TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Instilling Confidence

How do you instill Confidence in you children?

I shall set the scene and maybe you my readers can help me.
Tonight we went to visit our local Army Cadet centre. Son has been talking about wanting to join Royal engineers after finishing school, so it made sense to me to try and join the cadets as this will give him chance to experience a little of what he may expect later in life. While there daughter asked a lot of questions, i got all of the information we needed to join while son stood very quietly looking shy and nervous. The Staff there were lovely and made us feel very welcome. They agreed that it would be a good idea and that son would get over his shyness quickly and have a really good time.

Once home, Son was very quite and after sending daughter to bed i chatted with him and found out he wasn't sure what he wanted to do now. His view is that he couldn't do it, he couldn't remember it all, he'd never be good enough. I tried to re-assure him that he was and that he would learn everything needed.
Not long after i had  tucked both children in bed and was downstairs to do some chores. Daughter came down about 10 mins later to say son was crying. Son doesn't cry very often, not even when hurt so this was strange.

He was crying about the same things we had talked about downstairs. He he been 'kicked out' of Gifted and Talented as he put it. And therefor he can't do the GCSE he wants to do as you are invited to do it. That then means you can't do the courses at Uni he wants to and work where he wants. He's also worried that by changing his mind and not joining the Engineers he will let his dad down.

How do you console a child who's hormones are now beginning to work properly, and who's convinced he's not good enough. It broke my heart to hear him. My son is a warm, caring, talented and very intelligent child and now sudden;y he feels not good enough. One thing i do know is that it doesn't come from any bullying. I have always told him that i don't care what job he does as long as he's happy. And that if anyone tries to tell him he's not good enough then they can come and answer to me.
Yet this doesn't seem to be enough. So what do we as parents do to encourage our children and boost their confidence?


Monday, 26 November 2012

Mums on strike day 2

This is day 2 of my strike and things have moved on quite a lot. Daughter was basically ignoring the fact that i was not doing anything, and getting on with things the way she wanted to. I knew this would be the case as she is as stubborn as me, and when she has started the proper teen years we will have some major clashes.

Son came home and went told about it he was pretty much the same, except he said he would last longer before giving in. My response was basically we'll wait and see. I know that despite his stubbornness (yes they both get that from me) he will give in quite quickly.

True to form it came to dinner, Daughter made herself a packet of noodles- something she had asked for specially. I only occasionally allow it as i feel its too salty. Son went to make himself a packet of pasta- the type where you add the water and cook it, the sauce is in it already. He started making it and an argument ensued over a measuring jug.
Once daughter had cooked her noodles i went to make my jacket potato and salad. Son came over, gave me a big hug and said he couldn't cope with it. He was sorry and would start helping. "Please mummy come off strike" he sobbed at me.

This ended quicker than i thought. The compromise has so far been drawing up a new rota. And for each set chore they have we have each signed it so there is no arguing that they didn't agree to it.
I added that for every chore they do i will do something but if i see them not doing what they agreed to and helping with extra bits when i feel too bad, then i will stop too.

Today daughter came home and looked round the living room- "Why is it so messy in here mummy?"
Yoda had been tearing paper up, dragging things all over the floor. My answer was simply "Neither of you have done any chores so far, therefor neither have i." Daughter was not impressed!!

I wouldn't say i am now not on strike, but things have eased and a few things will get done.
Watch this space.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mum is on strike Day 1

Over the last week things with the children has been awful. Their behaviour over hepling and attitude with rudeness has got to the point where it was the straw. So today after being told by youngest that i am a lazy mother i decided to take action.
The normal punishments of grounding and taking things away, stopping all privileges and early bedtimes have no results at all. I am adopting an attitude of a mother i read about in America. Its drastic and many people were up in arms about it, but after a week her children suddenly sat up and noticed and the shock tactics worked.

As of today i am on complete strike. I will literally do nothing for them, apart from Opticians for Rhys as he has to go with an adult tomorrow.

