Thursday, 18 April 2013
The recent birth of my little daughter has been a very exciting addition in my personal life, it has been exhausting and challenging adjusting to having three wee wonders while trying to balance everyone's needs and demands. We have started to do simple signs with her as although only 10 weeks young she watches intently and smiles while I sing and sign to her. I'm looking forward to the signing journey as I know it will be rewarding for the whole family and aid the bonding process.
In terms of business although my mind has been somewhat refocused lately I am incredibly excited by the developments and changes that have already occurred and those which are to come. Nicola Wonder has been an incredible asset to the company and I'm constantly thanking my lucky stars that she joined me on this amazing journey. Our DVD is launched this week - sweat, blood and tears have gone into its making and we are very pleased and proud of the end result! With other exciting projects in the pipeline Wee Wonders continues to blossom and bloom- watch this space!
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
Friday, 31 August 2012
Changes within Wee Wonders are taking place, the catalyst being the expectancy of my third wee wonder in January. Knowing that I will have to slow down but not wanting to lose momentum I'm thrilled to welcome Nicola into the company. She'll hopefully have fun learning the ropes and the business will benefit from her skills and enthusiasm. Two heads are definitely better than one so hopefully together over the next few years Wee Wonders will grow and we'll be able to offer opportunities for other like- minded people to work with us.
If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.
Monday, 14 May 2012
The charity was set up by Christopher and Julianne Williams in July 2011 in memory of their little daughter Cára Rose who was born sleeping at 36 weeks gestation. The charity aims to raise money to provide memorial stones to families who go through stilbirth; offer support groups to bereaved families; offer specialist clinics to those who have high risk pregnancies and counseling to those who need it.
There are a number of reasons why stillbirths can occur: infections, umbilical cord problems, lifestyle factors such as smoking but in the majority of cases the cause is unknown. I was shocked to learn that last year there was 152 stillbirths in NI. It's not subject that is easily talked about in our society but that is exactly why this charity is so needed, to raise awareness and offer support. As chairperson Dianne Smith reminded us in her final words 'a child that is stillborn is STILL BORN' and shouldn't be forgotten!
The Trust also launched their website yesterday on what would have been Cára Rose's 4th birthday
Sunday, 19 February 2012
While pregnant with my first daughter I spent an inordinate amount of time surfing parenting websites like Babycenter, reading books such as 'What to expect' and basically trying to absorb as much information about something I knew little about- having a baby. Despite all my research I didn't actually come across the concept of Baby Signing until my daughter Eleni was nearly seven months and I thought 'hmmm that looks interesting', decided to investigate it further and never looked back. My husband and I enlisted the help of Deirdre from Sign2music and she gave us a fantastic workshop at home on the basics of Baby Signing and from that moment we were hooked.
We started signing the basics signs like 'milk', 'more' and 'change nappy' with Eleni and were amazed at how much attention she paid- she would watch us intently as we signed and would babble with her hands as she was becoming aware that they were tools of communication. After about a month of us signing with her pretty consistently we got our reward as she signed 'milk' in context. Her next sign was 'light' as she was fascinated with lights and we were always signing it to her wherever we went.
At eight months old Eleni was aware that she could communicate and that by a simple hand movement she got a great response and reaction from her mummy and daddy. Over the next few months her signing vocabulary increased and she was able to tell us when her nappy needed changing and if she wanted 'more' biscuit. Her verbal communication was also developing well as you always clearly say the word you are signing so they get. One of my best memories was Eleni sitting up in her high chair around one years old, her face covered in yoghurt, emphatically signing 'more' while shouting at the top of her voice 'MORE OG, MORE OG' (yoghurt)
Of course some family members thought that it was nonsense and one of my airy fairy faddish ideas but once they saw her in action and saw that her talking had been no way hindered but quite the opposite they were converted; in fact her grandpa was so proud you would have thought he had taught her himself!
With our second daughter Callia we started signing almost from birth and again found it enjoyable and beneficial as it cut out much frustration as she was able to tell us what she wanted without tears. It was also useful in helping the sisters to bond as Eleni would sing and sign to her little sister and took great pleasure whenever she signed back.
I starting to teaching Baby Signing classes to local parents; it's been a wonderful experience and the pleasure of the parents' joy when their baby signs has made it so worthwhile. I am aware that I am biased but I have seen the benefits of signing with my own girls and other signing families' children and would thoroughly recommend it to any parent even thinking about signing with their baby!
