You realise how completely clueless you are when kids become a part of your life. When you're single your most pressing worry is what to wear out for drinks on a Friday night. Once you're married you begin to question whether you actually need to go out at all and when kids become part of your world you realise how many variable there are to so many questions which had never even crossed your mind before they arrived. 
Do I let the baby sleep with me? Do I let the baby sleep in my room? If I do that, when do I move the baby into its own room? When do I move the baby from a bassinette to a cot? Do I really need a bassinette at all (I've heard my grandmother say she kept my mum in an open drawer... how does that even work?) And we haven't even begun to talk about eating yet - these are only the sleep related questions!!

So today I wanted to tackle a big one. Well big in that it has a direct impact to your own quantity and quality of sleep after you have made your decision. (And I might add that once you have a baby you then realise how sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture - please I'll tell you everything you want to know, just let me have a sleep!) The big question is, when do you move a child from their cot to a bed?

With my first son (who is now 9 years old) it was all trial and error. Mostly error, we realised a little too late because once you have made your choice you have to live with it. There is no turning back!! So with my first child we moved him from cot to bed when he was two. Mostly because he was so tall and we felt that he would be swinging a leg over the side of the cot any day and we were worried he might fall and hurt himself. So he was duly moved into his big bed at two years and 2 weeks. The result of that move was that he was too young to "get" the rules and kept running from his bed to our room at all hours of the night because he could. (Please I'll give you all my secrets - just let me sleep!)

I went off to the library and borrowed every book I could on toddler sleeping, (sub titled - keeping them in their own bed) and we tried a number of the recommendations out. The only thing that worked for us (and keep in mind that this was almost a year later of broken sleeps and he had not slept well as a baby either... I don't believe I got an unbroken nights sleep for about three years) was threatening to tie his room shut. Yeah, I know, I can hear the horrified intakes of breath from here - but when you're that tied you go with what works.

Please note that we threatened to tie his door shut.  The theory goes that you tie a rope from a door across the hall to your toddler's door and then tie the other end to their door knob. So that they are able to open their door only a tiny smidge yet still can't get out. We did not ever actually do it. Fortunately the threat of it was enough.

Now we come to that point again. My two year old is tall enough to swing a leg over the side of the cot and just get out. So what am I going to do about it?? Well, at the moment I have him sleeping in a backward kids sleeping bag (you know the ones with the arms in them, not the ones you go camping with kids in ..... and it's backwards because he learnt how to undo the zip and strip it off - and sometimes the rest of his clothes (houdini anyone?)). So in this way he can't swing his leg over high enough to actually get out of the cot.

My plan this time (based on my previous experience) will see him sleeping in the cot until he can no longer actually fit in there and then I have no choice but to move him into his "big" bed. At which time we will make a big deal (as recommended by experts) about what a big boy he is and how exciting it is to move to a big boy bed.... and then I guess we get back on with the game of sleep Russian roulette!! 

I'll keep you posted.



There are three things that all children need in their lives (aside from the obvious food, water and shelter) and they are;

1. To be safe
2. To be loved
3. To be happy

How we work it at our house is to aim for the top two and if we hit number three, to be happy, that's a bonus. It is not an accident that I have put these points together in that order of preferance - it is essential that it runs in that particular order.  Not having a strong grasp on what they are aiming for and in what order, often sees parents flailing about in parenthood wondering why things aren't happening the way they are supposed to and what went wrong.

Now don't get my wrong. I am not saying that my kids are perfect ... because they certainly are not! (See my previous post Sometimes I don't like my kids very much) What I am saying is that sometimes parents get it arse about and I find it very frustrating to witness.  

I was talking to a friend on the phone a while ago and she was talking about a friend of hers, "oh, she's having a lot of problems with discipline and her daughter. It's really hard for her, she's a single mum and she doesn't know when to put her foot down sometimes. I mean she wants to be her daughter's friend, she doesn't want her not to like her, of course." Now, please don't take this as a rant about single mums (because it certainly is NOT) but come on! Here is where I had to stop myself from really going off. The thing is, you don't carry a child for nine months and then give birth to them because you need more friends, grow up. If you need more friends get off your arse and go out and meet them!

The job of a parent is to mould their kids into decent human beings who contribute to society. If I have to see one more teenage kid going on, on TV about how they hate everyone and they just don't like being told what to do, I think my head might explode. Here's a secret, nobody likes being told what to do. Nobody likes having to go by the rules... but here's the really important part, that's how society functions. Otherwise we might as well be living in the outback with a kill or be killed mentality, everyone for themselves folks, run for your lives!! 

Seriously, if I have to listen to one more parent whining about how their kids won't listen or won't go to bed or won't get on the school bus or whatever it is, I may have to punch them. At the end of the day, you are the parent and if you aren't running the show ... then who is?? I am certainly not saying that kids aren't going to challenge your authority, that's their job. Of course there going to give it a run.

What I am talking about are those crap kids (and their ilk) on 'World's strictest parents'. Contrary to what the parent's state each week, they did not wake up one day and find an uncontrollable jerk living in their house -  those parents have been moulding them into that jerk for years. By making choices for their child to be happy because they haven't wanted to get them off side - "oh no, my child may not like me". (Whatever, some days you don't like them very much either). They have often chosen the easiest way out (at the time), the route that left them feeling most popular. I might point out that the easiest way does not appear so easy when your child becomes a teenager who feels entitled to be happy doing whatever they want, when they want, with whoever they want and you can go and get stuffed while they're at it.   

