Snuffleupaguses!

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Aloysius Snuffleupagus is a character from the popular children’s show Sesame Street. He is a wooly mammoth with a long trunk or ‘snuffle’.

My ten month old has bogies of gargantuous proportions. I am talking full on blocked up nostrils. It’s what I now fondly refer to as the snuffleupaguses! Just like the beloved character from Sesame Street. Try as I  may I just can’t seem to keep his snuffleupaguses at bay. Regular dousings with nasal drops, bathing and fresh air cannot seem to budge them. They take on an identity all of their own, lurking their in his little dark crevices we know as nostrils. I often think they have taken up permanent residence in there, until at last they emerge  and my son takes a rest from scratching  frantically at his nose, only for another to shortly reappear. My husband has considered mounting them, so that they may be displayed for all to see. Like The wall of Gaylord from the movie Meet The Fockers.  Only ours would be  the wall of Baby bogies.  Now I don’t want to wish any time away, cause every moment with my son is precious, but it will be such a relief when my son can remove  his bogies on his own accord, and rid himself once and for all of his snuffleupaguses.

 

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Information Overload – Cyber Yikes !

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There is a plethora of information available to us now at the touch of a button. Remember back in the day when we would scroll through phone books or pick through piles dog eared books to find the information we were looking for. Nowadays we just pop our questions into the search engine and voila! We have what we are looking for right there, and often much more information than needed.
Being a parent, often brings up all sorts of questions. We are so lucky to have all the information we need right at hand, or are we? Sometimes the information available to us can be as much a burden as a help, because there is so much of it. Let me give you an example of this. Two months ago my son started on solids. Pretty straight forward I thought to myself- introduce things gradually over a period of time. Then I started researching on the internet. Boy was I wrong – not so simple apparently. There was so much conflicting information on how this process should be undertaken I found myself feeling swirly headed and much more confused than when I started. I have found myself feeling overwhelmed many a time when cyber researching various questions about my baby. There is however you’ll be pleased to know a way to avoid getting cyber zapped. I have found these techniques to be very useful and hope you do too. Firstly be very specific when doing a search online. Limit the number of websites that you look at – be choosy. Only look at websites that come from a reputable source. Once you have collected all the information you need, write some notes and then check through it to see what you have. Lastly use only information that you feel comfortable with. If there is one thing I have learned, its that parenting is a highly individual process for both you and your child. I always say to myself, wait ! parents didn’t have all this information hundreds of years a go and they managed to raise their children none the less. My gut feelings and instinct are two things I feel much more tuned into since being a parent, and both help me guide my way through the cyber yikes!

Parenting – so underrated

It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I finally realised what incredibly hard work it is being a parent. No one can actually prepare you for it, you just have to experience it yourself first hand. But it got me to thinking about the way in which we as a society value stay at home parents. You never hear anyone say oh and do you know, she was a stay at home mom! What an incredibly important job.
In my life I have had an abundance of jobs, I consider myself a jack of all trades. I have worked in many different fields and with many different people. Some of which were good and some not so good. Being a parent is by far the most rewarding and all-consuming job I have ever had. Being a good parent is so important to the mental and physical health of our children, through good parenting we hope to guide and equip our children with the necessary tools to navigate their way through our wonderful and sometimes complex world. Without guided parenting children often grow into adults with little knowledge to navigate the world, often becoming confused and lost – without sense of self or place. We as parents collectively shape the next generation within our society – what more important work is there than this? Just because there is no monetary value attached to parenting, western societies view of stay at home parents has become greatly under valued.
So I say it’s time to break the stigma, lets all begin collectively to give stay at home parents the recognition that they deserve. Let us make sure they know how truly valued they are and how vitally important they are to helping to mould future generations. After all well raised children are the very foundation from which our society is built.

Separation Anxiety – and so it begins

Towards the end of my pregnancy I found myself wishing the days away my restless legs and lack of sleep had driven me to distraction, it’s time I thought to myself let’s get the show on the road!
What I hadn’t bargained for after the birth of my son was the overwhelming sense of separation anxiety I experienced. Suddenly my son was no longer protected and tucked away from harms reach inside my womb, but let out into the world – and so it begins I remember thinking to myself. For the first time in my life I actually had an understanding of what it must have truly felt like for my own mom.
When we returned home all I had wanted to do was nest, again the feeling was so overwhelming it surprised me. I had never imagined it would be like that. In hindsight I believe what I was feeling was truly instinctual,it seemed to come somewhere deep inside of me. I remember thinking to myself how wonderful , that millions upon millions of women from all walks of life and spanning all the historical eras may have experienced emotions just like these. I found great comfort in this thought and it made me feel very connected to other moms. Once I had figured this out, it seemed to create space for me and my baby to truly be in the moment and fully embrace these feelings. My son was born in the winter and so for three months we literally hunkered down and nested, going out very little and enjoying every moment, even the fretful ones!
I find it amazing that there is such an abundance if information out there on how to care for your child, but very little on the emotions that are associated with having a child. We as a society seemed to be obsessed with knowing everything down to the last detail. Very few people talk about using your instinct and following your heart, yet as human beings these instincts come from the very foundations on which we are created or built-whatever your view.
I truly hope that women are lucky enough to recognize the new emotions they feel after giving birth, and to fully embrace them so that they can enjoy every moment.

