Parenting

Choice

I’m not sure that I ever really knew exactly how many children I wanted. I guess if you had’ve asked me when I was in my twenties (or even younger) I probably would’ve said two. Maybe because that’s what I knew, it’s what I grew up with; my sister and I. I don’t think I ever saw myself with more than that. But honestly, I never really had it all planned or mapped up; which is a little unusual for me because I’m such a planner, but when it came to kids I never had a set idea or number or even gender in mind. Boy or girl, one, two or more; I didn’t know and I honestly didn’t mind. Until I fell pregnant. For the entire duration of my pregnancy I was convinced I was having a boy. We never found out what we were having but when I pictured our baby, I always pictured it being a boy. And I was right. In August 2011 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and the very first moment I held him, I felt complete. I actually turned to my husband seconds after our son was put onto my chest and said “if ever I want to do this again, remind me of this very moment’. At the time it was more of a joke; after enduring 19.5 hours of labour and a painful forceps delivery I did not want to go through that again any time soon! But looking back, I think in the moment I knew, I didn’t want any more children….and it had nothing to do with the pain of labour at all. It was just a feeling of knowing I had; knowing that this was our family, this was exactly how it was meant to be. Just the three of us. And that feeling hasn’t changed.

Over the past five years my husband and I have been questioned countless times (like seriously, I’ve lost count) about our decision to only have one child. Friends, family, work colleagues and even complete strangers seem to take it upon themselves to lecture us in all the reasons why we simply must have more children. Our son will be lonely and spoilt we’ve been told, he needs a brother/sister they insist. Who will support him when you get older or die? But you’re such good parents…..And the list goes on and on. And I’ve found myself many times feeling the need to justify our decision (when really, I shouldn’t). I feel the need to explain to people just how much I actually do love being a Mum, how entirely besotted I am with our son; because for some reason people seem to equate not wanting any more children with thinking that means you don’t enjoy being a mum. That’s just simply not true.

Our son is now five years old and I’m finding that it is only now that people are finally starting to realise, and maybe even accept, that we won’t be having any more children. Last week, a good friend told me that she thinks our family of three is just perfect that way it is and honestly? It made me want to cry…tears of joy, because I felt like finally, someone gets its, someone sees what we see! We may not be perfect but we certainly are happy and that’s all that matters.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and I think that’s pretty awesome, because seriously how boring would life be if we were all the same? We are lucky that we get to live in a country where we have the freedom of choice; whether we want to have one child or five or none. We are not limited by the Government to only having one child due to over population and we are not having unwanted babies because affordable birth control isn’t readily available. And let’s not forget those who actually don’t have the choice, who cannot conceive and would do anything to have just one baby. We are blessed. For the vast majority of us we do have the choice and we should respect it; simple as that.

Rant over, ha!

Tell me about your family. How many children do you have (if any)? Do you want more? Or if you’ve finished having kids, when and how did you know you were done?

 

 

 

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Woe is me

Warning: Self indulgent, ‘woe is me’ post ahead…

School holidays; I’d actually been really looking forward to it. Watching my boy grow so fast lately, I’ve realised just how much I miss spending our days today now that he is at school and I am back at work. So I was looking forward to it. And we had it all figured out. Hubby and I had managed to juggle our work days around so that we’d both get to spend some time at home with the little man. And then I went and got sick. Always seems to happen on school holidays doesn’t it? Today is day four of laryngitis and tonsillitis; no voice, a horrible cough, heavy headaches and just feeling all round crappy. Woe is me.

A trip to the doctors earlier this week confirmed that it is viral and there’s nothing to be done but rest. Day four and I’m over resting. I’ve been drinking lemon and honey drinks and downing Panadol like it’s going out of supply. And I miss my boy. My hubby and some good friends have done a great job at making sure he hasn’t missed out on the school holiday fun which I’m really grateful for, but also sad to be missing out myself. Yes, I’m aware it could be worse, I’m not dying, I will get better but I did warn you this was going to be self indulgent post so just excuse me whilst I sit here feeling sorry for myself. It’s hard to be sick when you’re a Mum. Woe is me.

