04/06/2019

Learning At Home

Amelia goes to nursery 3 days a week and then the rest of the time she is either with us or Kelly’s parents.  Amelia’s nursery do an amazing job and she is learning fast and in our opinion is a very clever 3 year old.  When it comes to education at home though, I sometimes worry we’re not doing enough.  I know she’s only 3 so I want anything we do try to teach her to be fun and age appropriate.  There will be enough years of her life spent behind a desk in school for us to do anything like that with her at home!  I’ve been contacted by Michelle from education.com with a fun worksheet to try with Amelia.  It’s great for her age as it helps them to practice their pencil grasp and follow directions.  This is Amelia’s efforts! She didn’t quite understand the maze concept just yet but enjoyed trying anyway and then drew us all.

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Kids will have a blast as they enjoy this pretty flower maze. Education.com is full of learning resources and games just like this!

On the website there are printable worksheets here and you can choose from the right age group for your child.  There’s colour by numbers, practicing writing, mindfullness and many more to look at and print out.  There’s so much more on the website to help with children’s learning.  There’s even a summer challenge you can do with your children and at the end they get a certificate which I know Amelia loves recieving!

If you’re looking for some educational fun activities to do with your children take a look at their website, download some worksheets and have a go!

*I have not been paid or gifted anything other than the worksheet to write this blog post*

 

 

 

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21/05/2019

Banish the Mummy Guilt!

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It’s something I’m pretty sure all Mums go through. It starts before they’re even out of our wombs and once our babies are in our arms it continues with full force. Throughout our children’s lives this guilt never leaves us, there’s always a reason to feel guilty. When I was thinking about writing this, I decided to write down times I felt guilty. I’m going to go into these and I’m sure you’ll relate to some of them!
The first one that was also mentioned by @ickringillabigail is taking time out for myself. I specifically wrote down, ‘Going for a drink after work’ and ‘Going for lunch with my friends’. It’s something that before having children you wouldn’t think twice about doing, but after having a child it’s totally different. I hadn’t been with Amelia all day and then I was late home because I went for that drink meaning I hadn’t spent much time with her before bedtime. I then took time out of our weekend together to go out with my friends for lunch. Why should I feel bad about this? Why should any of us feel guilty about having some time away from our children? Being a parent is draining! Having some time for yourself is exactly what we need to recuperate so we can carry on being good parents. Having time away as a couple to remember that that’s what you were first. Go on that romantic night away where you’re not listening out for your children all night. Go for a meal where you’re not constantly repeating ‘eat your dinner’ and picking up food from the floor. Go and be you for a while. You can and will miss your children but don’t feel guilty.
@hevberry said that working, being tired and impatient and not enjoying every moment made her feel guilty; let’s go into this one. Amelia tells us constantly ‘Don’t go to work!’ We remind her why we have to go to work but my heart aches when she says this. We have to work to pay the bills and I know I need to work to keep my sanity. I need that time where I can focus my mind on something other than being Mummy. @shelley_cook87 said being on placement then having to work in the evenings and on weekends gave her guilt. We’re providing for our children and we shouldn’t feel guilty for doing that.
First thing in the morning we’re all tired. Actually, scrap that, we’re just tired ALL THE TIME! I’m still tired all the time and Amelia sleeps through the night. Being tired can leave you with a very short fuse and maybe today instead of trying to think of educational outdoors activities for you children you can just all snuggle up and watch a film. We all need that time now and again and it’s not something you should feel guilty about.
The impatient part of this relates to the second guilty moment I wrote down; ‘Rushing Amelia in the morning’. This is something I struggle with most mornings that I have to get Amelia to Nursery and then myself to work. I find myself telling Amelia to hurry up and go faster and to stop messing around. We can all be impatient with our children and I think you’d be lying if you said you loved 100% of your time with your children. We shouldn’t feel guilty about this, it’s the same for everyone. We can’t always act cheery, smiley and like we’ve had a full 8 hours sleep when in reality, that isn’t the case!
Let’s talk about technology. There are so many different views on this and I remember before we had Amelia we talked about screen time and games and how our child wouldn’t do this and that…..hahaha we didn’t know anything! Technology is all around us, it’s unavoidable. As long as a child isn’t sat in front of the TV/games console all day every day or playing games that aren’t age appropriate I don’t really see the issue with it. @jessmaxsmummy said that letting the kids use technology too much so she can get stuff done or just have a break gave her Mummy guilt. Most of us do it. I definitely do it! Amelia watches TV while we get ready, while I cook or clean. If she’s unhappy and I want to distract her I let her look at pictures on my phone or play the ABC game. She watches her tablet on long car journeys, so she’s not bored and asking us a million questions or crying. Amelia also gets fresh air every day, plays with her Mummies, goes to nursery, goes to gymnastics and the library etc etc…and I know Jess’s children do too and that’s what matters, balance. If you use it appropriately, stop the guilt!
The next point I wrote down was ‘not wanting another child’. This is probably the one I struggle with the most. I had PND and anxiety after having Amelia; it’s something I do not want to repeat. I never saw myself with just one child, always two and coming to terms with just having one has been hard. All my Mummy friends have started to have their second children and for us that’s not going to happen. I feel guilty for not giving Amelia a sibling, not being strong enough to go through all of that again for her. I feel guilty that when we grow old, Amelia is going to be the only child there to care for us…or stick us in a home which she will be told to do! But how guilty would I feel if we did have another child and I got PND again, maybe worse this time? I’m not willing to risk what we have to put ourselves in that situation. I’m happy with our little triangle family and I don’t need anything else.
Luckily, I can now rationalise my Mummy guilt but for some people it can become all consuming. Talk to someone if it is really affecting you. Talk to your Mummy friends and you’ll realise you’re not alone. We’re all doing our best in this parenting journey and our children love us regardless.

