Sunday, December 26, 2010

What a great idea


For a mum like me who lives in a perpetual state of organised chaos, it was a pleasure to receive in the post recently the Ideas Book by Bronnie Masefau. This lovely little red book aims to inspire women into transforming their house into a home.
There are tips on all areas of the home from kitchens, bathrooms, children’s spaces, work spaces and more, as well as lots of scribble pages for you to jot down your thoughts and ideas. Wondering how to make more creative storage spaces in your home? Want to make your lounge room more comfortable? Wishing you could keep your kids occupied and out of your hair while you cook dinner? The Ideas Book can help you improve your home and organise your life.
At the back is a handy pocket for gathering bits and bobs, and a address book section to note down your favourite stores, websites and bloggers. It’s the perfect size for the handbag and comes with a ribbon place mark and elastic band to hold the book together.
While this book is perfect for budding designers or anyone buying their first home, it can also be a good way to keep track of your short and long term goals.
The nice thing about the ideas book is that there is no set theme, so although you’re inspired by Bronnie’s ideas, you can also work on your own with lots of space to jot down notes or stick in magazine tear sheets or fabric swatches. 
We all lead busy lives and have so much information floating around our heads, so it can be difficult to remember it all. The Ideas Book takes the pressure off and does the remembering for us.
* The Ideas Book is available from www.bronniemasefau.com.au for $24.95.

Well I never


Motherhood is an ever evolving state ranging from overwhelming joy to chaos and calamity, but at least you can learn from your mistakes
Before I had children I thought I’d be a pretty good mother.
I was nervous, of course, but I thought that I had a really good idea of how to raise children, so I assumed that I could easily face all the challenges that came with motherhood.
I am also a sucker for a good “how to” book, so I am always reading about pregnancy, birth and raising children (which, one would think, would give me great credentials for child rearing).
This state of blissful naivety was monumentally shattered when I had kids, and suddenly lost all of my patience (I also lost a lot of sleep and “me-time”).
Being so cocky, and somewhat self-absorbed, I look back at my life BC (before children) and it’s almost like I’m looking back at a totally different person.
But I wouldn’t change a thing because as Christmas of 2010 arrives, I look at my two daughters with so much pride and love that I’m amazed they’ve survived me (let alone me surviving them).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dealing with loss


When a crisis occurs, how do we help our children with their grief?
A distressing incident occurred in my family this week that has prompted me to write on a topic that I’ve probably avoided in the past.
My beloved aunt (my mother’s sister) was involved in a car accident in New Zealand and is currently in intensive care riddled with injuries from her head to her toes.
She won’t make it back to Australia to be with her family (including four grandchildren) for Christmas, and while we are all very grateful she survived the crash, we are also sick with worry about the pain she is enduring.
My grandmother is also in hospital, so there have been many tears shed, and my eldest daughter has been asking questions which can be hard to answer.
It has made me realise that dealing with difficult and emotional situations like this is hard enough for us, but it must be even more confusing for children.
Children may experience many different kinds of loss in their lives and this can be devastating for them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Toy tirade


What has happened to toys in the past 20 years?
Call me a prude, call me a goodie-two-shoes, call me uptight, because I cannot stop my head from shaking, my eyes rolling back in my head, and my jaw dropping to the ground when I see some of the toys being marketed to children.
The first one that had me reeling was found at the checkout in Kmart, right on the bottom shelf, so easy for little ones to reach.
Plastic Christmas themed animals doing a poo which turns out to be brown jelly beans.
The Poo Poo Panda Candy Dispenser sat alongside the Oh Deer Sooper Dooper Reindeer Pooper, the Poo-Lar Bear Sub-Zero Pooper Hero and the Baa Humbug Grumpy Sheep Party Pooper.
Seriously, what do animals with diarrhea have to do with Christmas, and what kind of kid would find brown jelly beans appetising?
I’ve written in the past about how much I dislike Tattoo Barbie, and I find the Bratz dolls hideous, because they are sending the wrong messages to our daughters.
At almost five years of age, I do not want my daughter to think that she has to dress like a slut and wear make-up every day in order to feel “pretty”.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The chaos of Christmas


