I am a mother of two beautiful girls, aged 10 months and two and three quarter years. Every day of my life, since July 2007, has been full of lessons in a role completely new to me - the role of parent, and this blog shares some of those lessons. The greatest lesson I've learnt so far is that there's no right way to parent, no one rule, you'll never know it all, so you just have to keep practicing!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Our elder daughter, headstrong Number 1, has been displaying a certain interesting behaviour pattern the past couple of months, which, after a bit of web wandering on my part, appears not to be that unusual.  Rather than stay snuggled in her comfortable bed, she has taken to sleeping on the floor.  On the floor at the top of the stairs, cozied up to the stair gate!  

As I say, this started a couple of months ago.  At first we'd pick her up, asleep or not, and put her back into her then cot.  However without fail, whatever the time and however apparently deep her state of sleep, she would return to her former spot.  We then tried the "OK, we'll help you make up your floor bed" approach in the hope that our cooperation would bring about rebellion on her part and she'd  start sleeping back in her bed. It didn't work.  We then tried removing of all bed coverings from her floor spot, but she'd just go back into her room and get them or something else. So in the end we just left her.  It is a little frustrating, carefully stepping over this sleeping bundle in the dark whilst carrying armfuls of laundry, a glass of water and a mobile phone (my usual packing I seem to take to bed with me every night) plus trying to undo the stair gate with one hand, or more usually, one finger.  But apart from that, I suppose it doesn't do any harm.

Interestingly various forums on the net suggest that many parents experience this kind of performance from little ones.  Some seem to embrace it, making elaborate "floor beds" and cradles of cosiness for them, whilst others stress and worry and take them to medical professionals.  I'm somewhere in the middle.   I've spent weeks trying to suss out what it is that drives her to do this.  Is there something in her room that frightens her?   I don't think so, she LOVES her bedroom and shows it to anyone willing to indulge her.  Is she frightened of the dark?  With the Ikea flower wall light casting it's pink glow across her room, this can't be the case.  Is she trying to get closer to us?  No, the other night when my husband was away for work, I sleepily took her into my bed when she was crying at 2am, only to be rejected in favour of the floor ten minutes later!  

I think at the end of the day, she does it because she can.  Because she has control over it, and control over her own destiny has been her number one priority since she was three weeks old.  And if this is the case, she is more than capable of taking control of the situation when she feels it's time, and returning to her brand new, warm, wide comfortable bed.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Potty training has been an active agenda item in our house for the past couple of months, not exactly an early achievement for my eldest daughter, not many weeks off her third birthday, but then again, I wasn't overly hasty in that department either apparently, so who am I to comment?

However, this particular stage in her development does seem to be hanging around rather longer than her mother would like!  The subject of potty use, displays of potty techniques,  leaving around of potty books and the supply of stickers for potty decoration has been going on for over well over half a year in an attempt to persuade our headstrong daughter to take this step towards independence.  Nevertheless, for most of that time, she decided to demonstrate independence in her own way, with outright refusal to consider anything to do with our suggestions of potty training.  

And then one day a couple of months ago, she came back from daycare and declared she didn't want to wear a nappy and went off in search of the previously rejected potty!  Mostly since then, she has hardly looked back at (daytime) nappies, and, because she'd decided to do it, wholeheartedly embraced, firstly potty training, graduating five days later to using the loo!  So proud was I, how easily it had happened I thought, it was worth waiting for and I hadn't had to go through weeks of fussing around with bribes, accidents and the usual processes involved with such a step.  But ......, I did speak too soon!!!!  

Whilst every day is spent in undies (often second, third and fourth pairs), my littlie is once again displaying her own will and refusing to do a number two in anything but her evening nappy.   I'm only too aware that there are plenty of techniques to overcome this, but they don't seem to be working with her.  Given past performance, I suppose she will probably decide in her own time, and not before, when to take this step.

