KIAN'S MAY AND JUNE 2018 FAVOURITES


May and June were the months of intense growth for my 21-months-old Kian. He is in a difficult phase of one's life. A phase of confusion between being an independent person and dependent baby. Add the teething on the top of that, and you get a tough, tough time. Nonetheless, he continues to develop his skills in an unimaginably fast way, and he remains the sweetest, and funniest kid on the planet. 

CURRENT FAVOURITE BOOK:

Kian absolutely adores animals and books that feature photos or realistic drawings of them. At the beginning of May, I got him the 'Animal Kingdom' by Steve Parker and Martin Walter, and he never parts with it (we have the 2004 edition).
It is a beautifully, beautifully illustrated album, which includes short and very informative descriptions of all species presented. And, what is very important to me, the entries are interesting not only for my 21-months-old son but also for us- the parents. This is the best animal album I have ever come across. If you find it in a thrift/ charity shop or eBay, definitely get it. 



FAVOURITE TOYS:

ANIMAL FIGURES
Animal figures are hands down the best toys we have ever invested in. He plays with them non stop. In Kian's April favourites, I wrote that 'he can name them all and copy their sounds, he matches them to the photos of actual animals. Plus, he dances with them, eats with them, talks to them. I am so happy that he bonds with the animals and nature.' And nothing has changed since then. Sometimes I feel like I live in the middle of Savannah, cause I see more animals than people these days 😄

WOODEN LONDON BUS

A great charity shop find. A fantastic toy for a child who loves buses. The top bit opens, and the upper deck is removable, which creates an opportunity for little hands to develop fine motor skills. 

STACKING TOWER
We have had this stacking tower for the longest time, but my son was never interested in it. In May he realised that stacking things on each other is a lot of fun. Sometimes he uses the cups to make his blenders (more about blender obsession here), or in the bath. 


WOODEN ROCKET
Kian loves the outer space, and he loves his old school wooden space rocket. The blast off, obviously, is the best part of playing with it. It is fun to visit not only the Moon but also all of the planets weekly 😊


FAVOURITE FOOD:  
Watermelons and apricots. And his old favourites- beetroots, tofu, avocados, olives, raspberries and pears. 


FAVOURITE ANIMALS:
The list of his favourite animals is pretty much endless, but elephants remain at the top of it. In the past months, he talked mostly about racoons, zebras, foxes, okapis, monkeys, crows, squirrels, roosters, bison, parrots, dogs, rabbits, cats, mammoths and cheetahs. Animals fascinate him.


SPEAKING, COUNTING, COLOURS AND SHAPES:
At this point in his life (21/22 months old) I can say that he has no communication issues anymore. He easily builds up 6-10 words long sentences, and even though sometimes he mixes 3 languages that he learns, even strangers understand him.
I absolutely adore this phase of a kid's life. His speech is cute and funny, and it melts my heart. 

He counts to 10 in Persian and English, but haven't started in Polish yet. 
His current favourite colours are orange and brown.
In terms of shapes, he recognises most of them, but he spots everywhere and names circle, oval, heart, star, square and triangle. 


Motherhood is not easy at all. But so unbelievably rewarding! I am excited to see him grow and excited for what July brings us. 
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JUNE 2018 FAVOURITES

Susy Sánchez as Anabel and Bárbara Lennie as Chiara in 'Sunday's Illness'.  Photo: Netflix

'Sunday's Illness' by Ramon Salazar
'Sunday's Illness' is a very melancholic and intimate mother-daughter drama. Anabel (Susy Sánchez) is a wealthy and elegant lady, living in a stunning mansion with her family. One night, unexpectedly, she has to face Chiara (Bárbara Lennie), a daughter she abandoned 35 years ago. The woman asks her mother to spend ten days together in her house in the woods. The events in Chiara's house are very unconventional. Anabel isn't overly apologetic for leaving her daughter behind, Chiara doesn't demand answers. 
Even though this film is slow-paced, and its scenes are often filled with silence, every little thing in it speaks. The costumes, the light, the colours. They all tell us the story. The leading actresses give phenomenal performances, very stoical yet so full-bodied. The dynamics between them is great, they are very synchronised. 
Hard to believe, but I have almost missed out on watching it. The title isn't very attention-getting, but luckily the photos are. And the cinematography is one of the selling points of this movie. It is simply exquisite!


Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) and Okja.  Photo: Netflix
'Okja' by Bong Joon-ho
Okja is one of 26 super pigs- a special breed of genetically modified swine, invented by the Mirando Corporation to deal with the global food crisis. Born in a cold lab, she grew up in the dreamy mountaintop in South Korea, surrounded with care and love from the local farmer (Byun Hee-bong) and his little granddaughter, Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun). One day the Mirando Corporation takes the giant pig away from her dearest friends, so Mija sets off on a rescue mission to bring Okja back home.
'Okja' is beautifully shot. The scenes filmed in South Korea are visually breathtaking. It is a good movie, there is some adventure, some humour, a bit of fantasy, and a dash of horror in it. If you're afraid of it being the 'vegan propaganda'- don't be. This isn't the main focus of this film.


James Corden and Paul McCartney.  Photo credit: CBS

Sir Paul McCartney on the Carpool Karaoke 
The youtube suggestions algorithm sometimes works wonders. Quite stressed and down, I was looking for something to cheer me up. The first suggestion that pops up on my screen is Paul McCartney on Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. I did not stop smiling not only while watching the video but for the rest of the day.
They sang some of my all-time favourite The Beatles songs- 'Penny Lane', 'Let It Be', and a few more. It was fun, it was moving, it was very, very special! Over 26 millions of views within 2 weeks speaks for itself. James Corden has the best job in the world!


Joanna Kulig (Zula) and  Tomasz Kot (Wiktor) in 'Cold War'.  Photo credit: Kino Swiat

The trailer of 'Cold War' directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Probably the best movie trailer I have ever seen. It is a beautifully crafted combination of delightful music and gorgeous photography. I have seen it about a hundred times, and I can not wait to watch the whole film.
Cold War is a love story. Not a usual, sugary, boring one. It is a story of a complex, intense love and relationship between a woman and a man who can't live without each other, and can not live with each other. The team of actors and creators of 'Cold War' is simply wonderful. My favourite actor- Tomasz Kot, plays a lead male character in this movie, and I am sure that he will now finally gain an international recognition, which he so much deserves. Joanna Kulig (Zula) is a wonderful, wonderful actress. Pawel Pawlikowski is a great, Oscar-winning Polish director. He won the Best Director prize for Cold War at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. I have a feeling that they have created a masterpiece! 


Have you recently read or seen something interesting? Let me know, I would love to check out all of your recommendations! Thanks for reading x


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Encouraging Independence In Children


Parenthood is full of precious moments. Seeing two lines on the pregnancy test, feeling the first movements and kicks to birth, first smile, first drawing. The list is endless! 
To me though, the sweetest and most enjoyable thing about being a mother is seeing my son become independent. I love observing how he develops his communication, social and motor skills. From seemingly little things, like him holding the teether in his hand for the first time to first steps, brushing teeth, building sentences or making his own choices. It melts my heart.

And yet I hear everyday parents complaining about their kids being lazy or not independent. Trust me- nobody was born lazy. Nobody was born helplessSome were brought up this wayAnd I am not talking about a teething 2-year-old, wanting to spend the whole day in mum's hug. I am talking about 8-years-old not being able to peel a banana, or 30-years-old not being able to make a sandwich. Don't even ask me how many of them do I know! 


Why are some kids not independent?
Well, the answer is the family house. Some parents do not have the patience to share the duties with their kids. Because cleaning, vacuuming, or doing laundry takes twice as long with them. 
I totally understand that it can be difficult, and I don't judge the parents who don't want to involve their kids in the domestic duties, but I also know that if they are not thought to put their toys back as babies, they won't have clean rooms as teenagers
More and more often I hear that parents pay their kids for 'helping out at home'. Dusting, cleaning their own rooms or taking the rubbish out. I have lived on this planet for over 26 years, and I have never seen a single successful person who was bribed to do simple domestic duties. The awards system doesn't work.
And yes, I know that we can always hire a housekeeper to maitain cleanliness at home, but it should to be an alternative, not a necessity. 
Last but not least- some children have too many toys and clothes, and they simply can not manage to keep them all organised. Unnecessary clutter is overwhelming for adults, let alone for kidsToys rotation and a decent declutter can solve this issue 😊


How to encourage independence in children? 
START EARLY
Independent kids are happy kids. Allow your child brush his hair and choose his outfit, let him take part in preparing food and cleaning. Trust me, even vacuuming is exciting for kids! People are born with this phenomenal gift of curiosity that needs nurturing.
My son loves snacking on fruits, but he is much happier when he can pick the fruit he wants to eat, wash it, cut it and put it on the plate (well, his favourite ones are usually eaten right after being cut). 