04/04/2019

You’re on CBeebies!

OK…we’re technically not on CBeebies the TV channel but we have been on their Facebook page!  On Mother’s Day we got a message off our friend telling us we were on the CBeebies page.  I had no idea what she was on about until she said, ‘They’ve shared your blog!’.  I went to have a look and there it was, my latest blog post (Why does Amelia have two mummies?) with our pictures and a quote from the blog ‘Children aren’t born with prejudices, they notice differences.’  We couldn’t believe it; where had they found the blog?  The blog is open to the public, but it’s only read by a few people, mainly family and friends so I didn’t understand how CBeebies had seen it.

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We both got quite excited and shared it on our own Facebook pages and then went to read the comments underneath the CBeebies post.  I was quite worried about the responses; to some it’s still quite a controversial lifestyle and I was sure there’d be some negativity on the post.  We read every comment and every one (apart from one eyebrow raised emoji comment) was positive.  This filled us with so much emotion and then some of our friends also posted lovely supportive messages on their own pages.  It really made our Mother’s Day and we are so thankful to CBeebies for sharing it.

Our blog was visited 2138 times that day.  That’s more visitors than 2017 and 2018 combined!  Most of the visitors were from the UK but people in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Vietnam and many other places also visited the blog.  There was also a lot of new activity on my Instagram page @amelias2mummies and I’ve talked to a few people on there who found it via the blog on CBeebies.  Everyone on Instagram has also been so kind and lovely in their comments; it really does give me hope that people’s views are changing of lifestyles that differ from their own.

Just after I wrote the blog post the government released plans for 2020 which included school children being taught about LGBT relationships.  Parents will also lose the right to opt their high school children out of these lessons from next year.  The coverage in the media was mixed but a lot of parents were not happy.  A school in Birmingham who were already teaching about LGBT rights as part of a programme to challenge homophobia had to be suspended because of parents protesting.  A mother whose son was taught about LGBT topics without her prior consent has complained to the media.  Apparently, he came home knowing the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Children are going to grow up and find out what LGBTQ means.  They’re growing up seeing gay people on the TV.  They’re going to idolise gay pop stars.  They’re going to see gay people in the sport that they follow.  This is the way our world is going; we’re finally becoming more open and honest about who we are.  A once unconventional lifestyle is becoming more ‘normal’ now.  Isn’t it better to teach our children from an early age that there are lots of different types of people and relationships and that’s OK, rather than hide it away until they find out from another source that can’t be controlled?  Schools aren’t going to teach anything that isn’t age appropriate but when school children do get to an age where their sexuality is being established isn’t it better that they know that whatever they’re feeling is OK?

