I Cry for my Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

My 4yo has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), his life is drastically different from other children who do not have the disorder, yet he is currently unaware of this. He starts school in a few weeks and I know soon he will start to realise he is a little different from the majority of his peers. I am determined that he will celebrate his differences and not let them chip away at his self esteem.

When I think about him starting school my eyes well with tears. Sad tears. I am scared. Scared for him, scared about him going into a world where people don’t know about or understand his little quirks, his thought processes, his dislikes, his triggers, or how his little mind works. It has taken me such a long time to figure out how to avoid a big proportion of meltdowns, and how to calm him when his anxiety is in overdrive – I’m his momma, it’s my job. BUT, I won’t be there for almost 7 hours of his day, and that thought rips apart my heart. As I write this the tears are streaming down my cheeks, but I know I need to write this and let other parents know they are not alone in their worries.

I often have a little cry about my sons SPD, not as much as I used to. I sometimes get overwhelmed with how much his life is effected. My heart aches for him. I see how much he wants to do things but his little mind just will not let him take that leap.

I see how much he wants to go on the big wavy slides with his brother, but he can’t sit in the scratchy tweed sack, that stops you getting hurt, because it looks itchy and doesn’t feel nice.

I see how much anxiety it causes him when he knows he has to have his nails clipped.

I see how brave he has to be to try out a new food, it’s not simply a case of putting it in his mouth, I see the fear, but I do also see his courage.

I watch him set up his toys into neat, symmetrical scenes, but never play with them, and I watch his little spirit crumple as someone else decides to play with them because he cannot bring himself to. My heart feels saddened.

I feel sad that his little mind has to verbally process his day for 90 minutes before he can attempt sleep. I long for this little boy of mine to be able to relax, and turn off his tornado mind.

I watch him get carried away in role-play and constantly be a state of make-believe, I worry people won’t understand it’s his way of playing.

I worry other people won’t understand how obsessed he is with Lego, every waking moment is filled with Lego, Lego movies, Lego sets, Lego, Lego, Lego. He doesn’t understand not everyone loves Lego like he does.

My heart breaks seeing how his anxiety is in overdrive regarding using unfamiliar toilets. I hate that he would rather be in immense pain then use one, and that he has no control over this. His brain will not let him use a public toilet. His heart races. SPD sucks!

I worry, I worry a lot, too much, but it goes with the territory I guess.

Sometimes I cry because I am happy, happy that my boy conquered a fear; letting go of me in the pool, trying a previously loathed food, sitting on a not-so-clean stool, going to sleep within 10 minutes instead of the usual 90, holding someone s hand other than mommas, having a band-aid on a cut, using an unfamiliar toilet, using his words to explain a worry instead of having a meltdown etc.

Sometimes I cry because my heart aches for him to be ‘normal’. It is very hard to accept that he will never have a life that is normal by society’s definition, but I have learnt to accept that it is normal by his definition. He is normal, a new normal. This is his journey, our journey, and I will support him along every step of the way.

Sometimes I look at other children who don’t have SPD and, for a second, sometimes I wish my son was like them, without a care in the world, happy and care-free, but then I give myself a big slap around the face. How dare I wish for anything different?! I am blessed beyond measure to be gifted this little boy to cherish and help grow into a fine young man, and I will do the best job I can. My boy, my family, our story, is unique to us and we will write it how we see fit. Life is too short to sit wondering about milestones and all the ifs-and-buts in the world won’t change the facts surrounding me.

Mommas, it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to cry because you’re sad, or because you’re heart breaks seeing the struggles of your child with SPD, it’s ok to fear the future, it’s ok to be worried, BUT it’s not ok to stay in Cryville for more than a minute or two. We all need to visit there sometimes, and it’s part of the acceptance process, but it’s not a destination, not even a short term holiday spot. It is your job to fill your child’s self-esteem bucket to overflowing, and wallowing in self-pity or sympathy-pity will not allow for that to happen. You have to be brave, courageous, and champion your new version of normal.

