Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Sudocrem and the NSPCC

Sudocrem Nappy Rash cream are celebrating their 80th birthday this year and have decided to celebrate by trying to raise a massive £25,000 for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) and their All Babies Count campaign and they need YOUR help!!!

Sudocrem will donate 50p to the NSPCC for every "LIKE" on the Sudocrem Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/Sudocrem.

Sudocrem are pledging to donate £25,000 to help protect babies and prevent abuse to children. Last week, your likes secured a further £1,000 donation, let's try and do the same this week. Please share this exciting news.

A few seconds of your time could make such a big difference. Please, please help by sharing this page on Facebook, telling friends, family and anybody else you know who could help. It doesn't cost you a single penny but could make such a difference in a child's life.

So please go to their facebook page, like it and then share their status with your friends and together we can all help the NSPCC raise vital funds to help every single child at risk!

Monday, 30 January 2012

One Born Every Minute & Netmums - Conception

I've always been pretty lucky and managed to get pregnant easily, all it's taken is a knowing look from hubby and I've suddenly found myself expecting again. It's also probably the reason I have 4!!!

I remember finding out I was pregnant with #1. I was soooo excited as all I'd ever wanted to be was a mum. I was 25 and engaged to hubby and we'd been together over a year and engaged most of that time.

The first person I told was my SIL. We had planned on taking my nephew and her son to the beach and one look at my face and she knew!!! But how to tell hubby he was about to become a dad? I wanted to do it a special way, one that he wouldn't ever forget, so I went to a local card shop and bought a Congratulations card and inside I wrote Congratulations daddy. I can't wait to meet you in 9mths time!" I put my positive test inside the card and asked the woman behind the counter to write his name on the card as I knew he would recognise my hand writing. 

My parents were upset, they always believed that a child should be born in wedlock, but they soon got over it and were excited about their new grandchild. 

Just after I found out I was pregnant I had to go for an ultrasound which had been organised before I found out I was pregnant. I decided it was best to tell them I was pregnant and they were pleased but she did make a comment that she was glad I told her and already knew because she never knew how to tell people she'd found a baby in case they didn't know and didn't want it.

The pregnancy passed with no trouble and I didn't suffer from any morning sickness or anything else and finally, 4 days after my due date I went into labour (after 3 days of being induced) and my beautiful son was born naturally with a little help from forceps. 

By the time DS was one I found myself pregnant again, but tragedy struck at 13wks when I miscarried and needed to be air lifted to hospital as I was haemorrhaging.  Disappointed all I could think about was getting pregnant again and I asked the doctor how long did I have to wait following my D&C before I tried for another baby. I was told to have at least one menstrual cycle and after a small period 2 weeks later I tried again and whilst camping at the Lake District a month later I found out I was pregnant. I remember my mum making a comment when we came home from our camping trip about how she hoped I had conceived whilst away and I was thrilled to tell her I had and when I was 3mths pregnant we finally tied the knot!

I had another smooth pregnancy and a week after my due date and 2 weeks after DS' 2nd birthday, my beautiful daughter was born by an emergency c-section as she was wedged in my pelvis. I also worked out that because of the miscarriage I had been pregnant for 55wks with just a 2wk gap in between!!!

Around DD1's 1st birthday I again found out I was pregnant and apart from a short spell in hospital with high blood pressure (caused by stress) I had an easy pregnancy and when DD1 was 20mths old, DD2 was born 6 days early by VBAC (Virginal Birth After Caesarean). 

After having 3 I decided I didn't want anymore and it was really strange on DD2's 1st birthday not to be pregnant! Shortly after her 2nd birthday I found myself wanting one more and before I knew it I was pregnant again. 

This time the pregnancy wasn't easy at all. I had some spotting around the time I found out I was pregnant and ended up in hospital for 3 days because the size of the baby didn't match my dates (I had an early scan because of the spotting and was measuring at 4wks and not the 6wks I should have been). I also developed Gestational Diabetes, even though I had always passed the glucose intolerance test and I ended up having to inject myself with insulin 3 times a day. I was finally induced at 38wks and the baby (DD3) arrived 13 days early again by VBAC. the gestational diabetes did disappear but last year I discovered it had returned. 

