Monday, 30 January 2012

#MedalMonday - 30th January 2012


Medal Monday

The day we share, celebrate, rejoice in our parenting victories, no matter how small, for the purposes of bragging, gloating, showing off. Is that enough synonyms for you? I bet you're impressed now.

Whatever your attitude towards parenting success, and for whatever reason you want to tell the rest of us, please do!

At Parenting on the Front Line we will bask in the glow of your parenting brilliance, and share your glory with others who can only aspire to be half the parent you are.

Link up your blog post below, grab the Victory medal badge, and leave us a comment to let us know you've linked up. 

Last week, we had two rather brilliant stories of excellence for completely different reasons.

Our first success was a good old crafting success from MummyBrain who made a very snazzy purse out of a coke bottle. Recycling at it's best. A simple and focussed success, but a success none the less.

On another scale, we had the Real Housewife of Suffolk County who managed to get through a whole weekend without major incident and they even all managed a restaurant trip, where the children were perfect little angels. Superb! Real Housewife, you are an inspiration and take this week's honour of being our winner. You don't get a prize, but hey ho, that's life.

Happy reading people. Show them some love and come back next week to see who linked up this time.

Sergeant J

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Saturday Is Caption Day!

Look sharp troops. Last week I was out with the new parent recruits waking them every half an hour and making them wade through piles of dirty laundry. They are now properly broken in and so i can turn my attention back to you 'orrible lot. Todays priority is making me laugh. Anyone who doesn't make me laugh will be doing ten laps of the parade ground. 

Right then, here's the picture. 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Friday Fail - January 27th

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Right, you 'orrible lot. Whose been letting the side down? Some of you out there have been losing a grip and your parenting standards have been dropping. Don't think we don't notice, we see everything. A late school run, not sending PE kit to school on PE day, forgetting your child's fancy dress costume and sending them in uniform, giving your toddler jelly tots so they run around the house completely hyped up and bouncing off the rules. Whatever it may be, come and link up and we can point and laugh offer support and encouragement.

Don't be shy. We've all been there. Some of us more than others!

Anyway, the linky is open once again for all you parenting losers. Link up below, leave us a comment, and tweet us @ParentFrontLine.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Why I made a pig cake

A while ago, I was having a standard bad day, nothing important just one of those days when I was feeling fed up and needing a good night out. Everything had just got too much for me I suppose. Hubby came home from work and must have noticed I was in a major grump. I'm not one of those people who is good at keeping up a front, not at home at any rate.  In passing, while I was struggling to serve dinner and get the children to stop throwing my best cutlery on the floor and use it to practise fencing each other, he said that at his work they were doing a cake baking competition.

Now this was interesting enough to get me to stop for a moment, wipe my sweating brow and look at him in confusion. His work is a very male dominated, testosterone filled environment.

"What, you're all going to bake cakes?" I asked. 

"," he replied at this point, he had the sense to look a little shifty. "No, it's the wives and girlfriends who make the cakes, then we'll bring them in, eat them and decide which is best."

"What!" I screeched, dropping a small child to the floor in horror.

"You don't have to do it, it's ok."

I think I was struck dumb for about half an hour. I could not believe he had even mentioned it. What had happened to my life? The thing which surprised me was that he wasn't shocked by the idea. He's a pretty modern guy. Before I had children, I earned more than him and he never had a problem with it, he does his share of childcare and even some housework. How could he possibly think that expecting your wives to take part in a baking context for your entertainment is a good idea? 

It's not the baking part which upset me. If he's asked me to bake something for his birthday to take in, or because they had been working hard I would have. I enjoy baking so that's not a problem. It was the competition element which upset me. What next a swimwear competition? 

So I thought long and hard and then had a genius idea. The only cake I could make in such a situation was shaped like a pig. I had great fun making it with my eldest daughter, it's not the prettiest cake in the world but it was good enough. He did chuckle when he saw it and then shook his head. There was no way he was going to take it in. Oh well we enjoyed eating it.

So what happened next? I would like to say that I stuck to my guns and didn't make another cake. I certainly thought about it. In the end I realised that I love him, I love baking. I don't want him to be the only one not to take in a cake, what was the point? So despite feeling like I was in The Taming Of the Shrew. I baked him a carrot cake and packed it up and sent it in.

