Watch with Mothers

Author Archive: Ian Caldwell

The Seating Plan

Well if you thought the guest list was hard wait until you have to tackle the seating plan. Forget divorced parents for a second and just think about your friends, which groups get on, which don’t.

Some are from very different walks of life. A classic situation is when perhaps you’ve been to a private school and have an element of posh friends but also have the friends from the village where you grew up or you moved to London or other city and your friends there are much more sophisticated than your country mates. You love both groups equally but the differences are huge. I am stereotyping now but these are facts that need to be faced when bringing different groups of friends together.

Likewise you and your grooms family may very well be from completely different backgrounds and believe me at a wedding there is always a high level of snobbery going on. A classic case recently was that the groom’s family were extremely posh, they had a big country estate and no expense was spared for the wedding. Now the bride’s family were far more working class and they turned up with carrier bags of Boddingtons and rolled up at the reception already half cut. Of course the posh side turned up their noses and the less posh ones simply behaved worse. The bride and groom had arranged the seating plan with his family on one side of the room and hers on the other and the marquee quickly became a split camp with one side goading the other and the evening ended with a brawl. This is an extreme and probably has only happened once in twenty years but I think the mistake was to completely split the room into bride’s side and grooms seating plan didn’t help the situation but, I think the differences were just too great and it wasn’t too much of a shock to hear that they’d split up a couple of months later.

In my view mixing the seating plan up doesn’t work. Yes it forces people to mix and on the odd occasion with very outgoing people it can result in a great atmosphere with lots of new friends made. In most cases it just invites small talk and this doesn’t enhance the atmosphere at all. Likewise, asking guests to move seats for each course. It may work at a dinner party or other less formal event but when you are seated at a wedding, especially if you don’t know anyone it’s frustrating and messy being asked to move when you feel you are just getting to know someone and having to start with small talk again.

Funnily enough I’ve always thought that the traditional top table very odd. The bride’s father and mother sit next to the bride and groom and the grooms parents sit either side of the bride’s parents, despite the fact that they’ve probably only met once or twice or in some case not at all. Well it may just be me but there aren’t actually any rules that state where people sit (even if there were they could very well be broken or challenged). Why not put the bride’s parents next to the bride and the groom’s parents next to him so at least the conversation on the top table flows.

The other option is to have an oval top table where the guests sit three quarters way around, still leaving a gap at the front but basically sitting on a curve. It’s much more sociable and I really think that consequently everyone enjoys the meal more. Round tables are becoming more popular but I think it’s nice that everyone can see the top table and it’s much easier during the speeches as nobody will have their back to the audience.

When you are doing the seating plan the best thing to do is do it once, go with your gut reaction, get someone to check it, then leave it be. The more times you go over it and change it and move people about the worse it gets. I’ve had brides ring me in tears on a Friday night, the day before the wedding asking for help with the seating plan. Well it’s probably the only thing I can’t help at all with. I don’t know your family and friends so it really is down to you.

One word of advice I’d give is that you need to do it a few weeks before. I would seat all the rellies that you know get on together, all your friends together, all his friends together and have a couple family tables for respective grannies and auntie. There will always be a few odd bods left over, maybe family friends or the vicar or an eccentric uncle that you don’t want to spoil anyone’s day by inflicting him on them. An oddbod table often has funny consequences and can often be the loudest table in the room or at least if it isn’t and nobody speaks at least there is only one dodgy table. Don’t be tempted to put together people you know don’t get on and hope they can settle their differences. Yes, in some cases it works but generally as drink flows, so do tempers.

Moving on to what we talked about last week, divorced parents and respective partners. I think there are two options that work and probably only two even though there are a variety of different circumstances. Basically if both your parents are alive regardless of whether they are still married or not then they all sit on the top table. If any one or all of them have remarried then either, they and their respective partners sit on the top table or the new partners sit on a table near the top table with senior members of the family or very good friends. If seated on the top table then how you arrange it can be tricky but as long as you sit warring parties at opposite ends you should be fine.

