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Posts Tagged ‘child’s climbing frame


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Celebrate the small victories. Have they been fed? Put to bed? Are they clothed at all? {Dirty, clean, matching…it doesn’t matter.} Are they chattering, smiling, maybe even singing? If the answer is yes to any of these, you’ve done something right. Scooper.

Sometimes at night I dream that my son looks underfed, dirty and is really unhappy because I haven’t looked after him properly.  I think that this may stem from the fact that his umbilical cord was very narrow causing him to be tiny at birth and for many years he only tended to eat until his tummy was full.  Everyone always commented on how small he was and I really felt as if I was failing in some way because I didn’t try to force him to eat more than he could manage. His small stature meant that although he had all of the motor skills necessary do do things he didn’t have the strength or height.  I overcame this hurdle by waiting until he felt ready to do things – such as using the toilet instead of the potty or climbing up climbing frames.  He was never behind -just left it until the last minute. He has finally started to catch up with his peers and no longer stands out as noticeably smaller – also he uses words like starving, his appetite has finally exploded and he gets wakened by growing pains which is fantastic.

My son never looked like Oliver Twist and except for the minor little things that upset young children like; having to go to bed, me not letting him have the contents of Amazon’s warehouse or asking him to tidy his bedroom, he is a happy little boy. I often wonder if other mothers have dreams like that or it is just me being weird. Alistair is a cautions child which means that he will eventually be able to climb to the top of play tower and use the slide but not as quickly as some of the younger more daring children.  Luckily my son doesn’t get bothered about admitting that he can or can’t do something and seems to anticipate that eventually he will be able to do it.

All children are different, as are all mothers, they way my friends bring up their children will have similarities but will have many fundamental differences due to our own life experiences.  Alistair often claims that I am not very caring when he falls over and hurt himself compared to other mothers who rush to stop the tears.  This probably stems from me having to deal with other people’s children and trying to chivvy them along.  I also continuously do risk assessments of what my son is doing in my head with the intention of letting him takes risks in safety – sometimes this looks as if I am just letting him walk into danger when in fact I am ready to pounce like a cat to stop him from hurting himself too much.

I put the quote from a blog by Lisa Jo Baker because it made me realise that all our children want from us is for us to be there and deal with their basic needs.  One day we will solve our odd sock problem (I have a pack of seven new ones that I bought for the new term but have lost them already) and maybe he will stop being Oliver Twist in my dreams.

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Is it my imagination or does Christmas seem to get earlier every year?  As a child I used to get so excited for Christmas that I would be sick while waiting.  Now of course I can hold my nerve and the passage of time has made me much less excited about the big event.  Now Christmas is one big to do list that must be completed by the 25th of December or else.

At the moment I am ticking off the PTA Christmas Fair list and have discovered that who ever devised the way we contribute to the stalls must be really good with money because we buy; three items for a hamper, a prize for a tombola and sweets to fill a plastic cup.  Then we buy; tickets so we can try to win a hamper, tickets to win a prize on the tombola and buy our sweets back.  On top of all of that we have to bake cakes – I think I will just buy some and sprinkle them with icing sugar.

Another to do list is making sure that I have organised Alistair’s Christmas presents so that he gets everything that is acceptable for him to have without either spoiling him or ruining his life because he didn’t get the desired piece of plastic he forgot to ask for.  I think I have got it sorted – it is just a matter of tying up lose ends. He is having more inside presents this year and maybe we will look into buying a child’s climbing frame for him next year, but you just never know what the next big thing may be.

I am in the process of trying to be really inventive with Christmas presents I buy for family members and have gone down the home made route in the past but I think people actually prefer mass produced stuff from China or really expensive items that I am not prepared to buy.  I will get there in the end and we will all pretend that we like our presents and put them away until the next Christmas Fair to be used as a raffle prize – only joking!

