When your child is the ‘offender’

angry-1432367-639x463As I write this I am full of cold, have had a long day at work and have spent the last couple of hours thinking about my daughter’s latest ‘incident’ at nursery.

We have a lot of ‘incidents’ at nursery.

Over her short life, our precious, loving, chatty, caring, gregarious little girl has pushed, bitten and scratched her peers many times.  The bites were around the toddler stage and the progression to scratching has been over the last year or so.  She is now three and a half and goes to nursery five days a week.

As a parent, if your child is hurt by another child, it is horrible – I get that.

If it is your child that has done the hurting, believe me, it is a million times worse.

The embarrassment, the shame, the lack of understanding as to why your child does this when every other child you know doesn’t.  Feeling like your child will be ostracised from the nursery-society, won’t make friends, will be hated and lonely. Feeling guilty that she does this because Mummy works full-time and she misses me.

When our daughter has a day of ‘incidents’, my whole day is ruined.  I could have had a really productive day in the office but when I pick her up and get the awkward look from the nursery staff and if it is pretty bad, an ‘incident’ form to sign, it sends me reeling with anxiety and stress.

We are currently at a loss as to what to do and are now engaging SENCos and I’m also going to book a doctors appointment without her to discuss.  She doesn’t miss a trick and listens to everything, so she definitely can’t be with me when I start trying to explain her behaviour through quivering bottom lip.

To give them their due, the nursery have been supportive and when I’ve cried in their office they have comforted me, offered me a tissue and said that she isn’t the only child they have seen with these tendencies.  It still doesn’t make me feel much better.

Part of our issue is that she very very rarely has any incidents when we are around.  As an only child she doesn’t have any siblings to hurt and she doesn’t hurt us.  Her close friends whom she has grown up with also no longer get hurt (although there was the occasional one during the toddler phase).

We’ve tried reward charts, treats, taking things away and time-outs (which isn’t suitable if the incident was several hours ago at nursery).  We try and talk to her about it. We’ve been stern, we’ve been gentle and supportive, yes we’ve shouted when we are at our wits end and don’t know what to do.

It is relentless.

Quite often I feel like I just want to take a few months off work to just focus on our daughter and try and sort out whatever is going on in her little head.  Only, I’m not in a position to do that.

We have had weeks and even months of no incidents and then suddenly a spate of them.  A lot of the time the staff say there was nothing to provoke it. This makes it worse – random acts of aggression with no visible reason.

Her behaviour is a source of tension between Mummy and Daddy. I take the overly soft stance and Daddy takes the firm stance.  Neither of which seem to be working.  If anything, I think she is worse when there is tension at home – something that is hard to address when you’re tired and stressed from trying to be the model worker, model Mum and model partner. I just want all three of us to be happy and have fun days.

But, there is hope.

This week we’ve had two party invitations.

To me, it is like I’ve won the lottery.  Knowing that a child at nursery wants my daughter to come to their party makes me so incredibly happy and relieved.  I could jump for joy.

With school starting in September, we are desperate for this problem to resolve itself. We have been told she is ‘high functioning’. What does that mean?  Does that mean she is on the spectrum? Does it mean she is just quite bright and is developing asynchronously? I don’t know.

But what I want to say is this.

If your child is on the receiving end of a bite or a scratch, the chances are the parents of the ‘young offender’ are absolutely mortified. They will do their best in conjuction with the nursery setting to resolve the problem. They will google everything to do with an aggressive child and will read copious articles.  They will drop their child off wishing them a good day and hoping beyond all hope that they really do have a ‘good day’.  They will praise their child when there are no incidents and they will talk to their child when there are.  They will ask why they did it and whether they said sorry to your child. They will seek the help of professionals.

Children are all different, and some express themselves differently and need a little more help as they grow.  Please consider this before you judge them and their parents. We are already feeling fragile enough as it is.

 

 

The Pramshed

 

 

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Parenting poetry – A moment

safety-1316981-640x480Over two years ago, I started writing in my limited spare time.  My daughter was almost 18 months old and for the same reason as my recent venture into blogging, I had something say and I needed an outlet.

At that time, poetry was my solace.  I could express myself differently, showing raw emotion that I sometimes hid and rarely shared.

‘A moment’ was one of my early poems about motherhood.  It goes like this.

As she clutches my arm,
her breathing husky and thick,
I lean my head on hers.

She strokes my soft, comforting sleeve,
nestling her warm, slightly sticky nose into my side.
I pause and gaze at this wonder of mine.I grab a white, fragile, pristine tissue
navigating it towards this quiet, gentle soul.
Picking my moment to disrupt her peace.

As quick as a flash,
the moment has passed.
She wriggles free of this joyous time and runs over to her toys.

 
 

Petite Pudding
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:-) :-S :-( :-o Embracing emoticons

smile-emoticon-10-1159483-640x640I remember it well, in the early noughties there was a sudden realisation that you could show a smiley face in text with a simple colon, dash and bracket.  How fantastic! 🙂  Honestly, what a brilliant and fun invention!? Everyone was embracing emoticons.

