Parenting Australia Wrapup – June

For those of you interested in what I’ve been writing about for mums and dads around Australia, here is a wrapup of my Parenting Australia posts for June.  My favourite for the month is Pre Reading Foundations, a post about why we should NOT teach children to read before they are ready, but instead invest in their prereading skills.  This post attracted a bit of attention!  Click the link on each post to read more.

Sales and Celebrations – It seems the thing to say at the moment is “Happy EOFYS!”  I don’t know about you, but something doesn’t sit right with me as we “celebrate” the end of financial year.  I should be upfront and admit that I like a good sale.  Actually, I LOVE a good sale and I hardly ever pay full price for anything.  I like to make sure my dollar goes as far as it can, and I am not a frivolous spender by any stretch!  Yes, I have been to the stocktake sales.  Yes, I have made purchases.  Yes, I have bought presents ahead of time while they are at reduced prices.  Yes, I have bought children’s clothes a size ahead for when they need them.  But no – I have not bought things unnecessarily simply because they are reduced.  No, I have not spun into a sale-induced frenzy.  And no, I don’t think sale season is, to quote a current tv ad, “the best time of the year.”

Pre Reading Foundations – Reading is a complicated process, and there’s an incredible amount of foundational work required before any formal teaching begins.  The stronger the foundations, the more solid the building will be.  Parents who rush to give their kids a “head start” without doing the ground work often do more harm than good.  Wise parents invest in the foundations instead, and do not push young kids to read before they are ready.

How Crunchy Are You? – The first time I heard the phrase “crunchy parenting” I had to google it.  (It’s a good thing I read a lot of blogs.  How else would I keep up with all the current buzz words?)  In a basic sense the term crunchy is interchangeable with alternative.  But as more and more parents move away from mainstream ideas, and as more alternative ideas become widely accepted – things aren’t clear cut as they once were!

Never Say Never – If I could only give you one piece of advice for surviving with a newborn it would be this: never say never.  It’s impossible to go into parenting without some pre conceived ideas.  The media show us images of motherhood in parenting mags, glossies, tv ads and even in Holly wood blockbusters.  And while we all know those images are sugar coated (and probably airbrushed too) they still contribute to our picture of early parenting.  On the other hand, real life examples of mothering can come crashing in on our picture.  We’ve all been guilty of judging a mother, whether a relative, friend or stranger, without having any clue about life with kids.  It’s hard not to think about how we would respond in the same situation, and it’s funny how often we assume we’d do it better.  Which of course leads to dangerous “I’d never…” thinking.

Preparing For Needles – I must admit that I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. My just-turned-four year old has an appointment with our GP for her immunisations. I’m relieved in a way, because it will be the last of the standard childhood injections. I’m also a little nervous though, because she’s such a big girl now and she understands exactly what is going on. Babies and young toddlers can be held down for their needles. Holding down a four year old isn’t so easy and other strategies are required. Without making too much of a fuss about it all, I hope I have prepared my girl with a few simple steps.

Parenting Australia Wrapup – May

If you’re interested in what I’ve been sharing over at Parenting Australia, here is a wrap up of my posts for May.  I think my favourite post for the month is Sick Kids and Sleepless Nights.  That article reminds me not to judge other mums, and helps me to remember that everything is a matter of perspective.

Supporting New Mums – Having been through pregnancy and birth twice, I’ve been on the receiving end of some wonderful gifts and thoughtful offers of help. I almost wish I could go back to my pre-baby days and do things differently for my friends who had children before me! Until you’ve been through the experience it’s hard to know what to do and how to help. So here are my suggestions for supporting pregnant friends, or those who have recently given birth… click here to read more

Staying Sane With A Reflux Bub – Both of my children suffered with reflux to varying degrees. My daughter was a back arching, screaming little chucker. I spent weeks pacing the floor with her in my arms, her little head thrown back while I sang every nursery rhyme I knew in an attempt to calm her, or drown out the screaming, or both. Unfortunately having one child with reflux doesn’t mean you will be exempt the next time around!  click here to read more

Sick Kids and Sleepless Nights – I’ve only had a few hours sleep and I’m so tired I can barely see the screen this morning.  I don’t have a newborn, and I didn’t stay up too late last night.  It’s just that the kids are sick.  It’s nothing major – just one of those winter bugs that is par for the course as the cooler weather sets in.  But it only takes a minor illness to upset things… click here to read more

My First Mother’s Day – As my favourite day of the year approaches, I can’t help but think back to my very first Mother’s Day four years ago… My first Mother’s Day was a complete non-event. Nobody let me down.  My hubby didn’t forget.  My daughter didn’t do anything wrong.  It’s just that she hadn’t arrived!  I was due about five days before Mother’s Day, and was looking forward to celebrating my first one with a newborn in my arms.  I really, honestly thought that I would be a Mummy by then… click here to read more

