The Tough Parts Of Parenting

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As I type this I am currently sat in children’s a&e with a poorly H. 12pm and waiting for a doctor seems like a never ending outcome. As he struggles for breath I realise this, right here has to be the hardest part of being a parent. I’m looking around and I see the fear in every parents face and I know that I am not the only one who is feeling scared.

H had quite a severe attack in the summer and it resulted in a mad dash to hospital in an ambulance. The diagnosis was an allergic reaction. All weekend he has said to me he hasn’t felt good, he had a headache and was feeling under the weather. I gave him medicine and let it be.

Fast forward to 11pm and I can hear a little boy fighting for breath. The sound every parent dreds. A sharp cry and rattly rasps were not of the ordinary. We decided to have him in our bed and I lay there for over 20 minutes listening to him hoping it would get better. I knew better and I knew I should of done it straight away. I called for help, those dreaded three numbers.

We were being seen to quickly and the diagnosis was a trip to the hospital again. I decided to drive this time as getting home was pretty horrendous last time. I arrived and my heart sank at the amount of young children that took up the children’s a&e. It was going to be a long wait. It was a long wait.

5 hours of waiting and a diagnosis of Croup. We arrive back home at 4:30 and with very little sleep, mummy duties continue. School runs and back home looking after a very tired, sick little boy.

These parts of parenting are hard, helpless and the moments I find the toughest. It puts your parenting skills to the test and when you come out the other side you realise just how difficult being a parent is.

But would I change it? Never…

Keeping Our Children Safe | Internet Security

How can I keep my children safe online?

With advances in technology in recent years, the days of sitting together around the television or playing board games are a distant memory. Families now live in a constantly connected world.

According to a recent Ofcom Report, 62% of children aged 5-15 have access to tablet computers, with 34% owning their own. With devices more affordable than ever, opportunities for children to access the Internet are plentiful. A 2015 Pew Survey recently reported that 24% of teens are online “almost constantly,” while 92% of teens go online daily. These are impressively large numbers.

With the Internet more accessible than ever, how can you keep your children safe online? Below are four tips from Intego, the leader in Mac security, on how its new product Family Protector can help you ensure your children navigate the web safely.

  1. Education is crucial

Knowing who your child is talking to online has never been more important, especially considering there are now just over 3.2 billion Internet users around the world. Keeping the lines of communication open about Internet activity is therefore crucial. If your child knows they can come and talk to you about their online activity, the chances of misuse are likely to be lessened. This can also enable you to quickly tackle any online issues, such as accidental in-app purchases or downloading inappropriate content.

Family Protector can help by providing some much needed peace of mind about your child’s activities. This includes allowing you to monitor what websites your child is accessing on their iOS devices. With Family Protector you can even prevent access to the device’s camera, stopping children from taking photos or sharing videos with others.

  1. Set and maintain boundaries

It is important to set and agree on Internet boundaries with your child. Parents can no longer solely rely on software to monitor their child’s online experience. Educating children about what is acceptable online behaviour is essential, because it will help them understand how Family Protector assists in keeping them safe.

Family Protector helps enforce your rules by:

  • Eliminating bedtime distractions – schedule device restrictions during bedtime hours to help them get a good night’s sleep.
  • Getting them to call home – disable an unresponsive child’s access to third party apps and web browsing while sending them a lock screen message to call you.
  • Scheduling mealtime breaks – schedule time to turn off third party apps, stop web browsing and disable video chat, so they can enjoy other activities, such as family mealtime, and take a break from the screen.
  1. Age-appropriate content

Web browser safeguards ensure content is age-appropriate so their digital time is well spent and no unsuitable material is viewed. Family Protector also allows parents to apply age-based restrictions to control what children listen to, watch and read to ensure it’s suitable for their age.

