Tag: toddler

Why did the chicken cross the road?

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Yesterday I decided it was time to teach the Little Mister how to tell a joke. Comedy for 3 year olds 101. I thought I’d start with an old staple. Something really simple. Sure, it’s not really all that funny now (probably was the first time the inventor of the joke told it but I’d say it’s gotten a little bit old over the decades).

It was:

Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?

A. To get to the other side. 

Something to get the Little Mister started on his long road to stardom as a struggling stand up comedian (maybe I’ll regret that haha). He’d been talking about jokes and loves when he realises I’ve said something funny. He’ll look at me and the corners of his mouth will turn up and he’ll say, “You said a joke, Mummy?”

Then when I confirm that I have indeed tried to be a bit funny, he’ll laugh as if I’m the funniest person alive which is good for my ego. Sure, I had to confirm that it was a joke in the first place, but that’s a minor detail.

*ahem*

So I taught him the chicken joke. He was doing a great job of telling it. I hammed it up laughing when he told the punchline correctly. He looked so pleased with himself.

A few hours later, I decided to test his memory and asked him to “tell me a joke!”

The Little Mister replied with, “ROAD CHICKEN!!!!!”

He then laughed raucously.

Um, sure…

Another time it went like this…

Kez: Tell me a joke!

Little Mister: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Kez: Why did the chicken cross the road, Little Mister?

Little Mister: *shrugs and looks confused* I don’t know.


At bath time, Mr Unprepared tried his luck.

Mr Unprepared: Can you tell me the chicken joke?

Little Mister: OK. Why did the chicken cross our road?

Mr Unprepared: Hmm. Why did the chicken cross the road?

Little Mister: OUR road. OUR road. Why did the chicken cross OUR road?

Mr Unprepared: Oh. Sorry! Why did the chicken cross OUR road?

Little Mister: *sounding confused* This one’s tricky.

Points for improvisation? Kind of?

I am not so excited for the knock knock jokes that will inevitably come, but I am looking forward to telling (and teaching) my old favourites.

Q. What do you call a penguin in the desert?

A. Lost.

Q. What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?

A. Nacho cheese.

Q. What do you call a cow with no legs?

A. Ground beef.

You’re totally judging me right now, aren’t you? Look, I know they’re bad. But they’re simple and my brain remembers them and can tell them without wrecking the punchline (something I am awesome at). I’m just a dad in a mum’s body. I can’t help it. I was taught joke telling by the worst best. My dad. You have no idea how egg-cited I am for Easter. All the yokes I’ll be able to tell then! I’d tell you some now, but I wouldn’t want to whisk you stealing them. Yeah, I’m a riot. Available for parties and corporate functions.*

Anyway, over to you. What are your favourite dorky jokes? Make me laugh! 

*not really available for parties and corporate functions.

Toddler talk.

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I have to be really honest and admit that BC (Before Child) I was really excited for the day I might have a toddler of my own, who just says the most ridiculous stuff. I dreamed of a child that would be my favourite comedy show, day in and day out. I imagined a life where I would be all, “HA HA HA. I CAN’T BELIEVE HE/SHE JUST SAID THAT. HILARIOUS!” every five seconds.

Of course, I probably had quite the rose tinted visions of my future (that didn’t include tantrums over the most weird things or toilet training or me being interrupted EVERY GOD DAMN TIME I SPEAK), but generally speaking, the Little Mister has not really disappointed me with his chatty ways. Even some of the infuriating stuff can seem pretty funny in hindsight.

Some days, it’s all about the “What’s this?” (the pre-cursor to “why” I’m told). It’s constant. And it’s always stuff that he knows.

“YES, LITTLE MISTER. THAT IS A COUCH. THAT IS A DOG. THIS IS A BOOK. THAT IS YOUR NOSE. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME??”

Of course, I don’t really say that. I put on my ‘patient mummy’ voice and say, “Hmm. What do you think it is?”

Aargh.

“I don’t like…” is often uttered in regards to all of the Little Mister’s favourite foods for absolutely no reason at all, with no predictability whatsoever. Usually at the worst time. I think what he means is that he doesn’t feel like that thing right in that moment, but it’s still really irritating! Why you gots to be so difficult, child?