One of the issues that comes up quite regularly is whether to have a children’s table or not. Again it very much depends on circumstances. If they are all family kids that know each other, it’s a great idea. They feel special and grown up and they tend to behave better and enjoy the day more. If you simply gather up all the kids in the room and put them together it’s painful, especially if they aren’t very old. They tend to migrate back to their parents and end up sitting on knees and it just doesn’t work, likewise a group of teenagers that don’t know each other, they just sit there in surly silence. A quick aside make sure you give teenagers proper food, giving them chicken goujons and chips followed by jelly and ice-cream will be met with the classic teenage look of distain. I have mentioned this before but if space is tight or you think the kids would prefer to be together, it’s a great idea to get a kids entertainer and give them a party tea separate to the adults. This can also work well in a marquee as you can get a separate small tent with beanbags, games, and colouring things and let the kids do what they enjoy doing rather than being a nuisance and making a racket during the speeches.

Once you’ve done your seating plan and sent it to be printed just let it go. If someone cancels at the last minute don’t worry. Have a separate rough copy for the hotel and caterers marking where everyone is sitting with special diets marked clearly along with kid’s meals and any other special requests. Another idea is to do the seating plan without place cards, so that everyone knows what table they are sitting at but they can choose who they sit next to. Don’t ever be tempted not to have a seating plan at a formal wedding as it is a disaster. A family of four comes together and ends up being sat on four separate tables. Partners get split up and start demanding extra place settings on tables where there quite clearly isn’t room. It’s a nice idea the thought that everyone can sit where they want but trust me on this one it’s a bad idea.

My final word on the subject of seating plans is to keep them hidden until it’s time to go in and eat or at least limit access to the tables. Over the years the number of times that guests have come into a marquee and moved place cards so they are sat with who they want to is amazing. It’s particularly rude of them when you’ve gone to so much effort but give them a few glasses of champagne and in a matter of minutes all your hard work has been spoiled.

Consider yourself warned.

Baby Shower Favors: Ideas For Making The Right Choice And Make It Memorable.

A baby shower is a party in which parents receive gifts for their expected child or born child. This days due to new ideas, concepts, themes, games, and changes in etiquette or culture some people prefer to hold showers after the birth of the baby. Traditionally, a baby shower is held only for the mother-to-be, and only women attend.

Do you remember going to birthday parties as a little kid, I guess you will! You always came home with a goodies bag. Sometimes it would contain sweet, candy, bubbles or a pinwheel. It was so fun to go to someone else’s birthday and come up with a little present for yourself.

Bring a present , get a present are traditional activities that are common at baby showers.. But choosing the right gifts for the shower party can be challenging considering that there are so many choices when it comes to choosing party favors for the baby shower that it can often be overwhelming.

We still get to do that as grown-ups , only now we call them “favors.” It sounds much more dignified, don’t you agree,

Generally, shower party events is center on gift-giving, hence it will be a nice gesture to have something that your guests can take home with them after the festivities are finished. If your shower will be like most, you’ll probably play some silly games such as baby shower bingo, guess the baby food flavor: guests have to taste-test several flavors of baby food and try to identify them, other games include a diaper throw game, and the diapers have candies or chocolate stuff etc. No game would be complete without prizes or favors.

But no one likes to leave empty handed. You should have some small favors for everyone to take home, whether or not they’ve won a game. How about a little tin candle with a custom label that reads “Your friendship lights my day. Thank you for bringing sweet joy and fulfillment to my family. Thanks for being part of my special day”,

Almost everyone likes chocolate. Little boxes of chocolate that read, “You’re so sweet. Thanks for coming to my baby shower.” Or a little package of nuts wrapped in tulle, “You’re nuts. But that’s why we’re friends , thank you for coming to my shower, thank you for making my shower special.”

