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
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Encouraging children to be themselves

I’m a strong believer in allowing my children to be themselves.  Hell, not just allowing them to be, but actively encouraging them.  If my son wants to play with the dolls house then that’s great.  My daughter wants to push cars around and crash them into things?  More power to her!

As my son moves towards starting full time school I’m acutely aware of all the new pressures he’s being exposed to.  In the last few months he’s started talking about boys toys and girls toys.  We’ll see an advert for a toy and he’ll say to me “That’s for girls, isn’t it Mummy?”.  I do wonder where this has come from and find it slightly unnerving that he’s able to determine that a toy is for a girl, presumably just from the way it’s marketed.  My normal response is to tell him that anyone can play with the toy if they want to.  I would hate for him to miss out on discovering talents or interests just because the related toy or activity is ‘for girls’.

The thing is, since he’s started half days at nursery school he does seem to be learning about what is socially acceptable and may well already be feeling a bit of pressure from his classmates to play with certain toys.  I don’t want him to get teased or left out because he wants to play with a different toy, but, even more so, I don’t want him to hide his true interests just to fit in.

I want him to have the self-confidence to own his interests and his choices.  I’m hoping that by encouraging him to be himself at home, this confidence will grow.  I want him to trust that he is safe at home to play with whatever interests him, to watch the tv programs that he finds enjoyable, to wear whatever clothes he feels comfortable is, to express his feelings openly and to just be his true self.

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I really hope that providing this sort of ‘safe’ environment at home he’ll learn that it’s ok to be himself and I think this will have several benefits for him as he goes through life:

  • He’ll find friends, and later partners, who like him for who he really is.  Yes he can act differently to fit in with the ‘in crowd’, but he’ll never feel fully comfortable with them.  If he’s just himself he’ll attract people who he genuinely fits in with, who’ll understand him and love him quirks and all!

 

  • His self-esteem will grow even more.  It’s like a self-esteem circle – the higher his self-esteem, the more likely he is to be himself and attract friends who like him for who he is and knowing his real self is liked and appreciated will raise his self-esteem even more!  On the other hand, if he pretends to be something he’s not to try and fit in, he’ll feel like the true him isn’t worthy of knowing and so his self-esteem could potentially plummet.

 

  • He’ll be generally happier.  If he lives his life authentically, being true to himself, he’ll feel a sense of peace and happiness that will just elude him if he spends his days trying to be something he’s not.

I really feel that you have to spend the time to get to know the child you’ve been given.  They really are born with their own unique set of interests and their own personality.  It’s not up to us as parents to try and mould them into what we want; it’s our responsibility to embrace who they are at their core.  We have to let go of our own desires for them and realise that they are their own people with their own desires for their lives.

On a side note, my son isn’t gender non-conformist, but this article still spoke to me on so many levels about allowing our children to be themselves – 12 things every gender nonconforming child wants you to know.  Well worth a read.

Things I want my children to say yes to

Things I want my children to say ‘yes’ to

I wrote a post the other day inspired by Dave Cornthwaite’s message to ‘say yes more’.

It’s something I’m really thinking about a lot at the moment.

I’m quite a cautious person, and my natural immediate response to things outside of my comfort zone is to say ‘no’.  Which makes me quite sad.  As I get older I’m getting much more aware of the power of pushing out of that comfort zone and saying ‘yes’ to things.

And I really want my children to grow up with an awareness of how exciting and wonderful like can be if you say yes more.

5 things I want my children to say yes to (1)

 

These are the big things I want my children to say yes to:

New experiences

I don’t want my children to be afraid of trying new things and visiting new places.  I want them to say yes to new experiences, to be open to the idea that, yes, there’s a possibility they might not like it but there’s an equal possibility that they’ll absolutely love it!

 

New friends

I’m all for my children having a close little group of friends, I think it’s incredibly important for them to have people outside of the family that they can talk to and confide in.  But I don’t want them to limit their social interactions to their existing friends.

You never know what impact a person can have on your life; I want my children to be open to letting new people in.

 

Failure

This is a tricky one I know, but I really hope for my children that they can embrace the possibility of failure.

I want them to know that they don’t have to win everything, that it’s really ok if they fail at something.  A lot of the times that you learn the most about life and yourself is when you fail at something.

 

Being true to themselves

I know that it’s really hard when you’re a kid (and then a teenager) and you so badly just want to fit in, but I really want my children to say yes to being true to who they are.

I want them to own their quirks and embrace what makes them them.

 

Love

When it comes their way I want my children to say a huge ‘yes’ to love.

I want them to love with their whole hearts, openly and completely.  Yes they risk getting hurt that way, but it’s the only way to really love isn’t it?  Have a read of this quote that I wrote about recently – it sums up what I want to tell my children about love.

 

What things would you wish for your children to say a big ‘yes’ to?

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Things my children have slept through

I read a blog post the other day by Charlie at Real Girl Ramblings that really made me smile.  It was a list of all the bizarre things that wake her baby up.  And it got me thinking; when my children are just on the brink of being properly asleep they can be disturbed by the slightest noise.  Once they’re down though, they seem to be able to sleep through all sorts of things.  A few days ago Nerys was asleep in the buggy by the front door.  The postman opened the door and dropped a parcel on the floor right next to her with one hell of a thump, and she didn’t even flinch! So here is my list of a few of the other things my children have slept through:
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Jumping in the jumperoo
Photographic proof of this one above – finger still poised on one of the toys!  This was also with Rhys and her 3 cousins playing pretty loudly all around her.

Hoovering.
Both Rhys and Nerys have slept quite happily in the moses basket in the lounge while I’ve hoovered right up to the edge of the basket.  I can sort of understand this one, as the hoover is a kind of white noise I suppose, which babies tend to like.  But it’s a pretty loud white noise when it’s right by your head!