The thing is, I'm feeling more like the child here than she is.  I'm bored, stamp my feet bored of this whole stage, I want it to be over, I want her to be trained,  I want to put the potty away in a cupboard and forget about it for at least a year or so until her little sister needs it.   I want I want I want!  I even make grimacing faces (of course out of her sight) when I have empty the potty into the loo (and please remember, no No. 2's yet!), something I've never done even with the most disgusting of nappies.  Why?  why do I hate this stage so much?  I don't know, I just know that of all the parenting stages I've done so far, this is the one I've found the worst.

And yet, immature though my behaviour may be at times, I AM the adult and she is the child, and therefore I must and will be patient.  I do make a huge effort not to let her see my impatience, and I hope from her point of view that I come across as a mother speaking in soothing, congratulatory terms whatever lavatorial actions she produces.  For now I will just fantasise about the time when I can sit there and say "ah yes, potty training, I remember that!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


So she's growing up.  She's not really a baby any more, nearly one, nearly standing, nearly answering me back (mini tantrums have started, still funny at this stage to see this little soul throwing herself on the floor when something doesn't go her way, but experience tells me the humour will go!).  And I'm left clinging to the remnants of her babyhood, watching her deep in sleep when her lips still make that rhythmic sucking, looking at those ever growing legs, still curving up into a fetal position when she lies on her back and realising that she'll all too soon be toddling around on them.

It's funny, so much of me is excited about meeting her as a toddler, listening to the sentences she starts to form, being able to communicate with her and hear how she feels and thinks about things.  I can't believe that I'm about to experience all the wonderful things that I've experienced with No. 1 all over again with this little person, it's an amazing thought.  But, and of course there's a but, I loose my baby, and for some reason I'm struggling with that a little right now.  So I'm rather overindulging in all that is baby about her (mostly to her annoyance) and making the most of this last month before I talk about my "one year old".  I must grab my camera, take some photos and say goodbye to this era, and hello to a new one.  Uh Oh!  here goes!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Those who know me will know that I have a few scraps of childhood that I can't quite shake; picnics, stockings and Easter egg hunts being the main three.

When given the opportunity of the above, I revert back to the kid within.  A picnic, in my mind's eye, is always set on a sunny day and full of tupperware boxes of chicken drumsticks, scotch eggs and small tightly packed pieces of tin foil with salt inside, ready for dipping cucumber and celery sticks into.   Stockings are the start to my Christmas and I still get a bubbling buzz of excitement when I feel that lumpy sock at the end of my bed.  And Easter egg hunts, well - they transform an ordinary garden into a magical wonderland.  Yes, it is fair to say that I don't think I will ever shake off these rather rose tinted childhood fantasies and I don’t want to.

So whilst I apologise to those around me who obligingly partake in recreations of my favourite memories, I’m glad that I still have such a strong connection with them.   It’s made it all the more important to me to appreciate that each time my children run along a wall, or splash in a puddle, they are experiencing their own moments of magic, some of which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.  They might not be Easter egg hunts, or stockings, or picnics, but whatever they are, I'm excited about them experiencing and preserving that magic, their own little bubbles of happiness.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Last weekend we celebrated Mother’s Day Down Under.  Shops were busy pushing every and any product as the “perfect gift”, florists ran around unable to recall such excitement since Valentine’s Day and the back of Sydney buses suggested you hadn’t spoilt your Mum unless you’d bought her tickets to the local footie game! 
My husband and I have always a bit dismissive of the heavy commercialization of these days, but since we’ve become parents we’ve softened a little.  Sunday saw me spoilt with cards, a present and being taken out for breakfast, and what’s more, I loved it.  And so I take my place in the long line of mothers who appreciate being appreciated, and have made a promise to myself that I will endeavor to generate a similar experience for my husband later on in the year for Father’s Day (another occasion I have maybe too hastily dismissed in the past), as well as being better at remembering Mother’s Day’s different date in the UK (sorry Mum!).

