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Showing posts from September, 2011

Forget Perfection, Celebrate Mistakes, Apologise Loudly

Parenting books - I've always been a fan - at least of the ones that challenge my assumptions, expose my weaknesses, and most importantly, give me new and creative ideas on how to deal with life at the pointy end of parenting. I'm pretty sure there are times when we can all make use of the advice of those who've read more, thought more, researched more, or just parented more than we have.  I know there are some people who say they don't need them, but to me, that's a bit like saying you don't need therapy - it means you probably do.

At the moment, with a one year old and a three year old tantruming, throwing stuff at me and bashing each other intermittently, I'm hungry for any information I can find about gentle parenting.  I totally get the principle - as parents we should not use aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour in order to tame or shame our kids into compliance.  If the toddler gets angry and hits the baby, we mustn't punish them by smack…

Health Visitors: Will New Government Plans Provide Solutions?

In April I wrote a post about Health Visitors, setting out some of my concerns and asking you to get in touch with me with yours. Your feedback was invaluable, and helped me to build up a picture of what is being got wrong, and right, nationwide in the UK.  Everyone was agreed, Health Visitors are a powerful influence on new mothers. Sometimes this power is used to great effect and they are an invaluable help at what can be a difficult time of transition and change.  However, you also told many stories of negative experiences and advice given that appeared to be anything but 'evidence based'. Problems seemed to be centred in three main areas:
Advice given could undermine breastfeeding, for example being told to top up with formula.Advice given could undermine attachment, for example being discouraged from picking up baby every time she cried.Advice given was not evidence based; rather it seemed to be rooted in outdated parenting approaches, some speculated from the Health Visit…

Just Being There

It's a scenario familiar to parents the world over, and it goes something like this: "Ah, I see my child / children are playing happily, perhaps I will _______" (insert meaningful activity).  Yep, it doesn't matter whether you decide to read a book, write a book, or just paint your goddam toenails, you can be certain that as soon as you turn yourself away from your children, they will suddenly and without warning decide to stop whatever game they were only moments ago utterly absorbed in, and demand your full attention.  Small children are not manipulative; they do not deliberately set out to thwart our daily attempts at progress; their wants and their needs are so closely aligned as to be virtually indistinguishable. So this can only mean one thing. As hard as it is to deal with the constant frustration of putting most of our own desires aside, and 'not getting anything done', it seems that our babies and toddlers actually need something crucial from us - ou…

Blackberry Messengers

September brings return; of children to school, of darker evenings and log fires, of leaves to kick, puddles to jump in, and if, like me, you’re a parent of under four’s, the welcome comeback of the Toddler Group after the Summer break. When my first daughter was born, I was a bit sniffy about my local meet-up, wondering why I was supposed to enjoy drinking cheap instant coffee with a bunch of tired-eyed women I barely knew, until it slowly dawned on me that in this drafty hall was found the last available vestige of a social life, and I began to cling to the chance for weekly grown-up interaction like Leonardo to Kate’s raft in the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

September offers further compensation for the loss of Summer in the form of the humble blackberry. The three year old was enchanted, this time last year, by the sudden appearance of these sweet and abundant treats on the hedges, and our daily dog walks around the spidery network of lanes near our cottage became a feast of…