If the silly season is stressing you out, it’s time to get organised

With only four weeks to go, Christmas can bring out both the best and the worst in parents.
The worst comes with the stress of spending too much, eating too much and regretting it come New Year’s Eve.
The best comes with the spirit of giving, the smiles on children’s faces on Christmas morning and the coming together of families.
But I also find that Christmas can put a lot of extra pressure on parents, particularly mothers.
For most of the year I’ve appeared to be an organised and resourceful mother, but come December it’s clear that my household is organised chaos!
I’m having panic attacks that I’ll have forgotten to buy a gift for someone, or that I’ll blow our budget, or that I have not been blessed with my mother’s (and grandmother’s) cooking talents.
The latter is certainly true so I would love to get a gift of cooking classes, but the point is that it can all seem a bit overwhelming.
There are mothers out there who are amazing organisers and can stick to their routines, rosters, plans and checklists with ease.
They are the type who have weekly menu planners, scheduled times for work and play, rosters for the household chores and a diary full of playgroup rosters, school events, and so on. 
Being THAT organised is a really foreign concept in my house, where we tend to go with the flow.
It’s no big deal if 5pm comes around and I haven’t organised anything for dinner – we just call it my night off and make toasted sandwiches instead.
But while I am comfortable in my organised chaos, there are certainly times when I wish I could be more organised.
So, with Christmas just around the corner, I’ve found some handy tips to help disorganised mothers like me survive Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

WIN a Sucker!



Every year there are dozens of new products on the market for babies and toddlers, but here’s one that I wish I had invented! The Sucker offers a convenient solution for thirsty, on-the-go babies and their parents.It’s simply a baby bottle teat that screws onto any standard water bottle. When you’re out and about and want to give your baby a drink of clean water, simply remove the lid from a disposable water bottle and screw on the Sucker.The Sucker is BPA-free, and comes with a silicone teat, adaptor and carry case. Great for your handbag, the car or even for formula feeding. I tried it a number of times while out with my five-month-old and it proved to be a winner. It’s really easy to use, my daughter took to the teat with no problems (even though she is breastfed and isn’t used to drinking from a bottle), and it survived the dishwasher at the end of the day. I can see this little Sucker coming in very handy over the summer months! Weekender has three Suckers to giveaway to our readers valued at $12.99 each. Entries close 9am, Friday, December 3. Good luck!


To enter visit www.cairns.com.au/competitions/

Stay safe this summer


Kids can have fun in the sun, and be protected
I have written about sun safety before, but since we are nearing the end of National Skin Cancer Action week, I thought it a good time to refresh our minds about how important this issue is for every family.
At least two out of three Australian children will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and it is estimated that we get about 80 per cent of our total lifetime sun exposure in the first 18 years of life, so protecting our children’s delicate skin should be a priority.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia with more than 430,000 Australians treated each year.
Of these, more than 10,500 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed, and around 1700 deaths from skin cancer.
I’ve had three suspicious moles cut off my back, and a sun spot burnt off my nose – the result of many years of my childhood in the sun, despite my mother smothering my face with pink zinc cream – and luckily all were benign.
But skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes in the summer sun, and you only need to have one bad burn during your childhood to develop skin cancer later in life, so it’s important we teach our children to be sun smart, as well as being good role models.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

WIN a Lucky Possom Waterproof Mattress Protector

The Lucky Possum Waterproof Mattress Protector is a time and life saver for parents who are toilet training young children as it can be quickly and easily removed and replaced without having to remake the bed.
The protector comes in one size which fits both single and king single beds, has a non-slip backing and tuck in tails on both sides.
Simply lay it over the bed sheets and tuck in the tails under the mattress.
When a child wets the bed, just change the protector and head back to sleep – no more stripping the bed sheets in the middle of the night.
The Lucky Possum waterproof mattress protector will absorb urine and yet protect and keep your bed sheets and mattress completely dry.
It can hold up to two litres of fluid and is made of soft, breathable quilted cotton, is machine washable and can be tumble dried.
Because it can be used over and over again, this saves a lot of time, laundry and nappy changes.
For more information, visit www.luckypossum.com.au.
Weekender has one Lucky Possum Waterproof Mattress Protector to giveaway, valued at $39.95.
Competition closes 9am, Friday, November 19.

