Tag Archives: Family

Kilasi omo ti a lọ -Baby classes we attend

Once I had given birth to my little girl, gotten into the swing of breastfeeding (without the pain) and maternity leave (it feels great not waking up early to go to work), I decided to enrol onto some baby classes. I felt that it would be a great way to meet new mums, stimulate my daughters’ brain and provide us with a structure that meant we were out of the house every day.

I first signed up to Mini Mozart classes for the term (Sept – Dec). These classes were GREAT – I think I enjoyed it more than my daughter did (then again she was only 5 weeks old at the time). The class features one or more live instruments with a piano accompanist. The babies and toddlers get up close and touch the instruments, before enjoying a classic story such as ‘The Ugly Duckling’ or ‘The Gingerbread Man’ with incorporates bubbles, parachute, puppets and lots of singing. The music is heavily centred around Mozart and Beethoven which is a great way to introduce concepts of pitch, rhythm, dynamics and tempo.

Another class we signed up to was Baby Sensory . This class is run by a large franchise, so you should hopefully be able to find a class relatively close to your home. Again, we signed up for the term and found the organisation of the class to be great and the teacher was most welcoming and very engaging.  Each week, a new theme was presented and a vast array of props were used to engage the babies. Over the winter, we have been treated to themes such as ‘French Week’ and ‘Sea Life’. We attended an epic Baby Sensory themed Christmas party in December with laid on a great spread for us mum and the babies were given presents.

The class is very relaxed and breastfeeding or bottle feeding is completely encouraged if the baby needs a feed. There are a nice selection of toys and baby gyms scattered around the room to keep all babies entertained during the class and a 15 min break in between, means that you can squeeze in a nappy change and a chinwag with the other mums.

I also enrolled my daughter onto swimming classes with Water Babies. My daughter has definitely enjoyed swimming (apart from the odd day or two when teething has been intense), she often laughs and giggles whilst having a splash about. We’re currently on our second term and enjoyed an underwater photo shoot a couple of weeks ago.

We did a Baby Massage course for a month when she was 10 weeks old. It was a great way for us to bond further and develop the instinctive healing power of touch which is a baby’s first form of communication. So definitely have a look around your local area to see which courses or classes are running. You might find that it’s easier to attend when your baby is between the ages of 0-6 months and they’re less mobile.

Some of the other classes we are looking into signing up to next term are Sing and Sign, and we’re potentially going to trial Monkey Music and Hartbeeps (also run by large franchises).

When we’re not attending classes, we venture out to the cinema. We frequent The Electric Cinema, Lexi Cinema and Everyman Cinema  whenever there’s a film I really want to see…like Fifty Shades Darker, Fences, Hidden Figures, Mooonlight etc which are some of the films we have recently been to see. Most cinemas run parent/carer and baby screenings on a weekday morning, some offer a hot drink and a slice of delicious cake with your ticket price, so check out your local cinema.

Remember that having a baby doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy life like you used to. In fact, in my opinion, life just got better!!!

Which baby classes have you attended? Have you found any great classes? What are your favourites? I would love to hear from you.

Until next time…. O dabọ (goodbye)

Idi ti obi yẹ ki o wa rẹ akọkọ idojukọ -Why parenting should be your first focus

So, my daughter has had a few play-dates with a little girl that’s a week older than her. At 6 months old they sit side-by-side babbling to each other, pulling each other’s hands and feet (it’s ever so cute). They’re both at the age of not wanting to share, so give them a packet of wipes and they could spend a good 30 mins snatching it off each other (again, it’s ever so cute).

Whilst our babies babble and play, we mums have a chinwag about life, relationships and baby classes. The little girls’ mum is in a same-sex relationship and her daughter was conceived via IVF. To my understanding, the couple didn’t lay out pros and cons before making a logical and rational decision about becoming parents. It was a simple case of both women wanting to be mums, one wanted to experience birth and the other one didn’t. However, this mum recently expressed her fears about how other parents might react towards her family dynamic, especially among friendship circles when her daughter starts school. Now we all know that children are very accepting and open, but sadly society often teaches them how to be bias. There are adults who raise their children to be hateful and intolerant towards others and this is something to consider as we raise our children.

As a teacher and now a parent, I’m a firm advocate in children socialising with people from different backgrounds whether they’re: gay, straight, conservative, liberal, Christian, Jewish or Muslim etc…in today’s day and age, I don’t believe that it’s advisable to necessarily shelter your children too much. They’ll be living in this world and they’re going to have to learn to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds and all walks of life.

I personally think it’s important to get to know the parents of the children and understand their lifestyle and whether or not you’re comfortable with it and I’m not solely referring to same-sex parents. For instance, there might be an independent mother who brings part-time lovers home on a regular basis, or a dad who’s involved within the pornography industry etc etc… How comfortable would you feel about your child having a play-date at their house?

