share food

One thing about toddlers is that they always want the food other have (lets face it they want anything anyone else has) but we always encourage them to share their food. In this respect my children are a lot better at this then me. Whilst I hide with my head in the cupboard to scoff chocolate before they notice, they happily hand bits of food to each other, me and their friends. This is a hard thing to do. Imagine going for dinner and to be expected to give half away because your friend fancies it to. Well actually this is probably not so hard to imagine, come to think of it this is what my husband always has to put up with as we all want whatever he orders. However I would be really frustrated, yet I always find myself saying ‘make sure you give some of that to your friend/ your brother’ etc.

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3. Being told when you have to go home.

If I was having a good time with my friends and we were enjoying each others company I cant imagine I would just decide to leave. If someone then told me I had to go home mid fun, I would be really annoyed. Don’t tell me when I have to leave! I’m having a good time!! I completely understand why this is infuriating for toddlers.

4. Told What to wear

We have mega battles over this every single day in my house! I give my daughter 2 choices, but she has her own ideas. I tell her she can’t wear this or that because its doesn’t go, or its not weather appropriate or just because. Yet if anyone dared tell me I could wear something I would be livid. I will choose what I wear and it has nothing to do with anyone else.

5. Having little control over anything

Being a toddler is actually really frustrating. Not because they are being unreasonable (don’t get me wrong, this of course does also happen) but because its hard having someone else make all your decisions for you. This is made worse as they are just learning how to express themselves and may not yet have the language to explain why they are upset or cross. Of course they explode at times.

Its easy for us to get frustrated with our little ones or feel completely perplexed by their odd behaviour, but perhaps if we can sometimes take a step back and see it through their eyes we would get it. We would also perhaps learn from them and their responses. How liberating it would be to throw yourself down on the floor in protest when the world doesn’t go your way. Maybe they are on to something, throwing a wobbly at the time certainly ensures there are no grudges or tension later. Toddlers live in the moment, they get cross, tantrum, feel happy and forgive all in the moment. They express exactly how they feel when they feel it, not through words but actions. I would love to adopt some of these strategies. I think we would all feel frustrated if as adults we were expected to live within someone else’s ideas of what we should or shouldn’t do. Of course toddlers need structure and boundaries but it doesn’t mean its not annoying too.