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      23.09.2011 13:37
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      Nine months of Fatherhood, shit happens!

      SHIT HAPPENS!

      Before the arrival of my little boy I was quite afraid. If the wife's pregnancy and the upcoming labour wasn't enough to keep me constantly on edge, then the advice from family, friends, work colleagues, the NCT group and random strangers down the pub about the post-birth after-life was almost enough to send me rolling down the cliff-side. All I had to look forward to from this point to the end of eternity was incessant mountains of poo, sleep deprivation, an end to all social activity and incessant mountains of poo (so important it needs to be said twice). Not to mention that if the little man had colic then I would effectively rise one morning after a month of non-stop crying as something resembling a shuffling brain-eating zombie.

      And for a time at the beginning of this new adventure I thought they would be right. At the birth, my boy came out covered in poo. Typical! He was also fairly ill for his first the ten days in the world, spending a short time in the hospitals neonatal intensive care unit (a really humbling experience) and needing a course of antibiotics to overcome the illness. The antibiotics had an unfortunate after affect. On his third day the little one would plaster my right arm with fiery orange liquid death that was fired like an Exocet missile from his tiny little bottom. It could have been a full-on chest shot except the squeak of a fart encouraged me to take a side-step. Most of the evil just arched across the room instead, destroying the wall on the other-side (a good nine feet away). I'd never seen anything like it. The tiny extra bit he squeezed out for simple chuckles after the main course still haunts me to this day. Walking into the nurses' ward to ask for help I felt like the guy from Robocop who crashes his van into a tub of toxic waste. "Help me, I'm melting..."

      Luckily, such early encounters with unbelievable amounts of baby poo have guarded me well for all future nappy changing events. Rather than freak-out like a complete goof, I made the decision that where the little one was concerned I'd simply suck it in (an intake of breath, not the poo) and get on with things. As such, I'm now a Zen master of nappy changing! More to the point it shows for all the stuff people tell you prior to the birth, you really don't know how you're going to deal with things until you're actually in the danger zone. Thinking about changing nappies during the wife's pregnancy made me feel icky; post-birth, what's the big fecking deal!

      Yes, he is a rubbish sleeper and my social activity has been reduced to virtually nothing; people were not wrong about that. I originally thought, rather naively, that babies arrived from the womb fully understanding the sleep process. Do. They. Bollocks! No, you have to train them how to sleep, which is pretty much like attempting to train a puppy not to lick their plums. Yet even here there are hidden bonuses. I've worked out I can survive through the day on just four hours of sleep and remain effective at work, rather than wander around like a perpetually clueless goon. Likewise, although my social-life has been stunted this has had a great effect on my physique. I feel more energised from avoiding beer, not to mention the weekend hangover has been vanquished, and I'm much thinner and fitter than before.

      Which makes me question, why does no one tell you about these benefits before having a baby? Why is it always 'covered in poo', 'you'll be walking about like a zombie' and 'the first few months are hell'? Additionally, why does no one tell you about the wonderful things that happen as your child slowly grows into himself? Perhaps it's down to the simple joy of letting you find out and experience the more amazing things for yourself, at undisclosed times when you're least expecting it.

      A case in point, the other week I was moving a suitcase which involved raising the metal handle into its full position so that it could be easily pulled along the floor. So, I raised the handle up, got distracted by something and slammed it back down into the hidden position. The little tinker was watching on and decided this was the funniest thing he had ever seen. The belly laugh and his chuckling were so infectious I did it again. And again. And again. In total I did this with the suitcase handle about 20 times and the little man's uncontrolled joy never ceased; he just kept chuckling away like a gibbon. The action I was carrying out was not in the remotest bit funny, but in a child's world it was a moment of wonder and sheer amazement. Oh, to be a child again, huh?

      So, almost nine months of being a father have passed and he's already standing himself up and cruising with the aid of furniture. It's been an incredible journey so far. Here's to the next set of adventures as he grows into a toddler. Although, if at all possible, if you could avoid hosing me down with liquid shit again, that would be nice...!


      © clownfoot, September 2011. Article can also be found on my blog at http://clownfootsinversemidas.blogspot.com/

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        04.05.2011 01:01
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        Dont knock it before you try it

        Surprisingly enough from a young age I never wanted children as I was very much a go out and have fun kind of girl, if there was a pub in sight you would see me in it lol. I just wasnt the type to want to settle down and have kids! bah nothing would get in the way of a malibu and coke.
        It turned out that when I was just 19 I feel pregnant with my long term boyfriend and we had a son called michael, it was a blessing in disguise as although I suffered hell during my pregnancy and had pre eclampsia and was in intensive care for 2 weeks, he was the greatest living being EVER! from this day on my views on children changed and I bonded with him instantly.
        hmmm parenting is one of these subjects that can have a very different opinion from everyone but in my view its what I was born to do, be a parent and this I do to the best of my ability.
        It has its up's and downs and my son generally was a good baby who eat, slept and cried at the right time.
        We did have a few issues as he grew a bit older and he became a bit fussy with his food, but hey dont all children.
        I believe being a good parent is offering my children a happy and safe environment where to they know they can always rely on us, I am somewhat strict when it comes to bedtime routines but I find this a good thing to bring into their lives at a young age, It provides them with a sense of routine and knowing there are certain rules that they have to abide by, in result of this I get me time and my children are in bed and fast asleep bby 7.30pm every night without fail.

        I later met my now partner and went on to have 2 more children I have a daughter called Amy who is just over 2 years and another son called jack who we have been to hell and back with due to the fact from birth he was diagnosed with a condition called "hirschprungs disease" which is a disease of the bowel, he also has coractation of the aorta (heart condition) thus meaning we have spent most of his 10 months alive in various hopistals and to this day he has had 4 operations and more that will be on going.

        Having said all this I wouldnt have my life any other way, why would I? my children are the next chapter of me and they are the future.

        Both my sons are mummys boys which I generally love as as a typical mum I love the cuddles and the feeling of security I can give them. However my daughter likes to pull the strings of daddy lol (unless shes ill then its mummy lol)

        I do sometimes think this is the hardest thing to do which is bringing up children but its also the most rewarding, the best things of all are when I have special time with my children and we do crafty things like paint, play with play doh and make and bake cakes, just seeing their faces light up I know im doing something right and that they are happy and fullfilled.

        I always hate the phrase "this is the best job ever" job??? I dont see looking after my children as a job, Its just a natural instinct to me and I dont think it should ever be seen as a "job". We all argue and fight at times and my son michael who is now 9 spends far to much time on the xbox but this is what floats their boat at this day and age and I do also restrict his time on such games so he can go out and enjoy the garden, why not? thats all I ever had when I was young.

        My daughter is at the age where she is very opinionated and just getting to know what buttons she can push..oh and boy does she push them but this I know is just a learning curve and with guideance and alot of patience we can get through it.

        My 10 month old son has been a hard one due to his health problems it has caused alot of stress upon our family unit as we have had many unexpected week long hospital visits in a hospital 80 miles away from our home and on these occasions we literally have to drop everything, arrange the 2 other children and go to attend his needs. Of course I would love to have a son who didnt have these problems (more for his own sake than anyone else) we as the parents can overcome anything together but he is just a baby brought into this world dealing with all these problems.

        So yes parenting is hard and there is no wrong or right way to do it, we all have our own preferences but as long as I can see my children are happy and smile each day I know I am doing a good job and will continue to do so to the best of my ability.

        would I have it any other way? Hell no my children are indeed my life and they make me complete even through the tears and pain, they know no matter what I shall be there for them.

        Being a parent gives me the most amazing feeling in the world and I can proudly say if nothing else I have managed to produce children that even through the bad times can make me smile anyday.

        Ps even to this day I havnt ditched my malibu and coke!!! hey why should I it comes hand in hand with parenting lol

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          29.10.2010 23:01
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          THE BEST EXPERIENCE

          I had always been confident that I wanted to be a parent. When I met my fiance 7yrs ago, I was at school but left soon after. At 17 (my fiance was 22) we got our own place, both had good jobs and both wanted a family of our own. Despite being young, I was and still am mature for my age.

          For 2yrs, we tried for a baby and with no success. I became depressed and had convinced myself that I was destined to be childless. In July 2007, I was granted my wish and beamed as I held a positive test..my family was beginning to grow. Despite losing my job at the start of my pregnancy, it was relatively easy and I treasured every moment with my unborn baby.

