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Just my random midnight thoughts.

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I am having a hard time these days. There’s so much around me (in terms of parenting strategies) that makes me feel really uncomfortable and frankly, angst has entered my life like a ravage beast.

 

It all started with this.

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(gif via: http://screencrush.com/mean-girls-gifs/)

 

I mean, why? Why is it that we have reached a moment in time where we need to reward a child for e v e r y t h i n g. Just for the record, my rewards are limited and I delve out reality checks like its free candy. To their annoyance I often say “well done! You’re going to get a…………  HUG for that!”

 

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I’ve always said that I am not an expert and can only use my 10 years of parenting – and ofcourse every child is different and each parent needs to work accordingly. Now that that disclaimer has been said, let me move on

 

It seems like the tide has shifted. These days, if you do not co-sleep/breast feed until 2/not shout/become gluten + dairy + sugar free mum and dad’s, you are ostracized. And don’t even get me started about lunchboxes. There are gadgets out there that can cut the sandwhich into a friggin castle and and carriage. Madness.

 

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The above items are NOT fake. I am not even making this up – I found each of these items at my local mall. People are actually buying these things.

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Guess what peeps? MY KIDS SLEEP ALONE IN THEIR OWN BEDS. ALL ALONE. Yep, they have done so since they were ummmm… BORN. And, shock horror they are fine. (Well as fine as a 9, 7 and 3 year old can be) Yes, when one of my children are sick or complains of being scared, then they jump into my bed but it is a ‘sometimes’ thing. And, I am fine with that. Am I loving them less? Am I teaching them that they are not to be close to mummy and daddy? Am I inadvertently ruining their compassion levels for the rest of their lives?

The answer to that my friends, is a fierce and passionate:  ‘dear-professors-and-judgemental-new-age-mums: get over yourselves’.

Then I read this:

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^Can you believe it? This is a book called “How to parent mindful children.”  Becoming mindful is an art that most adults are still grasping, it is a lifelong journey. Why the heck are we starting with these young kids by getting them to smell chocolate and raisins? The world has gone mad.

I don’t accept that there is a perfect way to parent, just like I do not allow anyone to tell me there is a wrong way, also. Safety and health are paramount and everything else is sprinkles on a sundae.

Let me tell you what I do accept: education. And learning. And understanding what makes (or can make) you a better parent. NOT what makes the child a better child. Right? Right.

 

Over and out,

M.

 

PS:

Check out these links for some pretty cool and funny and honest and pretty darn good advice parenting.

 

http://www.findingjoy.net/

 

http://www.scarymommy.com/

 

http://www.TheOrangeRhino.com/

 

http://BabySideburns.com/

 

http://www.twocannoli.com/

 

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image1.PNG-3Hey there young man who happens to be my firstborn, the kid that made me a mum, the lover of most things I DON’T like and one who truly keeps me on my toes,

You asked me yesterday why I was always teaching you things. I was offended for 3 minutes but then I realised that is just the way you are – honest.  I took a moment to reflect and realised that I must seem like a blabbering, crazy, woman/dictator in your life. So I have reverted to my comfort zone. WRITING.

 

Bear in mind as you read this, I love you but you drive me nuts.

 

[PLEASE NOTE: All lessons to be learnt are highlighted in bold. I know how often you claim to be “bored” so please feel free to just take in the highlighted parts. (Or, you can shock me and read the entire thing).]

 

Here we go.

 

I was 20 when I got married. By the time I was 21, I had you. In fact you came 1 month before our first wedding anniversary! Back then, I was the first amongst my circle of friends to be having a baby. And I really, truly thought it would be a walk in the park. Parenthood is like trekking through the Amazon jungle. In the dark. Without shoes.

 

Naively, I didn’t read many books about pregnancy, birth or beyond and regrettably I went into parenthood resisting the natural callings of being a mum. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with knowledge.

 

Admittedly, I suffered from what I now know as Hypermesis Gravidarum (and then suffered again with your sister and younger brother). So in fairness to me, for 36.5 weeks I was what your dad would call “a zombie”. Daddy was amazing, despite having no idea what was going on. When you become a husband/dad, the power of empathy is intense. In fact, empathising with anyone’s plight is humbling. Try it.

