Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Little lunch box notes

I never thought I would be one of those mums who writes cute little notes to pop into her child's lunch box. Yet in just the last couple of weeks I've started including the odd note with my son's lunch.

One day my son mentioned his friend's mum put notes in her son's lunch box. I asked what they said but he wasn't sure. I then asked the mum, who I am friends with and she said she wrote any kind of little thing with the hope of trying to get her son more interested in reading. She struggles in getting him to do his school reading at home. 

I am fortunate that I don't have any trouble encouraging my son to read. He loves to read anything in front of him; cereal boxes, signs, advertisements in magazines, anything really. However, I thought I detected a slight desire for the odd note in his own lunch box and had that at the back of my mind.

One day I was preparing his lunch and gave him pitta bread with something like cheese or houmous inside and then some sliced cucumber and tomato in a separate pot to add to the pitta when he was ready to eat it (not wanting to make the pitta soggy by putting it in myself). The thought occured to me to stick on a note to the cucumber and tomato pot reminding him to put those inside the pitta. So I wrote, 'put in pitta' followed by a smiley face and 'yum yum!'.

Another day, I was putting orange segments into a container for his lunch and carefully taking out any pips, as for some reason with oranges, my son doesn't enjoy eating them if they have pips in them. I then thought he might not even eat the orange if he thinks there might be pips in it so decided to stick a note on the container, saying, 'no pips!' and a smiley face again. He ate it all up!

I realised these little notes are indeed a good way to encourage his reading. They are also useful for me to communicate something about his lunch and a bit fun for my son to find them inside his lunch box too. I definitely don't include a note every day and I have not yet written a note that has not been functional (I am not one of those mums!). It seems little lunch box notes are not such a bad idea after all though....;-)

Do you or have you in the past included any kind of little note inside your child's lunch box and if so, what was the motive - an affectionate thought? to communicate something practical? to encourage their reading? something else?
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Tuesday, 10 June 2014


As early on as she could, my daughter would try to do whatever her big brother was doing. As she has got older, the copying has increased all the more. Everything from wanting to play with whatever he is playing with (often resulting in snatching & fighting over a toy!), pulling the same 'funny' faces, dressing up as a superhero when he does, to repeating something he is saying to us (like a little echo!), wanting to eat the same foods, to draw when he is drawing, to read when he is reading and so on....

On the one hand it is rather endearing. She looks up to him with admiration and awe, which is sweet for a parent to see. She wants to be with him and do whatever he is doing all the time. Again, this is lovely to see the closeness in their relationship, even if it is not always harmonious.

The copying is also beneficial to her own development. She speaks a lot better for her two and a half years than our first born did and sounds older than her years sometimes. Seeing her big brother getting himself dressed in the mornings has meant she has been eager to do the same and she has been very good at putting on her own socks and shoes for some time. It sparks a determination in her to try things that perhaps an only child might not be in such a hurry to master. All pretty positive stuff!

On the other hand however, there are some things she copies that are a little frustrating! Just recently for example, my son decided he no longer likes to eat avocado. My daughter then tells me she also does not like avocado and refuses to eat any. If she and I are eating at lunchtime when my son is at school though, she will happily eat the avocado! This has happened with a few different foods. Likewise, if my son says he doesn't want to go somewhere, she will say the same or if he behaves in an unbecoming way, she will follow his lead and behave similarly. No fun for the parent in these cases!!

I realise at some point there will likely be a switch in her behaviour and far from wanting to do the same, my daughter may well decide she wants to do the complete opposite to my son. Undoubtedly, that will bring with it a whole new set of parenting challenges!

For now, I suppose my aim is to encourage the positive aspects to my daughter's copying and accept that the less endearing side is simply part of children being children and growing up in their own way, as they develop their own personalities.

Do your younger children copy their older siblings and to what effect?
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Thursday, 5 June 2014

What a difference a day makes

I couldn't resist stealing the song title for my blog post.... ;-).

Finding myself mother to a newborn again, I am reminded of the stark contrast in days you typically face in any given week. One day, you're feeling on top of your game, baby is doing text book naps, smiling and generally being a pleasure. Another day, it's the reverse, baby's grizzly, lots of crying, they only want to be held and you're exhausted and wondering when you'll ever get to sit or lie down for a rest.

If you are a mother who likes routine with your children, the moment you think you are slipping into a nice routine with baby, they'll show you otherwise! Or just as you are getting some decent stretches of sleep, you'll have a shocker of a night that leaves you feeling unable to make it through the next day....

The good news is, it usually is just an odd day here and there. Unless your child is unwell or teething, you both might have a bad day but the next day tends to be much better and you can catch your breath again! I try to remind myself of that when I am experiencing a bad day.

Yesterday for me was a tough day. I had had a much more disturbed night's sleep than I have got used to of late so I was exhausted starting off the day. I had no time for a shower in the morning which always makes me feel less agreeable. Baby was not napping very much during the day and crying more than normal (probably as a consequence of the not napping!) and when I tried to sneak into bed for a quick lie-down when both girls were napping, my baby immediately woke up. So there was no nap for me! I was dead tired, it was a rainy day, everything was a bit of a struggle.

Today has so far been the opposite. A good night's sleep, a shower this morning, got some jobs done before taking my son to school, the sun is shining, baby has done great naps, I'm feeling cheery, proactive and like a completely different person to yesterday. Of course by writing those sentences I may have just jinxed the rest of the day ;-).

The same can be said of parenting older children too. You can have a great day followed by one you would rather forget. However with the lack of daily structure that comes with a young baby, the differences are more pronounced I find.

A new day really does make a difference. Make the most of the good days and however much a struggle you might be having on a not so good day, remind yourself that the next day will be different again, even if it still might not be as perfect as you would like!
"Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day". ~Author Unknown
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