I’m also aware this is probably my body’s way of saying slow down. It’s been a busy start to the year (is it really July already?!) With the little man starting school and my return to work, it’s been all systems go. I’m loving it, but it is busy and has been an adjustment for everyone. So, back to bed for some more rest I go and fingers crossed that I’m feeling better to enjoy the second week of school holidays.

Meanwhile, how are your school holidays going? And any suggestions for some shows on Netflix I could binge watch? After all that is probably the only good thing about being sick am I right?

 

 

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Little Big Milestones

I watched my son ride his bike without training wheels for the first time the other week. Off he went, full of confidence, like he’d been doing it all his life. Then on the weekend, he lost his first tooth. And it got me thinking about all the milestones he’s already achieved and all those yet to come. There are so many milestones that as a parent you will see your child reach. All the big firsts; crawling, walking, talking, first day at kinder and school, first tooth…the list goes on. But what about all those other milestones? The little ones that no one really tells you about but are just as important as those ‘big milestones’. If you’re a parent you can probably think of quite a few yourself, here’s what I’m talking about….

That moment when:

  • Your child can finally wipe their own butt themselves (without getting it halfway up their back). Man that’s a good day, am I right? Same goes for wiping their own nose.
  • Your child can now spell and you can no longer get away with spelling things out to your significant other in front of them when you don’t want them to know what you’re talking about. Last weekend I said to my hubby ‘how about we go to the z-o-o today?’ and the little man immediately jumped up and down ‘yay, we’re going to the zoo!’ Crap. Who knew he could now spell zoo?
  • They don’t want to hold your hand or hug/kiss you in public anymore. My son isn’t there yet so I’m hanging on for dear life while I can!
  • They get up by themselves in the morning and make their own breakfast. Again, my son isn’t there yet, not even close, I look forward to that day..and a sleep in.
  • They have their first trip to the hospital. It’s sort of like a right of passage that every parent inevitably has to go through and regardless of the reason, it’s always scary.
  • They can click themselves in and out of their car seat. Double bonus when they no longer even need a car seat!
  • You can leave them in the bath unsupervised. I love this. My son will now happily play and splash around whilst I’m in the next room cooking dinner on those nights when everything seems like a rush. Total time saver. The fact he sings the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song on repeat at the top of his lungs lets me know he’s still above water ha!

What other little big milestones can you think of that really deserve as much credit as the big ones?

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Less than perfect

So, as most of you would know, our little man started school this year and with that, I’ve been thrown into a whole new world (of course he has too, but let’s focus on me for a minute, it is my blog after all ha!) I’ve had to learn all about readers and golden words and assemblies and canteen ordering….and the list goes on. It appears school has changed a lot since I was there!

Anyway, I digress, what I really wanted to talk about today was a certain certificate that the lil man was recently awarded at school. ‘Perfect attendance for Term 1’ it read. He was also given a little badge to wear on his chest along with all the other kids in school that managed to show up to school each and every day of term one. Normally I’d be super proud of any award my son wins, but this one just doesn’t quite sit right with me. I get it’s intention, I get that many schools are struggling with poor attendance and some children have parents that just don’t seem to understand the importance of regular school attendance. But what about all those other kids? Those kids that maybe had a day or two off because they were genuinely sick? I feel as though they’re kinda being punished for that; they’re being told they’re less than perfect. Sure, they’re not coping the strap or anything drastic like that but I’ll bet they felt left out when the other kids their class got an award and they didn’t. It’s like saying they did something wrong just by being sick.

I don’t think my son really got it; he was rapt he got an award sure, but I’m not sure he fully understood what it was for. But he’ll eventually get to the age that he will and I hope that he doesn’t feel any pressure to go to school when he’s not feeling well just because he’ll miss out on a certificate (because I’m pretty sure there will be some kids out there who would do just that). And it’s not even just about sickness; what about holidays? Yes, kids get school holidays but not all parents do (case in point- my hubby and I). The reality is, we probably will choose to take our son on a holiday away from school holiday times because it’s ridiculously more expensive! Yep, I totally get school is important but I also think life experience and travel is just as important.

So, an award for perfect attendance…hmm, I’m just not sure about this one. I don’t know what the answer is and how we can encourage those families whose lack of school attendance is negatively effecting their kids, I just think it’s a more complex issue….or maybe I’m just over thinking the whole damn thing, who knows! I would really love to hear your thoughts on this one.