A few days later I couldn't help myself. "So which cake was best?" I asked.

"Oh Mrs A's triple layer chocolate cheese cake," he replied. 

So the moral of this story? If you're going to force your wife to take part in a completely unnecessary sexist bake off, at least have the decency to lie to her and say hers was the best. Would that have made me feel better? Probably. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

#MedalMonday - 23rd January 2012

Welcome to Medal Monday - the day we share our parenting success stories, and celebrate being one of life's winners. For a change. 

Last week, we had only one trooper show up for victory parade, which is rubbish. Not that the sole trooper was rubbish, indeed she had a very good story, but ONLY ONE!!! Not good enough, you 'orrible lot!

To show you what you have to live up to, head on over to Susan's blog where she will tell you all about her lovely boys and what a fantastic job she is doing of developing their talents for reading, performing and all sorts of general cuteness. Awwwww! Susan, you deserve this week's victory medal.


If you want to be on parade this week, link up below. Don't forget to leave us a comment to let us know you've linked up. We'll all come over, say hi and congratulate you on a job well done.

Don't forget - you can link up an old post or a new one, on any parenting subject. So if your child has had a good school report, or you've just managed to make a cake without burning it, we want to know.

Laters troopers,

Sergeant J

Friday, 20 January 2012

#FailFriday - 20th January 2012

Last week was Friday the 13th. We were hoping that failure was no more an option than any other Friday, but noooooooooooooooo! We had more bloggers link up than ever before. Which is good. But not good.

First of all we had Here Come the Girls who had forgotten to rebook the swimming lessons, resulting in stress all round. Fail!

Oh Mammy! made a small mistake. Not a very big one really, but the effects even a small mistake can have when you have an autistic child are magnified. Read this and never take this parenting lark for granted again. I know I won't. A very reluctant - fail!!!

Along came Ghostwritermummy who made a complete arse out of herself in front of some perfectly nice, professional people. Fail! 

I've heard of talking crap, but never talking wee. Headspace Blog has and shows us the depths we plunge to in the name of parenting. Fail, fail, fail!

Lastly we had Cornish Blonde who did something all us parents have done at one time or another. Please go along and give her some support. So a lot of sympathy coming your way, however it is still a big, fat fail!!! Congratulations, you are this week's parade leader. I bet you are very pleased.

Anyway, the linky is open once again for all you parenting losers. Link up below, leave us a comment, and tweet us @ParentFrontLine.

Happy failing, losers!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

‘Give us a clue’, ‘Call my bluff’ and other fun games

Children play the most wonderful games.  There is real beauty to their imaginations.  I love how my little girl enjoys getting her toys together for ‘teddy bear picnics’, how she is really starting to explore creative play and dressing up in cute Disney-inspired costumes.

These aren’t the games I really mean of course.  I wrote that first sentence half sarcastically.  Of course children play the most wonderful games…at times.  But, for the purposes of this post, I’m talking about the other sort of ‘games’; the ones that can have parents (and sometimes children) tearing their hair out in frustration.

It all starts when they’re born.  From that first moment when they open their cute pouty lips and scream the flipping house down, it’s a case of “Give us a clue”.

“Why are you crying?  Are you hungry?  Wet?  Need a cuddle?  Or do you just revel in my misery??!”

Of course, it doesn’t end there.  Oh no, it only gets more interesting as they get older.  My little girl soon learnt that grunting and pointing would normally get her what she wanted.  When my husband and I eventually realised this and stopped pandering to it, she wasn’t best pleased.  We all had to start learning to communicate with each other.  Cue more guesswork…

“Oof eese ‘ummy.” (Translation: “juice please Mummy”)

“Aggy a errrk.” (Translation: “Daddy at work”)

But at least that ‘game’ is kind of fun.  We’re now past this stage and onto the next one: The much less fun game of “Call my bluff”.  It’s the one where your terrible two-year-old does something they know is naughty but they give you a little half-smile while they do it, like they’re daring you to discipline them.  You tell them off.  They continue to ‘act up’, still with that little half-smile on their adorable face and possibly looking you straight in the eye while they’re at it.  It’s an exercise in pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour to see how long it takes before you snap.  Yes, this is a great game (voice dripping with heavy sarcasm).