 

No body around us had had sickness like this, and consequently, I just “put up with it”. Never “just put up with something”. Find answers, ask ask ask!

 

And suddenly, we were a family of 3. I became responsible for another human being! You occupied my heart and mind 24/7. You became our guinea pig. You were the tester to our parenting skills, and you still are. You will always be the first in our family. Please share your life experiences with your siblings.

 

And this next part is where I say sorry. I’m sorry that you will have to endure this, probably foIMG_2880r the rest of your life. I am sorry that it will always be asked of you “to look after your brother and sister”. Or “Come on son, your older than him/her, just give it to her/him”. Or “Please set a good example to your siblings.” And so on. Please set a good example to your brother and sister.

 

I kid you not, at 8 months old I had you signed up to gymbaroo and Osteopathy sessions. I even decided that the usual kindergarten wouldn’t do, and would drive 40 minutes to a Montessori Kinder. F O U R T Y minutes. And because I didn’t want you to whinge, I would bring the portable DVD player along with us (this is of course pre- amazing – iPhone -days). Don’t make life harder than what it already is. 

 

And then there was the whole sleep thing. I just never got it and ultimately we suffered together. By the time I “chose” to put us on a routine, I was so strict that life became boring. I needed to you to eat, sleep and drink at the exact time of the day, every day. And if something clashed with our timetable, then we simply would not compromise. Routine is helpful, but there is always an exception to the rules.

 

Of course listening to a million different opinions DOES NOT help. Like “oh, you should stop breast feeding, he’ll sleep through the night quicker on formula.” You were 4 weeks old when I stopped you from nursing. How rude of me to suddenly “need” you to sleep through the night at 4 weeks of age. First listen to your gut instinct. Then ask your mother. And THEN research. In. That. Order.

 

And then I heard that reading is great for the baby, so, rain, hail or shine I dragged out those books. Often you would kick and scream and want to “play”, but I was determined. How mighty of me to enforce something that you would end up loving, when I let you be? Everything happens in good time.

 

You were 2 when your sister was born. And suddenly you had to “be quiet, your sister’s sleeping”. Because she too came early (by 27 days), suddenly you were placed in a big bed! There wasn’t any warning, chat or even a slight indicate that you were getting evicted from your room. Communication is important.

 

At the park, you loved the swing. More than anything I have ever seen. But I would always set you a limited time on the swing. Timers are for baking, exams and random game apps on the iPad. Not for things like having fun on the swings.

 

The thing is son, first children will always be (possibly) for the rest of time, the same for each parent. They will always be the ‘unknown’. You are a big reason of why I now parent your siblings the way I do and thanks for that. When your little brother chucks the biggest tantrum, I breathe and remember – this shall pass.

 

So before you think that your childhood/infanthood was sh*thouse can I take the pleasure to remind you of some things I did for you?

– We lined up for 2 hours once, to get Ben 10’s signature at some show I paid a gazillion $ to watch. TWO HOURS.

– You have never missed a birthday party. I call it First Child Syndrome. (Your baby brother got a home made cake on his 1st birthday).

– Homework time is entirely dedicated to you and the betterment of your education. Your sister gets the leftover time I have before I need to prepare dinner.

– I once sat on the plane floor, while you took my entire seat to sleep. It was an 8 hour flight. You’re welcome.

 

And so, I can choose to look back and feel that hindsight is so painful. But I am here to tell you: hindsight is wonderful. Live, learn, discover, learn again and move on.

 

Now please stop hatin’ on the fact you are the eldest when in fact you boss those siblings around and you love it.

 

Forever, mummy xx

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My kids walked in from school today, at 3pm as usual, and *shock horror* I was busy.

I was not at the door, ready to greet them, nor did I rush to their needs. I decided that it is OK to not give my children 100% of my attention all the time.

Now while some people will read the above sentence and want to call Social Services, let  me explain.

You see, I have tried all sorts of parenting – hands on parenting, co-parenting, organic parenting and old fashioned parenting. I’ve tried “talk to my kid for an hour before they go to bed so that they feel loved” and “pack only super-foods in their lunch box.” I’ve warned my husband to be “alert” when they are around and that we must NEVER be on our phones/computers/iPads and must absorb their presence. Yes, I said those very words.

