Do you ever find, that sometimes, your kids don’t do things when you ask them to?

Do you ever find when you shout out ‘requesting their company’ they often don’t answer?

I know unbelievable isn’t it!!

Selected Hearing

It’s a daily struggle in our house.  However, all is not lost, I have found ways of getting around these ‘hearing issues’.  When, after several screams of “come here” fail, I have a couple of tried and tested methods that work every time.  I either:

start a conversation with their dad whereby hey presto one of them will appear interested to know what’s going on, and what it was I just said to Dad

Failing that

There are no words needed here, just a smile as I unplug the broadband and wait.  1, 2….then the chorus of screams begin and 4 kids appear out of nowhere in the front room.  It’s never a long wait, usually instantaneous and a personal favourite of mine.

Forgetfulness

Sometimes, or if I’m being honest, all the time, my kids are all prone to bouts of ‘forgetfulness’ (See ALSO HOMEWORK) and periods  of ‘temporary mess blindness’ TMP for short.

They often ‘forget’ to tidy up after themselves and are champions in where it drops it stays, leave it and move on.

From wet towels on floors to used plates & cups adorning any flat surface, and with TMP they are able to successfully navigate their way, seemingly unaffected by the mess, to another room that has been untouched by children’s mess; only kidding there is no such room.

They all make their way back, muttering to their individual pit of doom, fondly known in a world without kids, bedrooms.

Luckily for them, I am always on hand to shout at them remind and encourage them to clean/tidy up after oneself.  It’s not always well received, but I hope in time this constant shouting  encouragement to tidy up will, in time sink in,  but I am realistic in the knowledge that I am way too much of an optimist, I am a mum.

IMG_0010

Maybe I ask too much.  After all, expecting them to bend down & pick up what they dropped, or to even clear their mess up when there is no monetary benefit to them whatsoever,  is a biggie, maybe even a bloody cheek.

But hey who am I to complain.  After all, and I quote “you chose to have children”, yes I did, not sure I opted in for the choosing to tirdy up eveyones friggin mess though! Although I am 100% sure there will be an answer to this should I have dare to voice my complaint.

As we all know (excluding children) parenting is exhausting, however it would seem over here being a kid/teen is way more exhausting.

Poor things, they have to get up so early,  go to school, do homework, do, err, em, well lots of other exhausting things, while I merely just blog all day, apparently.  My life is a breeze.

It struck me recently, when watching the new kids film ‘Sing’ (which I loved!) one of the characters, Rosita (a pig) is married and a stay-at-home mum of twenty-five children.

When a local talent contest gives her the chance to showcase her singing, she is desperate to audition but, being a mother life is hectic and her needs are second to her children’s.

However, not to be deterred and unable to share this dream with her tired husband and kids who never listen (sound familiar!) she sets about setting up a vast assortment of contraptions to take care of her housework, serve her family their meals, send her children off to school, put them to bed, and she has even has the foresight to record specific dialogue, such as using a recording to remind her husband where his keys are, and recording her byes for her family, even record a bedtime story for her kids, all in one night!  And they don’t even notice she has gone!

I thought of how many times I repeat things at home, or in my teenage son’s word ‘bloody nag’ on a daily basis.  I could easily record what I say and press play and just shove off somewhere.

Would they notice I wasn’t there? I wonder, after all,  most days are spent walking around with one eye shut, the other eye firmly placed on phone whilst arguing with siblings.

No I don’t think they would notice, well not until they wanted something.

As I started to write, I realised very quickly I say a lot!  This is just a mere snippet of some of the same ‘ole crap I  use, every day.

They are in no particular order of importance and are used in an unlimited capacity.

  1. Hurry up
  2. Just GET dressed
  3. Have you seen the time?
  4. We are going to be late
  5. Just eat it
  6. Well you’re not getting anything else
  7. Think of the poor starving children in Africa
  8. Who’s everyone?
  9. I said NO
  10. Because we can’t afford it
  11. For Christ’s sake, stop arguing
  12. Leave your brother alone
  13. I said Bed
  14. I hope you’re not still on that phone
  15. Have you got homework?
  16. Have you done your homework?
  17. Are you listening to me?
  18. Are you actually watching this?
  19. Make sure you tidy up
  20. No, I haven’t seen it anywhere

So, in closing, how many, if any of the above do you use on a daily basis?