 

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Choosing the right lunchbox (plus an awesome giveaway!)

Who knew that something as seemingly simple as choosing a lunchbox can be so complicated? But it really is! I’ve been through many a lunchbox (and drink bottle) in my years, trying to find the perfect one. When my son started kinder a couple of years ago we had to try a few out before we landed on the right one for him. We ended up with the Nude Food Mover, Mini Rubbish Free Lunchbox and it’s done us good for almost two years. But with the little man starting school this year and me heading back to work it was time to update so when Smash Enterprises offered to send me some of their goodies to try I jumped at the chance.

Smash Enterprises have a massive range of lunch boxes, drink bottles and eating accessories; they seriously have something for everyone and everything! Personally, here’s what I look for when choosing the right lunchbox.

Size: Is it big enough? Will it fit all the items I would usually pack for an average school/work day? I also don’t want it to be too big; you want it to fit comfortably in a backpack without having to squeeze it in.

Material: Is is strong and durable? It needs to hold up against being opened and closed constantly and thrown on the floor (because that’s pretty much what most kids do with their bags when they walk in the door). I don’t want to be replacing lunch boxes constantly, that gets very expensive, I want it to last. I also check if the material of the lunchbox is safe (BPA free), insulated (or with the option to fit ice blocks) and easy to wash and dry.

Style: Let’s face it, not only do we want a lunchbox that’s practical we also ant it to be nice looking too! Kids want their lunchboxes to be cool, colourful and fun and personally, I love nice colours and more sophisticated patterns. The style of lunchbox also needs to be easy to open, this is especially important for young children who may struggle with twisting open or unlatching containers for example.

Cost: Too cheap and I know it just won’t last but I also don’t think I shouldn’t have to pay a fortune for a good, strong lunchbox.

So, with all that in mind we laid out our goodies from Smash Enterprises and here’s what we chose:

For the little man:

Clockwise from top left (with item code numbers): Fashion tritan 750ml drink bottle 27263, Dino double decker lunch pack 27302, Green sandwich box 27528,Green cookie movie 27531,  2 Green snack boxes 27529, Green/black snack orb 27345, Green/white gel ice 27527,

I let him choose what he wanted (can you tell he likes the colour green!) but I was very happy with his choices. The lunchbox is insulated and easy to open with zips and I love the idea of using little containers for all his separate snacks and lunch. The drink bottle is perfect size and also has a centre insert that can be frozen to keep the drink cold. Our favourite though is the snack orb; a fun little container to store snacks. Most of these items are from the Nude Food Mover range which is also great for schools that have a rubbish free requirement.

For me:

Clockwise from top left (with item code numbers): Large Rubbish Free Lunch Box 27548, Stainless Steel 800ml Teal Drink Bottle 27245, Paint tote 27272, Geometric tent 27268.

The lunchbox ticked all the boxes for me and I love how it has all the separate compartments/containers and pulls apart for easy washing. I’m also totally in love with the new range of adult insulated bags which come in a range of gorgeous colours and patterns. I found it hard to choose so I mixed it up with a tote bag and smaller insulated bag in different patterns and drink bottle to match both.

Now for the awesome giveaway bit. I’ve got this huge bundle of Smash Enterprises and Nude Food Movers products to give away to one lucky family…

It includes: Large Rubbish Free Lunch Box, Checker smash lunchbox, Nude food mover cool skin, Stainless Steel 800ml Teal Drink Bottle, Fashion tritan 750ml drink bottle, Paint tote, Boy ice sheet small 3 pack.

Enough lunch gear for the whole family! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what your favourite go to snack is to put in your child’s lunchbox. Look, I’ll admit, I have an ulterior motive here; I’d love some new ideas for what to pack in my son’s lunchbox this year. I’ll let the little man choose his favourite and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 24th February.

If you’re not the lucky winner but are interested in purchasing some of the Smash Enterprise range anyway you can find them Woolworths, Coles, Big W, Kmart and Target or see HERE for a full list of stockists.

Good luck everyone!

Competition terms and conditions: Open to Australian residents only, must provide email address for winner to be contacted, competition opens 6am Tuesday 17 Jan and closes 12am Tuesday 24 Jan.

This is a sponsored post, I was gifted all items shown. All words and opinions are my own.

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The Anxious Mother

I work really hard not to let my anxiety affect our son. It’s not so much that I actively hide it from him, I don’t really believe in doing that (mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or something to be hidden) but he is only five, there are things he just doesn’t need to know yet, things that are too complex for him to understand. I don’t want to expose him to adult problems and I definitely don’t want to put my anxieties on him. I don’t ever want to be the type of mum that stops him from doing things he wants to do because of my own fears. And so, I might tell him I’m scared of doing something, like going on a fast ride or an aeroplane or going to the dentist but then I do it anyway. I hope by doing that I’m showing him it’s ok to be afraid and that sometimes we just need to face our fears and find out that it’s not so scary after all. But sometimes, I’m ashamed to say that my fears get the better of me, my mind takes over my body and I can’t…I just can’t face them those fears.

When he was a baby our son suffered from severe reflux. I’m not talking about a few baby spews after a feed, I’m talking non stop, clothes change inducing, full on vomiting. We were referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital when he was a few months old for some testing. One particular test involved him fasting for what ended up being nearly eight hours…this for a baby who was at that time feeding every three to four hours…well, you can probably imagine what that was like. By the time we got into the x-ray room our poor little man was over tired, starving and screaming. The doctors explained that we would need to hold him down and keep him as still as possible whilst the gave him a small amount of milk with a special dye mixed into it. It was important that he not drink too much, they would take it away, “he won’t be happy” they warned, then they would watch the milk flow through his body and take regular pictures on the x-ray machine as it made its way down. Because of the radiation from the machine hubby and I were required to heavy full lead vests. So, put an already anxious mum together with a hot room, lack of food and a lead vest that weighed a ton and bam, you’ve got yourself a full-blown panic attack. I could feel myself fading, I reached for a nearby chair because I felt like I was going to pass out. The doctors suggested that maybe I wait outside. I looked towards my husband and he nodded; assured me he’d be ok. A nurse escorted me out to a hospital bed where I laid down and she fed me sweet biscuits and cordial. I sat there and cried. I was so embarrassed. I felt like an absolute failure. I had crumbled in the moment when my child needed me the most.

For me, any type of medical environment; being in a hospital, dentist or doctors waiting room causes huge anxiety. Even if I’m only there for something as simple as a prescription refill, just being there or even thinking about being there is enough to make me anxious. I know now that this is due to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) something which I am only now really coming to understand. So when our son needed to go into hospital for an operation at the age of two it was my husband who held him whilst him was put under. And just this week when our son had a bad fall which resulted in him losing half his front tooth it was my husband who took him to the dentist. And I hate that. Not that I hate my husband being there, my god I’m so grateful he was, that he is, but I hate myself for not being strong enough to be there for my son when he needs me the most. Because there is nowhere else that a mothers wants to be when her child is in trouble than by their side.

Last night I thanked my husband, as I often do, for being there when I couldn’t, for being the strong one when I can’t be. And I promised him and myself, as I often do, that I will continue to fight my anxiety and face my fears not only for myself but also for our son because the thing I am most afraid of all is letting him down.

Are you an anxious mother? Ever felt like you at letting your child down?

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First and Last

Looking back to before I became a parent I’m not really sure how many children I wanted…maybe two? Maybe I pictured myself with two girls (because I have an older sister) but I’m not too sure, I can’t quite remember. But what I do remember is that when I did fall pregnant at the age of 28 I was convinced I was having a boy. We chose not to find out but during my entire pregnancy I pictured myself with a boy and it just felt so right. And then the very minute that beautiful boy of ours was born it immediately felt like out family was complete. And that feeling has not changed.

Because we have an only child we often feel pressured to get things right. The pressure of course comes from only ourselves… we’ve only got one shot at this! Our poor son is totally our guinea pig in this whole parenting caper. It also means that for us, every first is also the last. Next year, our son will be starting school. He is our first child to go to school and our last child to go to school. It’s like a big double whammy right? And I’m feeling all the feels about it….

I’m excited for this next stage, excited to watch our son grow and learn. I’m also scared…will he like school? Will he make friends? Will he get lost? I’m happy to see him become more independent but at the same time sad that he’s growing up and needs me that bit less. Yep, I’m feeling all the feels. I have no doubt I’m going to be a freaking mess on his first day of school, not that I’m going to let my son see that of course, I’m going to be all cool, calm and collected and then when he’s out of sight I plan to burst into tears…good plan right?

So to all your parents who have gone before me, who have seen their first child off to school and maybe their last, what advice do you have for me? How do I deal with all the feels?

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The Great Divide

The Great Divide, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk in the media about the income divide between women and men and for many years there’s been discussion around the worth (or rather lack there of) that we place on stay at home mums. Honestly, whilst I’m totally aware that these issues exist I’ve never given them a great deal of thought. I’ve been quite happy coasting along in our family situation which works for us. But last week my husband and I received our superannuation statements in the mail on the same day. I opened them and was shocked at what I saw. It really made me stop and think.

My husband and I have been in the workforce for the exact same amount of years. For the majority of that time we were earning roughly the same money. Yet, he has DOUBLE the amount of super that I do. Why? Because when my son was born I had a year of maternity leave. Because after that I chose to return to work on a part time basis. Because I’ve decided to take a year of long service leave to be able to take him to and from kinder. These are choices that I will never ever regret, I make them happily, but it’s a real slap in the face when you see those figures on paper, in black and white like that. For me it’s ok, because I have a husband. He works full time and picks up the slack in my earnings. When we retire it will be together and we will have our combined super to support us. But what about single parents? What about those that don’t have a partner to ‘pick up the slack’?

It really comes back to the worth that we place on the role of stay at home parents; hands down the hardest job in the world yet paid the least (or nothing at all). I know this is a big issue and I also know there is no easy answer. If only it were as simple as paying stay home parents for their work, but it’s really not that simple and I get that. I don’t have the answer but what I do know is that the best place we can start is by thinking about it, but questioning it and challenging it. We need to openly talk about this great divide that exists.

At the end of the day, I would happily give up all the money in the world to be a mum. I don’t look at those superannuation figures and regret anything but it sure has got me thinking about those women who aren’t as lucky as me….

What do you think? I might be opening up a can of worms here but I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this!

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The conversation I wasn’t ready for…

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Driving in the car with my five year old son last week and he asks “Mum, who made the world?”. Shit, how do I answer that?! He continues, “Because whoever it was must’ve gotten really thirsty ’cause that would’ve been a lot of hard work”. True that kid. “So Mum, who did make the world?” I was so not ready for this conversation; I did not have a prepared answer. Much like death and sex and all the other major things in life I know there will come a time when he will ask questions and I know that as a parent it is my job to answer them. But what happens when you don’t know the answer?

I’m technically a Catholic. I was baptised and did my holy communion and all of that but I guess I’m not really what you would call a ‘practicing Catholic’. I haven’t been to a church service (other than weddings etc) since I was a child. I don’t pray and I’m not even really sure what I believe when it comes to God. Is there a God? I honestly don’t know. I would like to believe that there is something, something bigger than us, a reason for it all but I’m not sure what that is. I believe there is some kind of afterlife, but do I believe in heaven and hell? I just don’t know! How do you explain a concept to a child that is so big? How do you explain something you don’t even understand yourself?

When our dog passed away earlier this year I told our son he had died. He asked a few questions, mainly why did she die and when was she coming back. But he never asked where she went so I never told him. We never had the discussion about heaven because he just didn’t ask so we didn’t push, preferring to keep things as simple and non-scary as possible. I think that was totally the right thing. But what would I have said had he asked? I don’t know. I guess I would’ve told him that she went to heaven because heaven sounds like such a nice place and it’s nice to have things to believe in isn’t it?

So, back to the conversation in the car about God…how did I handle it? Well, I kinda dodge and weaved and mumbled my way through a bit…. I told my son that some people believe that God made the world.

“Gawd. Who’s gawd?” (He said it just like that).

“Well he’s a man, a really powerful man…” But is God a man? I don’t know!

“Mum, do you reckon if me and Gawd had a running race that I would win? Because I’m pretty fast”

“Well I dunno, God is pretty fast. He’s kind of magical. Yeah, God is like a magic man. And he lives in the sky…” Fuck, why did I say that? Now I’m going to have to explain Heaven. Don’t say anymore, just wait until he asks…

“In a house like ours in the sky?”

“Umm yeah I guess so.”

“What does he look like?”

“Umm I don’t really know buddy, I haven’t seen him before, no one really has, because remember he lives in the sky..”

Silence. No more questions. Until next time.

So tell me parents out there; how do you handle (or plan to handle) the big question, namely God, with your children? Do you have strong beliefs that you will pass on to your kids or are you a bit like me and you just don’t know?

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Cyber Bullies and Trolls- The Day I was Attacked

After years of being part of the blogging community I’ve heard and seen some pretty nasty comments and online situations. Bloggers attacking other bloggers, readers leaving mean comments and trolls, oh the trolls. Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid it ever happening to me. I knew someday it would, it’s was just inevitable and last week it finally happened but not in the way I thought it would or who I thought it would come from. Teenage boys. Yes, you heard it right, I was attacked by teenage boy trolls! Here’s what happened…

My four year old son is into scooters big time. You’ll find him most afternoons at the skate park with his Dad practicing his moves and tricks. He watches you tube clips on scooting, it’s his thing and he just loves it. A couple of weeks ago he’d worn out the grip on his scooter so hubby ordered him a new one from Scooter Hut. When it arrived in the mail there was a leaflet to enter a competition to win $500 to spend at Scooter Hut. My son really wanted to enter and we were happy for him to (because let me tell you, scooter stuff can get expensive). It involved taking a pic of his purchase in an ‘inventive way’ and sharing it on Instagram. So we came up with an idea, the little man helped me design it and we snapped the pic. Then early Saturday morning this happened….

Scooter Hut, winner, www.sarahdipity.com.au

We totally won! I told my son the good news. He was quite literally jumping up and down with excitement. “We won, we won mummy!” You could not wipe the smile of his kids. It was all happy, happy, joy, joy until…the trolls came out in force. By the end of the day I’d lost count of how many teenage boys had followed my account and left nasty comments. Here’s just a little snapshot:

“Dude, it’s like a Mum’s page, you should give it to someone else. She’s probably never gonna use it”

“Her son is like 2 years old, this is bullshit”

“Why would you pick some little ass kid who doesn’t even know how to scoot”

“What a wank”

“Such a fuckin joke”

And it went on and on. At first, I was legitimately shocked. Then I laughed, because honestly, it was laughable. And then I was just plain annoyed. I was annoyed that for the next twenty four hours I had to continually check my account to block the little buggers and delete their comments. I was annoyed by their nastiness, their sense of entitlement and their lack of sportsmanship. I mean seriously we entered a competition, we won fair and square and here they were beating up on an innocent four year old boy!

Luckily my son isn’t old enough to read or understand what went on but it does make me scared for the future- when he will be old enough and he will have to deal something like this, probably worse. Because just as sure as I was that I would one day face the trolls, I’m just as sure that he is growing up in a world where the use of social media for cyber bullying has become the norm. And that’s really sad and damn scary. So it’s got me thinking about how I will prepare and manage that in the future. The fact that all of these kids were so young (some not even teenagers yet) and they already have instagram accounts that clearly aren’t being monitored by their parents; well it just shows the kind of tech savvy world my son will be growing up in. My instinct of course will always be to protect him but more than that I need to teach him to protect himself, because the thing about these trolls is that they can follow you everywhere, into your own home, and your own bedroom without anyone even knowing, unless you speak out.

I do have to add that amongst all the hate there were some nice words; some kids that congratulated us on winning the prize and said we did a great job. Man I hope my son grows up to be like those kids. Those kids were great!

Parents of older children I’d love to hear how you manage this? What do you do to ensure your kids are protected from cyber bullies and trolls? Would love to hear your advice!

blog signature, www.sarahdipity.com.auA big thank you to Scooter Hut for our amazing prize! The competition runs every month and if you have a scooter loving child I encourage you to enter- haters are always gonna hate but winners will always be grinners!

 

 

 

 

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