Pick up on every positive, and work around all the negatives. We now have a plastic bottle for public toilet situations, and it has worked wonders! And school? Well, one day at a time. I could sit here worrying about all the what-ifs and whens but in reality nothing will change by worrying about it. If I spend my time worrying about the new school chances are my child is going to pick up on it, and hell will freeze over before I let that happen. I am a momma bear who will protect her cubs no matter what, and that means I must never let my child with SPD think I feel sorry for him. I don’t. He doesn’t need pity. He needs a cheerleader, a supporter, a coach, a mentor, and as many cuddles as he likes.

I am not going to worry if he will make new friends, I am going to send him to school to be a friend, to look for the kids who have nobody. I am not going to worry if people will be kind to him, I am going to send him to school to be kind. I am not going to worry if people will speak nicely to him, I am going to send him to school knowing that he needs to speak nice to others. Work on everything from a positive point of view, it’ll help your child and you so much more.

So, mommas, don’t feel guilty for crying, there is a lot of therapy in tears, but don’t linger there, pick up your sword and keep on fighting. I know it’s lonely, but you are not alone, remember that.

Head high.

Easy Activities For Young Kids

Whether it’s a rainy day or a lazy day we all find it hard to occupy our children without it costing the earth. Over the last 18 months I have found numerous activities that my children love that are relatively cheap or even free! Here are the top 24 (two per month at least):

Rock painting – pretty self explanatory. It kept my children occupied for over thirty minutes. You can varnish the rocks after they’re dry and keep them on your garden.

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Gluing & Sticking – My boys love to use glue. I usually cut out a random animal or mode of transport shape and give them lots of different things to decorate the shape with (dried pasta, foil, lollipop sticks, buttons, sequins etc).

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Making a stick man – My children love these. You literally pick some sticks and fasten them together with pipe cleaners or string.

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Treasure Hunt – My children love treasure hunts. I draw them a map each and then plant treasure around the house or garden. I use gold coins, or chocolate eggs, but anything will do.

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Shaving Foam – My boys love getting messy, so shaving foam is one of their favourite activities. I hide plastic dinosaurs and figures in the foam and make snow mountains. They love it!

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They also love clapping their hands together in the foam to create a snow blizzard!

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Fruit fondue – Melted chocolate, cubes of fruit, and a blunt skewer. My kids love this!

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Decorating eggs – You can use foam eggs or real eggs. My children love painting eggs and hiding them around the garden for each other to find.

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Floor doodles – I use a roll of old wallpaper for this, just turn it over. I give my children a tub of markers and chalks and let them draw away. They usually end up drawing a volcano and river and then put their small world figures on there.

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Pancake creations – My children love pancakes, and they love making them. I usually lay all the syrups, creams, sauces, marshmallows, sprinkles and fruit out for them to create their own pancake dessert once we’ve made them.

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Fun in the tub – My children love waterplay especially bubbles in the bath. Add some funnels and you’ve got an hour of fun!

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Make your own popsicles – You can buy these popiscle moulds from discount stores everywhere and they cost next to nothing. We add milk, yoghurt, jelly, candy, and fruit to ours.

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Sink waterplay – My two year old loves nothing more than pretending to wash the dishes. He’d stay in there all day if I let him. Plastic dishes and cutlery of course!

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Paper plate decorating – Totally self explanatory and so quick and easy too!

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Salt dough handprints – My kids love salt dough creations. They love mixing the dough, sculpting with the dough, cooking the dough, and then painting the dough. This activity passes a couple of hours. The recipe I use is literally one cup of plain flour, half a cup of salt, and half a cup of cold water all mixed together then kneaded to a smooth dough. I then cook mine in the microwave once it’s scuplted for around seven minutes but it depends on your microwave. Just check it at three minute intervals until hard and dry. Then cool and decorate.

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Printing – My kids love to dip things in paint and print them. You can use anything aswell as real stamps; fruit, toys, sponges.

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Tape track – This is so easy and provides hours of fun! I turned my whole lounge into a race track using tape! Laughter and fun galore!

