Tag: toddlerhood

Scary Santa.

5178151aa672b60aaeed092a0ebfc5ea

image

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?

Terribly Overtired Twos.

d86d756897ef513f93c85c3c71602ee1

It’s the afternoon of Mother’s Day and the Little Mister is spent. It has been a few trying weeks of sleepless nights (for everybody) and a weekend filled with lunch time family engagements (read: right over the usual nap time). We’ve reached that point where the Little Mister has become a floppy, whiney mess. It’s actually quite funny. Yes. Funny. Maybe I have a twisted sense of humour (every parent needs one) or maybe I’ve just become delirious with fatigue, but it’s funny. Slapstick comedy at its best.

The Little Mister has been lurching all around the house wearing a pathetically sad look on his face. He’ll flop onto the floor, roll around, whine a bit, get up, literally take a silent (and strangely poised) moment to look for a more suitable spot to roll around on, whine again and repeat.

It’s all so melodramatic, as I am sure only 2 year olds can convincingly pull off.

An overtired toddler has no idea what he wants, when he wants it, how he wants it or why he wants it. But then he doesn’t want it. Whatever it is.

“MILK MILK MILK!”

His dad will fetch a cup of milk and even add a straw. Something that normally delights a Little Mister. He’ll then spend forever protesting it, like he’s outraged that someone could possibly believe that bringing a toddler milk might be a nice thing to do.

“OK, well I’ll put the milk aside for you for later…”

“NOOOOOOOOOOO. MIIIIIIIIILK!” (as in he’s upset that someone is taking it away)

“But you said you didn’t want it…”

*hands it over*

“NOOOOOO. NO MILK!” (as in he’s upset that someone offered it)

Repeat again with several other various toddler goodies, one at a time.

“Awww, Little Mister. Are you a bit tired?”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”

“Are you sure you’re not even a little tired?”

“NOOOOOOOO!!!”

As he rubs his eyes furiously. Of course. Not tired AT ALL. My bad.

Distraction seems like a good idea. Get his mind off his grumpiness. Give him a little bit of fresh air. It’s raining a little outside and he’s momentarily excited to try out his brand new Thomas the Tank Engine gum boots for the first time.

Until he goes outside and *shock horror* no-one brought an umbrella. What a horrendous oversight! That massive raincoat will never protect him from the rain!

“Go on, it will be a bit of fun,” I encourage Mr Unprepared. He collects the umbrella and brings it outside to us.

“HOLD IT. HOLD IT.”

Mr Unprepared holds it above the Little Mister’s head like some kind of celebrity minder. This seems a completely reasonable request in the frazzled mind of the Little Mister. Especially being a 2 year old and all.

Dinner time arrives. Mr Unprepared makes the simple meal of toast and baked beans – something we feel is within the Little Mister’s capability at this point – nothing too complicated or time consuming enough to trigger a tantrum.

“NOOOOOOOOO!” he cries as he is placed in his booster seat.

“Mmmmm, look at this lovely dinner! Want some dinner, Little Mister?”

“NOOOO.”

It starts to get a bit sad instead of funny as real tears start to fall.

I take hold of my laptop. I hit YouTube and type my search query in.

“Here. How about some Peppa Pig while you eat?”

I have admitted defeat.

The Little Mister smiles and eats all of his dinner quietly. Even stops to sing the Peppa Pig theme song (the only lyrics being “Peppa Pig” so it’s not a big stretch even for a tired toddler).

Everyone breathes out again.

Mr Unprepared and I exchange bemused smiles. Aah. Peppa Pig. Of course. Cures anything.

Can you relate? 

Underrated toddler milestones.

1012145_392311400910424_6166646237406870142_n

I have to be honest. All ‘terrible twos’ jokes aside, I have really enjoyed the Little Mister’s toddlerhood so far (key words so far…don’t want to jinx it). It’s a fun age where a little person can suddenly explore the world like they never could before. There is so much wonder and curiosity. There are new ways to communicate and express feelings. The start of understanding yours. Saying funny things. Learning new ways to move. Dancing so freely. They’re still so little that almost everything they do is cute. Just like babyhood, there are rapid changes and milestones galore. There are the usual ones, like first steps and the first time sleeping in a proper bed, but then there are those underrated moments that you might blink and miss. Those achievements that bring a parent great joy (and often relief). Lately it feels like something has clicked inside the Little Mister and his development has suddenly sky rocketed (he’s usually a bit slow on the uptake but then rockets ahead to catch up).