Learning about LGBTQ people and relationships in school isn’t going to push a homosexual lifestyle on your child.  If your child is gay, they’re gay and there is nothing that you can do about it other than be a responsible parent and be there for them.  Learning about this is going to teach your child to accept people who are different from them and feel happy with their own identity.  Hopefully it will also reduce bullying and improve children’s mental health.

Thank you to everyone that left us a comment.  The positive response to our blog really does give me hope that we’re going in the right direction and that our daughter won’t be bullied for having two mums and that eventually this won’t even be a topic that needs discussion.

14/02/2019

Why does Amelia have two Mummies?

I always wanted children. From a very early age I was role playing with my dolls, attempting to breastfeed them which my Mum loves telling people!  I’ve been broody for as long as I can remember, and I had my life mapped out.  Buy a house, get married and have babies.  That plan was in place by the time I was 21 when I bought a house.  I got engaged, got married at 23 and was planning to have children; and then it all went wrong.  Fast forward three years to 2013 and I was divorced, and all my plans went out of the window, I found this year particularly hard.  Not only had all my plans gone out of the window, I had started a relationship with Kelly (my now Wife) which wasn’t at all in my life plan.  I didn’t know where I fit in anymore, my friends were getting married and having babies.  I was happy in my relationship, but I was anxious and had panic attacks often thinking about where my life was going, it was hard to start all over again in a totally different kind of relationship.

Kelly never saw herself having children and this was obviously a deal breaker for me; to be honest it nearly ended our relationship before it really began.  Kelly came out in the late 90’s and she had faced prejudice for being gay which gave her a different view on having children.  Kelly’s issue with having children wasn’t that she didn’t want one, but the effects on the child of having gay parents.  If we did have a child, it would get bullied and how could we bring a child into the world knowing that it would get bullied.  We talked a lot about this, and the sad fact is, children get bullied for many different reasons.  LGBT families are becoming more common and we hoped it wouldn’t be so much of an issue when our child got to school age.  Kelly also felt that there were so many children that needed adopting and as she had no desire to have her own biological child maybe we should look into adopting.  I had a desire to have my own biological child, I wanted to experience pregnancy and birth and I knew it wasn’t something that was going to go away.  So here we are, 6 years later and we have a three year old called Amelia.  We have a house, we’re married, and we have a child so I have everything I hoped to have but it’s nothing like I thought it would be back in 2010!

Recently we’ve had a couple of children the same age as Amelia ask why she has two mummies.  Children this age are so inquisitive, they are noticing differences and to them this is a big difference.  They have a Mummy and Daddy so why does Amelia not?  In my opinion children aren’t born with prejudices, they notice differences.  Children who don’t look like them, children who don’t have mummies or daddies or both.  What I think creates prejudices is their caregivers’ reactions.  I don’t think anyone is born homophobic, racist or a bully; it is a learnt behaviour.  We were once told by (ex)friends that ‘when you decide to be gay you give up your right to have children’.  I won’t go into the ‘when you decide to be gay’ part (that’s for another day!).  Their reason for this way of thinking was because children of gay people will get bullied.  How about people teach their children not to be bullies?  Children are so impressionable, and they pick up on every little thing.  If we show prejudice against others, they will learn that behaviour.

The first person to ask why Amelia had two mummies was a girl at Amelia’s nursery.  Her nursery is fantastic, and the nursery worker said, ‘It’s just like you having a Mummy and a Daddy, Amelia just has two Mummies’.  Do you know what the little girl said? ‘Oh, OK’.  That was it; no funny expressions, no more questions, just acceptance.  The second question came from another little girl that we’ve known since Bumps & Babies group.  She asked the same question and I gave the same answer as the nursery worker.  Our other friend said, ‘Amelia’s very lucky isn’t she’.  The girl nodded her head and went off to play.  Neither of the girls were asking in a prejudice way, they were just curious and wanted to know why.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if all children were given an answer in this manner, unfortunately I don’t think that is the case.

