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Why you shouldn’t teach your kids to respect their elders

Many sayings and traditions have stood the test of time, one that stood out from my childhood is that you must “respect your elders”.

Now, I’m not saying this a bad idea to drill into kids, but all I’m saying is…isn’t it a bit dated?

Gone are the days when children were seen but not heard and we all know how disciplining children has changed over the years.

Once upon a time, nobody would bat an eyelid at you giving your child a clip round the ear in public, but times have changed and now there’s a wider knowledge base and support network for disciplining children.

I’m not saying parents, grandparents, teachers or any authoritative adult in a child’s life shouldn’t be respected and listened to.

I’m not even saying that kids shouldn’t look up to their elders, these are the people they are modelling themselves on, all I’m saying is…

Shouldn’t we teach kids to “respect…everybody”

Isn’t it wiser to broaden the spectrum of who our children are taught to respect?

Shouldn’t parents have respect for their children?

Think about it….

We are teaching them how to be a person after all, we’re also teaching them what is acceptable and what isn’t?

If it is OK for an older person to be rude to a younger person, aren’t we just teaching our kids to accept abuse?

I know the saying doesn’t necessarily say that elders will be rude, it’s more of a way just to steer youngsters in the right direction, but I feel in a day and age where mutual respect is sort of given, doesn’t it make more sense that we teach our kids to have respect for each other, so there are no blurred lines?

I had the thought to write this blog post because of a situation I saw in my doctor’s waiting room last week, I was waiting to get Nicole’s immunisations and there was another lady getting her 1 year old daughter into her buggy after getting her jabs. Her daughter was obviously upset after getting FOUR injections, the poor little love, I think I’d be crying too, but to be honest I didn’t really notice, she wasn’t overly screaming or drawing attention to herself. Her poor mother was trying her best to soothe her and get all their gubbins together (we all know how much baggage these little people come with). Then out of nowhere an elderly lady (at least in her eighties) pipes up and has the audacity to tell the mother she should be talking to her daughter, that she shouldn’t be ignoring her! I’m not being funny, but…

  1. Who the hell asked her?
  2. The mother was most definitely NOT ignoring her daughter
  3. We all know that kids are much better in motion and it was obvious the woman was rushing to get the heck out of dodge

Now I know this doesn’t directly relate to the saying “respect your elders” that I’ve been discussing in this blog post, but I have been thinking about that situation for about a week now and it made me think, why did this woman feel she had the right to openly and publicly judge this mother? Also why did the Mum not feel she had the right to argue back?

It’s difficult…especially with older frail people, sometimes it’s better to walk away, rather than raise the heart rate of an eighty year old, but I’m more interested to why it happened in the first place.

Obviously with people who are generations older than us, they have built into them what their parents taught them, of course they do, don’t we all? So maybe it’s not our place to change them but change the future? To prevent these situations in the future, it’s important we teach mutual respect for our children between people of all ages.

I know, I know….the world of parenting isn’t black and white! We all break our own rules sometimes and there are always things we wished we had done differently, but there’s nothing wrong with putting ideas in our kids heads about what they should accept and how they should treat other people. Plus we all know not everyone teaches their children to be respectful, but that doesn’t mean we can’t teach our children to politely respect other people even if that means people they don’t like there’s a polite way to ignore someone than openly flashing evil stares to their primary school nemesis.

I’ve rambled on for a while now over just a little thought, but it’s one that’s been on my mind for a while, instead of ONLY respecting our elders, let’s respect EVERYBODY.

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Becoming a NICU mum

Becoming a NICU mum

This isn’t how it was supposed to pan-out.

We all anticipate how our babies will arrive and try to envisage that spectacular moment our little creation enters the world.

Then fate cruelly interjects and suddenly the dream bubble that’s been floating above your head for the past few months is torn in two and is replaced with the sound of beeping machines, the hustle and bustle of a busy ward and the reality of this tiny fragile human-being with wires and tubes protruding ever limb on their helpless little bodies.

