Newborn vs Toddler (The Unadulterated Truth)

Remember that moment, when you had a little baby you loved to pieces?
IT WILL ALL CHANGE!
Well, not the love, that’s kind of unconditional, but the little baby will certainly change… Here’s what you need to know about the difference between a newborn baby and a toddler.

The Newborn (aka the CryBaby)

Benefits:

  1. At first, they sleep for like 14 hours a day. It’s bliss.
  2. You can do things you want to do – housework, sleep, eat, sleep, you get my drift…
  3. You can go to the toilet without a small person attached to you (unless you’re breastfeeding – I have indeed breastfed my baby whilst having a pee).
  4. BOUNCY CHAIRS – NEED I SAY MORE?
  5. Milk solves everything.
  6. Everyone still wants to help out and hold the cute little baby.

Drawbacks:

  1. They’re very boring and are terrible company. You’ll be chatting away and nobody is chatting back.
  2. You’ll try not to, and you’ll hate yourself for breaking, but YOU WILL USE BABY TALK. ALL THE TIME.
  3. They do really bad shits. Seriously bad. First it’s all sticky tar, then it looks like chicken korma. It’s just really unpleasant.
  4. They are so dependent on you for everything!!!!!!!! They cry, and you have to answer. What’s that all about? I’m an independent woman, my daughter should be too.
  5. THEY CRY ALL THE TIME AND YOU HAVE TO GUESS WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS GOING ON IN THEIR TINY BABY BRAIN TO MAKE THEM WAIL LIKE A BANSHEE AT 2AM.

The Toddler (aka the Terrorist)

Benefits:

  1. They have their own little personality.
  2. They can walk and talk and ask for things, making your job of having to guess what the baby wanted so much easier.
  3. You can have fun with them.
  4. They can play independently.
  5. They can go to the toilet by themselves. No more poo for you, mama!

Drawbacks:

  1. Sometimes, their personality is that they’re a little shit.
  2. Even though they can ask for things, they won’t, they’ll whine at you instead.
  3. They can play independently, usually at risk of criminal damage to your walls, doors, and anything else which can be drawn on.
  4. They can go to the toilet themselves, but they’d much rather piss their pants and let you clear it up.
  5. They’ll always say dad is the favourite. Fucking traitors.
So, which is my favourite?
I’ll leave that one for you to work out!
Are there any missing from the list???

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Steps I am taking to be a ‘Sex Positive’ Parent to my Toddler…

Sex Positivity is all about embracing sexuality and understanding that sex and everything relating to it, is a natural part of life as a human being.

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Like most of us at Mummykind, you may have grown up in a family environment where not even a word about sex was ever uttered- leading you to experience feelings of shame, guilt or discomfort about a wide range of completely natural sexual subjects. Sex positivity and awareness of sex isn’t exclusive to contraception and the big talks that we may have once had as a teenager. Sex Positivity is all about embracing sexuality and understanding that sex and everything relating to it, is a natural part of life as a human being.

 

 

I stumbled across a fantastic page on Instagram @sexpositive_families (some of their infographics and quotes are featured on this post!) several months ago- it promoted the importance of sex positivity in families, especially in parenting and since then I have made a conscious effort to be the most sex positive Mummy I can be! We all want our children to be happy and healthy,  I think its massively important to remember that raising healthy children goes beyond what they’re eating and how much exercise they get- Their mental and sexual health is massively important too! 

Needless to say- “sexual health goes beyond just puberty, basic human biology and very occasional sex talks.” When we start sexual health talks and awareness early, we give our children awareness that affirms they are neither strange nor wrong for any of what they are experiencing. 

Obviously the Mummykind kids are between a few months and three years old, so the sex positive parenting steps that I am going to recommend will mainly cater for this age.


As parents we have to tell little white lies all the time- about father Christmas, about the tooth fairy, about how long 5 minutes is- but sex, relationships, sexuality and bodies are some of the things we should always try to be honest about. 

