You know you’ve multiple kids when …

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• 6am wake up is a cause for celebration

• You turn up early to the next thing rather than go home and take kids out the car because by time you’ve done that it’s time to put them back in

  • Despite acting like a nodding dog all evening you make yourself stay up just long enough to convince yourself you have me time
  • Suspicious stains on your clothes are shrugged off as might be poo it might not be
  • New clothes become old clothes after one wear
  • The house is NEVER quiet and if it is they are either asleep when not meant to be, causing trouble or you passed out!
  • As soon as one is being good and quiet another starts!
  • Looking at someone is cause for a fight……. as is existing
  • You learn to let some things (ok everything) go because no one actually listens
  • There is less space anywhere especially sitting space
  • Bum and poo is mentioned every other sentence
  • There is more fun and laughter
  • There are more hugs

 

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Brothers

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Sometimes brothers are great…. L reading to R even though L can’t read yet.

Sometimes there is love…

……..Hugs…….

…….. and fun!

Sometimes they unite and look darn cute doing it.

Sometimes there’s a bit of rivalry (look at me R… NOooo look at ME!!!)

But at end of the day we like to be apart because we all hate each other, we don’t want to share and the only nice brother we have is a baby.

How deceptive are pictures. My day with a 9 year old, 4 year old and nearly 10 week old consists of moods from the pre teen, screams from the preschooler and the odd moan from the baby because he got woken up again.

Daylight is reserved for noise and nighttime is reserved for tiredly staring at the TV.

Late nights just to get some peace and early mornings because weekends are same as any other days.

The oddest part I keep adding kids … voluntarily and I don’t even drink!!

Places we go- for free

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Mere Sands Woods

We go here about 2-3 times a month. This is a small nature reserve consisting of woods surrounding a huge lake. There are about 3 routes to take with bird hides along the way to view the lake and its wildlife. Kids love the hides and its great for walking dogs aswell. There is wheelchair routes meaning prams can go aswell. On site is a shop where you can buy chocolate , drinks and gifts as well as the use of a toilet.

Parking charges do apply not making it free but you aren’t obliged to park and could park locally and walk up.

Ainsdale/Formby Pine Woods and Beach

Formby Pine woods does require an entry fee of around £5 however you can park locally for free and walk up or park at Ainsdale and enter at a different area. The pine woods are trees, paths and sand dunes that cover a huge area. They end up on Formby Beach which connects to various beaches sweeping the coastline. In summer ice cream vans park up and if you can find it in the maze of trees there is a play area.

 

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Once upon a time we lived a street away now we have to travel to get there. This building isn’t overly exciting for children but it is beautiful. The grounds slope down almost into a valley the perfect place to play and explore. Inside the cathedral is huge ceilings, gorgeous windows and various prayer rooms. The cathedral provides a trial for children to follow. There is a shop and cafe also with full disabled access. During half terms there is usually activities on for children including messy church.

Fairy Glen, Parbold

This place is amazing we didn’t walk the entire route as arrived a little late in the day. This place is hard to describe and not suitable for prams so take your sling. There are step stairways, ground level bridges to clear mini bogs, big bridge, fallen trees and amazing water ways deep in crevices. It is located at the top of Parbold hill and you can park opposite the entrance in a lay by. It’s breath-taking.

Liverpool City Centre

Liverpool is fantastic for kids and so many free things to do! Within the city centre you have the world museum, maritime museum and the world museum. The art gallery has a children’s area also. There is fun shops to visit too, the Disney store, Lego store where you can play and build a bear workshop!

 

Atkinson Centre 

The Atkinson houses the towns library with a large dedicated ares for children complete with a pirate ship and various groups held through the week.

Upstairs is the museum and art gallery. The museum is all about local history and includes computer to send old postcards of Southport, dress up area and a meccano display. You can follow a trial to find things along the way.

The gallery contains a children’s art area and recently held a Star Wars Toy display (pictured above)

Botanic Gardens, Churchtown

This is a local park originated from the Victorian era. There are birds to see which includes a peacock, rabbits and guinea pigs. You can walk round and feed the ducks, visit the play area, play mini golf or go to the cafe. You can also visit the shop there, buy plants and look inside the fernery. Every Christmas the fernery is transformed into a fairy wonderland and if you’re lucky Santa pays a visit too.

