A poem: goodbye to all things pink

inktuition pink

There was a time when pink was the shade

For skirts and shoes, bags and braids.

From the palest of rose to a magenta hue

Her world was a sugarplum peek-a-boo.

But princesses, fairies, fluffs and frills

Are no longer the ways she gets her thrills.

I blinked. She grew. Did I miss a trick?

Oh, those pink days just went by too quick.

Can mindfulness with our children prevent parenthood regrets?

The biggest regret of parents is not spending enough time with their kids when they were young. They regret working too much, not appreciating that their children would grow up in a flash, not taking enough photos and not going on holiday enough with them. They also regretted worrying about the little things and not letting themselves go and enjoy the moment.¬†That’s according to a survey commissioned by Huggies Little Swimmers nappy brand and published in the Daily Mail.

Mindful of how two-thirds of parents would do things differently if they could, I was more determined than ever to enjoy a half-term break with my eight-year-old daughter mindfully and fully. While she is still young and wanting to play with me.

I was more mindful on holiday with my daughter. With special moments, you either use them or lose them. 

I resolved to pay full attention to how many dives, handstands and lengths she did in the pool (instead of surreptitiously reading my book while pretending to watch her). I applauded when she came down the scariest of scary water slides. And I cheered when she was chosen to go on stage to take part in a tongue-twister competition. I savoured every minute, took as many photos as possible, and I can say I had no regrets about being fully present in the here and now.

Because I, like the parents in the survey, can feel time slipping through my fingers. I blinked and my baby is suddenly nearly as tall as me, and has picked up skills in persuasion, manipulation and negotiation. Each moment I spend with her is tinged with the reminder that this moment won’t come again. And there will be a time when moments like this don’t happen again.

So, I have no regrets about reading that article as a reminder to myself to be mindful. To remember that the human existential condition is such that we only have now. We can either live it fully or let it slip away unnoticed until we feel sad when we spot it in the rear-view mirror.

And the one main regret I certainly don’t have from my weekend away is my decision NOT to go down that scary slide.

How to make reading a treat, not a chore, for children

Allowing children to read ‘cool’ books rather than stiff old tomes the authorities think they should be ploughing through is the key to stimulating a creative love of reading. That’s according to a wonderful little article in the Evening Standard, Forget Austen, there are no explosions, which quotes Steven Moffat, the writer behind successful TV series Doctor Who and Sherlock.

Give a child a ‘cool’ book and she’ll devour it. Boring books get left on the shelf. (Pic: istockphoto.com)

He says: “We should give [children] really cool books that they think are exciting. It doesn’t matter if they are good books as long as they read. Reading makes you better at English. Reading a lot makes you want to read better books.”

He’s so right. I’m a professional writer now who can’t bear to flirt with badly written fiction. Life is far too short for that, and my bookshelves are stuffed with books I’d much rather commit to. However, as a 10-year-old child, I devoured just about every Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day.

I was woken far too early this morning by my bouncy seven-year old daughter, desperate for me to open my Mother’s Day cards and presents. While I wanted a lie-in, it felt exquisite to feel so loved and remembered. I felt special.

A couple of days before, I had debated whether to send my own mother a card; debated, because she has dementia and denies ever having had children, and wouldn’t know who the card was from anyway.

My daughter said to me: “Will she remember us?” I said: “No, but Continue reading