Parents have a duty to train and educate their children and to also protect them emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually whilst maintaining an open heart and sharing love and respect to those who don’t necessarily share your principles. It’s important to remember that respecting people doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your values and principles. Nonetheless, you will always be your child’s most effective teacher.

This blog is open to all opinions…and I’d love to hear from you, irrespective of whether or not you have children.

If you’re a parent with very strict religious beliefs, how would you feel about your child playing with children from a different background to your own?

If you weren’t comfortable with a family’s lifestyle, do you believe that it’s appropriate to establish guidelines and reasonable boundaries from a young age?

 Please feel free to comment below, all views and opinions are welcome. 

Mo wa ko jẹbi – I’m not guilty

Whether you’re a mother or not, I’m sure that you can relate to the statement above. However, there is no denying that elements of guilt intensify more so when you become a mother. Whether it’s how you choose to feed your baby, the type of nappy your baby wears, clothes your baby wears and even how you transport your baby. In fact, it’s fair to say that becoming a mother can lead you down a long road of feeling guilty, particularly when you share your choices with other people.

I’ve categorically made a decision to not be bound by guilt for the next 18+ years of my daughter’s life. Unabashedly, I will parent her in the way that I deem is necessary. I will do right for my family, whether that’s co-sleeping (which we do regularly), I will breastfeed and or express for as long as I want to (which I do proudly), I’ll continue to purchase disposable nappies (as the idea of rinsing poo is not for me), I’ll mix purees and do a bit of baby-led weaning (because that way I can ensure that my baby is actually being fed and not simply gnawing on a carrot stick to relieve her irritable gums) and I’ll speak Yoruba – (my heritage language) to her daily (as I believe that from birth to age three, language is acquired and naturally picked up rather than learnt).

When people ask me about her sleeping habits (not that it’s any of their business…lol) the conversation goes something along the line of this…

Mummy: So how many times does your daughter wake during the night?

Me: *clears throat* She doesn’t wake up during the night.

Mummy: What do you mean? Does she sleep straight through?

Me: Yes she does.

Mummy: When you mean straight through, like what time would she go to bed and what time does she wake up?

Me: I put her down between 9:30 – 10pm and she’ll wake up at 9am, sometimes later.

Mummy: WHAT!? HOW!? You’re so lucky. No wonder why you always look so fresh faced and chilled. How old was she when she started sleeping through the night?

Me: *sheepishly answers* Since the night she was born.

Mummy: (looking at me like I have TEN heads) WOW!!! Unicorn baby or what? How!!??You lucky cow, if only we could all have babies like that. Gosh, haven’t you got it good. I haven’t slept more than an hour since this one was born, I’m up constantly through the night its torture…..blah blah blah…

Gbogbo m lo yat – Every child is different

To gain the upper hand they might throw in a comment such as “I hope you don’t co-sleep as that’ll become a bad habit as she gets older.” In my head I’m thinking… “What bad habit am I creating”? I’m hardly going to co-sleep with her until she’s 8 years old, or 16 or 25!!! Am I creating a bad habit by not teaching her to use a spoon at 6 months old? Will she eat with her hands for the rest of her life? No, she won’t (nobody is raising a scavenger out here #justsaying).

These things that people often say to try and make me feel guilty, only last for a short while. I literally let it go straight over my head – otherwise ma br wahala – I’ll start trouble. We mothers are constantly told that;

If he/she cries, leave them or else they’ll learn to cry to get what they want….WAIT….isn’t that what being a baby is all about? How else are they meant to communicate with us before learning to talk??? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I have things to do on a daily basis. Luckily for me, I’m 29, I have a mouth and a wide vocabulary at my disposal, along with a pair or arms and legs which helps me to do things for myself. Therefore, until my daughter learns how to say “Mummy, I want a cuddle. Can you please pick me up?” I’ll deal with the fussing and the odd cry how I choose.

Imagine having a crap day at work – horrendous – your colleagues have back-stabbed you, you made a major mistake on a team project that has cost the company thousands of pounds, on top of that your manager has called you in for a serious meeting to express concerns about your competency, and all you want to do is go home, call a friend, have a friend listen to you, give you a hug and eat a huge bar of chocolate and eat a tub of ice-cream with you. Then imagine someone says to your friend “Don’t bother listening to her right now, she’s just trying to get what she wants. If you take her for chocolate and ice-cream now, she’ll always depend on you to take her for ice-cream and chocolate whenever she’s having a bad day. Do you really want that to become a habit?

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR…THIS IS WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR!

This thought process wouldn’t work for us adults, so why would we apply a similar mentality towards a baby who can’t communicate in the way that we do?