  1. Monitor and Communicate 

For older children, the Internet should be used to explore their interests and as a resource that assists inquisitive young minds, safe in the knowledge that their parents are there for guidance. While older children do not require as much monitoring as younger children, they do still require a degree of supervision. Parents need peace of mind that their teenagers aren’t taking advantage of the freedom they have been granted. Family Protector provides clear, easy to access information and controls so parents can navigate difficult parenting conversations with confidence.

Why Family Protector?

With its low cost (£5 a month) and generous cover (up to 15 iOS devices and unlimited family managers/administrators), parents now have a great tool to put them back in the driving seat without being invasive or overly controlling.

Parents can manage Family Protector from any web browser or through the iOS or Android management apps, which are available on their respective app stores.

Unlike most other parental control products available in the market, Family Protector does not require an annual subscription and can be cancelled at any time. Also unlike other products, Family Protector does not require a jailbroken iPhone, nor does it redirect traffic though a proprietary server or require a user’s private iCloud account credentials.

A full feature 14-day free trial is available for all users. More on Family Protector is available at website www.intego.com/family-protector.

**This is a collaborative post**

– Happy Halloween –

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Halloween is never a holiday I celebrated as a child. I don’t feel I missed out on much to be honest, I wasn’t keen on knocking on peoples houses asking for sweets. It didn’t bother me that I didn’t celebrate it.. if anything I was scared of the prospect of going out.

As the years have gone on celebrating Halloween has become more of a “thing” in the UK and the shops grab onto the idea and cash in. Since having children I have become a little relaxed on it and last year was the first year I and the the children had ever gone Trick or Treating.

We dressed up {which is definitely something I am very wary of, what with the awful accident in the news last year} and we went knocking on peoples door. We went to my in-laws and they have a whole row of houses that really do go to town. Moo was scared as I knew she would be by a few and even I was a little jumpy at some. The homeowners went to town and not only gave away sweets, but were giving away {what I call} pocket money toys. Moo and H came away with buckets full to the brim! We planned to do the same this year but unfortunately Mr B had to work and I didn’t want to do it on my own {yes I am a meany!}

I did agree to buy sweets and carve pumpkins and open the door to those that knocked. We live in a quiet road and I am hoping we do get people knocking as Moo and H are so excited at the prospect of handing out sweets! If not then we have a bucket load of sweets to get through!

– A Birthday Girls Wish-List –

Moo will be seven is just a short few weeks. I am still wracking my brain as to how its all happened so quickly! A few weeks ago, we gave her a toy catalogue and she happily circled all the toys she could possibly wish for. She is now eager to see what she will get.

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  1. Dressing Gown {Marks and Spencers} She has been asking for a new one for ages!
  2. Shopkins, anyone with a child who likes to collect will have heard of Shopkins. They are addictively fun little characters
  3. Micro Scooter
  4. Lego Friends PopStars {Moo WANTS this, she has been going on about it ever since she saw it advertised!}
  5. Frozen Figurines. Moo is still Frozen mad and loves to collect little figures, these are perfect and they finally have the whole set to buy
  6. Tsum Tsum, at first I wasn’t a fan of these, more cuddly toys to clog up the bed, but actually these are really cute and again a nice little collectors item
  7. CareBear
  8. My Little Pony Equestrian Girls
  9. Lego Friends PopStars

I am so excited for her birthday this year. She has been asking about it lots and we are now officially on countdown. I still cannot believe how we are at her seventh birthday already, it only feels like yesterday I was having her!

The School Diaries #1

I wish I had started this a few years ago. I really should of done when Moo started school but I didn’t think about it then, so I am going to start now.

Once a month I am going to post a little update on how Moo and H are doing at school. I think its nice to look back on and see how they have progressed over the year.

So here is my first School Diary

Moo has now been at school for two years. She swiftly returned and has been enjoying her first month back in Year 2. I think it helps when she likes the teacher! Every evening I get lots of chatter of everything she has done throughout the week and its so lovely to hear. Moo is excelling in her reading and I am blown away every time she opens up her book. Its amazing to hear her fluently reading.