It’s a massive shock to the system and you’re expected to just take it in your stride. As if becoming a mum for the first time or adding to your brood isn’t enough to take on board, now there’s the fear that this little part of you, won’t make it.

When they are born, that’s the helpless moment you lose the ability to protect your little one safely inside your body, the moment they leave your body, the responsibility then leaves you and is passed on to the nurses and doctors, which although we are grateful for, is heartbreaking, because all we want to do is cuddle our little bundles of joy and keep them safe in mummy’s arms.

With a “normal delivery” mum’s are so excited to finally meet their new addition, but during premature birth we have the fear of the unknown, knowing your baby may not breathe or be born with long-term health complications.

You would be judged for saying this isn’t what you wanted to happen, but I can’t quite understand why someone would pass judgement on the feelings of something they have no understanding of.

We don’t feel disappointment and sadness because this premature baby has become an inconvenience to our lives, quite the opposite.

It’s sadness for our baby and disappointment that this person we love more than anything else on the planet it having to struggle through the early days, weeks, months and sometimes even years of their life.

We call them fighters, because they are.

We call them miracles, because they are.

We wouldn’t change them because we love them in a specially particular way after being astounded by their strength….

But would we, if we had the choice wish they had never had to go through this?

Of course we would!

I look at Jack now, my waters went with him at 25+5 weeks and he was born at 29+5 weeks, spending 40 days in NICU and I’m still astounded by what he went through as a 3.5lb preemie. But the heartbreak of seeing my tiny baby squeal in pain with needle after needle, knowing his body couldn’t provide what he needed to keep him alive breaks my heart and I’d of taken it all for him if I could.

Nobody hopes to become a NICU mum, but once you are one, all you do is hope.

Hope that your little one makes it through the fight for their life.

I’m just one of the lucky ones my fighter made it through unscathed.

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Mikey’s Progress: Portage, Speech Therapy & Nursery

When Mikey had his two year check back in October 2016, I mentioned to my health visitor I had some concerns about the fact he wasn’t speaking, making eye contact or responding to his name.

The first avenue we took was a hearing test.

A few people had mentioned he seemed deaf or that he may have hearing problems, we went for a hearing test and he passed with flying colours.

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So the next route we took was removing his dummy and limiting his TV time, which improved his focus and he started to make a few sounds, but we decided together he needs some support.

So we had three options to explore: Speech Therapy, Portage and Nursery

This was October last year and I didn’t quite feel he was ready for nursery so, I went to a Speech Therapy drop in session and my health visitor applied for Portage, which went to a panel along with other applications and it was decided Mikey would qualify for it.

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Fast forward to January 2017 he had his first appointment session of Speech Therapy and is now saying the words: Bubbles, Up, Pop, Daddy, Jack, Bot Bot and Yeah.

He now goes to nursery twice a week and runs off without saying bye, then cries when I pick him up because he wants to stay there (charming).

Plus on Tuesday he had his first Portage session.

I felt nervous and excited about his first session with the Portage worker, I didn’t really know what to expect.

I knew their aims were to improve his eye-contact, socialising and interaction, we’d discussed that in the initial meeting and I felt happy with these goals.

The session went really well, she brought along some toys that meant Mikey had to give her eye contact and she put her thumbs up and said “good looking” every time he looked at her.

I saw a great improvement even after just one session, so I’m excited that he has this weekly.

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The fact is that Mikey is extremely clever, (like scary clever) he knows what he wants and he sees the world in his own way and he lives by it.

Time and time again I keep getting asked what “they” think is “wrong with him” by people, especially because the Autism word keeps getting thrown around.

NOTHING is “wrong” with him, there is so much right with him, he’s so intelligent and if anything overly independent for his age.

Plus it’s not for “them” to decide.

Who are “they” anyway?

Professionals who don’t know him?

I’m his mother and it doesn’t matter to me what label may or may not be given to my son, because to me a label doesn’t change who he is, I love him for exactly who he is right now, his quirks, his meltdowns, the special little moments we get together.

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It isn’t for anyone else to change those things, but of course I take into consideration that he may need support and I would never hold him back from anything that can make his life easier to live, I mean celebrities pay thousands for therapies, it can’t do any harm whatsoever, so my thinking process is…why not?