Being a parent, mother or father, is a wonderful thing, and a role that you don’t do for recognition.  But to receive a bit of gratitude for what you do every so often means a lot, which is why I suppose, both these days have historical roots. Many countries around the globe including India, Thailand and China, have some form of Mother’s Day celebrations derived from varying historical origins.   Ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated the concept of Motherhood with festivals for Cybele, the Great Mother.  Early Christians in Europe put aside dates to commemorate mothers and in England servants were given the day off to return home to their mothers and their mother church.  In the US, women such as Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis fought hard for the official recognition of both women and mothers and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day an official national holiday (sadly only the day, not the official holiday has spread here to Australia!).

Father’s Day may have a less global and historical past, officially beginning it’s journey to recognition in the US when a certain Senora Smart Dodd of Washington was attending a Mother’s Day sermon and decided that there should be similar recognition of fathers.  The official acknowledgement of Father’s Day took many years, despite a bill being introduced in 1913, once again by President Wilson to make it official.  The suggestion was turned down by Congress for fear of commercialization.  It was eventually President Nixon in 1972 who gained recognition for the day as an official national holiday (again, the holiday part doesn’t exist here in Oz!)

So whilst it might be true that florists, card companies and commercial outlets maybe somewhat responsible for the growth in popularity and maintaining of interest and, perhaps, overindulgence of these days, they are not responsible for their origins and foundations, nor for the feeling that I get when my family say Thank You, we appreciate You.   So from now on, that’s what I’m going to concentrate on.  These days are about those who are special to me being made to feel special. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I suddenly feel like my second child has been invisible for the past eleven months, and that only this week I've opened my eyes and noticed her!   I'm not saying that I haven't adored her, interacted with her and enjoyed her all this time, it's just that so much of my conscious thought is taken up with my first - where to take her, what to do with her - I feel like I have been less than thorough with my attention to and awareness of my second.

A friend said she sometimes looks at her second and thinks "Oh hello, and who are you"?  I know exactly what she means.

So why has this happened?  Is it because Number One is more demanding than Number Two?  Is it because it's easier to relate to a child who can use language than one who can't or is it the simple fact that up until now my second has just been a baby, a gorgeous, smiley, obliging bundle who's known no better than to sit patiently in her pram or on the floor, fitting in with whatever activity goes on around her.

The  upside to this recent awareness of my daughter is that I feel a bit like a kid with a new toy.  I am getting such pleasure in watching her and getting to know her.  But of course the downside is that it's yet one more outlet for the eternal "Mother's Guilt" so many of us seem to suffer when we question whether we could have done something differently or better.

But now, as she approaches her end of her first year, she is changing. No longer cocooned in the passiveness of her infant months, Number Two is beginning to assert her own requirements on our day to day adventures.   I am learning to choose destinations that offer something for both, wait for two swings to become free not just one and ask for two balloons from the nice ladies at the local shopping centre.

For her, this is the start of becoming an individual.   From now on she has no intention of remaining invisible, she is beginning to make her mark on the world and in this family, and I am going to enjoy watching her do it. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I took my girls to a 4th birthday party yesterday.  The party was due to start at eleven thirty and an entertainer booked an hour later, so I wanted to get there early, giving my eldest time to acclimatize and therefore be in full swing by the time the entertainer started doing her thing.  Of course,  this didn't eventuate due to my usual inability to leave the house until well after the time we were due to be at the party (in this case, a twenty minute drive away!) and so we arrived at the same time as the entertainer.

This meant that my elder daughter did the "usual thing" she does whenever we meet up with people in a largish group, constantly try and get my attention and physically tries to drag me off in the opposite direction, resulting in both of us missing out on all the party action. Quite tiring, especially when trying to cater for the demands of No. 2 clinging to my hip too.