Throughout the year there is various things on including Victorian fairs, craft fairs and spooky Halloween activities. Through the summer the local brass bands come to play with chairs being set out and the ice cream hut opened,

Tarleton Boatyard and Canal

I grew up in Tarleton and we always visited the boatyard and walked along the canal. Further up is permanent boat moorings and a bridge to cross over and you can see the River Douglas. Keep walking and you end up in the next village. Great for taking a nice picnic but remember if you drive there you have to walk back.

Our Allotment

Last but not least we visit our allotment where we dig, weed, rest, plant and grow. We have a small pond which house 4 frogs, a lovely plum tree and raspberry canes to snack from.

From 1 to 2, 2 to 4

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Going from 1 to 2 kids was hard!! I would say harder than going from none to 1. With one you have all the time to rest, you only have yourself to feed and no urgency to getting dressed most days.

Suddenly with 2 you have a school run to perform EVERY day and even when you’re not doing that the little darling enjoys his early mornings.

When you no longer have one in a pram its like playing that game where you have to hit the lights and they are always opposite ends of the board! Mix in sleep deprivation and its like a mini workout daily.

Going from 2 to 4 kids was in some ways easy. I got this, I’m not worried if you don’t sleep or eat. I have learnt patience and I know this won’t last forever. Even the fact we’re officially outnumbered is fine. We got this.

But going on to have 4 children knowing my 3rd isn’t with us has made this a unique experience.

I worry more about death, I worry more about the speed in which time passes and I feel guilt at wanting some time to myself like I can’t miss a single moment.

Best bit my partner is no longer phased when I say one more?

Gender Stereotypes

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I have a few questions why are the following deemed girly: cupcakes, cats, bows, polka or any uniform dots, Peppa pig

My boys love cake. Sure they’d not want one on a top or socks but why do girls want them on clothes either? Cats can be either gender but tend to only feature on girls clothing usually pink, pink and with a bow or two.

Polka dots are generally a girl pattern. You don’t find boys polka dot anything but if you were to search for spotty dinosaur clothes it suddenly turns into a disorganised spotty boy fest. Well once you’ve rifled through a few girl bits because dinosaurs aren’t just for boys but cupcakes are definitely just for girls (unless you’re talking about real cake then its pretty even. Anyone see the logic here? please explain if you do…

Bows are another thing. Add some tails to a boy and its for girls and girl cats only. Take the tails off make it in black or blue and bingo it’s a boy’s bow tie which again girls can wear too! Tailed bows girls only, tailless bow ties both genders.

Lets move on to Peppa Pig. Now I’m not sad I can only find mostly girl Peppa pig clothing and it’s a relief in all honesty however she is a prime example of gender stereotyping. Girl pig on girl clothes, boy pig (George) on boy clothes. Why? What if a boy likes Peppa but not George is it tough cookies wear George or nothing?

Another thing that irritates me why is it automatic boys are into cars, trucks, bikes, pirates etc etc. Don’t get me wrong my boys loved car tops but more so the youngest than oldest. He was more into kitchen roleplay and glitter, but god forbid I would try to buy a food theme top (think cupcakes). Glitter is severely lacking in boy departments too!

Animals. I know we mentioned cats but animals in gender are subject to heavy stereotyping. Girls as we said get vats but they also get cute pale puppies, sweet fluffy penguins, butterflies, ladybirds, bunnies, leopard print, owls.. you need me to go on? Boys get lions (which I adore btw), tough looking dogs with grumpy faces or pirate outfits on, tigers, occasional panda, elephants, dinosaurs, snappy crocodiles and dark looking penguins and not so fluffy bears. Why are girls the only ones allowed pale fluffy animals and boys get bright or dark very clean-cut animals.

Ladybirds are another bug bear (you have got all day to read my rant right? good!) lady doesn’t mean only girls can have these spotty insects on their belongings. We don’t need to weed out the non-existent, unpink, inoffensive items. By offensive I mean ‘Little Lady’ or Pretty Little Ladybird. Now some of you are thinking jeez she’s touchy but I’ve always hated phrases which define kids in a certain way which adds to my current rant.

