Category: Parenting

My Children Are So Different From Each Other

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I have talked about this before – about the fact that although my kids are raised roughly the same, they’re actually quite different. I have two kids, a girl and a boy (in that order).

When it comes to learning, my girl (who is now 6), prefers to stand back and take it in before attempting to do something.

My boy (who is 4), prefers to jump in and just give it a go.

I find it fascinating to watch them develop and grow so differently even though they’ve been raised exactly the same.

As a child, Chloe always loved role-playing with her toys (or things around her in her environment). Ronan did too, but not to the extent Chloe did.

Chloe is playing a game of “making a witches brew” and Ronan is lining up his trucks ready to clean them

She was always setting up some kind of scene, and then interacting with her toys (or whatever), creating a story.

Ronan prefers to line things up, or build things. One of his favourite things to do is line his cars up, or set them up in some kind of sequence.

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When our children are playing, they’re actually learning and forming cognitive structures in their minds.

Research shows that as children explore their play pattern fascinations, they are strengthening the existing connections between the neurons in their brains and building new connections.

The team over at Clever Play Hub have a quiz that you can take and you can discover your child’s play patterns, what they mean, and get ideas on how you can support their learning.

As a parent, it’s always nice to know that the way they’re playing isn’t just for fun (although it is), it’s also a crucial part of their development.

I took the quiz for Ronan and Chloe and was amazed at what it said:

If you’d like to find out how your children play, and how you can encourage their growth and development, be sure to check out the Clever Play Hub:

Thanks to the S-26 GOLD Toddler team for sponsoring this post – have loved finding out about my kids’ development and how they play!


 

Being Pregnant With My Second Child

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Before we had kids, I always knew I wanted more than one. In fact, I wanted at least 3.

Then I had one child and I said “two will be fine” HAHAHA … when I was experiencing horrible contractions, I remember saying “why did my Grandmother do this 9 times?!” …

Anyway, clearly the trauma of pregnancy, labour, and a newborn baby wasn’t enough to deter us – we got pregnant with our second when our first was 15 months old.

I was excited to be pregnant again, but an overwhelming guilt came over me.

I struggled a lot with my eldest when we were younger. Not because of her, but because of me and my mental state.

I felt like (and still feel like) I have a lot to make up with her for being so sad, and angry; even though she had no idea …

With number 2 on the way, I felt guilty that I was no longer going to be able to give her my full attention.

That my love for her would be split in half – between her and the second child.

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Being pregnant, with a toddler in tow, was difficult too. I had really bad morning sickness for the first 15 weeks, and it was extremely draining.

I was a stay-at-home-mum, and I didn’t really go anywhere with my girl – we didn’t really do play-dates, or mainly music, or play centre or ANYTHING.

I remember I visited my Mum and Dad nearly every single day, and would chat about how my Mum did when she was pregnant with us.

Mum got pregnant with my brother when I was only 3 months old – so she didn’t have a toddler running around. She had a legitimate baby still. I can’t even imagine what that’s like.

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Anyway, the guilt I felt for having another baby slowly went away because I got so distracted with being a parent, and being pregnant.

When Ronan was finally born, I realised that my love for my children isn’t split – it grows.

Love is such an overwhelming feeling too, when number 2 (or 3 or 4) comes into the mix, the love is amplified; and at times it feels too much.

I had such a different experience as a mother with Ronan though, compared to Chloe – but I’ll save that story for another time …


Being Pregnant With My Second Child

Things Mums Shouldn’t Feel Bad About

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In a world full of people telling us what to do as parents, I’m here to tell you that it’s ok.

As a parent, every man and his dog will tell you what they think is right, and wrong, and it can sometimes be very confusing. So I’m here to say a few things that us mums shouldn’t feel bad about…

  • Not connecting with your baby right away
  • Your body post baby
  • Rocking your baby to sleep
  • Wearing active-wear all day
  • Checking social media instead of watching your kids 24/7
  • Having a nap during the day, not because you need to but because you just want to
  • Being a little over-protective
  • Having post-natal depression
  • Not wanting to have sex, ever again
  • Formula feeding, breast feeding, WHATEVER feeding
  • Not wanting to be a stay-at-home-mum
  • Looking forward to going back to work
  • Having to go back to work
  • Putting your child into Daycare
  • Worrying about your kids
  • Can’t help out on school trips
  • Not having a clue as to what you’re doing in this crazy parenting gig.

Obviously there are TONNES of other things that you should definitely not feel bad about as a parent; but ultimately I want you to know that it doesn’t matter what you do – we are all trying to raise healthy, loving, accepting, and kind human beings.

Don’t sweat the small stuff on the way to achieving this <3


Things Mums Shouldn’t Feel Bad About

Mums confess to “The laziest thing I’ve ever done”

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As a parent, I feel I am ridiculously lazy. Or as I like to call it “being smart”.

