Tips For Mum

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Are you a SM?

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What is a SM? SM is a suburban mum. Someone who lives in the suburbs and does very “suburban” activities. For some people being a SM is a matter of pride, however for others learning they are a SM is a cringe inducing moment. So here is a test to see if you are a SM (if five or more apply you are a SM).

  • You have a 4 Wheel Drive, where the only off roading you do, is when you accidentally hit a curb;
  • You wear work out gear to drive to the local coffee shop to buy your daily coffee;
  • Your coffee of choice is a skim milk  weak but very hot latte;
  • You know exactly how many carbs you can consume per day and you may have also been on a Paleo diet or a sugar free diet;
  • You know all your children’s personal best times at Little Athletics;
  • You spend more time at your children’s school doing volunteer work than you do paid work;
  • You socialise your baby at baby classes;
  • You socialise your dog with other dogs at the dog park;
  • You enter your child in every competition which can show off their unique talents (art comps, cooking comps, dance comps);
  • Your idea of gardening is telling the gardener to trim more off the hedge;
  • You believe every child should win a prize in pass the parcel or receive participation ribbons at school carnivals;

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  • You have five different ways to cut out fairy bread into different and unusual shapes;
  • You have a home based business selling the latest “must have” product;
  • You are a mummy blogger;
  • You line up for hours to make sure your child gets a place in the favourite class or activity; or
  • You have a car pool schedule (because that helps reduce carbon miles);
  • You have a colour coded weekly planner that sets out all the different activities your children undertake.

For the record this mummy blogger, got more than five and is loud and proud that she is a Suburban Mum (and she hopes that her husband does not look at the wheel rims on her car as she has done some major off road activity lately). It is also possible that being a suburban mum could be genetic as this suburban mum still takes pride at coming second in the East State School Egg and Bacon Quiche cooking comp and a highly commended at the Toowoomba Art Show.

The term Suburban Mum was created by hilarious blogger and author Jenn Mann (check out http://www.peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.com)

Do you know any other signs of a Suburban Mum?

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Five Party Trends that Should Be Avoided

In the USA they love to party and they love making kid’s parties bigger and bigger each year.   Here are five trends I hope that don’t take hold in Australia.

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  1. Half Birthdays

    Yes you read that correctly – celebrate a birthday every six months. The cake is only half a cake. Everyone who has hosted a kid’s birthday party knows how stressful (and sometimes traumatic) a kid’s party can be – why put yourself through that every six months.

  2. Baby Tooth Jewellery

    Apparently losing a baby tooth is a pivotal moment in every child’s life and it should be celebrated by wearing a baby tooth necklace. An impression is made of the baby’s tooth and then turned into either sterling silver or gold plated jewellery for the mother’s birthday. Don’t worry the original tooth is returned to you. I have just one word for this trend – YUK.

  3. Birthday Crowns

    A party hat will not do. Now you must spend hours, hand making, a party crown for your child. There are hundreds of pins on Pinterest with DIY instructions on birthday crowns. The birthday crown shows your child’s personality and individualism.

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4.    Gender Reveal Party

It is all the go to have a party where you reveal to your friends and loved ones the gender of your baby. The gender is revealed by cutting a cake and if the cake is pink it’s a girl and if the cake is blue it’s a boy. Why do we need to reveal the sex of the baby in such a grand way? Of course, a gender reveal does not need to involve a cake, every day new gender reveal ideas are blogged about. When I was pregnant, my husband was adamant, that we should not know the baby’s gender. He said it was the one last surprise left in life. He was right.

5.     Menu Makeover

The latest trend is to ditch the party pies, fairy bread and chocolate crackles. Apparently a child’s palate has become more developed at a younger age and they now demand sushi, grilled vegetables and even caviar.

 

You may wonder why smash cakes are not on the list (well because that trend has made it to Australia!!).

Do you know of any other trends that we should not adopt?

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Am I a bad mum for exposing my daughter to the Nazi’s?

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My daughter asked me on several occasions if she could hold a book club – she wanted to be just like mum. I finally relented and set a date for a kid’s book club.

Each child was asked to bring their favourite book – the kid’s ages ranged from 9 to 11. They all had a chance to talk about their favourite book.

One of the kids discussed in detail the Morris Gleitzman Holocaust trilogy – Once, Then and Now (subsequently a fourth book After has been published). The kids were fascinated about these books.

My daughter begged me to borrow the Gleitzman books from the Library. We did and she loved them.

A month later, I was shocked to see the children’s book club being described in a National Blog as a bad example of parenting.  Apparently my actions had led to the loss of the age of innocence.

At the book club, one of the kids,  was the best friend of the blogger’s child. The blogger had seen the girls playing Nazis in the backyard. She found out about the book club and was shocked. She described the bookclub as part of “the competitive world of the middle class… kids reading books for way beyond their years”. The blogger went on to say that she wanted her children to read fairytales and remain innocent. Well we all know that fairytales are not violent (evil step mums, witches who want to eat children, hungry wolves and child slavery).

I was upset about the blog. The kid’s book club had been a lovely day where the kids eagerly discussed books, ran around and then ate some healthy foods. It now appeared that I was part of this group of mums forcing our children to become some sort of intellectual elite.