“Don’t know.” Said with the tone of a belligerent teen. An answer for every question he’s too lazy to answer properly. I asked Mr Unprepared where he was getting this annoying phrase from and he answered… *wait for it*…

“Don’t know.”

*eye rolls* He says his reply was a joke, but I’m not buying it, just quietly!

“Bleeeeergh.” This covers everything from foods he doesn’t like, to the idea of getting a kiss on the cheek. I am waiting for the day he says it to a stranger for a really inappropriate reason. In public. 

The Little Mister also comes out with some very random things. He never fails to take me by surprise. These things are usually wildly out of any kind of understandable context and completely irrelevant to whatever is being done or talked about in that moment.

“I have bones. You have bones too, Mummy. And Daddy has bones. Everybody in the world has bones!” He has a point.

I’m doing yoga (pronounced ‘oga’),” as he does a very convincing downward dog, making me wonder if he is actually my child.

“Mummy, you don’t have a willy.” I want to give him the correct terminology for my lady parts (and I have subtly done so) but I cringe at the idea of him yelling about them to everybody in the middle of the supermarket. We all know that moment is coming. It’s just a matter of ‘when’.

And at other times, “Daddy! YOU HAVE A WILLY! AND I HAVE A WILLY!” in a tone quite similar to Oprah giving away cars. Like everybody wins because they have willies.

“I want a sandwich cut in two halves, but NO BREAD.” 
Um OK. I asked him, “How can you have a sandwich with no bread?”
He shrugged and chuckled, “Don’t know!”

Of course.

Sporadically asking for porridge and then not eating it. Every few weeks, the Little Mister will suddenly, unpredictably, ask for porridge for breakfast. He’ll be all excited. He will even retrieve the oats from the cupboard for me (or Mr Unprepared) with the joy of a child on Christmas day. The porridge will be made, then served. He will then show absolutely no interest in it whatsoever. Just walks away without a word. Like it never happened. So we wait another few weeks for the next surprise porridge demand.

When the Little Mister was about 18 months old, he was adorable. WAS. I remember clearly, heading over to Tasmania to celebrate the life of my grandfather who we had just lost to dementia. The Little Mister couldn’t speak very much back then (although he gave it his best efforts anyway), but he would just burst into the sweetest little baby voiced “Row row row…” and the rest of the family would sing Row Row Row Your Boat along with him. It brought him so much joy to initiate a family singalong and it was even more touching when we all realised it had been my grandfather’s favourite song. It’s like he knew. I mean, AWWWWWW.

Now?

“SING THE ROW BOAT SONG, DADDY!”

“Row row row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

“HAHAHA – BUTT! BUTT! YOU SAID BUTT, DADDY!”

Cue hysterical giggles.

Sigh.

He also makes up songs about poo. The only lyric is the word ‘poo’.

Yesterday (at around 6pm – other parents know what that means), I was trying to explain something or other to Mr Unprepared. Every time I opened my mouth, the Little Mister would run around and yell at the top of his lungs, “EMERGENCY!! EMERGENCY!!” 

I’d try again (one word in)…“EMERGENCY!!! EMERGENCY!!!” *maniacal toddler laughter*

Another attempt, “EMERGENCY EMERGENCY EMERGENCY!!!”

And one more time because I’m an idiot, “EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY!! EMERGENCY!! HA HA HA HA HA!”

Before I could open my mouth a fourth time, the Little Mister looked at me and said in an amused tone, bordering on patronising, “Oh, Mummy. You’re trying to say words.”

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And there’s so much more toddler gold where that came from.

What’s the darndest thing your kid has have ever said? Did you ever embarrass your parents? (seriously I love these stories)

Scary Santa.

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When the Little Mister was one (2012), we trotted down to the shopping centre, thinking how nice it would be for our bubbly, very sociable dude to have a photo with Santa. We imagined him sitting there, looking so excited and happy (his facial expressions are ridiculous and fantastic – he’ll never win a poker game), cameras capturing every magical moment. We would be able to send it out to all the grandparents and we’d have something to stick on our fridge and admire. We got there and he freaked out. There was this jolly guy wearing a MASSIVE curly beard, nothing but his eyes just visible behind a pair of glasses. It was all too much. The Little Mister got a cute soft toy and we made as graceful an exit as we could. Never mind, we thought. He’ll be OK next year maybe?