I’m having these therapies put in place for him, partially because his health visitor suggested it and I completely trust her judgement, he is a very kind person, with a lot of experience and really cares for Mikey. Also my own instincts as mother tell me that although it works for him now being self-serving and not interacting with others, that it may be a struggle for him when he’s older, but there’s a good chance it won’t be.

I’d rather him have gentle therapies now to support him at a young age where he knows no different and prevent any future struggles that may happen, than waiting to see if he has to undo habits once he is in school, when it will be much harder for him because he will have more of a comprehension of the fact it is support he is getting, rather than knowing no different.

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The support he is getting has improved his interaction, eye-contact, socialising and speech in such a short space of time, I’m so proud of him and how well he is doing.

If anyone else is going through a similar journey with their child please comment, I’d love to hear from you about your experience or just to know about your little one.

I will keep you updated on his progress.

Thanks for reading!

michael

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Mikey’s 1st Nursery Session & Vlog #1

So today is a day full of firsts!

Mikey has his first proper session at nursery at the same time as Jack.

Which means three hours alone time with my baby girl, that’s a first!

She has slept most of the time, so this is actual, real alone time! Another first!

Plus tonight I’m going to give Vlogging a go!

I love writing, I’m still going to blog, my love for writing is a need I have to get everything written down, it’s sort of like a counselling session, ha!

But some things I capture of my kids on video are just hilarious and part of why I do this blogging/vlogging business is for my kids to look back on it when they are older, I think they are way more likely to watch videos than read pages and pages of blog posts.

So I hope you’ll check out my YouTube and watch my videos as well as continue to read my blog! Here’s the trailer to my page, if you could please check it out and subscribe I’d really love it! Also if you’re on YouTube yourself, comment with your page and I’ll sub you back:

Also I’ll let you know how Mikey’s first day went, I’m very nervous!

He didn’t even give me a second glance! Good for him, sad for me!

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Proud Mummy Moment

The Proud Mummy Moments

Premature baby

When you have a premature baby the idea of the distant future doesn’t seem as important as it did before, all that matters is the next day, the next hour, the next five minutes. While they are NICU the outside world doesn’t exist to you anymore, all that matters is this moment and getting your baby through it.

Memories

When those days become a memory and you look back on what your little miracle has been through, it makes you so grateful for all they can achieve now they are out of the woods.

Luckily for us, Jack came home with no complications, he surpassed all his milestones for his birth date never mind his due date and was discharged from the paediatrician. He turned three in November and is about to go from two to three sessions a week.

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I popped in to pick him up last Tuesday and his key worker brought out his monthly review that she was filling in and said he’s surpassing everything, but they always look for an area of improvement so they are going to focus on his maths, he can count but they are going to develop his skills further. Great! I thought to my self, quite advanced if you ask me but he seems to be enjoying himself and learning more and more so who am I to argue.

This was when I mentioned increasing his sessions by one more, asking her to see when they had another morning session available. I explained to her, he started April 2016 with one three hour session, then in September 2016 I increased it again and it’s now January and we’ve increased to a third session. I’d like him to be doing 15 hours before he starts school, so I have an idea in my head of increasing to four sessions in April (12 hours) and five sessions by September (15 hours) then he will be doing 15 hours for a year before he starts school in September 2018.

The wrong group

I explained this to his key worker and she looked at me confused, saying he starts school in September this year. Nooo, I told her he was born November 2013, yes he will be one of the older kids, but he doesn’t start until 2018. She had thought he was more advanced therefore older and it turns out he’s been in the pre-school group all this time! Not only that but he was doing amazing in every aspect!

Advanced

I’m proud of my kids for hitting any milestones and for all of their achievements, but for Jack it is just that bit more amazing, he was born almost three months early weighing only 3lbs, he couldn’t breathe on his own and was only allowed 0.5mls of milk every 6 hours, how does he go from that to being the top of a class that is supposed to be too advanced for him?!