For boys: Little man, handsome like daddy, mummy’s little star. For girls: Pretty little thing, beautiful flower, daddy’s angel, cute like mummy. My son is NOT a little man I know this isn’t the worse thing in the world but it makes me cringe so so much and I refuse to call my child a mini/small/little man! He is handsome but my sons are also beautiful with gorgeous curls and pretty eyes. MY daughter is pretty and beautiful but she isn’t a thing (yes I did buy a top with this on purely for the colour despite the wording), she is no more a beautiful flower than her brothers and in fact her brothers were and still are regularly mistaken for girls because of the curly hair and sparkly eyes.

Cute like mummy for girls but boys can’t be cute and look like mummy? Try it on google images put cute like mummy in and 99% is pink clothing that pops up. Whereas Mummy’s little star is mostly gender neutral or boys clothing. Odd.

So at what point were dinosaurs and trucks for boys, rainbows, toadstools and cats for girls. There is so much emphasis on allowing girls to have dinosaur clothing, trucks on their pjs but it still conforms and ends up pink and purple. There however is nothing to allow boys to have flowers on their tops, rainbows adorning their trucks and a splash of pink glitter without it being pointed out .

Colours I have spoken about but they are another issue ok I understand and I think we all get pink is mostly a girl colour but why is purple? It’s near impossible to find purple boy clothing, at least without spending a fortune on alternative clothing or the odd Little bird item. Trust me I’ve tried! Its made up of blue and red which are classed as boy colours just as much as girls so why is the mix of the two suddenly girly.  Similarly green is often in the boy section and not so much the girls unless it’s very pale or teal then you can guarantee a puff sleeve and a bow renders it useless to boys.

I’m tired out now and still could go on! If I had the money and the energy I would love to create a boys clothing range that challenges gender stereotyping. I fear though that I too would succumb to the usually downfalls of clothing and would use minimum pink, minimum flowers and no butterflies.

Raising Veggies

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This week a subject came up about vegetarian children and the choice being forced upon them by parents. Some suggested it was unfair and the child needs a good meal in them suggesting meat!

I admit I got offended by this not only because it’s no-one else’s business but largely due to fact both my children were veggie till age 2. With my first I was vegetarian myself and despite craving ham I stayed away and when he got to weaning age he was fed veggie options.

In general he was a fussy eater so by age 2 I started giving him meat. My own mum would feed him mince and I would make him fish. His diet improved as did his eating habits.

Along came child number 2 and he isn’t meat eater at all. He enjoys a ham sandwich but otherwise prefers non meat meals including substitutes he’s just not that into it.

For our children it was partly our choice partly theirs. My eldest eats meat at school and gets the occasional bit of chicken at home. Youngest eats only ham sandwiches. Both are very healthy children with no health issues.

The second thing to consider is the enforcement of this diet by parents. What is so wrong with educating our children? At some point all children ask where does my sausage come from? Most don’t comprehend what that means but you get a veggie child who instead asks why are we/others vegetarian and you open a whole different subject.

Alina from We Made This Life agrees stating many told her she was forcing this onto her children but she asks aren’t meat eaters technically doing the same? Where the rule in the ‘How to be a human handbook’ that states we MUST eat meat?

Without going into detail you can explain and give them a much more informed decision about  others choices. Many parents I know give the child a choice about eating meat and many of these children chose to not eat it. Nicholas (from Global Mouse Travels) children are offered meat but say no

Kate’s Daughter from Living life our Way chose to go vegetarian herself! Kate herself wasn’t veggie and her daughters choice actually taught her and changed her eating habits. If a child chooses this step is it better somehow?

Milla from Live Oxfordshire is meat eater but offers her children a large amount of vegetarian foods compared to other meat-eating households may and as a result her child just like mine is showing preference to veggie food.

The other thing to consider when questioning our motives is surely our children wouldn’t eat it is they didn’t like it?

Not to get graphic but  a few years ago a child I looked after ate meat but was constipated basically all the time when her family swapped to more veggie meals this sorted itself. This is yet another factor no doctor will advise large meat intake for a child struggling in that way just as no doctor will say you MUST feed your child any meat at all!

Emma at Canny Food has written an article about a similar subject but she brings up her child Vegan which is includes no dairy products. (click her blog name to write the post). She also states she is in full contact with her doctor and a dietician and they have no issue with her choices due to her baby being healthy!