          The first week in May 2008, my gorgeous son came into the world and both myself and my partner vowed to love and protect him and be the bestest parents we could be. Our son is now nearly 2 and a half and is the most perfect little boy..most of time. Whilst I love being a parents and moreso a stay at home Mum, it isn't without its difficulties.

          No matter what age you become a parent, it isn't easy. You go through the motions of people (mostly health visitors) telling you how you should look after your baby. You need to be able to provide food, clothes and love from day one. You need to put up with the questions from doctors when your child has fell over and bruised their precious skin..I know it is supposed to ensure abuse isn't taking place but most parents look after their children properly.

          The very few negative aspects that could become issues are far outweighed by the perks of being a parents. Carrying a child for 9months is special enough..I wondered how such a tiny thing became a real person and still do. As a parent, I got to appreciate those milestones and anticipate many more. I was there when my son first smiled, first sat up and took his first steps. I cried at putting him into nursery at such a young age and regretted it yet I believe it helped it progress a great deal. When he goes to big boy nursery next year, I will cry and with school. It won't be sadness, it will be joy as I spent so long believing I couldn't become a parent.

          My son is very much a Daddys boy and at first this quite upset me. If he wants to mess about, its his Daddy he goes to. They are like 2 peas in a pod and my son is already Xbox daft. He is so independent and only needs his Mummy if he is unwell. At this time, he will snuggle in to me and although I hate him being unwell, that time is precious. I just wish it didn't take an illness for him to show how much he appreciates his Mummy!

          We don't have much money. My partner works to provide for us and I am currently trying to get a part time job which allows me to still spend plenty of time with my son. I hate the idea of leaving him, even now and miss him when he stays overnight at his Grans. She only lives across the road but I hurt everytime he leaves me.

          My son is normally well behaved but is prone to temper tantrums and has unfortunately picked up some swear words - the joys of living in a rough scheme! When he behaves, he is wonderful and we spend time drawing and watching his Thomas DVDs..precious time. When he does misbehave, I take time to explain my reason for sitting him on the sofa or taking a toy away. I rarely raise my voice as I don't want my son to be scared of me. I don't believe in smacking and I find it unnecessary. I feel it is intimidating and unfair on a child and teaches violence which is never a good thing.

          Issues we have encountered are mainly to do with his eating. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure our children get all the nutrients required. My son goes through regular phases of not eating and this can be stressful. I often need to take him for Happy Meals just to get food inside him. I feel like a bad parent for doing this and guilty that my son won't eat properly but that's children for you!

          Our journey with Ryan has only just begun and we look forward to the future. He will go to school, meet girls in his teens, get a job and hopefully have a family of his own when he is ready. I also believe he will be happy with a brother or sister in the near future. I am by no means a perfect parent and don't believe anyone is. Its something we need to work on.

          Being a parent isn't easy and you need to put your all into it. A child should be loved unconditionally and cared for. It is out aim to protect them but allow them some freedom as there is too much badness in this world. If we bring out children up with respect and honesty, the world may one day be a better place.

          Thanks for readingx

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            27.02.2010 21:40
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            Not to be taken lightly...

            Being a parent is exhilerating, exciting, amazing and joyous, but its also frustrating, confusing, restricting and difficult.
            Just one long rollercoaster of emotions but a great ride all the same...

            From the moment my daughter was handed to me and I held her in my arms, I knew I loved her forever and would die for her. It felt like she had been with me for eternity and I took to parenthood far more naturally than I ever thought I would.

            This little precious bundle was mine and she relied on me. I had to look after her and I relished the opportunity to do so. It helped that she was very content, and still is. She has always slept well and only cries when she is hungry or tired. Its pretty straightforward. She is my world.
            Whenever I am away from her I yearn for her, no matter how much I wanted to be away from her in the first place! Thats when I realise that we are part of a unit now, and are very much part of each other.

            But I also find motherhood a struggle. In fact I struggle most days. I love spending time with my baby, but I miss my old life too. I sometimes long for a job, and some disposable income and a purpose of my own that isnt all about being someones mummy. I feel responsible, grown-up and tied-down. I miss spending time with my husband and being part of a couple and not just parents.

            However I feel this is an entirely natural way to feel sometimes, yet noone ever says it. Everyone is keen to tell me how much they adore parenthood, but very rarely do other parents tell me they miss their old life, because its seen as a parenting failure to admit to this.

            And that brings me on to my next point. Guilt. This is something that is entwined in parenthood. The ability to feel nothing is good enough, and you are somehow failing at everything.
            If you go back to work, you feel guilty. If you stay at home you feel bad for wishing you could work. Its a vicious circle. You worry you arent strict enough, or relaxed enough, or didnt breastfeed for long enough, or dont offer enough structured play. The list goes on and on and on...

            Somebody said to me recently that we all put far too much pressure on ourselves as parents, and that instead of concentrating on being perfect, we should aim to be just good enough. I like that philosopy and am trying to adopt it. Nobody is perfect and its simply enough to do the best you possibly can.

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              03.12.2009 11:27
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              WHY I LOVE BEING A MUM.

              When I left school I worked hard and qualified as a registered nurse. I was very proud to become one of the youngest district nurses in the borough, I continued to work hard and was able to gain further recognition when I gained another qualification in counselling.

              When I had my first child at the age of 25 all the importance of my career paled into insignificance. I remember the first time I held her in my arms and suddenly all the pieces of my life jigsaw seemed to fit. I wanted to be a full time mother. I could not bear to miss a second of my daughters life. I loved the way this little soul relied on me to nurture and protect her from any harm. My husband was and still is a fantastic father and together we settled into a life of sheer bliss.

              The sleepless nights did not bother me. Infact I enjoyed them because I was doing something for my child. The love I felt for her was like nothing I had experienced before. It touched my soul and exceeded any love I had ever felt for anyone. It was a different sort of love. Unconditional and heart melting.

              After much discussion it was decided that I would go back to work part time. I was not wholly happy about this but knew that I had a good career and wage and if I wanted my daughter to have the best things then I would have to sacrifice some time with her.

              I hated it. From the moment I went back that's all I could think of and yearn for was my baby. I know this may seem daft to some people. but I just couldn't justify the money I was earning for missing out on precious hours with my daughter.

              After much thought I decided to leave my work and become a full time mum. And I have never ever regretted it and that was 8 years ago. I have the most amazing relationship with my daughter. We have a really strong bond. And are not only mother and daughter but best friends. She knows that she can tell me anything and I will always be there for her when times get hard.

              Five years ago me and my hubby had another baby this time a little boy. And even though I idolise him now I have to be honest and say I suffered from horrendous post natal depression. It was the most awful time of my life. I couldn't understand how I had no feelings for this little baby at all. I remember my husband running me a bath and telling me to take the baby in the bath for skin to skin contact un yet I just didn't feel anything. Don't get me wrong he had the best of care. I went through all the motions of looking after him. It just felt like I was doing it for someone else's child.

              After about eight months I remember vividly one day watching him on his playmate kicking his legs about the place and giggling and all of a sudden I just felt this overwhelming desire to pick him up and cuddle him tightly. I cryed and cryed and felt so relieved that I finally had realised the feeling for my son.

              Now he is five and we have the most fantastic relationship. He is definitely a mammy's boy. Although he is so rough and ready and such a strong character. I sometimes look at him and think to myself how on earth could I have not felt anything for you. I idolise his every word, breathe and smile now.

              I guess the most important thing about being a parent is learning to take the rough with the smooth. Understanding that it is a parents responsibility to teach their children right from wrong and good manners. It is indeed the most important and rewarding job in the world.

              I'm often asked would I go back to nursing. But to be honest I just relish every second with my children. I love being the one to pick them up from school. I love being the one that makes sure that they are fed balanced nutritional meals. And I love hearing their stories about their day.

              As a very special treat we are going to Lapland in two weeks time. We are all so very excited. When I told them they were both shaking with excitement and just could not believe that they were going to Lapland. After a while my 5 yr old son ran back into the kitchen and said to me jack Jones in my class has been to matalan. I cracked up laughing. Its these precious little things that keep you going and although we would have more money if I were working, we are richer than kings on love.

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              14.11.2009 12:18
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              A very rewarding challenge

              Parenting is the one job when you can within the space of an hour laugh, cry, be proud and frustrated.

              I always wanted to be a mother but also under the right circumstances and as a result did not become a parent until I was thirty six years old.

              From the minute I found out I was pregnant it changed my life for the better. I took care of myself knowing that I had a young life inside me and wanted to nurture him. I had struggled with agoraphobia but found carrying a child was the motivation I needed to seriously tackle the problem without getting too scared to hide back in the house.