Bedtime blues


Does your child often wet the bed? This common problem can be helped

It’s proper name is nocturnal enuresis, but most parents know it as bed-wetting – a problem for many children and their families.
Parents often become concerned about bed-wetting when they believe their son or daughter is “old” enough to control the problem.
But the fact is, there is no set age as to when bed-wetting should end.
Most bed-wetters have little or no psychological problems that could contribute to the condition, but the act itself can cause great embarrassment and distress for your child.
The good news is for many children, this problem can be fixed by simple methods.
The causes of bed-wetting are not known but generally children who persistently wet the bed have difficulty waking up to go to the toilet when their bladder is full.
Sometimes their bladder is smaller or “irritable” and holds less urine or sometimes they are just heavy sleepers and their brain doesn’t respond to signals that their bladder is full.
Strange as it seems, bed-wetting does appear to run in families, so if the parents were bed-wetters when they were children, it’s likely their children will also have the problem.
It is also common that children may stop wetting the bed at some stage, but develop the problem again later on.
At four years of age, nearly one in three children will wet the bed on a regular basis but this statistic drops to about one in 10 by the age of six and one in 20 by the age of 10. It is also more common in boys than girls.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are your baby bottles safe?


With more studies finding BPA harmful, what should you do to lesson the exposure to your children
Over the past few years there has been growing awareness about the chemical BPA, particularly in plastic bottles, and its potential dangers.
BPA – or Bisphenol A (BP) – is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic resins, epoxy resins, and other products.
Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight, high-performance plastic that is super tough and can withstand high temperatures.
Polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of products including CDs, DVDs, electrical and electronic equipment, cars and sports equipment.
BPA is also found in items or containers that come into contact with food such as drinking vessels, baby bottles, plastic tableware and the internal coating on tins for canned food and baby formula.
It is thought that BPA and other toxins can leach into the liquid contained within as the plastic breaks down or is heated – like when you leave your plastic water bottle in the sun.
Bottle sterilisers could also have the same effect on the plastic.
The older a product gets and the more it is heated or washed, the more this leaching occurs.
The first scare over BPA came in May 2008 after the US Government released draft findings by the National Toxicology Program, part of the US National Institutes of Health, that showed possible health risks from BPA.
The NTP said: “There is some concern for neural and behavioural effects in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures.”
Laboratory rodents exposed to BPA levels similar to human exposures developed pre-cancerous lesions in the prostate and mammary glands, among other things.
The Canadian health ministry declared BPA a dangerous substance, making it the first regulatory body in the world to ban BPA in food containers and bottles.
And now for the first time, a study in humans suggests that BPA reduces a man’s fertility.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New baby in the house


When a child is no longer the centre of attention, no wonder their behaviour changes
One of the biggest challenges parents face is dealing with sibling rivalry.
And it can occur at any age from toddlers unhappy about a new baby in the home, to teens battling each other for more rights. 
I have written about this topic before, but today I want to focus on how to help young children adjust to a new baby in the family.
Sibling rivalry can often start before the arrival of the second child.
The older child may become aggressive, or may regress by acting more like a baby.
There are many things that contribute to a child not accepting a new sibling.
A child’s developmental stage will affect how well they can share your attention, and if a child is particularly close to their mother, it can be even more difficult for them to accept a new baby brother or sister.
Stress in the family can also make the adjustment harder.
But there are many things you can do to make the adjustment easier.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Go get grubby


Although it’s time for a Spring clean, it’s okay to let your children get grubby on a regular basis
It’s the middle of Spring and how many mums and dads can say they’ve successfully tackled the yearly Spring clean?
You know the tops of your kitchen cupboards are grimy and the floor under the fridge has a lovely carpet of dust, but who wants to clean places that no one can see?
It’s dirty work, but someone’s got to do it.
Unless you’ve got plenty of money to hire someone to do it for you, cleaning is an important part of running a home.
I’ve written before about how to get your children involved in household chores, but it’s worth pointing out that there is a difference between an untidy home, and a dirty home.
Untidy homes generally belong to those families with young children who tend to pull out every toy they have and leave it on the floor.
A dirty home is one that hasn’t seen a mop bucket in a while.
The problem with the latter is that dirty homes are unhealthy homes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Routine goes out the window


