“Don´t Sweat the Small Stuff”

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude – William James

Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, when you examine them closer, aren´t really that big a deal.  We sometimes focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion.  I always get upset when entering a shop and the person in front of me let´s the door go without bothering to look behind and hold it open.  I use to take it really personally, sometimes making loud comments about rudeness so the person could hear me, even telling someone else about it later on rather than simply letting it go.  There are many similar situations that occur in our every day lives.  For example, waiting at a checkout queue when another cash desk opens and everyone behind rushes to the front before you.  How annoyed and stupid does it make you feel?  We need to learn not to worry about the little things.  So many of us spend so much of our energy on small things that we completely lose touch with what´s really important to us and not to miss the wonderful  experiences we have in life.

My Dad had for years suffered from Depression but now seems to have it under control having less and less periods of, as he calls them, his Black Days. He was given the book “Don´t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson which he has now passed onto me.  I haven´t read it all as it is one of those books that can be lifted at  times in your life when you´re feeling overwhelmed, need to let go of your problems and to put everything back into perspective.

A ripe-melon-like “Thud”!

It all started in May 2009 when Roan, my very active 7 month old son, started to crawl.  Not slowly and cautiously like other children but with incredible speed and with absolutely no sense of danger.  Had we still been living in Scotland I may not have been so anxious as my house there had carpets but no we now live in Germany and as the norm our apartment had stone tiles throughout the whole living area.  A child of that age has very weak muscle control and their centre of gravity is in their head (an adults is in their bottom). So when Babies fall their head hits the floor first. BANG!  Horrendous pictures of Roan smashing his head off the floor flashed through my mind and wanting my child to learn with confidence and explore his new surroundings without me fretting behind him or having social services visit me, I started my search for some kind of head protection he could wear around the house.  I had no idea what I was going to look for as I had never come across any examples of head protection for Babies.  Therefore, it was a complete coincidence that the very same week The Apprentice was being aired on TV and the contestants tasks were being filmed at the Baby Show in London.  Low and behold the winning task was in association with The Thudguard Baby Safety Helmet.  There it was, the answer to my worries.  I had found the very thing I was looking for.  I immediately ordered the helmet online from the UK and it was full steam ahead for our little express train.

Check out the cute Mickey Mouse ears

I loved the helmet so much that I called the inventor Kelly Forsyth-Gibson to tell her how much I loved it and the difference it had made to Roan´s development.  Roan was standing up and starting to walk at 9 months with great confidence and without my help.  It was from this conversation that Kelly asked if I would be interested in selling it in Germany.  The helmet is sold in over 40 countries worldwide but there was no distributor or retailers in Germany.  What an opportunity.   So in June 2009 easytoddler was born selling the Thudguard Helmet.  Over 2 years later I decided to turn my small pastime into a full-time career, increased my product catalogue and I am about to relaunch under a new name with a new website along with many more lovely Baby & Toddler Products from around the world.  I can still hardly believe that one phone call to compliment someone on a brilliant invention has led me to where I am now.  The acceptance of the helmet in Germany has been a lengthy process but in time and with more focus and publicity on the research being carried out on the long term effects of head injuries in Babies I know that the Helmet will be as successful here as it is in all the other countries.

Lesley is doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge throughout the month of January.  I would love your support and to hear from you so please send me all your comments on my posts.

Keeping your Toddler Busy

Today I want to tell you about a book I bought well over a year ago.  Being an older first time mum I´d not had much contact with young children over the past decade and had a complete panic attack about about my lack of experience in not only keeping children entertained but using creative learning techniques.  After searching the internet I found the very book  The Toddler´s Busy Book  by Trish Kuffner which I bought on Amazon.de also available in the UK.  The book contains 365 creative learning games and activites (one for each day of the year) for one to three year olds using items found around the home.

The first piece of advice is about what you need to stock up on for your crafts cupboard but I found that the majority were items that I had around the house anyway.  The chapters are separated into the different kinds of games and activities for rainy days, in the kitchen, water play, outdoor adventures, music and movements etc.  I especially like the activities for rainy days as it can be so easy to let your children watch the TV or a video.  My son and I have had endless fun trying out new games and we still have lots more activities to do.  The book retails at €7,80 and is well worth the investment.

Wordless Wednesday

One of my best holidays - sailing along the Turkish Coast in October 2011

Travel Tips for Car Journeys with Children

It can sometimes be daunting and very stressful when travelling with small children.  I know this from first hand experience.  We used to live in Stuttgart and had to travel over 900km 2-3 times a year up to the North of Germany where we have a holiday house.  Thankfully we now live a lot closer and only have a 2 hour car journey in which to keep our son entertained.  It was the experience from these long journeys that made me choose some of the products that I sell on easytoddler.  Here are my top 10 travel tips for car journeys.

1. Keep first aid kit, wet wipes, sick bags, change of clothes, toilet roll and liquid antibacterial soap together in an easily accessible place in the car so they are readily available in case of car sickness, spillages, accidents.  We found the Potette 2 in 1 Travel Potty a must for unplanned toilet stops and it also adapts into a hygenic toilet seat when using public toilets.

2. Have a rubbish bag handy in the car as well as some large sealable sandwich bags which can be used for storing snacks, small toys and crayons.

3. When driving at night try simulating sleeptime by changing the children into their pyjamas, pillow, slippers and blanket.  The 5 in 1 BundleBean can be used as a sleeping bag for your child without having to unstrap them from their seat. You can then either read them a bedtime story or put on an audio tape to settle them down for the night.

4. Keep a torch handy for older children to read or play in the backseat of the car!

5. Children can still get sunburnt in the backseat of the car so remember to apply suncream as well using a sunblind to keep the sun out of their eyes.

6. Pack a cooler bag or lunch box full of healthy snacks as services can be expensive with a limited choice of healthy food.

7. Plan your stops so the kids can have a run around every couple of hours and bring a ball so everyone can have a kick about or game of catch.  If possible try and leave a few hours free for relaxing at the end of the day!

8. Ensure your child has easy access to water during long journeys particularly in hot countries.

9. Have a bag of small toys and treats individually wrapped up and let the children have a lucky dip as either prizes, good behavior treats or simply as a form of distraction, some ideas could be… window stickers, window crayons, scribbling pads.

10. The snack n play tray can be attached to the carseat and gives the kids an area to put their toys on, eat  from, and be used to do activities on.

New Year, New Me?

I’m feeling overwhelmed reading other peoples´New Year resolutions.  I’m overwhelmed and they are not even my resolutions. Some say 2012 is going to be the most amazing year ever.  Of course each to their own.  If you like New Year Resolutions, well brilliant, if it works for you then go for it. I didn´t actually make any this year as nothing came immediately to mind and I thought well why should I make one up just for the sake of it!

I know change does not happen overnight.  This year being a prime example when starting easytoddler, my online business.  If I set too many goals to aim for then I start to fall at the first hurdle. I still haven’t caught up on a list of things I was hoping to get done before the end of the year, but I have relished every single moment of time spent with my family and away from my laptop.

Something that I do need to focus on this year is resilience, to handle all that 2012 has in store. There will be some great moments like when I relaunch my new Website and Blog but realistically I know there will be some not so great ones. I want to accept how I feel at any given moment and not beat myself up over my own feelings or failures.

I would like to thank every single one of you personally who has interacted with me this year, Blogging friends, Twitter friends, Facebook Likers and new friends made in the virtual world who I’ve never met in the real world.  Thank You for listening to me.  Thank you too for all your help, advice and for being there just when I felt like giving up.

Thank you to my son, Roan.  I have learnt so much from you and been given back so much love and laughter.  You are simply my world.

To my hubby thanks for listening to me prattle on about subjects you know nothing about but were prepared to listen to me anyway and nod accordingly. We´ve had a wonderful first year of marriage.

To my friends, I’ve either hardly seen or spoken to this year I’m sorry but I’ll try and be more available this year.

Did you make any New Year´s Resolutions?  No matter how quirky I would love to read them.

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