This post is being shared on Netmums

Stressful Sunday

It's been a bit of a stressful weekend here in the Really Rachel household!

I had to come home early from work on Saturday as the baby wasn't very well, throwing up everywhere and wouldn't settle for her daddy just crying for her mummy and then just after I got home hubby himself was sick and took himself off to bed leaving me to sort out all 4 children, including one who kept being sick.

Sunday was pretty much the same, hubby was feeling better but the baby was still burning up and being sick, she couldn't keep anything down bless her so it was very lucky she is still breastfeeding as she was able to tolerate that.

Then during the afternoon DD2 came into the lounge and announced
"I can see better now, I can see everyone!" and after a minute I realised what she was talking about. She'd cut her long fringe that we'd nearly finished growing out!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Mission Impossible - Cheaper Car Insurance

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save money and find cheaper car insurance. This tape will self destruct in five seconds!"

Recently I got my car insurance renewal form for our 10 year old 1.9 diesel 7-seater car and the renewal had jumped from £400 to £600 and to pay monthly it had gone to £800. 

A massive increase of 200%!!! And to make it worse, I have no points, penalties or endorsements and 10 years no claims history and I only do about 7000 miles a year. So to find my renewal so high was a shock.

I knew I could get it cheaper so I compared prices (and got cashback for doing so) using these I found quotes from £400-£600 which was a lot cheaper than my renewal.

Eventually I decided to go with Tesco Insurance as I got a further discount for being a member of staff and this brought the insurance down to just under £400 and that included paying monthly so I halved my insurance.

I'm still a long way from the record of a years fully comprehensive car insurance of 96p from 2009 but overall I'm happy with it 

For more information, read Martin Lewis' guide at MoneySavingExpert

Thursday, 26 January 2012

15 Kids and Counting - Sibling Rivalry

The other night hubby and I again watched 15 Kids and Counting and it featured two different families. 

One of them was the Lewis family.

The Lewis family are a family of 13, where 12 daughters outnumber one son. All the daughters, as well as the usual sibling rivalry, have the additional rivalry of competing against each other in beauty pageants. 

Now I'm blessed with 3 daughters, but I would never push them into entering beauty competitions, not because they won't win cos they would, but because I wouldn't want them to compete against each other. Siblings, especially ones in large families, have enough competition and rivalry just fighting for attention and to be heard amongst the family without the additional competitions of beauty pageants. 

However I don't really agree with them in the first place, children grow up too quickly as it is, without having the pressure to look older and more beautiful. Childhood should be a time for playing and getting dirty, not worrying about what you look like and whether you fit a certain mold. 

Yet usually its the mother who is pushing their daughters into these competitions in the first place, trying to live the life they want through their daughters instead of letting their daughters do what they want!

If my daughter came to me and said she wanted to enter one, I would support her throughout it, but I wouldn't push her into one. 

Children grow up much too quickly and they should be allowed to be children for as long as possible

You're STILL Breastfeeding???

Why is it, when you tell people you're still breastfeeding after the baby's 1st birthday or worse yet after their 2nd, people are so shocked and assume because they're still breastfeeding, they will be when they start school!!!

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things, but isn't for everyone. Everyone knows that Breast is Best, but sometimes for whatever reason you either can't or don't breastfeed. I was unsuccessful in breastfeeding my oldest two, but DD2 breastfed until she was 2yrs 8mths when I was pregnant with the baby and the baby is still breastfeeding at 2yrs 1mth.

Yet everyone is shocked that I'm still doing it and I get constant advice that I should wean her, that she doesn't need it anymore and I'm only doing it because I get the comfort of breastfeeding her (whoever said that has obviously never tried breastfeeding a toddler!). Yet if you tried telling my 2yr old "No booby" she would tantrum for it.