  • Do not ban any words at home, no matter how uncomfortable they might make you feel.

Children need to know they can trust you and talk to you about anything- use proper words for body parts when and where possible or opt for words that cant mean other things. We call a vagina a ‘nuna’ but often use the word vagina anyway. Words like ‘cookie’ for example have alternate meanings and this can lead to confusion and abuse being missed due to being misunderstood. 

 

  • Let your child be naked.

If my daughter is at home and she wants to be naked, then she can do as she pleases. Her being comfortable to be undressed is important. I don’t deliberately go around naked at home, but I don’t hide away when I am. I have a full figure, stretch marks and scars and I want her to see that is normal and okay.

  • When your child doesn’t want to hug or kiss someone, don’t make them!

“Make a habit out of asking permission before you touch them or share affection with your children, Respecting their boundaries’ highlights the importance of their bodily autonomy and lays a crucial foundation and ‘understanding of consent.”

@sexpositive_families reminds us that common consent violations can include-

“Being tickled past the point of comfort, being hugged or kissed without their permission, telling a family member to “stop” without it being respected, being told to eat food past the point of being full, having your personal items looked through without being asked for permission or being told to show affection to another person when you did not want to.”

  • When you catch your toddler exposing or touching their body parts, don’t freak out.

Exploring your own body, including your genitals is a valuable part of sexual health that often begins at a young age. A child touching or fiddling about with their genitalia shouldn’t be discouraged, but more reiterated that there is a time and place for doing so. For example if your child is playing with his penis, you could try saying “We don’t touch our penises in the living room darling, if you want to do that why don’t you go to your room or the bathroom?” … touching and exploring their own bodies isn’t the issue but the place they decide to do it often is! Kids understand when things are compartmentalised and so offering an alternative that is safer and more appropriate to explore themselves should make sense and feel normal to them, a bit like “No eating whilst using the toilet”.

  • When they ask about private parts, don’t shy away from the subject.

I was shopping in Aldi when I picked up some sanitary towels- my daughter decided to shout “ARE THEY FOR YOUR BOTTOM MUMMY?” although I felt a little embarrassed, I wanted her to have no shame around the subject or use of sanitary products so I proudly proclaimed “YES, yes darling, these are for my bottom… Lady days!”.. No matter where and no matter when, try to never shy away from your child questions about their body, your body or otherwise!

  • When your child asks about intimacy, try to explain it in a way that makes sense and is appropriate to them.

“Why are they kissing?” “Why are they holding hands?” – Talk about how when people want to touch each other it can make them happy to do so, but it could also make them sad if it was unexpected or made one of them uncomfortable. ‘Safe Touch’ and ‘Unsafe Touch’ can be taught from early ages. Try to avoid making physical contact and affection sound like a negative, but more focus the child’s attention on what other lovely things they could do if they’re feeling like they want to kiss somebody that it wouldn’t be appropriate for them to kiss – like pick a flower or draw a picture for them. We are all such emotional beings, discussing these emotions with our children can only make them stronger.

My daughter is almost three and has always followed me around as I go about my day to day. If I shower, she’ll be in and out as I do- the same as when I use the bathroom. If she sees any blood or any use of sanitary products, I tell her that it is for my ‘lady days’ – I have PCOS and really suffer when I have a period and knowing that my daughter could experience similar when she is growing up made me want to be as vocal about my experience as possible. I talk to her about my cramps, I talk to her about the bleeding when and if she sees it and I talk to her about my use of sanitary products. If I am feeling unwell for gynae reasons I will discuss it as if it was a cold or flu. I don’t want my child to feel any once of shame for a natural process. I want her to know it is normal and it is okay.

Your response to your child saying these words lays a foundation for their understanding of consent!

