After having me, my mother had a series of ectopic pregnancies, which sadly made her unable to have more children. So I grew up as an only child (although according to my dad, I counted for ten). I’ve often been asked if I ever missed having siblings. Truth is, that as an only child, you simply don’t know any different. I had a very happy childhood, without ever realising I was missing out on being part of a big family. I was always welcome to bring friends over to our house, and had loads of cousins to play with and share vacations with. I have fond memories of the many craft projects I did with my mum, and my dad often took me to work with him (he was a country vet).
I always wanted to be a mum, and I always thought I would have at least three children. And now I have four! It’s wonderful to see the interaction between those four. There is already so much love and support between them… Sara and Pim are so fond of their little siblings — and vice versa. Even though I know that only children enjoy equally happy childhoods as children from bigger families (and score higher in measures of intelligence and achievement!), I must say I love seeing what it is like to have siblings.
Of course, having (more) children isn’t always an option. We have plenty of friends with no children, or ‘only’ one child because of their age, infertility problems, divorce, etc. Or simple because they want to, of course!
There are cons and pros for smaller or bigger families. Are you from a bigger family, or from a small one? And how many children do you have, if you have any at all?
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On the brink of giving birth we asked our super talented photographer friend Sue Cowell to shoot some photos of pregnant me with my family. It is, after all, my last pregnancy! I really like the outcome of the shoot — I love how natural Sue’s style is, the moments she captures are just full of character, and nothing is too ‘over-posed’ or ‘perfect’.
Here are some of the photos of the shoot — such a wonderful documentary to have for all of us! (I also asked Sue to come after the birth and shoot some images of the new baby and us — so more photos to come soon!)
Check out Sue’s website here, and her blog too with even more beautiful photo. Sue lives in Amsterdam but is British and travels around a lot, so don’t shy away of contacting her if you would like her to capture the essence of your family too!
I love how Sue came in the morning and stayed while the kids got dressed, capturing daily moments like Ava waking up with her dummy and ‘bearbear’, the kids getting dressed in their bedroom, Sara putting on her tights on her bed, me in the kitchen preparing sandwiches for a picnic…
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My husband was class rep of Quin’s class last year, and when it came time to decide on the end-of-term teacher gifts he wanted to make the teachers something special they would treasure (and also hopefully use!). He decided to make them a personalised tote bag with all the kids’ self portraits and names on it. He asked all the kids to draw a picture of themselves and write their names above. He then used photoshop to get all the drawings together, and sent the pdf file over to the printing company. The most difficult part was finding a company with good, sturdy cotton bags, but after lots of research he ended up finding them at The Clever Baggers and they are really great quality.
Aren’t the bags so cute? We gave them to the teachers and they loved them. We then ordered more for all the parents because we liked them so much, and I’ve been toting ours around every day lately and receiving lots of cute comments.
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I am having the most difficult time choosing a name for our baby! I think it is especially difficult when you don’t know your baby’s gender… maybe because you can’t really visualise your baby, or maybe it’s just because you don’t know what your baby is, so you don’t become too attached to either the girl’s name or the boy’s name. The minute I think of a girl’s name I like, there is something in the back of my head that says ‘but it might not be a girl, so why don’t you focus on a boy’s name…’. And then I’m back to the starting point again. Ugh!
It’s also tricky when you already have children. You have to make sure the new name goes with the other names, that it flows when you say all the names together, and that it isn’t completely in a league of its own (not easy when you already have three kids and you’ve already used up your favourites).
I did pick up a copy of Baby Names Now after reading the review on A Cup of Jo a few weeks ago, and I do find it to be quite helpful. I like how frank the authors are about the names, reminding you of the possible bad nicknames or suggesting good alternatives to the more common names. Hopefully it will inspire the perfect name! I’m waiting for it.
p.s. If you have name suggestions, please share!
p.p.s. Maybe we should create a book with all the baby names we all liked but didn’t end up using! I have so many great ones from previous pregnancies and a whole long list of names for this baby that we won’t end up using. It would be fun to hear everyone else’s un-used baby names! There must be so many good ones. xx
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Being in the final stages of pregnancy, walking around with a nice plump bump, I’m reminded of that wonderful, sweet secret of pregnancy: there is some sort of unspoken yet certainly acknowledged ‘club’ that pregnant women belong to. Other pregnant women will always acknowledge you, even if it’s just in their eyes, and you feel this comfort in knowing that someone else understands what you’re going through. It’s a special bond you can have with a complete stranger, someone you have never even seen before…and there’s something so wonderfully supportive about it.
