SLAMMED for NOT Piercing My Daughters’ Ears

Okay, this title is a bit tongue in cheek. Let me explain!

I have been asked when are my daughters’ getting their ear pierced. And so, I noticed the articles about Kylie Jenner being ‘mom shamed’ for piercing her daughter’s ears.

Articles reading ‘Kylie SLAMMED for piercing her daughter’s ears.’ This is completely ridiculous.

Kylie Jenner is being shamed for piercing her daughter’s ears.

WHAAATT!! Piercing a baby’s ears is so normal. And even if someone does not consider it normal, it is NOT harmful to the baby so what is the issue. Plus, it is ridiculously cute too!

From reading the articles, my own experience as mother of girls and just being a woman (or actually just being alive), there are cultural nuances to take into account.

In certain communities it is completely normal!

For example, I grew up in a Cape Town community. Here it is normal, no expected, that you will pierce your little girl’s ears.

If  a parent, whether it is Kylie Jenner or anyone else wants to pierce their baby’s ears let them be. If you do  not agree, then just don’t do it on your child. Simple.

RELATED: My Daughter is Bossy, Here is Why I Am Okay With It

My daughters do not have pierced ears.

My little girl is one and my eldest daughter is five.

In our community, it is normal (almost expected) that little girls will have their ears pierced within the first year. In fact, I get asked regularly when are my girls getting ear piercings?

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Slammed for not having my daughters’ ears pierced

Tongue in cheek, but I just had to say ‘SLAMMED’ as I find it ridiculous.

Anyway, I am not doing it because I am ‘WOKE’ and stuff. I just do not feel there is a strong enough motivation for me to do it right now.

It is just a personal decision (with some selfish motivations as well).

Why I am not Piercing my daughters’ ears

I have decided that I want to make it a special day when they are ready.

I want them to ask me to have it done so that they are aware and gives them the power to make decisions about their body.

It is an option for a birthday present. So that year they get it, it will be THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT.

Plus if I can hold off on the ear piercings, then it pushes out asking for more piercings and tattoos.

My four year old has been asking me to have her ears pierces, but she always forgets about the ear piercings the closer we get to her birthday. More important things have taken over as their birthdays draw near, such as a PJ Masks Birthday Cake for her and a Barney Birthday Cake for her sister).

No JUDGMENT!

However, my feelings towards ear piercing have ZERO connection with how I feel about other parents doing it. In fact, I find it beautiful and admire the pretty little studs.

DO YOU!

RELATED: Don’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 1: Book Review

A balanced review of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls  by Elena Favilli and Francesca  Cavallo

We attended Disney on Ice last week, and it was hard to ignore how the stories are built around ‘girls being saved by knights and princes.’ I don’t have an issue with princess stories. In fact, princesses have high standing in our home!

However, I have a problem if that is ALL that my children are being exposed to.

RELATED: My Daughter is Bossy, Here is Why I Am Okay With It

Yes, girls and boys are different in many ways.

However, not everything need to be attributed to gender.

I want my girls to know for certain that there are girls out there who are aviators, mathematicians and Olympic gold medal winners. You know…if you can see it, you can dream it.

That is where  Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes in.

If you are looking for inspiring stories to read to your sons and daughters, then Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls will make an excellent addition to your bookshelf.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 1: Book Review

good night stories for rebel girls review sa book

What is Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls about?

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present.

It ranges from Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Miriam Makeba (my favourite), Simone Biles and Amelia Earhart. The book covers a wide variety of fields, including science, medicine, literature, the arts, sports, politics, fashion, politics, the military, and more from across countries.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls aims to show our daughters not to let anyone tell them that we cannot do something because they are girls. If you have the ability and mindset you can do anything!

What to expect from Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

The  illustrations throughout the book are stunning an dramatic. Each women’s portrait is unique and impactful, just like the women themselves. The beautiful blue cover will make an excellent addition to any little girl’s book collection.

 

good night stories for rebel girls review page sa

How long is this book and will you be up all night reading this thick book to your child?

No. Although Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is thick; however, the stories are all one-pagers. Therefore, the book is very easy to read to your children.

How can you use the book to encourage conversation with your children?

Discuss the unique stories and why the women you read about are so special. The book aims to shatter preconceived ideas about what girls and boys are ‘supposed’ to be.