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Sock puppets – All you need is a sock, googly eyes and other pieces of fabric or paper to cut into ear shapes etc.

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Pizza creations – My children love making pizza for dinner! It gets them involved with their meals too. Just give them a few ingredients to choose from.

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Footprint and handprint wreath – This wreath activity can be used all year round if you change the colours to reflect the season or occasion. My kids loved printing their feet and hands.
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Cornflour play – Cornflour mixed with cold water is such a bizarre combination. Have you tried it? It solidifies as you collect it up then turns back into a liquid and runs through your fingers. My children love it. I’m not gonna lie though it is very messy, but worthwhile!

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Spoon animals – Old wooden spoons and cut outs of animal ears and noses etc. It keeps my children occupied for ages as they use them for puppet shows after too!

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Clothes peg trees – I did this at Christmas time with my kids, but again, you can change the layout and colour to be season appropriate. My children loved making these trees and were so proud we displayed them on the kitchen door.

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Salt dough gift tags and hanging ornaments – See salt dough recipe above. We made stars, cars, and gingerbread men here. Don’t forget to punch a hole through each one before cooking so that you can thread ribbon through.

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Teddy bears picnic – This idea is such fun. My children constantly ask if we can have a teddy bears picnic. Sometimes we have it in the lounge in our beach shelter!

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I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to get creative with your children. You don’t need to be Van Gough or Master Chef! Have a try. Your kids will love them!

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Your Second Child

Having a baby is an exciting experience, whether first child or second child, yet your experience with your second child is totally different.

With your first child during pregnancy everybody treats you like a pampered pooch, and wants to protect you. You lounge around napping at every opportunity and with good reason. You do all the correct exercises and enjoy the weird cravings. You get to experience morning sickness without questions. You buy everything brand new for your baby. You plan the nursery down to the last detail. You have your maternity notes in a pretty binder and you frame each scan photograph. You spend your pre-birth maternity leave shopping and sipping decaffeinated machiattos with people gushing over your bump and imminent arrival. People buy you presents left, right, and centre.

With your second pregnancy it’s somewhat different. You already have a child, an 18 month old in my case. Pampered poochness has long gone. You have to get on with it. You can’t wee in peace. You cannot lounge around and you most certainly don’t nap your way through a day. You get to eat when time allows, and cravings are generally neglected (unless your husband tries to win you over, wink wink). You have to run to the toilet with a screaming 18 month old under your arm as morning sickness takes its toll for the fourth time that morning. Your nursery is already planned, and full, so you have to rearrange things to accommodate your future arrival. You don’t attend antenatal classes because you’re too tired, and have an infant in tow. Your infant has to watch you pee into a bottle. Your maternity notes are folded in half and shoved in your changing bag. You detest shopping, unless it’s online. Shopping, being pregnant, and an infant make for a stressful nose-sweating sort of trip. People do not gush over you, instead they give you a sympathetic look or comment. You’re not glowing this time, you’re sweating like you’re in the Amazon. You don’t get maternity leave if you became a SAHM first time round. You reuse your first child’s car seat, baby bath, moses basket etc. Not so many presents head your way. You spend the majority of your time in pjs.

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When your first child arrives you spend countless hours cuddling your sleeping bundle (& crying because they won’t settle and you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing), you enjoy people cooing over them in their stroller. You change their outfits several times a day so they look gorgeous. You meet with your friends for coffee and shopping trips. You can get a few chores done whilst they bounce in their rocker to Disney Jnr.

When your second child arrives you have to ensure they self soothe. It’s impossible to hold a newborn without an 18 month old demanding attention. You have to have eyes in the back of your head. You can no longer leave a child in a rocker, the older one will poke them, hard. You now only change clothes if absolutely necessary as to avoid both ironing and adding to the laundry tower. You rarely meet with people; leaving the house with a billion bottles, snacks, two dressed infants, and a clean face yourself are near impossible. You now run on your own time zone. Housework schmousework! People don’t coo, they say ” I bet your hands are full!” No, they’re not, I have plenty of time to myself, they sit quietly and read, they even feed themselves!!