Some babies are just better off without a strict routine
“With your first born, you fit your life around your baby. With subsequent children, your baby fits around your life.”
This was written by a mother of five, who has no doubt “been there, done that” when it comes to parenting.
And now that I have two children, I can wholeheartedly agree.
I never realised just how much pressure I put on myself when I had my first child.
I thought I was really laid back and just went with the flow, but really I was still stressing about how many hours she slept for, how many hours between feeds, was she getting enough “tummy time”, how to deal with her cradle cap, and dealing with nappy rash (which I realised later was due to her being in disposable nappies).
The witching hour went from 6pm to 11pm so I always ate a cold dinner, and I worried endlessly about how to settle her to sleep, and if she would ever learn to “self-settle”.
The truth is that while I certainly followed my instincts, and preferred to feed her on demand, I was also trying to get her into a routine because that’s what the books tell you to do. Constantly counting hours was a nightmare.
I remember planning my days around my daughter’s nap and feed times.
I couldn’t meet a friend for coffee at 10am or 2pm because that’s when she went down for a sleep and there was no way I was going to disrupt a sleeping baby!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Perplexing parenting


Modern day parenting dilemmas can sometimes fall into a grey area
It has come to my attention that every parent has their own set of standards.
What’s okay for one, is not okay for another (not that there’s anything wrong with that... but please read on).
To elaborate on this, I’m going to put forward some examples, and reflect on these everyday dilemmas.
Case #1: Parents who leave their kids in the car.
Recently a friend of mine who lives in a small town, popped into a shop leaving her two kids in the car (air-conditioner still running). 
That night, the police knocked on her door asking questions because apparently someone had reported her.
This obviously came as quite a shock, and she was given a warning by the police, who seemed to have nothing better to do with their time.
But the fact is that there is no law against this except to say that parents must not leave children unattended in a car for an unreasonable amount of time.
So what exactly is unreasonable?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Win! Win! Win!



To win a copy of Animalia, become a follower of Mumologues, or leave a comment! I'd love to know what sort of topics you want to read about. This giveaway will be open until next Saturday, October 9  for eternity, because it appears I don't have any online readers! Well... if ever this lark called blogging actually takes off and I'm no longer a Nigel, I'll do a random draw and announce the winner! Good luck!  (No luck needed, because of so few entries.) Happy days!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The amazing world of Graeme Base


The illustrator who creates picture books that say more than a thousand words 
There are not many Australians my age (or younger) who have not read Animalia.  While it may be just another alphabet picture book, it is one that lives long in your memory as having the most fantastic, imaginative and wonderfully intricate illustrations. It was first published in 1986 and received instant international acclaim with sales of more than three million copies worldwide.
The author and illustrator is one of Australia’s best-known and leading creators of picture books: Graeme Base.
After studying graphic design in his early years, Graeme spent a rather brief and unhappy period working in a string of design studios before eventually being sacked for incompetence. He spent his last pay check preparing his folio to showcase to book publishers with the hope of getting some illustrating work. The first publisher he met with was impressed, and it wasn’t long before his first book My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch was coming off the press in 1983.
Now 27 years on, Graeme’s books with their humorous stories and amazing illustrations have captivated many generations. I was lucky to have a chat to Graeme recently, about his extraordinary career, and his latest work, due to hit book shops this month:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tummy troubles


How a little thing called gluten can play havoc on little tummies
Warning: don’t read this if you’re still eating your breakfast...
When I was pregnant I suffered from severe stomach cramps.
Being of stubborn mind, I thought I could do a self-diagnosis without my doctor.
It was either irritable bowel syndrome or gastroenteritis or giardia or Coeliac disease or constipation.
How clever am I to work that out?
I ended up seeing my doctor, but not without first trying a gluten-free diet which is what those with Coeliac disease must do.
And it was not easy.
In fact, I realised that almost everything I ate contained gluten, not just bread and pasta.
There’s gluten in biscuits, soy sauce, stock, barbecue sauce, sausages, crackers, gravy powder, Vegemite, meusli bars, breakfast cereals, pastries, Milo and salad dressings.
And there can be hidden gluten in everything from baked beans, to toothpaste, to lipstick!
I could no longer enjoy a muffin with my morning coffee, or get a takeaway pizza on the weekend.
But instead I frequented the health food shops and health food aisles of the supermarkets to stock up on gluten-free products.
While I don’t have Coeliac disease, my little diet experiment was a huge eye-opener.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taking a knife to caesars