My four-year-old was amazed that a girl (Amna Al Haddad) could be a weightlifter. I also could not believe it, and we googled Amna together to read up about her further.

Constructive criticism: What could be better?

1. Caution: the writing is simple, remember it is a book for children. Please don’t expect an in-depth overview.

2. Stories are short and may only ‘brush’ over achievements. Can we really cover Michelle O’Bama in a one-pager? No, so be prepared to add in any additional information in need. If your child is like mine, who asks WHY WHY repeatedly you are going to need extra information (in this case Google is your friend)

3. Some stories might make you uncomfortable. As an example, in the story of Malala, she gets shot. I am not going to read that to my four-year-old. So I would adapt the words to say ‘they hurt her.’ Use your discretion.

In Conclusion 

I would definitely recommend adding Rebel Girls to your collection if you want your daughter to be exposed to a variety of role models. The beauty of this book is that these  stories are based on real people.

As with all things parenting, use your judgment and do what makes sense.

One of my daughter’s show and tell days had an ‘air transport’ theme. We drew a picture of Amelia Earhart together. And that was her show and tell – the first woman to fly across the ocean.

 

Rebel Girls is for sale at TakeAlot from R 319 and at all leading book retailers.

We Are Checking Out Playschools for Our Toddler – What I Am Really Looking For This Time Around

I can’t believe our little one (Miss A) will be going to playschool next year! She turns two in October 2018, and we have decided that Jan 2019 is the right time for her to go to school.

So I have been walking around our neighborhood scoping out playschools.

Her sister went to playschool/daycare at one year three months, and she adapted quite well (Except for the getting sick part).

So Now That We Are Officially Checking Out Playschools for Our Toddler here is what we are looking for

playschool for toddler_mommy blogger

Walking distance

We want a playschool that is within walking distance of our home, so our nanny can walk over and fetch Miss A.

Miss C (who is  in grade R next year, and I cannot handle it!), is registered with Cool Kids Cabs and it is working quite well. BUT, I don’t want to follow that route for now for the little one.

Meals

Parenting is largely a bunch of extra chores that have landed on your lap. Never. Ending. Chores. Cooking, cleaning, making snacks, cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc.

So, any situation that alleviates the pressure or helps the chores gets a yes from me. So I would really love a playschool that can give her as many meals as possible. As she will probably be half day, at least a cooked lunch!

RELATED: Bad Mom Confessions: My Child Swallowed a Birth Control Pill and 9 Other Parenting Fails

 

toddler looking for playschool

Stay Within The Budget

The budget might need to be traded off with the above factors. If the school provides at least one meal, and it is within walking distance, we will be okay to flex our budget a little bit.

A Good Feeling In My Tummy

I want to walk into this playschool and have a good feeling in my tummy.

I know, I know it is not scientific at all. But my eldest Miss C has been at two daycares/ playschools. I can tell you the one we really loved just FELT GOOD when we walked in there.

Angels started singing, and we felt all warm and fuzzy. Okay, no angels, but it felt good. The first one she attended that we did not like as much, looking back there were signs. We had to ‘convince ourselves’ a little bit about the daycare.

So I trust the feeling in my tummy.

Oh and then the standard ‘hygiene factors.’

I would not be a responsible parent if I did not cover the ‘important bits.’ Other important factors to consider are:

  • Cleanliness and Hygiene standards
  • Structured Routine for the children
  • Appropriate Illness policy
  • Reasonable teacher to child ratio
  • Safe play areas, indoors and outdoors
  • Healthy and balanced food (if food is provided)
  • The school and the teachers must have papers! Must be registered with recognised authorities

 

Finally, do some snooping.

Go online and so some online research on your options. You never know what you can find. Thou hath no fury like a mother or father scorned. If there are any reviews, you may pick it up online.

Also, find a parent whose child attended the school and ask them about their experience. I always consider other parents’ experiences. In fact, Miss C’s playschool I loved was a referral from a friend.

Question: Do you have any tips for little ones starting at a new playschool?

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Letter To My Daughter, You Turned Out To Be An Amazing Big Sister and I LOVE IT!

My dear daughter, you are four years old (turning five this year as you like to remind us!). Although we had a rough time for a few months after your little sister came home, I am so proud of the bond the two of you have developed. 

My little Caitlyn, I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you on 14 September 2013 at 05h00am (thereabouts).