Why should I force her to wean before she is ready, she obviously still needs it or wouldn't want it. I see in shops now that they're making formula for toddlers, but why is that seen as acceptable but breastfeeding is not.

People also assume that she no longer gets any benefit from my breastmilk, yet although there has been little research done on children who breastfeed past the age of 2, there is available information which shows that breastfeeding is still a valuble source of nutritian and immunity for as long as the breastfeeding continues. 

Breastfed children, even those who are still breastfed beyond the ages of 1 and 2, are in general more healthy and get sick less. 

But it's not just the babies that benefit from extended breastfeeding, it can also lower the risk of certain cancers (breast, ovarian etc) as well as other health benefits.

So I am PROUD to say "Yes I am still breastfeeding and I will until she decides to self wean!" 

For more information have a look at Kellymom

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Happy Valentines Day???

Now I know what you're all thinking... Why am I following this blog, the woman's mad!!! Everyone knows Valentine's Day isn't until the 14th Febuary

So I'm going to let you into a little secret... one that's closely guarded by the Welsh...

We have our OWN Valentine's day, every year on the 25th January and you will often hear people in Wales saying "Dwi'n dy garu di (I love you)" as they wish each other a Happy St Dwynwen Day.

But who was Dwynwen and why do the Welsh celebrate her day?

Dwynwen lived during the 5th centuary and was one of King Brychan Brucheiniog's 24 daughters and also the prettiest. Now the King arranged for Dwynwen to marry another prince, but Dwynwen had fallen in love with Maelon Dafoldrill. Her father was furious and forbade Dwynwen to marry Maelon, insisting she married the groom he had chosen. 

Dwynwen was distraught and begged God to help her forget him and in her sleep she was visited by an angel who brought a sweet potion designed to make her forget Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. 

God then gave Dwynwen three wishes. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed, her second was that she would never marry and her third was that God would meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers. God agreed to her wishes and as a mark of thanks Dwynwen gave her life to God and became a nun, living the rest of her life in His service, founding a convent in Llanddwyn, Anglesey (an island in North Wales) where she lived until her death in 465AD. 

Visitors often make a pilgrimage to a well named after her, amongst the remains of Dwynwen's church, where they believe the sacred fish or eels that live in the well can tell whether their relationship will last and if happiness wil be theirs.

So why wait until St Valentine's Day to tell your loved one "Dwi'n dy garu di (I love you)"

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

"Emergency Calls Only"

Why is it, when you're out and about and waiting for an important call... you never have a signal on your mobile!!!

One of the biggest problems with living in such a rural area, is that you quickly find yourself without a signal on your mobile phone, often when you need it the most!!!

I remember last year we'd been out for the day and on our way home the car broke down. Not a problem I thought, I have breakdown cover... but it was.

Almost midnight on a cool summers night, with 4 sleeping children in the back of the car, it decided to overheat. Spotting a pub just outside a large town I pulled over and stopped and not wanting to risk carrying on with a car that kept overheating and wanting water I decided to call the national breakdown company I had cover with. 

Unfortunately, this turned out to be a BIG problem and it seemed like everything was against me making my call! My phone didn't have a signal and neither did DH's or my parents who were following behind us. We are are all on the same network and we all had a message saying "Emergency Calls Only" which means that another provider does have a signal but you can't use it except in an emergency. The pub was closed and even after knocking on the door no one came. I walked a short way on the road and was thrilled to see a phone box... only it didn't work and there was no dial tone! 

By now I was ready to burst into tears when my dad said he would drive me back up the hill to see if I could pick up a signal and to my delight we did and finally, an hour after we stopped a breakdown truck arrived.

Poor DD1 (6) was heartbroken when we transferred them to the breakdown truck for the journey home. 
"But I don't want to leave our car behind!" she cried "When will we get it back!" 
So I took her to show her the car being put on the back of the truck. Then to make matters worse, there was only enough room for 5 in the back of the truck and we are a family of 6 but thankfully my parents had waited with us for the breakdown truck and I drove their car with my mum and the baby and my dad went in the truck with DH and the older 3 and finally at 3am we arrived home.

