Monday, 26 March 2012

Mummy's little helpers! Really? Where?

I have always said that I'm going to bring my boys up knowing how to do all the household chores.  This probably stems from having a husband who can't cook, doesn't know how to turn on the washing machine, and downright refuses to clean the toilet.  But somehow, my boys have got to almost 6, 4 and 1 (okay, I haven't got to worry about the little one yet) and still think that the housework is my responsibility.  They do absolutely nothing to help around the house, in fact, they take their clothes off and just leave them on the floor wherever they fall.
Oliver thinks you just need to lick the plate to clean it
Now, if truth be told I hate housework.  I am a great believer in doing it only when I absolutely have to, i.e. when I have visitors.  Luckily for my husband and children (though unluckily for me) that means I have to do some cleaning every week.  Although I hate it, I'm also a stickler for doing things properly.  I admit to being a bit of a control freak which doesn't usually work in my favour (my husband now refuses to load the dishwasher because I tell him off for doing it wrong).  I knew I needed to put this aside in order to teach my lovely boys the joys of housework.  I would hate to think that any future partner of theirs will complain about their lack of domestic skills the way that I do some women do about theirs.

Plus I was being nagged by the older two because they had been given a task in their last kickboxing lesson. Do a job for mum or dad every day for a week.  If they get seven ticks they'll get a sticker.  So I had to come up with a plan.  What could they help me with?  My vacuum cleaner is heavy and cumbersome; to be fair they'd never manage it (it's also been giving me static shocks and I don't want to scare them for life!); I suppose they could help load the dishwasher (I'll just have to reorganise it when they're not looking); and maybe a bit of lower lever dusting and polishing (after all they do create all the smears and smudges down there).

I decided they should start with the basics - making their own beds and tidying up their toys.

Day 1 and there was a lot of complaining.  I mean LOTS!  I threatened them with no tick on their chart and they begrudgingly pulled their covers up and threw some toys back into containers.  All for a sticker!  Who knew?!

Days 2 to 4 and there was less complaining with each day.  They were excited to get their tick and kept making sure that I was happy with their work.

The turning point came on Day 5.  They made their beds without having to be asked!!  Even more, they were folding their pyjamas and putting them on the bed, instead of throwing them on the floor.  Result!  (Their clothes were still being taken off and dropped on the floor of course, but one step at a time).

Zac making his bed with a smile!
Ethan tidying his toys away

Ethan had been the worst culprit at getting out every single toy that he owns, and then leaving them lying around.  But even he started to realise that tidying up wasn't so bad after all.  With the incentive of getting a whole sticker at the end of it, wouldn't you??

Even the baby joined in with the fun.  Get them started young and all that.

I think he needs cleaning more than the floor!

So with the tick chart complete and the sticker gained, that's the end, right?  No way.  I've got plans for my boys.  Next week we are moving on to 'hanging the coat up instead of throwing it on the floor' lesson, before starting on the 'wiping your own wee off the toilet seat' lesson (that one I'm really looking forward to).  By the time I've finished with them they will be domestic gods.  If only I can give up some control.  I will try, honest.........

This post is my entry to become a Morphy Richards Innovator

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A castle and a dragon hunt

We took the boys to Castell Coch today (Welsh for Red Castle)  Even though it's not far from where we live, I haven't been there since I was a little girl and every time I pass it I want to go inside.  Especially at night as it's all lit up so it actually looks red (the link I've included shows a picture of this).  It's not a real castle, though it is built on the foundations of one, but it is the most magical, fairytale building I have ever seen.  Another reason I wanted to take the boys there was to take them on a 'dragon hunt'.  I'd read about an amazing sculpture trail for children which includes a treasure chest, a fairy tree house and a scary dragon.  The boys were so excited.  Here's our day in pictures.....

Castell Coch


The inside of the castle is just as amazing as the outside, with walls and ceilings painted with intricate drawings of animals and birds.  I'd forgotten how pretty it was.  The boys were amazed to find a bedroom at the top of a turret, with all the furniture completely intact.
Even the baby loved it

They can't wait to explore

After we'd examined every inch of the castle, with me having palpitations every time they walked down a steep, stone staircase without holding on, we went out into the grounds for a picnic.  It was bliss just lying on the grass on a beautiful Spring day.  