Unfortunately, prejudice will always be a part of all our lives in some form.  Social media has its negatives and positive but I’m hoping that social media can be a good platform to show families like ours as becoming more ‘normal’ in society and that children grow up with less prejudice towards people that are different than them.

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11/01/2019

Life Update And Our New House

I can’t believe I haven’t done a blog post since April last year.  I know it’s the cliché saying; but where has the time gone?  We have been so busy since then that I really haven’t felt that I’ve had the time to do this blog.  2018 was a BIG year!  I’ve been on a hen party and we’ve been to four 30th’s (one of them my own). My Dad turned 60, we moved house and my friend got married.  We had a big family holiday to Portugal and had an amazing summer.  We potty trained, went on another holiday to Lanzarote and finished renovating Amelia’s new room.  Amelia turned 3, then it was our anniversary, we finished the conservatory make over and then it was Christmas!

2018 was a hectic one and 2019 will probably be another one as we’ve so much to do at the house but I do want to start blogging again.  I’m going to aim to do at least one a month, more if I find the time.  I want to do a house update but I know it’s going to be too long for one blog so today I’ll do Amelia’s room and then I’ll do another one about what else we’ve done and what our next plans are.  I’ve put some pictures up on social media already so some of you will have already seen these!

Amelia’s Room

We wanted to do Amelia’s room first to get her settled and also because she was temporarily in the room that we’d do next so it really had to be the first room we did.  This was how her room looked before we started.

We pulled the dado rails and skirts off and took the radiator off.  We stripped all of the wallpaper (there were about 3 or 4 layers of wallpaper topped with a coating of paint) and pulled up the floor.  Some of the plaster came off with the wallpaper and we had holes left like this!

IMG_20180625_203125.jpgOur plasterer sorted all of that and then we got a joiner in (R F Joinery) to try to level the floor out a bit as it’s an old house so nothing is level!  He also put on new skirting boards for us.  We started painting and did a mist coat first to sink into the plaster before doing the proper coats of paint.  We glossed all the woodwork and then our handyman Handylam put the new radiator on for us.  The carpet went down which we got from Wholesale Carpets & Suites.  Eventually it was time to dress the room and move Amelia in!  Here are the after photos.

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This has become a little haven in our house.  It’s so relaxing to be in here and Amelia seems to love it!  Below is a list of everything in the room.

  • Light – Ikea. DO NOT BOTHER! Absolutely awful to put up, we had to get our friend to do it for us and without a clever hack using a keyring it would not have sat flush against the ceiling.
  • Bookcase, teepee, storage bag and chair – Aldi.  Absolute bargains!  We especially love the chair.  We looked at other rockers like this but they were so expensive.  This chair has changeable feet as well so when we don’t want/need a rocker anymore we can change it to a normal chair.  Unfortunately these were all so popular they’ve sold out.
  • Hexagon shelf – Primark.  I took the wood shelves off, painted them white and screwed them back in.  I don’t know if they still have this in stock but it’s worth a look.
  • Peg board – Ikea.  I love this board, here’s a closer look.  We got all the accessories to go with it from Ikea as well and we use it for Amelia’s accessories like bobbles and clips.  I’ve put some Polaroid style photos up of all three of us to personalise it.

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  • Curtains – 247curtains.  I love these curtains!  They are so soft and the perfect colour match for Amelia’s room.  From 247curtains you can get free samples sent out to you of any fabric you want.  They were the cheapest by far (more than 50% cheaper than Dunelm) and are blackout lined as well.
  • Cot and Wardrobe – Obaby.  We’ve converted the cot into a toddler bed since this photo was taken which Amelia took to really well.
  • Prints – Desenio.  All the prints above Amelia’s bed came from Desenio.  I really like their website as you can order the prints in different sizes making an art wall really easy to do.  All the frames came from Ikea but you can get the frames from Desenio as well.

I hope you like it and if I’ve missed anything that you want to know about drop me a message 🙂

Rebecca

Amelia’s 2 Mummies

09/04/2018

Imagine That!

