We’re so proud of the young man that you’ve become, I don’t think any parent could wish for a better Son than you, or brother!
You’re clever, funny and handsome and your love and respect shines through in all that you do. And your polite and caring personality makes us so proud to be your parents.
We have to thank you Dylan. You were easy from the start.
Easy conception, easy pregnancy, easy birth and easy teen.
I also want to thank you for making us more ‘Present Parents’. You made me present to the joy of being a parent and of being your Mum. A privilege I’ll always hold dear. Such as the time when you were just three years young. I was taking you to the Dentist, when as we were holding hands and crossing the road out of the blue you said;
‘I love you Mum.’
I can still remember to this day thinking that this was such a good moment in my life. I wanted my mind to photograph it forever, so that when we were both older, we could look back upon that ordinary moment, with fondness of a great time. A time when we were both truly present together, enjoying one another’s company.
We were just going about our daily business. Yet, it was such an extraordinary, emotional moment for me. So much so that, I can still feel those positive, loving, warm, fuzzy feelings deep inside me, whenever I recall that moment now.
As normal and mundane as a trip to the dentist with your child may sound, I can guarantee that in years to come, you too will realise how special those everyday moments in time really are. Even if those moments do not feel like it today. Even the loss of their 1st tooth!
16 marks your first big milestone, an emotional time for us as parents.
Where did those years go?
Only a few months left in school and our boy will soon be a young man, (cringe I know) but you’ll always be my blue eyed baby boy!
I can think of no better bed time routine than a bedtime story!
And not just because print books aid in a restful night’s sleep, as opposed to using electronics or TV before bed, but today the world celebrates World Book Day 2022.
This annual event was created on the 23rd of April 1995 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to encourage children to enjoy reading and to celebrate books and their authors. The first World Book Day in the UK and Ireland was in 1997 and its founder Baroness Gail Rebuck said;
We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives.’
I myself have so much to thank books for, as a child they were my favourite way to learn and to relax, and today that’s still true for me.
Today at Happy Childcare we are celebrating a wonderful author friend Sarina Siebenaler and her delightful book Do Not Wish For A Birthday Unicorn!
It’s about Kat a little girl who wishes for a unicorn-themed birthday party. When her mum says ‘Yes’ Kat carefully selects the perfect unicorn, but when she arrives from the Uni Express, they discover she hasn’t bathed in 21 days!
I loved the message in this book around thoughtful, kind and caring intentions, and in particular the sentence that resonated most was;
For, the spirit of kindness will always shine through- when we all work together to help someone blue.
It’s easy to see why all the children loved this book, it’s silly and rhyming and full of fantasy with mentions of clouds, rainbows, mermaids and fairies, even an ostrich.
The older children liked reading it to the younger ones who delighted in the colourful illustrations. And the children even compiled some questions to ask the Author which we have sent to her, and she absolutely loved them all. When we get her answers, we’ll update this post but here are the questions.
What inspired you to write the story?
Where did you write it?
How long did it take you to write?
Where do unicorns come from?
Are unicorns real?
And if so, have you seen one?
Where can I buy a unicorn from?
Ha ha children ask the funniest questions
Thank you to the author Sarina for her wonderful answers as follows.
We can’t wait for book 3 and some more laugh out loud adventures!
Well, if like me you live in Wales, you’ll be half way through half term by now Yippee!
You’ve probably done the cinema, soft play and visits to Gran’s, you’ve bought half of Asda’s toy aisles and your home is a complete and utter mess.
Like most mums you’re probably willing on Monday and praying there’s no inset day you’ve forgotten!
Well done you for getting through the toughest few days, now it’s time to chill out.
So, here’s 3 ways to help you through the next 3 days!
1) ENCOURAGE BOREDOM
Sometimes, we give our children too much choice, and this can overwhelm them.
We think giving them lots of toys or laying out different types of creativities to do that we’re keeping them occupied, but this can have the opposite effect.
Their choice of what they want to play should be for them to freely choose but if you follow your child’s every desire and whim, then no sooner than getting the paint brushes out, they’ll be onto the play-dough shouting ‘Finished, what’s next?’ continuously flitting from one activity to another.
Sometimes we just have to let them just get on with their own business of playing.
We can’t do this if we keep providing things for them to do. They have to learn how to amuse themselves and become creative.
So, think less is more when it comes to play, less intervention, less toys, and more freedom and imagination.
Toys today are designed to do everything so our children don’t have to think. Dolls now talk, wee, eat, and cry, cars and trains move by themselves powered by batteries, electricity, and computers, nothing is left to imagination anymore. Even physical books are replaced by e-book readers, so there’s no need to even read the words on the page with audio books. Everything is already done for them, but is this better for our children?
