Happy Mondays #4 :watch videos for kids on YouTube safely

FINALLY! We have found the right app for our 4 year-old to watch videos on YouTube safely. And that makes us very very happy.

I was the other day reading a blogpost on Digital Motherhood about how to keep your children safe in the Internet and Sarah gives quite good tips about it. For us, the one that stood out the most was the YouTube Kids app. Have you ever wondered how to set up some sort of filters on YouTube so your little one doesn’t end up watching some very dodgy content instead of Peppa Pig?!

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Well, that was our issue for quite a long time, since our little J started to become a little YouTube addict we were quite reluctant about the whole thing. I remember once, for example, she was watching an episode of My Little Pony when another video showed on the recommendations.I suddenly realized how all the little ponies were getting all high, smoking pot and doing all sorts of things. I took it out immediately! I was so angry with the whole situation because who could waste their time doing that type of thing?! Anyway, for me it doesn’t make sense at all. So we are very careful and always make sure that she is with one of us while she watches the videos.

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With this app you can at least lay back a little bit more, because the videos that are showed ARE for children. You can adjust the settings for preschoolers or for school age children and you can even limit the time they watch. We recommend you to try it if you’re child is into YouTube videos. Maybe you already knew about it, but for us that was the first time we heard about this app, and yes, it has made us quite a happy family!

Which other child friendly apps have you heard of? We will tell you our little list with our top apps for kids on another post! 🙂

Cuddles from an acquaintance, when “no” means “no”

Everyone that knows my children, knows that they’re naturally happy, especially my 4 year-old is a bubbly little girl that captivates who ever she comes across with, with her smile and sense of humour. Having said this, we have recently found ourselves in a not so pleasant situation, which has taken me to share with you today what I think people should know about giving cuddles to other children, not of your own.

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Our little J loves to play and fool around, jump over our shoulders, give hugs and kisses, but that is with us, mummy, daddy, little E and closest family members and a few “chosen” others. The other day though, we were at a familiar place to her, showing our family a bit of Manchester, when we came across two acquaintances, one of them, a young girl that was being quite friendly with J, and as I said before, she was playing along with her, giving her high fives and all these sort of games. Then she suddenly lifted her up. In the beginning, our little one was fine, just enjoying the cuddle, and we were right there, holding a conversation with the other person, so nothing to worry about.

After a few seconds, I noticed on her face that the cuddle was lasting for too long, she wasn’t alright and she wanted to come down. So I kindly said, “oh, we need to go now..and bla bla,” to see if this person would just get the hint and let her go. I didn’t want to sound rude, but J was getting more upset and she looked at me right into my eyes and said in Spanish “Mummy, I want to come down” So that was it. I said again, but this time with a firm voice, I extended my arms to get my child back, “sorry, but we need to go, J please, come down” so finally, this girl let her go. I know J wasn’t alright with the situation because right before leaving the woman tried to high five with her and this time she didn’t want to.

You might think this is quite silly, but seeing how my child was gently being forced to accept a cuddle from a not-so-stranger, and seeing myself in the situation of not wanting to sound too abrupt but at the same time looking after my child’s emotional welfare, was a quite upsetting and frustrating experience. I know, I know, I understand there was no harm on this woman’s cuddle, that she was just trying to be friendly with a cute little 4 y.o. but NO means NO, and that applies to everyone, especially our little ones.

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People assume sometimes that kids are supposed to give you kisses and hugs, just because they’re little, because it’s cute and polite in many cultures, to greet with a kiss, or whatever, but to all adults out there, DON’T ask for them, DON’T force the situation, PLEASE. Kids are still individuals who deserve our respect. You don’t go out on the street and start forcing a grown-up to let you lift them up. You will probably get punched if you try to do that. In some situations it will flow naturally, and the little one will enjoy the cuddle, but, it is better to be safe, and stop begging for love, just earn it, and if they want to, they will give it to you.

