Sure Start rocks! 

Peek a boo!

On Monday I had no childcare so I gladly took a day’s annual leave and looked forward to spending the day with my little lady.  That was until I remembered what a whirling dervish she is.  She has the attention span of a gnat and gets bored with an activity before she’s even finished getting the activity out of the box.  My romantic ideas of us playing happily on the rug all day faded before we had even eaten our Weetabix. What on earth was I going to do that would keep her entertained?  Enter our local Sure Start Centres!

What to do?

My mum usually takes her to a Sure Start group on Monday mornings so I decided to stick with the routine.  There was painting, play dough, chalk drawings, reading books, dressing up, playing inside and playing outside with sand and fake snow.  There really was something to keep even the whirliest of little whirlwinds entertained for couple of hours. The children got a healthy snack and we rounded off the sessions with a good old sing song (even if it was bloody Dingle Dangle Scarecrow which we have to sing on repeat in our house. I wish he would bloody dingle dangle off to be honest). We had so much fun that we ended up going to a Sure Start group that afternoon as well. Double bubble, double fun! 

Wonderful chaos 

In the midst of the wonderful chaos it struck me just how important these groups are. Parents have forged friendships, the children are learning how to interact socially and may be making friends they will know their whole lives (I met my oldest friend at play group when we were two).   The staff were amazing, they knew all the children by their first names and just generally let them be children and express themselves not bothering about the mess, insisting they wash their hands before snack and encouraging them to get involved with the different activities.

Busy, busy, busy

The heart of the community

It’s centres like this that are at the heart of our communities.  They are safe, free and accessible and bring people together: The lonely first time mum who needs to get out of the house because otherwise they wouldn’t get any adult conversation that day. The sure start breast feeding support group was a real life line for me in the early days.  I honestly don’t think I would have carried on if it wasn’t for the help from the feeding buddies and other mums, some of whom I’m still in contact with now. Sadly that group has been cancelled because of lack of funding which makes me feel for the mums missing out on that vital support. There’s the army of grandparents providing child care so parents can go back to work and the tired parents with three kids under four who just need a bit of a break and a safe space for their children to run off some steam.  It’s criminal that the Government has reduced it’s spending on early years development and that many centres have closed or face closure. I know that many community/social departments are stretched but surely it is crucial to give children the best possible start to avoid problems later on in life? 

I think sometimes there is a bit of a stigma attached to using these free services but there needn’t be and I would urge everybody to show their support and use their Sure Start centres because if the funding is cut then it will be all but impossible to get them back.

I really enjoyed my day, as did Willow.  We were both shattered by the end of it. Hats off to you guys doing this every week, I’ll be going back to work for a rest!

Do you use your local Sure Start Centres?  Leave me a comment to let me know which activities you like or how you feel about the cut in funding or if your local centre has been affected.

Speak soon,

Kat x

JakiJellz

 

Mummy Times Two

 

Mummuddlingthrough

 

 

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Walking girl

Come on daddy we’re going this way!

Willow has been walking for ages now but it struck me the other day as I watched her stomping around, pinballing off every surface just what a little independent lady she has become.  It’s funny because walking is such a ‘grown up’ thing to do but it makes her look even smaller in a way; our little doll totting around, exploring her world. More than any of the other milestones, sitting, crawling, sleeping through (oh wait, no that’s right we STILL haven’t hit that one) it was always walking that we couldn’t wait to get to.  I think in our naivety we thought it would make life easier as she wouldn’t get as frustrated and be able to reach things and get to what she wants easier.  Well, be careful for what you wish for! Here are my pros and cons of having a walker:

The cons

The constant falls, bumping heads on tables and chairs, accident forms sent home from nursery every other day, banged teeth and grazed chins (especially when she tries to run – instant face plant).  Nearly everything we own has been moved up to a higher level but there have been a few casualties: plants, candle holders, books and every day she can reach just that little bit higher standing on those tippy toes.  One of her favourite games now is ‘putting things in the bath’ which to be honest I leave her to when I’m getting ready for work as it keeps her quiet.  It’s always a nice surprise when you’re running late and your car keys and work pass find a new home isn’t it? The baby gates have really naffed her off and she tries daily to figure them out, testing them for weaknesses like the

One of many bumped heads – poor baba
Velociraptors trying to escape  in Jurassic Park.  She has also become obsessed with the cupboard of doom under the kitchen sink which basically houses everything that could cause her serious injury.  Now that she has been told in no uncertain terms that she is not allowed to go in there she sees it as a challenge and, when she’s not busy with the baby gates, will sneak off and try to access the forbidden cupboard.  New house rule: if she’s gone quiet and you can’t hear those little stomps, then she is most definitely up to no good.