But it’s ok. As abnormal and as run off your feet you feel, it’s normal. It’s normal to feel guilty like your second child has somehow missed out on precious mummy time, but they haven’t. It’s hard to split yourself in half, but there’s no need to. There’s no rush. Your older child will learn patience. Your baby will learn that mommas love is so heroic it stretches to their sibling too.

Having a second child is more of a shocker than your first, but I’d never change it for the world. And it does get easier. Much easier. And although you may feel like you’re in some kind of comedy show be rest assured your normal!

Go enjoy every minute!

Being A Depressed Mother

This week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, a cause very close to my heart.

I have suffered with depression for a very long time, but have only broken my silence about it over the last few years despite suffering since I was around nine years old, and have only received medical help for it in the last seven months. The struggle has been horrific and nothing could have changed that, but it didn’t have to be so long. Shame held me back from speaking out, I felt weak, and often like I was just being stupid. I thought nobody could possibly understand me and my messed up thoughts, but I was wrong, and I only wish I had known this when I became a mother. I didn’t want to be a depressed mother.

I’ve suffered with depression secretly for a long time, although the odd red flag has maybe caused suspicion with my close ones, but I like to be the strong one, the confident one, the one who has it all together, the one who can manage on her own, when in reality none of those things are true. I’m not confident, I fake it, I’m not strong, I don’t have it all together, and I hate doing things alone. But I became accustomed to hiding my deep, dark secret, I was ashamed. And these feelings escalated once I had my first child, I had a constant voice telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I was going to ruin his life and upbringing, that he deserved so much more than me. I didn’t take care of myself, and put him first in everything, even to my own detriment, he came before everything because anything less than that meant I had let him down. I plodded on through and then ten months into being a first time mother my little surprise came along, and then after nine months I was left with a 17 month old and a newborn. It was hard. I had some real crazy thoughts and emotions, and I never told anybody, I kept it all inside for fear of losing my babies. If only I had reached out for help, it would have been so much easier. I won’t go into all of the symptoms and details this time, but I’d say it was pretty on par with post-natal psychosis, which is very scary now I look back, how I managed to come through it amazes me. I don’t know where the strength came from, or perhaps I was that good at faking a sane state of mind?

I really wish my midwife or health visitor would have made an appointment with me, a mental health appointment, and maybe I would have opened up. If they could have reassured me it was ok to suffer with mental health issues when you’re a mother. I wish I would have spoken out, reached out, cried out. I was so scared that my children would be taken off their “crazy mother”, but now I know that’s a lie. I wish I knew back then. I wish I knew it was ok to sometimes lock myself in the bathroom and wish for a different life. I wish somebody else would have told me that they too were close to running away, or that they wished their eyes would never open again. I wish somebody else would have told me they yelled too, and dreaded what the day held.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have bad days as parents, but if that cloud is not shifting, and odd thoughts creep in, or you feel overwhelmed and unable to get through the day, then please reach out and get some support before it escalates, it will be ok. It happens to lots of people and it is nothing to be ashamed of, not at all, in fact it takes tremendous courage to ask for help, so be brave, you deserve to be happy too.

It took me until September last year to seek medical help and try some medication, and i have to say i was petrified, I made and cancelled so many appointments, and then one day I went. I knew I had to, I was gripped daily by a black cloud and anxiety had became my best friend and worst enemy, I’d reached rock bottom and there was no way out on my own. I was worried I didn’t have any more fight left in me and my children would become motherless. I had to go for them. I was a sobbing mess, but it was the start of a band new way of life, six weeks into an antidepressant and my life radically changed, that chemical imbalance in my brain had been sorted, mostly. I’ve gone from 95% bad days, to 95% good days. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a miracle cure, and some days I’m left scared to death the tablets will never work again because the back cloud has consumed me, but to me it has been life changing, and to my children and husband no doubt too!

