Tag Archives: children

Parenting: Why I won’t shame my son online

Yesterday my over-tired 4 year old spent most of the afternoon screaming and crying. He was in a foul mood and was really hard to be around. Together my husband and I spent the long hours until bedtime tagteaming him. Trying to gently entertain him, soothe him and keep him happy. He was hard work, and we felt every second of those six hellish tantrummy hours we endured before he went to bed.

But you know what. I didn’t bitch about him to a soul. I didn’t go on Twitter and call him a dick and do the old #freetoagoodhome hashtag. There was no *sad face* Facebook status update and I didn’t Instagram him mid-meltdown. I didn’t shame him online because I have so much respect for this little human being I carried around, birthed and have lovingly nurtured up to this point.

We all use social media to vent. I know this because I vent all over it. Sometimes it feels like it would help to post a little ranty status update about the little person who loves you unconditionally and relies on you for 100% of their care and attention. I get it. I couldn’t tell you if I’ve ever publicly been a bit nasty about my own child, I might’ve been, but it seems quite unlike me. I’m not in the shame business.

Parenting is bloody hard. Bloody hard. You’re knackered. All. The. Time. You lack the freedom you had pre-children, you can’t do what you want, when you want. Money is tight, there is rainbow covered crap all over your once tastefully decorated house and you have to take a personal interest in the bowel movements of another human. It is hard and it is gross. I get it.

I won’t shame my son online.

We’ve all seen those “reasons my son is crying” memes. The ones where it says “he’s crying because I wouldn’t let him lick fire” and stuff like that. There was a counter meme which struck a chord with me. My son is crying because he’s tried. He’s crying because he’s confused by what’s going on. My son is crying because he has no frame of reference for this new experience he’s having and is clearly terrified of. Yes. Nailed it.

My child is not being difficult just to piss me off, or stop me watching my favourite TV programme. He is crying and being difficult because for him life is all new, confusing, difficult, stressful, whatever. My son doesn’t need me losing my temper with him for this. He doesn’t need me to shame him online. He needs me to understand that having a tantrum, for most of the time at the very least, is evidence of the gap between his existing skills, experience and knowledge and what is happening to him right here, right now.

What he doesn’t need is to look back when he’s old enough, scroll through my tweets or Facebook posts and see for himself how hateful I was towards him. Parenting isn’t easy, I don’t think I ever gloss over it. When I started blogging it was in a way an online diary which we could look back on as a family, or when I’m gone, warty bits and all.

It goes back to the old saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Be real, be honest, be truthful, but don’t be a dick. After all, this child you’re bitching about now will be picking out your retirement home soon enough. Parenting is hard, but the actual child rearing bit is comparatively short and they’ll be off to uni before you know it. It’s hard, but temporary. So be nice.

Parenting: Why I won't shame my son online

I love that boys face, and I’ve grown to love all the rainbow coloured crap that moved in when he did.

You can read more of my posts about parenting here.

Toddler Fun Learning Videos on YouTube

I hate this time of year, if you’ve got a poorly toddler and the frozen rain (otherwise known as sleet) is lashing against the window; you’re less inclined to go out and about for ambles round your local park. Poorly toddlers are notoriously narky and difficult to entertain, which can result in some delightfully epic tantrums (not always his).

This afternoon it was particularly nippy and the toddler was particularly grumpy, so we decided to snuggle in mummydaddysbed™, drink hot chocolate and check out the YouTube videos from Toddler Fun Learning.

Toddler Fun Learning is a family-run British production company who produce videos for toddlers that look fantastic, but help your little loved ones with their counting, spelling, vocabulary and lots more. I was all over this concept because the boy is obsessed with YouTube, plus he has hearing problems which means his speech is a tiny bit behind, so if this can help then all the better.

watching videosWe watched a selection, including Twinkle Twinkle, Learn to count on Number Farm and The Wheels on the Bus. He loved them all. We watched them together (I’m very firm that the iPad is NOT a babysitter) and we sang along and chatted about what we saw; a cow; a hopping rabbit; a red tractor etc.

photo (28)He watched some of them several times over but particularly fell in love with “Lets Build a Steam Train: Learn about train parts“. He adores everything train related and this video showed all the pieces of a train with the words, I left the room briefly and returned to find him watching it for about the eighth time and reciting the words, which for me was brilliant I was so pleased.

He seemed to love all the videos, was engaged with them, laughed and got excited by them. We loved that the farm cartoons were mixed up with real footage of animals, he got so excited by that. I think the videos are great and a lovely learning tool for parents to enjoy with their toddlers.

NB. In a toddler nod to Hitchcock an orange cat appears somewhere in each of the videos. There’s no bonus prize if you spot it, but it is kinda fun.

The Toddler Fun Learning YouTube channel can be found here.

App Review: Heroes of the City App

I’d never heard of Heroes of the City before, but when I was approached to review their app and I had a quick Google, I knew it was probably something we needed to investigate further. As I’ve already mentioned in approximately 300 other blog posts, we love a vehicle in this house. Splodge is nothing short of obsessed and was nee-nawing at ambulances long before he uttered his first real words.