When everyone had eaten their fill we went off to find the dragon.  Now, this was something I hadn't done before so I had no idea where to look.  I had to send hubby to look at the map (my map reading skills are non-existent) and then off we went on our walk.  It was quite a way, and being quite warm plus having to carry the baby most of the way, it wasn't that easy.  But I'm so glad we did it.  Ethan was reciting verses from "We're Going On a Bear Hunt" (not exactly accurate we we understood the general idea!)  It was great fun.

Ollie having a walk
After walking up steep hills and along seemingly never ending paths (can you tell I'm not used to walking?!), we eventually came across the start of the sculpture trail.

Firstly, we discovered a spider.........

The boys were a bit scared as they thought it might come to life!  I blame Harry Potter for giving them a fear of wicked things in forests ;)

Next was a witches cauldron full of toads and creepy crawlies............

We were still on our dragon hunt and Ethan had his mighty sword ready to slay him.

And then we found him....... complete with a giants foot in his mouth.  What was he protecting I wonder?

We found carvings in the trees right by a fantastic treasure chest full of gold (I wish)

We'd found the treasure at last!  We'd hunted high and low, crept past defeated a spider, and slayed a dragon.  Hooray!  The boys were happy but exhausted and demanding ice-cream (erm, not a chance in the middle of the woods).  It was time to go home.

Zac is already looking forward to the next adventure
We're already planning where to go next weekend.  We're thinking dinosaurs....................

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 23 March 2012

Tantrums and tears (and that's just mum)

The children have brought me to the verge of tears today.  I'd had a really good day; I helped out with taking Ethan's class to the park this morning to do their Sport Relief mile and then spent the day with a good friend and our littlest ones before heading back to the school to pick the older boys up.  All good - I'd done my bit for charity,got some exercise in and had a good old gossip.

But in the space of 15 minutes between getting home from school and heading back out to take the boys to their kickboxing lesson, all hell broke loose.  The boys went straight out the garden to play and I started tidying up.  I could hear some shouts from the garden so I went out to see what was going on.  The boys each had a small spade and they were fling soil at each other.  Their playhouse was covered, as was the patio, but more importantly so were the boys.  Their hands and faces were black, and they left a trail of dirt wherever they walked.  I couldn't believe it.  Ten minutes before leaving for kickboxing and they were filthy.  I am ashamed to say that I totally lost my temper.  I shouted at them for being so inconsiderate as they knew we were going out. I got the dirt off as best as I could and then took them to get dressed for kickboxing.

Then Ethan started having a tantrum over his clothes.  I was already angry and this just made it worse.  I nearly didn't take them to their class, but knew that was just me taking the easy option.  I ignored the tantrums, got him dressed and then attempted to get them us all out of the house.  Zac was already in the car (I think he knew what was good for him at this point) but Ethan just kicked off again over his trainers as they were covered in mud from earlier.  He refused to put any other shoes on so I ended up just picking him up and putting him in the car.  I was completely at boiling point.  I wanted to scream; I wanted to cry; the last thing I wanted was to get in the car with the children.  It was horrible.  I adore my children.  The are the best thing that's ever happened to me.  Yet they drive me to distraction.  They know exactly what buttons to press, and press them they do.

I calmed down quickly but they did have all privileges taken away this evening.  Though I'm now I feel that I over-reacted.  They are four and five years old and they are naturally going to mess around.  So I feel guilty.  I reacted badly to my children and made everything worse when it didn't have to be.  So what if they're a bit dirty?  As my husband keeps telling me, they're boys and they're supposed to be playing in the mud.  They'd had a brilliant time out the garden and I spoilt it all by shouting at them.

I can't turn back time but I will promise to count to ten before shouting at them next time.  Because there will be a next time.  One thing that's guaranteed with my boys is that they don't learn from their mistakes :-)

Half clean.....