The pros

Out of the house she can roam to her heart’s content. It’s so wonderful to follow her round the park or beach and let her set the pace and go here, there and everywhere at random, hovering in case she makes a bee line for a dog turd (everything is treasure to her). She also loves to dance on those leggies!  Those little squats as she bobs along to the music at home, nursery, Aldi, the doctors when he’s trying to listen to her chest; this girl moves to her own beat.  I love hearing from nursery how she’s walked to the library with them or been toddling round the garden exploring.  It must be so much better for her than bum shuffling around or waiting for someone to move her.  Walking has made her independence shine through. Quite often now she’s content to wander about and play on her own for a while, which in all honesty, is marvellous because some days I just don’t want to play tea parties for three hours but I do love to watch her make believe games and wonder what is going on in that beautiful little head of hers. 

These shoes were made for walking….
Shoes!  Every girl needs a fab pair of shoes. She’s rocking her red Clarkes Mary Janes and will soon have her first pair of wellies so we can add puddle splashing to the pros (come on, who doesn’t like splashing in puddles?)

Her little uncertain, toddling steps are just the start of her life’s adventures. Who knows where her feet will take her in this big wide world?  (I can still remember mum’s face when I told her I was off to travel through Thailand and Cambodia by bus on my own – this is so going to happen to me when she’s older isn’t it?) So although every now and then I do feel a pang and want my tiny baby back, I can’t help but bust with pride at my little feisty, independent  walking girl and feel excited for all the fun and adventures the future will bring her.

Are there any particular milestones you have enjoyed reaching or marked in some way?  Leave me a comment to let me know.

Speak soon,

Kat x

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The Rocking Motherhood Challenge

I’ve been wanting to do this challenge for ages so thank you to the lovely Mrs Mummy Harris for the nomination. We’re all rocking mama hood in our own individual way every day, I think we just don’t realise it! It was nice to take stock of my parenting rollercoaster so far and have a think about what I do that rocks. We should all be very proud of

My world

ourselves for doing this insanely hard ‘job’ and celebrate our achievements (even if it is just remembering to brush your teeth in the morning!) You all rock mamas!

 

When I was thinking about my ten things I asked Anthony what he thought. He ummed and ahed for a while then said (in all seriousness) “You look good pushing a pram.” WTF? Thanks very much mate.  Fourteen months in and that’s all you can think of!  For the sake of our relationship I didn’t press him any further and came up with my own ideas:

 

 

 