  • Listen to anything that your children want to tell you. If you don’t listen to the small stuff now, they won’t tell you the big stuff later.https://www.instagram.com/p/BqBNKK9B_mB/

In summary- “Sex positive parents are parents who raise children that are prepared to make informed choices about their bodies, relationships and sexual health.” “The best sex education is given over a life time, not in one talk or occasional school lessons.” @sexpositive_families

Here are some of my favourite Sex Positive Parenting resources

https://www.instagram.com/sexpositive_families/

https://www.instagram.com/the.vulva.gallery/

https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/10-ways-to-support-sex-positive-kids/

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/1466718-Sex-positive-parenting-blog

https://theswaddle.com/sex-positive-parenting-toddler/

**Please note that Sex Positive Parenting isn’t exclusive to any gender, despite a variety of resources suggesting that it is mainly something that parents of girls need to think about**

A special thank you and shout out to @sexpositive_families who have been quoted throughout this post. Their work is invaluable and you most definitely need to check them out!

Remember that if words fail you, there are plenty of appropriate books that can be purchased online for various different age groups that can say what you might be struggling to. @sexpositive_families have devised a fantastic reading list that covers a wide range of subject to a multitude of ages, find it here.

 

Mental Health Monday: Dealing with your past demons as a new mother…

Personally, I’ve suffered with depression since the ripe old age of 12. Back then, it got really, really bad. I tried to end my life twice, and ended up in a mental hospital… so, of course, when I began noticing the same signs in myself of depression during my pregnancy, you can imagine the fears and anxieties that went with it.

I’ve previously talked about how to recognise antenatal depression, and I truly think that, had I not been depressed throughout my adolescent years, I wouldn’t have recognised it in myself while I was pregnant.

There can be so many things that trigger depression or any other mental illness, but for me it was a multitude of past demons that were resurfacing. They were resurfacing because, very soon, I was going to be a mother myself, and that was the most terrifying thought of all.

Not because I didn’t want to be a mum – I’d always wanted children. I grew up with 4 younger siblings (2 of whom I raised in part) and from the age of about 9 I had known what my children’s names would be, because, OBVIOUSLY, I was going to have twin girls (Lily and Olivia – I got one at least) and a boy (Henry). I had it all planned out.

But nothing goes to plan.

Instead, by surprise, I was pregnant in my final year of university, and had to deal with that pregnancy completely alone except for a couple of very amazing and supportive housemates. By the time that my pregnancy was nearing the 7 month mark, I had essay deadlines looming and was about to move back to Kent to prepare to have my baby, and become a mum. It was what I’d wanted so why did I feel so incredibly anxious about it?

It may sound cliche… but I was so petrified of turning into my mum. Of being the type of person that could cut her children out of her life as and when she pleased, or the type of person that would prioritise her vanity and her boyfriends over her children’s wellbeing. I came out of those 15 and a half years living with her so emotionally damaged, and I was terrified that my own daughter would feel the same way. I didn’t want to lose my baby before I even had her, and I felt like it was an unchangeable fate that she would end up hating me.

Those feelings of inadequacy before I had even given birth to my daughter were so difficult to overcome, but I did overcome them. It took counselling, peer support, regular GP visits, medication, and a round of CBT for me to get to the point that I am at now. I’ve felt the ups, downs and in betweens, and I still feel them, but the downs are becoming fewer and farther between.

No matter what demons there are in your past, they won’t stop you from being a good mother. It took me a long time to come to that realisation, and I have tried so hard with everything that I am to be the complete opposite of the woman that my mother is.

I have tried so hard to give Olivia everything she deserves and more – everything I deserved as a child but never thought I was worthy of. All I can hope for is that it will be enough, and as long as I’ve put my all into being the best mum I can be, then I’m sure that it will be more than enough.

Mix It Up Linky

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Approaching Three: Toddler to Preschooler

My baby. My little baby. HE’S ABOUT TO TURN THREE. I’m not sure how but it’s really happening and here are some of my thoughts:

The birthday is approaching fast and this year it’s different, he is aware and he is quite excited. He has requested a “beautiful butterfly” cake because he is super into the ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ or as he says; “hungwy cat-pee-yaahh” because he’s 97% adorable. He has noticed a present arrive for him and he wants to open it but surprisingly he has accepted that he’s got to wait for his birthday.