If you are reading this and anything resonates with you then please, please, please, go and see your doctor. Your life matters, and your children need a happy, alive mother, you matter so very much. Be brave and speak out, you’re not a failure admitting you need support, you are a warrior! Don’t fight your monsters alone.

 

 

Memory Making & Blah Blah Blah

Memory making. A major phrase used on social media, and in hashtags. Have you seen it? Of course you have!

If you’ve followed my site for any length of time you know I am all about the memory making, most likely OTT some of the time, but I am desperate to ensure my boys have a childhood full of happy memories, not full of money, full of memories; picnics, crazy desserts, snuggles, books read by flashlight, spontaneous parties, forts and mud pies.

But do you know what? Some days I don’t want to make memories! Am I alone in this?

The park? Ew, no, it’s cold, we have to pack four hundred snacks to avoid hanger, it’s muddy and I cba cleaning wellies after.

The cinema? Ugh, no, it costs the same amount as my weekly grocery shopping and everybody needs a billion pees!

A theme park? My worst nightmare, convincing my kids to get into a queue, and wait to go on a ride that they keep convincing themselves not to go on, the hook a ducks there that cost half my mortgage, and the high probability they will fall asleep on the journey home and not go to sleep ever that night.

The beach? Suncream, towels, changes of clothes, moaning, fighting, wasps, etc etc, hmm, no, not today.

A family board game? Oh Lord, no. The tears over losing, the arguing, the cheating. Shall I go on?

A picnic? Momma doesn’t feel like slaving away over a picnic ensuring everybody’s tastes are catered for, and the wasps that always plague us? Nope, can’t be dealing with those today either! And the dogs that always manage to run through our picnic and terrify the kids, nope can’t be dealing with you today either. The damp butt from the soaked-through picnic blanket, the four year old eating ALL of the cakes and traumatising his brother. A picnic? No, thanks.

All f the above we do, regularly, but sometimes, just sometimes I just don’t want to, and why? Because I simply cannot be bothered with all it involves! Am I a bad mum? Ha ha, please tell me sometimes you just cba to make life magical!

Here’s to the low maintenance activities we can throw our kids way that still score us brownie points; duvet nights with a movie and popcorn, chalks on the garden floor, water-painting the garden, drawing competitions etc etc blah blah blah.

Some days CBA is more than ok to be your motto, none of us are Mary Poppins, none of us! But it’s ok, you’re doing great just as you are, even with all of the cba’s! Sometimes those cba’s are memory making at it’s finest!

This is Motherhood

Recently I saw a post on a social media site about motherhood and its reality, and it really struck a nerve with me. When you think of motherhood you picture children running merrily over hills flying kites whilst proud parents look on and smile, you think of wonderful picnics next to a lake with homemade cakes, you think of going on adventures,  peaceful visits to the toy store for a treat with happy and grateful children, you picture immaculate houses with children sitting and playing nicely, you think of craft activities and homemade collages, you think of family trips to the beach and building sand castles together, you picture homebaking with children who are eager to learn, you picture visits to the swings on hot summer days, you picture everything with rose-tinted-perfection glasses. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things can happen, but they’re missing a few details.

Motherhood is amazing. Motherhood is by far my most favourite journey i’ve ever embarked upon. Motherhood is the biggest privilege I have ever been given. But motherhood is hard, very hard. motherhood is picturesque. Motherhood is perfectly imperfect.

We are so hard on ourselves as mothers, we have so many unrealistic expectations of ourselves and failure of these is inevitable, but we don’t give ourselves a break. We think we are doing everything wrong, and worry that we are not creating enough good memories for our children, but if you’re loving them and are there for them then that is enough, more than enough.

Motherhood is not just the good times, not just the holidays, the treats, the games, the visits to the park, the fairground rides, the beach trips, motherhood is so much more than all of this.

Putting the fourth load of laundry that day into the washer and getting it out to dry, this is motherhood.

Wiping the spilt milk your 4yo spilt despite you reminding him to be careful three billion times, this is motherhood.