Obviously, I do not advise handing a massive knife to a toddler, but there are some handy tools that kids can use under the constant supervision of adults.




TEACH YOUR CHILD A POSITIVE APPROACH TO LIFE
Try not to complain in front of your kids about having to cook 'this f%$&*#^ dinner' or doing 'the f%$&*#^ dishes again'. Aim to teach your offspring a positive approach to life. 
PS I wish too that the magic cleaning/ running errands/ cooking/ facing problems fairy existed 😊

LEAVE SOME CLEANING TOOLS AVAILALE FOR THEM
Kids would do more if they had the right tools available. Leaving a brush and a dustpan somewhere, where they can easily reach will encourage them to use it. Similarly, it applies to all areas of their life. If their clothes and shoes are easily accesible, they will want to leanr how to put them on. 
If you create a snacking station for them, they will learn how to prepare simple snack easily. 

CONCENTRATE ON BUILDING THEIR PHYSICAL CONFIDENCE AND DEVELOPING GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
When it comes to supporting baby's physical development, there are two major aspects to think about:
Firstly, building the baby's muscle strength by practising 'tummy time' daily.
Secondly, not hurting your baby.
Make sure you use the right baby carriers and introduce them at the right time (when your child sits up independently). 
PS surrounding them with pillows to 'help' them sit up is extremely harmful. So is using the baby jumpers. 
And once your baby takes his first steps, and you suddenly are facing the eternal problem of all of the parents on this planet  (do I stop him, or pray and let him climb), choose to let him climb/ run/ explore the world. It is difficult! My inner worrywart wakes up every time my son tries to something new, and I want to call the ambulance before he even attempts climbing, but I know that I just have to let him try. 


BE A TRUSTING AND CONFIDENCE ENCOURAGING PARENT
Kids who grow up with trusting and confidence encouraging parents are much more independent and successful in their lives. Today your child confidently chooses his favourite outfit, the toys he wants to play with, or his favourite fruit. Tomorrow he will confidently decide which house to buy, business to invest in or which escape route is the safest from the building on fire. 

If parents don't trust that their child can make the sandwich at the age of 8, they won't trust that he can build the company and gain an international success as an adult. It is important that we give our kids roots as well as wings and the courage to fly.



DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE GIFT OF LOVE
The children who feel loved are more confident and independent. We have received a gift of unconditional and limitless love, and we can not forget to remind our kids daily how much they mean to us.

VALUE THEIR EFFORT
So many of us, adults, don't live our lives the way we want, because we are most afraid of two things- failure and what will others say. And again, this is because many of us grew up with very judgemental parents.
We have to let our kids know that it is OK to make mistakes. And that we love them unconditionally, no matter if they won the dancing contest or they chose a different passion over dancing.  
Your child will most likely spill some water when pouring it into the glass for the first time. Your reaction to it will have a massive impact on the way he feels, on his self-confidence and if he decided to try pouring the water again.


BE A PARENT AND A FRIEND IN ONE
Your kids will come to you with all their problems and successes. The bond between you will be unbreakable! 

DON'T COMPARE YOUR CHILD TO OTHERS
Don't compare your child to others. Especially the way he looks. He is one of a kind! Instead, explain to him that there will always be somebody taller/ shorter, slimmer/ chubbier than him, and it is OK. And he is perfect just the way he is. 


NEVER MOCK YOUR KID!
Too many times I have witnessed shocking situations where parents were mocking their kids. For many reasons. For the smelly pooh they made, or the spelling mistakes. For crying. For falling off the bicycle. For the way they look. 
I can not find the right words to express how disgusting it is and how much it ruins one's self-esteem, happiness and sometimes life. Some parents do that because they don't know how to react to new or stressful situations. 
A person constantly bullied at home will not be confident.

TRY THE MONTESSORI APPROACH
I love Maria Montessori approach to education and bringing up kids. Her method encourages confidence, independence, helps to boost child's imagination and creativity, and sets no limits in what one can achieve and learn. I highly recommend reading about it, if you haven't alredy. She was one of the first people to speak publicly about respecting children and respect is the core of her method. 


We are all born with a natural desire to learn, discover and make progress. Every child has the great potential to live a happy and successful life, and every child will if only his parents give him the right tools.

We all have bad days, and we all make mistakes. Parenting is a rollercoaster of emotions, powered by limitless love, sleepless nights and endless visits to the GP.  But trust me- all of our efforts will pay off. 
So, chin up parents! It can be done. 

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