Now, as we are all on the same network the fact that our phones showed "Emergency Calls Only" means a different network provider might have given us a signal earlier and that is what I find annoying. Why can't they all SHARE their coverage and give us more choice of providers, rather than having to choose the one that covers our area! And it would be wonderful if they could get rid of mobile blackspots.

For the past few days I have been trying to get in touch with DD2's speech therapist about her operation next week, yet whenever she seems to call me back my mobile doesn't have a signal and as soon as it picks it up again I get a beep telling me I have a voice mail. The worst place is at my parent's house as there is no signal there at all, although occasionally you might pick one up when you're wondering around the garden. 

With all the money these phone providers earn, it's just a shame they don't increase their coverage or at least agree to share!!!

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Reluctant Patient

So today I had to take my lovely husband to hospital to have grommits (tubes) in his ears.

A simple procedure you might think... nothing to worry about

Well hubby obviously didn't get that memo

After packing the older 3 off to my parents house for a sleepover, much to their delight, the truth of what was going to happen began to hit home to hubby. If I had been given a £1 for everytime I heard "I'm not going" I would be rich!!! He seemed to say it about every 10 minutes!!!

Even my DS (8) tried comforting him as he himself had had the same operation 2 years ago. 
"It's ok daddy it doesn't hurt and then you get to hear everything again!"

Fast forward to this morning and for some reason the alarm didn't go off (now I wonder how that happened!!!) but luckily the baby woke us up at 6.15am. 

Now the fun began. "I'm not going, I'm going to work!" he stated adamantly, he tried making himself a drink knowing full well he was Nil By Mouth and he came up with delaying excuses and tactics that the children would have been proud of.

At first I used the softly softly approach "I know you're scared, but it'll be ok" but it didn't work so then I tried the drill sergeant major approach "You WILL go, go and get in that car!" which DID work

Finally we made it to the hospital an hour late and as he was still agitated they gave him something to calm him down.

Finally he had his operation (one that he should have had 12 years ago!) and he is so amazed at how much he can hear now, even though it has given him a headache. Earlier he said that he knows he keeps going on about every little sound he can hear, but it's just so strange after being hard of hearing (or suffering from selective hearing) for so long. 

And I get to do this all over again next week with DD2 (5) as she's having the same operation.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Price Vs Good Customer Service?

I work as a cashier in a supermarket and my manager once asked me;
"What do you think influences where people choose to shop? Price or Customer Service?"

Now being a money savvy mum, I of course answered price, but I was wrong. In a survey the company had done, more people had answered Customer Service. 

I must admit I was shocked, value for money had always been the most important to me and I assumed that was the same for most people. 

But recently I have realised that I was wrong and everyone else was right. Good Customer Service IS more important than price. 

Recently I was in a local supermarket (not the one that I work for but another one) when I took the wrong bank card with me and couldn't pay for my shopping. One of the lads I dealt with was really helpful and understanding, but when I went in later to pay from my electricity the other lad was discussing me to his colleagues when I walked past which was really embarrassing and disgusting and something that I would never do at work.

Needless to say I will be writing a letter of complaint to the company about his behaviour. 

But then another thing I've noticed... we are always quick to complain about bad customer service, but when do we ever take the time to praise good customer service.

So next time you recieve good service, whether a friendly cashier or a helpful delivery driver, make sure you take the time to thank them. Believe me, it will make their day :)

How to Beat the Winter Blues

Today is a miserable and wet depressing day :( Summer seems far away and last summer seems like a lifetime ago and I seem to be feeling the winter blues

So instead of feeling blue as I sit here looking out of the window with a cuppa, I decide to remember a fun day from last year when the weather was warm. 