Proud mummy

He really is our little miracle, he overcame all the odds and now he’s surpassing everyone’s expectations, he makes me such a proud mummy, to have such a clever, special boy.

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But you don’t look Depressed…

But you don’t look depressed…

Apparently if you’ve had Postnatal Depression before you are more likely to have it again.

When I first had Depression I didn’t think it was Depression, I thought these were normal feelings after losing a baby, actually after losing two.

Being pregnant again and getting past my “safe point” of 12 weeks during my pregnancy with Jack seemed to help, but then I was taught a harsh lesson about how there is no safe point in pregnancy, when my waters went at 25 weeks and he was then born at 29 weeks. Those same feelings came back and my coping mechanism with life (or lack of) returned, that seems to be my way of spotting when something isn’t quite right with me, if I am suddenly unable to cope with everyday situations.

Of course my baby being born almost 3 months early wasn’t an everyday occurrence, so I cut myself some slack, just because I had the same feelings as when I lost the babies, didn’t mean I was Depressed, right?…Wrong.

I had this amazing baby, finally at home, finally in my arms, yet I felt like I wanted to die. I was so terrified of someone holding my baby and hypersensitive to what people said that I was isolated, but that was okay (to me). My baby had been born early, it was OK to be overprotective, that’s what I thought, and do you know what? I wasn’t wrong, I had every reason to be overprotective, but my fears of leaving the house, even walking down the street were wrong, it was Depression, it turns out it had never really gone, there just happened to be a lot of traumatic things happening around me that gave me even more reason to be sad.

So for a moment I sat and thought about how I may have Postnatal Depression after my first child was born, but I also felt off-colour, maybe I was ill? No…I was pregnant. Jack was three months old and he was going to be a big brother. Well, that answered all my questions, it must have been my hormones making me think like that. They’ll settle down, I thought, then before I had any time to think about myself or what may be going on in my head, or even the joy of a new baby…

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I got the phone call every child dreads, my Mum saying my Dad was having a heart attack. He’d had one before when he was 42, it was very minor and he’d been improving since then, age now 50, I calmly got ready to make my way up to the hospital to check on him, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as my Mum told me, “they said his heart isn’t beating” that’s when I knew it was over, I just knew in the pit of my stomach, he wasn’t coming back.

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So as my bump grew, so did my Depression, but my Dad had died of course I was depressed, it was grief! I’d never thought about the fact that since my first loss with a Molar Pregnancy, which brought with it a Cancer scare, that I had been suffering with Depression all this time, I had the thinking process that once I’d had Mikey I would be OK.

Don’t get me wrong, if you met me on the street or even spent a few hours with me, you’d probably say “You don’t look Depressed”, I was a master of disguising it, partially because I was ashamed, I had two perfect children by this time, what did I have to be Depressed about? And the rest of my fear was telling someone and then once flood gates open, they don’t close.

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There’s also the fear everyone is too afraid to talk about, that your children could be taken away from you, I thought if I told my doctor that I felt like I was worthless and failing in every aspect of my life, that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and I was afraid to leave the house, that he’d think I couldn’t cope and would take my kids away, but this isn’t the case.

Finally I got the courage to go to the doctors over a year after first telling him I felt Depressed and he helped me, I didn’t take antidepressants because I was Breast feeding and didn’t want to stop, but I started counselling, which helped. I found life easier to cope with, I wasn’t afraid to get in a car with the kids in case it crashed, or walk down the street in case someone just took them from me, I felt like I could lead a normal life again, of course I will always grieve for my Dad, but life was manageable again.

So with my fifth pregnancy and third baby, I felt strong, like this time was different. I’d got into a great routine with my boys, they are both great kids, who sleep, eat and behave well (most of the time). There was the everyday stress of life in general, knowing I had to have a Cesarean which wasn’t what I wanted but was safest for baby and planning my wedding, but I was coping.

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So what came next hit me like a tonne of bricks…

My husband Paul and I had a minor argument about 9 days after Nicole was born, it was that minor I can’t remember what it was about, but I remember just thinking “I can’t cope with this…I want to die”. The feelings of anxiety crept back again, I was scared to do things in case something bad happened, yet no-one knew. Since then it’s been like a snowball effect, it’s just got bigger.