About to have a caesar? You’re not alone, as a health report shows more women are choosing to go under the knife to have a baby
Two of my friends this week have welcomed to the world newborn baby boys.
Coincidentally, both women went past their due dates and while one chose to be induced, the other chose to have a caesarean.
The mum having the caesarean lives in South Africa, so I have no idea what the antenatal care is like in her country, but it did make me question some of the reasons why women choose to have a caesarean birth.
A health report shows that Queensland has the highest rate of caesarean births in Australia, with one in three mums now giving birth in this way.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a landmark 580-page report on the nation’s health trends, entitled Australia’s Health 2010.
The report shows a dramatic rise in the proportion of women having caesarean sections, from a national average of 2.1 per cent in 1998 to 30.9 per cent in 2007.
Queensland had the highest rate of caesareans, with 33.1 per cent of births occurring in this fashion in 2007, while Tasmania had the lowest rate of 28 per cent.
The report also states that 18.1 per cent of caesarean births happened without labour.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Gino Pecoraro said there was no single reason behind the high figure, but different rules applied in public hospitals from state to state.
Unlike their New South Wales counterparts, women in Queensland public hospitals could “demand” a caesarean without a medical reason, he said.

Friday, September 10, 2010

WIN an awesome EzyRoller!

The very cool EzyRoller is expected to dominate Christmas wish-lists in Australia this year, but Weekender has scored one to giveaway to one lucky reader.
The EzyRoller incorporates the best of a billy cart, a scooter and a rip-board, all with the control of a bike.
The EzyRoller has no pedals, chains or batteries. Kids simply sit on the seat and use their legs to get it moving. It glides forward like a snake using easy left-right movements of the feet and legs to propell it. You don’t need a hill to gain speed, the clever foot action creates all the momentum you need.
It not only looks exciting, but is made from a tough, long lasting steel fork and frame for the most active kids. 
A child’s centre of gravity on the EzyRoller is low, making it is very stable. A hand brake allows the child to stop easily. 
It comes with two extension bars to adjust the size to the child and is very easy to assemble.
It seems the creators have thought of everything because the EzyRoller is completely silent and has non-marking wheels making it great for both indoor and outdoor use.
The EzyRoller won Toy of the Year last season in America, and is available in red, blue and pink.
It is suitable for children aged 4 to 14 and retails at around $160.
A junior version comes with a handle to make it easier for younger kids (24-48 months) to operate. For more information, including a list of stockists, check out www.ezyroller.com.au.
Check out the EzyRoller in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_S3ZQdx9Is
To go in the draw, visit www.cairns.com.au/competitions
Entries close Friday, September 17. 

Put parenting first


A paid parental leave scheme is not about the money, it’s about putting our children first
There’s been a lot of talk about parental leave provisions in the past few months, particularly in light of the election, so I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at this hot topic.
The trouble with our current system is that there are too many scenarios that can cause upheaval within family life.
Firstly, you fall pregnant and worry about how you will live on one income, and how soon you would need to go back to work.
Then you have to put your unborn baby’s name on a waiting list for childcare, hoping they’ll be accepted by the time you need to get back to work.
You also wonder about whether the cost of childcare is worth going back to work.
And while you’re at work, you fear you’ll be treated differently if you go back part-time, or if you need time off work to look after a sick child.
You probably sometimes wish your partner could take care of the children while you went to work.
Well, in Sweden, none of these scenarios take place because parents are paid to stay at home with their children for 16 months, two of which are mandatory “daddy months”.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Support Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids


Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids is a not-for-profit organisation started by Despina Parakas.