Fast forward to 2013 and we’d decided not to bother too much. There was a Santa that sat in our little local shopping centre. No fuss. No fanfare. No photographers. If he was there, we’d give it a go. If he wasn’t, no biggie. Plenty of time. As luck had it, the lack of pressure and the fact that this Santa did not have such a big beard worked in our favour. The Little Mister sat on Santa’s lap and all I had was my iPhone (I was unprepared of course) so I took a couple of snaps. Better than nothing! Boy, I treasured those pics! It gave me hope for some professional photography for 2014.

This year rolled around and we thought it was going to be AWESOME. At three, the Little Mister is learning more and more about Christmas and Santa. We told him we would go to see Santa at the shops for a few days in advance (to build the excitement and let him be mentally prepared) and it seemed perfect that Mr Unprepared had a week day off work, so he could share in the moment. It wouldn’t be too busy at the big shopping centre and the Little Mister seemed excited. We got in line and he was happy, wearing his Christmas themed T-shirt and all. We talked about how we’d get some photos and to say “Hello Santa” and tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas (Wiggles DVDs were at the top of his wish list…that day anyway). The people in front of us had their photos taken and the Little Mister seemed really eager to get to the front and greet the jolly fellow in red (we had to hold him back). When his turn finally came…

…he got so shy and he froze and looked on the verge of a freak out! He was given a little toy and we bowed out yet again! Nothing to see here!

It was a little bit of a bummer, but we didn’t force it. Poor kid looked mortified with himself all the way home (we’d told him it was OK if he didn’t want to sit with Santa but he still looked disappointed in himself, bless him). When you think about it, we’re asking our kids (the wary ones anyhow) to go against their instincts! We’re telling them to sit in the lap of a strange man whose identity is quite concealed and have the event photographed! Not to mention, he stalks you all year, then breaks and enters every Christmas Eve, eats our treats and he can be a little on the judgemental side – naughty or nice lists anyone? It’s a little odd, when you really think about it haha. Of course, it’s all innocent fun in the spirit of Christmas (such magical memories to be made) and we know that as adults, but I guess some children aren’t so sure and I can live with that.

I guess we’ll try for 2015, then? 😉

Do your kids like visiting Santa at the shopping centre? Any funny/crazy stories to tell?

How to play hide and seek with a 3 year old.

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Look behind you!

I just played the best game of hide and seek with the Little Mister. Here’s how each round tends to go…

His turn to hide. 

I count to ten slowly and loudly. The Little Mister has found his hiding spot already. I can hear him from that precise spot counting along loudly with me. If I pretend I can’t find him (in the same spot he hides every single time), he will just yell out, “I’M BEHIND THE [IKEA CIRCUS] TENT!”

I find him jumping up and down, arms everywhere, laughing his head off and being very conspicuous. He acts surprised that I’ve found him each time. Like, genuinely surprised. So of course I act surprised that he has hid there for the fiftieth time.

My turn to hide.

Me: “OK, Little Mister. Now you have to count to ten and then come and find me.”

Me again: “Hey! You have to close your eyes! For the whole time you’re counting! Um…maybe cover your eyes with your hands. OK, count!”

Little Mister: “1-2-3-2-COMING.”

I then run around like a mad chook with its head cut off looking for an emergency hiding spot, because the little monster didn’t count for long enough (although he does usually add another 2 – very considerate).

Once he finds me (after pestering his dad repeatedly to give my spot away), he will scream excitedly in my face.

Then we high five. Of course.

“Again??” he’ll ask.