My elder daughter's been doing this for as long as I can remember. When she was very young, she and I would turn up for Mother's Group once a week, and from the time that all 8 babies in the group began pulling themselves up, my little lady would always try and pull herself up in another direction, and generally with me in tow.  As they progressed and started taking their first steps, her refusal to be "one of the group" continued.  If we met at a playground, I would look out of the corner of my eye with envy at the other mothers who would all be standing around chatting over their coffees, little ones playing nearby, and near each other, while I was being dragged (and I mean dragged in so much as someone less than two feet tall can drag someone well over twice their height) off to our own solitary corner.

Even if friends came round to visit us at home, I felt the need to explain that it might take half an hour or so of me indulging my daughter's antisocial behaviour before we can actually sit down and have a proper conversation.

Now I'm not convinced that my daughter is shy.  I know that from my descriptions above, shyness might well be a conclusion drawn, but from my experience of her,  I don't think this is the case, or certainly not the main reason for her actions.  She doesn't cling to my ankles or take shelter under my skirts.  There's nothing shy about her demeanour (although I'm not saying that this means that she's not feeling it on the inside).  I was extremely shy as a kid, and acutely remember that awful dread of being taken somewhere unfamiliar and or being told to "go off and play" with kids I didn't know.  I can still recall the feeling of complete helplessness and hopelessness.  Of course, my daughter and I are different people, so even though we might experience the same emotions, that doesn't go to say that we'll react to them in the same way.  However, it does make me very conscious to react constructively to her actions (even if they are a little frustrating) and try to understand why she acts in such a way, rather than purely getting annoyed.  

From a very young age, this little person has liked being in control of her own world and, coupled with a "slightly" short fuse, has found it very frustrating when she isn't.  From the age of three weeks, if she wasn't ready for her nappy to be changed, or her clothes to be put on, she would object.  This same behaviour has continued as she's grown up.

I believe that certainly a large part of her, what I find, rather unsociable behaviour when we first arrive in group situations, and in the case of today, parties, is her way of finding her control.  I am the most familiar figure to her at these occasions, and if she can separate me from the rest and feel confident that she has my full attention when needed, then she can start finding her feet ready to start exploring this new situation and what it has to offer. 

In a way this particular subject is more about me than her.  For ages I have regarded her behaviour as rather annoying, excluding me from doing what I want to do, chatting to others, having a nice relaxed time, wishing she could be more like the other children I was observing, off joining in and doing her own thing.   But I'm learning to accept, she's not like that and that's just her.  Also, often we're attending these things for her benefit NOT mine.  If I spend a little more time accepting what she's like and how she might be feeling, I might be able to help out a bit and get us both more of what we want.   I've realised that if I am willing to give her that time and attention when we first arrive somewhere, she will soon find her feet and then give me a bit of time to do my thing.  It is also not her fault that we arrived late.  I know that the earlier we get to places, the sooner she will be comfortable, so arriving on time is going to shoot to the top of my priority list!

I've also realised that it's so easy to look at other kids and think whistfully "look at them playing happily on their own", or joining in or whatever it is.  But I'm not their parent, and it's not my clothes that get pulled when they want attention!  Really I don't want her to be like any other child.  I adore her the way she is and appreciate it all, good and bad.  All these little character elements make up my daughter, and in my eyes, she's the best she could possibly be.  

In the end I had a lovely time yesterday.  I invested lots of time and interest in her when we first arrived, hoping to make her as comfortable as possible.  She soon went off and did her own thing while I managed to catch up with my friends.  Of course there were interruptions, but when I look around, all parents had those in some form or another.  By the end she was running around and the last thing she wanted to do was leave.  She chatted about the party in the car all the way home, and then pretend called her two hosts for hours on her toy mobile phone that evening when she was supposed to be going to sleep.  She had had a great time too, what more could I ask for.

So my lesson here is to remember, she's NOT a party pooper.  When I first arrive at these things I have to remember what things are like at the end, not at the beginning, and at the end of the day, if my daughter needs my help in the beginning to establish a bit of confidence and reassurance, well that's just fine.  I'm her Mum, isn't that what I'm here for?