              My husband on the other hand was the opposite. He hated the attention been on me and my baby. He resenting the fact I didn't want to cook meals from scratch as I was puking all the way through my pregnancy and the fact I wasn't in the house he seemed jealous I had done it for our child and not him. So instead of getting excited about the birth he got stoned and drunk all the time.

              Once my son was born I felt no rush of love but just knew I loved him. Due to a blood condition I carry and my son been born with jaundice I had to make some decisions about treatment and care a few hours after he was born and this felt like a huge responsibility but I listened to the advice and what I wanted to happen had to be changed a few hours later as it wasn't working but glad I was able to discuss options with the staff. This huge decision was the first of millions of choices you make every day.

              When you first take your bundle of joy home and see him in the little Moses basket all seems perfect. I know people who have felt very scared but I wasn't I was on cloud nine. I was absolutely exhausted I had to feed him every three hours and as he was tired due to jaundice by the time I had got through feeding it wasn't long till the next round of feeding.

              The decisions you make change as they grow firstly it is what boundaries to set what routine and learning how to adapt your life to fitting in the demands and joys of a baby.

              As they grow the amount of choices you need to make changes. You need to keep safe but as they grow they become braver and braver.

              The biggest decisions I have ever made since my son was born was to leave his dad for my son's safety. I had dreams of been a happy family but as his did resented all the attention ,the bond I had and even the fact that my son came before him it was a very volatile environment and one not fit for a child to grow up in.

              The joys and rewards of bringing up a child are also immense. From the first real smile, the first time they roll over to their first words are magical moments you don't forget.

              As they grow the challenges get bigger how and when to discipline and as they approach toddler age the disapproving looks when your child is having a tantrum but also as there speech develops at this age they are more company .My son has a great sense of humour and is often funny when he isn't trying to be.

              The saddest thing for me is his dad misses out on all this .He has seen his son for an hour in the last three months and while I have no desire to see his dad unfortunately my son does miss him. Sometimes you can't protect your children from heartache and this can be the hardest part of the job of been a parent.

              My son does have some days when he really gets on my nerves and seems to want to press every button but I take a deep breathe and try and change the situation after all I am the adult and he is just testing what he can get away with.

              This has changed my life in more ways then I could have ever imagined.

              What advice would I give to other parents or parents to be?

              Enjoy all the little moments not just the big ones

              Everyone will have an opinion on your parenting style but trust your instincts and do what works for your family as a whole.

              There will always be someone who disagrees with the way you do things be happy in what you do and let their opinions wash over your head.

              Learn to be flexible because just as you learn how to deal with one situation the situation will change and another technique is required.

              Cherish your little ones they are small for such a short time.

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                12.11.2009 23:14
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                :)

                From a young age I have always wanted a family. I decided to start trying for a baby at 18 after I was told due to health problems that I was unable to have children. I thought my world had ended and was put on the IVF waiting list. I was shocked that I conceived naturally when I was 21. I was so overjoyed to become a mum and I had no complications what so ever with my pregnancy. Since then I have had another daughter. I feel very blessed to have my girls and they mean so so much to me. My daughters and 2 and 5.


                I am a working mum. I would love to be a stay at home mum but because I earn more than my partner I have to work full time, leaving him to just work weekends. I think this works well for me as I still get all weekends with my girls and because I work long days, I also get 1-2 days off in the week too. I know it is not an option for some parents to look after their own children instead of relying on childcare etc but to me I wanted only us to raise our children.


                My girls are happy children and I love spending time with them. We have lots of time together doing fun stuff and I always find time for them, whether it be, making cakes or doing homework. I think it is important to have this time to bond with your children.


                I don't agree with children watching too much tv so instead we read books and get art and craft stuff out. We like sharing cuddles and going for walks as a family.


                I don't believe in smacking children so if my girls have been naughty they get told off and sent to their bedroom. I think star charts are great as it gives children an incentive to do good things. My daughter used to wet the bed so rewarding her with stars etc if she stays dry has really helped her and she now stays dry every night.


                Sometimes I do find it hard with working long hours and getting home from work and my children wanting attention but I always like to find time for them. It is not their fault that I work long hours so I always like to spend time doing things with them after I have finished work.


                Sometimes My 5 yr old can be difficult and naughty but she has learned that she can not always get what she wants and her behaviour has slowly improved. She has got better since starting school as she did not really mix with many children so I have found this has helped her a lot. It also gives me a chance to spend time with my youngest along as I think this is important too. My eldest usually goes to the cinema every month with her dad too if she is good.


                I think being a mum is the most rewarding thing ever and would recommend this to anyone. You know that your children belong to you, they look upon you for advice, support and love you. I would be lost without my girls

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                16.07.2009 22:07
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                Kids are great!

                I was 25 when I found out I was pregnant with my first child and I believed I was still too young and wasn't even sure I wanted children, I had not planned to get pregnant and it was a massive surprise when I found out.

                However I was pregnant and I was in the position of being able to provide a nice house and a stable loving environment.

                The thought of child birth scared me but not half as much as the thought of motherhood. I had never even held a baby and new nothing about babies what so ever. I did a lot of listening to other people and read my parenting and birthing books from back to front and still felt like I knew nothing.

                The first few weeks with my new baby were the hardest, trying to get in to a routine, I had no sleep and suffered from depression, some days I just cried all day, I never thought it was going to get any better, but after the first few months I got into a nice routine and realised the best teacher is the baby themselves, my son set his own routine and progressed very naturally into eating solids and walking and talking. Every baby is different and no one knows whats best for your baby better than you.

                I have found nothing in life is as satisfying as raising a child, my son is now 2 years old and is so funny, he is a little person with his own very cheeky personality. I have since had another son who is 7 months and together they are constantly annoying each other but also keep each other amused for hours. They are my life and I couldn't live without them.

                Some days are very hard and it isn't always easy but the good days easily out number the bad days. I get a lot less sleep and have to constantly wash clothes and my house is a constant mess with toys everywhere, but when my babies are laughing or sat listening to a story or when my toddler says something amusing I know having children was by far my greatest achievement and the one thing in my life I have done right.

                I am so glad I got pregnant, I may have missed out on my purpose in life otherwise.

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                  14.04.2009 16:14
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                  Hard work, but lots of fun

                  I think I speak for most parents here when I say - children change your life forever, but you still love them to bits (most of the time).

                  They can drive you to the point of insanity, make you cry with laughter, make you cry with fear or worry, make you angry until you think you might spontaneously combust - but you wouldn't change them for the world.... would you?!

                  Once my husband and I had been married a year we decided to try for babies, something which I had spent most of my life waiting for. It did not take long and before long we were the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. She was our world, we were both madly in love with her and we took to parenting like ducks to water.

                  When she reached age one I decided I wanted another and became pregnant more or less straight away - another beautiful girl. We now had 2 girls under the age of 2.

                  One word - nightmare!!

                  Our blissful family world was turned upside down. The eldest went from angel child to devil child in a matter of days. The baby never stopped screaming. We were both tearing our hair out, how could something so small cause such havoc!!? It was beyond me and I was slowly turning into a crazed zombie. This was mainly through lack of sleep, constant feeding, cuddling, rocking & changing baby, whilst at the same time trying to entertain a frantic 'pushed out' toddler, as well as day to day duties such as cooking, cleaning & washing up!.

                  I had so many mixed emotions ranging from pure love through to hate (yes I'll admit it) for my beautiful newborn screaming baby, guilt for my toddler who was not getting the attention she was used to and who was getting rather upset and fretful about it, and jealousy towards my husband who could walk out the door each morning and not return again until bedtime.

                  So anyway, we made it through what I now like to call the 'dark age', and emerged through the other side a happy smiling family once again. The days are nowhere near as easy as they once were but they are at least manageable and most of the time enjoyable.

                  The screaming baby has evolved into a gorgeous bundle of joy and laughter and has a smile for anyone who comes near her. Obviously I still have the tasks of feeding, changing & cuddling but these are much more joyful events nowadays.

                  The toddler has finally realised that the baby is here to stay and cannot be 'put back'. She now understands that Mummy has to divide her time between two children, a husband and a mountain of household tasks...she doesn't always show it, but she definitely knows it!

                  When you decide to have children, there will always be people eager to ask you if you're ready to take the plunge. Are you ready for the sleepless nights, the constant demands and the other uninviting aspects of parenthood? But the truth is, until you actually have those children, you are never ready and you can never know what it is like to be a parent until you have kids of your own.