And that's when I spot it... the giant puddle that my older 3 had so much fun splashing in last year and although they were only supposed to splash in it with their boots on, my children being my children.... well you'll see for yourself!!!

Move over Peppa Pig... this is what you call Jumping in Puddles


Who needs a bath or a pool? This is much more fun!

Now where did I put my rubber ducks???

They had sooo much fun that day and I loved watching them. It just goes to show that kids don't need expensive toys or lots of money to have fun, sometimes a puddle works best!!!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

15 kids and counting... I'll stick to 4 thanks

So last night DH and I were watching 15 and Counting which we had taped the other night from channel 4. I guess for hubby it must have brought back some memories of his own own childhood as he is #8 of 9.

For those of you who don't know what the show is about, it is a documentary on some of the biggest families in the UK

Firstly I have to take my hats off to the families featured, because not only were they raising such large families, one couple were both working (the ones who were pregnant with number 15) and in the other family the husband worked and the wife (pregnant with twins numbers 10 & 11) homeschooled all the children. 

Personally I am happy with the 4 I have and would never be without them or change them. Most days I look at them and I still can't believe that they are mine!!! However I couldn't imagine having so many children, 4 is quite enough for me thank you very much, especially as the baby is quite a handful!!!

Yet I can totally get having so many children. I loved being pregnant and feeling and watching the baby move inside my tummy and once the baby was born that was the first thing I missed and I can see how it can be addictive, especially if you are lucky enough to have easy and smooth pregnancies. I also love newborns, the smell of them, the feel of them in your arms and when they snuggle and smile up at you so your heart just melts. Somedays I look at the baby and I think that she is not a baby anymore and wonder where my little baby went!

What makes me laugh is that everyone who knows me knew I would have 4 babies, and people still ask me if I'm done or whether I'll have any more and my answer is always a resounding HELL NO! But then, when the kids are older and grown up and don't need me any more, I know the temptation will be there to have another, just like I get a feeling of longing whenever I look at tiny little babies.

My parents happily remind me how as I child I used to tell everyone I was going to have 7 children, at least until as a teenager I looked after a family of 7 and decided there and then that 4 was a much better number LOL

Money Sense

Amongst my mummy friends I'm known as the one to go to for financial advice, the one who gets the bargains and the one with all the tricks and tips to save money.

But I'm going to let you into a little secret... and tell you where I get all my advice and information... a wonderful website called Money Saving Expert.

It's a totally free and impartial website run by the money guru Martin Lewis who is often seen on TV or heard on the radio and is full of money saving tips. His website is free to use and well worth a visit. Make sure you sign up for his weekly email which has lots of short lived deals.

Using Moneysavingexpert I have made savings, not just for myself but for my mum as well. I managed to reclaim over £800 in unfair bank charges, I got my mum over £100 just because she'd changed her mortgage and I got my dad over £100 just because he washes his uniform at home!!! You can even reclaim your PPI charges on loans and credit cards. 

Some sites will offer to do this for you, but will charge you for the privilege, but the moneysavingexpert website will give you all the help you will need; addresses of where to send your letters and blank templates that you fill in yourself, not to mention all the help and support you could need on the forums.

But that's not all... Moneysaving expert has tips on how to create a household budget and more importantly on how to lower it without having to cut back on life's little luxiouries.

For example... following Martin Lewis' guide the record for a year's car insurance is 96p!!! Yes, you read that right... less than £1 for 12mths fully comprehensive car insurance (read about it here) and the system works for other insurance products as well... the record for house insurance is £67.50 PROFIT for a years insurance.

Another tip is using Cashback websites. The two main ones are Topcashback (free to use) and Quidco (costs £5 a year taken out of your first cashback). Now what are cashback websites and how do they work? Once you have decided what you want to buy online (this can be any product from an item, insurance or even a financial product) and where to buy it, you go to Quidco or Topcashback (its worth checking both to see which offers the best cashback) and once you've logged on you use their link to go to the website you want to buy from. You go to the same website you would have gone to if you had typed in the address yourself, the only difference is that this time the cashback website is paid an advertising fee which they then pass onto you (which can vary from a percentage, a few pennies or even over £100). For more information you can read about them here. Oh and as a little bonus for my American followers, Topcashback is now available for you as well

So good luck and start saving today 

Dear Sleep, I miss you

Dear sleep, I miss you! Please come back.