And then I realised there is a tiny, tiny word that gets lost in parenting these days. Balance.

Balance can sort out the worst of days and can ease everyone’s guilt. People should try it more often.

Balance means that when your kid scoffs 5 Oreo biscuits, you remember the last 14,570 days of super-clean eating that has happened.

Balance means that bedtime can sometimes be a simple “good night love you” to your kid and that. is. all.

Somehow, with the plethora of articles and philosophies about parenting available to read and the shift in parenting styles to suit the 21st century, mothers and fathers have become inclined to always be on ALERT and this is a bad thing. A VERY BAD THING.

We will raise bad kids, folks.

I did NOT have a lunch box that looked like this when I was growing up:

 

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I had a cheese sandwich, some CC’s, a prima and a whizz fizz. And while I recognise that healthy eating is imperative and I strongly believe + maintain it, I will not succumb to cutting my kid’s sandwich in the shape of aeroplane because it looks “cute”. Nope. Won’t do it.

I am also done with the gazillion after school activities. Since my first child was born, I was always doing some class or signing them to some activity. It was freak-ing exhausting and I felt like a taxi driver. So now, I make my children decide on 1 or 2 fave things to do and THAT.IS.IT. Oh, and if they don’t show me over the top enthusiasm towards that particular activity – we quit.

Speaking of quitting, I was in a moral dilemma late last year. My 7 year old decided that she no longer liked Gymnastics. I’ve invested 3 years into classes and equipment and the ball breaking effort of doing her hair so perfectly for her classes and then one day, just like that she says “I don’t like Gymnastics anymore”. So for a week I tossed between: should I let her quit (and therefore teach her that quitting is OK), or do I force/bribe/blackmail her into continuing because I bloody love seeing all the tricks she can do?

In the end, folks, she quit. Was I sad? YES. Was I sad because I was losing a potential Olympic Gymnast? Nope.

I’m no psych, but I just have a feeling that being on ALERT for our children will decline their level of independent activity. And by independent I mean “it’s OK that mum is not watching you do the 62,534th cartwheel”.

Again, I must stress to those that forming a negative opinion right now, there is a balance. Let’s not chuck our kids on the street and say “GO FORWARD CHILD AND FEND FOR YOURSELF!” (imagine a heroic voice), but rather “I am here and I love you, but if your brother/sister has hit/annoyed you – work it out yourselves.”

It goes without saying that some days the balance is shifted more to one side – a sick child, an assignment due in the next day, whatever – then, by all means, we should get on board and help.

But if my kid cannot understand that mummy has a personality and that sometimes mummy has needs too, then I think I have failed as a parent.

Just my Tuesday thoughts.

Till next time

Be happy.

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My best friend came to Dubai and she was only here for 2 short days. She’s an adventure junkie and loves to travel outside her comfort zone, so I planned an unbelievable 48 hours.

Here I present to you:

THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI ON YOUR SHORT TRIP.

DAY 1.

I picked her up and bought her to my side of town, a place called Jumeirah Beach Residence otherwise known as JBR. This place has had a major renovation/rejuventaion (still going) and is spectacular to visit. With an endless choice of cuisine (there’s well over 100) let your tastebuds choose. In this particular case, bestie and I went to the new area of JBR called The Beach. (I know, creative right?) The Beach is a new complex which has an outdoor cinema, a large grass area, a playground, indoor cinemas, heaps of showers and bathrooms, prayer facilities and of course a zillion restaurants. All overlooking, yep you guessed it… The beach!

 We ate at Operation falafel and devoured every last bite. Their food is amazing.

After breakfast, we took a short drive to one of the best malls in the world. The Mall of the Emirates is famous for it’s shopping, but my friend and I were there for one reason only – to escape the heat and SKI.