During the summer Moo really concentrated on her writing and I have seen a huge improvement since being back at school. She really enjoys writing and literacy and she is always telling me they are her favourite subjects. Maths is a bit of a weak subject and she isn’t really such a fan {I never was either!} She has improved so much in Year 2 though and we are only 5 weeks in.

Another favourite subject is PE she really likes gymnastics and I really hope she continues to love it {again I was never a fan of this subject either!}

I am so pleased with Moo’s level of academic. I think she fits in with her age and I couldn’t ask her to do anymore than she is. She is eager to learn and is becoming so much more confident in her subjects.

H has really surprised me at school I really didn’t think he would be that eager to learn anything or take part in classroom activities but he has. By week three of school we had the rendition of the phonics song and he would show me the sounds and actions. He is always eager to let me know when he has learnt new sounds and proudly shows them off.

Reading is still hit and miss, I try and explain the words and sounds but I think its going to take time {obviously!} He is willing to sit down with a book and try which is all I can ask for. He will get it, he just needs a little bit more time. H’s learning is still based around play.

H is quite honest in telling me he doesn’t like dinner time, I can see why, it is a bit overwhelming for a small boy. Moo has been taking care of him as much as she can and he does seem to be improving. We have less tears 5 weeks in.

Both Moo and H have settled back into school really well and I am so proud of them. I will be back next month with my second edition of the School Diaries

– I’ve Lost My Boy To The School –

When people ask me how I am enjoying my free time I honestly don’t know how to answer them. I want to be honest and I want to scream at them but its polite to just answer, its ok, than actually tell them the truth…

I have lost my boy to the school…

I hate it…

I hate being alone…

I hate not having him there behind me…

I hate going to the kitchen and him not being there…

I hate going to the toilet and him not standing behind the door…

I hate making lunch for me, and only me…

I hate not having the afternoon snuggles on the sofa…

I hate not being able to play out in the garden with him…

I hate not having Peppa Pig on 24/7… Okay Okay that might be a lie…

I just hate it…

I don’t think I will ever get used to the fact that I have lost my little boy, my baby, to the school playground

Will it ever get easier?

– Mummy Guilt –

Mummy guilt is not a nice feeling. As I type this I am feeling pretty terrible. Not only am I still recovering from my operation, I have severe mummy guilt.

Motherhood is hard and sometimes its really difficult to distinguish the truth and the exaggeration. As I left the playground this morning the guilt rushed over me like a wave and now I am sat here wanting 3pm to arrive so I can go and pick Moo up and squeeze her tightly.

This morning I was mean and not a nice mummy. Normally this guilt hits me at bed-time but now I am on my own and am just looking after myself during the day its hit me earlier. I may of shouted at her a lot and I may of not been the best mummy I could of been. I did apologise to her and I did give her a cuddle before school, but I am now thinking that wasn’t enough. I should of sat down with her and I should of cuddled her more tightly. I should of kissed her and I should of handled the situation a lot better than I did.

Its too late now, and the more I dwell on it, the worse I am going to feel.

Why is mummy guilt so awful?

– A Letter To H –

Oh my handsome little boy. Your second day of school and it wasn’t what we both expected. A sorrow face and a few tears slipping down your cheek. I really didn’t think it would be this bad.

All summer I have prepared you for your big day and although on your first day we had no tears {from you} your second day didn’t go to plan. I feel terrible that I have to prize myself away from you. I feel awful that I have to leave you in the care of others. Its hard and I really am at a loss when I return home.

Today you clung to me, you had my ankle wrapped in your tiny hand and you held it tight. I couldn’t move as you wouldn’t let me. I spoke softly into your ear, to calm you but no words were helping. I couldn’t stay and the more I tried to let you go the tighter the grip.

The grip loosened and I was able to move away, but your eyes doubled in size and they filled with watery tears. It was hard, it was so hard to leave you but I knew once I left the classroom it would all be ok. Your teacher is an amazing teacher and I know he has everything under control. I peered through the window and you stared back, a tear running down your cheek, your finger in your mouth and your eyes wide. I waved and you gave a tiny wave back. Oh its heart wrenching to say goodbye.