Parenting Australia Wrapup – April

Instead of letting you know each week when I’ve posted over at Parenting Australia, I thought I’d start doing a wrapup at the end of each month.  Feel free to jump over to any posts that are of interest to you!  Here’s what I’ve been writing about lately…

The Trouble With Teeth – “Both of my kids have been late teethers, and didn’t cut their first tooth until close to one.  At 18mths now my son has his eight front teeth (four top and four bottom) and is in the process of cutting his molars.  Ugh.  The dribble is always the first giveaway that new teeth are on the way.  Drool on his shirts, great slobbery patches on the cot sheets, and a dribble rash on his chin.  Even his teddy smells like slobber!”

Ruling Out Fussiness – “I was brought up to eat everything on my plate.  If you couldn’t finish your dinner there was no way you could even think about dessert.  There were no special meals for any member of the family.  We all at the same thing and we all ate together.  In many ways this has served me well…”

Standing Tall On ANZAC Day – “I grew up as an Army kid, and proud of it.  I remember climbing trees in the barracks while the dads all served the mums on Mother’s Day in the mess.  I have fond memories of Santa visiting at Christmas time in a tank full of pressies for the kids.  I remember feeling an immense sense of pride when I heard my father call his men to attention on the parade ground, and watching them respond to his commands with, well, military precision.”

Outsmarting Toddlers – “Toddlers are smart.  Very smart.  I’m always amazed at how much they learn between the ages of eighteen months and three.  It’s as if they grow into their little bodies as well as their minds.  And it pretty much takes all of their toddler years to work out how to use their newfound physical and mental energy for good and not for evil!  (Ok, that’s a little strong but you get my drift.)  Here are three of the most common toddler tactics and how to combat them.”

PS – so do you like the new look for the blog??

ANZAC Day (Parenting Aus)

Over at Parenting Australia this week the topic is ANZAC Day, and as an Army kid this is a topic close to my heart.  I’ve written a very personal account and would love you to jump over and read it.  Here’s a snippet:

I stand tall on ANZAC Day.  It’s a big deal in my family.  Not only were two of my great grandfathers ANZACS themselves, but my own Father served in the Australian Defence Force for twenty years.  I grew up as an Army kid, and proud of it.  I remember climbing trees in the barracks while the dads all served the mums on Mother’s Day in the mess.  I have fond memories of Santa visiting at Christmas time in a tank full of pressies for the kids.  I remember feeling an immense sense of pride when I heard my father call his men to attention on the parade ground, and watching them respond to his commands with, well, military precision.  Of course being an Army family also had its challenges… (click here to read more)

I’m interested in how other families approach ANZAC Day.  What will you be doing for the long weekend?  Will you go to a service with your family?  Bake ANZAC bickies?  Do you talk to your kids about the tragedy of war?  Focus on heroes of the past?  Or do you talk about your hopes for the future?  You can comment here or at Parenting Australia.

Happy Holiday Plan (Parenting Aus)

I can’t believe next week will be the last week of Term 1!  I’m so proud of the way my daughter has settled in to kindy and I know she just loves it there.  She does get very tired though, and the holidays will do her good.  I guess these holidays will be the first of many.  I want to have some fun, special times with her – but I also want to make sure she is rested and ready for Term 2.  Over at Parenting Australia today I’m sharing some ideas for planning a happy family holiday.

#1 Holiday Calendar

#2 Special days

#3 Holiday Box

#4 Routine

Jump over to the Happy Holiday Plan post to read more about these ideas.  What would you add for #5?

Other recent posts I’ve written for Parenting Australia:

Part of the Blogging Community

I love writing posts for my own blog here at SquiggleMum, but the blogosphere is a community and I also contribute elsewhere as much as I am able.  Community is about giving and not just getting.  Community is about belonging, supporting, encouraging, and coming along side.  (The pics above are of me meeting up with many members of the online community.  Still so many I’d love to meet, especially over there in the west!!)

This week I seem to be everywhere other than on my own blog – but that’s ok, because I’m out in the wonderful community of online Aussie mamas.  Here’s where you can find me this week.  I’d love you to come and be part of the community too by leaving a comment on these posts.