Sam and I have decided that our approach to this, for future occasions, will be to teach J to not accept cuddles from anyone that she doesn’t know that well, even if we are right there with her, unless it’s a family member or a close friend that we already know. She is old enough now to understand this and raise her voice out there, cause since we cannot control other people’s behaviour, at least we can show our children how to be more cautious.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you been on a similar situation? How did you react to it?

 

10 absolute truths you will only experience with a 4 year-old

Having a 4 year-old can be quite an interesting adventure. They’re not in the stage of completely dependency as a new born baby but they’re not miss/mr independence either, even though they believe they are. So after a week where I have committed myself to not raise my voice to J again (I will have to tell you why in a different post) here comes, the 10″absolute” truths you will only experience if you have a 4 year-old.

Truth #1: I don’t like this food! I wanna eat out. 

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It doesn’t matter if they’ve helped you in the kitchen, or if you have tried to hide all the “good-green stuff” so it looks more appetizing, as soon as they sit on the table, they switch their auto-mechanism of “I’m going to give a hard time to mummy” and start whining about it.

Truth #2: (maybe only applicable to girls?.. I don’t know!) I don’t like these clothes!

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J at 18 months…a very early fashionista

After taking off the closet 4 dresses, trying out 2 trousers, leaving them on the floor, trying to put a long t-shirt as a dress, and who knows what else! our little fashionista cannot decide what to wear! I can’t wait for school to start so the only options she will have will be blue and grey!

Truth #3: Power Rangers is serious stuff…

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Really, how many versions of The Power Rangers are currently out there?! Dino Charge, Mystic something.., and how creepy can be that all the cast look alike from one version to the other! BUT she loves them! She’s into the pink one now by the way, she used to be the red one. Apparently pink is cool now. I still can remember the time when I was telling her off because of something she did and she started pointing at me with both arms extended and making a noise like “ssshhhh”..and I was like, “WTH?! what are you doing J?” -“Trying to destroy you! like the Power Rangers, mummy!”… 😀 such a cutie, right?!

Truth #4: Bedtime to infinity and beyond!

So now, all the characters from her favourite book stories have suddenly acquired new names… we will have “Snow white – Rainbow dash” and her “Prince- Apple Jack” and of course, the prince’s horse named “Beautiful Twilight-J.C.T” we can never forget to say the “beautiful” first please. That means that a story that would take less than 5 minutes to read is told in like forever! By the way, you can tell the influence of My Little Pony there…

Truth #5: I will always leave the park crying.

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It doesn’t matter how long you stayed, how involved you were in their games, they will never accept the words  “It’s time to go” For them “Home” means depriving them of their freedom and wildest dreams. And it gets even worse if you were on a play date with another friend. Then it’s a whole good bye drama “I’ll miss you J! – I’ll miss you too S! Come play to my house soon!”

Bless our little J though, she is indeed such a character, and this probably sounded as if we were complaining about her but let me tell you the other 5 truths:

Truth #6: She always accepts my apologies.

And this probably applies to your little one. It doesn’t matter your mistake, as soon as you say you’re sorry, they will be there kissing you and hugging you again, like nothing happened. No hurt feelings.

Truth #7: Any day is a good day to wear a princess dress!

Isn’t it right? Life is not to be wasted waiting for the perfect moment! just like a 4 year-old does it, you fancy wearing a santa dress in the middle of april? Go for it! they know it well, live life to the fullest.

Truth #8: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. 

They might not have consistency but they do have commitment. Specially if you’re the one who promised to do something. They will make you keep your word, every bit of what you said. They do it as well. They’re quite serious for that, specially if it involves playing. 😉

Truth #9: You will always be their hero.

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Embrace this stage, I heard it gets quite difficult in a few years! so this is a time to enjoy because no matter how tired you are and look and feel you will always be beautiful to them, daddy will always be the strongest and mummy…mummy will always be “mummy” (I think that implies a lot!)

Truth #10: they will always appreciate your time.

No matter how expensive the toy or if it didn’t cost you anything at all, if they don’t have anyone to play it with, it will be pointless. They will always appreciate the time you spend with them. The memories you are building will be the ones that will stay with them. They are your perfect boss, the one that really acknowledges that you are needed and loved, and abundantly rewarded for spending time with them.

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These are not “absolute truths” at all! every child is unique, but these are our truths, the ones we embrace and we learn every day from our little J. What have you learnt from your little one so far?

 

Cuddle Fairy

Life with 2 under 5’s!

This is the Step 2 and the last one on our series of Maternity Leave Posts. We’ve decided we’ll talk about how we are adapting ourselves to living with two children, which can be an incredible exhausting but rewarding experience! By the way, if you have more than two you are probably thinking “Oh yeah, wait until you get another one!” haha

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Sam and I have been talking about the main differences compared to when it was just the three of us, and maybe what advice we could give to those wanting to grow the family but in all honesty, we haven’t mastered it ourselves too much yet, so before giving any advice we’d rather stick to the facts, and when I say facts, I mean, OUR facts, not that everything of these applies to you..but, who knows! So here they are:

Number 1. Loving the sibling to death!

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This is when the Parent needs to keep watching ALL the time, cause it might be that Big Sister is “killing” the baby softly to kisses and hugs… and sooo much love can be dangerous.

Number 2. The Present competition

Why is life so unfair that baby E got a gift but J didn’t? What did she do to deserve such injustice! Luckily for us many friends and family thought of J when giving something to E, but when it didn’t happen like that..oh yeah, the DRAMA was on!

Number 3. Bath time or the time when mummy gets all wet and I get half cleaned

J will try to help with baby E before her bath is ready because obviously she is highly experienced on giving baths to dolls, little people and plastic ducks. So, what we usually do is let her rub some soap on him and wrap him in the towel at the end. She’s actually quite good on this.

Number 4. Priceless siblings conversations

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Apparently E tells J when they need to have some sweet or when they’re not sleepy and don’t need to go to bed, or when he’s scared of the dark, and many other things that just by “coincidence” will affect J in some way. By the way, the last conversation I heard was very cute actually: E was crying, I was in the bathroom so I couldn’t go there to comfort him, but there it was, his big sister giving him all the support he needed, telling him           -“E! Don’t worry, don’t need to cry! You’re not alone E! I’m here with you! don’t cry, everything will be ok!”- hahaha…you can tell she is quite dramatic.

Number 5. Multi-tasking x 2

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When it was just one, you learnt how to do 2-3 tasks at the same time. Now, you’ve got two, but you still have only 2 hands so this is how it works: if dad is home, he will be in charge of one of them and I will look after the other one, and then we’ll switch. If only one of us is home with the two of them…oh well.. “Let the Hunger Games begin!” haha, no, basically one of them will need to put up with the other one, and this is when your skills for learning to prioritize will increase immensely.

Number 6. House chores? What house chores?

I don’t know how other parents do it but while typing this post we have a huge pile of clothes waiting to be fold and put back in their places. Could I be doing that instead of writing this? Yes, Do I want to do it? No, I need a life as well! 😉

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We just try to keep doing all we can without getting too stressed. I like a lot being organised and I think it’s one of my assets but I have learnt that sometimes you gotta feel good with yourself even if you just did only one tiny task of all the other ones you had pending on your list, because again,… PRIORITIZE… Is E sleeping and J wants you to play with her? Clothes, bathroom, hoovering can wait!

Number 7. Blind Date

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That is what our marital relationship has become, into a blind date! not because we don’t know who we are meeting with, just because, in all sense of the word, we don’t see each other on a date at all! Time for just the two of us is hidden somewhere and it might give us a surprise in a near future but not for now. What we do instead? Every once in a while, we pause, look into each other eyes for a few seconds, smile, thank God for the person that we are sharing our lives with and keep going, one in charge of E, the other one of J, and life continues.

There are many more differences that we could list here, but we would get to the exact same conclusion, we wouldn’t change a bit. Life with two under 5’s can be demanding, exhausting and stressful but it is also a rewarding, learning, and memorable experience that you treasure every time you see them smile, grow and become the great people you know they are.

 

Hey! What’s your life like with two or more children? We’d love to hear and learn from your stories as well. 🙂

 

Mumzilla