“OK.”

~~~

I’ve never laughed so hard. I highly recommend hide and seek with a three year old. It’s fantastic for the inner child (yours) and the endorphins. And maybe one day it will be good for my child’s counting skills. But that might take a little while 😉

I have an announcement.

*drum roll*

You may not know this, but this week we added another member to our family! A gorgeous puppy. I’ve never seen the puppy and the Little Mister in the same room for some reason, but I know they’d love each other if they ever met.

This furry member of the family entered our lives last Tuesday. I thought it might just be a one day thing at first, but he seems really happy with us and he’s stuck around.

The crazy thing? This puppy (who the Little Mister has named after one of our other dogs – original) is the most obedient and well trained creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of raising (even easier than a toddler).

This puppy can roll over, sit, stay, lie down, fetch and shake hands on cue. This puppy follows me around faithfully. Enjoys head scratches and tummy scratches. Wags his tail when he’s happy. He’s even partially toilet trained (my other dogs certainly were not when they arrived). He doesn’t have fleas or allergen inducing fur. He’s the perfect pet.

He jumps a little bit and he pants a bit, which is a bit of an annoying sound, but he’s just delightful. It’s really funny when he gives Mr Unprepared loving licks to the face.

Yep. That little puppy is indeed the Little Mister’s alter ego. He’s been pretending since last week. It’s hilarious but I admire his commitment to his character (and he’s an adorable and easy going doggie). Also, a new actual puppy? Ain’t nobody got time for that! 😉

Loud.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge x

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Life is certainly not as quiet as it used to be. It’s amazing how much sound can be generated by just one tiny human. It literally starts right after they’re born and it never stops! Trying to have an adult conversation or survive a phone call is quite the experience, while silence becomes something we’re suspicious of (unless we’re lucky enough to have a break and we know our child is happily making noise elsewhere)! There are loud car ride conversations, constant toddler questions…

“Where has your hat gone? Where are my (sun)glasses? What is that? What is this? Who is that? Where are your shoes? Where is your bag? Where is Daddy? Daddy at work? Where are my pants? Where are my puzzle pieces? Open the gate for me please? Close the door for me please? What is that sound? What is this mess? Where is the dog?”

I’m just glad he hasn’t learnt ‘why’ yet.

Then there are the never-ending toddler demands and commentary on our every movement!

“I neeeeeeed a snack! I neeeed a hug. Want to go outside! Car coming! Careful! Playground! Playground! Sit on the couch! Play room! Play room! Look! Look! Water please! Milk please! Put it here! Pants please! Potty please! Reach my puzzles! Want to do painting! Lie down please! SESAME STREET! Get up please! NO! YES! Help! Swing FASTER! Daddy’s blue car! Go to another shop! Another shop! Bike! Want to go on bike! One more story! MUMMY! MUMMY! MUMMY! DAAAAADDDDDY!”

You get the idea.

There’s also the singing, which I really do not mind. It’s a bit adorable. The made up words. The dance moves. Even cuter when he thinks I’m not watching. I could spy on him forever. OK, forever might get creepy, but you know what I mean.

There are also the sounds of children’s television, annoying noisy toys which go off at any given moment because the batteries are dodgy, and the sound of my own voice as I repeat instructions over and over or try to teach him something.

Sometimes, even if I am annoyed that I can’t sleep, I will lie in bed with my eyes closed, thankful for the quiet. At times I crave the ability to complete a household task from beginning to end, without being interrupted. The ability to have a conversation with Mr Unprepared without us being told, “Stop talking, please.”

A minute – just a minute – to chew our food silently at dinner time without being told, “Talk! Talk!”

But…if I was given a choice today of an always quiet home or a loud one? I’d pick loud. Call me crazy, but I am grateful to have so much life and activity in my house. It keeps me moving. Keeps me motivated (most of the time anyhow). Makes me laugh. I don’t think I ever laughed this much before the Little Mister came along.

Still, if I could just have a mute button or even a pause button for when I make phone calls or when I’m trying to remember something really important under pressure, that would be pretty cool.

How do you like to spend your quiet time? What’s your favourite loud noise?

Triangles and one grubby little hand.

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Triangles on the Little Mister’s IKEA toy box cushion (it doubles as somewhere to sit). A grubby little hand.

“Take a picture, Mummy!”

“Triangles!” he proclaimed with great pride.

“That’s right!” I exclaimed with the same amount of pride. Maybe even more.