I’ve put my kids to bed in their clothes for the next day (after a bath of course), made a whole bag of chicken nuggets for dinner (and that’s it); and more often than I like to admit I’ve been to lazy to go and put the washing in the drier, so I’ve had to wash it again (a few times.

So I took to my Parenting View Facebook Group (which you’re welcome to join), and put it to the Mums and Dads out there:

Finish this sentence (about parenting): “I was so lazy, one time I …”

Here are some of the hilarious responses (thank you ladies for allowing me to post these!):

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… threw out the sh*t covered singlet (instead of washing it – ain’t nobody got time for that)

… wiped my kid down with a baby wipe because I couldn’t be bothered giving her a bath

… put a box of toys in my room so when they get up at stupid o’clock I just lie here while they play with their “lost” toys.

… some times I give my kids cereal for dinner when I just cannot adult

… finished my sons homework – handwriting and all ? just once when it needed to be finished and he was outside somewhere ??‍♀️

… over-sprayed myself with perfume before going out so I didn’t have to change the clothes I had been wearing for 2 days.

… moved everything that looked like a mess into the bedrooms, and shut the doors when we had visitors so my house looked tidy

… I rinsed clothing in the shower with me and my child after he was sick on me at a young age

… I let my 10 year old eat a bowl of spaghetti, that she cooked herself in the microwave, for dinner

… watched kids TV because I couldn’t be bothered getting up and changing the channel

… hid all the dirty dishes in the oven when I had visitors coming

… texted my kid, who was in the next room, that dinner was ready

… stayed at my parents (with the kids) for the weekend so they could parent instead of me

… scooped up my daughters dinner she chucked on the floor and gave it back to her

… we all stayed in our pyjamas all day

… put the spare mattress on floor in lounge so kids could use it as a trampoline so I didn’t have to supervise them outside

… put a couple of towels over a wet bed and went back to bed, washed everything the next day

… forgot I had wet clothes in the hamper and when I finally got around to washing them they were al covered in mould so I threw them out

… dropped the kids off at school, came home and crawled back into bed till it was pick up time

… don’t have a shower ever day because I just get so busy with other things

… lay down on the floor and let my kids climb on me while I fell asleep

… just after I changed my child’s nappy, they did a nugget of a poo, so I just tipped it down the toilet and didn’t change the nappy

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Let’s be honest, most of these things are SMART, not lazy HAHAH … and hopefully you feel a little less alone after reading that!!! What’s the “laziest” thing you’ve ever done as a parent?

LET ME KNOW BELOW!


Mums confess “The laziest thing I’ve ever done as a parent”

Being Mum Can Be Overwhelming

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I posted this on Facebook the other day and I felt like it needed to be immortalised as a blog post here on my website – being Mum can be overwhelming.

It doesn’t even matter if Dad is around, somehow they always want Mum.

It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing this, but it can be so overwhelming.

When I need a moment to myself, even if my husband is around, my kids will actively seek me out.

  • I try to have a shower; they find me.
  • I am on the toilet; they find me.
  • I’m getting changed; they find me.

My husband can be right there and they will walk away to find ME to ask me a question.

Again, it’s truly wonderful knowing they love me so much but it can be utterly overwhelming.

Especially when I just need a moment’s peace.

This photo was taken when my girl was upset and she needed a cuddle. Apparently at that exact moment my son felt left out and needed to be close by too.

Even though Dad (my husband) was right there behind me in the kitchen, they both needed and WANTED me at the same time.

It’s nice to know there is no substitute for Mum, but it can be very overwhelming.

Have you experienced this? Let me know below!

Also, be sure to tune into The Parenting View podcast! Weekly episodes, airing every Wednesday.


BEING MUM

Discount Codes

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From time to time I am sent discount codes for my followers. I will only put the codes on here that are set up for as long as Happy Mum Happy Child is around (i.e. these are permanent).

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If you are interested in offering a discount code to the followers of Happy Mum Happy Child, please email me on maria@happymumhappychild.com.


DISCOUNT CODES

Believe It Or Not, I Am The Yelly Parent

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Believe it or not, I am the yelly parent.

I grew up around yelly parents (not my own) and I vowed never to be that parent, yet somehow I have turned into one.

I sometimes like to think it’s not my fault – I believe I am driven to that moment where I yell.

I calmly ask my kids to do something and it’s not until I’ve said it 5 times, given them a countdown and then finally YELLED, that they suddenly move their asses and do it.

It’s like they know they have to wait until I yell before they take me seriously; and it does get me down and I feel terrible for it.

I can be patient when I need to be, but honestly I get so sick of them not listening, sometimes I bypass the being nice and just surprise them with the full-on yelling.

When I go out in public, my kids KNOW I don’t want to yell but I’m getting over that so I have now started just yelling when I’m out too.