                  From the moment your child is born, your life will never ever be the same again. You are no longer Number One. Every decision you ever make from now on will have to be made with your child in mind.

                  Even a small thing like nipping out to get some milk requires great planning...will your baby need feeding while you are out? Are they tired? Will their nappy need changing? Do you need to take a toy to keep them entertained? Will they get thirsty? Are they too cold, too warm? And this is just a trip to the local shop.

                  Your whole life has to have one big rethink. Holidays will change, nights out will become less frequent, relationships will change, you'll probably find yourself wanting to hang around with other parents rather than childless friends, your relationship with your partner will most likely change because they won't be your number one anymore.

                  Everything changes.

                  Parenting comes with its highs and lows. I have days where I wonder why the heck I ever chose to have children, and two of them at that!

                  A few examples:

                  Sometimes, my toddler decides not to use the potty and piddles everywhere, my baby refuses to go to sleep, and I have a pile of washing up to do that I just can't seem to get started because one of them always needs me to do something for them.

                  I can't get out the front door because as soon as I have my toddler dressed and ready, the baby decides to fill her nappy or wants feeding at the wrong time.

                  The house is usually a mess, with toys littered all over the place, many a time have I tripped over a toy and nearly flattened the baby in the process.

                  Sometimes my toddler is just so tired that she refuses to see sense and just screams the house down which is turn makes me want to scream the house down, but of course that would be setting a bad example, but would perhaps be very therapeutic...

                  When I am trying to cook tea, I usually have a hungry baby and a tired toddler to contend with. The toddler usually hanging off my leg and unwittingly cleaning the floor at the same time as I drag her around the kitchen.



                  However! Despite my children driving me nuts, and demanding all of my attention & my thoughts most of the time, they are the most rewarding and wonderful things my husband and I have ever produced.

                  My toddler is at that age now where she can talk fluently and picks up everything we say. I have overheard her playing with her toys and suddenly shouting 'Oh my word!' or 'For God's sake!' She's constantly singing and making up her own little songs, usually consisting of what she's been doing that day.

                  She is so interested in everything at the moment, something as minor as a leaf on the ground, she wants to know everything about it. She's like a sponge soaking up information as she goes along, and I am taking great pleasure in being the one to teach her new things. She already knows what daffodils and tulips are, just from asking me as we've been walking along, it's amazing how quickly she picks things up.

                  What I love the most about being a parent is the smiles I get from my two children. Every morning when I go to get my toddler from her bed she always gives me a huge grin, as if she hasn't seen me for weeks, when it was only the night before when she saw me last. And my baby is the same, every single time I go to pick her out from her cot she gives me a big gummy smile and kicks her arms and legs frantically as if she can't wait for me to pick her up.

                  That's the thing with your own kids, they are always pleased to see you, no matter how many times you may have shouted at them, they'll love you unconditionally (well at least I hope they will)!

                  The good times outweigh the bad times 100 times to 1. And I know that when I look back on these years I will always remember the happy times rather than the less happy times.

                  It's like all things though - to get good rewards, you have to put the effort in first. I'm hoping my kids will turn out okay after the effort I'm putting into bringing them up.

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                    12.03.2009 14:24
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                    parenting

                    I am a parent and I am so proud I want to shout out about my childrens achievments tell everyone about their little sayings and little ways.

                    Yes it is wonderfull I hear you agree well a lot of the time but then there are the times when resentment of Daddy becomes uncontrolable!
                    As I recentally advised my Husband after another 3am start to the day, that he did whatever he wanted whenever he wants without a care in the world at the time he was leaving to go to his second job!

                    Looking after children is an emotional rollercoaster the highs are faboulous but the lows are very tough recentally our youngest daughter got a sickness and tummy bug a month later she had been in hospitial visited the Gp 7 times and was still no better, the bug had killed her stomach lining and much to her disgust had to go right back to weaning stage!

                    Thankfully we are all on the mend but how do you cope? Well my top tips are here they are not gospel just what helped me.
                    1) Trust your instincts
                    keep badgering your Doctor you know how your child normally is.
                    2) Take a break
                    Easier than it sounds however my Mother-in-law babysat so I could go into work which gave me a rest and enabled me to cope better
                    3) Get Help
                    whether it is proffesional or help from friends and family my friends took my eldest daughter to toddlers giving her respite and allowing me to concentrate on one child
                    4) Keep Calm
                    It is very hard not to panic or gget upset however children pick up on this and get upset themselves
                    5) Everything can wait
                    I seem to get an increased sense of guilt if the children are ill and I havent done the ironing, washing, hoovering, made tasty meals so what it will not be forever and it really isnt important
                    6) share
                    Share your concerns I am always convinced that my emotionally retarded Husband will laugh however 9 times out of 10 he has the same concerns and we then talk about them and it helps . Also share the workload he is far better tempered at 1 am tham me and I am better than him at 3am!

                    For me I am very lucky I have a good family network there is always someone I can call on for advice and I have a brilliant support network with my peers this is very important and once you get to share it enables you to get a differant take on a matter which can be very important for example when my youngest was born my eldest got very jealous and woudnt share her toys or even want her friends to come in her house and if anyone went near her sister well she was a candidate for a asbo!

                    As you can imagine I was mortified and there were no more coffee morning in fact we went into house arrest until another friend said look at it from her point of view her whole life has changed and all she wants to do is have some control looking back pretty obvious a new baby then her parents disapearing as baby became ill and went abck to hospitial a big change.

                    Today my eldest is 3 and a bit and is at playgroup making a picture for her horse yes not me or her daddy but her auntie's horse, she woke me up with her special logic of it must be morning the sun is on blackout blinds for our bedroom top of DIY list!

                    I could go on with parenting and spend hours listing all the funny little things that happen, the things that make you laugh and those that make you die of shame!! The absolute best thing is mummy I love you you are my best friend even better than millie!!

                    My top advice is do not take yourself seriousally, Laugh at yourself always keep a bottle of wine in the fridge! go with the flow and have good friends to scream at and laugh with.

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                      25.02.2009 14:25
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                      Theres nothing quite like being a parent!

                      When people first asked me if I wanted to have kids, I always said I wasn't bothered either way. Not that I didn't want kids, just that I didn't have an opinion! If Mrs.Sparky didn't want to have children, then that was fine with me but if she said she did want to get pregnant, that would not have been a deal-breaker either. I was happy whatever the outcome.

                      As it was, she did want children and the news that she was pregnant filled me with joy. I could not contain myself from jumping on the ceiling. For 9 months however, none of it seemed real and it was not until we had to go to hospital for the wife to be induced that I started to understand the enormity of the situation. It was a long labour (and thankfully I had some books with me to read) but the hardest part for me was the sense helplessness. There was my wife in extreme pain and all I could do was sit and watch. I don't think I have ever felt so helpless in all my life! When it was all over though and I held our daughter Emilie for the first time, it was all made real and worthwhile. I felt like I was dreaming and could not believe this little baby was mine!! Ahem....Of course I meant ours.....!

                      The first weeks were tough; Emilie wouldn't feed easily and had to go back to hospital a week after she came home because she had lost a lot of weight, her saline levels had soared and she was very ill. She had to go in the neo-natal unit full of much younger and smaller babies and have a drip and a tube inserted down her throat to help her feed. Fortunately she was not in there long and when she came out, we gave up on breast-feeding and resorted to bottles so we could gage how much she was drinking! Now, 18 months later, you would never know she had been ill...

                      Every day is a new learning experience both for you and for her! Being a dad is the most rewarding feeling in the world and, holding her in my arms, I know I will love, cherish and protect her for the rest of my life. Or at least until she reaches those difficult teenage tears! We have been sooo lucky because Emilie is so well behaved- she only has a paddy when she is tired or under the weather and the only slepless nights we occassionally have are when she is teething. Even then, as soon as that tooth comes through she is back to her normal sleeping patterns. That said, I am dreading the terrible twos because she cannot stay this good forever!!

                      The best thing dads, is that you can now look in toy shops without looking like a retard with mental problems or a sicko paedophile. If anyone stares, you are now allowed by law to stare them back down and shout "It's okay- I'm allowed to look at toys now- I'm a dad!!! I'm just looking for something for my daughter!!" Even if you are currently in the boys section looking at action men!!!

                      If anyone is reading this now and wondering if they would make a good dad- worry no more! Being a dad is fairly easy- you just have to make sure your little one is fed, changed and watered regularly and it is the most natural thing in the world to care and nurture for your child, in fact it is instinct! I was worried that I would not make a good dad but have found it just comes naturally! Honestly- if I can do it, anyone can....