Please follow and like us:

I loved the 1980s, the era when I was a teen.  A time when ‘Apple’ was something you ate and ‘Windows’ were mainly for staring out of, a lot, especially at school!

Getting ready to go out to the sounds of Whitney Houston, Spandau Ballet, Michael Jackson (even had his poster on my wall when he looked like he should) and Rick Astley all on vinyl, to name but a few.  It was a time when hair, mine especially, would survive any hurricane, rock hard from a can of cheap extra hold hairspray practically gone in one sitting!

Hands up who loved Grange Hill and Neighbours? the unforgettable moment when Charlene aka Kylie Minogue married Scott aka Jason Donovan etched in your mind forever, along with their wedding song sung by Angry Anderson! I can hear it now.

On the weekends, it was Swap Shop or Tiswas, unlike today’s kids, we didn’t have the endless choice of kids programmes 24/7, although I’m not complaining when the it comes to the Teletubbies or other such dribble that I have endured over the years with my kids!

It was the decade of questionable fashion, who couldn’t resist a pair of satin leggings and neon leg warmers to finish the look! We had trends in schoolbags like the Plastic Jelly Bags, totally impractical, where you had to line them with a carrier bag or everything would fall out!

Fast forward to now and unwittingly I seem to have morphed, somewhat into my parents.  I can often be heard bellowing out to the kids how they “don’t know they are born”, “I would have loved that when I was your age”, and the unforgettable one liner about the Money Tree!

I have put together an insight of what some of the 80s for me had to offer along with how it compares to my kids today.

Walking (What my kids avoid at all costs)

A large percentage of the 80s was spent walking.  We had no choice back then, anywhere we wanted to go, we walked.  We weren’t privy to the luxury of ‘Mums Taxi’ on standby waiting to ferry us all where we wanted to go, nope we walked.

Sometimes, we would jump on the bus always favouring the back seat just so we could puff our heads off (yes, we smoked…a lot, funded by saving our dinner money) on the way into town!

Homework

The luxury of tapping in a few key points and oodles of information appearing before your eyes was, unfortunately not available to us.  With scraps of paper with illegible, rushed notes from copying the homework down from the blackboard to textbooks for our information.  There was no copying and pasting or luxury of a delete button, we had to write it all up, and with an in ink-pen.

With writer’s cramp and an offering of something, our homework would be complete.  And if we didn’t finish or even start, a quick ‘Sorry but she was unable to do her homework….’note would be signed by me on behalf of my parents!

Mobile Phones

We didn’t have them.  We had payphones, which we could never afford, so spent a lot of time talking to the operator asking to reverse the charges.

House phones were usually rooted in the hall, annoyingly as there was no privacy.  We would have to wait to ring our friends until after 6pm and then it would be accompanied with shouts of “hurry up on that phone”.  Mine don’t have that worry, they can sit anywhere talking on theirs for as long as they like all paid for my us.

And being able to bypass the phone lock by tapping the black buttons under the receiver.

To be sure of our friends answering and not their parents, we would always give 3 rings first put the phone now and ring again.  We had code words such as ‘polos’ for fags, aptly called as we would eat a dozen on the way home to rid ourselves of the smell, and any fag packets and lighters found in our coat pocket were always our friends, we were just minding it for them.

Our version of texting was passing each other notes throughout lessons or writing messages in each other workbooks trying not to be seen by the teacher.

There was no way of our parents getting hold of us or tracking us on any find my i-Phone.  The only ‘being’ regularly phoning home back then was E.T.

The Top 40

tapeOur Sunday evenings were spent, taping the Top 40.  When my kids moan about their Spotify premium trial coming to an end, and the horror that will have to endure ads in between songs! I think back to the problems I had, when taping, stopping it at just the right moment before the DJ spoke.  I swear the DJs used to do it on purpose knowing half the UK were trying to avoid their interruptions.

We didn’t have a phone to plug our headphones into and listen to 100s of songs, we had Sony Walkman’s.  We had the pain of having to rewind and fast forward to any particular song we wanted, fist pumping when we timed it right the first time!  And when the batteries started running out, well….!