Now up to this point i have instilled a lot of Independence into my children as they can manage simple cooking, they know how to use the washing machine and they do take themselves to school and back. So for the first few days they will be OK and won't starve.

I am hoping that the shock will really kick in when they can't get to gym, or when it is tipping down and they will get soaked on the way to school.
Although they can wash their clothes they never bring them downstairs so they will run out of them soon enough and the biggest thing of all is the dishes- we have already used most of them before the weekend and all this really started. I'm estimating we have a couple spoons and side plates left until they are all spread on the kitchen side dirty.

The news of my strike has gone down like a lead balloon and they are arguing over who's fault it is- so far no changes.

I will keep my readers updated on the daily changes (if there are any) now i am off to make myself some dinner and get myself a drink.

Good evening all

Dragons: real or myth

A creature i have loved for a long time is Dragons, particularly Gold dragons. I feel a connection to them. Some say this is silly because they are only mythical creatures and from stories. Some say they really existed but is times gone by. There are those anthropologists who say that we have evidence of their real existence from living animals now, as they have developed over thousands of years. and there are another group of people who believe that out there somewhere remote dragons do actually live.

I personally am not bothered by anyones thoughts or beliefs on this, i like them and think of them as strong protectors in my life.
The picture below is how i see my protector in my minds eye.

Admittedly this is a little more cartoon like than i really see but having looked through countless pictures on the Internet this is the closest i could find. If i had some skill in drawing i would do so myself and upload that, but people who know my would agree i can't draw for toffee.
I call her darling. During my meditations i talk to her ask her to watch over me and guide me in life with all the decisions i make. I like to think that i don't go far wrong. but as with everything i do have a very strong will and i know i do go the wrong way from time to time. but eventually i get back on course and pootle along quite happily.
So any readers out there; what are your thoughts on dragons, and do you have an animal that you feel strongly connected to as a guide.
 I look forward to your comments,
C x

Monday, 19 November 2012

Update on the dog sitting

What a few days it has been and we're now half way through!

We've had some drama's and some laughs. The bad could have been really bad and the laughs have been down right funny.

for now I'm going to share some pictures of the doggies enjoying each others company.

The bad times we have had have been the two of them getting used to each other, and the fact that they are both jealous of each other. Whenever the other one wants to come near me, i play referee. Yoda is very protective of his mummy, and Marley is protective over his friend and they are not willing to share.
Over the last few days this has changed and they have warmed to each other to the point of playing. Its in a strange manner and needs supervision, but it works for them. Yoda is on the sofa and Marley is on the floor. I have videod it and its so very funny to watch, Marley is trying to be gentle but being so big he forgets and starts to jump on the sofa. Yoda just yaps away as he does when he plays with his sister and mum.
Playing outside is a great deal of fun, they both chase after the ball, and when Marley gets it, Yoda come running back before Marley can turn round. Its almost as though he knows once Marley does then he'll be squashed under the stamped.
Now they are both peacefully sleeping after their evening walk and play on the sofa/floor. Roll on tomorrow for another exciting day for them.

Do you sleep better alone or with children at home?

This is something i have been thinking about for a long time, and i thought i would see what my readers thought.

I am in the situation where my children go to see their dads every 2 weeks, the other goes 3 weekends out of 4. In between those times i am basically on my own with them. I do have a fantastic support network of friends and family, but at the end of the day evenings and night items i am alone.

I find i sleep much better when they are not home, or in the mornings when they have gone to school.
Its almost as if my brain is saying 'ok you can relax now'. I have now wondered for a long time, is this something that affects other single parents or am i just weird?

Having said that, does this affect parents who get the odd weekend away from their children when they go to friends or family members for the night?

Look forward to hearing your views dear readers


Friday, 16 November 2012

Dog Sitting

This next week will be an interesting one.

I am dog sitting for a lovely friend of mine. The dog i will be looking after is a German shepherd. It does raise a chuckle, the thought of him with Yoda a long coat Chihuahua. The size difference is massive. Yoda is only 6 and 1/2 months so far and not fully grown so there is a bigger difference than with an adult.

