Review: Cheerios UK: Are You a Lenient Parent?

I was out with my children the other day at a place which we all love, and what I’m about to write doesn’t in any way represent what it is usually like, or to be honest, what it was like this time, but this week, my son cut his back. Not seriously, he just landed on the prickly side of some velcro and somehow managed to slide down it. There was blood and tears, but thankfully it was very superficial. A young boy was also made to cry, because he was scared of the very loud roar which was done right in his face, noses literally touching. A mother was also slapped.

Behind each of these three occurrences was a boy. A boy who dived into the tent inflatable my son was playing in, causing him to fall. A boy fronted up to the baby and roared very loudly in his face completely scaring him, and a boy slapped a mum, who politely but firmly told him that we wait our turn to use the slide.

Each time this happened, the boy’s mum laughed, and maintained that ‘that’s what boys his age are like.’ It did make me question whether sometimes I overreact. Was she right, that all boys are like that, and a bit of rough and tumble is all in a day’s work? Children will be children, I accept that, but if one of mine had made another cry, even accidentally, I like to think I would still address the issue, and try to help them understand why their actions may have upset someone else. My son is no angel!

It’s interesting that on the same day as this happened, I was contacted by Nestle to see if I’d like to review their Easy Yes Campaign. Nestle Cheerios recently commissioned some research which revealed that today’s mums tend to take a more lenient approach to parenting, with 42% claiming they are more lenient than their own parents.

The study questioned mums with children aged six to seventeen so I’m not quite there yet with mine but it does make me question things, and wonder how I will feel about these ideas in the future. I don’t think of myself as being a particularly strict parent, but when I see what other children do get away with I wonder if perhaps I am. I have high expectations but is this a bad thing?

The research shows that mums generally feel very comfortable saying yes to things like letting their children have friends over or  playing computer games, but is this just a result of the credit crunch, because inicdentally, almost half of the parents questioned were saying no to requests for clothes and nearly a third don’t get pocket money?

I think Sarah Beeny, a Cheerios ambassador and celebrity mum of four is talking sense. You can read her thoughts and advice on the CheeriosUK Facebook page. Obviously we want to say yes to our children, but it is surely a more important part of our job to help them learn the importance of respect and education and the value of money.

Here’s a collection of some findings from the survey. Did you take part, or can you identify with anything on here?

There’s no one way to be a good parent, I guess at the end of the day we just need to remember that we’re all doing a good job. I’m sure we weren’t all brought up the same way yet we’ve all turned out okay!


Review: Nick Jr. Easter Treats…

With a daughter who sings ‘We Did It!’ after the successful completion of every mission, and a son who actually believes he is Umifriend, I’m not sure I could think of a more welcome parcel to arrive in the post than a DVD of the Easter specials of both of these programmes (especially when it also contains a wonderful Green & Black’s Easter Egg for me)! We really are on Cloud 9!

That’s exactly what happened on Wednesday, and we were so excited to get to have a sneaky peak at some of the Easter fun that Nick Jr. (Sky 615, Virgin 715, Talk Talk 318) has in store for us over the holidays.

The fun starts today at 4:30pm when you can see Dora’s Easter Adventure. Tune in to watch Dora and Boots as they attempt to retrieve the Hip-Hop-Bunny’s basket filled with eggs and treats for their big Egg Hunt, after naughty Swiper swipes it and throws it far, far away into the Rainbow Garden and towards a waterfall. With catchy songs, itchy-scratchy flowers, a Petting Zoo and a giant rubber ducky, you’re certain to enjoy it as much as my little darlings did!

You can also catch The Umi City Egg Hunt in April. I know my children aren’t the only ones who stumbled across, then became huge fans of Team Umizoomi when it started last year. This Easter special sees sibling superheroes Milli and Geo, along with their robot best friend, Bot, helping their pal April find the most special egg of all – The Rainbow Egg. When the egg falls down a rabbit hole, the tiny Team discover the amazing world of rabbits which lies just below the ground. Will they get across Rabbit Town to the egg factory before the rainbow egg is scrambled?!