Jennifer over at My Mummies Pennies is the child who chose to go veggie at age 11. It’s just a phase, she’ll stop soon well she’s now 21 years later and I’m pretty sure the definition of a phase doesn’t cover 2 decades. She however decided her children could eat meat due to her husband being a meat eater yet they incorporate 3-4 meals a week that have no meat , because lets face it who wants to make 2 lots of meals 7 days a week!

Jenny at The Brick Castle is one the people I spoke to whose children are now adults. She says all 3 were brought up veggie and 2 have chosen to stay veggie! Children who were brought up this way, healthily, spoken to carefully about this choice and it’s resulted in adults who have stuck by that choice!!

One of my own decisions to not cook much meat at home is partly down to fact I’m not very good at it. I can’t add it to every meal and was never taught how. Fee at One of Each agrees if her veggie children chose to eat meat she wouldn’t be sure about cooking it. You could argue we aren’t teaching them to cook responsibly and it’s an important skill but how many of the meat-eating readers can say they could make a vegetarian meal they haven’t seen before and not include pastry and cheese in it ! Fee also states it made sense for her to raise her children to be veggie than to feed them meat and the children regret that choice later on if they decide to stay veggie.

Another family with children given meat and veggie option where one chooses meat and one choose veggie is Mummy’s Little Stars. They eat regular Quorn based meals as well as the odd ham sarnie and pepperoni pizza.

Katie at Mummy in a Tutu has the situation were her and the child’s father spilt. She states that the dad allows their child to be vegetarian but she is adamant it must be her daughters decisions and not the parents.

I agree some parents are irresponsible and many just don’t have the education to feed a child a decent diet nevermind meat free.

Did you know the Food Standards for schools states that every school HAS to have at least one veggie option every day available? Does your local/child’s school offer vegetarian because they should be. This food standards is a government requirement.

None of us are saying meat eating is wrong everyone has openly said it is their choice and they don’t feel we as a race need meat to survive but we also don’t want to say you are wrong offer a chicken leg or a beef steak so why should we have to put up with opinionated comments.

It’s important to not confuse the news stories about vegan children dying due to their diet, or the local preschool kid who looks so skinny and pale purely because she needs a good meaty meal in her. I’m not denying it’s not diet related but simply feeding a child a sausage doesn’t solve health problems related to diet.

According to the NHS Eatwell Guide Protein is needed less than vegetables and carbohydrates. The guide states vegetables and carbohydrates should make up 33% each of your daily diet milk and other dairy being 15% and meat being only 12%.

Foods containing protein are:

Eggs, nuts, pulses, beans, tofu as well as meat. It is recommended to eat less red meat as too much can lead to bowel cancer and to eat lean meats that are lower in fat.

Other advantages to vegetarian diet are you have a naturally lower fat diet and often the protein alternatives are higher in protein that meat.

Whatever your choice we are all getting it right as long as our children are healthy and happy.

Boys CAN wear pink!!!

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I know I’ve mentioned this before but boys can wear pink in fact pink looks great on boys!

In victorian times pink was for boys and sometimes between then and now it became a girl colour and totally taboo to put it near boys.

So here’s my little selection of boys can wear pink

Raglan top from H&M. I bought this online and this is fresh out the packet. It is duskier than I expected but I love it and matched with jeans will look great. You could get a nice vinyl very cheaper to make it more gender specific if you like. I’m toying with getting boys can wear pink to iron on .

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You could make your own clothing and add a flash of pink without it being all about the pink. Team with plain gender neutral trousers and let the shirt speak for itself.

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You could also get around the whole pink thing by buying dark pink trousers. This dark pink is more of a purple pink than a in your face girly pink. Teamed with a ‘boy’ top and no one will be looking at you weird just in awe of your epic styling. These are from Debenhams.

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You could incorporate it in a subtle way in other things like blankets. I planned to do the odd flower because you can’t have Totoro without nature and flowers are nature. But then it struck me how ace the soot sprite would look against a dark pink (2nd row, 2nd from left) without it taking over or being odd. Click the picture to access a free bobble alphabet to crochet and the link to this blanket pattern.

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You could also buy items that have pink added in nicely like stripey fabric or socks like this set that is aimed at either gender and this set.

Even just a line of pink topstitching could be enough for you.

If you still can’t face pink on boys why not make stuff you will be using and make it girly because technically it’s yours. Click the pictures or the tutorials.

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