Things are going well so far, they were introduced slowly. We had a bad moment when sharing treats, i had Yoda in my arms and knelt down so they were on the same level. Marley wanted Yoda's treat as well as his own. Something that's fairly normal for dogs, they don't really want to share treats.

Today we went for a walk to the local field and they were both let off. it was great to see both of them chasing after the Frisbee. My friend joined us with her 3 dogs and they all played together nicely for a while. It was very wet on the field though so we didn't stay long. It was back to mine for a cuppa, well deserved too!

That was when things got a little trickier.... Marley was trying to play with the puppies in the house, something a little difficult since my living room isn't the largest and i have lots of furniture in there. Then we had the jealousy too when i had all the small dogs on my lap- Marley wanted to come too. Not possible you say, and i agree with it. But the dogs thought they could fight a little. Things got a little tense when Marley snapped back.

It seems that i have loyal friends in all of them, and they all want me to have them as my favourite.

I thought it was only my little baby that was jealous. I feel most honoured by this, and don't know what i have done to earn this love and loyalty to them. if anything i am very strict on them and insist on impeccable behaviour.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Latest show pictures of Yoda

This top picture is Yoda when we went to a show in Kent. As can be seen from the various rosettes he gained places from 1st to reserve and we came home with 8 rosettes in all.
The bottom picture is of Yoda this last weekend at a limited show, he gained 2nd place in the toy open class.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Book Review: Sarah Quanli by Jackson Keene


The beautiful yet deceitful Rossalyn McDonald had twisted the knife deep in David Adam MacDougall’s big heart. He was extraordinarily handsome: chiseled muscles, kindly soul, thoughtful personality, and totally faithful. Any other lass in his Scottish Highlands village would have cheated her own sister to become his bride.

Now David’s entire being felt broken into a thousand pieces. Now he only wanted to reach the faraway city of Beiping China where he was called to be a missionary. But before arriving in that mysterious mistress of the orient, he would face uncertain dangers.

The year is 1904. The bloody Boxer Rebellion is only four years past. Much of northern China still seethes with undercurrents of resentment and hatred of all things Western. If David can just make it to the ancient city with body and soul intact, if he can just survive, there he’ll find his new purpose, his new home, and his new people.

There, he’ll meet the woman he comes to believe is the love of his life. The lithe, athletic, saucy, highly intelligent and equally independent Xiu Li!

My Thoughts:

I very much enjoyed the book, i liked the way it was written in the style of a true story. It reminded me of the Autobiography of "Tisha" The story of Anne Hobbs who was a young teacher who went to the wilds of Alaska make a difference. It also reminded me of the story of the nun who worked as a missionary in China, sh led 100 children to safety and was part of the unbinding of the women's feet. Forgive me if i can't recall the name of the book or the lady it was about.

I very much like reading about people who gave up everything to go and work in remote places against all odds to make a difference.

I give this book a 5/5

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Author Interview with Jackson Keene for new Book Sarah Quanli


Q. There are all kinds of fiction genres that authors write for.  You’ve written two books (NOLICHUCK, and now SARAH QUANLI) in the vein of historical fiction.  Why is that?


Having earned undergrad and grad degrees in history, plus having spent a year toward a doctorate in same, I’ve always had a healthy fascination with long ago events and individuals (whether common folk or famous personages), with major trends and traditions, and how such evolved through time. 

Q. Please go into more detail why the historical genre appeals to you so much.


It’s interesting to dig deep into how people carried on – how they managed – during the great epochs of past; how they lived, loved, survived, overcame, left legacies and lineages to continue their name and blood-line.  How each generation is beholden to the last, but still tasked with creating its personal stamp for the next generation to come. 

Q. What are the major elements that come to play in the story behind SARAH QUANLI?  What led you to include those specific aspects in your narrative?