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, Nick Jr. are also introducing a brand new weekday morning show next month, launching on Monday 23rd April at 8:15am. Tickety Toc lets us into the secrets of what happens inside the Tickety Toc clock, which hangs on the wall of an old clock shop. Every hour, on the hour the clock chimes, and out pop the little heroes Tommy and Tallulah, but what happens when they go back inside? Each episode takes them on an action packed adventure, which challenges them to save the day, return life to normal and keep the clock ticking. Teamwork, compromise, problem-solving and interactivity help them through their action packed adventures!

While I’m incredibly excited about all this lovely weather and spending lots of family time outside, we’re also very much looking forward to following some of our favourite characters on their new adventures in some of those rare moments when the children actually give in and accept they need a little sit down!

For more information and fun activities based around these and other Nick Jr. programmes, head on over to their website

For the purpose of this post, I was very kindly sent a DVD of the programmes mentioned.

What Have I Done?!

I remember teaching a lesson a few years back when I completely reversed all genders, referred to all the hes as shes, mums as dads and Sirs as Misses. The point? To show the students how they have come to accept some things just as they are, because that’s how they have always been. But if they had been taught from birth that actaully ‘Mum’ is called ‘Dad,’ then they would just have acccepted that as normal. It probably sounds very confusing, but it worked in the concept of what we were doing!

However, I’m discovering that perhaps this isn’t so far from reality. This morning, we couldn’t leave the house until my son had finished his papple and put his Stompasaurus on. My daughter still doesn’t like poddy and there is always one wissy missing.

The trouble is, as the children are older, I’m now trying to convince them of the correct names, but they’re not having any of it! Their mispronounced words as babies which were oh so endearing then, have well and truly stuck, and if I try and suggest that papple is actually called juice, I get laughed at like I’m insane, I’m clearly confused! I think people must look at me like I’ve lost the plot sometimes!

Please tell me I’m not the only one!


The Gallery: Extreme Close Up

I never realised how dependent I was on my iPhone until it went wrong! Over the past couple of weeks I haven’t been able to tweet, Facebook, blog or lose at Words with Friends. I’ve missed it so much, but at least the weather’s been on my side!

However, having logged in today and seen that this week’s Gallery theme is Extreme Close Up, I thought I’d join in and get back into the swing of things! I’m sure I’m not going to be alone in terms of my interpretation of the theme, but here’s my picture. It had to be this one. This is my daughter who will be five in a few weeks, where does the time go?! She was going through a curious phase here, and although I was still going through my sleep deprived stage, I have a feeling she actually took the picture herself!

This is exactly why I love the Gallery. As well as discovering new people and pictures, it helps you remember old ones! You can pop over to Tara’s blog at Sticky Fingers and check out the rest!

There’s no escape…

A long break between posts wasn’t something I was anticipating, however, it seems I’ve been busy being integrated into a world I didn’t think I was really part of. You see, my children are good children generally, very well behaved, but over the last couple of weeks my son has entered into his ‘testing the boundaries’ stage. I believe this is a politically correct way of saying he’s been a little… ok you can enter the word.

Yes, over the last fortnight, my son has gone from being a cute cute cute, if slightly cheeky little scamp, to having real issues with boundaries. The trouble is he’s still just so damn cute cute cute that it’s incredibly disarming!

He’s discovered the power of thought, realising that now, sitting on the sorry step is actually preferable to doing most of the requested tasks. Have a sit down or tidy up the toys? In reality, I know which I’d choose! He decided he couldn’t be bothered to eat his peas the other day. He likes them, but scooping them up and getting them to his mouth is just effort, so he ‘accidentally’ threw the plate on the floor, and responded in a super cute voice “Oh well, I have ice cream!” How can I be cross when he’s genuinely hilarious?! I try to stand my ground I really do, even though I know this is just something he has to go through, and if what he was doing was making me completely miserable or making other people think negatively of my children or my parenting I’m sure I’d feel differently, but I just can’t help but snigger. I’m so immature, it actually takes me back to my teaching days, when even as a 30 year old woman I still found it difficult to keep a straight face if a loud trump escaped one of my students!