I knew he has his colours sorted, but shapes? This is a wonderful new development.

I think the Little Mister is experiencing a growth/developmental spurt again. He’s been eating like a maniac and one time? One time, he actually ASKED me if he could go down for a nap EARLY. He’s also a bit clingy and easily frustrated. More so than usual. It always signals the same thing. Once everything evens out again, he goes back to normal and it’s like he’s a new child. At least I hope this will be so every time it happens! Last time it happened, we were overseas on a very intense holiday – great timing, huh?

The Little Mister is 3 in less than two months. How has this happened?? Gosh, I love that guy and those grubby little hands.

I like pina coladas…but I’m not into yoga…

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Now stop singing that amazingly awesomely bad but so good song which is stuck in your head (you’re welcome) and read my post!

As per usual, I am trying to get back onto the fitness wagon (I really should wear a seatbelt or something because I keep falling off the damn thing). I have now ridden my stationary bike two days in a row. I know. Right? Try to keep your brain from exploding.

And today I thought I’d try something new.

We all know how I attempted pregnancy pilates back in the days when I was growing a Little Mister? Well, if you don’t then by all means click here to have a laugh.

Well, now I have decided to try yoga. Not pregnancy yoga, because duh, I’m not pregnant (I always feel like I have to throw that out there in case people get the wrong idea). But it’s still all that stretchy, breathey stuff. It’s also supposed to help me to relax and I thought it might help with my anxiety.

Now I don’t know what I was thinking, but maybe I’d watched too many cute youtube videos of small children joining in with their beautiful mummies and thought it would be adorable and the Little Mister would just love to be a part of my exercise routine. Yeah, deluded. Next I’ll start believing I can actually do all of the projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest. Pffft.

I loaded up a yoga work out app on my iPad, cleared away the toddler debris (toys and books galore) for what seemed like an eternity and got started. I picked the option that focuses on helping you to slim your mid section down (all about the abs everybody) and I thought I was living the dream. I was to sit cross legged with my eyes closed and focus on my breathing. The Little Mister copied me. When he closed his eyes, he decided to lie down on the floor and pretend to sleep. Nawwwwww.

After that? After that I realised that I am not flexible. At all. I cannot remember ever being so inflexible. The Little Mister kept telling me my head was facing the wrong way (because he’s clearly an expert), trying to (forcefully) turn it the way he wanted. I tried to remain calm and zen and strong. I was a rock in a stream and he was just the water rushing over me. See? Totally zen. Then he didn’t like my leg sticking out behind me in a cat variation pose (I just had to look that up because I have no idea what I’m talking about). He tried to force my leg back down onto the ground. No worries, breeeeeathe through it. Resistance training?

I thought he’d enjoy being a swaying palm tree with me. I had my arms up in the air, hands together, while I stretched from side to side. He  had a mini tantrum because he couldn’t reach my hands. I don’t even know why he wanted to reach my hands but it was very very important and he couldn’t do it.

I bet if I was a Play School host, he’d do it. Bloody Play School.

During the ‘churning the mill’ exercise (now that’s a good one for the jiggly tum tum), I got a phone call from Mr Unprepared. The Little Mister decided then was the moment to try out random stretchy looking poses he’d invented while calling out, “Ooooooh. Ooooooh. Aaaaaah. Oooooooh.”

Mr Unprepared wanted to know if he was OK.

Oh, and FYI? The Half Boat pose was interrupted with a toddler deciding to sit right up on my lap and give me a cuddle. Which wasn’t so bad (I’m a sucker for cuddles), but very distracting…and impossible.

Cue random cries of “FIREMAN SAM! FIREMAN SAM! FIREMAN SAM!”

…and then I gave up.

I got 20 minutes out of it, so I guess it’s not too bad. I guess I’ll be exercising during his nap time for a while…

I will leave you with a video of pets interrupting yoga and while you’re watching it, I want you to imagine that the pet is a 17kg toddler and you’ll see what I’m working with (only the pets are cuter and don’t whinge hahaha) 😉

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQYK5vT9TBI]

 

 

Three in three months.

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filling his pockets with shells

Something has happened in the last week or two. Suddenly I realise that my (mostly) terrific two year old is almost three. In three months he will be three years old. That is just positively ancient and very very grown up. I don’t know if I’m ready! I’ve been watching as the baby section of each store I visit becomes a more distant experience (apart from the times I buy gifts for the massive baby boom my friends are having). The toddler section seems to blur into the ‘big boy’ stuff. The Little Mister is getting a big boy room soon (it’s half done). With full sized furniture. No cot/toddler bed. No change table. No port-a-cot shoved in the cupboard. NO NURSERY.