My little girl has been playing this one with me for a while now, normally at mealtimes to avoid having to eat things she doesn’t want to (the whole fussy eater thing is a different issue entirely).  I’ve tried the ‘Supernanny’ technique of giving warnings before a consequence. Sometimes it has a (temporary) effect.  Sometimes it has no effect at all.  Sometimes I find that ignoring her behaviour makes her calm down quicker and behave.  Sometimes it makes her more het up.

This parenting lark is a load of fun isn’t it?!* 

So, what ‘games’ do your children play with you?  And how do you handle them? 

* I must add, in fairness to my two little ones, they are only little monsters about 20% of the time.  They are mostly smiley, happy darlings for which I am always grateful.

This is a guest post from Laura, a mum of two little ones under the age of three, and author of the parenting blog, Chez Mummy. As well as writing about her (mis)adventures in parenting on her blog, Laura also pens the weekly intro for the Love All Blogs video showcase and writes a monthly round-up of health-related blog posts for BritMums.  In her spare time she...Oh wait, what spare time??!  Come and say hi on twitter or Facebook.

Monday, 16 January 2012

#MedalMonday - 16th January 2012


Medal Monday is where we celebrate the high points of parenting. We give thanks for the times where our parenting brilliance comes to the fore, and we banish the demons of parenting hell back where they belong.

To join in, find a parenting victory blog post, old or new, grab the badge from the right, and come and link up. Don't forget to tweet us @ParentFrontLine with #MedalMonday, and leave us a comment if you can. Thank you!!!

Last week, we heard the success stories of two of our more diligent soldiers.

First we had me, with an unusual journey into successville. Read all about how proud I am that I got myself and my family through the roller-coaster that was 2011.

Then we had Headspace Blog who not only got through a holiday with her young family (triumphant enough really), but also rode the scariest slide ever and made it back alive, with all limbs intact. Roar!!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Saturday Is Caption Day!

Morning troops. The Colonel is happy with your caption parade last week but a couple of points need to be noted. Before you appear on the parade ground please make sure you are properly attired, dressing gowns will not be permitted, also put down the gin bottle, it's half eight for goodness sake. Right. Get your best captions ready and proudly on display. Let's show the enemy what we're made of.


Friday, 13 January 2012

#FailFriday - 13th January 2012

Woooooohhooooooohh! Spooky times. Today is Friday the 13th, so we are preparing ourselves for a veritable hoard of your fail stories. Whether you have broken your mirror, condemning yourself to seven years bad luck, or just done the usual 'forgot about school dress-up day' (I know I have), then come along and link up your tales of woe below, loser. 

Last week, we only had two stories linked up, which is good isn't it? We are glad you all got through the previous two weeks with NO FAILS AT ALL? Don't make me laugh. You're not Mary Poppins for goodness' sake.

Anyway, we had Here Come the Girls getting all concerned about too many lost battles over getting fruit in to her little troopers. But she managed it in the end, so she can quit her moaning! 

This week's best all-too-familiar parenting fail comes courtesy of Maid in Yorkshire. You know how it is, all good intentions about how our childrens' little minds are not going to be addled by the nasty of television. Well, on this count, she has fail, fail, failed! But the bloody cheek of it - she only goes and blames someone else. Face it woman, you are a big, fat fail! 

So to be included in next week's round-up, just enter your blog post in the linky below. Leave us a comment or two if you can, grab the Big-Fat-Fail badge to display proudly on your blog and tweet us @ParentFrontLine with #FailFriday. 

Sergeant J

Monday, 9 January 2012

#MedalMonday - Monday 9th January 2012

Right men, some of you horrible lots, must have been having some parenting triumphs over the Christmas break. January is a bit of a depressing month and its easy to focus on the negative, lets turn those frowns upside down and find some good things that have happened. 

Before Christmas the Sarj was feeling triumphant after taking the twins swimming for the first time luckily her military style (of course!) organisational skills meant she can lead small armies of children to victory and swimming happiness. Pushy Mother had a musical triumph with her son's musical theory exam and shows that sometimes you do have children to succeed. Finally Here Come The Girls had a successful gardening project and has fed her troops from the produce.