Lotion is always a good little favor for women. Be careful not to get something too fragrant , as some people are bothered by strong scents. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter what you offer as a favor. It’s a small token of your appreciation for the time your friends devoted to celebrate your baby.

I will say this; your favor should be something they can use. Even it is it s small bud vase with dried flowers from your garden. When deciding what you’ll have for little favors, try to think of something unique but inexpensive and “What is not going to end up in the trash as soon as they leave,”

Perhaps you could give your guests a small gift booklet and inscribe something sweet on the inside cover: “I appreciate your wisdom and support of my new baby.” Or “Thanks for all times I’ve cried on your shoulder, I appreciate you.” Or if you don’t feel very sentimental how about simply: “Thanks for coming to my baby shower. Thank you for bringing sweet joy and fulfillment to my family.

Baby shower favors don’t have to be anything expensive, fancy, but something to show your appreciation to your guest for being part of your special day. Nothing would comes close to ending this unique and special occasion than to have baby shower favors that would reflect the high spirits of gladness and joy of all the people who came to celebrate the upcoming arrival of the new or born baby.

Childcare Centers – How do You Choose the Right One for Your Child,

Quality childcare centers are usually anchored on a certain curriculum. For this reason, their childcare workers usually hold a high level of education. They also receive trainings in classroom management and child development programs. These places are usually set up to resemble classrooms. This is why aside from the expert care these centers provide for the children left in their supervision, children also get the benefit of getting an early education.

Knowing this, it becomes easier for parents to set their expectations when they are on the hunt for places to enroll their children while they work. Hence, doing one’s homework in finding the best center that can meet these expectations is of utmost importance.

So, what are the qualities of good childcare centers, Here are a few benchmarks.

Employs a comprehensive program that includes a balance of play, rest, and learning. The materials and the toys used must be appropriate to the children’s ages. If the materials are not age-appropriate, they will fail to produce the desired learning outcome. As for toys, well, no parent wants their child to be smothered by a toy that is too big for the child, for example.

Employs clear safety standards. Safety ranks high in every parent’s consideration. What happens if the wrong people come to fetch the children, Does the center offer clear safeguards, Likewise, are there provisions for emergency situations such as fire, accidents, or other such unfortunate events, The policies should be clear enough for the staff and the children to follow.

Health and hygiene. What are the policies of the center concerning sick children, Does it provide a separate room for them, Does it have clear procedures for administering medication, Are the playground and toys clean, Ask or observe if they are routinely washed or cleaned. Unwashed and dirty toys are veritable breeding places for germs and bacteria. Parents certainly would not want their children picking up illnesses because of them. For staff and children, instructions on when to wash their hands, or how to properly wash their hands should also be covered and followed. Along with toys, the children must have a schedule for sanitizing diapering stations, tables, chairs, or other equipment. These should be in writing so ask to inspect them too.

Schedule of dialogue with parents. For childcare to work, regular dialogues between parents and childcare workers are a must. Parents should provide the staff with information about their children, such as their behavior at home, what sort of foods they are allergic to, etc. Conversely, the staff should be able to provide the parents feedback about their children’s progress, their behavior among other children, how they cope with certain situations, etc. Information from either side will certainly help both staff and parents reinforce the positives and hopefully arrest the negatives early on.

Before finally making a choice, parents will do well to compare the best childcare centers in their area and choose the one that is most responsive to their children’s requirements. Children have unique needs, eccentricities even, so they require care and assistance that are tailored to these needs.

Baby: Baby Crying 101

Communication – that’s what a baby’s crying is for. This sweet thing that suddenly turn into a fit of tears is just craving for your sweeter attention. All cultures in the world nod to this pattern all infants are accustomed to.

A baby cries the most during his or her first three months. Though the amount of crying steadily increase, the crying time period may vary from an hour to most of the day and this could still be considered within normal range. Like, whoah, right, Babies are also known as howling tear factories.

Some thought that a baby cries more during the afternoon accounting it to the anxiousness of the mother or the stressed mood of the father after going home from work. But the most accepted assumption now is that babies have this automatic screening ability they use to shut off all the noise that may stimulate some response from them so they could get enough rest. But in the long run, this filter weakens and totally disappears during the approximate age of six weeks. This, then, make a baby very sensitive to the external factors such as noise, movements, etc. And these generally elicit a reaction from a baby and how best could he or she respond but only through crying.

There are many reasons why a baby succumbs to crying. Deciphering these reasons is the major feat a parent must surmount. Here are some of the things your sweetsome baby is making you understand through crying.

Hunger. Yes, your attention-hungry baby is craving to let you know that his tummy is grumbling. This is the most common reason for a baby to cry, especially, during his early months. The pattern of the hunger howl could be characterized as being persistent, demanding and almost rhythmical. But that rhythm is not at any rate close to becoming musical, of course.

Boredom. What can I say, Aren’t these babies just plain spoiled, Crying because of boredom, errr, I’d find that a bit more twisted or weird if it’s with an adult that is. But babies are really built like this. Crying is their way of telling you, “Hey get me a life here!” Aside from attention and food, consequently, babies need a lot of stimulation. And when they don’t get this, there you get your waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!! The trick is to pick the baby up and play with him. This move may be frowned upon by some because of its amounting to spoiling the baby. But it is important to know that stimulation is also one of the major necessities of an infant and it won’t hurt to provide him with some while in his growing age. This boredom cry is said to be also rhythmical and full of sobs and moans.

Discomfort. Pain is another precursor of the baby’s crying. Who won’t cry when in pain, right, Babies are not Major Paynes to endure the most excruciating discomfort they could undergo. They are little, vulnerable beings that need to be attended to when injured or when in an inconvenient situation. This cry could be more persistent, louder and more demanding. Shrieking and screaming, those are words that better describe the crying pattern roused by pain.

Another cause may be disturbance; surely, howling will proceed just when they’re about to sleep or are already fast asleep and suddenly gets surprised by some noise, or movement. An illness that causes discomfort to a baby may also be the reason for a baby’s bursting into fit of tears.

What’s So Special About A Nursing Tank Top, Baby Moms Need To Know

I would like to discuss an article that all nursing mothers will be interested in. There are numerous obstacles that await the mother that decides to nurse her newborn baby. Let’s discuss something that you may not have thought of. Finding clothing that appeals to you and yet still allows mom to convieniently nurse is a big challenge that often isn’t considered until it has become an annoyance. That is where this article at (link at end of this article) about a nursing tank top comes in. The article is a great read and if you’re a breastfeeding mommy you should have a look!

These types of tank tops for breastfeeding will compliment many different aspects of you wardrobe. discusses all of this in much more detail than I will go into here. Have a look. The particular brand that is reviewed is the line from Comfy Kangaroo, which is generally considered to have the best functioning and most comfortable nursing bra tank top combos available. There are many different colors to pick from and I’m sure you will find something in their line that fits into your wardrobe.

Let’s discuss how these tops function and what makes them so great. Oh, and they are great! The breastfeeding top would normally be worn with a nursing bra, which is included, but that is completely optional. You can go braless! No bra is required. They will work fine without one, however you may want to still wear a nursing pad (leakage and all). Ok, so the way these nursing tank tops work is by having the ability to unstrap either side of the top and fold it down to facilitate feeding baby. The best part is that you can’t even tell the difference between this style tank top and a normal, non-nursing tank top. They’re really great.

These tops are so versitile. Check out the article on then go get your new breastfeeding top. Now, the Comfy Kangaroo nursing tops are not the only ones out there, however I feel they are the best (and apparently many other nursing moms agree). Have a look around at what is available and you will certainly find something to suit your taste and style. Different strokes for different folks and all. Don’t forget to check the Comfy Kangaroo lineup, you will love them I promise. They really are stylish and comfortable. Good luck with your newborns and remember: just because you are nursing you can still be fashionable!