Here are some of my favourite underrated toddler milestones:

Drinking from an open cup without spilling.

This is the latest. I’m over the moon. This is exciting. It means that when we’re at home Mr Unprepared and I won’t have to wash fifty parts of a training cup or a sippy cup each day (of which we do not have many of). We can grab any plastic cup and just pour something. And gosh, he looks so grown up. If we’re caught off guard (by ‘off guard’ I mean I usually forget his water bottle) while out and about, there are so many more options if he needs a drink. Awesome!

Knowing when he needs to use the potty and being able to wee on cue. 

No more accidents! No more watching him like a hawk, with my breath held! Woohoo! Something just clicked a few weeks into potty training and it’s so good. I can ask him to try if he hasn’t been for a while and he’ll know what to do and how to do it, therefore preventing accidents. He will also run to the potty when he knows nature is calling and he seems to understand the feeling in his body. I think we’ll be able to have visitors over again soon hahaha. If only he could wear pants too…

Also, under this potty training umbrella…saving money because we use a significantly smaller amount of nappies! Win!

Being able to tell me where he’s hurting or that he even is hurt.

When they’re babies, we all lament the fact that it is heartbreaking knowing they are in discomfort, but having no idea what is wrong. We spend all our time trying to be super sleuths and freaking out that we’ve missed something. Now the Little Mister will say he’s hurt or that he fell on something etc. If I ask him where he’s hurting he will point at something or try to verbalise it. It is such a relief to know for sure, so you can deal with something immediately. It’s not a perfect system – sometimes he’s too distressed to speak or he doesn’t quite have the vocabulary, and you might find out a day later that he was bruised from falling on his toy car, but it’s a lot easier than it ever was.

When longer term memory kicks in.

OK, so this can be a curse because sometimes he won’t let an issue go, but on the whole it has been so much fun watching him relive his highlights of the day or week. He’ll remember small details you told him about something and apply it to a situation further down the track. He looks forward to things we (selectively – we’re not stupid) tell him about ahead of time to build the excitement. He loves to tell other people what he’s been up to and what he enjoys. We went on a train for the first time recently, and the Little Mister told his dad about it each night at bed time for two weeks. He remembers all the people he meets (especially my friend Sarah who he asks to see almost every day even though he hasn’t seen her in a couple of weeks). It’s sweet to hear him talking about the people he cares about and the good times he’s had with them.

Knowing how to sleep under the covers. 

This plagued me ever since he started sleeping in a toddler bed without a sleeping bag. We made the move at the beginning of summer, safe in the knowledge that the Little Mister wouldn’t freeze if he slept with nothing on him besides his PJs. Which he did. For months. He’d kick everything off him. He’d spin himself around so when he was cold he couldn’t figure out how to get the covers back on him. I’d wake at 5am and wonder if he was cold when I saw him on the video monitor, doing that silly overthinking thing where instead of going back to sleep, I’d worry about him and whether I should do something about it. Now he loves being tucked in and will tuck himself back in if he wakes in the night. He’ll be right as rain when the winter months kick in – yay!

Starting to say ‘please’ and ‘yes’.

Toddlers LOVE to say ‘no’. I am happy to make the generalisation, because I have chuckled to myself many a time in public, hearing toddlers from all walks of life telling their parents “No no no no no no”. For a while it seemed like ‘yes’ was never going to happen, no matter how much I tried. Even to the point where I could probably ask him if he wanted a chocolate, ice-cream covered new toy car on top of a playground slide that was made out of Peppa Pigs and he’d still say no automatically.

‘Yes’ is like music to my ears. ‘Please’ is just thrilling. We’re working on ‘thank you’ and we’re finally making progress. It’s so much more pleasant to listen to and he seems so much more agreeable!

Becoming ‘useful’.

I don’t mean useful as in being your ticket to grab all the best parking spots (‘Parents with Prams’ anyone?). I mean it’s great that the Little Mister will tell me when I’ve forgotten something on our way out of the house (he will rattle off a list of things we normally leave the house with). He’ll pick something up that I’ve dropped when I have no hands left. He’ll wipe up a spill or tell me when something needs tending to. It’s fantastic! Finally, giving something back haha. That’s tongue in cheek by the way. Having him in my life is a reward in itself blah blah blah 😉

Bossy, helpful…same thing? Haha.