When Despina and her partner looked into becoming foster carers, their eyes were opened to just how much some children don't have.
Many children are taken from their home by strangers (police or DOCS) with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and sent to home to live with strangers.
Many live with one family for a month or so and are then moved on to the next one. Some children have nowhere to call home.
So her mission is to create 1000 backpacks filled with essential and personal items for children in care.
Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids is collecting donations of school backpacks as well as any other items suitable for children of all ages.
Each backpack stays with the child. It has pyjamas, a little blanket, maybe some clothes including new underwear, toothbrush, an age appropriate toy or book, and a little torch.
Children of all ages are in care, from newborn babies to teenagers, so you can imagine that some children may need nappies and a little cuddly toy to take to bed.
To see how you can help this wonderful cause, visit backpacks4aussiekids.org

Mumologues is donating a pair of Ladybug BabyLegs to go in a fundraising cent sale which will take place in Innisfail in November. If you would like more info on contributing to this event, visit Connect to Mums.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Money doesn’t grow on trees




Help your children become financially literate for life
Recently I was playing “shops” with my daughter, who has a small toy cash register and plastic money, and had neatly set up a grocery store with plastic fruit and vegetables.
I selected my items and she “scanned” each piece, and then announced that the total came to $565.
I promptly handed over some plastic coins, she placed them in the register and then handed me back more coins than what I gave her.
“Here you go,” she said. “Thanks for shopping!”
Now her understanding of money is very basic, as she is only four years old, but she has certainly picked up on the fact that many times when we are out shopping, we not only get what we have gone in to buy, but we also get a handful of cash.
Parents understand that getting cash out at the checkout is a good idea to save on bank fees but this transaction doesn’t help to teach our children about money.
So it’s important for parents to talk to their kids and explain why they do these things and that the money you are given is actually coming out of your bank account, it’s not just a nice little bonus to say “thanks for shopping with us” (though wouldn’t that be nice!).
Parents are probably the biggest influence on how we deal with money, even if we decide not to do what our parents did.
If you set a good example for your children by following good, basic money management habits yourself, and reinforcing the lessons your kids are taught in school, then your children will be better with money too.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Unique 4-way baby carrier


I have been very fortunate to be able to road test a very unique baby carrier that has recently arrived in Australia.
The Combi Magical Compact Carrier allows you to carry your baby in four different positions.
Many baby carriers allow you to carry baby on your front, on your back, or on your hip, but this carrier also has the ability to hold baby in a cradling position as well as face-in cuddling, face-out cuddling, or on your back.
Most carriers do not provide much support for baby’s back and head, but the clever folk at Combi have designed a removable snuggle bed for head and back support which allows you to use it for your newborn in the cradling position.
The carrier then adapts as your baby grows and can be used right through to the toddler stage (or up to 14.9kg).
All of the straps are padded, made of a soft washable and breathable fabric. 
When I first tried the Combi Magical Compact Carrier I attempted to put it on myself before putting the baby in, which resulted in my baby laying very awkwardly.
So then I read the instructions!
Unlike other carriers, the Magical Compact requires you lay your baby in it first, then lean over and attach the straps.
I found this method much safer for baby and easier than some of the other brands on the market, where you have to juggle your baby in one hand and sort out straps with the other.
Once you stand up with baby securely in place, it is a very comfortable carrier.
There are no plastic buckles or metal rings poking into you, and all of the adjustable straps are hidden underneath soft padding.
Only one single central buckle needs to be fastened to secure the baby, and another central one-touch buckle to secure behind your back, making it very simple to use.
The head support has a collar designed to support baby’s head, or folded down so baby can look around.
In the cradling position, the baby’s back and head is well supported by using the firm insert, and it’s possible to breastfeed while baby is in the carrier.
I have tried quite a few brands of carriers and slings for my children, and this one is of a very high standard. The quality of materials and construction is excellent, and once you get the hang of it, carrying your baby is easy – just be sure to read the instructions before use!
Combi is one of the largest and oldest specialist producers of baby products in the world with a heritage dating back to 1957 in Japan.
Combi’s product design and innovation is largely influenced by feedback from parents which is enhanced and realised by a team of experienced designers, engineers and medical experts.
The Combi Magical Compact Baby Carrier retails for $229.99 and is available at leading specialty stores nationally. Call 02 8399 2223 for stockists or visit www.combi.com.au