The different emotions have grown with time, my favourite being the confused :-S and I remember when businesses had unwritten policies about whether or not it was acceptable to use one in an internal or external email.

When it comes to mobiles though, I’ve never really been into text-talk. I prefer the full word and I have never used ‘r u’ in any texts that I’ve sent, even when there was a limit on the number of characters in the days before iMessage, WhatsApp and Skype.  It just didn’t seem correct imho. (See what I did there). And when my Mum once sent me a text saying ‘r u at home now?’ I was almost physically repulsed.

My children will learn to spell correctly and write in proper grammatically correct English. Always.

However, recently I’ve got a little addicted to the emoji craze.  We’ve gone beyond simple emotions and now I can pretty much explain my whole weekend in 13 mini images. They’re colourful and they express far more visually than text on a page.  Not only that, I’ve also started to slip the odd smiley face into emails to colleagues, my boss and even on occasions my customers.

emojiI like to think that it personalises it, and helps stop an email being misconstrued, which can happen very easily.

Been there, done that.

In fact, Skype for Business has animated emojis including one which involves an icon banging their head against a brick wall.  It’s very funny and unfortunately I have had to use it on several occasions when expressing frustration to a similarly frustrated colleague.

If I’m being sarcastic, or know that I’m asking a huge favour of someone, I stick a smiley face on the end of an email or instant message in the hope that I appeal to their kind heart and they just won’t be able to say no.  9 times out of 10 it works and it helps me build relationships remotely with people that I rarely see or speak to face to face.

But what is next?

The rate at which communication is changing is staggering.  Thanks to a Mr Albert Mehrabian and his research, it is a well publicised belief that communication is:

7% verbal, 38% tone and 55% body language.

2-way quick conversations were face to face or on the phone.  There was no ability to converse quickly via any other means.  If it was face to face, heaven forbid you had your arms crossed, or were gazing up to the left hand corner of the room during an interview.

Nowadays so much is online.  I’m speaking to you through writing a blog and I don’t know you, and you don’t know me.  However, in order to make a connection I need to resonate with you.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words but personally I think emoticons have bought additional tone (38% of it) to our written language, especially in 2-way fast interactions.  I can visualise a person smiling, sighing or crying just by an icon and therefore I will continue to embrace them until such time as they bring out time travel, teleportation or a ‘mini-me’ that I can transmit over the wire.

Ta ta for now :-D, I’m off for a

emoji2

 

 

 

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5 ways your working life changes after children

Now, I’m not talking about the huge changes like returning part-time or taking on the new career of SAHM, I’m talking about the more subtle differences between pre and post baby when you return to work.

Here are 5 ways working life changes after children.

Brain capacity

computer-frustration-1238728-639x830From a life where the only things you needed to worry about were your job and your social life, suddenly your brain is thrown into disarray.  Your brain has to continue to work on these things, however, it now has to process every worry, chore and happy memory from parenthood that enters it as well and there is no control. It just happens – they pop into your head on the journey to work, in meetings, at lunch or just sat at your desk. Your brain capacity is stretched beyond your wildest dreams – and you manage.

Tea room chats

I remember that I used to talk to colleagues about city breaks, sports matches and office gossip.  Nowadays it is 90% about children – theirs, mine, our mutual friend who has just given birth.  It becomes all encompassing and even if the conversation starts with ‘how was your weekend?’, you can’t help but turn it into child-related.

Appearance

There are many working women who somehow manage to retain their immaculate appearance after maternity leave.  I’m not one of them (and I probably never was immaculate).  However, the hairdresser visits have plummeted, the personal grooming a distant memory, new clothes rare and my make-up is way past its best before date.  The priority is getting the child out the door on time and not looking like an urchin – even if you do look like a female Fagin in ill-fitting suit.  Note to self – book hair appointment.

Patience and Tolerance

For me, this has been by far the most surprising consequence of having a child. In my previous life I used to be calm, optimistic and could take most things in my stride.  These days, by having military-style routines for most family activities, time is of the essence in everything.  Unfortunately, this means that I expect the same at work as I do at home and not everyone thinks the same way.  Needless to say, I can be abrupt to the point of rude these days because I know how precious my time is.  In order to manage, most parents I know run a tight ship. We cram as much as we can into our working day so that we can sign-off and change into our superhero costume for nursery pick-up.  When colleagues don’t have the same challenges it tests both patience and tolerance levels to the max.

outside-the-box-1243054-640x480Ability to think outside the box

This final point essentially pulls together points 1 and 4 and is a fantastic benefit for employers hiring us working Mums.  As parents, you find ways to do things that are smarter and easier – because if you don’t, you’ll implode.  Multi-tasking like a ninja was one phrase picked up from a LinkedIn post the other day and it is absolutely right.  After children, you think differently and you reduce slack in your day by working smarter and not necessarily harder.  Prioritisation is paramount along with stronger decision-making with less pondering.  There is no time to sit and deliberate over whether the decision was the right one – you make it and you stick by it.  Agile is a term I use regularly in my job and it resonates perfectly with working Mums. We are agile, we can move between tasks seamlessly and do things differently in order to increase our productivity.

Our daily grind changes after children, but it isn’t all bad!

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

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