I'm so proud - proud that my nearly three year old has just settled down for her fifth night dummy free!  Gasp, horror, "she's nearly THREE" I hear all you dummy opposers cry.  Yes yes, I know, she's quite old to still be using a dummy, and before actually becoming a parent, I knew (as I "knew" many things about parenting back then) that my children would NEVER use dummies.  So here I am, almost three years into parenting and getting excited that my eldest is finally getting towards the end of her "dummy days" whilst my baby happily still sucks away with hers in her cot.

Of course like anything to do with childcare, there are lots of opinions both for and against dummies.

The FORS include

Dummies soothe and settle (and ..., you're telling me there's something wrong with that?)

Sucking is a pleasant and calming sensation for babies - fine with me.

Sucking a comforter, albeit a dummy or some other object, and can help to make young children and babies feel safe - this is a good thing surely.  

A tool to prevent your babe putting other undesirable objects in their mouth.  Yep, I often pop in said dummy as an alternative to leaves, wrappers, old chewing gum and last week, a cigarette butt, that my baby offers up to be orally tried and tested.

And then there's that blissful moment of silence.  You pop this cheap little piece of plastic and rubber into  your bawling babe's mouth and it all stops and you can resume a normal breathing pattern.   Yes yes yes, perhaps selfish on the parental part, but this is always the clincher for me, I'm not good with continual crying.

and the AGAINSTS

Your child may get upset when the dummy is misplaced!   Totally understandable.  I get upset when the dummy is misplaced!

You run the risk of your baby becoming dependent on its dummy to get to sleep.  Fair enough observation, this happened to both my girls so I just made sure they had a dummy there, or I took a spare one to bed with me (I have done the searching around on the floor by the light of a mobile phone thing too many times).  Yes, there were a few nights (and with the youngest, QUITE a few nights, where I'd have to rise from my comfortable, cosy bed to answer the "where's my dummy" cry, but honestly, I'd trade waking for a quick moment of "putting the plug back in" for having to get up and "rock your babe back to sleep for hours" any day! (Please note, I'm not saying it's really one of the other).

Children who have dummies are more likely to get ear infections - hmmmmm, most likely a myth from my brief web research but obviously I'm no medic.  However, as a child I suffered constantly from ear infections, and I was not a dummy user so I would put this one down to "you get what you get"

The child may develop a problem with their speech (IF, they have the dummy in whilst talking).  Really! I would assume anyones' speech would be hindered when trying to talk with something (especially the relative size of a dummy) in their mouth.  Umm, perhaps I have an answer for this one!  Ask your child to take the dummy out when they are trying to say something?  Wow, speech problem cured!

Dummys don't look so good.  In their childhood years, your little one's face is perhaps the most beautiful of all, and to cover some of that gorgeousness up with a large plastic object jiggling about with constant rhythmic action might not be the most visually pleasing.  But for me, necessity overrules aesthetics on many occasions.

So those are a few of the opinions that there are out there.  I suppose for me, what has really been the real reason for dummy use in our household has been the soothing effect it has had on both us and our children.  Part of me would still like to be the parent that never needed to use a dummy, who could restore peace to a fraught situation without the help of a little teat shaped friend, but that isn't the case.  Using  dummies has brought calm and reassurance to my children, and made us more relaxed parents around them.  To me, THAT is what is important.

.... having said all of that,  I might try and get my baby to loose her dummy a little sooner than nearly her third birthday!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


We've just come back from a 4 day trip to Christchurch, New Zealand.  The girls and I joined my husband who'd flown over a couple of days before for work.  It was WONDERFUL.

We've been a bit of a female trio the girls and I, rather a lot lately as my husband's work can require large amounts of travel, often at weekends, and since February (and apparently up until the end of May!), MOST weekends!  So that said, it was rather nice to see him, and in another city to boot!