Time for a break


Need a little respite from the nappies or screaming kids? Time to schedule some ‘me-time’
A good friend of mine has a daily ritual of leaving her two children with her husband early in the morning and heading down to her local McDonald’s for a coffee and to read the paper before heading back home. 
This is her “me-time” and she strongly believes that this time out from her role as wife, mother and freelance writer, is essential to keeping her happy.
“I thought I wouldn’t manage it after my second child was born, but now I deserve it more than ever,” she says.
“I’m back on ‘night shift’ mothering, as well as day shift, my husband has slept like a baby whilst I’ve been up and down out of bed like a yoyo – I have earned my 45 minutes of me time!
“I’d prefer a real coffee shop, but Maccas is the only one open at the time I sneak out.”
“Me-time” is a term that probably didn’t exist when our mothers were raising us in a time when getting married and having children was expected.
Popping out for a coffee with a friend without the children was unheard of back then, but is very common among today’s mothers.
Some women believe “me-time” is essential to stay sane among the endless laundry, dirty nappies, toddler tantrums, and so on.
While other mums actually struggle with “me-time” as they feel guilty or worry about their children when they’re not with them.Strangely, fathers never feel this guilt and manage to schedule their “me-time” on a regular basis.
How many dads out there have no problem enjoying Friday night football, weekend golf or fishing with mates?
It’s time for mothers to follow my friend’s example, and just do it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

WIN a Go Trike!


Most little munchkins like to flex a bit of muscle when it comes to getting around. One day they love being in the pusher, the next day they absolutely refuse to use it. One day they want to walk, the next they want to be carried. It’s hard to keep up.
The new Go Trike from Giant Steps makes getting out and about with your toddler fun and easy for both of you.Kids love the freedom this trike offers. They feel like they are controlling the journey and can steer using the handlebars and use the hand brake to stop or slow down.
A five point seat belt means your little one can’t fall off or do a runner when you’re not looking. There’s also a sun shade, tray, parent handle and freewheeling front wheel allowing parents to control the trike without their child knowing.Unlike some trikes on the market the Go Trike has soft tyres making it a quiet ride.
For more information check out www.activeoutthere.com.au
We have one Go Trike valued at $159 to giveaway to one lucky reader. Entries close at noon on Friday, August 27. CLICK HERE to enter! Good luck!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Childish chores


How much housework should we offload to our kids?
Now that I have a newborn at home, I have found myself asking a lot more of my eldest child.
I’ve always encouraged her to keep her room tidy, and occasionally she will help with easy household duties such as taking washing off the line, but I’ve never really asked her to do much more because I’m happy to do it for her.
I don’t think housework should be part of a four-year-old’s day, unless of course she wants to “help Mummy”.
However, now that I’m caring for a baby, I have sometimes wished she did a lot more for herself.
So what do other parents think about kids and chores? Is a four-year-old too young to chip in with home duties? Or should she already have a schedule of jobs that must be done enabling her to understand responsibility and contributing to the running of the household?
Well, the answer is probably ‘yes’, she should do more because it not only gives me a little relief, but helps her learn the value of participating in family life.
Children need to learn that housework is everyone’s responsibility and not something to do just because they will get a reward in return.
However, an occasional reward for finishing chores, can be a great motivator to continue helping each day.
For my daughter, the reward at the end of the day is praise for being “mummy’s helper”.
Of course, parents shouldn’t overwhelm their kids with housework in an effort to combat laziness, but they should be able to handle a few jobs around the house that will inevitably give them life skills when they are adults.
For example, knowing how to do the laundry, use the vacuum, clean the toilet, cook simple meals and wash dishes, are all skills they must do when they leave home.
The trick is to know what duties are appropriate for age.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Get rid of the guilt


Another study and a Premier knock mother guilt on the head
When it comes to parenting, the best advice anyone can give you is “do what works for you and your family”.
After all, each of us live in different family situations.
Some of us have multiple children, while some have just one. Some of us have a partner, while some are single parents. Some of us work, while some don’t. Some of us have a great network of support, while others are more isolated.
But unfortunately many parents (read mums) compare themselves to others and are often overcome with mother guilt.
I think the biggest causes of mother guilt come from feeding your baby formula instead of breastfeeding, and returning to work instead of staying at home with the children.
I’ve done both and yes, felt guilty, but I soon got over it and stuck with the mantra of “do what works for you and your family”.
However, two news stories hit the headlines this week that gave me a glimmer of hope that some of the guilt mothers carry might fade away.