What I also love is that everyone, strangers even!, become so much more friendly. There seems to be different rules of engagement whenever pregnant women are involved. You suddenly become so much more approachable. People will smile and ask you how much longer you have to go. Are you having a boy or a girl? How are you feeling? etc. It’s so nice! I really wish it were always like this.
And, as I remember from previous babies, the funny thing about it is that… boom! the minute your baby is born, you are no longer a part of this ‘club’. Pregnant women will no longer send you that little knowing, comforting look, and you suddenly feel like you’ve lost a whole support system, just because you no longer have a baby bump. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? I remember very specifically after my first pregnancy, trying to give a pregnant mom ‘the look’ and she just looked up and looked down, and there was nothing in her eyes that showed we shared anything in common. Isn’t that so interesting? I quickly learned that if I wanted any sort of supportive ‘I know what you’re going through’ looks, I should specifically look for other new mothers.
Please share your experiences. Do you know what I’m talking about, or have I just imagined it all? I would love to hear.
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A few weeks ago, Esther and I and our oldest girls were in the South of France visiting a local market. At one of the market stands, some great, cheesy Euro 80’s pop music was blaring out of a little stereo. Of course, we launched straight into some rather impressive dance moves (if I may say so myself). The interesting thing was the children’s reaction: Violette, who is 4, joined us with great enthusiasm. Meanwhile Sara and Coco, 7 and 6, started cringing with embarrassment. And just like that, without realising it, Esther and I have moved into a new dimension of motherhood: we are now potentially embarrassing mothers. Up to now we could do no wrong; now we have become a occupational hazards.
I still remember this feeling of embarrassment vividly. I was embarrassed by my father’s favourite overcoat, by my mother’s French accent, and by numerous other ridiculous things. I also remember my parents noticing that I was embarrassed and being amused by this, which, at the time, I found very, very unfair. I never took into account that this would come full circle and I would become the object of embarrassment myself. And once the ball has started rolling, there is no turning back; it is now a slippery slope all the way toward the teenage years.
The hilarious thing is that I am reacting just as my parents did, as it is quite amusing seeing Coco cringe at my actions. It is certainly not going to stop me from playing air guitar in public whenever the opportunity arrises!
P.S. The photo above is of Coco doing some method acting of looking embarrassed for a very staged photo, in case you were wondering…
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I have a dilemma. My daughter has the most beautiful long, red, wavy hair. It really is stunning (of course she gets it from me!! haha), and she is complimented on it regularly. The problem is she wants to cut it all off! As a child my mum never let me have long hair. My older sister was allowed to but as my sister told me recently my mum never let me have long hair because she didn’t want the hassle of having to brush two heads of long hair before school in the morning. I vowed that if I ever had a daughter I would let her grow her hair as long as she wanted. It seems you always want what you don’t have and my daughter wants short hair. Do I let her cut it all off? She is 5 1/2. Of course I can see the benefits of her having short hair especially with summer around the corner and going to the beach regularly and it would save me 15 minutes in the morning brushing and plaiting it. The other problem is if she cuts it all off my son will want to cut all his off too and I don’t think I will be able to cope!! )
Obviously this is a very minor life dilemma, but what do I do?
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Every summer we leave London the day school gets out and head to the US to spend time with family. Our long summer stints in the US are what make living so far away from our family that tiny bit more bearable. Plus, my little ‘city mice’ get a chance to experience life on the farm and a glimpse of my own childhood.
I have always felt that this gives my kids the best of both worlds: city life for the majority of the year and country life every summer. But this year, for some reason, I’m starting to question the ‘city’ part. I wonder whether life on a farm might not be the happier one (it certainly feels easier!). Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones… but there is a large part of me that feels like a slower-paced, more ’simple’ life might be nice for a change.