With all the evidence, the perfect growl, stubbornness, an inability to back down, a preference of doing nothing over something, and the fact that he has a bottomless pit and frequently has to be dragged out of bed at 10am at the weekend (yes, sorry to rub it in if you don’t have a sleeper!) I can only conclude that my son has become a teenager 11 years prematurely, help!

But could you get cross with this?!

Where’s My Loot?!

The other day my children went to a birthday party. Well, sort of. They went to someone’s house for tea, and it just so happened that it was their birthday. My children took a present, so as far as they were concerned it was a party.

After we’d had tea, we were getting ready to go. Our coats were on, we’d weed, shoes were on and we were just saying our thank yous and goodbyes, when my daughter started twitching. I thought she needed the toilet again, but no, she had other issues:

She was actually laughing at this point, assuming we were all playing a trick on her…

“Mummy, we can’t go yet, we haven’t even had our party bags!”

Uh oh, why couldn’t she have thought this, or even just whispered it to me?! Why did she have to say it out loud, in front of the birthday girl, and her mum, and her dad, and her gran, and the next door neighbour and their dog?!

Obviously I tried to make a joke of it, but it just got worse! She continued:

“But I thought this was a party! Was it a party?!”

By this point, my son is saying “par-tee bag!” on a loop too!

Ground, please swallow me now!

Eventually, the mum rummaged through her cupboards and found a packet of Fruit Pastilles, which my daughter doesn’t even like, but she was fine with that, she had her loot. Peace was restored!

I felt awful though. I honestly don’t think my daughter was being rude, even though it may have come across that way, she’d just never been to a party where she hadn’t been given a party bag so saw it as part of the routine. My son refused to leave his toddler group the other day, because he hadn’t sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Usually that’s the last song we sing, but it was someone’s birthday and they’d asked for the Hokey Cokey instead, so he just sat there. He wasn’t being naughty, it’s just as far as he was concerned, the end of the group is signalled by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I sang it to him quietly, then he got up and left! I guess I’ve just bred creatures of habit!

However, when they speak so matter of factly, I do just want to wake up and find I’ve been dreaming! I now know how my mum felt that day when the doorbell rang, and right behind the door, 5 year old me shouted “Mummy, it’s the milkman, do we need to hide today?!” or the time I told the Vicar not to bless our dog at the school pet service because “Mummy says he’s a randy little sod…”

Oh, this is revenge and I feel it’s going to get a whole lot worse!

Little Miss Chatterbox?…

When my daughter started school I was proud, happy and excited. I blogged about her first day, and how I couldn’t understand why I would ever have wanted to cry or mark this milestone in her life as negative in any way. How could I feel like that when she was just so enthusiastic and optimistic about the whole thing?!

Even when she did her first play, or I was met with “Just stop asking me questions!”, “I can’t remember.”, or “Nothing.” In response to the “What have you been up to at school today?” question, my positive outlook on the whole thing remained.

But last week, I finally got my “She’s growing up so fast, she’s not a baby any more!” moment, when we had Parent’s Evening and her first school report! It suddenly hit me! While I was still very proud and smiley, this made me realise that I was going to someone else and they were going to tell me about my child. They may have been going to tell me things I didn’t know about my child. She now has a whole other life when she is at school and I’m not really a part of that life.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be part of that life, I think independence is really important, and whatever happens at school must be good, because we’ve not had a single day where she’s ever complained about going to school, or not wanted to go to school. She loves it. She woke us up at some unearthly hour (well actually it was 8am, pretty good for any 4 year old, but it didn’t feel it at the time!) because she was so excited about doing her homework. She can read and write and loves to learn.

As it was, her teacher confirmed pretty much everything that we already thought academically, and it also turns out that she’s not a chatterbox or a bossy boots which we thought might come up, she is instead “Always very eager to share her opinions, and her opinions are always very definite!” I wonder where she gets that from?!

So I’m not infallible when it comes to emotion after all! My daughter might not be a baby any more, but she’s my baby and that’ll never change!