Please tell me that it's not just me who has worse tantrums than the children?!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

My lovely boy

I have a strange urge to share one of my favourite photos with you.  Maybe it's just an urge to have this memory posted here forever.  It's the screensaver on my mobile phone, and the photo I show everyone.  It's a photo I took of my third son when he was just 3 weeks old.  He looks so comfortable and peaceful and I just want to give him a cuddle.  He's my baby.

But as a mum of three lovely boys I now feel guilty that I haven't posted photos of the other two so expect some more baby pics soon! ;-)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

What does Mothers Day really mean?

I've had a really frustrating day today.  Now, I'm not one to go for all the commercialised crap that comes with occasions such as Mothers Day, but seeing as I've got three children it would be kind of nice for it to at least be acknowledged, even just a tiny bit.  I'm not talking about my children here; they are 5, 4 and 1 and I've already had lovely home-made cards off the oldest two.  It's my other half that's caused my gripe.  His comment today was that I'm not his mother, so why should he do anything for me?!  No, but I've only given him three gorgeous children, and the least he could do is realise that it's my Mothers Day too.  Not that I'm letting it get to me. Not at all!  I don't care, honest.........

By the way, Fathers Day is cancelled this year!!

It has made me think a lot about Mothers Day and what it means.  To me, I'm just thankful that I've got three happy, healthy boys who I adore and I hope, adore me too.  I will treasure my cards that they have made for me and look forward to a cuddle when they wake me up in the morning.  I will go and visit my own mum and be thankful that she is there for me.  And grateful for everything she's done for me.

But what about all the people where it is just a painful reminder of something they haven't got?  For whatever reason, there are mums out there who will never receive a card, and children who have no-one to give one to.  My heart goes out to anyone whose Mothers Day isn't a happy event.  I dedicate this to you.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Oliver's a Tiny Taster

Little Dish recently held a competition on their Facebook page where you had to upload a photo of your little one eating their favourite food   I decided to enter as Ollie loves his food and is quite vocal in letting me know what he does, and doesn't like!  I entered this photo of him eating tomato soup and I am very happy to announce that he was chosen as one of their Tiny Tasters!

Ollie is going to get Little Dish meals to taste, and then we'll be letting everyone know what our thoughts are.  Expect lots of messy eating, plenty of feedback and hopefully more smiles than tears.

You can follow our journey here on my blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Has your little one tried Little Dish meals yet?  

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Experiences of childbirth

I've just read a great post on Mummy Daddy and Me Makes Three about her birth experience and it has started me thinking of my own.  Although my oldest is almost 6 years old now, I still remember every detail as vividly as if it was yesterday.  You may forget what the pain feels like, but the memory never goes away.

I went into hospital on Easter Sunday, 2006 because I thought my waters had gone.  It was six days before my due date and I was really excited.  After a really painful examination I started bleeding and so they wouldn't let me go home.  To cut a long story short, my consultant scanned me the following morning and said that it looked like the placenta was starting to deteriorate so they were going to induce me.  My husband and mother came over at visiting time and ended up staying because at my next examination I was bleeding again so I was transferred onto the labour ward.  I was hooked up to all the machines, watching contractions that I couldn't feel and happily enjoying some lunch.  It was calm and peaceful and, to be honest, quite boring.  I was just lying there with nothing to do, but I was too excited to try to sleep or read.

All of a sudden, everything changed.  The machines started beeping and doctors and midwives gathered around them.  I was looking at my mother, pleading with her to tell me it was going to be okay, but the next thing I knew the bottom end of my bed was being taken away and I had to sign a consent form for surgery.  I was taken for a spinal block and not long after my beautiful little boy was born.
I was instantly besotted and so happy and relieved that my lovely boy was safe and healthy.  I didn't even think about the way he'd been born at that time.  He was my little Easter present.  The day later we were discharged from consultant care and booked into the midwife-led unit.  Just before leaving my consultant told me that there shouldn't be any reason why I would need a caesarean section with my next baby, not that the thought of having a second had even crossed my mind at that point!  After spending another three days in hospital I was ready to go home.  As we were leaving I heard a woman obviously in labour, and it nearly broke my heart.  I was suddenly overcome with emotion at not being able to give birth naturally.  You could put it down to baby blues, but for months after I would have to bite back tears whenever I thought about it.  I adored my baby, and knew that having a c-section was for the best, but I had so many what ifs.  It wouldn't have changed who he was, or the bond we have, but it still made me sad.