I know it’s summertime, and things are always happier when the sun is shining (and school is a distant memory!), but I do find my kids to be more relaxed, to be more adventurous and imaginative, to play together for really long stretches without a single moan or groan, and to have grown up so much in the past few weeks. The independence they have here on the farm, the freedom to make their own decisions and decide their own activities, the wide open spaces waiting to be discovered… these are all things I just can’t give them in London. No matter where we go in London or how far we venture off the beaten path, my kids are always under my constant supervision, there are always boundaries to how far they can run, how far they can throw their frisbee, ride their bike, etc. The difference between my 7-year-old in London and my 7-year-old on the farm is like night and day. The freedom he has to make his own decisions (within limit, of course), and the pride he has after making the right ones… has boosted his confidence and created a happier, calmer boy. This boy is in his element when he is outside. He is a born frog catcher, dirt digger, worm finder, fish catcher, animal loving, imaginative little boy… and his siblings are no different.
Of course on the flip side, there are so many things we would miss about London if we left: the interesting people and perspectives, the diversity and different cultures, the museums, galleries, exhibits, the food!, the parks, the constant interaction with strangers, the travel around Europe, the 2-hour train ride to Paris, the inspiration around every corner, the access to everything, the friends we’ve made, the life we’ve created, etc. etc. etc.
I know it is something so many parents consider and debate, and I know our little ”let’s move to the country and grow our own vegetables” discussions are not unique… so I would love to hear your thoughts. Where do you live? And what do you love about it? Have you found a life that mixes it both? (This would be the most ideal, wouldn’t it?!) Do you perhaps live on a farm, but very near to a city with access to city life and all its greatness? Please do share!
p.s. I read this article in the NYTimes the other day and found it very interesting — about how children thrive best in an ‘environment that is reliable, available, consistent and noninterfering‘. I suppose, no matter where you live, these are important parenting tips to keep in mind.
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This summer many of us might have to stay at home. When I read in a magazine about this new word “staycation” I thought it was a good idea. In that magazine says that if it happens and you have to stay home, it doesn’t have to be something bad — we can even turn it into something good, and really enjoy it. Today, some simple but nice ideas!
1. The most important thing is to have holiday spirit. That will make you have the perfect holiday. Put the world on hold: turn off your phone, do an “out of the office” message on your email, skip the news for a week. Even if you have access to it, why not stay away during the vacation.
2. Go on a picnic. Prepare a beautiful basket, with good food, and make a party outdoors in the wood or the beach. That would make it so special.
3. Be a local tourist in your own town. Sometimes we do not take notice of the beauty of our towns just because we live there. Approach your city like a tourist and do all those things tourists do while in town. It is almost certain that you’ll learn and see amazing things.
4. Learn something new. With the long days and the holidays you can find some time to do something you couldn’t do during the winter. I want to learn to knit this summer!.
5. Look for shows and concerts that are happening in your town. Those you don’t usually go because they are late and you work the next day!.
Nico in a concert in La Laboral (Spain) last year
6. Treat yourself with some extra spending. Order food from your favorite restaurant and invite your friends to a lovely dinner in your house! And let yourself do extra expenses like go to the cinema, enjoy cafes, and terraces… without feeling guilty.
7. Get your house cleaned for you and forget about daily tasks. Not having to make the beds, do laundry or dust will just make a big difference!.
8. Take a camping trip in your own backyard or your livingroom. Kids will feel as if they were in the other part of the world.
9. Enjoy mornings in your own house. Most of the year we rush, sometimes even in the weekends. Spend some time at your house with no hurry, play your favourite music, plan the day, have long and relaxed breakfast…
10. And if life gives you lemons… make lemonade!. With tons of sugar, please!
I wish you all enjoy your holidays, wether at home or not!
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If you ask me, potty training is one of the most frustrating parts of raising children. Every time, I promise myself to keep my spirits up, but every single time, by the third day, my patience is at a minimum and I seriously want to put the nappy back on and forget about the whole thing completely. But miraculously, sticking to it seems to be the trick. After the third and fourth day things improve, and after the first week things really get a whole lot better. Generally, after 2 weeks, the child is potty trained, which means almost all of the wees and poos go in the potty, exception taken for the occasional accident of course. I just went through potty training with Ava, and I thought I would give you my tips and tricks now that I’m fresh off the battle field.
- I’ve been told that around the time of the 2nd birthday, it’s generally a perfect time to start potty training. The child is open to learning new things, and doesn’t ‘think’ about the whole thing too much yet. I believe that the danger of waiting too long is that the whole thing gets much more difficult and frustrating. So we’ve always started potty training fairly early, I would say between 2 and 2½ depending on the child.