We’ve got to allow our children the privilege of boredom so they can discover imaginative play again. There’s not much left to the imagination anymore, so when children are left to play out in the garden, they say there’s nothing to play with. We had no kids TV channels when I was growing up and certainly no computers or phones to ‘play on’ we played out in the rain with fresh air. And I look back fondly on those memories of the ‘good old’ days.
But even today, children can have just as much fun playing in the garden, having picnics in the park, or playing with a cardboard box than they do with a computer. They have to be given these opportunities and experiences though.
The absence of a TV, mobile phone, or computer can make our children feel bored because they’re used to this type of stimulation, and they can’t play alone or even with each other anymore, they just don’t know how to occupy themselves without these props, so they say they’re bored.
I have an answer for that; ‘Only boring people get bored.’
2) CHORES NOT CHOICE
My children learnt early on never to utter those words ‘I’m bored.’ As soon as they did, they knew I would find them a list of things to occupy them, such as cleaning jobs or homework.
On hearing what I had to offer to alleviate their boredom, they suddenly remembered they ‘d lots to be getting on with and got on with it!
Ironically, we help alleviate boredom by allowing them to become bored. This means occasionally removing toys and electronics. This is not a punishment, so to prove that to them, we have to join them in this practice too. This is probably something we’ll struggle with more than our children; I mean can you actually imagine a day without your phone, computer, or TV? You’d fall so behind on the soaps, social media, and junk email!
Boredom would eventually disappear, however, and our children would come to realise all there is naturally around them. They may struggle at first to find things to do, but given the alternative, such as cleaning their bedroom, they’d soon find something to do which is more fun.
What could you be doing that’s more fun instead?
3) JOIN IN
When was the last time you had some real fun playing with your child?
As grownups we have so many rules and we often try to impose these rules on our childrens play. But there’s no rules to playing. We may feel we have to take them to soft play or the cinema so they can ‘be occupied’ or ‘do something’ but what fun is that for us?
Do YOU really have fun watching animated films or watching tired, teary, toddlers fighting over the balls in the ball pit?
Us Time should be about engaging in fun together, it’s not about spending money or going anywhere in particular.
A spontaneous walk in the woods spotting squirrels is just as good as any day out. You can find adventure anywhere when you look for it and you can relearn from your child how to enjoy doing that too. Stick or conker collecting, climbing trees and finding objects hidden in the clouds, are all fun, free ways to engage with your child.
Regardless of what we do with our children, if we’re having fun, then we’re playing.
It’s not the activity that counts, it’s how we feel when we do it.
Genuine play always feels good as it replaces control for freedom, anxiety for laughter, and learning for entertainment.
Those 18 years have flown by but what fun we’ve had.
So now you can have your 1st (legal) alcoholic beverage, drive a car and attend appointments without a parent.
It’s a bitter sweet moment seeing you grow up into an independent lady.
We’re so proud of you and everything you’ve achieved. It’s been a challenging year or so for you, losing close loved ones, juggling a new job, A levels, driving lessons and some health issues but despite it all, you just get on with it and give it all your best shot.
You’re an old, wise soul, mature beyond your 18 years, but you’ll always be our little girl!
Motherhood is precious but childhood goes too fast.
Sometimes, you need to prioritise your time with those people and things that are most important to you. As mums we all feel guilty for doing anything other than parenting. But when we are spending Us Time with our kid’s, ironically, we tend to feel guilty for neglecting our other chores.
But even cleaning is clutter.
In my experience, dust never disappears, but our children’s youth does.
There’s always going to be laundry in the basket, dishes in the sink, and dust on the TV.
As long as we are alive, it never ends, so we needn’t feel the housework has to be done before we enjoy time with our children. I know it’s embarrassing when an unexpected visitor turns up and the house is a mess, but living life is more important than looking good to others. Besides, if those visitors are important in our lives, then they won’t mind we prioritise spending time with our children over a tidy house sometimes.
Our children will not always need us like they do now, but the time we spend with them today, will make a big difference that will stay with them for a lifetime, unlike that worn-out jumper that always needs washing and ironing.
We can vacuum and polish until our heart’s content when our children have grown up and flown the nest.
Admittedly, we won’t have as much mess then, but who will we be keeping the house clean and tidy for?
An empty house is just a house, not a home.
Our homes are our family space to feel safe, relax, and play in. Children need enough space for playing with their toys and belongings. Sometimes, games, puzzles, dolls, and figures need to be left out in order for them to pick up playing where they left off last.
They don’t want a Feng Shuied bedroom with books and toys neatly stored away like ornaments just to look at. That’s just a waste of money. And useless, unused boxes of toys gathering dust, just create more unnecessary cleaning.
Enjoy some guilt free ‘Us Time’ playing today because toys that are loved and used often don’t gather dust, only memories.