You looked just like your daddy. We could already tell from the ultrasound. I was a bit annoyed that you did not look anything like me. That does not even matter in the least.  What we do not share in physical features we make up for in our ways and personalities.

You have turned into a wonderful big sister, and I could not be prouder of you. 

I know it may be too early to put it out there, as you have only known each other for twenty months. But I am going to put this out there in the universe, as it makes me so happy! You are an amazing big sister.

Here is How I Know You Turned Out To Be An Amazing Big Sister

A post shared by Cherralle (@mydailycake_) on

Comforting your sister

When Ava falls down or hurts herself, you are always there to comfort her.

Sharing food with her sister

Although when it comes to luxuries, you are very hesitant to share. When it comes to actual food, you share. I was also happy to hear from our nanny that you keep a piece of bread from your school lunch and bring it home to your sister.

Make each other laugh

When the two of you are laughing together, that sound is magical.

You are kind

You are very kind to your sister. You are gentle. In your normal and every day interactions you treat her like a baby that must be protected.

You help her get out of bed

Helping your sister out of the cot is a bit dangerous and we have asked you to not do it without us. You help Ava get out of her camp cot in the morning and you both walk up the stairs to mommy and daddy’s bedroom.

A post shared by Cherralle (@mydailycake_) on

You like to dress alike

You love dressing up like your sister, from your outfits to your hairstyles.

In conclusion: Making space for both

When we had you and only you, I was content being a mom of one. But we wanted to give you a sister. Little did I know, Ava was the little extra gift we needed to complete our family.

When I was on maternity leave (for an ENTIRE MONTH before your sister was born!), I made you an album of our special moments. At the time, it was hard to imagine loving two of you. But, it just happened. All of our spaces expanded to hold both of you. Our home, our hearts and our arms!

I love you girls and I am proud to be your mom.

 

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Why Quality Time Beats Quantity (Plus Everyday Mommy Daughter Date Ideas)

I had this elaborate blog post planned in my head about beautiful and unusual mother-daughter ‘date ideas’.

When I sat down and started writing, I realised that there is nothing fancy about the best moments I share with my girls.

Our lives are pretty predictable, simple and that is how we like it.[bctt tweet=”There is nothing fancy about the best moments I share with my girls.” username=”cherralle_”]

I am not racking up hours with my children during the week, and I am okay with that. As a working mom I need to make the best of the time I do have.

When I get home in the evening after work, this is REAL QUALITY time. It may only be an hour or so, but it is one pure hour dedicated to my daughters ONLY.

I am connecting with the two of them:

No social media.

Talking to them.

Reading stories.

We play music; we dance, we sing.

We jump on the bed. Whatever, that time is OURS.

RELATED: What Working Moms Ought To Know About Attending Daytime School Events

One on one time

Within any family, there is a group dynamic. There is either the shy one or the dramatic one, and that impacts how we engage in a group. Therefore, one on one time is imperative. In many cases, by having one on one time, you connect on a deeper level with your child.

With a one-year-old (Miss A) and a four-year-old (Miss C), it is easy for all attention to go onto the little one automatically as that is how it is right now.

Here are some every day mommy-daughter moments which can be done one one or if you have more than one!

Here are  10 Everyday Mommy Daughter Moments or Mommy Daughter Date Ideas, whatever

mommy and daughter date idea toddler

Everyday home life

To me, the ‘everyday moments’ is quality time. When I am in the kitchen in the morning chatting with my Four-Year-Old  about her school lunch that is quality time. Which is always a bad idea as she always has concerns about what I am packing for her lunch.

Another ‘bad idea’ is when she is helping me make our beds on a Saturday morning. Also turns out to be a pretty unproductive exercise most times. Nonetheless, it is ours.

Visit the library

Visiting the library is simple,  free, fun and educational. The best part is that it is easy to start a routine. Once you take out a book, you are obligated to return to it (rocket science!). Before you know it, you have built a habit of library visits.

I think it also depends on the child if this is their scene but worth a shot!

A post shared by Cherralle (@mydailycake_) on

Homemade pedicures and manicures

The sweetest mommy daughter dates are ‘girly’ activities. The girls and I received a pretty Barbie hamper. Included was a range of Barbie nail polishes in cute pastel colours. So we did a little pedicure with Miss C. We also have matching cups which is so cute!