I do a mean glare-eye and can shut my kid down with a look, but SOMETIMES it doesn’t work …

So now, after getting down on their level and doing the glare, I will yell and IDGAF who hears.

If anyone asks who the bad cop is in our relationship, we BOTH are. Phil is actually probably calmer with the kids than I am, but when push comes to shove, he will yell to get his point across; or get them to listen.

Neither of us like it, but it turns out we just have to.

Does anyone else get down about the amount of yelling they do? How do you deal with it?

Add me on Snapchat: happymumnz


Believe It Or Not, I Am The Yelly Parent

Teaching Your Kids About What To Do In An Emergency

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I often wonder (and worry) what would happen in an emergency – what would my kids do? Would they know what to do? What if something happened to me and I couldn’t tell them?

I wrote about my concerns and reached out to the St John New Zealand organisation to see if they could help me put something together.

So here are some ways to teach your kids about what to do in an emergency:

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1. TEACH YOUR CHILD WHAT AN EMERGENCY IS

An “emergency” can be relative and to a child they might not understand unless you specifically explain it to them. Obviously under normal circumstances an adult will be dealing with an emergency situation, so for me it’s important my children know times when I can’t help:

  • if Mum (or another adult) is hurt or injured and cannot move and/or speak
  • if there is a lot of blood
  • if someone can’t breathe
  • someone trying to break into the house
  • a vehicle accident
  • a house fire

You may have to role play a few situations for them to understand exactly what you mean.

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2. TEACH THEM HOW TO CALL 111

This one was a tricky one for me because my cellphone has a lock on it, and we don’t have a house phone. A lot of you will also be in this situation, so you’ll need to teach them how to make an emergency call on your cellphone.

The St John New Zealand team have put together a catchy song to help children remember how to dial 111 in an emergency:

 

Here’s the official website for the 111 Ambulance Song. From here you can download it in different formats so that your kids can learn to sing along! Thanks Chris Sanders (Angel Star) for creating this!

It’s also important to tell your children not to call 111 UNLESS it is an actual emergency – so you’ll have to reiterate step 1 for that. Dialling 111 is no joke and your kids should know that.

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3. TEACH THEM HOW TO USE YOUR CELLPHONE

Each cellphone is different (unless you have an iPhone), so teach your kids how to make a basic emergency call.

The iPhone instructions are very simple (if the phone is locked):

  1. Press the Home button on the iPhone to trigger the passcode screen.
  2. Tap Emergency in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  3. Dial 1 1 1 and tap the green phone icon

If you have a different type of phone (other than an iPhone), then you will need to show them how to make an emergency call (which is the most basic type of call and can be done without having to unlock the phone).

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4. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN YOUR ADDRESS

I know that might seem ridiculous, but teach them your address – specifically how to spell your road name. If they can learn how to dial 111, they can learn the spelling of the road you live on.

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5. INTRODUCE YOUR CHILDREN TO YOUR NEIGHBOURS

In a society where we tend to stay to ourselves and not venture out beyond our own fence line, it is important to maintain that contact with the neighbours – especially for emergency situations. Take your kids to your neighbours house and introduce them and explain that you’re teaching them about emergencies and ask “if something was to go wrong, are you ok if my kids come over to get you?”.

Reaching out to your neighbours like this is excellent for emergencies and for both of you to know that you’re there for each other if need be.

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6. WRITE A LIST OF FAMILY NAMES & NUMBERS

I know some of your kids might not be able to read, but regardless it’s good to have a written list of your family members’ names and phone numbers. My daughter is 6 so can read basic words, so I would write a list that would say “Grandma” or “Granddad” and then write the phone number next to it.

Teach your children what each name / word means, and the number to dial. Show them how to make this call on the phone and/or on your cellphone.

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It can be quite daunting thinking about an emergency situation, especially when you have young kids who can’t help. My best piece of advice is to reach out to your neighbours and start a relationship with them. Don’t be a stranger because you never know when you might need their help.

And always chat to your kids about what to do so that it keeps it fresh in their minds.

Have you got any tips or tricks that are helpful when teaching kids what to do in an emergency?


Teaching Your Kids About What To Do In An Emergency

Things You Should Never Say To A Stay At Home Parent

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Oh so you’re just a mum?

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What do you do all day?

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Why is your house so messy? I thought you were home all day …

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You shouldn’t wear active-wear unless you’re exercising

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You guys must be rich if you can afford to stay at home

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When do you start back at your real job?

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I’d get so much done if I could stay home all day

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I would get so bored if I was at home

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Don’t you cook a three course meal every night? What else do you have to do?

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Don’t you want to do something else with your life? 

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You’ll probably want another child so you can keep staying at home eh?