Teething for the last time.

I saw his gums the other day. All the way back there, that last molar is fighting its way through. The gum is all bruised looking and tender. The skin hasn’t been broken yet. It looks painful! The Little Mister has been such a trooper, but he’s been a bit sensitive and cries easily over things like he always used to with his other teeth. The worst is yet to come for this one last tooth, but the good news is that it’s the last one!! It’s easier to deal with when you know there are no more to come.

 —

So that’s my take on it, based on our experience! Can you relate? Anything you’d like to add to the list? x

Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

55c1aff5c1fe8ffb02865007d75640c3

image

Oh, that poor child. Listen to him yelling out in pain! His mother (or father depending on who draws the short straw on any given day) must be too rough with him. He’s only small. Poor thing. IS SOMEONE MURDERING A SMALL CHILD IN THE SHOPPING CENTRE/CAFÈ/SWIMMING POOL/CAR PARK?

No, that’s just the sound of a toddler who likes to yell “OW OW OW OW!” whenever he feels like it. Sometimes when he is being told to do something he doesn’t want to do, sometimes when he wants to do something he isn’t allowed to do, but also sometimes just because the mood strikes at some random moment. Any time, anywhere.

Turns out my two year old has a flair for the performing arts. I see Academy Awards and Logies somewhere in his future.

Best “OW” Actor.

Favourite “OW” Talent.

I’ve become better at distinguishing the difference between a blatant attempt to manipulate me into paying him special attention or to distract me from a task at hand, and real ‘ow’s, but I just know that sooner or later, he’s going to howl at me and I’m going to get all “boy who cried wolf” on him and tell him to stop shouting and that it’s nothing…when it’s something. It’s only a matter of time until I get the guilts because I missed something, right? Place your bets now, people.

Until then, I’ll be the “mean” lady who is telling off her child (or even worse – laughing) despite the fact that he is so obviously in “pain” and his wails are clearly a sign of hurt and discomfort. I’ll be that person you don’t mean to stare at, but surely I must be a horrible parent you need to keep an eye on – just in case (unless you also have a dramatic two year old in which case you will simply sigh and be relieved it’s not you this time).You can find me at any public venue where it is least convenient. Don’t worry about missing out on this spectacular performance – we will be making repeat appearances at a place near you. Check back for tour dates.

All good, nothing to see here! 😉

Has your child ever embarrassed you in public? What did they do or say? x

Operation Big Bed: The first week.

f06e35f9d47dfa6d28c7b1f113f98d29

 

pic

So last week I wrote about how we prepared to move the Little Mister into a toddler bed. I guess it’s time for an update. I don’t know if anyone has actually been waiting for this post with bated breath or not (don’t answer that haha), but here’s how the first week went! I suppose I’m recording it here not only for my own memory making, but also because I know I found it comforting reading about other peoples’ experiences before we took the plunge ourselves. For some reason I found it weirdly daunting. It was a new level of independence for the Little Mister to move up to, so maybe that’s why.

Well, let me tell you. It wasn’t all yo-yo kid in and out of bed. It wasn’t doom and gloom and sleepless nights. What an awesomely pleasant surprise!! I’m sure there are some crazier times to come (he’s just beginning to realise the extent of his freedom), but the first week has made me hopeful!

We decided to move the Little Mister on a Saturday night. Partly because I was all super psyched up, but mostly because we figured there’d be two of us parental units able to take on any crazy nocturnal antics, should the transition not go so smoothly.

The Little Mister got really excited about his ‘big boy bed’. He enjoyed climbing in it and pretending to sleep. All week, he would take any opportunity to jump into his bed. He loves it so much. I think it might be starting to backfire a tiny bit, though because he wants to play in bed. We don’t really let him – we want him to associate it with sleep and quiet time – but he is seriously smitten and starting to think it’s fun time.

The toddler bed is a converted cot, so it has 3 sides still. We didn’t put a side barrier up for him as it’s quite low and the floor is carpeted. I hoped this would gently teach him how to learn to sleep in a bed without rolling off the side. I think it’s worked. The first three nights he fell out of bed twice a night. The fourth night, only once. The fifth night not at all and from then onwards, he’s slept a lot straighter in his bed with no little bumps in the night! Yay! He even started sleeping well under the covers, instead of on top of them – huge victory!