I love being a girl mom, can you tell?

Check out the Barbie Facebook Page to stay in the loop of how to keep little girls inspired!

barbie mom and daughter hamper_

Fake facials

When I do my face masks I also make one for Miss C. So I take our Epimax  moisturizer, and I decant a generous amount into one of my (pretty) empty moisturizer jars. Then add a few stickers on it. Miss C has her personalised face mask / and face cream and bob’s your uncle.

Miss C thinks she is getting a face mask with mommy’ creams.

RELATED: 16 Places To Visit With Kids In Johannesburg (when you are stuck for ideas)

Turn off the TV

TV on = Watching TV not talking.

TV off = engage and talk.

When the TV is off, it creates a natural space for conversation and engagement. Sometimes, I don’t want to talk, and I do put the TV on. I do keep a check on myself and try to limit screen time where I can.

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Cuddle and Watch a movie

TV is not all bad! A movie on the weekend is a great way to connect.

Baking together

We love baking! At the moment I enjoy the premixes because one it is much more straightforward for me to whip up some baked goodies. And two I am just a bit lazy in the kitchen and need all the help I can get. Using premixes takes the pressure off.  Premixes are failproof!

Cooking together

It might double the time it takes to get any food to the table, but sometimes it is worth it. Plus, the food is much more likely to be eaten by our children if they assist in the cooking.

Picnic in the garden

Throw a picnic blanket on the floor or the garden, and you can have a fun picnic. Always a good option with the girls on the weekend.

Chats before bed

Never underestimate the value of connecting at bedtime. We are running around from one thing to the next, one chore to the next. When I place Miss C in bed, and I lay next to her and we slow down. I ask: What made you smile today. What made you sad today? What made you angry? I get asked the same questions! And if I answer and its deemed not good enough I have to think up another answer.

Make the moments you have count. No need to do anything extravagant.

Follow me on Instagram to see more on my working mom life journey with my girls.

The Real Truth About Dealing With A 4 Year Old (well mine at least!)

Okay,  I don’t mean all four-year-olds are a problem. But damn, my one is challenging. I guess that is the beauty of parenting. You take the good, the bad and the tantrums. I always believe that there is no manual. There are some common themes, but all of our children are unique. This is my little rant so bear with me.

RELATED: My Daughter is Bossy, Here is Why I Am Okay With It

Firstly, we had the terrible two’s and threes, and things were finally calming down at age four.

However, it was a false sense of calm. Little did I know what lies beneath. Also as she is ‘Big Sissie’ this comes with an additional set of challenges.

Although the tantrums have become less, they have become higher grade tantrums.

[bctt tweet=”Although the tantrums are less, they are now Higher Grade tantrums” username=”cherralle_”]

More intense.

Stronger opinions.

Bigger emotions.

Endless questions.

Questions asked all the time.

Things that don’t work anymore:

Bribery

Bribes don’t work, because she can work it so that she gets the thing that you are bribing her with and still go for what she wants.

Talking her out of things

Try to reason with a four-year-old.

Don’t worry I’ll wait.

You have the spunk of a three-year-old (that does not go away guys), and the vocabulary of a four-year-old, and the mood of a thirteen-year-old on your hands. Plus sometimes the energy of an energizer bunny.

Then again, sometimes the energy of an older person. “I am so tired. I can’t walk”, she pronounces. Suitably timed to be when things are not going her way,

Distraction

Distraction does not work. She is focused and determined. Wild horses cannot take this little one off her path when she has set herself a goal.

 

Tips for managing your 4-year-old’s behavior

At every stage, it is essential to get to you know your child. There is no manual. Here are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with your four-year-old

Focus on the positive, always reinforce positive behavioural traits

Catch them doing something right and recognise that. If they go ahead and brush their teeth, why not say something encouraging?

Maintain a routine for your 4-year old

Waking up, eating times, bedtime, etc.

Give your child choices whenever appropriate

Example, getting dressed give them two acceptable choices. Just for the record, this does not work out with Big Sissy. She looks at my two ‘acceptable’ options and then goes to her cupboard.

Try to always respond calmly

This is so HARD! I am a shouter mom, but I am working on it!

In conclusion

Each phase has its challenges, and this too shall pass!

I also stumbled across this article about tantrum taming phrases to use with a 3 – 4 year olds that might give you some tools to use.