I often say to my child, it is my job to make sure that he is safe and it is very important for him to know that he is loved - but I will always choose those two over him being happy. I am certainly not saying that as a parent I do not feel fulfilled unless my child is unhappy, that's not it at all. What I am saying is that if they are happy as a by product of being safe and being loved then that's great but I will never give in to just making them happy at the expense of being safe and loved. If that means making the hard or unpopular calls sometimes then, so be it.

The really exciting thing about this method of parenting is that when your children reach adulthood you will want to become friends with them because they are the type of decent human being you would like to hang out with.  



Yes I know, with a blog title like that this post could very well have been about the process of labour itself...  but it's not. What I wanted to talk about today was how hard to push your kids. Where do you draw the line between helping them too much and not helping them enough? How hard do you push them to achieve??

Whilst watching some of the London Olympic highlights I noticed one of our Aussie female swimmers crying her little eyes out because she had not won gold. The point is she trained hard, she was selected for the Olympic team, which is an amazing achievement in itself! Then she got to the London Olympics competed and won silver. Nothing to be sniffed at I would have thought but she looked heartbroken.

It got me thinking about how much pressure these kids must be under to achieve. We tell our kids to go out there and do their best. To give it everything they've got and she did. Her behaviour would indicate that she had failed and she had won silver.

So how hard should we push our kids?? If you've ever seen the show toddlers and tiara's you'll know what it looks like to cross the line. Some of those parents look like they are living vicariously through their children's wins. If you get a chance watch the Tom Hanks video I have linked to this post for you. This is a joke but unfortunately it is based heavily on others reality. Which is very, very sad.
Anyhoo, back to reality and how hard to push your kids.

I have a friend who once complained (well alright more than once but who wouldn't?)  to me about driving her son around to ice hockey matches, training and other ice hockey related crap. Then she said "I shouldn't complain, what if he turns out to be great at this?! Do you think Ian Thorpe's mum complained about driving him to swimming practice at 4am most mornings and look at him!" On thinking about it... she probably did. Complain, I mean. It is a lot to give of yourself to take such a big chunk out of your life to help someone else achieve their dreams. And how many kids don't actually make it in their chosen sport or activity anyway?? My friend's son went on to other things and never did achieve anything of national recognition in ice hockey. But is that the only reason we do it??  What are the reasons to push?? Because they might be great at it? Because they love it? Because you want them to get out and participate? Because everyone else in the family did it or does it? Because you wanted to do it but you weren't good enough??

You've probably seen that ad on TV where mum's from all over the world are waking their children up really early to drag them to some type of training for a variety of different sports. Then you see the child grown, competing in the Olympics and their mother crying in the stands watching them. Whilst this is a nice ad and it even gets me a little misty whilst thinking perhaps I should be pushing my kids a little harder at something, I'm just not sure what. What is it we are trying to achieve by pushing our kids to achieve?? Where do we draw the line and how hard do we push them to get there? 

I don't have an answer but it's certainly something to think about.


Here's the thing, you know that your son is too old to take to the female toilets with you when he is old enough to shave.... and if you haven't seriously looked at drawing the line quite some time before that, then you may have a few more problems with boundaries than just when to stop taking your child to the toilet with you (mumma's boy anyone?). But, when should you start sending them in on their own??

My issue is that my eldest child who is only 9 is very tall and has been mistaken a number of times for a high school student in the past, (actually that happened once when he was in grade 2 - but the person who assumed that was very short, so maybe she assumed every male without facial hair taller than her was in high school, I don't know). Basically he is  now only about 15cm shorter than me and wears the same size shoes. Anyhoo, we were out at a shopping centre together not so long ago and I took him to the female toilets with me (he actually wanted to go to the men's alone, but I am just so uncomfortable with that) and as he was walking out a little ahead of me, the cleaning lady said "Aren't you a little old to be in the ladies toilets?". Now I missed this exchange but when he told me about it, I wanted to go back and question the cleaning lady about her understanding of when it was appropriate to send little boys into a closed room, on their own with grown men with their penis out?? My son, of course was mortified by the whole thing and would not let me go back to "talk" to the cleaner. 

I know I said he was tall and he is - but that's just on the outside. Inside he is still an easily led, immature, 9 year old boy. So my dear friends, I ask you....at what age do you send your child in on their own to use the men's toilet??? I have a friend who still takes takes her boys into the ladies change rooms to change them after swimming lessons and at 9 and 7, I think they are a little old to be in with naked female strangers who want a little bit of their own privacy. So I get that. There are options. Such as the family change rooms. But there are not usually family toilets - I mean there are the unisex disabled toilets but I don't want to be hogging those ... if that's not illegal anyway, it's definitely frowned on.

So what do you do?? Continue to take them in with you? And then when do you stop?? Or do you just send them into the unknown when they "look big enough" and stand by the door, counting down what you feel are appropriate minutes for a toilet visit (which obviously leads to you having to then discuss what they are planning to do in there, so you can give them enough time to actually get the job done).

Opinions are welcome and are in fact asked for. So what do you think??

Ta Ta,