- We went cold turkey. On the day we decided to start potty training, we took off the nappy in the morning and didn’t put it back on until the child went down for his/her nap. (We keep the nappy on for naps in the beginning — when we notice the nappy to be consistently dry when the child wakes up we start leaving it off in bed as well). No pull up nappies, no training intervals without nappies — we really believe this too be confusing for the child. We take the nappy off, and don’t ever put it back on (except for in the bed) — even though I’ve been tempted!
- I think Friday or Saturday is a good day to start potty training, as you will be able to do it together over the weekend. We definitely didn’t plan anything on this first weekend!
- We made sure to have a few potties around the house (you will need one close to the child at all times in the beginning, so it’s handy to have one in different parts of the house). I discovered this portable potty to be super practical for on the go — we always take it with us when we’re out and about. It comes with plastic liners that you can tie and trash.
- I find it essential to have plenty of little underwear ready (at least 10 pairs) and plenty of easy pull up (jogging) pants (or pyjama pants).
- We kept two buckets ready, one with washing liquid to soak dirty underwear and clothes, one with soap and wipes to clean the floor.
- We made a reward sheet and bought stickers to reward the child for using the potty.
- Before we started potty training, we got our child used to the potty for a few weeks. We kept it in the bathroom and let the child sit on it before his/her bath. We discussed the potty as a cool and positive thing, read books about potty training. And we spoke about ‘big boy/girl underwear’ as a very cool thing too. (more…)
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You wake up and have to get your kids ready for school – you roughly have an hour to do this. During this time one kid is probably going to hit the other kid. The clothes that were carefully chosen and laid out the night before, are just wrong and proclaimed ugly. The cereal is the wrong cereal and the milk is the wrong milk and anyway, the milk should have have been poured first and then the cereal not the other way round and, to top it all off, it is the wrong amount of milk. You ask your kids to put on their coats and shoes as you are running late now because of the whole milk/cereal/clothes saga and when you try and meet them in the hallway ready to rush out of the door, they are nowhere to be seen. One is standing by the window munching on her hair and the other one has decided to check if her new stickers actually do stick on walls. By this time you have lost your cool several times and someone is shouting (very likely you). This pretty much sums up a lot of my mornings — not very relaxing as you might have guessed. I have tried to devise various strategies and coping mechanisms, but the fact of the matter is, mornings in my house can be painful.
A few weekends ago, Courtney, her husband and I were talking about how important it is to stay calm and not let our children rattle us. Courtney’s husband made a great observation: We just need to lower our expectations… If we wake up in the morning and start our day knowing that everyone is going to be moody and disobedient, then every morning that goes well actually is a bonus… and every morning that doesn’t should not affect us too badly, as it is what we were expecting anyway.
I love this philosophy and have been trying to apply it in the heat of the morning. I have not always been successful in the application, but it does often work!
P.S. The photo above is of Violette giving her big sister hell one morning. I obviously had no expectations whatsoever that morning, as I was staying very calm taking photos.
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I have an old photo of my dad, using a pinard horn to listen to my heartbeat on my mother’s very pregnant belly, the morning of the day I was born, 38 years ago. There was no ultrasound and no fancy doppler technique. There was no way they could have seen their baby before it was born, there was no way of finding out if I had all of my 10 toes and fingers, if I was a boy or a girl. What a different feeling it must have been — the excitement, the insecurity…
I’ve personally always found out the sex of my babies, taking full advantage of modern technology. I really like to know what we’re having, I love that moment of finding out, the slight confusion immediately after (a boy?! a girl?! really?!) and then, the excitement, the anticipation. Talking about the future with my husband, imagining what our family will look like. Thinking about names for that little baby, searching through the baby clothes, decorating the baby’s room… For me, finding out the sex of the baby makes me feel connected to my baby, makes me look forward to meeting that little girl or boy.
But — I can also fully understand that it must be SO wonderful to give birth, and meet your little baby for the first time, and only then find out if it is a boy or a girl! That moment must be priceless, and so, so special and emotional.
What did (or would) you do? Did you find out the sex of your baby before giving birth, or did you wait? I’d love to know your thoughts and opinions!
PS Photo of me, three days old, with my mum and dad.
PPS I’m having another…. (more…)
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A while ago I did this post for my blog and it was a great success, that’s why I would love to share it here.
