When the second child is praised for it’s poo, the first child can struggle!

I’ve done a few posts about Curly Headed Boy’s struggles at reception, and the good news is that things definitely seem to be improving.  This morning we had a chat, and it appears that his improved confidence is really affecting his confidence in the class room as well, and he is mixing a lot more with the other children.

There are still several things that I’ve been purposely doing that I need to blog about, and one of them is this really easy tip for improving your child’s confidence, especially when they are a first child and another appears.

The problem is, that Little Dimples at the moment gets praised for pooing, let alone anything else.  Plus she’s awful cute and can get away with lots of general naughtiness.  It’s very easy to forget that Curly Headed Boy is also very good at some things in comparison to other kids his age, and to praise him for these day to day things.  Even his teacher admitted that she doesn’t always remember to praise him because it’s kind of expected that he will do them, so she is actively making sure that he gets stickers and praise at school as well.

So this is a really simple reminder, that even the best parents might need, to be proactive and frequent in your praise.  It’s not the main way of making Curly Headed Boy feel loved (for some it would be extremely important), but it is something he needs.  Plus, I’m making a big effort to praise him as soon as possible after Little Dimples is praised for something, to keep it fair and balanced.

Here are some simple ideas for what are easy things to praise, plus things that you probably want to encourage in a 5yr old, it’s not an exhaustive list, but a good start:

  • saying ‘excuse me’ and not interrupting
  • asking for things politely
  • looking after Little Dimples (which tends to mean behaving in a crazy manner to make her laugh)
  • being patient
  • sitting still at the table
  • eating his dinner/food
  • eating his desert
  • being thoughtful
  • helping with cooking
  • tidying something
  • getting ready without taking half a day
  • doing his homework
  • remembering a new word
  • telling the truth about an accident or breakage

What’s ideas do you have that you can share with people?  Feel free to add them in comments, it would be great to get more.

The great thing is, that it also appears to reduce the number of tellings off required.  We also had a chat a few weeks ago, and he agreed that often the only reason he plays up is to get attention.  So I agreed to try to realise this and be more understanding, and he agreed to try and let me know when he is feeling left out.  So with the two things together, it appears or feels to be a much more harmonious household (don’t imagine perfection, there are still shouty moments, but they are much more useful shouty moments).

Sometimes we need to look outside of our families to realise how lucky we are.  All kids are great, but it’s important to appreciate our own children’s version of great, rather than worry about where they are not great.  If you fancy looking into this in more depth, I’m running a free webinar in a couple of weeks about how to ensure your children reach their full potential, have a look here and see if you fancy it, I’m really sure that it has useful information for all types of parents.

Handing Your Child Over To Strangers

It’s against everything we’ve ever been told not to do, and everything that a Mother feels is right.  But there we all are, handing our children over to someone we’ve hardly met.

The only reason I have met Curly Headed Boy’s new primary school teacher is because her son was at his nursery in a younger class, but it’s only been a fleeting ‘hello’.  We have no idea what they do all day, apart from the fact that we have provided them with a packed lunch and snack (no hot dinners available, because the council won’t let them build a dining room, arrrgh!).  So far, there is no class list and no time table.  There was a letter inviting us to a 30min meeting next week, where I assume that some of this will be dealt with, and an evening get-together the week after (very difficult to go to when you have a young baby).  So we are meant to be patient parents and wait.  I suspect that if we ask beforehand, we will be considered ‘one of those parents’, and labelled as difficult.

But seriously, where is the respect?  For us as parents, handing over our kids, and for our kids?  Yesterday, in the distance I saw the last child literally being picked up screaming and kicking by a teacher and dragged into class.  I so felt for his Mum, it made me want to cry, god knows what she felt like.  Surely it doesn’t have to be like that with a little more forethought?  No one likes walking into a situation where they don’t know what the hell is going on.  I have no idea whether curly headed boy will end up academically bright, but I am a bit freaky in that I talk to him like a normal human being, so he is used to being told what’s going on and being treated like someone with some rights (not too many of course!!).