However, to get to enjoy the weekend, I had to be prepared to fly the outgoing journey with the girls on my own.  Now I'm not a stranger to flying with kids.  Our eldest has flown more times that I could possibly remember due to grandparents living interstate and overseas, and even the baby has clocked up over ten domestic and international flights in her frequent flyer portfolio.  I have, also done one domestic flight on my own with them both before, so I've had pretty good practice, but it doesn't matter how much practice you've had, flying with kids always seems to bring up elements of the unknown, so my lesson number one is definitely AWAYS BE PREPARED TO BE FLEXIBLE!

To make life in the clouds as easy as possible, I have a few set rules I go by, whether it's me on my own or with my husband, getting things to go as smoothly as you can is the name of the game.

Pack light - especially hand luggage.  I'm down to one rucksack now - hence free hands for grabbing little hands when little legs start running off in the wrong direction.  You also often don't need nearly as much as you think you will.  Let's face it, us mothers think of every single possibility and cater for it.  You should see me leaving the house, every kind of strike, famine, storm, flood has been provided for in my packing, and of course, most of it never used.  I used to fly with so much unnecessary junk - spare clothes for me, spare clothes for them, food for them, extra food for them should the food for them runout, toys, books, wipes, more wipes, drinks - I won't go on, you get the idea.  Now I do still have quite a few of those things in my bag, but it's all been efficiently pared down to what I will actually need.

Make sure you have everything official that you need close at hand, ie. if you're flying domestic, keep ID, itineraries, boarding passes and for international, passports, departure/arrival cards etc. - close to hand and if possible, separate from other things you're taking.  Try the front pocket of your travel bag or something like that.  There's nothing worse than the frantic rummaging for something important with whilst bored children start finding something noisy and inappropriate to distract themselves, and you, with.

If your children are little and, at times, not the best in taking orders (my nearly three year old is an expert), try to travel with something you can restrain them in, that way you can pass through (most) of the airport at your own pace, not theirs.  I've just purchased one of the really lightweight twin pushchairs and it's a godsend, or rather was - but I'll get onto that!  Otherwise I use a single pushchair (again, extremely lightweight, no bells and whistles) and a baby carrier.

Try and fill out your documentation in advance.  If you are flying from International for example, you will need to fill out a departure card, not only for you but for your children.  These rather fiddly and annoying little forms can take a bit of time (especially when your pride and joy is tugging at your legs), and when you're filling them out for your child/ren too - this takes twice as long or more.  It really helps to grab your departure cards when you check in, sit down at a cafe table or somewhere that you can find distraction for the kids and get them all filled in there.  Much more comfortable than trying to keep your little ones at bay in the official Departure Area while you struggle with cards, hand luggage, crowds and them!

Cargo pants, or pants with lots of pockets are GREAT!  You can keep all sorts of little necessary tissues/dummies/bribes - whatever your child will need, within very easy reach.

Try not to wear clothes or shoes that you will have to take off when you're going through security.
Security is always my dread when flying.  It's when you have to take the kids out of the pram/baby carrier, take things off, remove all liquids, hope the kids don't run off, go through, put the kids back in said carrier/pram (provided that they haven't run off!), put things back on, repack all liquids, pick up rest of your luggage.  It's a pain!  On top of that, having to remove a belt, shoes, jewellry, whatever, is exactly what you don't want to have to do.  Some airports I've been through demand you take off your shoes whatever, so you just have to wear it (or not wear them as the case may be!), but I've found in a lot of places, shoes like trainers generally go though beep free.  Also, a bit of packing advice, make sure you do have those liquid items in the obligatory see through plastic bag within easy reach.  The only liquids I bother with in my hand luggage these days are a squeezy tube of baby food if the flight is long enough, and sachets of paracetamol (just in case!).  Always remember, you can always get water once your the other side!