RELATED: Don’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

Flying With Children: What To Pack For a Toddler on a Plane

This post was created in collaboration with Travelstart

Flying With a Toddler Can Test Your Limits

My husband an I have this theory. The flight attendants book families with young children in the same section of the plane.

We have noticed that when we get on a flight, we are surrounded by babies and toddlers. I guess it is because we can understand each other and so that we are ‘kept away’ from the others.

Knowing what to pack for a toddler on a plane has been a life saver for us in surviving flights.

Parents on a plane

I must admit, as a parent with two little children I prefer being in the company of other parents with young kids. Less judgment to deal with from flight attendants and fellow passengers.

That being said, when we fly with our little family we do prepare as much as we can.

The power of the carry on for a toddler

We have flown many times with eldest daughter when she was toddler, and I have learned my lesson pretty early on. We typically fly to Cape Town International Airport for family visits.

In fact when we have flights coming up, packing her little backpack (carry on) was a mini project on its own.

Keeping a toddler entertained on a plane is a combination of activities, snacks, and importantly knowing your toddler.

[bctt tweet=”What To Pack For A Toddler On a Plane To Save Your Sanity” username=”cherralle_”]

Here is my list of what to pack for a toddler on a plane (to save your sanity). Further on I also share more tips from the experts.

What To Pack For a Toddler on a Plane

what to pack for a toddler on a plane

1. Crayon and a Colouring Book

A good old fashioned colouring book and crayons always go a long way. Surprise your little one on the plane, with a new colouring book.

Golden Rule of Toddlerhood: Does not matter what it is, if it is new, the entertainment value of the item goes up. 

Trust me. Pop into The Crazy Store, and purchase a few cheapies that you can bring along.

2. Stickers will never let you down

Oh man, I cannot tell you how amazing stickers are with little kids (at least our little ones). Again, buy a new set (go to The Crazy Store). Whether it is cars, dinosaurs or princesses.

Again, what has worked for us is to ensure whatever we present is new. The novelty of even a small thing grabs her attention and keeps it for longer.

However, do not get too many things.

3. Snacks and Drinks

Try to ensure that your toddler is fed before you get on the plane. Then pack additional snacks.
We pack biscuits, biltong, chips, fruits and of course a water bottle.

Related Post: Tips For Juggling A Three Year Old And a Newborn (Our Story)

4. Wet wipes

Always be prepared. Even if your child is now potty trained, do not forget your wet wipes. You need that for all the sticky fingers and faces. Also to quickly wipe up spills.

5. Pack an Electronic Screen: Phone of a Tablet (Kiddie or Adult Variety)

For my phone, I would pre-download a few episodes from a kiddie show. Or we would pack the LeapPad.

In our experience, the plane is no time to enforce screen time restrictions. Please do pack a set of kiddie earphones. Using earphones will be more comfortable for the little one and more considerate towards other passengers.

6. Your baby bag is a must for baby’s comfort

If your baby is still a little toddler (closer to age one than three), then, of course, you have to pack your required essentials (milk, nappy changing gear, etc.)

7. Pack something for yourself

Once your toddler is settled down, you may find yourself with time on your hands (this can happen!).
Bring along a book, magazine or Kindle for yourself.

Toddlers are toddlers and life happens!

Toddlers are toddlers. They are not made to sit still for long periods of time. They are in a phase where they want to explore, talk and engage with their surroundings. Hence, adjust your expectations to this.

[bctt tweet=”Toddlers are not made to sit still. They want to engage their world. Prepare to entertain them, but also be prepared for tantrums.” username=”cherralle_”]

However, prepare as best you can using the tips above to figure what you need to pack for a toddler on a plane.

You know your child. You know what they need to remain entertained.

Remember, if your child ends up screaming, and people stare at you, just ignore them and focus on your child.

What do our expert have to say?

Here are a few general guidelines from Travelstart.

Here is a brief video containing more tips from parents

Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart. If you are looking for additional travel tips such as Passport Renewal processes please do visit their website.

Tips for Juggling A Three Year Old And a Newborn (Our Story)

Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn in tow will test your parenting skills!

I had written before about how chaotic it was for me when I came home with my second baby. It was a complete shock to my system.   My life was utter chaos. Sweet chaos. But chaos nonetheless.

It was hard on everyone, including Caitlyn (my three year old).