Sweeping up the stamped upon cereal for the third time that morning, this is motherhood.

Lying awake crying, worrying if you are really up to the job of being a mother, this is motherhood.

Filling out paperwork for nursery, and pre-school, and junior school, and senior school, this is motherhood.

Crying on the bathroom floor because you’ve not slept in what seems like forty years because your baby just will not sleep, this is motherhood.

Searching the house for a pacifier or a manky blanky for thirty minutes whilst your baby screams, this is motherhood.

Using baby wipes to clean everything in your house, this is motherhood.

Wearing the same pair of leggings and top most days of the week because you now spend all of your money on your children, this is motherhood.

Deciding to home-school because this is best for your children, this is motherhood.

Listening to your child talk about their favourite thing for what seems like 36 hours straight because that’s how long their stories take, yet you listen intently because you know listening now will mean they’ll know they can always talk to you, even when they have flown the nest, this is motherhood.

Lying on the floor all night next to your child’s bed when they have a fever, this motherhood.

Peeling soaking covers from your child’s bed when they have an accident, and reassuring them it’s ok, this is motherhood.

Kissing grazed knees and healing them with your kisses, this is motherhood.

Giving the last piece of dessert to your children when you so desperately needed that chocolate fix yourself when they’d already eaten their piece the day before, this is motherhood.

Placing a towel on top of a soggy sheet that your baby wet just so you can get some desperately needed sleep, this is motherhood.

Sniffing the brown, suspicious stain on the sofa, and licking it when smell alone fails, despite the possibility of it being poop, this is motherhood.

Using your scarf as a napkin when you forget to bring the baby wipes out again, this is motherhood.

Karate chopping the back of the knees of a flailing child so that you can get them into their car seat to get them home, this is motherhood.

Grocery shopping and children, need I say more? This is motherhood.

Looking your child in the eye and apologising when you yell, this is motherhood.

Kissing your child goodnight, and again, and again and again because they need ‘just one more’, this is motherhood.

Staying awake all night to take their temperature because they have a high fever, this is motherhood.

Working every hour God sends to provide a roof over your children’s heads and clothes on their back, this is motherhood.

Reminding them to wear their hat at school when the sun is out, this is motherhood.

Teaching them about safety, and strangers, and roads, this is motherhood.

Reading them stories at bedtime, at any time, this is motherhood.

Telling them you love them, hugging them, nuzzling them, sniffing them, this is motherhood.

Spending hours persuading them to take their medicine when they’re ill, despite wanting to give up trying, this is motherhood.

Cleaning mud off wellies, and washing waterproofs, this is motherhood.

Letting them play in sand, in water, in mud, on grass, outside, letting them explore, this is motherhood.

Holding their hand at the hospital and igniting their courage, this is motherhood.

The seen, the unseen, the heard, and the unheard, it’s all motherhood, whether daytime or early hours of the morning, everything you do for those children of yours is worth it, and they will remember. Their hearts will know. They will remember the mother who kissed the scraped knees, who made the world brighter with a snuggle, who said yes as often as was possible, who held them when they were scared, who never left their side when  germs took over, who listened to their stories and the things that were important to them, and the mother who loved them regardless of spillages and bad decisions.

Everything you do is important. It is not all about the fun Instagram-perfect memories, it’s everything you do behind the scenes that matters. Motherhood is the fun, but is also the mundane. Motherhood is the highs, but also the lows.  Motherhood is the picnics, and also the all-nighters.  All the things, big, small, happy, sad, challenging, they all weave into this beautiful journey of motherhood, all of them.

Motherhood is a little bit of everything,  so give yourself a break, you’re doing just fine in this gig called motherhood!

Becci Signature

 

A Video For The Mothers With A Different Story

What is a mother? A mother is a million things, all different, but all just as important!

Take a look…

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Whatever your story, you matter!

Share with somebody who you think needs reminding.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity

We love the story about The Very Hungry Caterpillar in our house we always have, and most likely always will. Over the years we have based so many activities on this story from paintings to taste testing, and this time story stones and play dough.