Whilst on the subject of security, remember that laptops and DVD players are items that generally have to be removed for most security screenings.  Again, this can be one extra hassle that you don't need.  My husband and I used to swear by our portable DVD player when flying with our eldest, and I have to say, I still do think about taking it from time to time, but it's heavy and a pain when going through the above mentioned.  We now tend to use our iphones for the entertainment of our kids, and they're every bit as effective.

I don't mind saying it, when flying I think bribes are great, actually for me, more than great - completely necessary.  Try as I might, when she doesn't feel like it, my eldest does not respond to even my most scary tone (hmmmm, the trouble is, it's just not that scary).  If she doesn't want to do something, she doesn't do it.  I had one flight where she refused to sit down during take off and landing.  All the airplane staff were getting really shirty with me, and her, but it didn't matter, she just refused.  I didn't want a repeat of this this time, so a packet of chips did the treat perfectly.  Once we were coasting towards the runway, I distributed them to her one at a time, and she sat through the whole thing.  I like to think that mostly my kids eat pretty well, but there are times when the odd cheeky snack REALLY helps!

And lastly, the lesson I have learnt time and time again when, well doing anything with kids really, but especially with flying, is try to stay calm at all times.  I've had moments when one child or the other is screaming at the top of their lungs, but I know them well enough to know that they will eventually (and probably quite quickly) stop.  Just take a few deep breaths, wait for the storm to pass, and let what will be, be.  You are generally on that plane because you have to be, you might well rather be somewhere else at the time, but that's where you are, so try and not get stressed by the tricky moments and enjoy as many of the others that you can.  I love turning around and seeing who my baby's been making eye contact with, or watching my elder daughter staring out of the window at the clouds with a look of wonder on her face.  I know that most people dread flying with kids, but there ARE moments of magic, just as there are any other time that you're with your babes.  You just have to remember to look out for them.

So all of this said, both my flights were reasonably without drama this time.  I silently thanked myself quite a few times when diving into pockets for hidden and needed treasures, passing fluidly through passport control with my pre-filled out departure cards, finding out that I could make a packet of Twisties last two and a half hours, and learnt a few more lessons along the way.  Next time I will demand that I get a "fragile" label for my pram when I send it off to "oversized luggage"!  The poor thing came out at the other end completely mangled, despite being wrapped in a plastic bag (I have to say, the airline HAS accepted complete responsibility and are due to replace it next week).  I will also, even though I advocate light packing, take the baby carrier as back up.  I was allowed to take my double buggy to the gate in Sydney, but not in Christchurch, so had to use an airport single.  I guess trying to find out what the policy at the airports you will be visiting prior to you flying might be an idea - if you have time!

And so I continue to be The Practicing Parent when it comes to flying with my girls, and this fight to Christchurch was really a dress rehearsal for my next jaunt - solo back to the UK later on in the year!!  Now that one really WILL be a test.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It's funny, before I became a parent I knew EVERYTHING about parenting! I knew how to treat kids in all situations, how to stop them doing this or how to make them to do that. I watched friends who’d already had kids and often thought “if only they’d approached it this way, the outcome would have been better”. Since becoming a parent I have sent a thousand apologies for my ignorance out to the ether.  My "expert" opinion was based on nothing but hot air and now my rather hasty judgements have been put back in the box where they deserve to be.  

What I do now know is that when dealing with children, everything is variable.  Just as you get comfortable in a certain routine, something will happen to throw all that up in the air, just as you thought you were beginning to get on top of something, a curve ball will come and knock you off again.  Child rearing is a constant job of trying out, changing course, rethinking and adapting.  It's fantastic and frightening, exhilarating and exhausting, but in my mind worth every minute.  The last two and three quarter years have taught me that the only way I am going to get any kind of qualification in this crazy job they call "being a parent" is practice.

Lessons learnt:  
You will never know it all but that doesn't mean you shouldn't stop trying
Practice might not make you perfect, but it will make you better
Don't judge until you've experienced it!