The advice comes from Lara, the owner of the Bosque de la Maga Colibri bookstore in Gijon, Asturias. She is very sweet and knows a lot about these things: ”One of the most pleasurable experiences that will remain more intensibly in the memory of the whole family is shared reading. From the moment of birth the time spent each day to share words, stories and images is a haven of warmth and unbeatable communication.” She says to:
1. Pick a good book.
2. Sit close. Contact and affection are for life and help to build self-esteem and optimism.
3. Sign out of everything, get off line, don’t think about the boss or the laundry accumulating in the basket.
4. And above all, enjoy, without obligation, just as a gift!
I have really loved these tips. At first glance they appear simple but they are not. They are ideal to remember every night when we are about to read the book to our children. Personally I try to remember number 3 and make that time unique and banish from the mind the things that remain to be done.
Enjoy your reading!!
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My daughters’ father and I separated a few years ago and, while it was not what I had planned in life, it is a thing that happens to many couples and families. After a bit of an adjustment period, with some rather rough patches, I have actually learned a ton of new life skills and have possibly become a stronger person because of it. I thought it might be interesting to share a few things I have learned along the way: things that have made my life as a single parent a lot easier and actually quite enjoyable!
BE ORGANIZED: I think it was Courtney’s husband who once told me that the reason he was so organized was because he was actually quite a lazy person (Apologies Michael, if I am quoting the wrong person). A truer word has never been spoken: a bit of organization makes life a LOT easier. Now people knowing me will laugh at this point, as I am one of the least organized people on the planet. But everything is relative and even at my very low level, being organized has made life a lot less stressful. Small things like setting the breakfast table in the evenings, getting clothes for the whole family ready at night, having a shower at night and not in the morning, ordering food online and pre-cooking dinner for the following days is important to a single-parent household. We can’t just pop out quickly to the shops if something is missing nor do we have the spare time to choose an outfit for work when we are trying to dress and feed two children in the morning. At one point I started putting my girls to bed in a a pair of leggings and a t-shirt so that in the morning I just had to slip a dress on top of them and they would be ready — basically I try to come up with things that will just make life run a little bit more smoothly with a bit of forward planning.
LOWER STANDARDS: I think it’s quite normal for single parents to try to do way too many things to compensate for the lack of a traditional family set-up, as we (or I) constantly feel guilty. But it’s not worth it. I have tried to decide on what is important to me and what isn’t. Turns out that a lot of things are not that important. My kids have turned up at birthday parties with the present wrapped up in magazine pages because I had run out of wrapping paper — nobody cared. We have had pasta with olive oil for dinner, because I didn’t have the time to buy food… and the kids survived. Sometimes their clothes are not ironed and perfectly co-ordinated or their hair is not properly brushed. Sometimes guests have turned up and the beds have not been made yet or the dishes washed and stashed away. I have officially decided that this is totally ok!
GIVE YOURSELF A TIME OUT: This point is essential and yet the one most of us totally fail at. Because most single parents work full time and deal with kids and everything else, we have relatively little time for ourselves. It is very important to somehow find the time even if it seems impossible. The problem is that if we don’t find some space to do something for ourselves we burn out, which is no good for anyone. I have tried many things: yoga, tennis, weekend away, massages and going out. I have not been able to keep one thing up consistently, but I have found that even just trying out new things and planning adventures has kept me a little bit more sane. The one thing that is easy to do is to simply walk for a good 20 mins with some good music on. Even if I am just walking along the metro line to work, it does clear my head!
Anyway, these are just little things that work for me. If you have other tips for what works for you, please share!
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There was a lot of excitement in our house last week. My daughter (a few days shy of her 5th birthday) lost her first tooth. I remember when I was little, wiggling and twisting my loose teeth until they fell out. However, when my daughter had the same fascination with her wiggly tooth it made me feel so queasy!
When the tooth finally came out there were a few tears from her as I think she got a fright, but when I mentioned that she could put it under her pillow that night for the tooth fairy to collect, the tears stopped. So that day Mia drew a picture for the tooth fairy and left the picture with her tooth under her pillow. In the morning the tooth fairy had taken her tooth and picture and left her $2. How much does the tooth fairy pay for teeth at your house?
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A friend of mine recently referred to the way my 3-year-old daughter speaks as Creole. It a great way of describing it: she speaks an absolute mixture of French and English. Phrases like “Can you s’il te please tirer my culotte” (please pull up my undies) are very normal in our household and it is so cute I don’t want it to change! But it won’t last; she is quickly learning to differentiate her two languages.