The first couple of days/nights the Little Mister was so good. Once he was in bed, he stayed there. Even when he woke up, he waited patiently for me. This had both its pros and cons. If he dropped his blankie or dummy, he didn’t realise he could get up and solve his own problems. BUT…it meant he stayed still and didn’t start running around his room.

A few days later, he realised he had the ability to solve his problems. He would climb out of bed for anything he dropped, climb back into bed and the cutest thing I ever saw on the video monitor was when he rearranged his pillow ‘just so’ (after moving it to find his lost blankie), before going back to sleep. He required zero intervention, which made me so happy (for myself haha) and proud.

By last couple of days of the week, he would sometimes climb out and then think better of it and climb right back in. It was so funny. I think he knows he’s being watched haha.

He’s starting to stray a little and has skipped a couple of naps – although I suspect that has more to do with him not being tired enough. He needs some gentle reminders to go to sleep, but he’s doing really well. Hey, he’d skip some naps when he was in a cot too, anyway. It’s just that he has more freedom now.

A week into Operation Big Bed, the Little Mister stayed at my parents’ house while my husband and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary at a concert. It was the first time he’d sleep in a ‘big boy bed’ away from home. My parents have a great trundle, which is low to the floor and was perfect for the Little Mister to sleep in. AND GUESS WHAT? HE SLEPT THROUGH! I think his grandies played a part in tiring him out too haha. I’d taken him over to see it and get used to it a couple of days earlier and it seemed to do the trick. We made a big fuss of him and the bed, telling him how fun it would be to come over soon and sleep in it. He understood right away. Yay!

Overall, the transition has gone quite well (so far…). As the Little Mister’s awareness of how far he can push his luck grows, so too does his comprehension of what is expected of him. I truly hope the two will KIND OF balance each other out (stop laughing at me – I’m trying to be optimistic)! We have had no weird disasters with childproofing catastrophes and the Little Mister has not been traumatised (nor have we!). I feel so relieved.

Now wish us luck for the next few weeks, which will involve more grandparent sleepovers and toddler antics (no doubt)!

Operation: Big Bed (Preparation).

8abaf1b747fc6f6d3e2fbb0f9cc745c7

pic

Parenting can be a little bit scary at times. Just when you get the hang of one way of doing things with your child, they move onto another stage in life and you live on a never ending learning curve! Oh gosh, sometimes I live for those little plateaus in between! But lately I have had to put on my big girl panties and accept that there is no time like the present to do the next scary thing:

Moving the Little Mister into a ‘big kid’ style bed. YIKES ON SO MANY LEVELS.

Of course I have been dreading it since he started walking (because walking means escaping and climbing etc). Things would run through my mind:

What if he never stays in his bed? What if he trashes his bedroom? What if something bad happens because I haven’t childproofed his room properly? What about when he learns how to open his bedroom door? What if he plays all night and never sleeps again? What if my amazing sleeper deteriorates and is never the same?! What if a big bed makes him really anxious and he screams a lot? 

Yeah, that’s a lot of what-ifs. While they are valid questions, I may over think some of these things. Me?? Neverrrrr.

A few things culminated in us making the big decision:

  • We’ve just purchased a camper trailer that has normal beds (the type you pull out). There is no room for a cot (that my big little man could fit in comfortably). It would be easier to help the Little Mister to adjust at home before we go camping next February.
  • The Little Mister has outgrown his port-a-cot, so staying overnight at his grandparents’ places was going to be difficult if he wasn’t in a big bed. The urgency became clear because there are a few events leading up to Christmas where we needed to call on our lovely babysitters.
  • The Little Mister was starting to try to climb out of his cot (or reach really far for things which made me worry about him toppling out) when he lost something. He’s tall for his age and also a bit clumsy (gets it from his mother unfortunately), so I started to worry.
  • He was showing signs of being excited about a big bed, eyeing off our bed and enjoying any opportunity to climb up and pretend to be sleeping (he adds snoring sound effects and everything).
  • I have big plans to move the Little Mister into our other spare room early next year. I want to give him a really cool ‘big boy’ bedroom and enjoy decorating it for him with a full single bed. It just seems like an easier idea to start fresh in a new room that’s not being used for anything but junk storage, than to mess with the nursery (we hope to have a second child one day but that’s a fair way off so don’t get any ideas haha). It would be good for him to experience sleeping arrangement changes in stages, rather than throwing him in the deep end.

