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Would you hesitate before helping a child?

We were at the Wales National air show in Swansea at the weekend.  We had a fab time, playing on the beach and watching the amazing air displays.

And on the Sunday Rhys and I went and explored all the ground displays as well.  One of the attractions was a bouncy-castle-style assault course, put on by the army recruitment team.

Rhys asked to have a go as soon as he saw it.  I explained that he would have to go on without me and that it wasn’t the same as the bouncy castles he’s been on at birthday parties and he decided he still wanted to give it a try.

Well, he loved it.  He raced through the course, bounced off the end and asked straight away to have another go.  So off we went to join the queue again.  This time round though he had a bit of trouble.  He got stuck on one of the obstacles.  I was the other side of the barrier and couldn’t reach him to help.  There were no staff members nearby to give him a hand.  So a young woman who was doing the course grabbed him and helped him over the top of the obstacle and safely down the other side.

I made a note to thank her if I could catch her once they were off.

After Rhys had made it off the course we were busy getting his shoes back on, when the woman appeared next to me and said:

“He was having a bit of trouble so I helped him.  I hope that’s ok”

I HOPE THAT’S OK.

How sad that we live in a society where she felt she had to check that it was ok that she had helped my son.

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I immediately replied that I was so grateful for her help.  That I’d been unable to help him myself so was extremely thankful that she had been there and given him a hand.

But I can’t shake this uneasy feeling that she must have questioned whether or not she should help him.  Whether or not she should put her hands on a small child that was having difficulties.  It worries me that there may be situations where children are left helpless, sad, afraid, because adults are too scared that the parents will react badly if they step in and help.

There’s been chat in the news recently about whether or not we should step in and discipline other people’s children.  Well that is an entirely different matter.  That depends on the exact circumstances that surround a child’s wrong-doing.

But, as far as I’m concerned, a child in difficulty, a child who is lost, a child who is alone and crying always needs our help.

Please, if you see my child needing help and you can’t see me nearby, do step in and help him.

I will always be grateful.

Even if he’s actually fine and doesn’t really need any help.  I will always appreciate the fact that you cared enough to approach him.

Mummascribbles
Modern Dad Pages
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Our job as parents

I read this quote the other day and it really resonated with me – “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.  It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless”.

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It’s something that’s been on my mind since Rhys started nursery school last September.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that nursery school is a cruel and heartless place!  It’s just that him going there is the first step out into the world; away from the shelter of life at home.

A huge part of me wanted to just keep him at home with me, to protect him from all the outside influences and the hard things he might have to deal with out there in the world.  He is quite a sensitive soul and I hate the idea of him having to ‘man up’ and face difficult situations and not-so-nice people.  I don’t want him to have to change who he is to fit into the world.

So I really like this quote.  I like the sentiment behind it, that maybe he doesn’t have to toughen up.  Maybe instead he can play a part in making the world nicer, by being his true, sensitive, loving self.  I like to think so anyway.

If you like this post, you might also like these on being ourselves and encouraging our children to do the same:
What a burlesque dancer can teach us about being ourselves
Masks
Encouraging children to be themselves
Cuddle Fairy
little things to brighten up a hard day

10 little things to brighten up a hard day

I wrote a post the other day about how some days are just hard.  No matter how positive your outlook is and how good life generally is, it’s still the case that some days are just hard.  I try not to wallow for too long in that bleurgh place though.
So I’ve put together this list of 10 little things that I find help to brighten up those hard days.
10 little things to brighten up a hard day

 

1) Coffee.  
This is almost guaranteed to give me a little lift, assuming I can occupy the kids with the ipad or Mr Tumble for long enough for me to drink it!

 

2) A smile from your toddler.
Seriously, this can make a world of difference.

 

3) A huge hug from your child.  
There’s nothing like a good squeeze from a little one when you’re having a hard day.

Small things to help brighten up a bad day

4) Something cheesy or non-taxing on the tv.
If I can get away with it during the day, I’ll put on something for me on the tv.  Something really cheesy or a program that doesn’t require much brain-power but will make me laugh.  Friends repeats are always a winner for me!  Which leads me to number 5.

 

5) Watching old Friends bloopers on youtube.
Seriously.  If you’re having a rough day and need a giggle, go straight to youtube and watch a few outtake videos.  You’ll feel much better!

 

6) Browsing the ‘humour’ category on Pinterest.
There is always something on here that will bring a smile to my face.  Normally I end up laughing at a collection of the best posts from Tumblr or a ‘damn you autocorrect’ post.

 

7) A shower in peace.
If I can swing this it always makes me feel better.

 

8) Embracing the constant noise by turning some music up loud and having a little dance.
Sometimes when you’re home with children the constant noise and commotion can get a bit much.  And sometimes the best thing you can do is surrender to it.  Stick some music on, turn it up as loud as you dare and dance like crazy.

There's no place like home

 

9) Cleaning.
One thing that really adds to my bad mood at times is when the house is a state and I can’t see where to start.  If I can just get one flat surface clear, or even one seat in the living room cleared of ‘stuff’ then I begin to feel a bit better.

 

10) Chocolate.
Well, obviously!

What would you add to my list?  What makes you feel a bit brighter on a hard day?

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Some days are just hard

If you’ve visited my blog before you’ll know that I try to keep my posts positive.  I do truly believe that this is a beautiful world, full of wonderful people and that life really is glorious.

I am working to foster a positive outlook, not just in myself but in my children too.

I honestly feel that there is always, always something to be thankful for.

But, at the same time, I have to be honest and admit that some days are just hard.

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Some days it’s hard to get out of bed at 5.30 am when you’ve been up in the night with a child who’s having bad dreams.

Some days it’s hard to get anything done with 2 children around, constantly demanding your attention.

Some days it’s hard to cope with the constant noise and commotion.

Some days it’s hard to know where to start when you look at the piles of washing, the dirty floors and the dust-covered surfaces.

Some days it’s hard to think, let alone hold a proper conversation, when your brain is frazzled from an endless to-do list.

Some days it’s hard to express to your stressed partner how truly grateful you are for everything they do and how much you love them.

Some days it’s hard to walk away from your crying child who wants one more hug at the classroom door.

Some days it’s hard to believe that you have the talent, the skills and the guts to make your dreams come true.

Some days it’s hard to remember all the things we have to be thankful for.

Some days are just hard.

And you know what, that’s ok.  Life may be glorious, but it’s certainly not always easy.

Some days are just hard.

But tomorrow we get to start again, and with a new perspective (and maybe a bit more sleep!) tomorrow will be a better day!

In case this has left you in need of a pick-me-up, here are a few of my more positive posts:

There is always something to be thankful for

Say yes more!

Encouraging a positive outlook in our children

Mummascribbles
Things I've said to my toddler

Random things I’ve said to my toddler

Do you ever find yourself saying the most random things to your children?

I know I can’t be the only one who says things that, when you repeat them, sound completely odd!  I’ve started making a note of the more random things I’ve heard myself saying to my 15 month old daughter, here are 5 examples from the last few weeks:

Random things I've said to my toddler

 

“You can’t walk backwards up the stairs” 

Nerys has been climbing the stairs for ages now, and safely coming down them on her tummy for a few weeks, but she’s now started trying to walk down them.  And the other day I watched her try to walk up them backwards.  She’s an accident waiting to happen that one.

 

“What are you doing?  Why are you licking my DVD?”

There seems to be a lot of ‘why are you doing that?’ where kids are involved.  Generally the answer is simply ‘because they can’!

 

“Why are you standing in a colander?”

Well, why wouldn’t you stand in a colander, what else are they for?!

 

“I don’t want you driving a car on my head” 

Mean mummy, not wanting to be driven on.

 

“I don’t want your snot up my nose”

Ah one of the more charming moments of parenting; lying on the bed with Nerys and having her stick her finger in her snotty nose then try and put said finger up MY nose.  Hmmm, a kind offer, but no thank you honey!

What’s the most random thing you’ve heard yourself say to your children?

Mums' Days
Lorelai caffeine quote

Three times Lorelai Gilmore perfectly summed up every parent’s feelings about coffee

I have drunk a LOT of coffee in the last 15 months.  I have relied on big, sugary cups of the stuff to get me through days when all I want to do is curl up and go to sleep, after a night of numerous wake-ups.  Even now that Nerys is (touch wood) sleeping better, I still need a hit first thing in the morning to help me feel more human.