Kelly works every other Saturday so Sundays are precious to us.  I made sure our meal plan was done for the week ahead and the food shop was done so we had Sunday free to have a family day out.  I was trying to think of somewhere we could go and remembered that one of our friends had been to Imagine That in Liverpool.  I had a look on the website and it looked like great fun.  I don’t know if you’re like me but I like to have a plan!  What time to set off, can we park there, do they have a cafe (Amelia is obsessed with cafes!)?  The website answered all my questions so I mentioned it to Kelly and we decided to go.

My plan didn’t start off well as we all woke up late!  I wanted to set off at 9:15 and we only got out of bed at ten to.  Although I like a plan, I’m also trying to ‘go with the flow’ which I find hard at times so we just all got ready as quickly as we could, had breakfast and set off.  Liverpool is about 40 minutes away from where we live and Amelia isn’t the best on car journeys but I have found something to keep her quiet..an apple!  Apart from saying ‘I don’t like that bit’ and handing me pieces of chewed up apple (lovely) Amelia was happy on the way there.

There is a good sized car park outside and there is another car park on the industrial estate that you are allowed to park in if it is full.  We went in and didn’t have to wait very long to pay and go in.  In the first area of Imagine That it is all about role play.  You can go from a diner to the hairdressers to the supermarket to a car wash.  There was a dress up area, a stage and a play bus.  I think Amelia was a bit young to really appreciate this area properly.  She enjoyed looking around but I don’t think she understood that she could pretend to go to the shops or be a hairdresser.

The next area is all about construction.  You can put bricks on a conveyor belt or put them in a bucket and pull them up and then build a wall with them.  Amelia wasn’t too keen on this area but mainly because it was very busy.  Most of the children in this area were a lot bigger than Amelia and I think she felt a bit intimidated.  I picked her up and we had a go at some of the things but I think it will be better when she’s older and can stand her ground with the other kids.

In the next area there is a sand pit, craft area and the cafe.  This was definitely her favourite area.  Amelia loved the sand pit and went in there a few times.  There were bucket and spades for them to play with but unfortunately it wasn’t the type of sand you can build with.  Amelia didn’t care though and bossed us about at one point saying to Kelly ‘go and get it then’ referring to a bucket so we could help her with the sand!  In the craft area Amelia painted some magnets and even did some painting on a car.  I’d like it if they could provide some toddler size overalls as they were massive on Amelia which made it difficult and it kept coming undone.

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There was a walkway from that area that was called the ‘ConservARTory’  In here there were art supplies like paper, pens and chalk.  You could sit down and do some drawings in here and just take a little time out from the other busy areas.  Amelia did some faces on the chalkboard which is all she draws at the moment!

The next area was the science area and mine and Kelly’s favourite.  Amelia enjoyed it to but obviously didn’t understand the science aspect of it.  She especially liked the wind tubes and could have stayed playing with that all day.  You scrunched little bits of fabric up in a ball and put them into a machine that pushed them using air through a maze of tubes and then they came out of the top and floated down to the ground.  Amelia loved collecting all the bits of fabric up and watching them wizz round the tubes.

There are two cafes at Imagine That.  One is near the entrance and I think they just do drinks and cakes.  A lot of parents of older children who were happy going around on their own seemed to be sat here as it’s an ideal place to sit and still be near them.  The other cafe was in the craft area and this is where we had lunch.  Amelia got a kids lunch which included a sandwich, crisps, cheese, a yoghurt, a drink and an ice cream.  Kelly and I both had a tuna wrap; Kelly’s was gluten free.  We were impressed with the gluten free options.  There were wraps, sandwiches, crumpets and jacket potatoes.  I’ve been trying to be a bit better with food recently but as we were having a day out I got a slice of the carrot cake and Kelly got a gluten free millionaires shortbread.  Amelia helped us with both!

We ended up spending about 3 hours here.  Amelia didn’t want to leave but she was so tired and was flat out in the car on the way home.  Imagine That is definitely somewhere we want to return to and we know Amelia will get more out of it every time we go and I can’t wait to see her be able to experience the other areas she was too young for this time.

 

 

 

04/04/2018

No Longer A Butlin’s Snob!

