Ever since we found out we were expecting number two, I couldn’t help but feel guilt for our first born. He has been so used to having all of my time, being the center of attention and just getting all the cuddles he wants. But life with a newborn and a toddler won’t be easy, and his little world will all just change over night, and I can’t help but feel so guilty for him in the pit of my stomach! He is the one that made me a mummy, he’s the one that has taught me everything I know about parenting and babies and my love is so strong for him. We have been inseparable from the moment he was born. Now things are going to start changing and he won’t be the ‘baby’ anymore, and it breaks my heart. He is growing up in the blink of an eye. We will bring this baby in with all the love and care you can imagine, but just that deep down feeling of guilt I can’t shake. I’m so excited for this new chapter and bringing a tiny new life in to our family, but what happens when the attention shifts from our first born to the new baby? As he is only a toddler himself he can’t expect to know what is happening and who this new pink wrinkly baby is who has changed his life over night. I wish mum guilt wasn’t I thing, I now find myself giving him so much more attention, so many more cuddles because I know with a new born we won’t have as many chances for all these precious one on one moments.
I will treasure them all, all of your giggles, all of the stories we read, all the bathtime fun, all the cuddles, all those happy moments you just bring every single day.
Nobody likes tantrums neither the parents or the children, but no matter what we do they are hard to avoid. Tantrums can occur at any age (not just the terrible twos) and it can be caused by a range of factors. I hate hate hate when darragh is upset and frustrated so I do anything to avoid them happening.
- Sleep is so important for the child and the parent (even if it is hard to get). I pray each night before I go to sleep that I will get at least 7 hours!! Sleep breeds sleep so I always ensure Darragh gets an afternoon nap and also an early bedtime.
- Spending time with your child one on one is really beneficial as they can sometimes act out if they feel that they haven’t got as much of your attention that is needed. When I notice he is beginning to change his behavior I’ll often try and give him as much positive attention as I can.
- Distraction Distraction Distraction.. if I can sense a tantrum coming on I’ll try and divert his attention and distract him. This often prevents the tantrum ever happening!! (Mom win) Reading stories calms him down and it’s time for us together on our own.
- ALWAYS make sure you have snacks!!!! Snacks can prevent anything, they are my magical tool especially when we are out and about.
- I tend to ignore bad behavior unless it’s necessary, as I often think bad behavior can stem from the reaction you give or tiredness/hunger.
Tantrums can happen, as much as we try and avoid them. (Noooooo!!!) But the way in which we deal with them can change the situation.
Although it’s hard to get the chance to read a book, with a crazy toddler running around. I always find that reading just before I go to sleep, calms me down in preparation for settling down for the night. It takes my mind off stress that has bothered me throughout the day, allowing me to clear my mind for a nice rest. Since becoming a mum I have thoroughly enjoyed reading parenting books (with a twist). Here are some of my favs I have enjoyed throughout pregnancy/motherhood.
- Parenting the sh*t out of life (made me laugh so much, even when I was sleep deprived)
- The Unmumsy mum Diary
- Happy Mum, Happy Baby
- Hurrah for Gin
- Gina ford contented little baby (Perfect for finding a routing that suites you and baby)
- How to grow a baby and push it out (Perfect to read during pregnancy)
- How to grow a baby Journal (Lovely to look back at after pregnancy, and I thoroughly enjoyed filling it in).
If you aren’t a fan of physically reading a book there is other alternatives such as audio books or reading it through a mobile device/tablet. It also may be cheaper doing it this way. Although I prefer the traditional way to read books as I can always keep them and hand them down to friends or family to enjoy.
If a little boy wants to play with a doll, what is the big problem. Similarly if a girl wants to play with cars and blocks, why insist that she plays with dolls and prams?
One day he may want to become a father and will need life skills like these to look after his children. Maybe we shouldn’t create this alienated culture that prevents boys from playing with these type of toys. Maybe one day she will want to become a bus driver, and the love for this was seen in childhood when she wanted to play with vehicles. Maybe one day you’ll want your son, grandson, nephew or friend to learn how to cook? Then why discourage them from playing with kitchens and utensils if one day you will want them to gain this life skill?
Product marketing has effected most of the gendered stereotype placed on toys. It is seen that toys targeted towards girls are in pretty pink packaging while products for boys are in blue packaging. Many people won’t buy toys for boys if they are in pink packaging! why? Pink is a colour just like all the other colours in the rainbow. People buy girls predominately toys that are in pink packaging, why?
Toys are toys!
Children learn from us and this is where these habits stem from. We need to break these habits in order for this stereotype to end and let children be children. It doesn’t matter if Ben plays with a doll or pram. It doesn’t matter if Ellen likes to play with building blocks. They are playing, and playing with a range of toys is important. It widens their learning, ability to use different skills and most importantly they are having fun with what they want to play with. Children can make up there own minds on what toys they like to play with. If girls want to play with dolls, great. If boys want to play with cars, great. The most important thing is that they have the choice, they play with toys they want to play with not because we force that stereotype on to them.
Let children be children!
Being at home with a toddler all day can be a nightmare if there is no stimulation for them or anything exciting for them to explore! I always plan activities if we are having a stay at home day, as it makes everyone’s life a lot easier. Here are some activities we do to keep our toddler happy and content.
Bubbles are always are go t o distraction. They are cheap while providing hours of fun. Although trying to get your toddler to actually blow the bubbles may be a bit tricky, but bubble machines are an inexpensive alternative and great for sunny afternoons.
Painting is usually dreaded by parents as paint goes everywhere (we’ve been there) but instead of painting pictures, we put the paint in resealable food bags and Darragh enjoys moving the paint around the bag! It also leaves no mess, win-win.
Treasure baskets can be a great quite time activity. I like to find usual household objects that we have around the house and place them in a basket. Darragh spends a lot of time sorting through an exploring all the different objects he hasn’t seen before. (while asking “what’s that?” over and over again)
If we’ve been in the house and have ran out of ideas to keep him happy, bath time can be a great way to entertain him. We usually put all his balls from the ball pit in with him and some bath toys,
Sensory play can be a great entertainment for toddlers. We like to use colored spaghetti, using food dye. Its so simple and inexpensive to make. All you need is spaghetti, food colouring and food bags.
Dance parties always have our toddler running around laughing constantly. We love using the google home, to play songs while we dance like nobody is watching. (Let’s hope they aren’t anyway)
If all else fails, get some fresh air! Nothing beats playing outside, it’s our toddlers favorite thing to do!!
We have always encouraged reading since Darragh was a tiny baby and now it is his favourite activity to do. We often go down to our local library and take a few books out as it”s much more economical although we do have a few favourites at home. Encouraging your toddler to read from an early age can improve their speech development and give them more confidence when talking. I’ve listed our top ten favourites that we will always love.
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen- Being a childhood favourite of mine I couldn’t wait to introduce this book to Darragh, we even purchased it before he was born!
- I am Bear by Ben Baily Smith & Sav Akyuz – This book is great as it’s full of brightly coloured images, and the story line is pretty funny!
- Hooray for Fish by Lucy Coiusins – A colourful story from start to finish, this became one of our firm favourites. It’s a simple story for toddlers to understand, describing all different types of fish that could exist.
- Noisy Farm by Jessica Greenwell – This was a great book to encourage Darragh to recognize different animals and match them with their sounds. He loved pressing the sounds over and over again much to my delight!!!
- A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – Although this book is a bit complex for a toddler, we just love it Darragh will sit contently and listen to every word. It’s a book about animals and he loves pointing to each one and saying what it is! It also has a good lesson throughout it.