With all this love for coffee, I find myself drawn to quotes about the stuff.  Especially quotes from Lorelai Gilmore, seeing as watching the Gilmore Girls has also been a lovely bit of comfort on sleep-deprived days!

So, here I give you my favourite Lorelai quotes.  I think they pretty much perfectly sum up how every parent has felt about coffee at one time or another!

3 times lorelai gilmore summed up parent's feelings about coffee

 

“I need caffeine.  Whatever form you’ve got.  I haven’t had any all day.  I’ll drink it, shoot it, eat it, snort it, whatever form it’s in.  Gimme”

I need caffeine

 

 

“Nothing says coffee like six in the morning”

nothing says coffee like six in the morning

 

 

“Oh I can’t stop drinking the coffee.  I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and walking and the words putting into sentence doing”

oh I can't stop drinking the coffee

 

Do you need a coffee jolt to get you going in the morning?  Or are you more of a tea person?  
Please don’t tell me you manage to get through the day without any caffeine at all!
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Sugar highs or just kids being kids?

A new hot topic for conversation has come along recently – that of children’s birthday parties.  All the kids in my little group of Mummy friends are turning 4 this year and suddenly there seems to be more pressure to throw a proper party!  With the children all now being at nursery school we seem to have entered a new stage with these kind of things.  As soon as that first invitation came home in a school bag the bar was set.  Venues have been booked.  Bouncy castles have been hired.  Piles of fairy cakes have been baked!

When it came to Rhys’ birthday we felt quite strongly that he would just be overwhelmed by a big party.  So instead we made a real fuss of him and made his birthday a special day for him and the family.  Then we had a small group of friends that he’s known almost his whole life round for a play and some cake.  I’m so happy that we made that decision.

We’ve been to a few of the other parties this year; they have been a lot of fun and Rhys has enjoyed himself.  At one particular party recently he had a great time, bouncing like crazy on the bouncy castle and running around.  Most of the other children there were the same, bouncing off the walls both literally and figuratively.  It would be easy to make the assumption that they were all buzzing with a sugar high from party food.  Except, I knew that Rhys hadn’t really had any party food.  He has never been that fussed about that part of birthday parties – he’d always rather just carry on playing!  So I was really interested to see this ‘sugar high’ issue being discussed in the news recently.

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Professor David Benton (one of my professors from University!) spoke at the Cheltenham Science Festival recently about how sugary party foods don’t actually make our children hyperactive.  He instead explains that, “Sugar doesn’t make children hyperactive, parents do. They overreact when told their children have just eaten sugar, anticipating a problem and putting them on a much shorter rein. They see what they are expecting to see.”

Ahh, I do love a good self fulfilling prophecy!

Now, I’m sure there are some children that are really affected by sugar.  Most likely those who hardly ever have any in their regular diet.  So when they do get a hit of it, their little bodies aren’t used to processing it and they do get a bit wired.  But, personally, I’m right behind the good professor on this one.  I think a lot of the time it is our expectations as parents that skews the way we interpret our children’s behaviour.

I think that it’s been drummed into us for so long that sugar is bad for us and it makes our children hyper that we now believe it without question.  So when we take them to a party and they have a plate of fairy cakes and party rings, or when it’s Christmas time and they’ve been allowed a bit more chocolate than normal, we expect them to get a bit more hyper than normal.  So if they do start to act a bit loopy we automatically blame the sugar, when really their behaviour is probably down to a mixture of other factors.

Rhys, for example, gets really loopy when he’s tired.  He will run around like crazy, fighting the tiredness with everything he’s got!  I remember one Christmas though, he’d had two, maybe three, chocolates from the bowl on the table, and was running around his grandparents house.  Someone commented then that he probably shouldn’t have any more chocolate, implying that the reason behind his extra energy was what he’d eaten.  I replied that he was actually just tired from all the excitement of the day, and that he often seems to get a real second-wind when that happens.  I’m not sure they believed me though!

My thoughts on all this?  It all comes down to knowing your own children, and being aware of your expectations of them.  I know that if Rhys is getting a bit over-excited at a party it’s most likely to be because he’s getting tired and maybe a bit overwhelmed by all the activity.  I know it won’t be because he’s eaten too much sugar!

What are your thoughts and experiences with this?  Do you think that Professor Benton is right, or do you believe that, for your child at least, sugar creates a little bit of hyper behaviour? 

Mummascribbles