Now I see why I was so upset the other day, this school is not matching my values at the moment.  However, then realism sets in.  The whole process of finding a school last year was a nightmare, and in the end he might not have ended up at the one I would have picked that was less traditional, he is very happy to be walking in with so many friends.  Thank god for that, as curly headed boy has 3 mates in his class and I reckon another 10 in the other 2 classes.  Friends are extremely high on his priorities, so this is definitely better than one of the private options I looked at, and both potential state options (our state schools locally are bad, so as we had a choice, we chose not to go for them).

So, I’ll suck it up, wait patiently until next week, and then if by then I don’t have more information I’ll kick off.  But at some point, I think it is only fair to mention that if other schools managed to send out class lists in the summer holidays so that kids could meet, and they are already getting ‘parent mail’ by text/email, then clearly this school is not showing that it values keeping us in the loop or reducing the anxiety of the kids.  They need to be aware of the fact that they compete heavily with a local boys school that doesn’t take kids until next year.  I have NEVER considered it as an option before, but today I’m wondering whether it might not hurt to go and have a look.  In this time of recession it is wise for all of us to remember to consider how our clients/customers feel and reconsider a position of arrogance/strength that could easily disappear.  More updates next week, arggh!

Seriously, Why Am I Crying, He’s Just Starting School?!!!

  • I cried the last morning morning I dropped curly headed boy at nursery 8 weeks ago.
  • I cried when I picked him up.
  • I cried when I bought his school uniform 3 weeks ago.
  • I cried when I cuddled him last night.
  • And I cried when I dropped him off this morning at primary school.

Seriously, what a sap!  Luckily he didn’t notice apart from last night when he said ‘but mummy, there are actually tears in your eyes’, said in his best scientific experimenting voice.  Then he started wondering whether aliens had put them there and off he went on one of his little chats with me before bed time.  As you can see from his picture above, he was fine this morning, if a little serious at times.

You know how you walk out of the house and know you’ve forgotten something, but can’t remember what?  That’s how I feel.  Some of the Mums today were looking sad.  I didn’t see any other tears, but then we were going at different times.  Some Mums where old hats at it, as they already have several kids at school.  A few looked like they were skipping down the path on their way back from the class room!

So I drove home thinking, what on earth it was that makes my heart feel like it’s breaking.  The good news is how fast the last 5yrs has gone.  A very wise man once told me that the faster time feels, the more you must be doing what you love, and I really do love being a Mum.  But the problem is that means that the next 5yrs will go fast, and the next, and the next, and he’ll be off away, followed nearly 5yrs later by Little Dimples.  I can’t grab the time, I can’t hold it.  When I got sick a few months back I realised that one day I would have to leave my kiddies behind, and it was a horrible feeling.

But how lucky am I.  Despite not sleeping through the night for the past 5yrs (Little dimples took over where curly headed boy left off on the sleep stakes), a stone in weight I’d rather be without, lots of new grey hairs, struggling to juggle working and being a Mummy, I know I am just the luckiest ever.  This life works for me, it suits me.  It was blinking hard to come by and a bit of a surprise having been told so young that I’d never have kids.  All my troubles (people don’t go into my line of business without some ‘life experiences’ to encourage them) paid off with a great big pay off.  So, I’m lucky that I’ll be looking forward to picking him up from school.  Some Mums are not so lucky.  The pressures of what the world says they should be like get the better of them, and can create such a problem for their own identity that all the sparkle and love in the world literally gets sucked out.  So these are ‘lucky tears’ really.  OK, now I’m crying because I feel grateful that I was crying, seriously!

This afternoon, Curly Headed boy will be pleased to see me, and hug me just that little bit more tightly.  A bit of distance can bring you together sometimes.  I’ll remember that each time I drop him off and savour the chats in the car on the way to school, and the ability to listen to music on the way home all on my own for 15 minutes (little dimples still screams in the car, so she stays at home; post to come about that!).  Even when he’s big, there will still be a little bit of him that is the baby, toddler or pre-schooler that I’m so desperate to hold onto today.  I know this, because there are days that I would dearly love to have a parent to cuddle me.

Meanwhile, I reckon I’ve found a way to juggle work and mummydom much more easily;  Oooohhh I have so much to tell you from the summer holidays, I’ve got lots of exciting news!  So it’s time for me to wipe my eyes and catch up on emails and plans for the next two weeks.  (Can you imagine what I’m going to be like when Little Dimples starts primary school in 4yrs time, I’ll need a whole box of tissues, not just one!).