Since that time my daughter has read the four Morris Gleitzman books and The Diary of Anne Frank. My daughter regularly watches Who Do You Think You Are (where the Holocaust is frequently mentioned). My daughter is 12.

So what age is appropriate for children to learn about a very tragic event? In this digital age it is hard to stop our children from learning about matters, which are horrifying. Kids just need to listen to the news on the radio or watch the nightly news to know that there is evil in the world. I would rather my child learn about the Holocaust in a well-written book by a respected children’s author. I want my child to understand that it is not acceptable to treat people differently because they practice another religion or they are another race.

I wrote to the author and asked him for the appropriate age, he suggested from 9 upwards. In fact this is his view on exposing children to difficult subjects

“there has traditionally been a view that childhood is a quarantineable place where children are shielded, where they can grow and develop without being troubled. But children’s writers have come to realise that while some of that is to be respected, it has become increasingly irrelevant because we all have such open access to everything.”

What are your thoughts? When should a child be exposed to tragic historical events?

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Nit Police

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Head Lice do not discriminate.  Head Lice can be found in every school in Australia.  They are stubborn little buggers!!  In NSW Head lice infestations are a common occurrence, particularly in primary schools where about 23% of primary students have head lice at any one time.  Don’t fool yourself, any child can catch head lice – it does not matter what age or sex they are or in fact how clean your hair is.  I recently stumbled across a letter on the internet where one school said they had found lice on a child’s hair the size of shrimp (yuk yuk and maybe a bit of an exaggeration)!!!

At my daughter’s primary school a group of dedicated mums started a head lice screening programme.  They were affectionately known as the nit police.  They did a fabulous job in reducing the amount of head lice infestations in the school.  They provided good information on how to get rid of head lice (hair smothered in white hair conditioner then combed with a nit comb on a daily basis).

Once a term (and with the parent’s consent) a child’s hair was checked.  A note was sent home to all parents advising if lice or eggs were found on their child’s hair on in their child’s class.  I used to dread opening the letter – I would be horrified if my child had lice.  Luckily we were okay as I had followed the recommendations of the nit police.   They also encouraged a squeaky clean weekend.  The idea was that any child who brought back a note on Monday, signed by their parents confirming they had their hair combed with a nit comb, received a reward.  Wow did this create waves.  What if a parent did not want to check their children’s hair, what if the child forgot the note, why should a child miss out on a reward?

Not everyone consented to their child’s hair being checked for lice – however about 70% of the school population did agree.  This is a terrific programme that more schools should adopt.  If you have ever had to deal with head lice (that spreads rapidly among families) I think you will agree.  Gosh even as I write my scalp is starting to itch.

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Do you agree with the Nit Police programme?

 

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Accepting Your Child’s Individuality

My Child is an individual.  She dances to the beat of her own drum.  I sometimes ask myself why is my child the odd one out?  But other times I applaud her individuality.  It is not something you can teach a child.   It is important as a parent to appreciate your child for who they are.  To help their child with their uniqueness is a step towards self-esteem.   However it takes time to come to this realization.  This is my journey in accepting my daughter’s individuality.

When I was growing up my mother was excellent at involving us in all activities but we never seem to do anything musical or dance related.  I really wanted my daughter to embrace ballet and dance and to meet other little girls.   We enrolled in the local Dance Academy and started doing Tiny Tots ballet.  The big end of year concert approached.  All of the Tiny Tots Ballerinas were doing Under the Sea from the little Mermaid.  They were all dressed as tiny adorable little Mermaids in a tutu, except for one, my daughter.  She did not want to be a mermaid she want to be a crab.  Her costume was a bright orange (Guantanamo Bay Orange) jumpsuit with a big lump on the back.  I was devastated.  Finally it was the night of the big dance concert and the MC announced that in the 18 years that Miss Rebecca had produced Dance Concerts, she had never seen a tiny tot who wanted to be a crab.  The concert started.  There were 40 mermaids on stage and one crab.  Guess which tiny tot stole the show – the crab!!  My daughter knew what she was doing.   

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Over the years we have seen countless other examples of her individuality

  • Her first Book Week – everyone was a fairy and she was Pete the Sheep.
  • Her last Book Week  – she wanted a Harry Potter costume.  Did she want to be Hermione, Harry or even Ron?  No she wanted to be Dumbledore (do you know how hard it is to find Dumbledore costumes).
  • Concert Band – All the girls played the flute and she played the Saxophone (note there is a good reason to play the flute a Saxophone is really heavy for a year three child).
  • Sport – the only girl in the AFL team.
  • Reading – She did not read Fairy Books.  It was books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or other adventure based books.
  • Christmas Presents – She did not ask for dolls.  Her Christmas wish list was Lego or remote control cars.
  • Year Six Graduation Party – All the girls turned up in party dresses.  She she wore shorts.

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When she was about ten I stopped trying to force her to conform.  I realized that I was trying to live vicariously through my child and to get her to do things I used to do and what the others were doing.  The problem was really with me and there was no problem with her decisions.   In fact I think I should have done more to let her know she was a trendsetter.  Instead I worried that when she went to High School she would be alienated for being different.

Now, I am happy that I do not have a “me too” child?  I never hear from my daughter the words “Everyone Else Is doing it”.   I love the fact that she is an individual. 

Is your child an individual?  What traits do they have?

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