It feels like overnight he has become this new little person. He’s still got the same gorgeous soul he’s had since he was born, but he won’t let me do anything. Won’t let me put him in the car seat. Won’t let me lift him into, or out of, the car. Won’t sit in a stroller (he’s getting so big for it that he can ‘brake’ it by planting his feet firmly into the ground). Won’t hold my hand when we’re out (or even let me touch him or imply in the slightest that I am somehow assisting him in any way). Which makes for great car park arguments. Safety is not a toddler’s priority.

He wants me to read him his bedtime stories over and over for infinity so he won’t have to go to sleep (luckily he does most nights). He tells me when I’m wrong (even if I’m right).

Getting him ready to leave home is quite time consuming. It involves a lot of chasing, firm words (both of ours), grovelling on the ground (both of us), trickery (both of ours) and patience. Shoes and socks? That takes a while. Typically it goes like this:

Me: Time to put on our shoes and socks! Can you sit down so I can help you, please? 

He gets distracted by something. Runs away all cheeky like. Sometimes grovels on the floor underneath the chair in his room. Sits on the chair…facing the wrong way. I attempt to put one of his socks on backwards. He then gets off the chair, grovels around a bit, gets distracted. Repeat for the second sock. He runs off before I can put his first shoe on. Comes back because he realises he is “needing shoes” (he knows shoes mean he gets to go out and do fun stuff). Insists on putting on the shoe by himself. Bats my hand away. 

“Little Mister do it!”

Decides that putting his own shoe on is too hard. Asks me to do it. So I do. I deftly apply the second shoe while he’s already making a move for it. If I’m lucky. 

So if that’s just shoes? Imagine everything else!

The Little Mister refuses to leave home without his car keys. A big, colourful toy set of keys designed for babies (he doesn’t have to know that). He wants to be like me, because I always grab my keys on the way out of the house. Cue meltdown if he’s misplaced them and we are running out of time to be somewhere! When we get home he insists on taking off his shoes and lining them up on the garage step next to Mr Unprepared’s old work boots. He’ll scrunch up his socks and shove one in each shoe. Just like Daddy.

The Little Mister’s imagination has just suddenly become so huuuuuuge. He sees things that the boring adult cannot see. The bubbles in his bath become Peter Rabbit’s house. Dinosaurs. Cafés with coffee served outside on little tables. Couches. Mummy and Daddy’s house. Trees. Train tunnels. Cars. Boxes and washing baskets become cars for teddy bears and trains. I am always calling teddy bear on his toy phone to come and assist because a train carriage has tipped over. The Little Mister will pick up his Mickey Mouse lunchbox (given to him by flight attendants recently on a flight home from Singapore) and jump into his bubble car to go to ‘work’ just like Daddy.

Some mornings, I’ll have had requests to go to five different places (library, playground, Nana and Poppy’s house, the shops, to see his friends) before we (I) can even wake up properly.

Last night he ran around the house wearing an old lady wig (complete with bun) that he found in my wardrobe, lashings of hot pink lipstick (his insistence – he doesn’t see gender – just bright colours and stuff that one of his favourite big people – yours truly – does), a coral coloured handbag draped over his shoulders, his dad’s old sunnies on (upside down of course) and no pants (par for the course). I think a dress up box will be in order soon. Oh, the pictures I could get for his 21st birthday! The joy!

When we go to playgrounds or peoples’ places, if there is a rideable car, tractor or bike, he is going to hog it and defend it to the death (without adult intervention). He has been learning about sharing, but still doesn’t realise it applies to him. He just thinks everyone else should share. We’re working on it! He’s so sweet, in all other areas of playground matters, though. He says sorry and thank you and please (most of the time). It kind of balances out a lot of the ‘no’s or the NOOOOOOOs or the nopes or the nahs that I get served up daily, anyhow.

He is still a chatterbox (always has been), but now the words he uses are getting clearer and occasionally he’ll come out with some hilarious things. He’s learning how to play games. Hide and seek is the latest.

Hide and seek with the Little Mister:
I have to close my eyes and start counting. He goes and hides in the kitchen (the same place he ‘hides’ every single time). Then he runs out very loudly and conspicuously to find me with an excited grin on his face before I even get to the count of five.
I guess he likes doing both the hiding and the seeking all at once. Funny little man. – Awesomely Unprepared Facebook page.