First was the childproofing.

The Little Mister’s bedroom was very much a baby’s room still. We hadn’t necessarily childproofed much because we were usually in the room with him while he was awake and when he was asleep (or was MEANT to be asleep) he was safe and sound in his cot and unable to cause much mischief. There were some loose electrical cords, nappy rash cream and sanitiser hanging around and not all of the drawers had childproofing anti-opening devices on them. The Little Mister’s room was pretty simple to begin with, so it wasn’t a huge job. We moved some furniture so that the Little Mister couldn’t fall out of bed and smack his head on the corners of other furniture. We moved the lamp, baby monitor etc closer to the room’s main power point so the cords didn’t have to stretch around the room – just tucked in nicely behind his set of drawers.

We made sure that the Little Mister couldn’t open the drawers in his room and we finally used the nappy stacker my mum made us when he was born (we were just sitting nappies loose on the shelf under the change table). It has a hanger on it so when he’s in bed, I just move it from the side of the change table into his wardrobe, so he can’t play with them or enjoy shredding them or whatever it is toddlers like to do unsupervised!

I left a few sacrificial items ‘loose’ in his room. His shoes and his shorts which are stacked in cube shelving. If he was to scatter them everywhere, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world and might keep him out of other things for a while (we hope)!

Everything else went far out of reach.

We let the Little Mister be a part of all the changes as we were making them. 

We decided to let the Little Mister be helpful during the Big Bed Preparation. I wanted him to be able to see the changes as we went, so it wasn’t a big shock to him when everything was suddenly different. He ‘helped’ to move some of his things and loved being a part of the process. He was like, “Cool! Family party in my room!”

Setting up the Big Bed

We decided we were going to convert the Little Mister’s cot into a toddler bed (a feature we had chosen the cot for). Mr Unprepared was set to work with disassembling one of the sides – a little harder than it looked, but very achievable (even with a couple of dodgy diagrams in the manual). Being a toddler bed, it’s great. It’s fairly low to the ground and because it’s essentially the same bed he’s been in almost all his life, I knew he’d feel safe and comfortable in it. I suppose we have that luxury, because there isn’t another sibling on the way to steal his cot!

Surveillance

I know parents have been doing this for a really long time, without the aid of fancy technology, but I freaked out a little at not knowing what the Little Mister would be doing in his room with all his new freedoms. He’s only just turned two and I just can’t trust the little bugger yet hahaha.

I stretched the budget and we went looking for video monitors (we previously only had sound). It was all for my selfish peace of mind! I admit it! I knew I’d spend a lot of time not sleeping because I didn’t know where he was or what he was doing at night. I admit it, I’m a worry wart. We found a monitor for $100 and while the video quality and the audio component are really very crappy, we could afford it (just) and it does the job well enough for what we need.

Also, it has two way communication. I wanted to be able to tell the Little Mister to get the hell back into bed from the comfort of my own bed!!

Beware, though. You do spend a lot of time just spying on your child while they sleep. It’s a bit too cute. Aren’t they always the cutest when they’re sleeping?

We took comfort in the fact that the Little Mister doesn’t have the hang of opening doors yet in our house, so we didn’t have to worry about him escaping his room in the middle of the night or early morning hours. When that day comes we will face it!!

Find out how his first week of sleeping in his big bed goes – here! x

Do you have any tips for preparing a toddler for a ‘big bed’? Any stories about your own experiences? 

More Useful Stuff for an Awesomely Unprepared Parent.

91d9d614cd568ba4017214d35c8bf6f2

pic

So I did a post on some useful stuff for a brand new (or expectant) mum here, but here is some stuff I found useful as the parent of a bub entering toddlerhood (so you get my frame of reference), but some of it can be useful from day 1. To me, it’s just stuff that can make life a little easier – I try to make my lists a little out of the box because I hope it’s not just a carbon copy of every other baby/toddler product/parenting tool post that you see (but probably is because hello – it’s the internet). 😉

Be wary, though. Even though it’s December, this isn’t a Christmas gift idea list (except the PVR – that would be a gift to anyone)! Don’t get mad at me when your loved one is upset with their laundry filing system haha. 