I’ve loved and played the sport of basketball since childhood.  I greatly like Chinese people and China as a country.  In fact, I have several Chinese friends with whom I play pick-up basketball games most every week.  In addition, I’m an evangelical Christian.  Plus, I love action and adventure, both in movies and in reading.  I’m also a very passionate (highly romantic) person.  So it almost seems natural I would write an historical novel with romance and danger that combines all these things into a unified story.

Q. So what makes SARAH QUANLI so uniquely different from other historical romances?

In some ways, the continuing saga of SARAH QUANLI has elements of both The Good Earth and East of Eden.  It’s all about the lives and loves of several generations of a Chinese family, begun when a handsome Scottish missionary marries a beautiful Chinese girl.  The newly published Book One covers the time period from the birth of David Adam MacDougall in 1882 to the birth of his first child, a daughter, named Sarah Quanli MacDougall in 1916. 

Q. Will there be other books in the story of SARAH QUANLI?

Yes.  Books Two, Three, and Four – still to come – will take the reader through the brutality and turmoil of strife-torn twentieth century China, and later, concurrently, through the social upheaval of the 1960s and beyond in golden California.      

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Book Review: The Rock Star's Daughter by Caitlin Duffy

The Rock Star's Daughter (Treadwell Academy, #1)

At the age of 15, Taylor Beauforte has only met her father twice in person. After all, he is the lead singer of a world-famous rock band, constantly on the cover of music magazines and giving interviews on MTV. He pays for Taylor to attend the Treadwell Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts, and provides her mother with monthly checks to cover her basic needs, but has never made much of an effort to play an active part in Taylor’s life. Taylor's mom Dawn is the only family she has ever really known, and because of Dawn's hard-partying Hollywood lifestyle, studious Taylor is happiest on the other side of the country in Massachusetts with her nose buried in a book.
When Taylor 's mom unexpectedly dies the summer before Taylor starts her junior year, she receives a crash course in fame. She has no choice but to join her father and his new family on their summer concert tour before she has even had a chance to mourn the loss of her mother. Life as the daughter of a rock star seems like it would be enviable, but Taylor can't figure her dad out. He seems like a supportive authority figure (even if he's kind of a fashion tragedy) , but she is collecting a growing pile of evidence that he's a liar and a cheat. Her stepmother, Jill, can’t seem to decide if she wants to treat Taylor like a girlfriend or a nuisance. Having had no time to grieve and say goodbye to her childhood before being thrust into the limelight, Taylor is suddenly finding herself in situations she could have never imagined before this summer.
With no one else to turn to, Taylor falls head over heels in love with Jake, the teenage son of one of the band's touring groupies. Taylor has growing concerns about Jake's background and the suspicious relationship between his mom and her own father, but is desperate for something real in her life onto which she can build a future. When Jake offers Taylor an opportunity to join him on a whirlwind adventure and leave her problems with her father far behind, Taylor has to decide – should she carve out her own way in the world, or try to repair the relationship she has with her only living parent?
Over the course of the summer with the band, Taylor learns the depths of her own strength, the difficulty of overcoming loss, and that the definition of family means much more than shared bloodlines.

My Thoughts

I wanted to read this book when i cam across it in the free books section of Amazon Kindle, because despite how think of my daughter still being a little girl, she is growing up. It won't be long before she's out of the Jacqueline Wilson books and into something more grown up, and this seems to fit the romance type book for a teenage girl.
When i was a teenager it was sweet valley high books, but like it or not the world has moved on and children nowadays are growing up more quickly.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book, i would recommend it for a teen younger than at least 14 since the subject of drinking and nightclubs is involved and the mention of drugs does come in a couple of times. But on the whole i think the author has dealt with the subject of being a teenage girl who is naive, being thrown into a world she doesn't understand and dealing with the grief of her mum dying very well. She has shown the mixed up emotions of all the changed that the teen encounters, how she tries to please her peers, the instant love that teens all feel on seeing a boy they fancy, the grief from parents too wrapped up in herself.
Within this book she has packed a lot of emotions and topics dealt with in a changing emotional state, yet somehow managed to keep the realism of it.

I would be quite happy with my daughter reading this once she has reached around 14

My rating is a 4/5