                      Trust me the rewards and benefits far outweigh the odd sleepless night and I wouldn't change my beautiful daughter for all the tea in China!!

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                        18.02.2009 02:35
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                        im a very proud parent

                        Well, here goes my out take on parenting. I knew I was pregnant before I had even missed a period; my little boy was in no way planned an 'accident' as some might call it, but I had this feeling the week running up to when I was due and knew straight away. When the doctor confirmed my suspicions 2 weeks after my 21st birthday that I was actually pregnant, I had mixed emotions, yes I had always wanted children but I wasn't expecting to have any at that time in my life. I had wanted to be happily settled down in a long term relationship before having any children, but it was happening now & there was not a doubt in my mind, I was keeping my baby and going to do the best for my child that I could.

                        Being pregnant made me see the father of my child in a different light and I decided it was best to end the relationship, so from 12weeks onwards I was to go through my pregnancy alone. I was constantly reading books, wanting to know what was happening at each stage of my pregnancy, absolutely loved hearing my baby's heartbeat at my antenatal visits, it brought home the feeling that soon I was to become a mother and would have a precious little baby depending solely on me.

                        When my gorgeous little boy had been delivered I was in no frame of mind to hold him, but after an hour or so he was all I could think about. Led in the bed next to his cot I just wanted to get up and hug him but as Id had a caesarean I was unable to move. I finally got to hold him a few hours later, it was like nothing I've ever felt before, any pain I was in had vanished. From that moment on I had to be close to him.

                        After leaving the hospital I quickly got into a routine of bottles, nappy change, sterilising, baths, feeds, bed and sleepless nights. For a while it got me down, I wondered if this was what being a parent entailed, I really thought this was the way it would be, an exact routine that never changes. I was so happy when I started to feel different. I started to enjoy the motherly duties, loved taking my baby for walks and showing him off.

                        As my son started to grow I realised how hard being a parent could be, my baby would not sleep through the night, was drinking 4 bottles during the night and 6 through the day, I literally felt like a walking zombie. What made it harder was that it didn't matter how tired or down I felt I could not leave my baby, not even with my mother so that I could have a break.

                        Slowly I got used to having no sleep; I just learnt to cope with it and made the most of watching my baby grow. Every time my baby reached a new milestone or cut another tooth a lump grew in my throat, it's the most amazing feeling.

                        My little boy turned two recently and even that brought a tear to my eye!! Although he tests my patience numerous times a day never in a million years would I change him. When I tell friend and relatives about the naughty things he has done, I always get told it gets worse.... surely this can't be possible???? If this is the case I'm sure to have no hair left by the time I'm 25.

                        Now my son has reached 3, I have learnt that it doesn't get worse, somedays i may agree but Kaidon is now so loving and helpfull, just a pleasure to be around.

                        But all in all my life would be totally incomplete without him; I am so very grateful that I can call this precious little boy a.k.a. Kaidon Ashley my son!!!

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                          06.02.2009 10:48
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                          The highs and lows of parenting twins and what we've become as a result

                          In the early part of 2005 I found myself stood in the kitchen eating pickled onions and once the whole jar was empty I had the first notion that perhaps I should take a pregnancy test. Not one solitary onion remained in the brand new jar.

                          That moment heralded the beginning of the biggest change in my life. From childhood to adulthood takes years, teen to real adult and so on, even a degree takes three years but a pregnancy is just nine months, or less and BAM! All change at parenthood station.
                          Parenting has been my great delight, my biggest challenge and my best education, a real all round life changing event and one which will be a part of me forever now.

                          My twins were born in 2005 and life has never been so amusing nor so difficult and I wouldn't change it for the world. No matter what they put me through, I love them dearly.

                          We had a really lovely health visitor for a little while, a bit of a hippy, all long hair and long skirts with a 'love cures all ills' attitude. I suspect she may have been related to Mary Poppins. She gave me the sage advice that it takes about a year for a couple or parent to adapt to the changes that come with the birth of a child. That made perfect sense of course but my interpretation of her comments differ now. She meant that everything changes, everything you are is redefined. You are a family not just a couple, a parent rather than a person and a raging maniac lacking sleep instead of a colleague.
                          A late night is 9pm in the first few weeks or months, that person who was regularly out at 4 am night clubbing is a distant memory, sleep is your best friend. Even spontaneity becomes a rarity when you have to feed and change the baby and pack a bag first before setting foot outside the door, by which time you've been vomited on twice and the smell of milk sick is now de riguer.

                          Our twins presented us with horrors to deal with;
                          My partner found to his shock one morning that Twingle 2 can get out of her cotbed - she was 14 months old and so NOT ready for a bed yet.
                          Twingle 2 is very energetic, excessively curious, excellent at meddling, fantastic at emptying drawers and boxes, loves switches , gadgets and climbing and can mountaineer anything like a mounbtain goat - she really needed to stay in a cot a while longer and we hadn't anticipated that problem yet.
                          She only had smaller toys in her cotbed, a lesson learned from my own childhood, so we knew it wasn't a one off from climbing on a pile of toys.
                          Our girls are very tall and the recommendation that the cotbed sides should be up to 75% of their height was quickly not being met. Having said that, we think her method of escape was a bit more white knuckle than a normal climb, we think she jumped and hurled her top half out over the rail. She can get her foot onto the rail too but not quite high enough to climb out yet.
                          What could we do?
                          For safeties sake we put a mattress on the floor beside her cotbed in case she launched herself out again. We could have done with an extra rail to attach to the cot side but my googling for such an item yielded no results.
                          Someone jokingly suggested a dog crate and the idea of such constant safety was tempting for a just a second, they only come in shades of black or brown though.
                          She's just not the kind of child you let loose at night. Twingle 2 takes my knickers off the radiators when they've been washed and runs round the house with them on her head! Does that seem the actions of a child who should be allowed to roam free? Nope!




                          I had got to the stage of considering the virtues of putting extra strong velcro on the back of all her pyjamas and sewing a corresponding a strip on her sheets.

                          So, faced with a problem solving test worthy of Mensa I googled myself silly and found all sorts of things I never knew existed, including giant sized cots with roof bars for giant sized babies.... the erm... adult variety. Realising the internet would not be my saviour I had to think of what we had on hand. We ended up with the two cots in a peculiar L shape against the walls, creating extra high sides and breathed a sigh of relief.
                          It didn't take long for our gruesome twosome to suss a new technique and the two of them started cot swapping on a regular basis much to our amusement and terror.
                          By 15 months we had to give in and both girls ended up in their cot beds with Tommee Tippee bed sides and that began a new test, the 'stay in your bed and sleep' test.

                          Every stage of a childs development brings new possibilities, new scrapes to get into, new ways to damage themselves or you or your house and new ways to cause you sleepless nights or cost you money trying to solve the problem. It could be keeping them alive, dressed, clean or fed but they will always find a way to challenge the very basic principles of parenting. Refusing food, screaming worthy of NSPCC interest at bath time, trying to bounce head first out of cots, they are demonically creative and you have to think on your feet powered by your sleep deprived brain.

                          In the weeks following the advent of beds we were treated to such Olympic events as;
                          They emptied all clothes from chest of drawers, removed the drawers, and sat in the recess of unit. Seriously messy and the unit becomes much lighter and therefore more easily moved. Scary furniture wrangling ensued.
                          They opened the wardrobe and climbed in - Daddy couldn't find them until one accidently moved the door and they were found. Worrying for Daddy, hilarity for Mummy, doors tied together with a hairband and later an IKEA door guard which may remain until they leave home at this rate.
                          One day we find a twin stuck under the bed after yodelling banshee style down the monitor, she climbed under but hadn't developed the skills to reverse, cue twingle 2 screaming in panic and me leaping up the stairs Olympiad style.
                          They discovered that the radiator doubles as ladder, twingle 2 was found on the window ledge (mysteriously without nappy) and you thought the mountain goat comment was a joke!
                          Another day an arm was stuck between bed head and wall, cue screaming again. Twingle 2 (surprised how often it's 2? ) found fun in dropping dummy down the gap between headboard and wall, tried to retrieve it, her arm got stuck. Mummy learns how to leap 14 steps in under 3 seconds as a result.

                          Bizarrely we considered ourselves out tortured by our friends child who had the most wonderful brightly coloured plastic car bed and was found screaming beneath it in a similar incident, strange reminiscencent of a tragic Toytown accident. Imagine the scene at A&E, he was run over by his own car!

