The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky (and very entertaining) daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or my gorgeous sister in law as part of our baby blog and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) and baby swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.
Hand's up if you have a toddler who never wants to go to sleep? *raises hand*
Don't get me wrong, she loves her bedroom and has a perfectly lovely bedtime routine with a bath, story and snuggle time but when the lights go out, suddenly there are a million reasons why she can't sleep.
So my husband regularly finds me asleep on the floor of the toddlers bedroom but this is not my preferred sleeping scenario, I much prefer to be snuggled up with my husband in our own bed (without the toddler creeping in) and not falling in an exhausted heap on the sofa (or the floor).
This summer is (allegedly) set to be the warmest in 135 years* which means plenty of sun filled days! But experts** warn that sleeping in temperatures above 24°C means you’re likely to wake up during the night or only have a light, fragmented sleep, preventing you from getting the restful night you need. This is not ideal when you have a toddler who thinks that sleep is for the weak!
So have been listening to Silentnight’s sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan who says: “We all love summer and the long evenings, but the increased temperatures can make it harder to sleep well, which can have a detrimental effect on our health, relationships and work. She added: “A good night's sleep is important in order to process information throughout the day as well as to repair and rebalance the body physically and mentally. Ideally, in order for us to sleep well, there needs to be a fractional temperature difference between our body and our brain – a warm body and a cool head!”
Dr Nerina, has created a list of 5 top tips to help the nation keep cool and get the best rest when the weather is hot and humid:
1. Stop your bedroom over-heating during the day by keeping curtains and blinds closed
2. Wash your feet with cold water before getting into bed, and run your wrists under cold water
3. Use light bed sheets and a summer duvet - 4.5 Tog recommended
4.Try a Geltex mattress from Silentnight, with an innovative combination of an extremely elastic gel and air-permeable foam offering unparalleled breathability to prevent the body from overheating
5. Finally, it is essential to stay well hydrated during the day and most importantly, don’t fret too much if you can’t sleep. Use the time to rest and think positive thoughts, then you will be extra productive the day after
We also have some slightly ‘alternative’ methods you can try to help you cool down at night. Here are the top quirky tips to try:
1. Use a fan and place it so that it is blowing the air over a tray of ice - this will cool the room down as the ice melts
2. Keep a plant mister containing water by your bed to spray on your face during the night
3. Place a wet flannel in the fridge for an hour or so before getting into bed and lay it on your forehead to help you drift off
4. Sleep in cool wet socks or even a damp T-shirt
5. Chill your pillow case in the freezer before getting into bed
*According to UK Met office **According to Meir Kryger, author of "A Woman's Guide to Sleep Disorders" and "A Good Night's Sleep”
I have to be honest, I can't see me putting on wet socks or a damp t-shirt but a cooling spray would probably be my recommendation, especially for warm feet. The toddler is not a massive fan of being warm and loves to sleep with no clothes on ...... that is until the Silentnight hippo arrived and she just "had" to pinch his pyjamas!!
The start of the hayfever season has not been particularly kind to the toddler but she loves being outside and you don't need a big garden for them to enjoy getting involved, so here are our top tips for gardening with a toddler (even one with asthma).
Use child size tools, or in our case when we were scooping compost we simply used plastic cups. Using tools that that are safe and manageable for their little hands will totally enhance their experience. Plus, they are super cute and come in bright colours, which are much more exciting than grown up tools!
Let Them Get Dirty
I have spent what seems like forever trying to keep my girls clean but even the most immaculate child LOVES getting filthy. Let them put their fingers in the dirt and enjoy feeling the soil in their hands (note to self : just try not to squeal if they come across a worm!)
Let Them Pick Their Own Flowers
We took the toddler to the garden centre with us and (maybe foolishly), let her pick her own flowers. It seems that we will have extremely pink hanging baskets this year but it meant that she was very excited to plant them.
Grow Their Favourite Fruit or Vegetables
Most children love the sweetness and crunch of carrots, or strawberries and even tomatoes and they are not too difficult to grow be sure to plant a couple of things that your little one loves, as they will take great pleasure in eating their home grown fruit and veg.
Hunt For Mini Beasts
Go on a hunt for minibeasts (e.g. snails, worms and insects) and explain how bugs and creepy-crawlies are good for the soil and plant. It is good to encourage them to hold these creatures gently and carefully so that they can see what minibeasts look like.