SKI DUBAI:  This place is visible from the moon, I reckon. The mall is weirdly shaped because of the ski slope necessary to make Ski Dubai as believable as possible. And trust me when I say, it’s just like going to the snow. The service is impeccable, you get every single item from the one place (nearly all of it inclusive in price) and then you choose the package you desire. We knew we had a long while (both hubby’s were watching the kids) so we purchased the Super Pass and booked ourselves in to… MEET THE PENGUINS!!!! So this is what we did for well over 4 hours:

We, went on all the rides dozens of times ( The bullet was my fave). We hugged and got a kiss from the beautiful penguins. We had a hot chocolate at the bar in the middle of the snow. And we yearned for warmth. So off with the ski clothes and back into the mall.

TIME TO SHOP: We were starving but couldn’t resist to have dessert first. So we demolished heaps of cinnabons. They look like this:

Then we went to shops like – H&M, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Debenhams, we got our makeup done (for free) at Harvey Nicholls, we went into Chanel, Burberry, Prada and LV (it’s cool getting doors opened for you by serious looking security guards) and then gawked at the massiveness of Carrefour. With our hands full, it was time for Dinner.

(LATE) DINNER: You can’t book a table at The Cheesecake Factory but the wait is well worth it. We were given a cute booth and the menu was colossal. 10/10 for taste. And the cheesecake… we went for White Chocolate and Raspberry Truffle cheesecake. YUMMY!

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DAY 2:

Time for some Waterpark action.

aquaventure_Aquaventure at Atlantis hotel is perfect. It is large enough that you will need 500 hours to take everything in, but we were there for 2 reasons.

This and this.

The ride was perfect for our adrenaline seeking selves and swimming with the dolphins was magical. There is a 30 minute chat with the dolphin handlers (did you know they hire people from all over the world?! what a job!) and then into the water we went. The dolphins are super smart, friendly and very fast. I couldn’t keep my eyes open while going on a ride on their back!

Because we were time restricted, we left Aquaventure and headed downtown. Normally, this is not advisable ( we were buggered!!!!), but in this case there was no choice.

Downtown Dubai is lit up like no other city in the world.

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It is the home to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall and of course 10,000 other people enjoy downtown too, so make sure you do NOT drive there between 5-8pm. You will be advising the road, due to traffic.

Arriving at Dubai Mall, we went ice skating. There are a variety of skills on the Ice Rink so don’t worry and don’t feel self conscious. They have lively music, and help is available to little kiddies too.

After ice skating, we went to the Dancing Fountains. At 6pm, lines open for the Abra cruise, which (for a small fee) takes you on a little tour of the fountains and parks in a unique position to watch the show. The Show consists of a fountains dancing to the melody of a song. It is truly genius.

Afterwards, we ate at the following places for the following reasons:

The Social House : the Wagyu + mushroom Bolognaise is superb

Laudree : Because you can’t get enough macaroons in life

Pierre Herme : As above

– Cookies from Ben’s Cookies: Because the line isn’t long for no reason.

– A red velvet cupcake from The Magnolia Bakery : Because appearing on Sex and the City is enough to make you go there

– A rainbow slice, bubblegum cake from The Hummingbird Bakery: enough said.

We then went to the top of the world at Burj Khalifa. What. A . View.

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We said goodbyes and of course i reminisced about much there is to do in Dubai. I’ve complied some below.




MADINAT JUMEIRAH

Bec Judd recently visited this place. Check out her blog here. This place is my ultimate fave hangout – cafes, cars, lounges, shisha, having dinner on the beach and much much more is all available. Don’t forget to have afternoon tea at Fayrooz.

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     BURJ AL ARAB

OK, so it is the world’s only 7 star hotel and it’s clear why. We stayed here once. I know. ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE!!!!! And go to here to read my experience.

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   SKYDIVE DUBAI

Ronaldo, Rita Ora, Paul Van Dyk, Don Diamont, Usher, Felix Baumgartner, Shah Rukh Khan, Swedish House Mafia, Cristine Reynes, Akon, Michelle Rodriguez are some names that have taken the lunge. These are some images of the view – can you even handle?

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  DESERT SAFARI

A must do! There are many options – dune bashing is a fave of ours and kid friendly (above 10).

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Here are some links to some of my faves:

http://www.platinum-heritage.com

http://www.desertsafaridubai.com

https://www.arabian-adventures.com/en/tours-and-safaris/index.aspx

 

Till next time,

be happy.