                          Parents carry the strangest things with them. Tiny boxes of raisins and random small toys, dummies, bibs and a vast array of other clutter. Sometimes these items are a full on assault weaponry section against screaming, sometimes they'll only enable you to finish your 30 second cup of tea before all hell breaks loose. A kid kit must be carefully planned and you have to have a bag to keep it all in and it just gets bigger as you spend more and more time rummaging in the deeper echelons to find that elusive dummy/Peppa Pig figure/BickiePeg.
                          I managed to whittle my bag down to something smaller than a cruise trunk once the girls were potty trained but found I was spending more money when I was out, buying them drinks and snacks and small items of badly moulded plastic to keep them entertained whilst I did the normal and boring parts of being an adult, shopping and so on. Now we're back onto a bag slightly smaller than suitcase and armed with spare knickers for accidents and the accompanying wipes, chocolate bribery, a selection of Barney match cards, several uninflated balloons and a Mr Men book. This is of course besides my own junk.
                          So the concept of Yummy Mummy is slightly limited by the fashionistas provision of kid kit sized bags. At the moment big bags are in, 1 for the mummies!

                          Parents sometimes have to deal with things they never wanted to deal with. I have a weak stomach for blood and gore besides the more frequent poop and vomit, so potty training was a delight (I have a whole review on that treat too!).
                          We started again with the blasted potty training with the gruesome twosome at 2.5, now to some of you it will seem rather late but we'd tried it before and frankly it was a waste of time.
                          Twins have their own development issues and potty training can be one of them.
                          So, this time Twingle 2 (the oh so giddy and outgoing one) took to it like a duck to water. Ish. The potty HAD to be the Royal Potty. . The stickers were irrelevant, it was the HUGE box of chocolate buttons to be doled out at regular piddle intervals which helped.
                          We had a couple of trainer wee's (the ones in the trainers, down the legs and over the floor which involve the trainers going in the wash) and a couple of pants poo's (Disney princess knickers full of poo anyone?) but otherwise she's did very well and we don't even have to reward her with chocolate anymore.
                          Twingle 1 is a totally different toilet.... I mean story. She squatted next to the potty, she decided the middle of the night was the time for potty training and demanded to be taken for a wee, despite otherwise being perfectly happy to use nappies.
                          One night, in the middle of the bath she decided she needed the loo, ok, fair enough... except she decided that after she watched herself wee in the bath, where poor Twingle 2 was playing with the bath letters. Cue shower.
                          Then, once she's in her pj's and armed with a nappy she decides it's time to go again, just when I'm lifting Twingle 2 out of the shower, bad timing but no problem, I shot into action and had pj bottoms and nappy off in record time, except there's a warm wet piddle in the nappy and a dreadfully earnest child sat on the loo doing nothing.
                          Nappy back on, Twingle 2 dressed and so on and off to bed.
                          One hour later there is much wailing to be heard over the monitor and when I arrive to defend my daughters from the evil monsters which must surely be creeping out of the wardrobes to eat them alive, I find Twingle 1 sat, without her nappy, on a very soggy bed happily declaring it 'wet mama, wet bed!'.
                          Well yeah! That's what happens when you take your DRY nappy off you wally!
                          Full bed change, nappy back on child with the strict instruction to go to sleep and wee in the nappy.
                          Then follows a reasonably quietish evening followed by a quietish night and a loud and brash morning with loud 'URGH!' sounds over the monitor.
                          Twingles Daddy rescues girls from nappy strewn bedroom with suspicious smells emanating.
                          As a result, Twingle 1 for a while went to bed with her nappy securely fastened back to front and nary a complaint was been made.
                          The moral of the story is that gaffer tape and reversed nappies can many a sane parent make!

                          How versatile we must become and how patient. How extreme our skills. Surely parents of young children are hugely useful in our ailing job market? We can invent a cure or a plan whilst running a home, dealing with the kids and still looking like we actually know what's going on. We can mend anything or make the break seem like a great invention and we can market it well, with coercion and enthusiasm. We work to be one step ahead of the opposition. Perpetually planning for eventualities and being prepared with a vast artillery of insane ideas.

                          Several months later and bringing us right up to date the end of Twingle1's potty training;
                          She took herself for the long and drawn out process that is a wee for her.
                          She insists on having the pink trainer seat on, the footstool in just the right place and trousers and knickers entirely off and deposited on the floor for safe keeping. She them gets comfy and will either engage you in conversation or request that you leave the loo whilst she wee's.
                          Piddling done, she wipes, flushes, shouts 'bye wee', waves and then goes about removing the pink seat, occasionally replacing clothing, washing hands, drying and then gaily running about the house.
                          In this instance she neglected to replace her clothing. So, spying her little bare bottom galloping around the kitchen with glee I asked her to put her trousers and knickers back on.
                          Twingle1 then vanishes back in the loo.
                          'Great' thinks I. 'No argument.'
                          A couple of minutes later, after completing my task I wondered where she was and despatched Daddy to locate said bare bottomed twin.
                          A low groan emanated from the loo and Daddy shouts me to witness the devastation.
                          Having seen the resultant toothpaste decor/soap froth/toilet paper scattering and piddle misses before, I felt Daddy could deal with this one so I refused.
                          Then he announces that there is a pair of trousers half way round the U bend and the knickers are no where to be seen!
                          Oh wonderful!
                          He retrieved the trousers but the knickers are long gone.

                          In a wonderful display of dexterous parenting we used the opportunity to explain to Twingle 1 about the loss of her dearest Charlie and Lola knickers, hard earned with sticker charts for successful ablutions in the right places but now they are half way to the North Sea and will (hopefully) never be seen again.
                          It remains to be seen if she learned from the experience, but I know we did; we need to go back to Ikea for more of those doorguards.

                          If you'd like to know more about our twinsanity, I have also reviewed the 'toddler stage in general'.



                          My writing may appear in the same or slightly altered format on Helium, or other sites.

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                            14.07.2008 19:58
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                            I'm glad I gave it a go...

                            This is quite a long review (almost 4300 words!) as I feel it's important to give all the details. Please feel free to scan through to the information you will personally find helpful. Everyone finds different things helpful though so I didn't want to leave anything out!!

                            For those of you that don't know what positive parenting is, it simply means rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour but more about that later.

                            The background

                            My little boy is 4 and has been a handful ever since he was a baby. It's difficult to remember when it started but I remember a particular incident when he was about 5 months old and was laid back in his highchair after having some baby rice while my daughter (5 years older) was getting ready for school. When she was ready she always gave her little brother a hug and told him she loved him and was going to miss him while she was at school. She bent over to give him a hug and a kiss and he kicked her full on in the face and smiled. She had an almighty nose bleed and we ended up in a real rush to get ready in time. From then on things just got worse...

                            With my eldest, I returned to work when she was under a year old. She went to a day nursery and was there from about 8am until 6pm daily while her Dad and I went to work. It was the best thing for us to do at the time and I don't regret a thing, although I wish I would have had more time with her in those younger years. That's what made me decide to stay at home the second time around. I felt it was important for me to spend more time with my children and to raise them my way... not have someone at a nursery decide the *right* way for them to be raised. I gave my son oodles of attention to make up for the time I didn't spend with my daughter.

                            The next thing that really sticks out in my mind with my son was when he was crawling. I don't remember exactly how old he was at the time but I can remember him having a temper. If he couldn't do what he wanted to, or get to what he wanted to, he would squeal. The squealing continued and he also then began to head butt. He would head butt anything he could. If he was in his highchair he would head butt the table that was attached. He would pick up his bowl or his toys and hit himself on the head. If he was crawling around he would head butt the floor (we have a wooden floor) and the sound would go right through me, he would hit it that hard. As he got older, he started to head butt the door frames and would do it to such a degree that he screamed with the pain. I spoke to my health visitor about it, as I was so worried that he would hurt himself but she was less concerned. She told me that children who head butt would never carry on if it hurt them. She said that he would stop when it hurt. But he didn't! He would scream and then carry on... he had bruises on his head where he had hit it so hard. The only way that I could stop him would be to give him what he wanted or to pick him up. He also pulled at his own face, ears, arms, legs... anything he could get hold of, in temper. He did it to the extent that he would bruise. Normally he would pull his fingers like he was trying to pull them off.