My six year is becoming an amazing reader, he is fascinated by books, and really gets lost in the story, I love watching him whilst he is reading.

I decided to make some story stones to use alongside The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a way to extend the story further, and to also help my little boy who fidgets quite a lot. I added in some coloured play dough, a piece of bark, and a laminated leaf.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Setup

I took a few stones away to aid imagination. I then invited my six year old to come over and read the story with me if he wanted to, he excitedly obliged but told me he would be reading it to me. When he reached a part in the story he thought there should be a stone for, without prompting, he placed the stone in a timeline order.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity

When he came to a part and there was no stone he decided to use the play dough to make his own interpretation i.e: the little caterpillar, and the leaf he nibbled through.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity

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By the end of the book we had the whole story lined up with story stones and play dough and a beautiful stone butterfly on a piece of bark at the end. He was so proud. It really bought the story alive for him.

The very hungry caterpillar

This activity is so simple, yet so effective, and my six year old really enjoyed it. This was one of our favorite story themed activities so far, along with our Gingerbread Man activity we did a while ago.

Here’s our ‘stone how-to’:

Or stones were so easy to make, we simply painted on flat grey pebbles with acrylic paint and then once dry we outlined them with a permanent black marker pen. After a few hours to ensure the pen was dry we gave them a coating of matte Modge Podge. We then left them overnight to dry thoroughly. The possibilities are endless with story stones.

This activity is part of the National Reading Month Book Inspired Blog Hop hosted by a wonderful lady called Amy over at Learning and Exploring Through Play. Go take a look at all of the other wonderful ideas to bring books to life.

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Transport Themed Activity

When your children are under the weather you look for ways to keep them occupied that require a minimal set up and that use the least energy possible for them.

My two boys love cars, and trucks, and trains, and tracks, and roads. They also love making a mess. Today they were both under the weather so I began thinking about what activity we could do to brighten the afternoon that involved some of their favourite things.

After a quick look through my Facebook newsfeed I had a few ideas. I decided to upon a transport themed sensory activity.

I decided on using our puzzle track, 4 different modes of transport, and 4 different items that were very different in appearance and texture. I chose water beads, cotton wool balls, dried animal shaped pasta, and small plastic bottle tops.

Transport sensory activity set up

The aim of the activity was to fill up your mode of transport with your chosen items and then transport them along the track to the empty plates, and then carefully drop off your load. Along the way we placed stars, and if you managed to get all of your load to it’s destination carefully you were able to claim the star as a reward.

Transport Sensory Activity track set up

This transport themed sensory activity was a big hit with my two boys, they had so much fun!

I love watching them play, and engage in activities that strengthen their skills without them even realising it.

This activity was so good for their fine motor skills for various reasons; the track was a puzzle and they had to keep rebuilding it, they used scoops of various sizes to manipulate the objects into their chosen mode of transport, and they had to use precise movements in order to get their star reward.

Transport Themed Activity for Children

This transport themed sensory activity was also great for their hand-eye co-ordination. They had to plan their route along the track to drop off their objects. They even started counting the objects they had, bringing maths into the activity voluntarily.

Transport themed sensory activity for children

They had so much fun, and it is such a versatile activity – you could use anything around your home to recreate this transport themed sensory activity. We will definitely be making this a regular activity in our home!

Transport themed sensory activity by Swords & Snoodles

Why not have a go at creating your own transport themed sensory activity?

Mummy Matters!

Before becoming a parent, ultimately you only have yourself to please. You eat when you’re hungry, you drink when you’re thirsty, you sleep when you’re tired, you go on holiday to luxurious places, you play loud music at any time of day (or night), you can hide away in grumpy days, you can arrange big get togethers for special occasions, you shop until you drop, and you can pretty much do whatever you want to.

When you become a parent that all changes. All of it!

You eat when you have chance, sometimes not at all. You drink cold tea, cold coffee, and the odd pint of water when you’re head is throbbing from another night of no sleep.