There is a stigma that comes with Depression, that you must have a reason for it, it needs to be solvable…but what if it isn’t? I don’t want to feel like this, I hate that I anticipate every situation, conversation and reaction, but I can’t help it. I’ve got Depression…again, and it isn’t fussy who it chooses.

So I don’t look Depressed…

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I can tell you, you’re right I don’t have the face of Depression because there isn’t one, it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, what religion you are or what race you are, Depression can affect anyone at anytime.

I have three beautiful healthy children, an amazing husband and a loving family, I have every reason in the world to be happy and I am a lot of the time, but when I have a chance to gather my thoughts, or I’m faced with an everyday situation, I crumble.

Being Depressed doesn’t make me a bad mother, I love my kids, I look after them and I do everything in my power to make them happy. There isn’t even a question in my mind that I’d rather be anywhere or doing anything else than being with my kids, but the stigma of Depression leaves people feeling like they don’t deserve their children and this just isn’t the case.

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If you are suffering with Depression, you need to talk to someone. Whether it is a family member, friend or a doctor. Let someone who cares know how you are feeling, there is no way out of it alone, I’ve learnt that the hard way, I’m about to start Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in the hope I can put these horrible feelings behind me.

The only way to fight it is to talk to someone, Depression wants to isolate you…don’t let it.

Here’s some support links:

MIND

PANDAS

Mothers for Mothers

PNI

House of Light

APNI

The SMILE Group

 

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The Bad Mum Book

What does it take to be a bad mum? Apparently not a lot…

It takes lots to be a good mum, you have to be nurturing every aspect of your child’s perfectly balanced life and it seems just one of those factors slips below perfect we are tarred with the bad mummy brush.

Does it make me a bad mother that some days we don’t leave the house? We’ve done enough organised activities in the week to knacker them out that we just need a rest day. But if we are in all day, does it make me a bad mother that I will dress them in pyjamas? I mean, they are so much comfier! If we are just going to be lounging around and watching TV, why do they need their best chinos on? They don’t.

What about in the middle of the night? Have I failed as a mother because I put a nice cosy blanket over the wet patch on their bed, because it would mean waking them up and taking an extra 5 minutes before getting back into bed to give them a full sheet change…for the possibility of them wetting through again? If that is a crime, I’m afraid I’m a repeat-offender.

If we’re never meant to show we are upset or even angry in front of our child I’ve definitely failed. I mean Depression makes it pretty hard to hide from anyone especially your child that you are sad, will it damage them to see Mummy upset? Or am I just showing them that when you are upset it’s OK to show emotion and you can get through it.

They say that TV is the best babysitter, well I wouldn’t rely on it to change their bums and feed them but if I need 5 minutes to tidy upstairs the TV is a pretty good distraction, but of course it means I’m a lazy mother that sticks my kids in front of it zoned in all day, I might have the paw patrol theme tune stuck in my head 24/7 but it’s not because it’s on 24/7 it’s because these shows have special hypnotising powers…even for adults.

I yelled at my kid. Oooops does that make a bad mum? I also yell at my husband…does that make me a bad wife? Sometimes people yell at me, does that make me a victim? No, I don’t think it’s an ideal way to communicate, but let’s face it everyone loses their shit every now and again and it doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad parent, it makes you human.

My house is mess, all the time, even as I clean it. You know how some people would love a self cleaning home, I have a self messing one. As I finish tidying one room the kids are messing up another. I have messing floors, sticky hand print walls, piles of laundry, wet, dirty and clean (none put away and definitely not folded) but I also have happy kids. I might be a bad mum for not having a spotless home, but I know I’m good one for putting time with them first.

If you are trying to make your child happy and you care about their welfare you are NOT a bad mum. The world will sometimes make you feel like one, sometimes the world will think you’re a great mother and you’ll feel like a terrible one, it’s a constant battle to decide what is right and what is wrong, wondering how actions will affect their future.

Everyone is just fluking it in their own way.