                            I remember when he went for his injections at about 2 years old (sorry, again can't remember the exact age). We were waiting for ages... over an hour. I was getting stressed as I knew when he got impatient he would throw himself on the floor, kicking and screaming, which he did. My husband had to leave to fetch my daughter from school as it was taking so long so I knew I would have to take him in on my own. No sooner had my husband left that my son's name was called. I took him through to the room and he'd calmed down a bit by this point. The nurse was great with him but he had now started to scream again as he was made to sit on my knee and wouldn't sit still. He started kicking his legs and trying to get off my knee. Eventually the nurse managed to give him his injection, but it wasn't an easy job. I was asked to sit outside in the waiting room with him for a few minutes to make sure that he didn't have any immediate side effects but there was no way. He was so worked up by now that everyone was staring at me, or at least that's how it felt. I took him outside and phoned my husband to tell him I was done. My son was trying to run off, and the surgery is right next to a road. I didn't have the pushchair as we went in the car. I tried to hold onto his hand but he threw himself on the floor. I was getting some really strange looks from the parents coming out of the posh private school across the road! I picked him up and he proceeded to pull my hair, ears, nose... anything he could grab. He also started kicking me and screaming. By the time my husband turned up, I had got him under one arm and just couldn't control him. I got into the car and burst into tears. When I got home I went for a soak in the bath and found I was covered in bruises where he'd kicked and pinched me.

                            From such a young age, any trip in the car was a nightmare. He would scream as soon as we pulled off. I hated visiting anyone or going anywhere as he would scream the entire time we were out of the house. The amount of times I went somewhere and I had to go straight back home as he would start destroying the person's house we were in. Life became extremely difficult. If someone offered to watch him while we just went shopping it was such a relief. The car was blissful... I used to sit there and say to my husband "listen to that.... quiet!" and no screaming baby all around Tesco!! People just don't realise how difficult it is when you have a child who is so naughty. Yet it seemed at the time that he was just born this way. I'm not saying I'm a perfect parent but I didn't know how he could be like this when he was so young if he wasn't born like this.

                            With age and a lot of hard work from us, he improved somewhat. He eventually stopped screaming on car journeys and around Tesco but it took us a long time to get there. We had to keep him occupied constantly by pointing things out to him and talking to him. At first he ignored us but in the end he started to join in and life was so much easier.

                            Until the day I write this, he is still hard work though. The last straw came 2 days ago when I decided I just couldn't take it anymore. It was a typical day really but the last few weeks had been a nightmare and something just snapped in me.

                            I had picked my son up from nursery (he goes every afternoon at the moment) and as usual I had told him as he was dropped off that he must behave when I picked him up. He mustn't run off while I was waiting for my daughter to come out of the adjoining school and he must hold my hand in the car park. As usual he completely ignored me. I was feeling so ill that day and am sure I shouldn't have even been driving let alone more than usual but I had to go to the post office to post some parcels. I pulled up outside and again told him that he must behave (was the last day of the month so people were queuing outside for car tax). I got in the queue and he started playing up. At first I ignored him but people were starting to stare. He was banging on the window and shoving people out of the way so I told him to stop it. He threw himself on the floor, knocking a woman out of the way in the process. I pulled him up but he went limp so I couldn't pick him up. As soon as I lost my grip he threw himself back on the floor, telling me at the top of his voice that he didn't like me anymore and to "get off". I know it looks bad but if you see mums in this situation please don't stare. I find it so much easier if someone talks to me and ignores him or smiles one of those understanding smiles. It may seem such a little thing to do, but if it's irritating you please just turn away and think of how the mum feels putting up with this every time she tries to do something that you perhaps take for granted. At least when you walk away that's it but the mum has to put up with it! Just because the child is like this doesn't mean that the mum is a bad one or that the child comes from a bad home! In the end I couldn't take any more and put him in the car and drove home. I couldn't imagine being in that queue any longer.

                            Today I had a phone call from a nurse. She was following up a recent hospital visit my son had when he told us he'd swallowed marbles that he shouldn't even have had. I told her everything was fine but mentioned my son's behaviour telling her that it was getting worse again. She questioned what I meant so I told her about recent events including the post office incident. She asked me if I'd tried positive parenting. So this is how I've got here to today... day one in my diary of positive parenting.

                            So how does positive parenting work?

                            I have tried researching on the internet but can't find any information; although I have no doubt that it's there somewhere. If I find anything in the next week or so I will add the web addresses at the end of this review.

                            Basically positive parenting is rewarding good behaviour and ignoring the bad. An example of this is for the last 30 minutes my son has been screaming that he wants Strawberry Shortcake back on the TV. While ever he shouts and screams I ignore him. If he asks me nicely I will answer him. If he doesn't like my answer and shouts and screams again I just simply ignore him. If he does something that I expect of him, just average behaviour, for example, eating his tea or sitting and playing nicely, I will tell him how good he's been and reward him for his good behaviour.

                            It is very important that you are consistent. Both parents (whether living together or apart), grandparents and any other carers must all work together. If you give in just once, you may be back to square one and all your hard work will have been for nothing. My daughter is 9 and is helping me with my positive parenting, by ignoring my son if he is being naughty and by rewarding him by playing with him if he's good and telling him what a good boy he is.

                            I checked first that there is no chance of any medical reason for my son's behaviour before I started positive parenting. The nurse said that as he is good at school it must be him playing me up for attention and not a medical condition but I would recommend you discuss things with your nurse or health visitor first, and they will also be able to help you when you need it. Support is very important. I have always spoiled my son, which is probably why he was like this from such a young age. I made the mistake of giving him attention when he was naughty, even if it was just telling him off or putting him in bed (he got out again and therefore I went upstairs to him and he got attention again). Any attention is attention and if you aren't ignoring bad behaviour they've got you where they want you... looking at them and not doing anything else! I don't think I was being a bad parent, I was doing what I thought was right and it's hard to accept that it isn't!

                            If you are out and your child starts to play up, you must ignore them. If people are staring, if you can you may feel better if you can explain briefly "I am ignoring their bad behaviour and rewarding their good behaviour, I am sorry about their behaviour but I must remain consistent for this to work". I am sure the majority will understand and if they don't, don't let it put you off. Ignore them too!! It's you that has to put up with the bad behaviour and if you give in, like I said earlier, you may be back to square one, so it is important (although difficult) to continue your hard work in any situation.

                            I asked the nurse what I should do if I was in a situation like the post office again and she said simply to "ignore him". That's easier said than done but I suppose if he knocks people when he is being naughty I can explain and apologise and if the worse comes to the worse, I can pick him up, without talking or looking at him, and place him in the car and drive home, without letting him know that he's won. I think if that happened I would simply say to my daughter "I think we'll have to come down again later when the queue's a little bit shorter, otherwise we'll be stood here for hours". Then he would have no idea it was him who had won. With a bit of practice I think you can deal with any situation. I hope anyway....

                            I have decided to keep a diary so you can see how it goes, and also to help me as I think if I keep a diary of things, it will help me to carry on and also to see any progress. I am prepared to have a headache though as I was warned things can get worse before they get better, but that's a good sign, because it means he is determined to get my attention, and when he eventually clicks that the only way he gets that now is by behaving, his behaviour on the whole should improve. Wish me luck!!!

                            Day 1

                            I explained to my husband and my daughter what I was going to do. I told them that we all had to do this and not give in for it to work. My son was relatively well behaved this morning so I decided no time like the present, I would start after school. I explained to him that I had talked to a nurse and she has told me how to help him be a good boy, and that he must be a good boy from now on. I told him that I expected him to behave today when I picked him up from school and he must hold my hand as I wasn't accepting his bad behaviour any longer.

                            When I picked him up from school he tried to run off. I reminded him that he must behave like the nurse had said. He held my hand!! I praised him for holding my hand and being a "big, good boy". I rewarded his behaviour by allowing him to have his car seat in the front of the car and taking him by the goat he liked to see on the way home.

                            Eventually he returned to his old self and started misbehaving, telling me he wanted this or that. I ignored him. I put his toys in his toy box as I was cleaning up and he ran into the dining room, took them back out again and threw them across the kitchen floor. I simply closed the door. He screamed and shouted and told me he didn't love me and was going to kill me! Charming! I carried on cleaning and eventually he calmed down and started being nice again, so in return I talked to him, picked his toys up and asked him if he would put them away to help me. I had completely ignored his behaviour and made no reference to it what so ever. He put the toys away so I thanked him and told him what a big boy he was and allowed him to help me choose what they had for dinner.

                            That was one incident out of many and I have to say it seems to have got worse already! On the plus side though, he is stopping within about half an hour and changes instantly into a well behaved boy any mum would be proud of. Hopefully I will be seeing more of that soon!