You and I used to be such good friends. Back in school, I would sleep in each and every weekend and we would have so much fun together.

Then came the children and you stopped coming around. For almost 9 years now you've never spent more than one night at a time, no matter how much I have pleaded and begged you to come back!

The baby is two now and how I long to have you back in my life so if you would like to come and stay you're always welcome.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and I find myself longing for you both day and night, trying to catch you for more than 5 minutes at a time and I know DH also misses you and we could all have a good catch up.

Until the day when we can finally get together again, just know that I am thinking of you and how much I miss you. Hopefully soon we can all be together again and I promise I won't take you for granted. 



Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Vtech Innotab Review

For her 5th birthday DD2 was lucky enough to get a very rare pink Innotab from Vtech and she LOVES it!!! It is her favourite toy and she takes it wherever she goes!

Now what is an Innotab I hear you ask, well it's a tablet similar to an iPad for young children aged 4-9 years and has lots of different learning activities, educational games and creative actives all operated by a touch screen or stylus (which can be purchased separately if you need another one). You also have the ability to download more learning activities via the learning lodge or buy cartridges like Disney Princess, Mickey Mouse, Dora, Scooby Doo, Cars etc which are available separately. 

The Innotab has the ability to be used as a video player, photo player and MP3 player and although it doesn't have a built in camera unlike the Leapfrog Leappad, it is compatible with the Kidizoom range of cameras. The video player can also be used to watch movies or TV episodes that you can download onto the SD card (purchased separately but well worth it) making it an ideal DVD player for long journeys. You do have to convert video files to work on the Innotab but there are some fantastic video's on YouTube by Travisgrindal which help explain how do all this in an easy to understand way. Using his video's my daughter has Tangled on her Innotab as well as some Superted episodes she's been enjoying from YouTube.

The Innotab also features a built in ebook reader which my daughter really enjoys with flip pages like a real book and the choice of having the story read aloud to you or just the words you don't understand or can't read spoken with a description of what the word means. 

My daughter LOVES hers and is always playing on it, her older brother and sister often have a go as well and even the baby likes drawing pictures on the picture app and when I had friends round for our regular afternoon playdate with the younger ones, it was a big hit with them all and they all asked their mums for one for their birthdays and as the parents were also impressed with the Innotab, they are all proud owners of one now!

My only complaint about the Innotab is that it will drain the batteries very quickly but you can buy an adapter to use and also an in-car adapter. However at the moment we have 8 rechargable batteries so 4 are on charge and 4 are in the Innotab so she is never without the power it needs. You can also get a lovely pink cover to protect the Innotab which I do want to get for her.

I must also give a special mention to the staff at Vtech and on their facebook page  who I found to be very helpful. I phoned them up 2 days before her birthday (which was 3 weeks before Christmas) as it  was impossible to get a pink Innotab anywhere as most Argos stores were sold out (the pink Innotab is exclusive to Argos) and people were actually selling reservation numbers on eBay. I explained my predicament to Vtech and how I really wanted one for her birthday and the lady had one sent directly from their warehouse to my house for the same price it would have cost me from Argos arriving the following day.

When I decided to buy her a child's tablet it was between the Innotab and the Leappad and I finally decided on the Innotab because I like Vtech products as we've had several through the years and they've always been well built and enjoyable for the children and after the wonderful service I received from customer services I would definitely use them again. Although it's a shame that the Innotab doesn't have a built-in camera like the Leappad they have the kidizoom camera's already and the extra activities you can download for the Innotab are cheaper than those from Leappad.

All in all I'm very happy with the Innotab and especially the service I received from Vtech. 

I would give the Innotab 9/10 (had it a built-in camera it would have scored 10/10) and I would give Vtech 10/10 for customer services. 

Speech Therapy

Back before I was a mum, and even as a new mum, I'm ashamed to say that I believed that children who had difficulty with their speech either had serious learning difficulties or it was because their parents didn't talk to them enough and if they had more than one child with speech difficulties then that just proved it! 

So when DS began talking at 6mths and was saying whole sentences at 18mths I sat back in my superiority, I was obviously doing something right as my child didn't have any issues, we obviously talked to him enough.

When DS was 2 years old we were blessed by the arrival of a daughter and like DS she hit all her milestones early and we sat proudly in the knowledge that we had two perfect children.

However as she got older I noticed DD1 wasn't talking and when she did talk her speech wasn't very clear and finally when she was 3 she began going to speech therapy and has since been diagnosed with a SLI (Speech and Language Impairment). It's been a long struggle but DD1 has made a lot of progress in the past 3 years and is now speaking a lot clearer and has made a big improvement, especially in the last 12mths. 

I wish I could say things have been easy for DD1 but they haven't. She's been bullied in school and called names like stupid, idiot and baby and has come home in tears, she's even had trouble with teachers not understanding her when she tried to tell them she didn't feel very well so I went in and told her teacher that if she ever had trouble understanding DD1 then she was to get her brother who could understand her (often better than we could LOL).

DD2 also has speech difficulties and for many months we were concerned that she had selective mutism as she would chat away at home but wouldn't say a word at playschool or school or even at the house of my BFF who DD2 has known all her life and herself is BFF with her daughter. Finally in her last term of nursery class at school she began to talk (much to the shock of her classmates who had never heard her say anything) and since then she has grown in confidence and has begun to talk more outside the house. We've recently discovered as well that she suffers from glue ear and is having grommits (tubes) in her ears at the end of the month. She also attends speech therapy as her speech isn't that clear but the hope is that once her hearing returns her speech will clear up as she is saying what she is hearing. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

"THE" Talk

At what age did or do you plan on having the big talk with your children? Will you wait for school or will you take the initiative once your child shows an interest and you believe they are old enough to learn? Are you worried about what they might hear when they're in the playground? Will you tell them when they're still in primary school (11 and under) or wait until they start secondary school (11-16)?

You might think that you have plenty of time, that they're still babies and don't need to know all the details, or you might decide that the earlier you tell them the better prepared they will be for adulthood.

Unfortunately it seems to be a sad reflection of the times we live in that children are exposed to all things sexual at very young ages. My son was 4 when he first heard the word "gay". In complete innocence one day walking home from school he shouted to one of his classmates "Bye! Love you!" to which the other child shouted back "Whaddaya mean you love me? What are you gay?" So straight away I have to explain to him what the word means, not to mention the negative homophobic feel to the word. Now at 6 my DD has heard both "gay" and "lesbian" and knows what they mean, at least as best a child that young can understand. 

But even that couldn't prepare me for the shock of our conversation a few weeks ago.
"I know what sex is now mummy." My 8yr old son suddenly announces one night as he's getting into bed.
"What is it then?" I asked, expecting the innocent reply of kissing, but even that didn't prepare me for his response.
"Well it's when a boy pulls down a girls pants and kisses her on her fanny." he said all matter of fact whilst I had to quickly pull my chin off the floor.

That night I decided it was time to broach the subject to him in a way he would understand and suitable for his age. He had never shown much interest when I was pregnant with the baby and along with his younger sisters he had accepted our explanation of daddy planting a seed in mummy's tummy without asking the hows and why etc

I managed to find a wonderful book on Amazon, which was recommended by the FPA (Family Planning Association) and had some really good reviews as well.