For the first few weeks, it felt as if we were only telling Caitlyn:

– to ‘be quiet.’
– that I can’t carry her
– that she cannot sleep with me.

Only telling her things she cannot do.

Patience was very thin; energy levels were low. I was not prepared.

[bctt tweet=”Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn will test your parenting skills.” username=”cherralle_”]

Caitlyn threw the most intense tantrums during this time

During one epic tantrum episode, a ‘concerned neighbour’ came by to ‘check up on us’. At this point, I already SOSed (whatsapped) my husband to:

‘Please, COME HOME NOW! I don’t care what meeting you are in.’

Ava on the other hand, was a relatively calm baby. She needed to be continuously held and needed a lot of cuddling to fall asleep (as a newborn that was expected). Till today, Ava remains a very affectionate toddler, I think that is her vibe.

Regression hit us hard

Caitlyn reverted to waking up at 4 am during those days, and she wanted only me.

I only have two hands!

My thinking was that Caitlyn was three years old and she can remember. How I engage with her will have a lasting impact on her relationship with me and her bond with her sister.

Although Ava needed a lot of care and attention, I had to find a way to maintain a connection with my eldest.

Creating space to find one on one time with my three year old was vital for me

Although I felt overwhelmed, I carved out playtime with Caitlyn during my maternity leave.

Caitlyn was also on school holidays when Ava was six weeks old. So I had them both to myself. All day! Luckily I was not alone during the day. I had a helper in the day.

Here are six tips on how to juggle a three-year-old and a newborn.

6 Tips For Juggling a Three Year Old and a Newborn

 

newborn and three year old

 

Wear your baby

Wearing your baby provides you with an extra set of hands. I had a cloth wrap and a Tiny Love – Tiny Hugs Carrier. The Tiny Love Carrier was freaking amazing!

I loved it so much.

I could carry and cuddle  our newborn baby while playing with Caitlyn.

RELATED: Are You Thinking Of Hiring A Sleep Consultant? Here is Our Story To Help You Decide

Recreate your family’s routine

Establish a new family routine. Before Ava came home, we had a lovely organized family evening routine. We had dinner together and cleaned up together.  However, we could not sustain it.

We changed our whole routine. Brought Caitlyn’s supper earlier, so that at least she can be done eating by the time the bath routine started for the baby (around 17h00 ish). Then Caitlyn still needed to bath.

At that point I was not okay to do bath them together.

Come to think of it, this routine did not work out. Only when we placed the girls on a synchronizes evening routine, we started to settle. Now they eat and bath together.

It does not matter how chaotic it gets, at least I know there is an end in sight. Early bedtimes are a non negotiable in our home (unless there is a special occasion).

Let your older child help out and get involved

Get your older child involved by asking her to fetch things for the baby.

When I put the baby down, and we sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ I also got Caitlyn to sing it with me. It was much better than saying ‘keep quiet please, mommy is putting the baby down.’

When it was time for the baby to sleep, of course my three year old never kept quiet. She always seemed to appear needing something (loudly) at the very moment the baby was settling down.

[bctt tweet=” #3 Let your older child help out, by asking them to fetch things or sing lullabies to the baby.” username=”cherralle_”]

When the baby is sleeping, spend alone time with your toddler

When the baby slept, I was with Caitlyn. No sleeping when the baby sleeps for me.

I watched TV with her, brushed her hair, ate with her, etc.

If you have a caregiver, use them

If you have a caregiver, leave the baby with the caregiver for thirty minutes will be okay.

I started leaving Ava for short periods from about six weeks old. If she was fed, rested and happy it was cool. Taking Caitlyn outside (just the two of us) for some play time was great (tiring but it was necessary).

Watch a movie together

If you have to keep the baby on you, that is okay. Chill watching a movie and kill two birds with one stone.

Caitlyn and I get to watch TV together, and Ava gets her cuddles in as a newborn too.

Figuring out how to juggle a three year old when I came home with my newborn, was a challenging and chaotic time.

Caitlyn and Ava at out Family Photo-shoot. Caitlyn is 3 Years Old and Ava is 3 months

 

To be honest my first reaction was to prioritize the baby’s needs and let Caitlyn take a back seat. However, these actions made me feel sad and it saddened Caitlyn too. So I changed the situation.

It was stressful, but we needed to go through it, to create our own unique rhythm as a family.

