Monthly Archives

December 2016

Jingle bells, jingle bells…

December 23, 2016
jingle bells

It seems as though the kids have some natural instinct that makes them start asking as early as in November when the first snow will fall and what Santa will bring them this year.

Do your kids believe in Santa Claus? My daughter does. I try to keep up to her expectations and make sure she stays a believer as long as possible. A while ago she told me that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, that she heard it from a friend from the kindergarten. Then I asked: Hmm, and who was that old man with white beard who held you on his lap and gave you all those nice presents a few days ago? It worked, let’s move on.  

The Christmas tree was decorated long ago. There are many nice small gifts underneath, such as chocolate Santas, in case He drops by and wishes to eat something sweet. And guess what? For several days now, my daughter has been noticing that the number of chocolate Santas keeps dwindling… Ergo, he did come by, and He liked it here, hurray! At that point I normally blush and run off to buy new chocolates to put under the tree.

What do you put under your tree? I have shown all my cards too early, I’m afraid. When she was 3, my daughter got a fully equipped two-storey Barby house with two lifts, a shower cabin and a door bell. I admit I’ve bought her so many things in the recent years that I now have no clue how to live up to that. And when I take her to the toy store and let her choose on her own, she normally picks total rubbish: a battery-operated mouse, another eye popping felt toy, a huge felt dolphin that hisses when squeezed (“Mummy, it’s an ideal bed toy, I need it!”).

What conclusion can be drawn from this? Don’t overdo it like I did. My kid has too many toys. She gets tired of them quickly and keeps asking for more. Try not to pile up the junk you won’t know how to get rid of. This year I’ve bought her two smallest felt toys, some plush puppies from a popular TV show, and a bag full of crisps and candies she’ll surely like as much as she likes the Barby house, if not more.


How to motivate your children to do household chores

December 18, 2016

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Several days ago, I exchanged some experiences with a co-worker, a more experienced mother than me, the neophyte. She told me about how she ordered her 14-year old son to vacuum clean his room. A few moments later, she heard the vacuum cleaner running from his room, but she still had some doubts. She went in and found the boy lying on the bed, reading, with the vacuum cleaner on, standing idle on the floor next to him!
Although we had a good laugh, this anecdote made me wonder: what would be the right time to make my daughter accept some house work and what would be the best approach?
Here’s what I’ve come up with and you’re welcome to correct me if you think I’m wrong.
My daughter is 5. There’re all kinds of kids. Some are probably born tidy and they don’t mind collecting their stuff and keeping their rooms clean. Others, like my daughter, would take any opportunity to try out something new and be creative. For her, tidying up is a chance to make some changes, such as “convincing” the felt toys to move into the Barby house and turning her bed into a playground for Smurfs.
I’ve recently started insisting that she should put away her clothes after she takes them off. Or at the very least to take them off the floor, where they usually end up. She obeys most of the time, but she prefers to interpret the “putting away” routine in an interesting way. I’m not giving up although I’m starting to lose my voice giving the same orders over and over. While doing that, I have to stand between her and the TV to make sure she keeps her eyes off the cartoon channel.
So, what’s the best approach to making a child understand and accept that the household chores must be done, at least to a reasonable extent?
I think the only way is to keep repeating and making your point. I guess it’s important to make sure they understand and obey because they’ve understood, and not because they’re coerced. You’ll be surprised, but the day will come when they will look at you with understanding and maybe even do what’s expected before you start insisting.
Until then, I’ll just keep asking and threatening. The threat that really works these days is that I’ll take the largest garbage bag and through in all the misplaced toys I find in the house… Cruel, right?

The ways life changes when you become a single mother

December 13, 2016
single mother life

My child is 5 and only now can I say that I’ve managed to fully understand the serious business I’ve undertook – single parenthood. My life has changed dramatically and I’d had no idea it would be that different. In fact, to be honest, I had no idea what it actually meant to be a parent, let alone a single parent. Which isn’t all that bad…

Partying until late at night

Before: I’ve never really been that much into staying out late, but I liked partying with friends. And I used to go to bed quite late.

Now: I go to bed at midnight sometimes, but only because I’d decided to iron piles of clothes or to tidy my daughter’s room.

High heels

Before: Yes, a woman looks better on high heels. They may not always be very comfortable to wear, most often they aren’t, but they are the most lethal female weapon, right?

Now: My shoes with high heels are safely stored in the closet. I wear them once a month, when I remember they exist. Flat soles rule when you’re forced to run after a toddler, carry grocery bags and hold the child’s hand.


Before: in my previous life, I enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen from time to time. I’d find some interesting recipes and let my imagination go wild. Of course, I didn’t cook every day, but only when inspired.

Now: I normally cook every day. Sophisticated culinary experiments are no longer appropriate or welcome, as my daughter likes simple stuff: soups, meat, veggies. Chinese dishes are “yuck”. Pancakes are on the menu at least twice a week.

Eating out

Before: Yes, yes, yes.

Now: We avoid fast food restaurants. We occasionally go to a place where people know us and wouldn’t mind us playing cartoons on the tablet and throwing napkins on the floor.

Relaxed weekends

Before: I remember lying around until noon, going to brunches, watching films in the afternoons… Long weekends…

Now: It would make more sense to say that I’m more relaxed during the working week than at weekends. My daughter wakes up at 7 am and I shall say no more. The first thing she says is: “I’m hungry”, followed by a phrase containing the word “cartoon”.

Going to hairdresser’s, beauty parlors and the like

Before: Enthusiastically and regularly

Now: I see my beautician twice a year, with an apologetic expression on my face. Going to the hairdresser’s is an operation prepared carefully and well in advance.

A few practical rules that may come in handy

December 4, 2016

A simple fact of life is that the children need an orderly daily routine. In spite of this, many parents, single or not, fail to pay much attention to this and subordinate their children’s best interest to their own schedules and wishes. In short, being a parent means sacrificing some things, giving up on late night parties and some big or small pleasures so that the children could receive maximum attention in an optimum way and in the optimum conditions. What are the optimum conditions, in my view, and what rules have I set when it comes to bringing up my daughter?

Here I open a parenthesis because I want to underline the following: my being a single mother doesn’t really have a role in this – I would act the same way even if I was bringing her up with a partner.

So, a few simple rules and some advice that you may find useful:

A small child must go to bed early. When exactly that is depends on many factors: daily obligations, the time of year, the child’s age, etc. My daughter is 5 years old and she goes to bed at 8 pm. Normally, she wouldn’t fall asleep immediately, but she mostly dozes off half an hour later tops. She always wakes up at 7 am, so she needs plenty of sleep.

She’s also used to having a nap after lunch, although other children her age have lost that habit long ago. Obviously, she’s good at sleeping and really needs a lot of rest, so I try to make sure she has it as much as possible.

Everybody eats at the table in our house rather than on the sofa or in other places. We always eat wholesome food: fruit, veggies, meat, soups.

I avoid letting my daughter eat candies. How? I simply don’t buy them. Occasionally, I’d buy a chocolate, but I always hide it on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet, just in case.

To me, order means that the small child is always at home when he or she should be. My daughter goes to bed on time and eats well. I’d given up night life and all social events that don’t fit into this concept. I prefer spending time with her to leaving her in the hands of a babysitter or another person. I don’t regret this and I generally don’t find it hard to turn my back on the small pleasures of life. I find great satisfaction in the fact that I’ve spared no effort to make sure she has a happy childhood, which is an investment for a good future.