This latest development spurt has been an adjustment for me too! Each time the Little Mister makes a leap, I am forced to catch up. Fast. From my Facebook page last week:

When the Little Mister has a developmental spurt he is usually a bit more of a handful for a little while until he settles into it and let’s just say that has been the issue most of the week! So I reach Friday night and I am all exhausted but excited to have a nice big sleep and wake up a bit more refreshed. So what do I dream about? I dream that I’m toddler wrangling…how (un)lucky!

I’m getting there. While the Little Mister’s crusade for independence (regardless of whether his current skill set can allow it) is certainly a challenge, even for a saint like me (HA HA HA HA HA), he more than makes up for it with his humour, affection and quirky ways. I love that he has so many awesome ‘firsts’ to experience no matter how grown up he seems.

Goodness knows what is in store when he turns 3 for real.

So, if you’ve had a three year old at any point, what can I expect?

We broke all the rules, but that’s OK.

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Before we headed away on our big holiday, things were going quite well in the toddler stakes. The Little Mister hadn’t needed a dummy (when not sleeping) in a really long time and he was toilet training like a little champion! He’d even recovered from his night time anxiety and was sleeping again after a rough few weeks (his last molar not doing us any favours with teething). Things were looking optimistic!

We’ll just give him his dummy and his giraffe blankie (“Giraffey”) when we’re in transit (on trains or planes) in the hopes he’ll nap and we’ll figure out a way to get hold of a cheap potty training aide of some sort (like a toilet seat or a portable potty) to take around the place with us for the hotels. Easy, I thought. 

YEAH RIGHT.

One thing about life is that you can never fully predict how things are going to be when you jump into the unknown. Especially when a toddler is involved!

Of course we got overseas and everything went right out the window! The Little Mister wanted his dummy EVERY minute of the day and everyone knows that Giraffey comes too! It was hard to accept because it felt like a massive backwards step for him. He was dribbling everywhere (despite not teething anymore), you couldn’t understand any of what he was saying on account of the dummy, and he was chewing on it when he was anxious, which seemed dangerous when he broke them. If I’m honest, the ‘from back home’ me was also expecting to be judged for it like I am at the bloody supermarket here. Silly, I know. If someone was to ever judge me, I should have just thought my usual mantra, “F*ck them. I know my truth,” but I think I was feeling vulnerable with the whole ‘visiting my place of birth for the first time since I was adopted’ thing. I wasn’t my fierce mama self and we were all in a crazy, new situation to adapt to. It was no surprise that the Little Mister was searching for more security and comfort too. Besides, it wasn’t even an issue in the end. No-one cared. They still thought he was incredibly cute. They saw past the dummy and blanket and that was it. A kid is a kid. In fact, it was refreshing!

May I also add that the fear of losing the one and only Giraffey was nerve-wracking haha. Our whole family group was always on Giraffey patrol which could be exhausting! Make sure he doesn’t drop it on the train tracks boarding a train! Make sure he doesn’t drop it when he falls asleep in his stroller! AAARGH! We had to rig up a complex (haha) system where Giraffey was attached by the neck to one end of a safety restraint (a wrist to wrist strap designed for parents and toddlers) and the other end hooked over the handles of the stroller (or to him when he was walking)! I have done some scary things before in my life, but nothing was as important as keeping Giraffey in one piece!!

As for toilet training, well that was a bust. We had hoped that he would toilet train when back in the hotel and that we would just use nappies when we were out and about. In our minds, we thought it would help keep his training topped up and we could just be more intensive when we got back home. I didn’t want him to forget any of the progress he had made before we left home.

In reality, this wasn’t going to happen. We were always on the go. We changed hotels every 3 days on average (sometimes more than 3 and other times less). We were always in transit. It wasn’t the ideal ‘toddler friendly’ holiday but we had so much to see and it was a group effort. The Little Mister was often overtired or looking for comfort and familiarity. He was also intimidated by grown ups’ toilets (as opposed to a smaller potty – something we had a hunch would happen before we went away). We did find a rather nifty toilet training seat at Gangneung (where my brother was born) on one of our crazy looking for ‘diapers’ missions, but would he have a bar of it? No way! He did love that the seat had Pororo (a friendly cartoon character) all over it, at least.