When Zac was 8 months old I fell pregnant again.  I was booked in under consultant care as I was know classed as high-risk after having a c-section.  Thankfully, I had the same consultant as last time, and when he asked me if I would prefer to have an elective section or try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), I knew immediately that it was the latter I wanted.  I was aware that I may end up having another c-section but I at least had to try.

I went into labour naturally and because I hadn't progressed very far in my previous labour, it was a classic first labour.  It took 23 hours, an hour and a half of pushing and a shot of pethidine before my second baby boy was born  It was exhausting and utterly agonising!  I haven't mentioned it before but I suffer from Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) in pregnancy.  I'd had physio, and she had advised me of the best way to labour and deliver, but I totally forgot all this and could only focus on the pain, which resulted in me doing everything wrong.  Looking back, most of the pain I felt had been in my hips and legs, but no-one picked up on it at the time so I put my body through trauma, and even ended up in stirrups to be stitched afterwards.  I couldn't walk and I was in so much pain.  I had to have three months of post-natal physio.  The recovery was worse than when I had my c-section.  Though I would have done it all again when I held my baby for the first time.
I was so pleased that I'd had a natural birth, though that's just my personal feeling.  In fact, in a lot of ways the c-section had been easier (and certainly a lot less painful!)  I was made to stay in hospital overnight after having Ethan because I still couldn't walk properly and my consultant wasn't that happy with my recovery.  But the important thing was that I had my baby.

There was a three year gap before I had my third.  I was again, under the same consultant, and even though I'd had a successful VBAC I was still classed as high risk.  I suffered from SPD again and I was really concerned about my labour being the same as previously.  I was totally determined to do everything right this time.

Due to my c-section, I'm not allowed to go more than a week overdue so I was booked in for an early stretch and sweep.  I had my first one four days before my due date (on my birthday) and nothing happened.  Then had another one the day before I was due, and my waters broke in the middle of it!  At first they wanted me to go straight to hospital (I was in my midwife led unit at this point), but the hospital said that because I'd had a natural birth last time, that I could go home and wait for the contractions to start.  I drove home (alone) and my contractions started half way there.  I managed to get home, and luckily my husband got there just after me.  It wasn't long before the contractions were so bad I could barely walk so we jumped (well I waddled) into the car to go to hospital.  When we got there, there was nowhere to park.  I started to feel sick and then started panicking as I remembered feeling sick in transition last time.  I was so afraid that I was going to have the baby in the car.  I shouted at hubby to just stop the car, so he did, and as we were getting out, we saw my mother walking towards us.  She's a nurse and was working that day, and it seemed like a miracle at the time as she didn't even know that I was in labour.  Hubby went off to park properly as we were blocking loads of cars in, and my mother took me up to the delivery suite.

They told me to sit down, I couldn't.  Then they asked me for a urine sample so off I went to the toilet where I started pushing!  The midwife helped me back to the bed and within 10 minutes my third precious little boy was born.  It was amazing.  This time, I hadn't listened to anyone else and had just gone with what felt right.  It was still extremely painful, and very scary, but it was incredible at the same time.
No stitches, no pain afterwards, I was even in the same top that I was wearing when I went in.  We were in hospital for 6 hours before we were discharged.

Three babies, three completely different labours and deliveries.  Is there any difference?  I got the birth I wanted in the end, but I don't know if it really matters.  I adore my three boys, they all breastfed well and are all happy little boys now.  I'm glad I did it, and glad I've had the experiences, c-section included.  All that really matter is that they're here, safe, with me.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 1 March 2012

St. David's Day

Today is St. David's Day so I had to get some photos of my boys in their Welsh rugby tops.  I would have loved to have dressed them up as miners but even at their tender age, there's no chance of them wearing anything that's not 'cool'.

I tried to get one of the 3 of them together but as you can see Ollie is totally unimpressed.

So, I got one of my older 2.  I love this as I don't often see them like this.

Happy St. David's Day to my fellow Welshies!