To add insult to injury we also had to endure the bloody nuisance of the ribbon coming loose from the tapes.  Hours were spent tightening it up with a pen, often turning it that one bit too much and resulting in the bloody thing snapping.

Video Rental Shop

Who doesn’t love a Movie night!  We had lots in the 80s, the biggest difference between our movie nights in the 80s and my kid’s movie nights is the way it’s viewed!

Watching a newly released movie in the 80s meant, renting a video from the local video shop.  Making yourself up to look older for the 15+ films, rehearsing your date of birth en route just in case, which would often be all in vain as the film would already be on loan by the time you got there.

Today it’s much simpler.  Movies can be directly streamed onto your computer, tablet and television right from the comforts of your own home.   There is no problem with it being out on loan or having to make yourself up to look older, its just a press of a few buttons to confirm they are old enough, having worked their way around any parental control, smart kids of today!

Selfies

A selfie back then was holding a throwaway camera as far as your arm would let you, at a certain height hoping you were all in the shot.  The disappointment when having waited 2 weeks, picking up your photos from the developers, to find photos of half heads or blurry ones!

Instant ‘selfies’ were only available with a Polaroid camera, and only if you, or a mate was lucky enough to own one.

There were no filters, delete and try again.  Once that button was pressed that was it.

Playing Outside

We pretty much lived outside.  From morning to night, we would be out and our parents would have no way of knowing where we were or being able to contact us.

No phones with trackers to find out where we were.  Home time would usually be either when the street lamps were coming on or you were hungry.

We literally have to prise our kids out of the house nowadays, preferring to keep in touch with their friends by gaming, texting or face time, and that’s usually when in the same room as them!

Shopping

Walking, again, we would go into town where we would scour the classics, C&A, Chelsea Girl (always way out of my budget) Tammy Girl and testing out the make up in Miss Selfridge.

Today my 2 teenage kids prefer shopping online, from the comfort of an armchair,  with our bank card at the ready.

Back in the 80s town would be full of punks, large stereos blasting out and a crowd of people, us included, watching kids breakdancing.

Then before heading home, it would be off to the pub for a quick drink and a fag age 14!

Dirty Dancing

How I wished I was the one having the ‘time of my life’ with Patrick Swayze!

In the Here and Now

A lot has changed over the years but a lot remains the same, just jazzed up with fancier names, such as the end of school disco now a more lavish affair called a Prom costing upwards of £300.

Although I spent a lot of my teen years doing everything my parents didn’t want me to, such as messing around at school & smoking.

I look back on my teenage years with great fondness, a time when we laughed, a lot and worries were few and far between.

If the technology today, had been around then, I don’t think I would have got away with half of what I did, although it was never anything bad.

I just wonder what my kids will grow up remembering and what comparisons, if any there will be to their teen years.

Please follow and like us:

“and don’t be talking to any strangers”, my mum would regularly say to me growing up, “Yes I know” I would yell back at her, exhausted at forever being told the same thing.

Yet here I am today, repeating the same to my kids – the single difference being they aren’t leaving the house when I tell them!   This stranger is right here in our house, more so in our children’s bedrooms – in the form of the internet and social media platforms.

As a parent it’s difficult to know if all the nagging (my kid’s words) and repetitive talks on internet safety ever really sink in.  Groans of “yes we know Mum”, “you don’t need to keep telling me” are often heard, when I am, as the kids say, on one!

Would they tell us if anything untoward happened?  It’s a worry.  We later found out, that yes, our eldest did tell us. While there are positives to social media, there are also negatives.   When speaking to my kids about the dangers, I don’t sugar coat any of it.  Awareness is better than ignorance.

Knowing the majority of their online chats will be with their friends, there is always the chance that someone, somewhere might try and creep in un-invited.  Explaining to my younger ones that 11-year old Jacqueline Wilson fan, Jane, might actually be a 40-year-old paedophile John, can be difficult for them to grasp at.   The difficulty being they cannot see this person so generally will believe what is being fed to them (unlike the stranger on the street, where they can physically see).

stranger 1

Any time there is a story about the perils of the internet, such as the scenario above,  I show mine.  It doesn’t give them sleepless nights; it just gives an insight of the real, potential dangers out there.