I think I’ll just dive right on in!

DVR/PVR
Yep. It’s like technology took the old concept of the VCR and made it like 50 times awesomer. If awesomer is actually a word. Who cares. Moving on…

I love my PVR so much that it’s ridiculous. My love for it is unnatural. When you’re a parent (from day 1), this kind of device is SO GOOD. You can record every show you love to watch at your convenience. I found it so useful when I was breastfeeding the Little Mister. Having a PVR also meant that no matter what time of day or night it was, I could choose what I wanted to watch – no relying on Home Shopping Networks to see me through or flicking through eff knows how many channels trying to find SOMETHING on a Saturday night/day.

I might catch up on my favourite television shows sometimes weeks months later, but I love that I can get there eventually!

Now that the Little Mister is older, the television is on much less because he either gets a few minutes of some appropriate kids’ shows or we watch the news in the evening (although jury is out on whether that’s a good idea either – so much bad stuff). I record a lot of the grown up stuff that has violence, adult themes etc and I can watch when he’s asleep at my own convenience. You know, without corrupting his innocent soul or scarring him for life haha.

Also? I go to bed a bit embarrassingly early some nights because I’m so exhausted. Instead of forcing myself to stay awake to view my favourite shows, I can slumber away knowing that everything’s being recorded. How’s that for peace of mind? 😛

We recently updated to a version that allows you to pause and rewind live TV. SO GOOD. I can pause the TV if the Little Mister needs something at night and not miss a beat when I get back! There’s a cool setting where if I have to stop watching something, it will save at that spot and I can come back halfway through an episode of something even days later. AWESOME.

It’s a bit of a luxury, but I highly recommend it.

Playpens
I find it hard to contain the Little Mister somewhere safe (even his big playroom with a safety gate on the entrance) so I can do things, but this is such a useful and simple invention that I imagine has been around since the dawn of time. Probably even in cavepeople days. Actually, maybe not. I imagine there were a few dinosaur related deaths no-one wants to talk about…

This worked really well when he first started to crawl, but I will admit that after that he just wanted to be free! Still. Worth it for as long as your little tot is willing to sit and play so you can go to the loo or do something non-child safe quickly.

Anyhow, another handy use for a playpen is to use it to keep the Little Mister OUT of things. Example? Christmas tree. Our Christmas tree is encased in a very colourful playpen. Gotta keep those mischievous hands and that teething mouth off of the fragile baubles, tinsel and beads! Once I actually get around to finishing starting the Christmas gift shopping, it’s handy if the recipients are given unopened (read: not pre-opened by a toddler) presents!!

My friend uses her playpen to cordon off their big flatscreen TV so that her daughter is safe from trying to pull it over. I once considered getting a playpen to put around my exercise bike so I can pedal away without a little hand sneaking into my pedal space, stopping me in my tracks! Just think of all the things we could enclose in a playpen! haha.

Some playpens can also be great for bringing outside so little ones can play on their own clean little patch of lawn where the dogs can’t jump up on them and gardening might even be achieved, if you are so inclined.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
OK, so I don’t actually own this (but I have friends who do and rave about it). However, it is HIGH up on my wishlist once I find a bit of money (so never haha). If you get the right type (apparently you want one that has a sensor and doesn’t just blindly stick to a grid – I need to do more research), you’re laughing. I find that sometimes the only available time to vacuum without a bub under foot is when he’s napping. And when he’s napping, a vacuum cleaner would wake him. You see my dilemma. Also, once your child has mastered the pincer grip, it means they can grab just about any tiny tiny tiny object and shove it in his or her mouth. For me, this meant bits of fluff, dried bits of baby food that didn’t quite make it into the rubbish bin/dog during the original clean up. I remember the crawling stage where I was constantly staring at the floor or on worse days, pulling dead flies or little pieces of plastic (from goodness knows what) out of the Little Mister’s mouth.

I just love the idea of turning on a robot vacuum cleaner as you leave the house for numerous errands and coming back to a floor that is cleaner (and safer) than it was when you left. Magic! I could do it daily without even lifting a finger!

Also? I just really hate vacuuming. I hate the whole process. Like the whole plugging it in thing.

Which also brings me to another wish list item: a cordless vacuum. Spot cleaning under the high chair anyone? Would be so easy!!