Find me at:

  • Fat Mum Slim – the gorgeous through-and-through Chantelle has featured me in her Everyday Everybody segment.  Wanna know when I last spoke to a police officer?  Or what time I get to bed?  Or if I can keep a secret…?  (Oh and she did that sweet polaroid thing with my photo.  Love it!)
  • Adventures With Kids – Come on a virtual tour of Australia!  This week it’s Brisbane’s turn, so I’m taking you on a tour of my hometown.  If you’ve ever thought about coming to Brissy for a holiday, check out this post for my tips on where to go and what to see.  There are a few cute pics of the kids and I too.  If you’re a local – feel free to add your suggestions on other highlights in our area.
  • Parenting Australia – I’d really love your comments on this week’s post about setting boundaries with kids, especially boys!  It’s called Letting Go of No. I’ve always been firm with boundaries, but I’m starting to wonder if I need to relax a little with my son.  Any mamas out there with boys older than mine (17mths) like to share their thoughts?  Oh, and if you missed my Parenting Australia post last week on allergies, it’s here.  I interviewed my beautiful friend Beck who deals with her son’s allergies on a daily basis.
  • Connect2Mums – if you’re a blogging mama, a WAHM or a mum with a small business – you’ll be right at home at Connect2Mums.  There are heaps of groups you can join up to, regular chat nights, comps and more.  I write the Connect2Bloggers column and also run the Christian mums group.  You’ll need to sign up, but it’s free.  I wrote about social media for the Connect2Bloggers column this week.

Seriously Sleep Deprived (Parenting Aus)

A couple of weeks ago the results of a ten year Australian study were released, refuting once and for all the notion of Mummy Brain.  But I say the phrase will stick around, because most of us know that our forgetful and even irrational behaviour following the birth of a baby has nothing to do with brain changes and everything to do with sleep deprivation. Duh.

Saying you have “mummy-brain” is coded language for I-can’t-sleep-I-can’t-concentrate-I’m-struggling-don’t-judge-me.  That’s quite a mouthful, huh?  Mummy-brain is much easier to say, and is well understood by other mothers.  We cut each other slack when we hear that phrase, for good reason…

Jump over to Parenting Australia for the rest of the article.  Do you think the term “mummy brain” will stick around?

(PS – pic is of me just home from hospital following my son’s birth in 2008, seriously sleep deprived!)

Teeny-Agers (Parenting Aus)

I’m having a bit of a rant over at Parenting Australia this week regarding fashion for young girls.  I didn’t mean to get up on my soap box, but I feel so strongly about some of the clothes that we are “supposed” to be dressing our kids in and the messages we are giving them.

When did we decide to skip childhood and fast track our babes from tots to teens? This week’s junk mail catalogues are sitting beside me as I type.  Maybe at 31 I’m getting old (??), but this is what I see.  I see pages of little girls dressed in sequins, studs and chains.  I see short shorts and short skirts.  I see leggings under some of those short garments so we can pretend they’re not as short as they really are.  I see knee high boots with leopard print leggings.  And I see slogans that range from arrogant to inappropriate.  Three year olds need clothes for cubbies, not for clubbing!

I’d love your thoughts on this topic, either here or over on the original post.  I’ve already had a lovely journalist from New Idea on the phone this morning interviewing me on the subject so it’s obviously a hot topic right now…

Overdue Times Two (Parenting Aus)

It’s funny.  I’ve had two kids but I have no idea what it’s like to go into labour!  Not naturally anyway.  With both pregnancies I had to be induced at 41 weeks.  You can read the story of my two overdue arrivals at Parenting Australia this week.  Here’s a teaser…

Most of us spend a considerable amount of time during pregnancy thinking about labour. First we dream about it, then we think more seriously about it, then we panic about it, then we realise there’s no going back so we’d best come to terms with it!  I imagined my waters breaking. Or I imagined waking my husband in the middle of the night saying, “This is it Honey…” I imagined timing contractions and working out when would be best to head to the hospital.  Instead, we calmly packed my bag into the car and drove without a sense of urgency. I waddled into the maternity ward, stopping and smiling for a photo on the way. We checked in at reception and then sat in a waiting room for a couple of hours before being settled into a bed. Prostaglandin gel was applied and my husband was sent home to get some sleep. I lay there, wide awake, alone, wondering if labour would start. Not at all what I imagined.

Jump over to Parenting Australia for the rest of my story.  Anyone else out there had a similar overdue experience??

In-Between Mums (Parenting Aus)

What kind of mum are you?  A SAHM?  A WAHM?  A Working Mum?  Or like me, are you an in-between mum, falling into a grey space between those titles…?  I’m sharing my thoughts on the topic over at Parenting Australia today.  Here’s a snippet:

I loved teaching, but resigning was the right thing for me to do when my daughter was born in 2006 as I knew I wanted to be at home with her full time.  Over the next twelve months the majority of my mum-friends slowly returned to work, but I was happy with my choice.  Mostly!  Two and a half years later we added a baby boy to our family.  And I’m still home full time.  Well, kind of.

Here’s the link to the article I wrote last week too if you’re interested, Tips From A Lunchbox Spy.  I hope those of you who have school aged kids are getting back into the swing of packing lunchboxes and school bags again!!