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Time and the lack of it is the curse of mothers everywhere. We spend so much time faffing around looking for shoes, mopping up spills trying to stem the tide of toys and clutter that by the end of the day we may feel exhausted but we haven't actually done anything. Then add in employment or self-employment and it makes for a very tired, frazzled mum if you're not meticulously organised with your time.
Excellent time-management skills have to be the key to juggling home and work but how do you acquire this magical concept? I write lists, then a list of lists but I still seem to be treading water when I should have completed three lengths of the pool.
Working mainly at home is especially difficult as you cannot just leave the dirty dishes or the unmade beds behind a locked door as you head off for the day but they are staring at you, mocking you until you feel compelled to tidy up before you get really annoyed. Then there's other deadly tools of procrastination readily available- Facebook, television, Mumsnet to name but a few. If you have a little one still at home it's nigh on impossible to get anything done during their waking hours without the help of Cbeebies, which in turn induces feelings of guilt.
So what is the answer? Well to be honest I don't know but I have written another list to implement and to help me organize my time and myself more efficiently.
1. Set a specific amount of time to do social media, answering emails for business and stick to it.
2. Keep on top of housework by doing dishes straight after dinner; making sure toys go way before bedtime so it doesn't become overwhelming; keeping clutter to a minimum; not letting the washing build up...etc
3. Deal with bills/paperwork as soon as it arrives and have a proper/storage/filing system.
4. Make sure I spend a couple of hours quality time everyday with the kids where I'm not multi-tasking with business, housework, dinner but focused fully on them.
That's enough to be getting on with but any other suggestions will be gratefully received!
“A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.” – Baltasar Gracian
Friday, 6 January 2012
Roll on to the New Year and as the last firework sprays the final shower of light thoughts turn to the dreaded words- tax return. Once again I curse myself for not being organised or proactive enough to get it over with in April, next year, I promise myself, it will be different, I will hire an accountant!
January is proving to be a very busy month with marketing for new classes starting in three locations, party bookings coming in, getting the books sorted, lesson plans, equipment ordering, social media... More hours in the day are definitely needed! I have decided that I have a choice- I can either become overwhelmed and procrastinate or I can just get on with it, as Theodore Roosevelt said 'With self-discipline most anything is possible.' Although I have definitively chosen the second option I'll still take a few minutes now and again to look up exotic holiday destinations- a girl can dream in January can't she?
Friday, 9 December 2011
Being a new parent is daunting- an understatement. From the moment we find out we are pregnant (and sometimes before) the enormity of what lies ahead threatens to overwhelm us. If we can’t cope with a bit of morning sickness now how will we ever survive no sleep for the next eighteen years or so? Pregnancy is the easy bit so the hordes of well wishers tell us; enjoy your lie-ins now as you’ll never have one again.
As soon as you announce the happy news to family, friends and anyone else that will care to listen, you are leaving yourself open to the curse of the modern parent- advice… With the first child you are a novice and you actively seek advice from everyone from cures for morning sickness to the best position to labour in. You find that people seem to share your excitement and will eagerly tell you the best way to do things (or how they did it). You even seek out advice from outside sources such as books and the internet, eagerly joining forums and birth clubs so you can compare your pregnancy with other expectant mums. After a while you realise that you are being given conflicting advice at every turn and end up even more confused and disorientated than when you started.
When the little bundle of joy arrives you have a myriad of emotions that threaten to engulf you. This tiny human is utterly dependent on you to feed, give warmth and comfort to and so feeling overwhelmed you still seek advice: the best way to settle baby, the best way to latch baby onto breast, you rely on midwives, visiting family members, other mums on the ward to tell you how it should be done and you do it.
However after the first hazy days have passed in a blur and life becomes more normal again you start figure out what works for you and your baby and become more confident in your inherent parenting abilities. The advice becomes less welcome and more irritating. Sometimes very irritating!
So what do you do when you realise that actually you’re getting the hang of this parenting malarkey and you really don’t want to dip your baby’s dummy in whiskey/ leave them to cry/ wrap them in 20 layers in July?? You have to quickly develop the hide of a rhino and depending on your level of assertiveness either hide your annoyance when unwanted advice is offered while smiling, nodding and serenely ignoring or politely but firmly tell the advisor to butt out and mind their own business! By the time you get to baby two or three you'll no longer be on the receiving end of unwanted advice but inevitably you'll catch yourself sagely warning excited first time mums- to- be to enjoy their lie ins.....
Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot