Tantrums In Public – How Do We Cope With A Mortifying Display?

My three kids and I had a lovely morning this morning, relaxed fun and lots of cuddles. This evening was pretty cool as well; a drama free dinner and contented and quiet train track building on the floor while I nursed babygirl on the sofa. Then a fairly painless bedtime.  Good times.

But the middle of the day horrendous.

We had a busy mid morning planned but with enough activities to keep 2 and 6 year old boys interested enough to prevent any playing up I thought.  A trip to the health visitor to have babygirl weighed and measured (toys for the boys to play with, check).  Walk into town dropping off christmas cards to 2 year olds nursery (exciting to be seeing nursery staff on a non-nursery day, check). Pop into Waitrose for a few groceries (drink and cake at the cafe, check) then a visit to the shop for 6 year to spend his £5 pocket money.

I remember while we were sitting in the cafe and I watched my two boys excitedly eating their cakes and blowing bubbles with the drinking straws, that being a stay at home mum was a really lovely thing.

Then came the visit to the toy shop.

What I expected was that my son would pick a couple of items from the under £5 shelf.  He would take a little while making up his mind but we should be out of there in ten minutes or so.

What transpired was horrible.

He did not want any toys from the under £5 shelves of course.  The planned 10 minutes turned quickly in to twenty with all kids and myself getting more and more frustrated.

In exasperation I told him that we would take a catalogue home and he could choose something from there.  Then we could come back to the store tomorrow to get it.

A full on melt down tantrum followed.  Screaming, crying, begging, shouting; all but throwing himself on the floor.   This lasted for 3/4 of an hour.  All the way from the toy shop, down the high street, passed the park and down our long street.

I was mortified.

There are two positives.  I did not raise my voice to him and I did not smack him.  Not yelling and not smacking – not getting angry – is my daily struggle/fight/battle.  It must be like doing AA.  I made a promise to myself some time ago, for the happiness of my children and the quality of life of our home, that I would not lose my  temper with them.  But kids will test you to the limit.  And I live in constant fear that I will fall off the wagon.

But I’m still emotionally raw from the experience because I know I did not handle it in the way I should have.  Instead of being firm and consistent I hissed in his face, told him to shut up (really upset about that) and pulled out threat after threat to try and get him to behave.

Why?  I know I’m not feeling well, that I’m tired and that I was seriously embarrassed but these are not good enough excuses.  Who is the adult here?  It’s my job to show my child how he should behave.  Teach by example.

He did not have a good example today.

So what should I have done?  I have thought about it all day.  I don’t want to fall of my self imposed wagon again.

Here’s what I think I could have done.

  1. I should not have taken him when time was short and I had all three kids.  Dad would have quite happily taken him tomorrow.
  2. Forward planning.  I could have taken the catalogue home a few days ago, let him choose his toy, and dropped into the store to pick it up.
  3. I could have set his expectations more effectively.  Laying down the ground rules well ahead of time and priming him continually so he was well aware of what was expected of him in the store.
  4. I should have handled it as a mature adult.  Let him scream and cry.  Later at home when he was calm we could have talked about his display.  If I had handled it as I wanted, I could have used my behaviour as an example.

Either way I should have kept my cool.  There is no need to loose my temper.  I don’t want to loose my temper.  And for me to feel good about my parenting and myself I need to keep my temper.

I’m sure there are those that would say I am overreacting and a good clip around the ear and a forced march home would have sorted him out – but that’s not the way I want to parent.

So, tomorrow is another day.  And I will do it better.

How would you have handled the situation?


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.







A Little Sunday Humour

exclmarkCount to ten moments…

While preparing lunch boxes as the boys eat breakfast.

Me:  “Your naughty behaviour is going to have to stop.  I’m not having the rest of the morning like this.  This is the third morning this week you have had very naughty behaviour.  I’m going to ta”.

6 year old sounding bored:  “Take a breath Mum.”


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

#Giveaway! Win A Copy Of Each Of My Two ‘House Journals’

A gift for you my lovely blog readers……….

Giveaway – Leave a comment below and you could be the lucky winner.

Share this post via Twitter and get a bonus entry.  Share by Facebook and also get a bonus entry.  It’s that simple.

Sign up to my blog and receive 10 entries!

Just remember to leave a link to your Facebook profile and/or twitter handle in your comments so I can verify.

‘Our Homes’ and ‘This House’ companion journals.  The perfect gift.  For yourself, families or couples.  In fact, for any homemaker.  The first journal, Our Homes – The Story Of, is the journal in which you keep a treasured record of your family’s homes. It’s a journal you take with you from home to home so over the years you build a wonderful record of the family homes in which you have lived. The journal contains dedicated chapters for each home. The homes address, the dates you moved in and out, why you moved there, improvements or changes you made to the house and garden, the things you liked best about living there, best memories and memorable events, why you are leaving the house, where you are moving to and plenty of blank pages for photographs and keepsakes.

Browse an example of ‘Our Homes – The Story Of

Our Homes - The Story Of.  The perfect gift.

Our Homes – The Story Of. The perfect gift.

Our Homes - The Story Of.  The perfect gift.

Examples page for Our Homes – The Story Of.

The companion journal – and the journal you will receive free if you buy ‘This House – The Story Of’ belongs to your home. The current owners have custodianship of the journal and the pleasure of completing one chapter. When they leave the journal is left as a gift to the new owners. The journal’s purpose is to provide a tangible link between the current owners and those who have previously made the house their home—giving a peek into its history, and a glimpse into the stories of those who have loved the house in their turn. The journal contains chapters for each owner to complete. The journal is a perfect gift for house warmings and weddings, and would be equally appreciated as a birthday or Christmas present—for someone else or yourself.  Imagine moving into your new home and finding a book that tells you it’s history, who lived their before you and see picture of what the house looked like when they did.

Browse an example of ‘This House – The Story Of

Mamasimx. Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

Competition closes 11.59pm Wednesday 15th and winner announced on Thursday 16th.

Good luck!

Giveaway – Leave a comment below and you could be the lucky winner.

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© 2013  Simone L Woods

Child Safety – Retractable Dog Lead As Child Restraint?

question mark

Child safety


Am I being too, I don’t know, cautious? Yesterday while doing the school run I noticed a Mum who was using one of those retractable dog leads as ‘reins’ for her toddler.

The fact that it was a dog lead for a child made me feel slightly uncomfortable to start with.  But then the toddler kept getting tangled up in the long lead it was allowed and I could just see the dangers of the child getting strangled!

The long lead also meant that she was not close enough to assist when needed.

I think it was just wrong.

Am I being to sensitive?

Should I have said something to the Mother?


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

Anyone Who Has Lost A Child Longs To Still Speak Their Name

Christmas must be an especially emotional time for those couples that have lost a child.  I was deeply moved when I read this touching post by Kate Ellis.  Kate is a professional photographer and has written this wonderful post about Heartfelt, an organisation for which she volunteers her photographic skills.


Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers, giving the gift of photographic memories to parents who have experienced stillbirth, premature births, and seriously or terminally ill children.

by  on december 6, 2013 in babies

-I am sharing this post with the blessing of Daniel and Victoria.

“Anyone who has lost a child longs to still speak their name, to see it written down, especially by someone else, is an even greater acknowledgement ….”

~ Victoria . Mum to Ethan & Xavier.


18 months ago, I stepped tentatively into a room full of grief, and love, and heartache.

I introduced myself “Hi, I’m Kate, I’m a Heartfelt photographer. I’m so sorry for your loss”

The room is dark and quiet. In the usual see-through rectangle crib-on-wheels, lies a little bundle. Still.

Smiling at this beautiful bundle, I say “Hello, Ethan”.

“He is perfect”. Mum and Dad nod. Dazed. Shattered beyond measure. I can’t even imagine. I photograph.


This is not a journey I have traveled myself. There but for the grace of Mother Nature, go I.

Perhaps that’s why I can do this?

Ethan’s little body is held snuggly by Mum. Then by Dad. I photograph. Lump in throat. Now is not the time, Kate.


The fragility of Ethan’s tiny body, the way he needs to be held, is something no parent should ever have to learn.

The immense bravery in that little room. Mum and Dad hold each other, as they hold their little boy. Heavy sobs. I photograph.


The click of my shutter rings loudly. Too loudly.

I pack my bag, pop it over my shoulder.

“Goodbye Ethan”

Outside the sun shines. Cruelly. A smack in the face that life goes on.  The most precious of precious cargo, in the shape of an insignificant 8 gig CF card, sits in my pocket. I don’t put it in the camera bag. That could be stolen. In my pocket, it feels safe. Ethan feels safe.


Xavier was born on the third day of August, 2013.

Beautiful. Perfect.




A tiny round silver pendant hangs on a chain around Victoria’s neck. Two tiny footprints. Ethan is always there.

During Xavier’s photo session, we chat a little about Ethan. Now a big brother to little Xavier.

Words like “Yes, he’s perfect. And alive”, replace the usual chit chat about milk dots, and reflux. These parents know the spectrum of emotions these little people bring with them, but thankfully most of us only feel them in our nightmares.


On the outside, they hold their babe no closer than any other parent, but there is a different feeling in the studio today.

A sense of relief. A celebration.

A feeling of hope.

I’m so happy to hear that Victoria & Daniel have their pictures of Ethan on their wall. They are not hidden away. Ethan will not be forgotten.

Slowly but surely the Western cultural norms of hiding from death (from life?) seem to be changing. The images of Ethan are gentle, subtle. They hold unimaginable grief, and every parents fear, but they are of a little boy who kicked his mumma for 9 months. Wriggled and squirmed while dad held his hand on the growing belly. Hopes and dreams grew as he did. They are pictures of a tiny boy, who died before he was born.

He now he graces the walls, along with images of Xavier – brothers forever.


The 5th December is International Volunteers Day.

Not by any plan, I’m sure, I opened a little square envelope yesterday. Of all days.

It reads:

“Dear Kate,

How can we ever thank you for giving us our most treasured possessions – the photos of our boys, Xavier and especially our angel Ethan. Thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

Our Heartfelt photos of Ethan are proudly displayed in our house and are the last thing we look at before we go to sleep.

As time goes on we worry about forgetting what he looked like, I don’t know what we’d do without them. They make our loss more bearable somehow. It lets us remember more clearly the two days we had with our precious boy before we had to say goodbye for good.

Thank you so much for the beautiful volunteer work you do.

Best wishes,

Victoria, Daniel & Xavier”

And I cried. Big heavy tears.



Those tears carried the memories of the (far too many) dark, quiet, grief filled rooms I have walked into over the years as a Heartfelt photographer. They carried the thoughts of the (far too many) parents with silver pendants, chains, old Polaroid images, stamped feet and hand prints on cardboard, birth and death certificates which carry the same date … the parents with the precious reminders of their little people they carry in their hearts, but not in their arms.

And I knew it was time to write.


This story and images are shared with permission from Daniel & Victoria. I wrote to thank them for the honor of capturing those memories for them. For allowing me into the darkness of that room. At their darkest hour. And for their beautiful card.

Victoria wrote back  “I knew I had to write  to you after a conversation with a stranger ..  A lady, perhaps in her late 60′s, asked if Xavier was my first baby to which I replied as usual ‘no, he is my second, unfortunately my first boy was stillborn 18 months ago’. She went on to tell me that she had lost her first son at birth too, but she had not been allowed to see him or hold him. This is completely heartbreaking. It was then I realised how incredibly lucky we were, not only to get to meet our son and hold him, but to also to have photos taken. Professional photos. Which were then given to us for free! We are so incredibly grateful to have photos we can display in the house that show everyone – YES our baby was real! Yes we loved him as much as if he had been born alive and love him as much as we do his living brother”



I write this post to share Ethan’s story. I write this post because, sometimes the “why would you want to do that?” questions are hard to answer. I write this post for you to share with your contacts. With your friends. Your family. The more Heartfelt is shared within the community, the more parents will have the chance to ask for a photographer to come to them, if they choose. Or, as quite often is the case, the loved ones of grieving parents make that difficult phone call.

I write this post because “Anyone who has lost a child longs to still speak their name, to see it written down, especially by someone else, is an even greater acknowledgement ….

With heavy tears, thanks for reading.


Kate Ellis Photographer

Nelson Mandela

 “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.”   Nelson Mandela


A man who’s heart encompassed all.



Remember to enjoy your day. 






Top 10 Baby Gifts For This Christmas

Stuck for some beautiful baby gifts?  Here are some great ideas………….



1.  Pink organic knitted bunny hat £10 – so cute!  From Angel Cashmere – also available in blue.





Baby Sleeping bag from Bambino Merino


2.  Baby Sleeping Bag from Bambino Merino £59.95 – also available in pink and other colours.





Wallaboo Animal Comforters3.  Animal Comforters from €14.99 – love them!




Nattou Lion Neck Pillow



4.  Lion Neck Pillow £9.95 – from Nattou.




Spook Travel Rattles



5.  Travel Rattles £34.50 – from Spook.  How cool!





Personalised Santa Sack6.  Personalised Santa Sack £20 – from The Organic Baby Company.  A lovely baby gift.






Locally Produced Bib



7.  Locally Produced Bib £6 – from Little Green Radicals.




Reindeer Playsuit



8.  Reindeer Playsuit £32 – from Picalilly.  Serious festive fun…




Skip Hop Treetop Friends Owl and Friends Trio Ball



9. Skip Hop Treetop Friends Owl and Friends Trio Ball £15.95 – from Bebeeco.




Birdie Gift Set



10.  Birdie Gift Set £35 – from Frugi.  A lovely gift.





Hope this list gave you some wonderful baby gift ideas.


Remember to enjoy your day.


Giveaways & Christmas Gift Ideas

My style guru, top makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, has posted her 2013 christmas gift ideas videos.  Check them out for wonderful ideas for not only Mummy but Daddy, Brother, Sister, Grandma and everybody in-between. There is also a chance to win any of the products Lisa recommends. Watch her videos for details.


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.