  1. I’ve found my inner lioness. Not that I was shy and retiring before but now I have a cub to protect and god help anyone who tries to hurt the most precious thing in my life.
  2. We love a good kitchen disco. Every time a great tune comes on the radio we crank up the volume and have a boogie on the lino. We are quite literally rocking it.
  3. I breastfed until Willow was nine months old when it came to a natural end. I’d still be doing it now but I let her lead when she wanted to stop. It was a difficult and tiring journey at first but I’m super proud of myself for sticking with it.
  4. I stopped listening to ‘advice’ from other people about how to parent. I know everyone always had the best of intentions but once I concentrated on doing what was best for us and our family, things got much easier and calmer for everyone.
  5. I work full time but my job is important to me and I can be both mama and career girl. It’s hectic and yes there is guilt about leaving her but she’s happy and thriving at nursery. I think we all need our own time to feel like ‘us’ no matter how you do it. For me that’s work and I feel like I’m setting a good example for Willow when the time comes for her to have a family and has to make decisions about work.
  6. Equal parenting. Anthony and I share the load across all aspects of bringing Willow up and I think I rock for doing this. I can’t do it by myself and am the first to admit it. Sharing our responsibilities means that Anthony has built up an amazing bond with Willow, particularly because we were lucky enough for him to take some paternity leave.
  7. I am the sugar police so we hardly have any sugary food in our house (except for Anthony’s secret stash of biscuits) so I’m proud that Willow loves healthy food. She points at the fruit bowl all the time (so much so we had to move it because she wanted to eat bananas and mandarins for every meal) and loves Sunday dinners because of all the different types of veg in her bowl. I don’t enjoy picking rogue peas out of the carpet though.
  8. I’m proud to say that Willow is brought up in an environment of tolerance and love – shove off Trump! It’s really important to us that she grows up to respect differences and that everyone is entitled to love who they want and follow any faith they want without fear of persecution. My little girl will know her worth and her right to achieve all her dreams regardless of what anyone says.
  9. We look out for new experiences for Willow as much as we can whether it’s a trip to a farm (she loves animals!), the beach (she loves sand!), an aquarium (she loves fishes!) or a nature park (she loves the mud!) Wherever we go we let her explore her surroundings and try and let her lead where she wants to go and what she wants to do. We love watching her taking everything in, touching things and squealing with delights at new sounds, tastes and sights. We’re planning on taking her to her first festival this summer – I’m so excited!
  10. I’m not a perfect mama, nor do I strive to be because therein lies the route to madness. I’ve made my fair share of parenting mistakes which Willow has largely forgiven me for. I rock because sometimes I just have to say “OK, that was a bit shit”, learn from it and move on. No point crying over spilled breast milk!

So that’s me!

The Rules:

1. Thank the blogger that tagged you and link to their blog.

2. List 10 things you believe make you a good mother (this is just a guideline. It can be more or less than 10. I really don’t mind).

3. Tag 3 – 5 bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.

4. Grab the #RockingMotherhgood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.

Here are my nominations:
Emilie at Parenting With Biscuits

Selena at My Rambling Thoughts

Katie at The Sqirmy Popple

Don’t forget to tag me in your post when you publish it so I can have a read and share!

Kat x

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Mummuddlingthrough

 

 

Morning madness (why do I never learn….?)

Ah the morning ‘routine’ (I use the term loosely). Every week day morning I’m whirling around in a vortex of mascara, nappies, dry shampoo, Weetabix and nursery bags, sucking up anything and everything in my path.  The whirlwind eventually spits me out a harassed woman on the edge at my desk by 9am feeling like I’ve done a day’s work already.

And every god damn day I convince myself I’m going to be organised. Enough of the madness; tomorrow I will be prepared.  Here’s what I promise myself I will do that evening:

  • Iron my work clothes
  • Wash and dry my hair
  • Make a packed lunch
  • Get Willow’s nursery clothes out ready
  • Pack her nursery bag
  • Get into bed by 10pm

What could possibly go wrong?

By 5pm my resolution is waning, I’m tired, I’m hungry, I have to collect Willow from nursery and the whole play, tea, bath and bed charade is looming in front of me.  So here’s what actually happens:

  • We usually don’t get to eat our evening meal until after 8pm, fraught from  bedtime negotiations and attempting to put the house back together.
  • I’m still up at 11pm in a vegetative state watching some rubbish on TV mentally chastising myself that I should have gone to bed an hour ago. I still don’t move. Hair is not washed or dried. Idiot.
  • I have to get up at 6:30am, knackered because of the pointless TV watching, but this is the only way I’ll get my hair washed and dried and a smattering of makeup applied before Willow wakes up.
  • I grab clothes of the ‘clean’ pile that look the least crumpled.
  • I consider making a sandwich for my lunch then Willow will launch her breakfast everywhere and the thought is forgotten only to be regretted later on when I’m stuck with a crusty cheese sandwich from the canteen at work.
  • I wear my dressing gown over my work clothes to prevent being covered in Weetabix, snot, and or toothpaste. The result is slightly crumpled clothes now look like they have been trampled on by a rhino.
  • I remember to pack Willow’s nursery bag as we are leaving the house but only because I see it hanging on her hook by the door and am reminded to do so.
  • I run out the door, wrestle Willow into her car seat and vow that I’m going to be more organised that night.


Sound familiar?  I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this morning shambles.  People tell me it will get easier.  Whatever.

Any suggestions for getting my ass organised? Or am I a lost cause – you can say it, we’re friends.

Speak soon

Kat x

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