The smoke alarm going off.
Rhys was napping on the sofa one day a fair while ago, and whatever I was attempting to cook had set the smoke alarm off.  I dashed into the lounge to make it stop and fully expected Rhys to have woken up.  Nope.  He was still flat out.  Bit worrying really!

The Eurofighter Typhoon.
Have you ever heard one of these things?!  We were at the Swansea bay air show when Rhys was a few months old and one of these was taking part.  It was seriously one of the loudest planes ever!  And Rhys slept through the whole display.  Unbelievable.

Are your children light sleepers or can they sleep through anything?!

You Baby Me Mummy
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How to get those annoying kids TV songs out of your head

I learnt a new word today.  I might be the only person who didn’t know this, but there’s a word for those bloody irritating songs that get stuck in your head – earworms!  How brilliant is that?!

Earworms affect all of us at some point, I mean, who hasn’t had a catchy pop song stuck in their head?  Or worse, the song from the Hive advert.  You know the one, where the guy singing it just sounds a little too pleased with himself?

These are all annoying enough.  And then you become a parent.  And you start having kids TV on during the day.  And then you find yourself lying in bed with the perfect slumber party song from Sofia the first going round and round in your head.  Or the ‘make some noise‘ song.  Or ‘roll up the map‘ from Jake and the Neverland pirates.

Yeah, we watch a lot of Disney junior in our house!  For the Cbeebies families out there, how about the theme tune from ‘Something special’?  Or, oh God, the spring time song!

You hate me a little bit now don’t you, for putting those songs in your head?  Well I’m about to make it all better – apparently there’s a way to get them out again!

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According to a study carried out at the University of Reading, getting rid of earworms is as easy as chewing gum!

Dr Philip Beaman from the University explains that the brain’s tendency to play catchy tunes on repeat might be ‘a form of involuntary musical memory’.  The key word here is ‘involuntary’, which is why you can’t just will away a song when it’s stuck in your head.  What you can do though is interfere with the playing of these musical recollections.

Previous studies have shown that repeating a random word over and over again in your head can degrade your short-term memory; doing this while looking at list of words has been found to make most people forget 1/3 to 1/2 of the words on the list!

The study at the University of Reading suggests that chewing gum has a similar effect.  It disrupts the musical memory enough to get that damn song out of your head.

Well, it has to be worth a try right?!

Mummascribbles
Modern Dad Pages

Muddy hands and scrammed knees

I put together a blog post earlier this week made up of three of my favourite quotes about play.  I had several comments from people saying how much they like the quotes and how true it is that play is serious business for our children, it’s the way they learn about the world.

One of the comments really stuck with me though.  The writer said that they felt that the traditional, simply play of childhood seems to be disappearing in this modern world.  That our children these days just want to play on electronic devices and aren’t interesting in old-fashioned play any more.

My eldest is only 4, so I don’t have any first hand experience of older children.  It may well be the case that they are more interested in computer games than any other kind of activity.  And certainly my son does like to play on my phone and ipad.  The thing is, I really do think that they have a place in our children’s lives these days.  They’ve been born into a very ‘electronic’ world.  They will need the skills they learn using these devices as they get older.  I also know that Rhys has learnt a lot from watching certain programs on the TV and by playing with various apps on my phone.

But, BUT, he also spends a lot of time engaged in ‘old-fashioned’ play.  The writer of the comment mentioned that we need to try and remind our children how good simply play can be, and I really do agree.  We’ve spent the last two afternoons at the park where Rhys has run around with his friends, learning about co operation, sharing and taking turns, using his imagination playing house in the bushes, testing his body by climbing and jumping.  And I’ve been very conscious of finding a balance between hovering and making sure he’s safe, and standing back and letting him get on with it.

See, there’s been a lot of talk recently about our children’s safety.  This video of a man leading children away from a playground recently popped up on my Facebook newsfeed.  It seemed to prove that our children aren’t safe out in public; that even if we’ve taught them not to talk to strangers they are still likely to go off with them given half a chance.  And if you just quickly watch the video you’ll most likely be terrified and want to keep your children by your side where you can keep them safe.  It’s scare stories like this that are all over the media that are causing parents to be so reluctant to let their children run around outside.  It’s much safer to just keep them in and let them play on the ipad!

Which is why I’m so glad I found this article on freerangekids.com, which argues against most of the points made in the video.  I highly recommend you go and read it.  It might help put your mind at rest a little bit.

There are always dangers to our children.  Lenore Skenazy from free range kids makes the great point that we could drive our children to school to keep them safe from predators, only to be hit by a truck instead.  The point being, we can’t guarantee our children’s safety 100% of the time.  There will always be freak accidents.  There will always be illness.  And yes, unfortunately, there will always be sick people out there with bad intentions towards our children.

But that is life.  We can’t hide ourselves and our children away.  There is so much more good in the world than bad.  I for one want my children to be bold and to explore all the wonderful things out there.

So I’m working on finding a balance.  My children will play on electronic devices; they can learn a lot from them and have fun.  But they will also draw and paint and make things with play doh.  They’ll explore our slightly out of control garden.  They’ll go to the park and test their boundaries and play in the bushes.  They’re still so young that I try my damn best to keep them in sight at all times, because in all honesty it does scare me what might happen if they’re out of sight.

But I don’t want to hover.  I don’t want their main memory to be me telling them to ‘be careful’.  I want them to remember me telling them to have fun instead!  That’s what childhood is about. muddy hands and scrammed knees and just having fun!

What are your thoughts on this?  Have you seen the video?!  How willing are you to let your kids out to play like we probably did when we were little?

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