Unable to have eyes and ears on the kids 24/7 any prolonged monitoring of their online activity is just not possible.   As parents we are bringing our kids up to be both sensible and savvy. To know right from wrong and to notice when online, the difference between safe and worrying.

A few rules that work for us as a family are below, and with any rule I always explain my reasoning behind it, that way it’s not open to misinterpretation!

  1. 100% not allowed too give out any personal details, i.e. name, age, where they live.

The kids groan when I reiterate this to them from time to time.  The replies of  “we know, you don’t have to keep telling us”,  are often heard.  But they have to be mindful of unwittingly slipping up.  Who’s to say after a long comfortable conversation they haven’t, unwittingly just given out some personal detail.  It pays to always be that little bit on guard.

  1. You don’t accept friend request from complete strangers.

If a person approached you on the street and asked to be your friend, would you accept it? No. So why would you accept a friendship from someone you don’t know online & who doesn’t know you, especially one with no mutual friends!

  1. If it doesn’t look right or you are not sure, don’t click on it.

Like an email that appears to be legit but contains a link in it.   Or any pop ups or ‘click here to win’ boxes.  Clicking on these can lead to unwanted viruses or worse.

  1. Bullying

Reminding the kids if they feel this is happening to them, let us know. Also, enforcing we don’t expect them to participate or become involved in any form of bullying online.  Once its said and sent it cannot be undone, even with good intentions some message can be misconstrued.

When it happened to us

When I mentioned to Ciara I was thinking of writing this post, she was like “Mum, what’s the point of writing about Internet safety, everybody knows the dangers”.

Rewind to the midpoint of 2015 when Ciara, then 15, received a notification showing she and a couple of friends had been tagged in a post on FB.

When she viewed the post, she was shocked to see a photo of her Christmas presents (along with around 8 other various photos from her account) had been posted, with a piece underneath telling her what he would like to do to her, sexually.

This post, was public on her wall for all to see.    This was only half of it, there were 8 more photos.  She chose not to read further and immediately blocked him.  Fortunately, she screenshot the posting which proved invaluable as he later removed the post from her wall.

post pic

The ‘offender’ in this case was a lad at her school, in the year above. She knew him, but he wasn’t someone she spoke to or spent any time with.

Shaken and troubled by this, she spoke to her Head of Year at school about it.   In turn, the school liaised with me and informed the police

Her friends, who had also been tagged in this post, were less willing to discuss it with anyone.   They didn’t want to report it.  One friend didn’t see it as any big deal, while the other did not want her mum to know or have her phone taken from her.

Undeterred, Ciara was happy to take it further and speak to the police.  She felt what he had done was wrong, and she wanted him, in her words ‘told off’.

She was also concerned about how it might have been perceived by anyone who may have seen the post when it was live.  They might, wrongly assume that she was in some sort of relationship with this boy, and was ok with this type of sexualised messaging!

With the police on board and dealing with the lad in question, Ciara carried on as normal.  However, a little while later, he sent Ciara a photo on FB.

Again, it was posted publicly on her FB wall and was an image of his erect penis along with some scribblings on what he would like to do to her.

Shaken, she again screenshot it.  Like before, he took the image down some 30 minutes later

She reported it accordingly, and this time was invited down to the police station to make a -statement.  She spent around 30 minutes in a room describing in detail, to a male police officer, the sequence of events and a description of what the photo showed.

I for one, at that age would have found that to be an excurationally embarrassing situation, if not an incredibly scary thing to do.  She handled it with great maturity, and I was so proud of her.

She later heard, when interviewed, he denied the charge but on further pressing admitted he had sent the image.

He was given a conditional caution and to undergo a process of Restorative Justice:

“restorative justice whereby the system of criminal justice which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large”

A youth intervention officer was assigned to Ciara.  She was there as a mediator, giving Ciara the opportunity to talk about how she felt, how it made her feel and what outcome she would like to see happen.  In this case, she replied she simply wanted him to acknowledge he had done wrong and be punished.