So like I said before, the guilt has been thrown out of the window. Unless you are the mother of my child, then nobody else’s opinion matters in the way that I choose to do things. Any ‘habits’ that I do or don’t create will be my consequences to bear.

Quite frankly, I’m fine that my daughter will love me and need me and want me to help her. I’m fine with my daughter knowing that she can come to me and say:

“Mum, I’ve had a bad day, can I snuggle up with you?”

“Mum, the dark scares me, can you hold my hand?”

“Mum, I just miss you, can I have a hug?

“Mum, I’m in pain, can you make me feel better please?”

Because right now, these are probably some of the things she’d like to say, but she doesn’t have the words just yet.

Please do feel free to comment below. I’d be interested to hear from those of you who have heard all or some of the above since becoming a parent.

 

A gbọdọ ka – A must read (‘Sharenting’)

It’s pretty obvious why I don’t post pictures of my five year old daughter on my blog, considering it’s a blog about us rebuilding our lives after she was sexually abused. I don’t have a Facebook, Instagram or any personal social media accounts for exactly the same reason. We disappeared from our old life, and […]

via Sharenting: Pictures of Your Kids Online, Yes or No? — Life As We Know It

O yẹ ki a gafara? – Should we apologise? (Sharenting)

From birth announcements -to- ultrasound photos -to- his/her first steps -to- his/her first day at school…the list goes on and on and on, but social media is often the first place parents turn to share milestones and daily highs and lows. Often referred to as ‘sharenting’ – a term that may seem precarious of ‘over’ sharing or just as describing how parents post photos of their children online.  An idiosyncratic practice seen amongst modern parenting and also known as one of the most controversial!!! A recent study conducted by Nominet found that parents posted an average of 1,500 photos of their children online by their 5th birthday! The question here is…should parents be more mindful about sharing photos of their children online?

For example, I won’t be sharing photos of my daughter (Iman) on here or anywhere else on social media, but this is a personal choice. WHY??? Well, I believe that Iman is a person who has the right to decide on what her online presence is. Growing up in a time where the Internet has been widely used and the social media platforms have evolved, I as a young adult decided on how much of myself I chose to put online. Therefore, I believe that Iman should also have that choice. As the first generation of parents in this social media barmy world, I think we might need to really think about the effects of giving our kids an online footprint at such a young age. Nonetheless, I’m a firm believer that our parenting decisions and choices will always differ and naturally we’re not all going to agree on everything!

 Ok, so with all that said, I recently observed a remorseful trend emerging. It’s as if people are becoming apologetic about sharing photos of their children on Facebook. As Facebook is a well-known platform for sharing (or showing off) about accomplishments, extraordinary moments, and so forth…why apologise when those moments are centred around your children? Is it because society as a whole belittles parenthood? When I had Iman 6 months ago, I vowed to not become a baby bore. I cringed at the thought of being labelled as one of those parents who posted endless photos of everything to do with their baby on social media.  Although I’ll tweet about my daughter and our daily outings, I’m refraining from splashing her face all over social media because I also don’t believe that other people are that interested in seeing photos of my child pop up all over their feeds. Again, this is solely a personal decision and not in any way a dig at parents that choose to do otherwise.

In the past when I was a Facebook junkie, I’d never stop myself from posting about a job promotion, career success or education attainments but I think for the most part, I believed that my Facebook friends would be pleased for me…maybe I was wrong? Who knows? However, when it comes to parenthood, it appears to be appropriate to roll your eyes and say “Guess who’s just posted another photo and update about their child AGAIN?”

So the reality is, many reserve a distinct kind of aloofness towards oversharing parents. Yet, as a mother I know just how much of a huge achievement it is to;

  1. Conceive a baby
  2. Progress through the journey of pregnancy
  3. Give birth
  4. Get through the early days/weeks/months of motherhood
  5. Maintain your sanity through the process…etc.…

….and they’ll be so many more achievements to be experienced as our children continue to grow.

I do feel that “sharenting” is definitely one of those life choices that impact our outlook on many things. Those without children don’t always understand what it feels like to be a proud parent and it’s almost like being polarised. It sometimes makes me question how much we really value parenthood in this country, but that’s a blog for another day. The life achievements such as, the new home, new car, getting married – are sometimes deemed to be more valid. However, what people don’t understand is that when you become a parent, it becomes your life and THE greatest achievement in your life, so why do you feel that you should apologise if you decide to share 100000000s of photos of your child? Although it’s not something I chose to do, I’m still going to say that if you make the decision to share special moments of your child online, be proud and don’t EVER apologise for it BUT maybe think twice about what type of photos you choose to share and the quantity of them.

Please do feel free to comment below. I’d been interested to hear from parents who have shared photos of their children in the past and those who have also chosen not to.