A filing system for your clean washing
I know that this is a boring sounding thing, but it really has been a lifesaver since parenthood arrived (and would have been even before then). For us it’s just cube shelves with a bunch of plastic tubs with labels shoved in each cube. My stuff, husband’s stuff, undies, socks, etc you name it. It has a place. So you know, when we haven’t had time to iron in bulk (which is always), we can duck into the spare room and grab what we need from our designated tubs. It keeps everything looking tidy (or at least tidier) and there’s less digging through head high piles of clothing to find that one thing you wanted to wear that day.

Domestic goddess, I am not. Ideas woman, I am. I’m sure it’s all over Pinterest or something. I didn’t invent this system, I am sure, but I did have a brainwave and it is a lifechanger, y’all. The little things, y’ know? We put this ‘system’ into place when I was pregnant and haven’t looked back. We needed to save space (we were losing a spare room) and I just knew it was going to be important to be a little more organised around the house!

tumblr_l716thKLjX1qbtd5wo1_500_largePic: This lady tragically passed away from exhaustion while trying to find her comfy trackpants after a night out

$20 Stroller
By now your precious bundle of joy is probably starting to stumble around and may even be walking well. At this stage with the Little Mister, I started to get sick of using a bulky pram everywhere we went. It took up a lot of car space and the Little Mister was big enough to sit up really well and didn’t need as much of the comfort factor (all those extra little cushions and bits and bobs that tend to come with prams for babies these days). I wanted to zip in and out of shops without spending ages assembling something heavy, but he wasn’t old enough to walk holding my hand (he was still a little shaky at times – or ridiculously fast depending on the day). Yet, he was getting too heavy to hold in one arm while trying to pay for something or pick something off a shelf! Sometimes I needed to have something really compact to store somewhere without annoying people in cafes or once there was this wedding on a boat…

A348929

They usually look something like this – find this one here (not sponsored in any way) for $25.

You can get these little strollers for around $20-$30 from places like Big W, K-Mart or Target and they are so great. We have travelled with one too! It’s awesome because you know that if baggage handlers trash it, you can just buy another one without breaking the bank.

We still have the big pram for longer walks etc but it’s great having something quick and easy. Good to get one for the grandparents to keep also 🙂

I could probably think of a million more things to add to the list, but that might be for some other blog posts!

 What things have you found useful with a just-turning-into-a-toddler in your midst? 

Two.

61089698e3c411d26c89f325c14efa78

pic

To my special Little Mister,

Today you are TWO! I have been excited about this for weeks! Maybe even months ( I might have been a bit enthusiastic at the annual mid year toy sales)! I cannot wait to wake you up, so we can give you your presents and do everything we can to make your day special. We’re going to have morning tea with your great grandparents, Granny and Gramps (followed by an obligatory visit to the park). This is so special, because not everyone gets to meet their great grandparents during their lifetimes and you are very lucky. I really hope you’ll be able to remember them when you are much older 🙂

I must say, I have really, truly enjoyed this past year with you. Toddlerhood has been trying at times (for both of us), but so much fun! You have new ways to communicate, new ways to move and your sense of humour has not gone anywhere (which makes me so happy)!

Now that you’re running around, we can do so many more things and it makes me happy when you don’t have to be trapped in a stroller all the time. You hold your own in the backyard with the dogs, ride in your much loved bubble car and when it’s not too busy at the shops, you love strutting (yes STRUTTING) in while holding my hand. When there are two adults with you, you love to make sure you’re holding the hands of both. Occasionally, you’ll think it’s time to have a swing between us, but you never let us know in advance so you end up flopped on the floor a bit haha.

You love the park. You call slides ‘hee-hee’s’ and I think that speaks to your sense of fun! You get the cutest enchanted smile on your face when you’re on the swings and you’re starting to learn how to climb up ladders with confidence, which is a little scary for me, but makes me proud. You love bike rides with your dad (you in the snazzy red trailer bossing him about and pointing out passing cars) and you get so excited when you know it’s going to happen. I’ve fended off many a meltdown when you had to come home from a ride or when your dad has taken a little longer than usual to get ready for one.

You have become really bossy of late. It both greatly amuses and annoys me! You’ll nod your head frantically if someone asks you a question, “Do you want me to sit down here?”
It’s like you’re just so pleased that people understand what you want. That makes me happy for you, but it’s tough saying no to you (I still do it though – Mum’s the boss)!

