Thursday, 28 May 2015

Don't feed that child!

Last week a friend was told she was over feeding her daughter because she was allowing her to eat until she decided she was full and not restricting her portions. This advice came from a health visitor.

Her daughter is a happy, healthy nearly two year old who is very active and eats a balanced diet. Yet my friend was told she was making her obese because her weight wasn't on a lower percentile than her height. We all know everybody is different yet the guilt/ shame that some parents might feel by being told their child is obese and it's because they are over feeding them is ridiculous and needs to be stopped!

Apparently this is the recommended diet for a nearly two year old:

Breakfast: 1 tablespoon of porridge

Lunch: 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 3 dice size pieces of cheese, 1/2 a slice of bread 

Dinner: 1 tablespoon of fish, 1 new potato. 1 tablespoon of peas

Snack: 1 biscuit, 2-3 Strawberries

Strictly no bananas or grapes are allowed because they contain too much sugar. Don't think you can give your child extra vegetables either because that's not allowed either - even if she is crying because she's hungry.  

When my friend challenged the health visitor stating that her child feeds herself until she has had enough she was told she has to slowly reduce the food until it reaches the 'recommended' amount. If she ignored the advice my friend is responsible for keeping her daughter obese which will put her at more risk to the usual associated obesity diseases. 

When did starving children become acceptable? In my eyes not feeding a hungry child is neglect and is a form of child abuse and should never be advocated - ever! Yes some children will only eat the amount recommended and some children will eat less but equally there are some that will require more food.

There will be a point when children naturally choose to eat less but it's their bodies and we need to trust that their body knows the cue of hunger and equally when to stop. So parents if you have been told that you should ignore your child's cries for hunger because you are making them fat please follow your instincts and have the confidence that you know your child better than any textbook and feed your child if they are hungry.

Beautiful happy healthy toddler who is fine as she is - no intervention needed. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Play dates

The boy started school last year and since then we have been experiencing the play date where the child is left and collected at a later time. These are different to the usual type of play date where I can enjoy a cuppa and a natter with a friend whilst we occasionally have to play referee. 

I feel like I need to make more of an effort so the visiting child has a good time and is reassured because their parents aren't around. This is how our after school play dates have gone:

1) Snack - very important!

2) Free play whilst I prepare dinner, I admit I try to eavesdrop on some of the conversations because they are funny and I love to hear how my son interacts with his peers.

3) Dinner - something I know all the children will eat and don't forget a pudding. We were sent some petits filous new magic squares to try and these didn't disappoint the brood of 5 waiting boys.

These have two different flavours strawberry or raspberry mixed with vanilla so the child can choose to mix them up or eat them separately. We were all loving the bigger pots which of course means more pudding. the picture of the bone on the lid sparked conversations about how the body works too.

4) Activity with my input - I plan this to be something fun and I stick around to supervise as temperaments fade come the end of the day. 

So far we have had lots of fun with science experiments. These are very visual and the children loved dressing up and getting stuck in!

Quick and easy experiments include bicarbonate of soda mixed with vinegar and food colouring and watching it rain. The children drop blue food colouring over a blob of shaving foam and watch as it makes it way through the clouds.


We have also been having fun with the indoor olympics seeing as other parents may not be so keen on their children playing in a mud pit of garden. 

Our route consists of the child crawling under the table which has a blanket draped over it (tunnel of doom) climbing out to the valley of dinosaurs (sofa) jumping in the swamp (rug) climbing the mountains (beanbags) and shooting the badie (picture) with the nerf gun. The boys absolutely loved this and even helped tidy up so we could room for the assault course.

What do you do when hosting a playdate?

This post is an entry for BritMums #MagicSquaresPlaydates Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous

Friday, 20 March 2015

We went to Coombe Mill

At the start of the month we headed west to Coombe Mill with a group of friends. I have wanted to visit ever since I started following Fiona's blog back when I started blogging.  I'd looked into staying before but with a limited budget it was off the cards &  I'm embarrassed to say the bad trip advisor review did initially put me off until I read Fiona's response. Then I started to wonder whether the price would be worth it considering we have the new forest on our doorstep (if I was going it had to be one of the cottages.) Then the perfect opportunity to visit came up when having a drunken social night in with friends.

We were discussing going away as a group (6 adults & 6 kids - 5 boys!) in a big house somewhere. I suggested Coombe Mill and it was no contest! It actually worked out to be very good value and very competitive compared to other large houses which didn't have a hot tub. I didn't know this before we booked but out of season you can rent out the properties for short breaks so it was ideal to see if we still remained friends at the end of the trip.

Well what can I say the place is stunning! So beautiful and very welcoming and child friendly, exactly like I thought it would be. We arrived on Friday evening with 4 hyper excited children who wanted to scope out their bedroom. The two cots were all ready for us and were normal wooden cots rather than travel cots. I had high expectations for tree roots and it didn't disappoint exceeding them all. The space is bigger in real life than on the website and the bedrooms - wow massive beds and still plenty of space even with cots in the master bedrooms.

Each family had their own bathroom which really helped us all feel like we had our own space. The kids had a playroom complete with plenty to keep them occupied. There was a separate lounge area with sofa's to seat 6 but the real hub of the home was the huge kitchen diner complete with all the crockery and cutlery needed for us all to eat together with some spare. The kitchen is also stocked with childrens plates, cutlery and cups. Can I live here please!

We made use of the hot tub every day and the kids even got a turn on Sunday after a wet farm run - don't worry they are only drinking water.

One of the the things that makes Coombe Mill magical for the little ones is the farm run. All the children instantly took to farmer Nick and were eager to have a go riding the tractor - well all except the only one who went to sleep! He was worried that he wouldn't know how to drive it so with a bit of coaxing he got his turn on day two. 
The thing that surprised me, and it was a welcome surprise, was how close we were allowed to get to the animals. I had assumed it would be like the local tourist farm all behind fences in fields with the opportunity to hold baby chicks if they were ready. We went in the fields with the deer, geese, chickens, wallabies and goats and were welcome to come back at any point as long as we respected the animals. 

The scenery is stunning and any eggs collected were dished out at the end of the farm run. The boys all had a go at being King Arthur in the chicken field but failed to have the magic touch to free the sword from the stone. 

There were plenty of smiles on board the Coombe Mill railway and a few screams as the grown ups in our party and some of the boys tried to make the rest of us jump when they appeared from behind bushes.

Would I recommend Coombe Mill & Tree roots? You bet! We wanted to head back for the summer, October half term or new year but tree roots is all really booked which isn't a huge surprise given how great it is! Now we are waiting for next years school dates to be released so we can book before you all do.

It may be fuzzy but it's the only group photo we got just as we had packed up our cars to go home - do we still look like friends? 

We visited some stunning beaches during our brief stop in Cornwall but I'll save those for another day. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Star gazing live

I was so excited to see a BBC star gazing live event was happening in Southampton & the bonus was it was happening the day before the eclipse. 

The boy has been showing an increasing interest in all things star & spacey so we headed along to the free event and were lucky enough to get tickets to view a show in the pop up planetariums. The observatory tours were all booked so we lucked out.

The boys enjoyed the show in the blow up domes before we made a play doh solar system to scale.

The boy really enjoyed making his solar system an it made it easy to see the size difference in the gassy giants. 

Next on the agenda was the edible eclipse which was a really fun way to engage the children in the facts of what it will look like all with the help of a chocolate biscuit! 

Unfortunately it was cloudy so we didn't get chance to do any star gazing but we've made plans to head into the forest on the next clear night instead. 

There are a number of free star gazing live events throughout the country, you can find out if there's an event near you here.