Now, these two girls are so in love with each other. My favourite cheesy ‘sisters’ quote is:

Sisters are friends forever

Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? Why I am Okay To Say Yes (My 4 Year Old’s Sleep Routine)

My 4-Year-Old’s Sleep Routine is a Give and Take

It started around the time Caitlyn was two years old. After moving her from cot to a bed, sleep became a challenge. She needed us to stay with her while she fell asleep. The reason this became an issue for me initially, is because I know myself and I know I need structure in our family life.

In this post, I will share a little bit about how we got our kids on routine and why I am okay with laying with my four year old at night.

[bctt tweet=”This post does not contain any advice or tips (I am not qualified), this is just our story.  ” username=”cherralle_”]

Related PostMy Daughter is ‘Bossy’, Here is Why I am More Than Okay With It

To set the scene, when it comes to baby sleep, I do not play.

I am a firm believer in the fact that having a baby on a routine, helps the whole family.

I am with my babies when they are awake, but when it’s time to sleep, it is time to sleep. With two kids, this time is even more precious.

[bctt tweet=”Having our children on a routine, helped our whole family. Here is our current situation with our 4 YO.” username=”cherralle_”]

Our Family’s Approach to Sleep and Routine

I know myself, and therefore I invested time and energy into building sleep routines for both my girls.

I read a lot of baby routine books. In fact, when I came home with our second baby, I struggled with the new family dynamic. It urged me to work with a sleep consultant which I spoke about over at The Rookie Parent Society. I highly recommend a sleep consultant.

Both my girls slept through pretty much since they were a few months old.

And no, they were not ‘sleepers’.  I don’t think we were ‘lucky’ either, we just put a lot of effort into it.

Through gentle, consistent guidance they always slept.

We worked hard on their routines.

We tracked their routines daily in a book for the full first year, bought block out curtains, white noise CDs, special blankets, etc. On top of this we gave up outings, events and we left functions early.

All in the name of sleep.

We never ever did family dinners out, ever. And I was okay to pay this price to have sleeping children.

Caitlyn wakes up at 5am most days, so I guess it is debatable whether it is sleeping through. Ha! Small price to pay for an early bedtime in my book.

Now for the last 1 – 2 years, she says every night, ‘mommy, I want to sleep in your bed’. We tried some techniques to get her to stay in her own bed, which all worked. Up until a point.

Consistency is key in maintaining a routine

We maintained consistency with bath and bedtime (I will never mess with our early bedtime!). However, ‘how’ she fell asleep was inconsistent.

She would sleep in her own bed for weeks, but any bit of inconsistency on our part (or illness) took us back ten steps.

So these days,  when she asks ‘Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? I am saying yes. Here is why.

 

She always slept through the night

This may sound silly.
Because my four-year-old always slept well at night and for naps, I feel that now I really don’t mind to give her the extra time she needs.

Her whole existence since she was baby, she has never required me to sleep with her. So I feel when she asks me now to sleep with her,  I a more than okay to do it.

I still maintain an early bedtime

Although Caitlyn needs us to lay with her, she does go to sleep by the required bed time. Well, provided we maintained her routine (which means no naps for her at this age). After she falls asleep, I get up and carry on with my night.

So it is not such a huge price to pay. We will maintain an early supper, bath time, stories and sleep.

She will go to sleep. Majority of the time it takes only 5 – 10 minutes for her to fall asleep by 19h00 (most of the time).

We talk

When we are in bed, it is pretty much one of the few occasions that we have one on one time during the week. I ask her every night, what made you smile today? And what made you sad? Sometimes she says she doesn’t know.

But most of the time she tells me about her special friends at school. Or she tells me about a game gone wrong at school (made her sad).

 

Making the moments, we have count

As I work full-time, I do not have much time with my girls. Coupled with the fact that I am the sort of person who needs a lot of alone time.

Even though I am at home on weekends, I do not spend every waking moment with the kids. I do stuff that does not involve them at all.

And so, it is essential for me to make the moments I have count.

If I have 10 minute of chatting before bedtime, I want to make the most of this time.

She may not need me so much in future

Right now, Caitlyn is still pretty much attached to me. I want to enjoy each moment for now. Although at times, I throw my husband dirty looks, because she only wants me. It does get too much at times.

“I can’t sleep without mommy,” she utters.