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You must have so much free time

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Ultimately, whether you stay at home, or go to work – parenting is f’ing hard. Nobody has it easy. We all have our own struggles and nobody knows what we have to deal with in our own lives.

Are you a stay at home parent, or are you a working parent?


Things You Should Never Say To A Stay At Home Parent

The Lowdown: What To Do If A Child Chokes

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Kids put the weirdest things in their mouths; a lot of which aren’t even edible. When most kids are young, putting objects into their mouths is how they “test” an object out.

Whether the object is edible or not, babies and children can choke.

Recently there have been a few items in the news about children choking – one of which is on small easter eggs. Now the girl who choked was 5 1/2 years old, so you would think she would be ok, but chocking can happen to any of us.

If you want to read that news article – it is here. There is also this New Zealand Herald article about a child who had a grape get stuck in their throat.

From chocolate eggs, to grapes, to cherry tomatoes, to cut up apple; to even popcorn – children can choke on anything. Heck ADULTS can choke on anything.

You can’t watch a child 24/7, but it does pay to be aware that these kind of incidents can happen. So if you’re in a situation where a small object, or piece of food, is around your child, just keep an eye on them.

If your child was to choke, here is what you should look for and should do (as taken from the St John website):

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In partial airway obstruction the patient will be able to breathe and cough, although there may be a ‘crowing’ noise (stridor) as air passes through a narrowed space. Usually the patient can clear a small foreign body by coughing and, although the breathing may be noisy, air can still enter and leave the lungs. At this stage it is important to avoid giving back blows which may cause a foreign body to move and become a total obstruction.

Symptoms and signs – Not all may be present

  • Partial airway obstruction:
    • breathing laboured, gasping or noisy
    • some air escaping from the mouth
    • patient coughing or making a ‘crowing’ noise
    • extreme anxiety or agitation
  • Total airway obstruction:
    • the person will be unable to effectively cough, breathe or speak, with no air movement
    • the person will be making obvious efforts to breathe with in-drawing of spaces between the ribs and above the collarbones
    • the person may be clutching the throat with both hands (the universal sign for choking)

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Partial airway obstruction

How you can help

Never use back blows on a person who is able to cough effectively or breathe. 

Ask the patient ‘are you choking?’ to determine whether their airway is completely blocked. If they are unable to answer or make noise, treat as for total airway obstruction.

If they can answer or breathe:

1.    Reassure and encourage the patient

  • Stay with the patient until full recovery has occurred.  
  • Encourage the patient to cough and expel the foreign body. 

If the obstruction is not relieved – call for 111 an ambulance.

Note on Heimlich Manoeuvre

Life threatening complications associated with the use of abdominal thrusts (known as the Heimlich manoeuvre) have been reported in 32 case reports. Therefore, the use of abdominal thrusts is not recommended.

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Total airway obstruction

How you can help

Call 111 for an ambulance.

1.    If patient is conscious, give up to 5 back blows 

  • With an adult or child, standing or sitting (and leaning forward), and using the heel of one hand, give the back blows between the patient’s shoulder blades. 
  • Check between each back blow to see if the item has been dislodged.
  • Place a baby face down on your lap for the back blows. Ensure you support the baby’s head. Give firm back blows, checking between each to see if the item is dislodged.

2.    If unsuccessful, give up to 5 chest thrusts

  • With an adult or child, standing or sitting, wrap both arms around the patient, at chest level. 
  • Place one fist with the thumb side against the middle of the breastbone. 
  • Grasp that fist with your other hand and give up to 5, separate, inward and upward thrusts. 
  • Check between each chest thrust to see if the item has been dislodged.
  • Place a baby face upwards on a firm surface and give up to 5 sharp chest thrusts just below the nipple line, checking between each thrust.

The back blows and chest thrusts are given separately with a check after each one to see if the obstruction has been relieved. 

3.    If the obstruction has not been relieved 

  • Ensure an ambulance has been called.
  • Continue alternating back blows and chest thrusts until the ambulance arrives. 
  • If the person becomes unresponsive, begin CPR.

Note on Heimlich Manoeuvre

Life threatening complications associated with the use of abdominal thrusts (known as the Heimlich manoeuvre) have been reported in 32 case reports. Therefore, the use of abdominal thrusts is not recommended.

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Unresponsive patient

How you can help

  1. Call 111 for an ambulance.
  2. Quickly check the mouth
    • Use your fingers to remove any visible solid obstruction.
  3. Begin CPR
    • Begin CPR and continue until the ambulance arrives.

There may be some resistance to inflations at first until the object has been dislodged.

Note on Heimlich Manoeuvre

Life threatening complications associated with the use of abdominal thrusts (known as the Heimlich manoeuvre) have been reported in 32 case reports. Therefore, the use of abdominal thrusts is not recommended.

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Quick Video (British – dial 111 for New Zealand)

 


What To Do If A Child Chokes