You sleep when there is chance, which is pretty much never, and less than ‘never’ when germs are thriving.

You go on holiday to child-friendly places. Mojitos are replaced with Mojo the Monkey, or some other holiday club children’s mascot. Instead of relaxing by the pool you’re holding a flailing toddler in the pool who you are begging not to poop! Instead of that holiday spa treatment you normally indulge in a few times during your two-week break, you spend half of your holiday convincing a toddler to let you rub sunblock onto their sand-ridden skin, and the other half of the time trying to convince them to wear a hat so they don’t burn.

You don’t listen to music loudly, you don’t listen to music full stop. Kids TV does not count!

You spend your evenings being as quiet as possible, and you make every single person who enters your house aware of the unwritten rule when it comes to your babies – You wake ’em, you take ’em!

When you’re grumpy it doesn’t matter – the show must go on, and on it must! You have to paint on your smile and carry on being Mary Poppins! Your 2yo does not care if you’re feeling grumpy, they care if their raspberry jam has seeds or doesn’t, or if their orange juice is smooth or has bits!

And Shopping! O dearest shopping, how I miss thee! My children have made me despise you! I cannot go into this in too much detail, I am still grieving for the shopping days of old. The ones that were stress free, and enjoyable, and didn’t  involve anyone’s tears but my own!

Being a parent makes you feel like you have sacrificed your life and put it on hold. Although you love your babies more than life itself, it can be pretty daunting feeling like you are now just a mum, and nothing more. Your life seems to be on pause, and often we lose our identity.

Let me tell you this, you are not just a mummy!

Being a mummy (or daddy) is the most important job I have ever known. You are responsible for raising the next generation: the next prime minister, the next genius, the next doctor, the next entrepreneur, the next parent, the next designer, the next brain surgeon. Your role is vital. You are vital!

You may go to bed each night and lay there defeated after a other mundane day of wiping tears, cleaning grazes, cooking three meals, preparing snacks, breaking up fights, doing laundry, tidying toys, preparing crafts, baking, vacuuming, giving time-outs, yelling, wiping noses, washing hands, yelling some more, doing the school run, going to your other jobs, naptimes, ill children, shopping, and the like. Your pillow may often be soggy and mascara ridden. You may look in the mirror and dislike the reflection. You may replay your failures from the day before over and over again. You have to stop!

You matter! Mummy, daddy, you really matter!

Those tears you wiped have reassured your child that you love them, that you are their safe haven. You have instilled another fragment of self-worth into them, and in this world they need their self-esteem bucket brimming over. You restored their hope and vanquished their hurts.

The grazes that you cleaned up were not just physical. You cared for them, you helped them, you loved them. You hurt when they hurt. You have magical kisses! No other job role can brag about those! Cherish them!

The food you prepared, the snacks you made, and the thought behind it all are not just small parenting acts, they are huge. You ensure your child is healthy and happy. The broccoli battles are normal. The tomato tantrums are all part of being a child. Stand your ground momma, you know best!

The tidying, the vacuuming, the laundry, and the housekeeping is all appreciated. Without you the house would not be a home. Your zest for organisation and a clean home are admirable qualities that your babies notice, but get the balance right. Who needs sparkling floors anyway? You won’t use your last breath regretting the shelf you didn’t dust! Give yourself a break, the dust will still be there tomorrow! Your house does not define you, or your momma abilities.

Those five minutes you took to read a story matter, they matter every single day. They make your child feel worthwhile. The way your child told you a story about something they find exciting, and the way you looked them right in the eyes the whole time, that matters. They noticed. The gentle care you take when brushing their hair, and their teeth, that matters. The way you apologised after yelling at them today, that matters. You’re not a perfect human being, and nobody but you ever expects you to be.

Mummy, you matter. You matter a whole lot more than you think. You see the flaws, the chores, and the mundane, but your babies see their safe place, their security, their everything. Everything does change when you become a parent, but that’s because your everything has changed – it’s now in the form of a mini-you! A mini-you who watches your every move – go love yourself mummy!

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