However, on balance, I am okay with it. She may not need me again in this way.

I sometimes have an early bedtime too

Yep, if I have had a hard day, and I am lying with Caitlyn, I will decide to call it a night too. An early bedtime can do wonders for your mood and energy.

Limiting our bedtime battles

So we have stopped implementing techniques to get Caitlyn to fall asleep back in her own bed. We stopped about a year ago.

I have decided based on the fact that she DOES fall asleep within her allocated bedtime and the other reasons stated above, I am cool with what she needs. And I hope that our bedtime becomes special memories.

Baby sleep Resources

Here are some of our baby sleep resources that we used, there is a lot more (which is another post), but a short version for now:

 

[bctt tweet=”My 4 Year Old’s Sleep Routine is a give and take. Here is Why.” username=”cherralle_”]

That is our sleep story for now! No advice, or tips (I am not qualified)- just us.

 

My Daughter is ‘Bossy’, Here is Why I Am More Than Okay With It

‘Caitlyn is bossy. She likes to direct other children during playtime’.

The teacher delivered the message with some caution. I guess she was not sure how we would react.

She had nothing to be worried about because I was okay with it.

The teacher acknowledged that she does not have a concern with it. We need to remind about Caitlyn boundaries, and explain when it is okay and when it  isnot okay. You know, be a decent human being and respect others. I am cool with that.

Related Post: Bad Mom Confessions: My Child Swallowed a Birth Control Pill and 9 Other Parenting Fails

I do want to get too caught up in semantics, like the message in the ‘ban bossy campaign’. I do not personally think of the word ‘bossy’ as derogatory.

When I hear a girl or boy referred to as ‘bossy,’ I think ‘Leader’ and ‘Confident’.

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Here are 5 Reasons Why I am Okay with My Daughter Being Bossy

My daughter is bossy why I am okay with it_mydailycake

1. You say bossy, I say Leadership

I see it as the little one displaying early leadership skills. Heaven knows, that after going through terrible two’s; tiresome three’s; and ferocious fours – all of this ‘attitude’ has to amount to something!

2. Stand up for herself and others

I  want my daughter to be able to stand up for herself.

For her to be brave and stand up for yourself and others.

In fact, her last year’s teacher wrote in her report card ‘Caitlyn stands up for her friends.’ That was the best teacher FEEDBACK EVER! I was proud of her.

my_bossy_daughter mommy blog
3. Be Confident and Proud

Caitlyn has BIG hair. She told me that one of her friends laughed at her hair. So was teaching her a comeback. ‘Everyone’s hair is different and my hair is beautiful because my mother said so.’

Mic drop.

I never know how to deal with these type of situations. I always think, what can I say that reminds her to be strong and proud. And then I come I up with these gems.

Afterward, I look at myself in the mirror.

Shaking my head, reflecting on my pop psychology brand of parenting. Where is the PARENTING HOW TO GUIDE when you need one?

Related Post: 15 Funny Mom Sayings (for moms with a sense of humour)

4. Independence

Caitlyn is very hesitant in new situations, I wrote here about why you should not call my daughter shy. However, when she warms up, she can be something else.

By growing comfortable in the situation, she also learns to engage in her surroundings without much assistance (on her own terms).

At one party she took over one hour to get comfortable.

As we were about to leave she transformed into a ‘Woohooo girl’. Jumps in and out of the pool (I was panicking of course).

Ultimately, she is developing her unique brand of confidence. Simply put ‘let me be, I will let you know when I am ready.’

5, Ask

I hope my daughter feels confident enough to always ask questions. One of the things that hold us all back in any situation is being hesitant to ASK the question. Well, if being bossy gets her to ask the question, then I am behind it.

Putting her hand up in class to ask a question. Speaking up whenever something needs to be said.

Trust me she has never had any issues steering me to the Spiderman clothes when I am standing in the Barbie aisle.

So, I think we are covered.

In conclusion – Let girls and boys be bossy (and whatever else they need to be)

The point, I am making is this: Let girls and boys be bossy! Embrace it and encourage it. The world needs independent thinkers and doers.

Allow each child an opportunity to develop their voice. And respect others while they are doing it of course.

[bctt tweet=”The point I am making is this: Let girls and boys be bossy! Embrace it and encourage it. The world needs independent thinkers and doers” via=”no”]