I admit it, I was a Butlin’s snob.  If anyone had mentioned Butlin’s to me in the past I’d always imagined some run down cheap place where our parents went when they were younger.  I saw peeling paint, tacky shows and cringe worthy red coats.

Well…I am a convert!  After having Amelia and going to Center Parcs with her once we were disappointed with how little there was to do with her other than swimming that was included in the price we paid.  I love the nature at Center Parcs and the accommodation is great but when we looked at prices for this year they were nearly double what we paid the year before.

I did a bit of research on places to go that were like Center Parcs and everything seemed to be pointing to Butlin’s.  I looked on the website and read some reviews and people were raving about it!  I looked at the prices and was so surprised that nearly all the activities were included and there were so many of them.  We couldn’t argue with the price so we booked it.  I was still a bit apprehensive about what it would be like and every time someone asked me where we were going I nervously laughed when I told them, waiting for their reaction.

Monday 12th March came and we made our way to sunny (pouring it down) Skegness.  The check in was a drive through which was great as it was still raining and this is where we encountered our first lovely staff member.  He was so helpful and friendly and started our holiday off really nicely.  We found the car park near our apartment which was in the mermaid block (I was thrilled about this!) and we grabbed Amelia and ran in to the apartment.  I was pleasantly surprised, it was bigger than I expected.  I later found out this is because the Gold apartments which are meant to be two beds are always three beds in Skegness.  We had a double room, two twin rooms, a kitchen, bathroom and lounge.  We were on the second floor out of three and heard little noise from our neighbours.  Our apartment looked over a grass area which attracted some ducks which was lovely.  Being in a double bed was a bit of a test after being used to a king size and the shower could have been more powerful but for the price we couldn’t complain.

We arrived quite late on the first day so all we did was go for dinner.  The restaurants were a 5-10 minute walk from our apartment, as were most of the attractions.  This is one area that I feel Butlin’s lets itself down.  The variety of foods for adults was okay but I found the children’s choices small.  Gluten free options were practically none existent though and if there was an option it wasn’t great.  The first night Kelly had gluten free pasta which was basically mush as it had been overcooked.  I really hope this improves as it’s getting so much better everywhere now to be able to find a gluten free option.

The next day we got up and ready early and went to the morning bear show.  Amelia sat on my knee and took it all in.  I was worried that she might be a bit scared of the big bears but she really enjoyed it.  We then went to tots football which I’ll admit I was a bit dubious about but Amelia loved it and was actually quite good at dribbling the ball around the pitch!

We took Amelia to a puppet show and then after her nap to the library where a member of the skyline gang read her a story which was so cute.  The staff work so hard and are always smiling.  They really do make your stay feel special.IMG_20180313_162727

We watched a bit of a show after dinner but Amelia was so tired we took her back to the apartment.  She slept a lot while we were away.  She had great naps and slept in longer than us in the morning which was amazing, although we didn’t know what to do with ourselves!

On the Wednesday we took Amelia to the Teletubbie show in the morning which she got very excited about and then went to tots football again.  We went for lunch, Amelia had a nap and in the afternoon we went to archery.  Kelly was very excited for this but Amelia wasn’t as keen.  She enjoyed going to retrieve the darts and put the targets back up though!

We had a chilled night of dinner and then playing on the arcade machines.

On Thursday we had a lazy morning in the apartment. and then went to a craft session where Amelia (with quite a bit of help!) made a rocket.  We went for an ice cream treat afterwards and Amelia zoomed her rocket around the diner.

That afternoon we went swimming.  The pool was lovely and warm so it’s great for kids.  It’s big and has a separate baby pool with it’s own slides.  Amelia took her time to come out of her shell in the water but was soon on the slides, going down by herself.  She didn’t like the big one I took her on though!

Swimming really tired her out and we went for dinner afterwards but Amelia wasn’t really in the mood, she just wanted her bed!  We got back to the apartment, put her to bed and then started packing to go home the next day.

We had that much fun that we’ve booked to go again next year in May.  Hopefully the weather will be a bit better and we can go to the beach.  There is so much to do and the staff all work so hard.  I am definitely a Butlin’s convert and have recommended it to everyone that has asked me about it.  Amelia loved it and we can’t wait to go again.

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