This book is brilliant. It has fun characters of an inquisitive bird and a squeamish bee and the pictures are fun and interesting for him to look at and the book explains it all to him in a kid friendly way without dumbing things down or making him feel stupid, It explains the proper names of the parts of the body and explains how a baby develops and grows inside the womb, how it gets food and air, and how we are all different. It also briefly talks on sex (about one double page) as well as a few other topics such as Good Touches and Bad Touches which I think is very important for them to learn especially the Good Touches as we seem to focus on all the "bad" stuff which might make them afraid to talk to you if they are sore down below or needing to go to the doctor. It also talks briefly about masturbation and periods, the differences between boys and girls and babies and adults, love and health etc with a lot of emphasis on waiting until you're grown up before having a baby or having sex etc.

Recently DS came home from school and asked me what another word meant and this word was "rape"! He had heard it at school and wanted to know what it meant and I was in complete shock. At first I thought I had misheard what he had said but no he had said rape and that one of the boys in his class had threatened to rape a girl in his class and he wanted to know what it was! Completely shocked but with thanks to this book I was able to explain what this word meant and that it was a very bad thing to do. I also (as we mums do) painted a very bleak and black picture of what would happen to someone who did this act, saying that they would spend the rest of their lives in prison. 

It scares me a lot, thinking about the kind of world our children will face as they grow up. Sex is all around us, in the songs they hear on the radio, in movies, on TV, in the school playground etc and there is no getting away from it. Even children's clothes nowadays seem more revealing and provocative than I remember and I struggle to find clothes for my 6yr old DD. Children seem to grow up much quicker nowadays as well which is a shame as they're only children for such a short amount of time as it is!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Fun in the cold sun

Living as we do in a flat, we don't have the pleasure (or work) of a garden. We do have an amazing view though which makes the hike up 56 steps worthwhile as we look over the beach

As much as the children would LOVE a garden, they claim they have the biggest garden in the world... the beach!!!

Since it was quite a nice and dry day, although a little cold, we took them out to play on the car park with their bikes and their new outdoor toys they got for Christmas.

DS took his new RC car and found a novel way of controlling it, he also delighted in crashing the car into us and I have the bruises on my shins to prove it.

The baby took her new ride-on quad but preferred to use her new scooter instead.

DD2 was quite happy to ride around on her bike

But DD1 decided that her bike was too small and decided to ride her brothers instead, even though she couldn't touch the floor!!!

And not one to miss out on the fun, DH had to have a go on DS' RC car!!!

Hello and welcome to "Really Rachel"

Well here we go, my first ever blog!!!

My friend Karen aka Missing Sleep has recently been raving about the blog she started and has been nagging, encouraging, pushing, moaning and enticing me to start my own. "You've got 4 kids!" She'd tell me "You're a font of knowledge and should start your own blog... It's your duty to impart your knowledge on those of us not brave enough to have 4" before trying to flatter me with phrases like "Wonder mum!" 

So I decided to give it a go... even if it is just to shut her up and Karen I'm warning you again, I hold you personally responsible for whatever happens!!! ;)

But then came the challenge of what to name my blog. Karen already had Missing Sleep (something I've been missing for about 9yrs now and I hope I find it again soon!) so what to name mine. My mind went blank (well they do say having babies kills brain cells and I've had 4 so I'm surprised I even know how to write my name nowadays!) so I decided to have a little competition on my personal facebook page and I promised to dedicate the first blog to the winner.

So as you can see "Really Rachel" was the winner with "Rachel Rave's" a very close 2nd and "Pain in the R's " close behind. Everyone immediately took up the link with the R name because R is very special in my family... not only does my name begin with R, so does my husband's name and all 4 of our children as well.

Therefore a big CONGRATULATIONS and a shout out goes to Laura Mcintyre of the blog Synchronization of Us for coming up with Really Rachel... but a special mention also has to go to Katie Price who said "I like "Really Rachel" because you can be "you" - not just Rachel the mum, Rachel the "wife"... etc..." which summed it up perfectly.

So thank you ladies for the name of my new blog and I hope you all enjoy reading about me, the 4 little and the 1 big Pains in the Rs