As soon as I saw what Heroes of the City looked like I knew he’d love it. For those not in the know, Heroes of the City is a cartoon about rescue vehicles in a small town where everyone can be a hero. You can follow the exciting adventures of Pauli Police Car, Fiona Fire Engine and Calamity Crow as they help the townspeople find thieves, put out fires, and solve some of the mysteries that happen in the otherwise quiet town. Heroes of the City is all about friendship, the stories are warm, lovely and focus on co-operation and helping each other out.

App Review: Heroes of the City App

The Heroes of the City app is currently free to download from the App Store or GooglePlay. Like any app it was quick and easy to download. I had a little explore myself before I handed my trusty iPad over to Splodge and I was quite pleased with the app. It features…

  • More than six hours of cartoons.
  • Nine, age appropriate, interesting and fun games.
  • The ability to collect trophies to open up new features.

The Heroes of the City app is aimed at 2-6 year olds. Splodge is three and I think that it’s about right for him, though it does work on different levels so there will be things he can grow into. He already plays with a few apps on my iPad and he can easily navigate his way around them. The apps we’ve already got he enjoys but they’re a bit limited, they have maybe one or two games. He likes them but he’s played with them for a year now.

I showed him the app but I’d maybe caught him at the wrong moment, he had a little tinker and then wandered off. A bit later that day I left the room, leaving my iPad on the sofa, I returned and he had opened the app and was watching one of the cartoons. So I sat with him for a little while and we watched it together, then opened up the games and we explored them.

The boy genuinely loves the games. He likes the one where you colour in Paulie the Police car; he likes the one where you set up a train track and the train chuffs around it; and he absolutely loves the one where you fire Calamity Crow out of a cannon. He giggles away to that. If I can hear him giggling I know exactly what he’s doing. He likes to watch the cartoons too, they’re just the right length and are lively and engaging.

We’ve had it about a week now and I cannot leave my iPad unattended without him leaping on it and opening it up. It’s something that we snuggle up and can play with together, it’s a colourful, well designed app. It’s glossy and expensive looking and is somehow free. This baffles me because it’s packed full of great content.

I’d be really happy to pay for the app as there’s so much in it. Not only that but if you go to their website they have a range of downloadable activity sheets and stories available for free. It’s well worth a look.

If you’ve got a child who like Splodge enjoys a vehicle then do check the heroes of the city app out. It’s fab, it’s fun and best of all it’s free!

Disclaimer: We were sent a link to the heroes of the city app to try for free; however it is freely available to anyone who wants to download it via the App Store or GooglePlay.

Charlie & Lola’s Extremely New Play – Review

clI’ve seen more than my fair share of kids telly in the last three years. Some programmes really get my back up, some I tolerate and a rare few I actually love and look forward to.

One of these is Charlie & Lola. Maybe it’s the jaunty theme tune; maybe it’s the deliberately naive animation; maybe it’s the brilliant story lines or maybe it’s because big brother Charlie somehow manages to be wiser and more tolerant of his little sister Lola than any other parent ever.

Whatever the reason, when I heard that Charlie & Lola’s Extremely New Play was coming to the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale over the Christmas period, I jumped at the chance to get tickets. I did not regret it.

We’ve never been to the Waterside Arts Centre before. It’s a great family venue which really feels like it’s a big part of the community. The facilities are good, it’s easy to find and for once the refreshments are refreshingly cheap. We had drinks and snacks for three for just over £5, anywhere else would’ve easily charged double.

The play takes Charlie, Lola and friends on a magical journey through the changing of the seasons; where they discover that everything is different and not the same. A brilliant team of puppeteers bring puppet Charlie, puppet Lola and their puppet friends to life.

As the seasons change, Charlie and Lola together with their friends discover that they can’t fight change. The changing of the seasons is inevitable and there is always something wonderful or beautiful coming up next. The crisp brown leaves of autumn, the fluffy snow to build a snowman with and the glorious warm sunshine (remember that?).

During the performance, the audience were showered from above by tissue paper autumn leaves, foamy snowflakes, flying fish puppets and springtime bubbles. The children whirled and twirled trying to catch them and the lighting effects drew gasps of wonder from the audience.

It was brilliant. The boy was fascinated from start to finish and even we grown-ups enjoyed it. Sometimes “family” productions can be less engaging for parents, but this we loved. It’s telling that 24 hours after seeing the play and after meeting Father Christmas on a steam train, he is still talking about Charlie & Lola!

It runs until January 4th and it was so good we’re seriously thinking about going to see it again.

Read my other review for Mums & Dads Magazine here.

Disclaimer: I was sent free tickets for this production so I could review it for my blog and for Mums & Dads Magazine. 

Properly Published!

I love writing, I always have. I like twisting words into sentences and I like putting my thoughts and feelings on paper and getting them out of my head. That’s probably why I love blogging.

Just before I started writing this blog I was asked by a good friend to write an advertorial piece for her shop, Giddy Goat Toys in Didsbury, Manchester for a local parenting magazine Mums & Dads. The article was about keeping kids of all ages entertained during long journeys.

I was incredibly honoured to be asked and I was really, really pleased with the finished article which was featured in the June issue. You can read my article here. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Mums & Dads