Well done troops and make sure you display your medal proudly on your blog. Keep it shiny by visiting regulary and displaying your parenting triumphs

If you've not visited before, Medal Monday is where we celebrate the victories of the parenting war. We say hurrah for days where we have won! Celebrate the little incidents where we came out on top.

To join in, enter the link to your blog post into the linky tool below. We will swing by, say hello, and congratulate you on being the wonderful, victorious parent that you are.


We will see you back next week and the link is open until then. 

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Saturday Is Caption Day!


Morning troops. It's parade time and I expect you all to be up and ready with your bunks tidy and your shoes polished. None of this Saturday morning lie in nonsense. Get your best captions ready and lined up by 9am sharp. The General Mammasaurus will be inspecting the troops later so there'll be no slacking. If they don't pass muster then you'll be dropping to the floor and giving me 20. 

What you waiting for, quick - march! 

Friday, 6 January 2012

#FailFriday - 6th January 2012

Welcome to the first #FailFriday of 2012. We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year. We did, and are now raring to go for our first full year on the blog. We have had a brilliant start with some new blogs linking up for both the Fail Fridays and the Medal Mondays. Thank you to you all, and we hope to see you again soon.

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The last Fail Friday was back in mid-December, and we had three stories shared.........

The first was provided by Headspace Blog who told us her tale of parenting frustrations and anger. I like this post because it could so easily have been written by myself. Much sympathies.

My own story involved a fail of the tooth fairy, although why I'm taking the blame on this one I've no idea. If the tooth fairy can't do her job properly, well then she should just shove off.

The runaway winner of the Big Fat Fail award this week goes to Here Come the Girls who couldn't even make it to the Tots100 Christmas Party and back without a whole catalogue of fails. Poor indeed, but well done you! 

So come on, visit the above bloggers and make yourself feel better, and then link your own fail up below. We will all come visit, have a good laugh show some support, and leave you a comment. If you want a badge to accentuate your fail as a human being, then you can grab the Big Fat Fail badge on the right.

Sergeant J

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The importance of a family routine

A recent study by The Princes Trust has found that children who have a regular routine are more likely to succeed academically than those that don't. See the full story in The Telegraph.

This does not surprise me at all. I grew up in a fairly poor, working-class family in a area of the country famed for under-achievement. My parents were big fans of routine and we all turned out alright. Mostly. Sadly, the same could not be said for all of our classmates, some of whom thought we were 'posh' for a number of reasons, including because we actually had a dining table. Now, I wouldn't put my other-half into the same pigeon-hole as most of my school contemporaries, but I remember in the early days, he too was in awe of our family life. Even though he came from a family of highly-educated professionals, he could not remember a time when all his family had sat down together at the same time and had a family meal. And despite the superficial advantages that my husband and his siblings had over me and mine, it was my family that have gone on to greater academic achievement. Anyway.....

I absolutely insist on routine for my own family. A routine is not just about setting the foundations for their future success, but also about stopping me being driven absolutely nuts. With four girls of seven-years and under, our routine is key to our family life. On a daily, and weekly basis, I don't have to think about what we are doing each day - we just do. We have blocks of time where we can do different stuff, and be spontaneous, but we work it all in around the keystones of meal-times and bed-time.

In the morning, the school routine is defined by an illustrated check-list on a notice-board in the kitchen. The older girls know exactly what they need to do next to get ready for school in time, while I sort out the younger twins. I could not cope if we did it a different way every day. Once we are done, I march them off to school at the exact same time every day, so they know exactly what speed to walk out to get them there on time. Hup! 2! 3! 4!

Our lunchtime is flexible to allow for playgroups, and whether Dad is home or not, but if we are at home, the dining table it is. And we eat together. The same for tea-time (dinner-time for you Southerners), where we all eat the same thing (or a variance of) at the same time. I can't say that all mealtimes are always harmonious and that I don't shout 'sit on your bloody chair, now!!' a gazillion times at the children, but they are, at least, a daily event.

I plan on continuing the family routine for as long as possible. My parents insisted on family meal times until we had all left home, and I believe their structure and guidance has given me the stability in my life which has helped me to be relatively normal and self-confident. I hope I can do the same for my girls.

by Sergeant J

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