But turning three isn’t just about the birthday. Developmentally,  a three year old is obviously going to be different from a two year old. For me, the most noticeable change, day to day, is the sass. I’m not talking about cute sass, I’m talking about well thought out arguments against me and my husband. As frustrating as that can get I am in awe of his thought processes now.  He will lie to me and maintain a lie for no reason other than… well he just can, so he does.

Even though he is figuratively and literally pushing his boundaries – I told him not to cross a line earlier this month, so naturally he spent 20 minutes walking up and down it and leaning over it – it’s not all bad. His comprehension of instructions, conversations and stories has improved at an incredible rate in the last month and I find myself completely stunned by this small human that I made.

We aren’t there yet, but the ball has definitely started rolling for the changes that are happening, I am apprehensive about some of the challenges but I don’t feel concerned about his development as I have done in the past and I am really looking forward to getting to know him, as his own person, even better. I want to hear his thoughts and fears and share in his joy and laughter. Time certainly flies, but I have a feeling this fourth year is going to be incredible.

Mental Health Monday: why the stigma?

You may be familiar with the hashtag #endthestigma on social media, used in conjunction with posts about our mental health. Opening up discussions about mental health can reduce the stigma and lead to better understandings of what the issues may be, but why is there such a stigma in the first place?

3 things we can do to help future generations 

#endthestigma

https://player.vimeo.com/video/301598462 #EndTheStigma from Mummy Kind on Vimeo.

1. Remember, your mental health is a disability with the power of invisibility

Imagine instead of depression or anxiety or bulimia, you have a broken leg. Everyone can see your broken leg. Everyone can imagine and envisage how painful it must be, so then you get empathy.
With mental heath conditions, your illness is under an invisibility cloak. Nobody can see it, and very few people can then imagine the pain that you’re in. There’s a lack of empathy, and an attitude of “just get out of bed”, or “you don’t look depressed”.
One way we can stop these ridiculously unhelpful comments is by being open and honest. Not with the world but with ourselves and those close to us. Don’t hide away because you have an illness! This will also enable our children to grow up knowing the issues and with a better awareness and understanding, so that the stigma will be even closer to disappearing completely when their generation are all grown up.
2. Treating mental illness the same as a physical illness

Off the back of the first point, physical and mental illnesses can both relapse! So why on earth are we more afraid of admitting that depression has reared its ugly head again than we are of a chest infection coming back?

I recently went back to my GP to have a chat about my mental health, and he very helpfully explained to me that I must not see medication as a failure, having tried to manage for so long without it. I wouldn’t try to treat a kidney infection without medication so I shouldn’t have to try and treat my depression or anxiety without medication either!

The sooner people understand that physical and mental illnesses are the same, and should be treated in the same way, the better!

3. Don’t let society tell us who to be

Society generally often has an opinion of who we should be or when we should be happy… Well, for starters, you can be both depressed and happy – it is possible! But that aside, societal attitudes have a lot to do with why there is a stigma in the first place.

Emphasising certain attributes on young boys that they have to be tough and cannot show emotion is one thing which contributes to men’s suicide rates being so high! For us females, telling women that they should be happy following the birth of a baby is yet another aspect of the huge circle of guilt that plays into postpartum mental illness!

Teaching our children that they can be what they want to be and that they can share emotions from a young age can really help to alleviate the stresses they will face as adults in the same way that we are under those stresses now.

This post was written as part of our Raising Healthy Minds Campaign

So that is this week’s #MentalHealthMonday post! Get involved with the discussion on twitter and tweet us @mummykindoff

Let us know if there’s anything you do to raise awareness of mental illness! We would love to feature the stories of brave men and women so please get in touch!

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They Aren’t Little for Long – 21 Ways to Treasure Lovely Moments

Lately I’ve been left feeling totally alarmed at how quickly time passes. So I thought I’d compile a little list of things that I do regularly to ensure I appreciate every moment of Florence growing up.

21 ways to appreciate and commemorate the time you spend with your little one as they grow up…

Lately I’ve been left feeling totally alarmed at how quickly time passes. So I thought I’d compile a little list of things that I do regularly to ensure I appreciate every moment of Florence growing up. As a parent you may already do all of these things! You may do even more! But if you’re a new parent or a mummy to be- here are a few ideas of how to treasure the most special time of your life!

1. We tell her that we love her at least once every day!

2. I tell her that she’s a miracle every day!

3. Every time I call her beautiful, I make sure to compliment her intelligence or her skills. I want her to know that regardless of how beautiful I think she is- that her intelligence, skills and how she treats others is far more important.

4. I try to appreciate ALL of the little things- from the more pleasant things like the extra half an hour in bed for cuddles. To the not so pleasant things like wiping snotty little noses, having an audience when you use the toilet and ‘wrestling match’ style nappy changes… They aren’t little for long and it’s only a matter of time before they won’t need you or want you for these things.

5. Sometimes I deliberately place both of our lunches on the same plate to encourage her to share. It gives the meal the most lovely ‘picnic vibe’… her sharing with me and trying to feed me makes my heart melt!

6. I often let my heart burst with pride as I watch her perfect little face as she snores and dreams.

7. We like to read her that extra story before leaving her to settle.

8. I like to let her sit / lean or rest her head on me for as long as she wishes. Even if it makes my limbs go numb!

9. We watch discretely from afar as she starts to explore, so we don’t miss a thing, but her confidence can be allowed to soar as she experiments with independence.

10. I honestly, Kiss and cuddle her like it is going out of fashion. Allow her do to the same (even if her kisses are the ‘open mouth – I like to bite my Mummy’s nose’ type!)… You CANNOT spoil a baby with love.

11. We take as many pictures as we can, even of seemingly everyday or boring things. (Like when she eats a chocolate biscuit and leaves the residue on her cheeky little face!)

12. Yet, reminding myself to live in the moment and put my phone down for the majority of the time I spend with her.

13. We capture milestones. We encourage milestones. But we don’t rush them- she won’t be little for long. This time is so precious.

14. I started a list of all the words and phrases she uses. I don’t want to forget the order or the words- I want to remember it all.

15. Capture a little bit everything- firsts, the silly faces, the tantrums, the smiles, the drawings, the messes made and other hilarious little hiccups that come with mummy life. I feel that looking back at this when she’s older, will help her realise that life isn’t all smiles and it’s not always picture perfect- but everything will be okay!

16. We take pictures of Florence and her baby friends babies often- seeing how they change and how quickly they change is beyond magical.

17. I occasionally try to take some ‘me time’ (which is sadly usually spent in hospital!) … you couldn’t do a full time job well without the occasional holiday or break- parenting is the same. You need to look after yourself to have the energy to be the best parent you can be. Be kind to yourself! (Plus the cuddles after not seeing your little one even for only a short while are just so lovely!)

18. I write this blog (mummygoeswhereflogoes!), I write notes on my phone and I occasionally write a diary too! I like to record key memories, I like having physical reminders of events and hope that Florence will look back and know how much these moments meant to me.

19. I set up an email address for Florence so that I could send her random emails throughout her childhood- when she’s 18, she’ll gain access to this account and we can go back through and read all of the material that has been sent to her by loved ones over the next 17 years.

20. On her first birthday I created a memory book and and guests at her party contributed to a time capsule. I’m still getting some friends and relatives to sign the book now- so one day we can look back at the kind words from loved ones and what was going on in the year that she was born.

21. I try to purchase the occasional item to commemorate Florence- personalised items with her name on, cute little prints, personalised clothing with her name or year of birth on- etc. I wish they did more of these when I was born! I think they’re precious!

How are you making the most of special moments? How are you treasuring the precious steps of your little one growing up?

Thank you so much for reading! x