Water & Watch Them Grow
Plants (like children) need regular watering, so each day it is good to get them used to taking care of their plants and watching them grow. (Just don't let them eat anything until it is ripe .... that remains a regular challenge in our house!)
My eldest daughter came home from school a week or so ago and casually dropped into conversation that the nurse had been in to see them and was talking about periods. Once I had got over the initial shock, I realised that she is 10 years old and I can ignore it as much as I like but she is growing up and I have to do my best to support her, nuture her and answer her questions as honestly as I can. So between us we came up with the top 10 things she wanted to know.
1. Will it hurt?
You might find you get a dull ache for the first day or so. It can be uncomfortable but it soon passes.
2. Will I get one every month?
Once your monthly cycle gets into a routine, you will get a period around every 28 days. In the first few months it is likely that they will be a little less regular but it will eventually even out and you are more aware of your body.
3. Does every girl get them?
Every girl that goes through puberty will get a period. You might find some girls "bragging" about it but in the end, it is something all women go through when their body is ready. Most girls get their first period between 11-14 years old, you could start your period anywhere from 8-17 years old.
4. What happens if my period comes when I am at school?
If your body is changing, it maybe good to keep some tampons or pantiliners discreetly in her bag in case you get your first period while you are not at home. You may even want to keep an extra pair of underwear in her book bag. This will be one of those tips you will appreciate when your period does arrive unexpectantly.
5. Can I still do P.E or swimming when I am on my period?
Yes, as long as you use a tampon, something like the Tampax Compak Pearl is good as they expand width-wise to eliminate the gaps that can cause leaks, and any embarresment. The packaging is pretty cool too! Tampons will also allow you to swim during your period, so nothing is out of bounds! If you are uncomfortable then you can get some simple pain relief, although I always think that a hot water bottle is the first port of call.
6. Will I get my period at the same time as my friends?
No, all girls are different and it is not a race to get yours first. Everyones bodies are different. Celebrate yours for today.
7. Do I have to have time off school?
Not unless you are in real discomfort should you need time off school (Sorry!!)
8. Will anyone else know I am on my period?
You may be a little tired and grumpy and possibly your skin might have an outbreak of spots but this is typical of most tweens and teens so unless you tell people, there is no reason for anyone else to know.
9. How long will it last?
A normal period should be between three and five days, sometimes as long as a week but you will get used to your own body as the months go on.
10. Will I have them forever?
The menopause, sometimes referred to as the "change of life", is the end of menstruation. This is where a woman's ovaries stop producing an egg every four weeks. She no longer has monthly periods and is unlikely to get pregnant. In the UK, 51 is the average age for a woman to reach the menopause, although some women can experience the menopause in their 30s or 40s.
Things to Look Out For
Mums can answer most questions but you should seek medical advice if you:
Are 16 and haven’t gotten your period yet.
Get periods that last longer than seven days for three cycles.
Experience a dramatic change from your typical periods.
Miss your period for six months straight.
Are passing large clots.
Are soaking through your tampon or pad hourly for two or more hours.
Are bleeding between menstrual periods.
Have pelvic pain for longer than a day that seems unrelated to your period.
There is a lot of information on the internet, so sometimes you can feel a little frazzled by it all but we are pleased to be able to share some great content from Dr Radha Modgil for you:
Mum’s Period Questions Answered by Dr Radha Modgil
“Puberty can be a scary time for your daughter, but it can be a stressful time for mum as well! You’re watching your little girl grow up and you want to be there to support and guide her and most importantly to answer any of her questions. To help you feel empowered with all the information you need to reassure her at this confusing time, I’ve pulled together some answers to some of those big questions that you and your daughter might have.”
1.When is the best time to talk to my daughter about periods?
It’s a great idea to split up this conversation into little chunks over time rather than having ‘the big chat,’ which can make some girls feel uncomfortable. Periods tend to start about 2.5 years after breast development begins and 1 year after their growth spurt. These signs can be useful in knowing roughly when you should start to think about talking to them about periods so that they are ready. This time will vary from person to person. The average age to start your period is 12 years old, but it can vary from 8 to 16 years old, so the best advice is to know your daughter as an individual. The really important thing is to let her know you are there and easy to chat to, without judgement or worry.
2.How would you recommend I bring up the topic with her? Do you have any tips for parents who feel embarrassed about broaching the topic with their daughters?
It is understandable that some parents feel worried about how or when to talk to their daughter. Remember why you want to talk to her. You want her to be prepared so she isn’t confused or scared, and doesn’t feel alone. This should help you in getting over any worries or embarrassment. If you feel embarrassed she is likely to feel the same, or worse! Get yourself some information that you can share with her to help the chat, you could use this Puberty Education Booklet for Girls [link], or a website. Pick a quiet time when you are alone and approach the subject sensitively. Tell her that you want to chat, even though she might feel embarrassed because you care and you want to empower her. Offer the option of talking things through or give her the choice of reading the leaflet in private if she feels more comfortable - and respect her decision. Put the offer to her of you buying her some pads to have in case she needs them. Leave it with her and check back with her in a few days. The most important thing is to let her know that you are always there for her to chat to no matter what it is about.
3.What will happen when she gets her first period?
She may get breast tenderness just before she starts her period and get slightly more emotional. When her period starts she may feel some lower tummy cramps. Emotionally she may feel confused, shocked and vulnerable. It is really important to support her at this time. Give her emotional support and explain what these changes are and that they’re something to celebrate and not be afraid of. Make sure you give her some pads and help her with how to use them, and talk about tampons as another option for the future. Make a date to take her out and do something nice together.
4.How long will it take before her periods become regular?
This can vary but normally periods do become regular about a year or just over a year after she starts. If they continue to be irregular after this, or are very irregular, then it is a good idea to see her GP.
5.Will she experience PMS when she starts her period?
She may do. It is difficult to know who will be affected by the changes in hormone levels, by how much or when. It is great to let her know about possible PMS symptoms and that she can help herself by exercising, eating well, sleeping well and dealing with stress in a healthy way. Let her know you understand and that if she ever feels emotional, sad or anxious you are there for her. If the symptoms become too much, then you can go with her to see the GP, who can help.
Usually the Lilypad blog is full of anecdotes, silly stories and probably far too much clothes and fashion discussion than any parenting / lifestyle blog "should" have but this week I am a little exhausted.
I am exhausted by asthma.
My toddler has asthma and on a daily basis I am questioning "am I doing the right thing?".
I have never really known anyone in my inner circle with asthma.
I was immune to the effect it can have on a family.
Anyone who has a child with asthma soon learns that symptoms come and go and can change as quickly as the weather. This week we have had a mixture of;
coughing, especially at night
times where she has has difficulty breathing
She has also complained of a tummy ache a few times and after doing even more reading, I have learnt that little ones may have a tight feeling in their chest and don't know how to describe it, so complain of tummy ache.
They are reluctant to diagnose young children with asthma (especially those under 2) as nearly one-third of very young children will have wheezing at some point. Over time, most of them will stop wheezing as their airways grow; however for others early wheezing can be a sign they will get asthma in later childhood or adult life.
So what do I do?
I make sure she is taking her preventative medicines every day.
Constantly look for triggers (usually keeping the cat off her bed) but the pollen has been a big factor this week.
Regular handwashing to prevent spread of coughs and colds (reminding her big sister of this too!)
I lie awake listening to her breathing. Is it too fast? Is she too hot?
I lie awake wondering why.
Why does she have asthma?
Why can't I fix this?
I didn't smoke or drink or do anything that is reportedly "dangerous" to a child in the womb. I even stayed away from prawn sandwiches! I could control what went into my own body but I can't control what is happening to hers.
I am frustrated and exhausted.
My child has asthma and with every attack I tell her it will be okay. Mummy and Daddy are here and she sleeps, eventually she sleeps.
We are not the first family to have emergency trips to the hospital and we won't be the last but my heart breaks just a tiny bit every time I hear her say "Mummy, I need my pump". She is our daughter, a toddler, a swimmer, a gymnast but she is also an asthmatic.
I needed to vent this evening and normal "fluffy" service will resume soon (I promise).
If you enjoy hearing our family stories and toddler adventures, we would love you to vote for us in the MAD Blog Awards. It is kind of a big deal and it would mean that we know at least one or two people do read our little blog! There are some amazing bloggers out there (and I hear it is a pretty amazing party too) but a vote in the Pre-School Section would be very very welcome xx