My Studious Sunday Photo

My Studious Sunday Photo

Moozles isn’t allowed to watch television on the weekday mornings. So when she wakes up she does colouring or drawing. I recently bought some ‘Maths’ and ‘Handwriting’ workbooks from Poundland (um, why do British people call Math ‘Maths’?).

Moozles loves practicing math and writing. When it’s time for breakfast, she always begs to do one more page. It’s so cute. I wonder how long it will last. Will she one day grow tired of school? How do you foster a love of learning? Many people think their children are bright. But intelligence alone cannot take you everywhere in life. You must want to learn. You must want to achieve. I guess for now I will just be satisfied with her love of learning. And enjoy a bit of quiet in the mornings.

 

I’m linking up to My Sunday Photo and Ordinary Moments.

 

Boring My Kids

Boring My Kids

Children benefit from attending school, socialising, reading, attending clubs and taking part in sports and activities. Children also benefit from computers and television. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But something that many parents forget about is the power of boredom. Yes, my children take part in organised activities. But I also give them stretches of time where they have to make their own fun.

Moozles, who is six, has always had a tough time playing on her home. She has always wanted to play with me, or have me right by her side. We have had to work on her independence, on her thinking about what she would like to play. At two years old, Dubz is easier. He just sits on the floor and plays with whatever catches his fancy. And yes, sometimes I will offer baking or crafts. But often, I tell my children to figure out what they want to do. ‘I’m bored’, Moozles sometimes cries. Husband’s favourite comeback? ‘Only boring people feel bored.’ True dat.

Nowadays, children go from activity to activity. And when they’re tired or bored, they just sit in front of the television. Don’t get me wrong, I let my children watch television, but not all the time. And occasionally I let them play on the iPad. But surely this generation of children will miss out on what we gained in our youth. Figuring out what we like playing. Figuring out what is fun and what is boring.

There’s a helpful article in Psychology Today about boredom. Many parents today seem to think that something bad will happen if there child does not have a fun activity to do. But what will happen to those children when they grow up? Do you want a generation of adults lacking in any imagination? Who will imagine and design the next smartphone or even a Walkman (do you remember those? How amazing was it to listen to your tapes on the go?)?

But anyway, do your children a favour. The next time they look bored, or ask you to organise a fun activity, tell them to go make their own fun. There could be books they could be reading. Games of horsey to be played and turning stools into race cars. After all, only boring people feel bored.

Boring My KidsBoring My Kids

 

 

Are Mothers Tougher On Daughters?

Son, have fun. Daughter, hope you are learning valuable skills for the future.
Son, have fun. Daughter, hope you are learning valuable skills for the future.

My daughter is six years old, and my son is two. I wish that I could say that I treated them equally. But recently, I have realised that I don’t. As I consider myself to be a strong woman, I want my daughter to grow up to be a strong woman too. I am determined that she grow up to be independent and resolute. And my son? Well, I want him to be a respectful man, a kind and happy person. Do you see the disparity?

Dubz is sweet and happy (who knows if he is clever, after all he is only two). He has all the potential of becoming prime minister or a rock star. Moozles is sweet and clever. So I do not want her working in a lowly post in an office, passed over for promotion because she is too bashful. So I am a bit tougher on her. But I don’t think this is right.

As a woman, you grow up with so much criticism. From yourself, and others. The way you look, dress, act. It is not fair to have to deal with that from your mother. I want my daughter to have a great life. I want her to be happy. But I also want her to be successful. I know how tough it is for women in the workplace. We have to deal with bosses who stare at our chests and colleagues who comment on our looks. And when we have children, the masses voice their loud comments on pregnancy sickness, maternity leave and any reduction of hours. And to top that off, we are paid 35% less than our male counterparts. Ouch.

There is some sense in wanting to prepare my girl for this world. But while I prepare her, I should not be critical of her. Moozles needs to know that her mother is in her corner, in this big bad world. That I am fair and kind, in a world that can be biased and cruel. She should not grow up seeing me encourage her brother’s cheekiness while expecting her to be serious and studious. Mother-Daughter relationships are complicated enough. I don’t want Moozles feeling like an outsider as she watches Dubz and I clown around. After all, there is room for all three of us to be silly.

Are Mothers Tougher on Daughters

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

And THAT, Is Where Babies Come From

Where Babies Come FromAnd this, my friends, is how I learned about the birds and the bees. When I was seven years old, my parents gave me this book to learn how babies were made. Illustrated naked people – an illustrated penis entering an illustrated vagina. And of course, the above. *shudder* BUT it did show me how things worked.

Are you reading this post, or just staring at the picture? Can you even look away? While you’re staring at the picture, does anyone know why the doctor is carrying a hammer? And why is no one ready to catch the baby?