                            Day 2

                            Again my son was well behaved before school. When I picked him up he ran away up the school field, meaning I had to run after him so he didn't go out onto the car park, pulling the back of my ankle in the process. I automatically shouted at him for being so badly behaved, then thought and took a different approach, telling him that he would have to sit in the back of the car on the way home. He screamed about it but soon calmed down. Later we had to do some shopping and he behaved quite well as I had told him he could sit in the front of the car if he behaved, on the way home. The rest of the night was much as yesterday but I tried to ignore him and praise his good behaviour.

                            Day 3

                            Today has been hard! My son behaved again in the morning and was given lots of praise. He stayed with me up to the car park after school and was rewarded for his behaviour by having his car seat in the front again and I took him to see the goat he loves so much. When we got home he asked to play on the garden, so I allowed him to. He almost instantly started to misbehave and was screaming and shouting. I couldn't just ignore this behaviour and fetched him inside. He took off his shoes and started throwing them at his sister's head. I ignored him at first and tried to get her to move but he continued picking them up and throwing them at her. I shouted at him for being naughty and sent him to his room. I had a headache as he has started squealing again... something that he hasn't done for a long time. I try to tell myself this means it is working but on days like today it's hard to keep your cool!

                            After I cooked tea I shouted him down and having calmed down a bit myself I am now back on track, praising him highly for his good behaviour and ignoring the bad. He hasn't been squealing or throwing though so it's been easier!

                            Days 4 & 5

                            The weekend! I thought it would be easier with having all my family together but in reality it was a lot harder. Whereas I have got quite used to ignoring (hard as it is!) my sons bad behaviour, my husband is finding it much harder. We also had a trip to the mother in laws, which was difficult as we explained to her what we were doing and that for it to work, she must do the same. She wasn't convinced but did blame us for his behaviour in the first place... well, me to be exact... as I have "babied" my son too much and my daughter has always given into him. Charming!!
                            The weekend, however, passed without too much trouble and few tantrums but then again I'm not sure we both stuck to the technique 100%. My son was sent to bed a few times for being naughty but we did give him loads of praise for behaving.

                            Day 6

                            Monday and back to school! The morning passed again without too much hassle but after school was a much different story again. I tried and tried to ignore the bad behaviour but it is becoming much more difficult to do. I have had to start removing my son from the room if he is naughty and putting him in his bedroom, as he is getting very destructive and I haven't seen him like this for a long time. I have to sit and wonder if this is really worth all the hard work and the constant headaches!

                            Day 7

                            Nightmare!! I didn't get my son to nursery today. Bad mother, I know. He was so badly behaved that I couldn't even get him ready for 1pm. I feel really stressed today and have spent much of the day in tears. My husband returned from work to find me only just dressed and made up (2.30pm) as I'd had such a bad day. I just sat there in tears saying that I couldn't cope any more. As a punishment for my son's behaviour, I took his favourite teddy bear off of him and put it in the bin (my husband took it back out and put it in the washing machine later on... I was determined not to but my son has had it and slept with it since the day he was born. I wont be telling him it's not gone though!). This seemed to work! He was much better behaved and didn't want to lose any more of his toys but even so, I am now quite disheartened and wondering if this is really going to work?

                            Day 8

                            My son's behaviour this morning was much better but when my husband picked him up from school, he was quite badly behaved (what is going on at his school that is making him like this every afternoon?). As it had worked so well the day before, my husband took away one of his toys - his beloved spidersapian. He was not impressed! His behaviour did improve though and we continued to over praise him for his good behaviour, even though we aren't actually completely ignoring his bad behaviour any more.

                            Day 9

                            I seem to have had a breakthrough!! I'm not sure quite how though! I had my nephew over to stay last night and this morning he was extremely badly behaved (and I thought my son was a live wire!). My son was brilliant and behaved amazingly, doing everything I told him to. He ate all his dinner no problem. I explained to him that I couldn't keep putting up with his bad behaviour anymore (did he want to be like his cousin? He said he didnt!) and sure enough, when I picked him up from school he was really well behaved again. I praised absolutely everything that he did and he was determined to be my "big, good boy". However, if he did do something naughty (we all have slip ups!), I told him that wasn't being a big, good boy and he then said sorry and tried his best to be good for me. One of the best days I've ever had with him and we spent ages having "big hugs"!

                            Day 10

                            Today my son has been determined to be as good as he was yesterday. Again I've struggled as I have looked after my nephew again this afternoon and they fight like cat and dog. My son actually bit my nephew at one point, which he has never done before. I told him off and said I was disappointed in him for not being a big, good boy. Apart from that though he has been really good and I think he is really making an effort now.

                            What have I learnt so far?

                            I could carry on with my diary for weeks so that you can see how it's going, but that would make this review some kind of a record I think!! I think out of the 10 days you can get a real idea of how this parenting technique works and also the downsides to it. I have come to the conclusion that none of these techniques are set in stone even though I was told I HAD to stick to it 100%, and you have to find the way that works best for your child. I have realised that praising my son (overly!) for his good behaviour and telling him that he's not being my big, good boy when he is bad works for me (so far...). I cannot completely ignore the destructive behaviour that we got at the beginning and yes, it was only a few days, but I could not cope with that at all. I felt that it was better if I still praised him when he was good but told him that his bad behaviour was not acceptable. At the end of the day, it takes a while for a child to realise that they are not behaving in an acceptable way if you don't tell them - although I'm sure he knew he was being naughty! But in telling him how much his behaviour upset me and that I wanted him to be a good boy, he instantly stopped his bad behaviour and started trying to please me in order to get all the praise he did when he was behaving. I think he likes all the attention he is now getting and is trying his hardest to get it!

                            I am glad I tried this particular technique, even though we had some really hard days and I will update this review in the future to let you all know if it is still going well.

                            By the way, I still haven't found any information about this particular technique on the internet, but the nurse I spoke to in the beginning is supposed to be providing me with some information soon, so I can also add this at a later date. I hope my review will help any of you having problems with your child's behaviour... and remember, if you start this early, it will be a lot easier! I only wish I had done it from day one.

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                              02.03.2008 23:39
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                              Should our young be the responsibility of the whole community?

                              There had been 17 reported cases of young people around the Bridgend area of South Wales taking their own lives, in just over a year. I'm not sure if this number can be considered an epidemic - the police emphatically deny that this is the case, although some members of the community involved would argue that clearly it is. Epidemic or not, it is apparent that there is a problem in South Wales.

                              What could be the cause of so many young people in one area committing suicide? That is the question on everybody's minds. It has been confirmed by South Wales police that a number of the young people involved were using an internet social networking site, popular with teens around the UK.

                              Many have blamed the media and it's so called "sensationalist reporting" where is this so called sensationalism? I have not seen it in any newspaper that has reported these tragic deaths

                              The last victim found was Jenna Parry, 16. A look at her Bebo site entitled "RIP Jemma Parry", tells a tale in itself. There are so many messages from people devastated by her death. Heartbroken friends and family fill her page with dedications, declaring their love for her and stating how much they miss her. Dedications are posted daily. This is understandable in some ways, of course her family and friends want to be close to her and to share their grief. It seems that internet sites now play a big part in the uniting of grief. But, there are also dedications on Jemma's site from people who never knew her at all, yet they wish to comment on her death. This seems a little odd to me.

                              Did these young people's tragic endings get them the attention that they craved but never received when they were alive? If this is the case, it seems a bizarre sense of reasoning. Once dead, they are no longer in a position to appreciate this attention.

                              Did these young people feel unloved and undervalued in their short lives? Do we as parents let our children know how precious they are? How valued they are? Do we spend enough time making sure that they know that we believe in them? Encouraging them to realise their ambitions and chase their dreams? Or do some of our young feel trapped by society and their lives? Do some tragically just see unemployment or a low paid job and breeding as their lot?

                              I read so many comments and hear so many people talk about our young full of condemnation, scorn and disbelief. Reports of achievements in the newspaper are either belittled, treating with suspicion or just completely ignored. Yet, reports of crimes committed by our youth get far much more attention, even if it is not positive. Are we teaching our kids the wrong message here as a society? It seems that we are saying try hard to achieve something and you will get scorned or ignored, do something bad or illegal and you have our attention.

                              A poster here recently said something that made so much sense. Our youth should be the responsibility of the whole community and be made to feel valued and empowered. Attitudes need changing throughout every generation of our community, not in just our young.

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