Free Play vs Play Dates

These days when you look outside your window at your neighbourhood, you will notice something has changed since you were a kid – there is an absence of kids hanging out. I notice myself looking twice when I do see kids out playing on the street in groups, or just hanging out – it’s so rare these days. So why the change ?
At our book club recently we talked about this apparent shift, there was a common agreement amongst us all that the media has had a lot to do with this. Once upon a time we were not bombarded with the horror stories of missing and or abducted children that we are now. Going outside to free play for hours on end was just what you did back when we were kids. That’s not to say the danger was necessarily lessened, just that in a way ignorance really was bliss. Although there appeared to be a greater sense of community then. Someones mother or father or other family member would be watching from a distance- a common and unspoken invested interest in all the kids in our community. But of course it’s not just the access we now have to the media, but rather the way In which we interact with it – cell phones, iPads etc the list is endless. Information is available at the touch of a button, no need to wait for the paper boy to drop the local paper off. Children now spend a lot of their time hooked up to one gadget or another and less time outside.
‘Play dates’ is the new phrase you will often here parents use. Twenty years ago this was unheard of. So I wonder what affect all this organization will have on our children. How will children learn to problem solve if we are constantly organizing everything for them. Will they somehow lose their appreciation and awe of nature if they are not left to explore – digging in the dirt, building dens and climbing trees. All of these activities help build character that better equips us for trials and tribulations later in life. Will our children and our children’s children be so removed from their natural environment that they will be even less likely to want to preserve it? After all it is my belief that direct contact with nature in particular,helps to Instil values and beliefs that carry on through into our adulthood.
A friend of mine once asked me if I will let my son go off into the woods or park when he is deemed old enough or sensible enough. I have to admit that right now the idea fills me with horror – all those ‘hidden’ dangers in my mind. I have given it a lot of thought since, trying to figure out how I will allow my son the necessary freedom to grow, whilst keeping him safe from those unseen dangers in my mind. I am acutely aware that I don’t want to mollycoddle my son or be constantly at his heels. I want him to grow up to have both sense o f place and strong sense of self, but also to be sensitive and empathetic to the world and people around him. I guess like all aspects of parenting I will just figure it out along the way, and hope that I make the right decisions for my son as a individual – until he is old enough to make them for himself.

Budgeting – it’s all about the cash!

“Budgeting” is not exactly an exciting or inviting word. Often the word conjures up images of being spend thrift; looking in the sale sections of stores and shopping around endlessly for the bargain you are looking for, only to settle for something second best that you didn’t really want.
When myself and my family were forced to revaluate our financial situation, this word became a regular visitor into our family conversations. Like an awkward long lost relative it would arrive unannounced at the most inopportune of times – whilst having dinner, out walking or laying in bed ready for slumber. No matter how hard we tried we just couldn’t get away from it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we were ever flush or had the luxury to be spending as we pleased, its just that budgeting was something that like many of us, we never did. Spending as we went about our daily lives , with little thought as to where our money was going- after all those little bits of plastic hold an infinite amount of cash and credit on the other end, don’t they ?
There is no doubt that we now live in a society that readily accepts that people live far and beyond their means, and often with large amounts of debt; according to debt.org the average American household has up to $15,000 worth of credit card debt alone!
Budgeting has been the life line that our family needed. Instead of being the awkward long lost relative, it has now become a most welcome friendly uncle who we happily embrace into our lives. Budgeting has surprisingly created space for us, and become very liberating. The most important rule of budgeting for us, has been to only using cash for our weekly expenses, drawing out the budget at the beginning of the week and dividing it into the necessary expenses- food, toiletries etc. We  now know exactly what we have and exactly what we can spend. Using cash only has allowed us total control- we no longer hand over the cards, blindly hoping for the best. Another advantage to using cash is that it really helps you to understand the true value of your purchases. I have found it really satisfying to be aware of what things cost, often using cards can dull this sense, but when you literally watch the cash disappear from your eyes you are made much more aware. Shopping around for better value goods is actually very satisfying. I often think huh you think you can cheat me! We’ll think again, I am onto you. Shopping around for deals creates a healthier and more competitive market place thus forcing sellers to come up with better deals for us consumers.