One of the biggest things Ciara struggled with was why he had done it, and more importantly why her?  This was a question she put to him, he was unable to answer it.

These meetings proved to be a great help to Ciara, keeping her up to date on how things were progressing.  It was something she felt was important to her.   I often wonder how she would have felt if there had been no such intervention.

It was suggested she write a letter to him, whereby she could ask any questions she would like answered.   Then if agreeable to both parties, they could be brought together for a meeting where she would have the opportunity to speak to him about why/what he did.

She agreed and wrote a letter.  In turn, he responded and the YIO duly brought it around.  Feeling, nervous Ciara read it.  In it, he said he didn’t really know why he had done what he had, but he was willing to meet with her too discuss.

Unfortunately, a couple of days before their scheduled meeting, he again sent an inappropriate picture, this time to a different girl.

Consequently, the meeting was cancelled.  Ciara was not interested in meeting with him anymore.  She was shocked, and said it was like re-living the whole experience again.  She could not believe, after all his weeks of ‘therapy’ he was still acting in this manner, with no show of regret and willingness to stop.

Throughout all this, she still had to see this lad every day in school.  She spent her days, always mindful that she could at any time bump into him.  It was a situation that made her uneasy for a number of months.

Fortunately, he is no longer in school and Ciara is able to continue her education without feeling nervous about seeing him.

As a mother, I found it incredibly difficult, especially at the meetings whereby he would be discussed.  I struggled with how he could, after being involved with the police, go on to repeat the same offence.  I imagined being his mother, and what I would do if it was one of my children.  But like all situations, its easy to say and much harder to do.  Hopefully, with all the best will in the world I will never have to know.

To date, Ciara has never heard anything more from him.  I could not be any more proud of Ciara than I am.  Throughout this difficult period, she handled it with a level of maturity beyond her years and was completely non- judgemental.

So in fact, by continuing to parent our kids the best way we can, we must also look on the plus side of the internet. It brings a lot of positives: endless information, possibilities and opportunities for us all, blogging being one major one!

And a favourite of mine, connecting us to loved ones far and wide, bringing the ones we love and know into our living rooms.

Please follow and like us:

Was that really me? One thing I never envisaged when I became my mum a mum 16 years ago was the sudden loss of all common sense & rational thinking.

As soon as Ciara was placed into my arms, I literally became a woman, who slept every night, badly, anxious with one ear open, listening for any sudden change in breathing.  I would regularly get up and check she was still breathing, and if I wasn’t sure I would poke her, instantly regretting it when she cried; only to repeat it all again later.

Looking back I can see how the phrase ‘helicopter parenting’ was coined, that was me morning, noon and night, unable to let go, always hovering just in case.

Every rash had me carrying out the ‘glass test’ never quite sure if it actually disappeared or not, so to be sure would head off to the Doctors.  It was no different if she coughed, sneezed, had a cold that seemed prolonged, it would all have me in a state of fearing it was something more sinister. (see NEUROTIC).

Everything had to be right.  I lived by the book of new motherhood, following the reams of goals, tips, checklists mainly focussing on the ‘must not do’ list such as; never re-heating bottles (especially in the microwave), never giving her dummy back without first sterilising it, never weaning before 4 months…and so on.

That was me; first time neurotic mummy wasting endless hours sterilising dummies, any toys that had hit the ground and the like, gasping in horror if another mum suggested I cut corners, fearing I would somehow, damage her in the process, all coupled with my parents telling me the stories of their survival as babies with no parenting books or sterilising kits!!  (See BINNED THE BOOK, TOOK PARENTS ADVICE with second child).

However, visits to the Doctors surgery were regular.  The routine baby checks were my favourite.  It gave me a chance to ‘show her off’ and swell with pride at her development and seeing my shiny red book fill up nicely.

doctor-1228629_640

All other questions such as,  is she talking – err yeah of course, can she count from 1-10 not quite but we are working on it, is she toilet trained, were plentiful… hang on, sorry scrap that bit, those were the Nursery Gate questions, wrong story!

I KNOW HOW THIS SOUNDS BUT….

On one routine visit, my Doctor asked me how much Ciara weighed at birth; it would be worth noting I was shite at maths (see NEVER LISTENED AT SCHOOL).