Anyway. In the last week, my six-year old daughter has been asking me how babies are made. I don’t think my daughter is ready for images like the one above. She is a sensitive soul, and I worry that these kind of images would scar her for life. After all, to this day, I have never been able to kiss a man with a beard.

So I sat Moozles down for a Rated-6 version of how babies are made. I told her that ladies and girls have vaginas. I had been calling it a front-bum as I was worried that vagina was too clinical a word for a toddler. But she’s six and I thought she should know that she has a vagina. Natch.

Moozles is quite interested in science, so I grabbed her Human Body Encyclopedia. Near the end of the book, which she hasn’t gotten to yet, there are a few pages dedicated to reproduction. I think that these pictures, along with my words, have helped explain where the baby grows, how the baby develops and how the baby comes into the world. Although I mentioned the egg and sperm, I did not mention any need of a penis. After all, in these modern times, making babies happens in many ways.

Where babies come from Where babies come from

 

 

 

 

 

Have you explained how babies are made? How did you do it? Does your child know that they have a penis or a vagina, or are you still using ‘cute’ names?

If you fancy a giggle, have a look at this video version of the The True Story of How Babies Are Made. The video is made from the pictures from the actual book.

 

*Photo credit: top photo: from ‘The True Story of How Babies Are Made’, written by Per Holm Knudsen
Bottom two photos: from Human Body Encyclopedia, published by DK
 

My Daughter, The Quitter

My daughter, Moozles, is six years old. And in her short life, she has taken part in many clubs. There was Ballet for four months. Street Dance for three months. Ballet again for three months. Gymnastics for one year. But there seems to be one common denominator in the activities she has engaged in during the past two years. She has quit them all.

photo 1 photo 3

 

 

 

 

 

When is it okay to quit? This is a dilemma that most parents must face. We all know how beneficial it is for children to engage in extra-curricular activities. And it can be terrific for children to be able to take part in many different activities. It is a great chance to find what you are good at, what you enjoy. But what if your child wants to quit the activity they had previously begged to join? How long is enough before you allow your child to quit? One month? Three months? One year?

I understand the importance of learning persistence, perseverance and commitment. If children are allowed to quit activity after activity, they might not learn the importance of steadfastness and dedication. Surely this will influence them later in life, quitting relationships and jobs at any sign of adversity. I certainly do not want to raise a quitter.

But I also think that children’s opinions and feelings should be taken into account. It is tough, especially when you are little, to judge which activities you will enjoy. The image of doing beautiful ballet dancing might not match up to the real life of practicing a plié and a jeté. I remember being made to continue with piano lessons, as a child, long after I wanted to quit. I do not regret quitting. I do regret that I never got to try dance classes or gymnastics. Maybe I would have wanted to quit those too. But I will never know as I was busy playing the violin and piano.

As parents, we are constantly bombarded with the ‘best way’ to raise our children. But I think it is important to understand your individual child, to examine what makes him/her happy. Sometimes our children are driven by fatigue, laziness, fear, lack of ability or just a lack of interest. We need to pay attention to our children, rather than expecting them to persevere.

Some children are lucky enough to find a beloved club or activity early on. Some children need longer to find the activity they really engage with. No one wants their child to be a quitter. But we all want our children to be happy. Sometimes, it is okay to quit.

 

Do You Let Your Child Shine?

This week Mum Turned Mom offered ‘Shine’ as the topic of The Prompt. This made me think about how I raise my children. How my friends raise their children. We want our children to do well. Many want their children to excel. But how much? Do you want your child to be the star of their class? The prima ballerina or the black belt in karate? Perhaps you just want him or her to be the best person they can be. Whatever that means.

But what happens when they do shine? What do you do when little Wilfred or Freya is the best student in their class? Do you make a Facebook announcement? Do you send an email to your family and friends? Or do you just keep the knowledge between you and your partner, and gush about your little darlings in the evenings? Recently, parents were announcing their children’s GCSE grades on Facebook. Although I did not grow up in the UK and am not overly familiar with GCSEs, I didn’t think that some of the grades were very good. Parents seemed thrilled nonetheless.

And what about your child? Are they allowed to tell everyone that they are a candidate for Mensa or even that they can now ride a bike? Or are you teaching your child to be modest and self-deprecating? A few weeks ago, my six-year old daughter was mentioning how clever and beautiful she is. Husband was aghast to hear such outspoken self-admiration, such high esteem. But shouldn’t children have healthy self-esteem? How are they to succeed if they do not think highly of themselves? How can you shine if you are not confident in your intelligence or your abilities? I understand that too much self-esteem can lead children thinking they have greater abilities than they do, but I think we need to find a balance. As parents, we should give our children the confidence to feel that they can shine. How do you find the right balance?

 

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