Christmas cards are one of those things that are becoming increasingly expensive to give – certainly you can buy loads of cards for a cheap price but the cost of a stamp just makes sending cards remarkably expensive.  Am I sounding like Scrooge yet?  I also manage to think about them in good time and then get a guilty conscience and send loads out.

Buying a present for my husband has to be the most difficult task on the planet, not only is he difficult to buy for he is also difficult to please and finds it virtually impossible to hide his disappointment when it is a bad choice.  No doubt I will probably miss the mark and choose something wholly inappropriate.

This Christmas we have decided to have a toned down affair and spend it quietly as our small family so thankfully Christmas day will not be too frantic and I will be able to spend time with my boys.


When I was about two years old a man told my grandmother that I would make a good rugby player – when she informed him that I was actually a girl he just said, ‘Pity help you then’. I proceeded to be a pretty fearless person who was quite prepared to risk physical injury to do what I wanted, in fact I have broken my nose so many times that it has actually become straight again.  I managed to avoid any serious injury but did sprain my wrist while putting the breaks on when I went over a ramp – I never did that again.  When I was a child I used to love climbing trees and getting into territorial battles with other groups of children relating to the ownership of our den.  In fact we were definitely more, ‘Lord of the Flies’, than Cbeebies.

As a young adult I have tried climbing, abseiling, caving, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and many other activities that involve a calculated risk.   I always considered bruises to be a sign of being adventurous and had no hesitation in showing off amazing purple patches on my legs and arms to show how courageous I had been.  However since having my son I get really bothered if he has bruises or evidence of risk taking on his body for fear that it looks like I haven’t been looking after him properly. Even my own mother worries about him hurting himself in a way she didn’t when I was a child.  My son doesn’t seem to have inherited my fearless genes and tends to consider the consequences of every action meaning that he always takes calculated risks.  I am having to quash my protective instinct and actively allow him to get hurt and scared in playgrounds and in the countryside so that he can learn from his own mistakes.

The Early Years is the most important time in a child’s initial development and although the government has being producing a nicely decorated early years curriculum apparently children are still not prepared for school at five years old.  This is after they have spent a year in nursery and a year at school, does this indicate that the educational environment is not conducive with the way a child develops?  Maybe children really can’t learn in a mass production environment after all.   The Government perpetually makes staying at home to look after your own child either financially impossible or socially unacceptable.  Studies are starting to show that children from deprived areas are going to underachieve in schools whether the school is graded, ‘Outstanding’, or lower.  This really points to a child’s crucial learning time to take place within the home environment, the government however has made this increasingly difficult for parents who need advice and assistance by either closing or reducing the hours of Sure Start Centres that provide valuable information on how to help your children learn and develop.

Everything in life is quantifiable and graded in a way that a child can be given a grading at five years old.  In order to grade a child you have to make the environment they are in clinical and organised and play becomes formal rather than spontaneous episodes of learning.  No child ever learned to walk by sitting still and listening – they took risks and persevered until they achieved their goal.  The only way a child can learn about their own body and world around them is by taking risks and experimenting with every aspect of their being.  For many years failing was part of the learning process but now children have to achieve their goals or they have failed in some way.  A school is a failure if their SATs results aren’t up to scratch but you can’t grade compassion and emotional support.

The only way we can ensure that children have the opportunity to take physical risks away from the academic intensity is by giving them the opportunities when they are at home.  We all cannot afford to have a child’s climbing frame in the garden, some don’t even have a garden so it is fundamentally important that there is provision made in the form of communal playgrounds for parents to allow their children to take risks in a safe environment.  Growing up is about knowing your strengths and weaknesses  and being able to interact with people who are friendly and of course those who are hostile.  There is nothing like a confrontation in the playground to teach you about human nature.  We need to stop over protecting our children and let them learn from their own mistakes and the education system need to remind itself how we do learn in those exciting early years!

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The Child’s climbing frame featured in our main picture is available from www.playdalegarden.co.uk.


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