I proudly informed him she had weighed 350kg.  Waiting for the unexpected laughter to die down,  he composed himself before asking if I was sure, feeling the pressure, as clearly this figure was wrong, I hastily changed it to 35kg,

“whaaa…t why you laughing” I asked, puzzled.  Showing a clear lack of any understanding surrounding weights,  especially kilo’s, he suggested maybe it was 3.5kg, I went with that, after all he was the Doctor he understood kilos better than I did.

It wasn’t until I recited this account later to my brother, it become apparent what had been funny, I had given the weight off something more in line with a baby elephant! (see SECOND BABY).

IT GETS WORSE

I am fully aware of how this might look, and the following just adds to the list of ‘how stupid could someone be’ but that was me, first time mum and all that, the kind of mum who had to have everything right for my first, along with buying anything gadget based.

I remember buying a Motion Swing that would rock baby gently, saving on any un-needed arm ache and time.  Walking through town with box in tow and his nibs moaning about the price, I was delighted when a woman approached us to champion how good the swings were, apparently brilliant!

Feeling smug and repeating this to his nibs several times over, the smug table turned the day we put her in it, she hated it, cried solidly.

Incidentally the swing ended up in the loft along with all the other waste of time purchases & parenting manuals, along with his nibs muttering “told you it was a waste of money”.

“No Doctor, you don’t understand she isn’t like any other baby” I would tell him as I graced his room once again with Ciara sneezing, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important” blah blah blah.

Imagine my horror, when, again, having taken leave of all normal senses,  I was laying with Ciara one morning, when after feeding her, I noticed she started rolling her eyes.

Only slightly at first, but then moving on to real back of the head rolling.  Watching these actions panicked me, trying to reset her eyes to the front position and their clear lack of adjusting back, I let out a mighty roar to his nibs, “quick, come here, there’s something wrong with Ciara”.

“What you on, she was perfectly fine earlier”, he said

“Well she’s not now, I think she might be blind”, mumbling something along the lines of ridiculous and stupid, I carried on, undeterred “seriously, she is rolling her eyes, it’s not right, I need to ring the Doctors”

Pressing redial calling the surgery, I was asked by the Doctors bouncer for my knicker size, what I had for breakfast, is it life threatening blah, blah, blah.

I blurted out my child was blind, “ok what makes you think that”, “well she’s rolling her eyes back in her head and they aren’t refocusing”, so with a reassuring, “ooh I’ve never heard of that before you best bring her in…”.

Throwing her in the car, not literally for any anti- throwing kid’s campaigners out there, we raced off in the mumobile, rubber screeching to the Doctors.  Rushing in I couldn’t have given a stuff that I still had my slippers on, this was urgent, pretending not to notice anyone in the packed waiting room I hoped we wouldn’t be waiting long.

The wait seemed long and all scenarios were playing through my mind, what type of dog we would get, were there any braille classes locally..!

The crackle of the speaker came on,  holding my breath I heard “Sharon, Room No. 4 please”, detecting a hint of ‘what now’ in his tone, I carried on regardless.  It seemed we were on first name terms, I liked the personal touch!

“She’s blind” I announced opening the door and walking in.  “Take a seat Sharon”, sitting down I braced myself as he took her and asked “what makes you think she’s possibly blind”, possibly!

Are you kidding, she’s rolling her eyes right into the back of head so much so I expect her to start chanting lines from the exorcist, her iris literally disappears!  That’s why I think she’s blind.

“Ah right, ok I’ll have a look”.  Turning his back slightly, l sat worrying he was shielding me from some impending doom, rehearsing how he was going to break the news to me.

After what seemed like a very long time, probably one minute in real time, he turned to me and said, “Sharon, have you ever thought she might have wind”?

“Wind”, I said, no I hadn’t, apparently according to him it was a common fact that some babies rolled their eyes when they had wind, well that was a first for me and something I had not read in any of my shit mummy manuals.

Looking back I have great admiration for that Doctor, he always saw me and never mocked, well not to my face.

If it wasn’t for him leaving, not long after we took to visiting him, (just coincidental)  I would thank him in person for putting up with the ‘then me’.

Please follow and like us: