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APRIL 2014

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Easter games and crafts

Sibling rivalry MuM’s and multiples Your Free local Parenting magazine


April 2014

Contents Regulars

Articles

5 Letter from the Editor 10 Ask a professional - questions from readers 11 Monthly Recipe - French toast rollups 14 Your Story - My escape from Egypt 16 Mum’s in the City - with Alexis 17 Make a change 26 Kid’s fun - Easter craft 28 Community Noticeboard 29 Business Directory

7 How much are your kids worth? 8 How children can affect your health 12 Talking of twins 18 Your new addition 24 My 2014 money challenge

Special Features Cover image from Grapevine photography

22 In the life of a step mum 27 Easter games


Letter from the Editor Dear Reader, We are now well into the year now and our seasons are about to change with a coolness in the air. With it comes Easter, one of my favourite times of the year and a definite favourite of most kids. This month we have some Easter crafts and games, you can check up on how I’m doing with my 2014 money challenge and you have one last chance to enter your kids in our cover star competition. Finalists will be announced in our next issue. We are also very excited to announce that we are a finalist in the Small Business Champion Awards for Australia! We want to thank all our readers for your support and your feedback about our magazine. Plus we have some great giveaways too! We have a family pass for both Yo Gabba Gabba live and Peppa Pig live to giveaway (worth around $300 each), an ipod nano plus some Small Steps subscriptions. Find more information on page 21. Get your entries in quickly so you don’t miss out!

Julie-Anne England

info@smallstepsparenting.com www.smallstepsparenting.com www.facebook.com/smallstepsparenting 5


Combos Slides Obstacle Castles Slushie Machines Phone: (02) 4571 1240 or 0402 100 681 Email: tomcatjim1@bigpond.com Birthdays/Corporate Events/Preschools/Fetes/Christmas/New Years

Did you know…? Learning how a book works is an important part of learning to read. Babies feel safe when they are being held and they love to hear the sounds of words. They are exploring the book when they touch, smell and even chew the book. Later, they will hold the book the right way up, turn the pages and start making sounds when they see a picture in a familiar story. Being able to predict is an important skill in learning to read. When we read a story to children over and over again they learn how this story works. When they recognise they have heard this story before they will predict the words and the action that will come next. Being able to predict is an important skill to develop. ‘Pretend reading’ is real reading. Reading will help your child recognise a story has characters, a beginning, an end and some action in the middle. When you let your child make up a story to go with the pictures in the book, you are letting your child practise reading the words and pictures properly later. Written by Simone Yuen, children’s book author, www.rainbowballs.com.au 6


How much are your kids worth? Having children are often the purpose of a married couples life. Children are central to having a family but often the question couples face before they have a family is, how many children can we afford. Assuming having them isn't going to be an issue. AMP did a comprehensive report on the costs of having children in 2012. What the Report found was that the cost of a child can be broadly divided between two categories: 'household' costs (such as food, transport, clothing, health, etc) and 'education' costs. Household costs are largely staple costs. In other words they are largely essential costs to the family having a child and may vary depending on the family budget and the number of members of the family. Whereas education costs can be discretionary beyond a minimum cost. The parents can chose the type of education they chose for their children, such as in the early years child care and pre-school care, through to private verses public education during primary and secondary school, and then university costs.

For low to middle income families the cost of raising a child, or children, takes up a larger percentage of their household income than for higher income families. The question often comes down to whether it is a two income or single income family as to what they can afford for their children. The estimated costs for a couple to raise two children to age 18 ranged from $473,000 for a low income family, to $812,000 for a middle income family and $1.1 million for a high income family. The biggest expense, not surprisingly, was education costs which are also likely to rise the most in future years. So those costs are likely to be greater in today's dollars when the expense is actually incurred. So how can a couple prepare themselves for the expense of having a family? The best way to prepare for the future education costs that you chose for your children is to have a budget. There are software programs available that can help you with this task. These programs allow you to chose the type of education that you plan for your children, the period of that education and when the cost will be incurred. You then need to have a financial plan to meet that expense. That plan will be based on your capacity to generate excess income to your current expenditure and your ability to save for the future. There is no secret that the clothing Food more you put away now, the easier it will be later to meet School supplies those expenses.

Education

Written by Michael Voss, our certified financial planner. If you have any questions on the above please contact Michael at michael.voss@arrowfa.com.au.

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How children can affect your health The influence that a child has on your health may commence as early as conception! Morning sickness, cravings, discomfort with evolving shape, prenatal medical conditions…not to mention fatigue all play a vital role in a couple’s ability to maintain status quo with their health and fitness. Then… boom! Bub has arrived and before you know it, time passes and whilst poor lifestyle habits may have crept in, a parent’s focus is consumed by making sure baby’s needs are being met – you may find yourself in disbelief that this new little person’s presence has sapped you of your energy and time to look after yourself!

increasingly difficult to split your time effectively to include yourself! The good news is you are not alone and more importantly there are ways to be both Super-Mum (or Dad!) in the field of raising a brood of beautiful children and be the best role model of health and lifestyle for your future generations. Let’s talk about creating energy… One of the most common threads of parental concern is their own nutrition and food intake. “I know it’s wrong but I simply don’t have the time to eat breakfast.” “I make sure the kids are eating, but I get so busy that I skip lunch.” “I am so tired in the evening, that I just throw together something quick for kids and get them to bed …I might eat later.” By starving our body of food, we are confusing it, so if we are sporadic in our eating patterns, our metabolism slows down..in this case it means that when we DO eat, rather

Alternatively, perhaps you have breezed through your pregnancy and continue to expand the family and then find the combination of juggling two or more children and daily life / work commitments has made it

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than burning our in-take, it will store the food as fat in our body as it is unsure when the next feed may be coming . Then if we are leading an in-active lifestyle, the stored fat is not burned and in time transforms us into being overweight or obese. Gasp! “Oh no!” I hear you say! Ah ha! The exciting fact is: food is a necessity, not only for nutritional values to keep us well but it creates energy. The key is to choose well, eat little – often and as we tell our kids….chew your food!

to consider what and how much you are eating. Instead of eating the kid’s leftovers – make sure you are preparing your serve too! Ensure you are eating a serve of lean protein with each feed, yes – 5 serves of protein a day! Additionally ensure you are eating whole grains (wholemeal bread, brown rice, oats, quinoa) and 5 serves of veggies/day. Protein and whole grains will keep you feeling fuller for longer, so your prior need to snack in between feeds will disappear!

By eating small portions of good food regularly during the day, your metabolism will start to kick in as it will recognise the pattern feeling “secure” to start burning the food as it will know more food will come in a few hours. Chew your food at least 10 times per mouthful – this action will not only aid digestion, but the thermogenic affect helps you burn calories while you are eating!! Whilst doing so, remember your off -spring will model their future behaviour from what you demonstrate to them today. So make sure you are sitting, eating with them and not seen skipping meals. If you are planning to go out, not only prepare their food – pack some in for you too!

Learn more about this topic in the second part of this article in next month’s magazine! This article has been written by Kirsten Mitchell, our talented personal trainer. Learn more about Kirsten on our website in the “About Us” section or send us an email to get in touch with her or have her answer a question.

If breakfast is your challenge? Instead of having traditional cereal or toast, perhaps replace this with a pre-prepared breakfast smoothie to drink on the run or have a cup of natural yoghurt sprinkled with muesli or simply eat a handful of mixed raw nuts and berries and then at mid-morning eat something a little more substantial. Having the energy to be the best parent you can be is important so the crucial point is by taking food in the morning, you are sending a message to your metabolism to kick in “you have had a rest overnight, but now it’s ok to start burning as to create the energy I need for the day ”. With regulating your feeds, the next thing is 9


Ask a Professional... QUESTION: If I am breastfeeding my baby, are there certain foods that I should or shouldn’t eat? It is important to eat well at any stage of life but particularly when you are breastfeeding. Selecting foods such as a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, chicken, dairy ( low fat milk, cheese, yoghurt) eggs and wholegrain cereals and breads will ensure that you have optimal nutrition to enable you to feed your baby without getting deprived of nutrients yourself. You can eat basically any foods however if you feel that your baby has reacted to something that you have eaten, it would be wise to avoid that particular food. A friend of mine noticed that her baby was very unsettled after she ate oranges, so she tried not to eat these during this time. It is also good to drink plenty of water to make sure you stay hydrated. Alcohol and caffeine drinks such as coffee can go through into your breastmilk so it is wise to limit these. Overall, enjoy your food and your baby, babies grow up so quickly and every season of their lives is to be cherished. This answer has been supplied by Ruth Bosanquet who is our qualified midwife. Learn more about Ruth on our "About Us" page on our website.

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Riding School

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www.kingequestrianacademy.com.au 79 Sargents Road, Ebenezer NSW 2756

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Monthly Recipe

French Toast Rollups Ingredients:  A loaf of bread  2 eggs  A tablespoon of milk  Golden syrup  Cinnamon sugar

1. Cut the crusts off 8-10 pieces of fresh bread. 2. Beat the eggs together with the milk until slightly frothy. 3. Use a rolling pin to flatten out the bread pieces. 4. Put a line of golden syrup down one side of the bread. 5. Carefully roll up the bread from the syrup end. 6. Dip the rolled bread into the egg mixture and place onto a hot frypan. Cook until golden, turning every few minutes to cook all sides. 7. Once cooked, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve.

TIP: Use toothpicks to hold the bread in its rolled shape until cooked. Remove toothpicks before serving. 11


Talking of twins We speak face to face with Karina—mum of twins What was your first thought when you found out you were having twins? My first thought was "Oh my god!" Then I immediately thought "I knew I would have twins", (I have always said that I was going to have twins) What was your husband's reaction? He was shocked and he cried.

How did you fair going home from the hospital for the first time with two of them? I had my mum nearby so I wasn't worried, although I did wonder how I would breast feed two at the same time! But thankfully my good friend had bought me a twin feeding pillow which helped. Are you a routine mum or an unstructured go-with-the flow type person? I'm so go with the flow, I wouldn't even

Did you want to find out the sex of the babies during your pregnancy? Yes we found out first chance we could get! When we found out we were having two girls we were so excited! While in utero could you tell which baby was which? Yes there was the quieter one on the left bottom corner and the louder one on the right taking up most of the space! Turned out Indi IS the quiet one and ISLA is the louder one. How did you go with physically carrying two babies? I did allot of things to help with that, I did pre natal yoga throughout the whole pregnancy, I would go for a beach walk everyday, I used positive affirmations and also did a calm birthing course. All these things helped me physically be able to keep working until I was 36 weeks pregnant, and helped me remain positive about my pregnancy and labour. Taking home a new baby is often daunting for first time mums. 12


know how to structure anything with my two! I have always wondered how some women do it! Are your twins very alike? No they are like chalk and cheese, even their hair is completely different, one with dark curly hair and the other with straighter blond hair! Most annoying comments you have received from people either during your pregnancy or since you had the girls. I started to get really annoyed at people being negative about the fact that I had two! Any twin mum will tell you that if they had a dollar for every time they heard the phrase "double trouble", although now I just think that people are just trying to be funny and it doesn't bother me anymore. And also people assuming that I had a dreadful pregnancy and labour, and then they are really shocked that my pregnancy and labour was awesome!

What you loved/hated about being pregnant. HATED vomiting for 2 months, LOVED everything else. The hardest thing about being a mum of twins. Some days you never get a break, if one sleeps at a different time to the other, if they are both being really whingy or if one or both are sick, or if one decides to wake the other one when it has taken me ages to get her to sleep.

If you could do it over again is there anything you change. I would have taken more control over my labour, one midwife basically wanted me to lie in the bed all day so she could monitor the girls, and I should have spoken up because all I wanted to do was to move around and help the girls move down, I just kept saying I needed to go to the bathroom and other things like that, but If I did it again I would just say The thing/s about motherhood that most what I wanted and tell that nurse to leave. It surprised you. The lack of time to yourself turned out good though as that midwife left at lunch time and a wonderful midwife really shocked me. started from then on and she was awesome! Canvas 30x40cm $60

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Your Story Robin’s Story - My escape from Egypt After months and months of planning, my friend and I landed in Cairo, Egypt. As the plane landed I was filled with excitement as to the adventures we would have in this new place. This trip was finally being made a reality after long nights spent planning, booking accommodation, transportation and organising tours. As we weaved through people in the airport and made it through airport security we found ourselves in the parking lot. I looked around, trying to take in what I could of this strange new country. Within moments men were yelling at us in Arabic and trying to push us into their cars. A nice young man who spoke English came over to us and organised a taxi. He spoke to the taxi driver and instructed him to take care of us and get us safely to the hotel we had booked for that night. The driver steered us through traffic at a high speed, dodging traffic and weaving in and out of lanes. These lanes were according to the amount of cars on the road and not dictated by the markings on the road. I gave a huge sigh of relief as we arrived safely at our hotel. We retrieved our bags and went to the hotel lobby to check in. To our dismay the hotel had a problem with our booking. They were able to accommodate us that night but then we would need to find alternate accommodation the next day. We went to our room and started to discuss what we would do tomorrow. My friend Lina told me that she knew a guy in Egypt and that she would call him to ask him for help. His name was Alfred. After a brief talk on the

phone, he said that he would come pick us up and take us out for the evening. He also said he had a place for us to stay. We spent a little while doing our hair and put on some makeup while we waited for him to pick us up. At 5pm Alfred arrived at our hotel. He seemed like a really sweet guy and he took us out for dinner, followed by a movie. Later that night he took us dancing at a small club in the centre of Cairo. I had a really good time, talking to the other people at the club and dancing. Alfred seems to take a real liking to me and by the end of the night I was his only focus. After a few hours of dancing, Lina and I begged to go home for a sleep. Alfred took us to this apartment block and gave us the key to a two bedroom apartment on the 6th level. It was quite a neat little place and Lina and I were pleased at the price. Now we didn’t have to worry about finding another hotel. Alfred kissed me as he left. The next morning we awoke to find that Alfred had left us breakfast. We ate hungrily and then spent the day out and about seeing the pyramids, the museums and the amazing shops. We even bought an artwork on papyrus. Later that day after Alfred finished work he met us again at our apartment building. We agreed on dancing again that night. Alfred was showering me with attention and had started to mention us being together. Later that night I noticed Alfred was acting strange. He began to take offence at me talking to any other man in the place. I sat down to have a drink with a few other people and after a while Al14


fred sent Lina over to me with a message “Get up and dance with me”. I politely declined his offer and said I wanted to finish my drink. He sent her back with another message “Get up and dance NOW!” I looked at him in the eye across the dance floor and mouthed “NO”. I couldn’t believe he would be so rude. I am not the kind of person who takes demands. For the rest of the night he ignored me which suited me fine. At the end of the night Alfred and Lina’s date, Mohammed drove us back to the apartment. When we got inside Alfred let loose at me. He began to scream at me and push me around. He threw me against the wall. He said that I needed to do as I was told. I told him that I didn’t belong to him and that I would do as I pleased. He tried to make me have intercourse with him but I fought him with all my might. He said I did belong to him and that we would be together. He just kept getting angrier and angrier. I told him that we would call the police. He just laughed and said that in this country the man is always right and the woman must do as she is told. We turned to Mohammed and pleaded with him to help but he said that he is required to respect his elders and as Alfred was older he couldn’t go against him. By this time I was quite distraught. Alfred wouldn’t let us leave and had locked us in the apartment. I decided I

needed to do something fast. I took a breath and willed myself to stop crying. I looked at Alfred and lowered my voice and told him I was sorry for the way I had acted. I told him he was right, that I should have obeyed and that I was jetlagged but that it was no excuse. I said everything that he wanted to hear. I even told him we would be together. With that Alfred settled right down. He told me that he forgave me and that he wouldn’t accept behaviour like that again. I agreed. I told him that I just needed some sleep and then we could discuss everything the next day. He came over and hugged me and I hugged him back feeling repulsed by his skin against mine. I asked him quietly if he could just let me get some sleep. He agreed and turned to leave the apartment telling me he would be back in the morning and that I was to stay there until he returned. As soon as he was gone Lina and I packed up all our things and left, hopping on a bus out of Cairo to get away. I never saw him again and although it was a harrowing experience to get through I want to acknowledge that I loved the city of Cairo and its beautiful history, this is just a story I can tell of how I came too close to not leaving it. The names of individuals in this story have been changed for their protection.

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The Bunny Wars

If you’re like me, the Easter period (aside from its religious significance) is the beginning of the end for a tantrum-free supermarket trip, never mind the expanding waistlines around the country. It’s this time of year when chocolate moulded bunny rabbits spread throughout the supermarkets from aisle 3 to the checkouts, just to make mum (or dads) shopping expedition - that little bit more ‘exciting’.

their way through the colourful foil and into the trophy – the bunny. It’s not a pretty sight for onlookers, shop assistants and it’s especially not a yoga session for mum or dad.

But, to all of this chocolate craziness, there are many positives a holiday break like Easter. It gives mums a chance to just ‘be’. As a mother of two delicious boys under 4 and working fulltime, the thought of a few It’s probably about the point when you extra days off, which doesn’t seep away at finally reach the checkout when your bun- annual leave or my attendance expectation dle of joy raises the ‘I want or need’ hand is cause for celebration. And with the upand becomes hypnotized by shiny alumin- coming Easter break I couldn’t be more ium foil bursting with colours hiding, a not thrilled about hanging up my rat-race heels so subtle, bunny. Need I say more? and slipping on my hideous ‘never EVER wear in public’ house shoes. If you have been in this situation with a child in the age bracket of 1 through to 5, So, how can mums you just ‘be’? You can who isn’t ready to understand when you do this in a number of ways: say the word NO, you would have seen be with your children and husband at this show before or more than once. home not rushing be yourself outside of the office Tantrums, the whole episode featuring: be by the pool sipping on whatever conshouting, throwing arms in the air, lying coction makes you say ‘ahhhh, this is on the supermarket floor, running away, just so relaxing’ followed by kicking and let’s not forget or just be eating pizza on a Friday night the finale – when your child’s fangs sink knowing that on Monday morning at 16


Make a

5.45am you can slam dunk the alarm clock and rollover (until such time about 60 seconds later, your 2 yearold emerges onto the bed shouting ‘WAKE UP!!!!’) knowing you can enjoy being seduced by that ‘close your eyes feeling’ without the need to launch out of bed – pure bliss in my books.

Change It’s been a pretty crazy month for me. We sold our house, bought some land, had some good news, heard some bad and had our very first hospital visit with our baby daughter. You know it wasn’t a major thing… (some glue on her forehead, a nice big dressing and an iceblock was all it took to fix her) but it got me thinking. I realised I am a mum who doesn’t do so well when my children are hurt. I felt so powerless! But after the initial shock I realised that it wasn’t so bad and that there are so many parents out there who have to deal with so much worse than I can even think of. So on that note I just want to encourage you to reach out if you know someone with a sick child and let them know you are there for them, or how about dropping off some toys at the kids hospital or making a meal for a family. Every tiny thing you do makes a big difference! If it was you, what would be something that would make a change in your life?

Think about it, how long has it been since you have taken time out to just ‘be’? Days, months, years? Let’s hope not! It’s so important for mums to take a step back to repair and rejuvenate in amongst all the car drop offs, working, cooking, ironing, yelling, dressing, breakfast making, dinner making, nappy changing, bed sheet changing, toothbrushing, sweeping, mopping , you get the gist. So, as the spare days up your sleeve come closer, think about how you can just be, without rushing, planning, scheduling and cancel anything that may resemble that ‘rat-race feeling’ to help you rejuvenate and repair, because if you don’t, you may not get the chance to slam dunk that alarm clock (or iPhone) again for quite a while which will leave you back at square one on the next Monday morning. Happy Easter!

Do you have something you are doing to make a change in your community? We would love to hear about it. Maybe you would even like to share it with our readers. Email us at info@smallstepsparenting.com

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Sibling rivalry and your new addition to the family Welcoming another baby to your family is always exciting but often the thought of introducing the new addition to your toddler or young child can be one sprinkled with some trepidation! No one can be sure how the sibling will respond to the new arrival. Parents have told me the one who became the ‘middle child’ rather than the youngest was the one who had a few issues adapting to the new arrival. Of course many families don’t have any problems at all just as some families have only minor and temporary hiccups as siblings adapt.

ously seen. Previously toilet trained toddlers may want nappies again, wet the bed, show aggression to the baby or you, become more wakeful at night and more demanding of your attention especially when you are breastfeeding or tending to the baby’s needs.

I always think it’s worthwhile telling a child who can understand, how lucky the new baby is to have such a wonderful big brother or sister waiting to meet them and live with them. Worded this way, the older child feels included without the pressure to be the ‘big’ boy or girl when perhaps they are not quite ready to underRegardless of how it works (and hopestand they are no longer the only ‘baby’ fully it goes well), being prepared is a in the house. Involving him with caring good idea. for the baby with little jobs can make him Depending on the age of the child or chilfeel important as well as distracting him dren awaiting the new arrival, talking when needed regardless of whether you about the baby beforehand and including are breastfeeding or bottle feeding the them in all the preparations gives them baby. the opportunity to engage and ask questions while giving you the opportunity to Having a gift in the bassinette “from the watch and respond to any worries or con- baby” ready for their sibling when he comes to the hospital is considered a great cerns you notice. Hopefully, parental leave enables your partner to be home in success. It could be something the child has particularly wanted or something that the early weeks to help with the other child or children. Your child may become can be played with you one-handed while you feed the baby. very attached or clingy to your partner. Your child may react to your separation As I write this I’m watching a three year from him in hospital with the baby and old carrying her doll in a doll capsule next become more dependent on the parent to her mother who’s carrying her new who remains close by. little sister in a baby capsule. Serendipitous timing – it really works! The new baby’s sibling may feel unsure of where they fit into your affections and If it isn’t possible to have your partner at feel displaced with the new arrival. While home, having a family member or help your child may not be able to articulate from someone your youngster knows well his anxieties or concerns, he might discan certainly help in the early weeks as play his feelings with regressive behavyou all adapt to the changes a new baby iour or characteristics you have not previ- brings to the family. 18


No doubt friends will have lots of hints and tips about what they did to help siblings adapt to their new baby. I was lucky that our daughter was at an age where she was more interested in the toys the baby was given rather than in her brother. Once I was left on my own I had to be organised when I breastfed, not because Claire was tricky, but because she chose feeding times to be her most active in other rooms. I always made sure the knives were up high, the bathroom door was shut, the potty was near the TV and the back door to the garden was shut. I fell in love with John Waters as I shamelessly distracted her with Playschool and then Sesame Street each morning and afternoon. I tucked books and snacks in behind the cushions on the couch and read to, fed and watched TV with her as I breastfed her brother.

what I was doing when I fed but I have watched mothers handle their older child or children very well as they let them watch the baby being breastfeed, and look at or touch their breasts. Continued next page...

Claire wasn’t particularly interested in

Overwhelmed as a new parent? Want to know what to expect? Understanding what to expect after the birth of your baby will help you enormously as you adjust to your new role as a mother. Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Lynne-McKensey Hall takes the old wives’ tales and shows them the door with her gentle, practical, science-based approach to breastfeeding and caring for your baby. From the importance of skin to skin contact at birth to getting everyone settled into bed for a good night’s sleep, this is one of many “must have” books by Lynne to get you through your baby’s arrival and those early parenting days. Purchase books separately or as a set and choose from topics such as: Before Baby arrives Baby’s arrival Breastfeeding Issues and the Unexpected Expressing Returning to Work Partners Grandparents and Carers Multiple, Pre-term, Adoptive and Surrogate Babies and Relactating

Order at www.betterbeginnings.com.au Ph: 0419 245 966 or email lynne@betterbeginnings.com.au

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Normalising what you are doing and involving the child in the breastfeeding is often enough to satisfy their curiosity. Some may want to breastfeed again, which may only last a short time. If you are relaxed about this, always let the baby feed first or feed from the fuller side if the sibling wants to feed at the same time. I have known mothers who have a lot of milk let the older child breastfeed to help to manage their generous milk supply, which can work very well. Of course some siblings do react badly to the new arrival. I worked with a mother whose two and a half year old daughter was very resentful and would bite and hit the baby intentionally. The mother could never leave the baby alone with its sibling. The baby was not long home from the hospital when her partner had to travel leaving her alone with the two children. She was awaiting the arrival of family from overseas to help with the older sibling. So great was her disquiet about her daughter’s behaviour that she intended to seek professional help if family support and a little more time didn’t make a difference. Seeking help from a child psychologist is not an admission of defeat but a practical way of resolving issues of concern before they become problematic.

There is no one-fix solution that will help you if the older sibling doesn’t take well to the new baby. Listen to hints and tips from family and friends and keep your mind open about the changes you are all experiencing. Patience, reassurance and one-on-one time with your toddler or young child whenever possible, can ease the transition. I do recommend The Science of Parenting (DK Publishing, 2008) by child psychotherapist Dr Margot Sunderland. Sunderland explains how the brain develops in babies through to school age children. Understanding the behaviour of your toddler or very young child will give you some insight into what they are capable of managing and understanding. In the case of a new baby, this can be very helpful for you in helping him adapt to the arrival of his sibling. Good Luck! Written by Lynne-McKensey Hall RN, RM, MN(Ed), IBCLC Author of the Breastfeeding & Baby Matters series, available at www.betterbeginnings.com.au and Berkelouw Bookstores

Last chance to be our cover star.. Enter to see your child on the cover plus win a free photo shoot with Big Fish Photography To enter, simply email a photo of your child to info@smallstepsparenting.com Entries must be received by 15th April 2014. 20


In the life of a step mum When you bring home your baby home from the hospital you learn about parenting as the time goes by. You learn the baby's different cries, what they like and dislike, you learn how to discipline them effectively and you love them more and more each day. But what about when you suddenly fall into becoming a parent of older children? Their habits are already set, you may not know what to talk to them about and you may not know how to respond to them. Being a stepparent is a difficult and challenging role, however, with the right attitude, patience and dedication, being a step parent can be extremely rewarding too. As a 29 year old woman I was convinced I would never meet "the one", fall in love, or ever have children.

learned some essential life lessons in building relationships with my step-sons. 1) Be patient, when moving in to a new environment the kids may feel you are not only taking the place of their other parent, but also their home. Don't try to change things the minute you walk in. Give them their space and show them you respect it too. This may be as simple as promising not to go into their room without their permission. 2) Pick your battles - It is important to decide when its better to let something go and when it is important to stand up to the children - if you start picking on the kids for the little things like leaving a dirty dish on the table, it will cause not only the kids to lose respect for you but your partner might too. 3) NEVER talk about your partners ex negatively in front of the kids, no matter how bad they might be, the kids will generally feel obligated to stand up for them. This will cause friction between you. If appropriate you may even want to help the kids make a present for their other parent for Christmas or birthdays, this will help the kids know that you are not wanting to come between them and their other parent. Three months later I met the man of my 4) Get to know them - by spending time with dreams, we got engaged and I moved in with them and gradually building up conversahim and his two boys, 13 and 18. Thanks to tions you will be able to relate to the kids the wonderful advice of my mum, who is a more easily. It will take time and effort but it step mum to my half siblings, and some of will be worth it in the end. my own discoveries along the way I have 5) Do nice things for the kids - cook their 22


favourite meal, buy them a small treat at the shop or take them out for a fun activity they will enjoy - This will show them that you are not only interested in their parent (your partner) but also them, you are potentially setting up a wonderful relationship with your step-children that may last the next 50 years! 6) Use bribery sparingly!! If you try to bribe them every time you need them to do something it will lead to a spirit of distrust. They will assume you've done something nice for them simply because you want something from them. 7) Support your partner in their decisions beware the temptation of being the "cool parent". The kids don't need you to be their friend, they need you to be a stable and supportive adult in their life. 8) Have fun with them - try to create happy, fun memories for you to look back on in the years to come. Seeing them enjoy themselves will bring you enjoyment too.

In the last 9 months I have lived with my fiance and step-sons my relationships with my boys has truly blossomed. We went from saying hi and asking about each others day to sitting in the loungeroom with each other sharing cupcakes and talking about bullies at school. On a weekend I often find the youngest boy hovering around my bedroom door until I notice him and ask him to join me for a movie night. I am really happy that the boys trust me to tell me things they haven't told anyone else. Putting in the effort and having the patience my mum said I would need has truly paid off...I can now look forward to a life with my soon-to-be husband and my two boys whom I am growing to love more and more everyday. Written by Alison, a soon-to-be step mum.

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01 My 2

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Money Challenge

Two months into my 2014 Money Challenge and I can say that I’m feeling quite frustrated! I feel like every time I try really hard to be good with my money, something comes up to mess it all up. I have to say though that I am more determined than ever to continue to aim for my goal (even though I’m almost sure I won’t reach my initial goal of $10,000). I guess the whole reason for this challenge was not even to have the $10,000 at the end of the year but just to build an awareness in myself to save where I could for the benefit of my family. Since I changed my grocery shopping to Aldi and focused on spending around $7 per meal I have been able to consistently keep my weekly bill below $150 which is a massive saving for me (unless of course my husband goes shopping for me and the Coke is on special :) ). Knowing that my goal of a grocery bill being under $150 is achievable I am moving on to other ways to save money. Initially my savings goal was specifically to add to our savings for a deposit on a home. After some looking at open homes we decided that with the amount of money we can borrow we will not be able to have our dream home anytime soon, so we went a different route - we bought a large block of land and are planning to live on it in a mobile home while we save to build the home we have always wanted. I don’t think I have ever been this excited about a property. It is far from glamorous but it has a lot

of potential and even better, loads of space. I believe the kids are going to thrive here. So thus brings me to our soon-to-be new living arrangements. We now have a mobile home sitting on our land but it needs a bit of work. My aim is to renovate it so that it is comfortable and inviting yet doesn’t detract from our savings. Over the next few issues I will show you how I create our temporary home with a very limited budget. You will also be able to follow along as I post my findings and renovation onto Pinterest. On a different topic I noticed that our savings always seem to go south during March. I know now that is because there are two family birthdays, my wedding anniversary, a yearly conference I attend as well as the car registration and insurance all fall in this one month. Needless to say I feel quite defeated in my savings attempt after this month but I need to get back on the horse! With the birthdays I have begun to save a lot when it comes to gifts by simply doing the following:  Making the gifts where it is appropriate - my sister loves my homemade coconut and lime body scrub and begs for it at every present giving occasion (you can find it on the Small Steps blog on our website), I also love to sew, so creating gifts from fabric is not only fun but makes the gifts really personal. Even if you are not very creative a simple photo book made online for the grandparents 24


makes a gorgeous keepsake that they will love. Planning ahead - even if you are buying gifts like iPods, cameras etc. you can save money by purchasing them online in advance so that they arrive on time. Buying online from sites such as eBay can save you a great deal of money without compromising on quality. Putting aside a small amount of money each week for a “gift fund”. $20 every week probably will go unnoticed but will then be available when you need it for a gift without dragging your bank account balance down in one go. As adults, there are so few things we actually need so gift giving can be unnecessary. It is really the thought that counts so maybe you can have some other arrangement for these special times. For example my best friend and I plan a nice dinner out together or a night in a hotel to have some special girls time. We go halves and buy the hotel on one of those discount sites so it doesn’t cost us much but it is a great way to spend some time away and put some time into your friendship. Sentimental gifts - these gifts cost next to nothing but depending on the recipient may mean more to them than any-

thing they have ever been given. This my be a letter book of letters you have written to them over the years all bound together into a book, a photo of a meaningful memory in a frame or a old recipe that has been passed down through the generations printed onto a tea towel.  If you know of a gift that someone wants in advance keep your eye out for sales. You may find that an item may be a lot cheaper during the end of year sales or the end of financial year sales.  Write out a gift budget for the year and stick to it.  Join up with other family members to buy a joint gift. This may allow you to buy something the recipient really wants but is out of your price range rather than purchasing something in your price range that you aren’t sure they really want. Use your imagination and think about your gift fiving in advance to save yourself money but also give a gift that will be special for years to come. Next month I will let you follow along as I begin to create a temporary home for my family that combines comfort and style for a very low cost. Julie-Anne England

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Kids Fun!

Fun Easter Crafts Dyed easter eggs Hard boil 6-12 eggs by placing them in cold water in a small saucepan. Ensure the eggs are completely submerged. Place on a high heat and time the eggs for 8 minutes from boiling point. Turn off heat. Carefully strain away the hot water and replace with cold water. Once the eggs are completely cooled, mix white vinegar with a few drops of food colouring - the more colouring, the deeper the colour on the eggs will be. Dip the eggs in the coloured vinegar and turn to coat. Remove and set to dry on a metal rack. Display on your easter table at lunch time for a festive look.

Hand print easter bunny Use one colour of paint to paint your child’s palm and their pointer finger and pinky. Press onto a piece of paper. Allow to dry. Allow your child to use markers to draw on their bunny’s face.

Weaved easter egg card Fold an A4 piece of paper in half. On one side draw an egg shape. Then draw vertical lines down the egg running from the top to the bottom. The lines should be approx 1cm apart. Using a paper knife, cut down the lines (An adult will need to do this part). Don’t cut out anything else. Using strips of coloured paper, wrapping paper or tissue paper, weave the strips in and out of the egg from the inside of the card. Once you have finished stick a piece of contact over the loose papers. Write on the inside of the card and give to your family or friends. 26


Fun Easter GAMEs picture of a easter basket (we have one on our website that you can use) and stick it Place small chocolate eggs inside a bunch on the wall. Print out paper easter eggs, one of balloons and then blow them all up. Add for each child playing. Using blue tac on several more balloons without eggs in the back of the eggs, blindfold the children them. Have the kids sit on the balloons or and have them try to stick their eggs inside pop them in other ways to retrieve the eggs the easter basket. from the inside.

Easter egg pop

Egg hunt with a twist This is a fun game for smaller children who love tactile play. Fill a large bowl with rice, pearl cous cous or small pasta. Mix in some small plastic or chocolate easter eggs and have the children run their hands through the rice to find the hidden objects. Don’t forget that children under three will need constant supervision for this activity as the small objects could pose a choking hazard.

Pin the egg in the basket Following along with the old favourite of pin the tail on the donkey, here is pin the egg in the basket. Simply print out a large

Easter scavenger hunt Hide a bunch of things around your backyard or a room in your house. Give the kids a written list of all the things you have hidden (try to keep it easter themed) - items could include easter eggs, toy rabbits or chickens, an easter basket etc. Now have them follow the list to find all the hidden objects. You may even want to time them. If you are really creative you could even hide each item with a clue of where the next item will be. We would love to share your easter experiences. Take a snapshot of your kids doing an easter craft or game and post it on our Facebook page!

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Community Noticeboard Do you have a free playgroup, event or program for families? List them here on our community noticeboard for FREE! Email us.

RHYME TIME Every Monday 10-11am (except during school holidays: 23 December 2013 27 January 2014) Rhymes, songs & craft for 18 months - 3 years Siblings welcome. Central Library, Windsor FREE - All welcome

PRE-SCHOOL STORYTIME Central Library Windsor every Tuesday 11am-12noon Richmond Branch every Thursday 11am-12noon (except during school holidays) Themed stories, rhymes & craft for 3 - 5 years Siblings welcome FREE - All welcome

Our playgroup is open to all mums, dads and carers. Join us during the school term from 10am-12pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Lots of variety for parents and kids with some fun day trips now and then. Call us on 0414 377 266

Hawkesbury Regional Museum 8 Baker Street WINDSOR NSW 2756 Wednesday-Monday 10am-4pm Closed Tuesday (except by appointment for guided groups) Public holidays: Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday. Open 10am-4pm other public holidays FREE ENTRY (02) 4560 4655 www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/museum www.facebook.com/

Scribbles Playgroup is held at the Church Vineyard in the Sunbeams Room. Cnr Windsor and Brenan Dams Road, Vineyard. Check out our webpage: www.scribblesplaygroup.com 28


Business Directory Mention this ad for a FREE 8x12 print with each package purchased

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Kids wear Gift ideas Cute accessories Baby Shower Phone: 0415 216 186

All articles in Small Steps are for editorial purposes and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher. Small Steps does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the information, content, or advertisements contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded, or accessed through this magazine or the corresponding website or facebook page, nor the quality of any products, information or other materials displayed, purchased, or obtained by you as a result of an advertisement or any other information. In no event shall Small Steps be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, or consequential damages of any kind whatsoever with respect to the service, the materials, and the products. You are encouraged to exercise discretion while browsing the Internet. No part of this publication or the corresponding website is to be copied or reproduced without permission.

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Treasure Hunt Competition Terms and Conditions 1. This competition is open to all readers of Small Steps Parenting Magazine except for employees of Small Steps, their families or anyone else associated with this competition. 2. All information detailing how to enter this competition forms part of these terms and conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 3. The Small Steps Treasure Hunt will be played as follows:  To enter you must send an email to info@smallstepsparenting.com with your name, mailing address and telephone number. Submission of an email will allow for one entry to the competition and will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.  Once the competition has begun the participants must go on a virtual treasure hunt to collect “gold coins”. These coins are virtual only.  The winner of the prizes will be the entrants with the most gold coins by the competition closing date. Prizes will be awarded to the first through fourth person with the most coins. If there is more than one winner, the finalists will have a playoff where they must race to find the hidden red coin. The first person to find that coin and make a posting on our Facebook page will be announced the winner. Prize allocation will be in the order that follows at section 10. 4. The virtual gold coins may be collected through the following: “liking” us on Facebook - 2 coins, referring someone else to like us on Facebook - 3 coins, purchasing a mailed subscription - 10 coins, referring someone else to buy a mailed subscription - 5 coins, subscribing to our online blog on the website - 2 coins, taking a photo of yourself and/or your kids holding a copy of Small Steps and posting it to our Facebook page - 5 coins, buying any product or service from one of our advertisers - 1 coin per $10 spent. 5. Gold coins must be submitted to our email address by the competition closing date to be judged. Your email must include your details plus where you “found” your gold coins and the tally for the coins. Your entry email will be responded to with a confirmation of entry plus a table that must be filled out and returned by close of entry with your coin totals.

Any people you referred to Facebook or to purchase a subscription must be named in your final submission.  If you discover coins on the website or Facebook page of our advertisers you must state where you found the coin (website or Facebook), the name of the business and if it is a website what page you found it on. These virtual coins will simply be a picture of a Small Steps gold coin with a value on them. You will receive the total amount of virtual coins to represent the number on the coin.  If you gain virtual gold coins by purchasing a product or service from one of our advertisers you will need to specify the business, amount, type of product or service and date you made the purchase. 6. The Small Steps Treasure Hunt will open on Monday 31 st March 2014 at 9.00am. Participants may collect coins only after submitting their entry email. Time stamp on this email will mark the start of the treasure hunt for that participant. Any effort to obtain gold coins before this email will be disregarded except the “liking” of our Facebook page. Any current liker of our Facebook page is entitled to the 2 gold coins that come with that action. 7. The Small Steps Treasure Hunt will close on Friday 16 th of May 2014 at 5.00pm. Your gold coin tally emails must be received by this time to be considered for the judging. 8. All entries will be reviewed and the participant with the highest coin tally (or the winner of the second race) will be awarded our grand prize. 9. The judge’s decision is final and the winner will be notified by email and later announced on Facebook and/or the Small Steps Parenting Magazine’s website. 10. The prizes are as follows: one family pass to Yo Gabba Gabba Live (worth approx $300), one family pass to Peppa Pig Live (worth approx $300), one 8Gb ipod nano 6 th generation (worth $150), one 12 month mailed subscription to Small Steps Parenting Magazine (worth $22), 2 six month mailed subscriptions to Small Steps Parenting Magazine (worth $12 each). Prizes are not redeemable for cash. 11. Winners will be notified by email and will have 2 weeks to respond to claim their prize. 12. Events may occur that render the competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.

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April 2014 online mag