I am sat typing this, knowing that you are probably enjoying yourself and not giving me a second thought. I want you to know, that you and your sister are all I think about all day, I wonder what you are doing, what you are learning and what friends you are making. I long for pick up, as I know that I will get the biggest hug from you, the biggest squeeze that I have been longing for all day.

– Impromptu Days Out –

Saturday was supposed to be a very boring day. Running errands, stocking up on cleaning products and staying indoors, that was until Mr B came home from work and said we should scrap the plans we had in place and do something different. The weather was predicted to hit the 30° mark and I really didn’t want to be spending it indoors.

Last year we were told about a lovely little place in Maldon, Essex and although I had heard about it before, I never bothered to take it on board. This year we decided to. We packed up some towels and swimming bits and headed to an out door splash park. Anything to do with water is a huge hit with Moo and I knew she would love it.

It was a quick 40 minute drive and by the time we arrived it was peaking at 25° We parked the car and made our way down to the splash park. They have a system that you pay for 25 minute slots, so we decided to get two slots one either side of lunch. As you can imagine, when its hot and when there is water involved its bound to get busy. I was slightly anxious at how busy it was and trying to keep an eye on two very fast children running through the different apparatus was a little stressful. Mr B got a soaking and I happened to be standing right by some over flowing buckets which managed to spill over and soak my back, but it was so hot I didn’t actually care.

After our first session we went and had lunch and we may of over done the whole eating thing by ordering waaaayy to much. We had a walk to burn it off along the front and looked at all the boats. It was time for our second session and I decided to sit this one out with H as he didn’t want to go back in. I managed to bag a bench on the outskirts and watched Moo and Mr B pushing each other under each downpour of water. The second time around wasn’t as fun as the first as it was even more busier and there were a lot of older children running around and being a tad boisterous.IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2191 IMG_2192 IMG_2194 IMG_2195

Moo wanted to leave and go to the park, so we did just that. A huge wooden boat with two slides, netting, climbing frames and climbing walls.. Everything a 6 and 4 year old want. Moo took H and guided him around and really stepped up to the big sister role. She wouldn’t let him out her site. Up and down the slide they went and only came back to us for an ice-cream.

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We ate ice-cream looking out at the boats. It was then time to head back to the car and leave. Moo instead that we needed to come back and I insisted we would. I wish I had taken her sooner if I am honest.

Considering the day was planned to be a boring day, doing mundane things, I am glad Mr B threw the idea around of going out and making the most of the weather. Unscheduled, impromptu days out like this are always the days that you remember, they are the days that end up being ones that stand out and ones that you really enjoy as a family.

Back To School Preparations…

This year will be the first year I have to buy 2 sets of uniform! The pound signs are flashing before my eyes! I am not looking forward to battling the shops, so this year I have compiled a list of everything I need and from the shops I will need to get them from so I am fully prepared! I am hoping it will also help you, to remember all the bits you need too!

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  1. Blue Cardigan {2} 2. Pinafores {2} 3. Gray Skirts {4} 4. White shirts {4} 5. Knee length socks {1 pack} 6. Gray tights {2 packs} 7. Shoes {kickers} 8. White socks {1 pack}

Moo specifically asked this year for skirts. She also specifically asked for patent shoes, now I am  to a fan of patent shoes, but I have compromised and have found these cute Kickers that are half and half. I have to get a few bits from the school shop which sells the PE kit. I think I have everything covered for Moo!

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  1. Grey trousers {4} 2. Polo Shirts {2} 3. White shirts {4} 4. Blue jumper {2} 5. Pants {1 pack} 6. Dark grey socks {1 pack} 7. Shoes {Kickers}

This is the first time I am shopping for H and no doubt there will be a few mistakes. I also have to purchase his PE kit, PE bag, Book Bag, School Tie.

Then its all the small things like packed lunch boxes, hair accessories and coats! It really is never ending.