In our household I try to only speak English at home and the children are exposed to French at school and with their friends. I myself grew up with a French mother, and an Irish father but spent my childhood in Germany, so I grew up speaking English, French and German. I actually now have a bit of an accent in every language I speak! As a child I really did not enjoy coming from a multi-lingual family as I felt I was different from my friends. My girls have the great advantage of going to an inner-city Paris school where a huge amount of the kids speak at least two languages, if not more.
So now that I am trying to bring up my kids bi-lingually myself, I have done a bit of research. I am not an expect in anyway, but here are some of the facts I thought were interesting:
- Being bi-lingual or tri-lingual has nothing to do with intelligence, people of different levels of intelligence are multi-lingual.
- Children start differentiating between languages around the ages of 2-3.
- Bi-lingual children do not usually learn to speak later because of learning different languages, as previously thought.
- One of the simplest approaches towards having bilingual children seems to be the one-parent/one-language approach. It is easier for a child to differentiate a language if one person speaks one language consistently to them.
Voila! I am really interested to hear if anyone else has tips and ideas on how to bring up kids with several languages!
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Every year of my childhood my mom took us to see Santa. We would drive into the city, head to the big department store and wait for hours in the queue to see Santa. I still remember standing there with all my siblings, waiting eagerly to see him, and my mom telling us all to behave and stand patiently! My mom has kept all the santa photos in one big album… and it’s hilarious to look through them. From the time I was a baby (crying on Santa’s lap) until the time I was 20 (looking very awkward standing next to him!), there is a photo from every year.
Isn’t it funny how some kids LOVE santa and others think he’s the scariest thing they’ve ever seen? My now four-year-old has cried every year we’ve visited Santa. And he told me the other day that this year when we go he wants to sit on a stool, not Santa’s lap. (Sweet.)
So tell me, is visiting Santa a tradition you did when you were younger? Do you now take your own kids to see Santa? I’m curious to know which countries do and don’t do this!
p.s. That photo is of my two boys when they were younger (2½ and 6mos) and it’s my favourite of all our Santa photos. I just love how they’re both crying… and Santa looks so perfectly poised!
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Our daughter Sara started playing the violin when she was 5 years old. She has now been playing for over half a year, and can finally play simple songs like ‘Frère Jacques’. Sweet! My husband and I are hoping that an early start with playing musical instruments will help our children develop an interest in music and an ease to play instruments later on in life (might they still be interested).
Practising is still a little bit of an issue though — Sara’s teacher says she has to practise daily for at least 15 minutes, but I find it really hard to keep her to it. After school she has play-dates, swimming or ballet class, or is simply too tired. She’s only 6, I keep telling myself, but maybe I should be a bit more strict about it!
Sara’s little brother Pim, now 4, has been obsessed with trumpets for nearly 2 years now. I’ve unsuccessfully tried to re-direct his passion to other instruments (like the guitar) — not that I don’t like trumpets, I’m just not sure about hearing it all day long! But Pim’s passion is indestructible so I think we’ve decided that Santa this year will bring a trumpet. Wish me luck!
Do your children play instruments? Which one? Did you play as a child? Did you study daily?
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A friend recently told me about this amazing feature of video blogs on Redbook called “The Truth About Trying“. I thought it was a fantastic way to personalize and put a face to the issues that many women silently face. Whether you have ten children, one child, or in the midst of trying for your first – the struggle to conceive is a difficult and emotionally taxing journey when it does not work out as planned. Thought I would pass along and give praise to Redbook for helping to bring light to an often closely guarded subject.
(Image from Redbook)
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After getting math tips from my son’s teacher last week, I then met with the reading support teacher who gave me all sorts of handy tips for helping kids with their reading. She introduced me to the game of SWAP… which has since become an obsession in our house (and has helped enormously with reading skills!). The game is easy — it’s like UNO but with words, and you can buy different games for different skills (there are currently 35 different games). Game 1 focuses on the vowels so you get words like hot, cup, den, cub, sat, etc., and you have to match the different vowel sounds. Game 2 focuses on ‘ch’, ’sh’ and ‘th’ sounds and includes words like fish, path, thin, crash, chin, chop, etc. Both my 4-year-old and my 6-year-old are hooked on the game — my son even asked if he could bring SWAP to the park this past weekend!! And, in only one week, both boys have improved their reading skills by leaps and bounds.
The games are available to purchase here (the website is unimpressive and somewhat clumsy, but seems to be the only place to get them).