Not-so-helpful (or even slightly rational) thoughts ran through my head when I was tired and weary.

What if he never toilet trains again in his life?! What if he takes a dummy with him to high school?! THIS IS A DISASTER! 

But let me tell you, Holiday Kez. Everything will be OK.

The Little Mister was obsessed with his dummy and Giraffey for maybe 3 days when we got home. After that? Back to normal as if nothing had happened. On our first longish outing since we’d got back, I did secretly pack them in my bag in case of an all out, ridiculous meltdown but that meltdown never happened. Awesome.

Oh, and 3 days before we headed for home, the Little Mister asked me out of the blue if he could use the toilet. And sat on it. And did a wee on cue. And was so proud of himself. I wanted to jump up and down and throw a parade, I was so proud of him!

We’ve been home a month now and toilet training is progressing. We had some accidents as he tried to adjust back to winter weather and the need to wear warm pants around the house (he now has learnt how to take them off properly and is working on going on his own without being scheduled or prompted again). It feels like we’ve started again in some ways, but it’s great because he’s a few months older than when we started and understands so much more easily. The world did not cave in on itself. I know am hopeful that we’ll be kicking arse at it by the end of the coming summer. Everything’s coming together. Yay!

Another thing we did while we were away was to try and save money by sharing a bed with the Little Mister. We tried to get twin double rooms in some places and king sized beds in others. Sometimes I shared with the Little Mister in our own bed and other times the Unprepared Three huddled in together. We did struggle in Tokyo with a rather small bed between all of us (the cute little improvised bed we made for him on the floor was great until he woke in the night and thought he’d fallen out of bed and got back in with us EVERY TIME). He got used to being with us in bed and it comforted him as we were in all these strange places, with no room being the same as the last. When we got home? He wasn’t that anxious at all. He knew he was home and while he wanted his room floodlit (I hear it’s a pretty normal phase for this age anyway), he started to settle well within the week.

Discipline wasn’t always easy while we were away either. There’s no place for time outs – something that had been so effective at home. That was difficult. I would have to continue to cuddle him while he played up because we were stuck together, so he’d get more hyped up and think he was being rewarded for his behaviour. It made life harder for us as parents too. We had nowhere for ourselves to get away for a few minutes and cool down when we felt our patience evaporating. We’d feel shitty and be like, “UM – I’M GOING…TO THE OTHER CORNER OF THIS SAME TINY ROOM BECAUSE I’M MAD. DON’T LOOK AT ME.”

Cabin fever did become an issue!

BUT…The Little Mister has come home and is his good little self (as good as a 2 and 3/4 year old can be haha). He hasn’t suddenly become some kind of monster who will never be reformed.

GUYS, WE DIDN’T BREAK HIM!!!

Also, I learnt a lot too. I learnt to just go with it. Remind myself it’s not forever. Have faith in him. Have faith in us as parents. Not feel guilty for not being able to provide him with the creature comforts of home. Remember that this was a once in a lifetime journey and sometimes you have to compromise more. The Little Mister was SO GOOD for a two and a half year old. He adapted as well as he could, with a couple of compromises (i.e. constant bribery and sometimes fast food was the only option) and a couple of tools (dummy and Giraffey). He was happy. He loved seeing so many new things on our daily adventures. He went with the flow as best he could. He didn’t go to bed at the right times and he didn’t always have a day time nap, but he was loved and he was protected and we had a lot of help which we were grateful for. We did our best to keep him happy and catered to (which wasn’t always easy). He bonded with my parents and my brother so well and that was really special. He got to be so much more of a ‘big boy’ and do so many more things than he’d experienced at home. He loved it.

EVERYTHING IS FINE!

While it was stressful bringing a 2 year old on this kind of journey, we learnt so much. If we hadn’t taken the opportunity, citing having a toddler as an excuse (and a valid one at that), then we would never have done something so meaningful with my family and we would have never learnt so much about ourselves and about the amazing places we visited. I feel so happy that we went. I don’t regret it one bit and we feel proud. We could conquer anything now! Although, we’ll wait a few years before doing something like that again!

I will never take the fact that I live in a house (with different rooms in it) for granted again!!

I always say that you make the rules (and routines) so you can break them. This holiday was a perfect example.

Have you ever travelled with a toddler? What weird things did you worry about? Was it all smooth sailing? x