Whether it’s, “PLAY PLAY PLAY PLAY PLAY”,  “SIT SIT SIT SIT SIT SIT”, or “UP UP UP UP UP UP”, you’re always telling me what you want. Sometimes rather loudly. In public. You don’t have much of a concept of time – everything’s NOW (a word you thankfully have not learnt yet). I try to tell you what order we’re going to do things in, to make it easier.

My heart used to melt every time you asked for a “cug” (cuddle/hug), but now I think you’re using your powers for evil haha. When I hear the command (as opposed to request) HUG, I know that you just want to look at something high up or grab something you shouldn’t have!! Yep, you’re learning how to manipulate your loving captors. You keep me on my toes, but I’m secretly loving it – it’s a sign that you’re getting smarter and growing up! I just think, “You little bugger…” and we move forward with our day. Sometimes I’m pretty worn out by the time your dad gets home from work!!

And that thing where you somehow become boneless and impossible to scoop up from the floor? Genius.

Nothing makes me more excited than when you listen to me the first time, don’t spill your milk or when you have a successful nap! It’s awesome. The little things are still the things that make me happiest as your stay at home mummy!

I must mention that you are OBSESSED with cars. Obsessed! We have to acknowledge every car as we walk past it at the shops, you’ll let me know you’ve seen a car on the TV (every single time), and you love toy cars. You’ll clutch one in each hand and still try to carry out your daily activities somehow. I was so proud of myself when I snaffled a pack of racing car toys past you at the supermarket yesterday (to wrap up and present to you for your birthday) – hope you’re enjoying them today!

You’re doing really well at swimming lessons and you’re in the 3rd class up – advanced toddler. I almost had a heart attack the first time you swam by yourself to your dad. Mostly submerged but kicking and splashing nonetheless. So cool, little man!  I am so glad you’ve been visiting the pool since you were 4 months old –  you’re so much more confident now than I was at your age.

You’ve started chatting to your dad on the phone. You babble on for aaaaages when he’s calling from work and has no time, but he always listens to you. We have no idea what you’re talking about but seeing the pride on your face as you tell him something at length, just melts me. You know you’re doing something “grown up” and you just love being a part of that. It’s really quite cute.

While there are things I will enjoy about you growing up, I do wish I could keep you this age a little longer. You still have a nap during the day (although you go down later and sleep for a shorter time), you’re grown up enough to be a little independent, but still little enough to be my “baby” who needs me. Each time you learn something new, it’s just so exciting (for both of us) and I love seeing the world from your eyes and teaching you something whenever I see an opportunity.

You laugh like a dirty old man who smokes two packs a day. You love singing and dancing. You insist on picking out which shoes to wear each day. You love your fedora hat. Yoghurt makes your world go round. Your favourite colour (this week) is green (even though you don’t seem to understand the concept of colours yet). Your favourite number is 8 (you think every number you see written down is an 8). Grapes and sultanas are your two favourite fruits (yes they are the same thing haha), followed closely by banana. You love reading. You love people watching just like your mummy. For a little while you enjoyed carrying a potato around for no particular reason (“Toto!”). You pop up everywhere with a cheeky grin.

1378528_10151758342078218_1411346480_n

I love your toddler quirks and your sense of adventure (except for when you see a little step and you shuffle down it on your bottom reeeeally slowly). Don’t ever lose that mischievous grin or that sparkle in your eyes. I could watch you pull ridiculous faces forever. I could not have asked for a more happy, sociable and sweet little boy. Of course I’m terribly biased, but really. You’re a gift.

I love you. Happy birthday, Little Mister.

I really hope you enjoy 2.

xxx

A day in the life with an almost 2 year old.

7dcaf6a472ae68b3e0b9ad3c3397bed3

pic

This morning I awake some time just before 7am to the dulcet tones of the Little Mister singing and playing in his cot. I get him out of bed and noticed he’s wet through his nappy, PJs, sleeping bag, fitted sheet and through to the (thank goodness) mattress protector. I chuck everything in the wash immediately and replace his bedding with spares. Aah, nice and fresh.

The Little Mister drinks his milk without spilling it and it’s a very proud moment. It’s the little things, y’know?

I let him watch a little TV (oh the horror!) while I try to sort out the family budget. The mortgage has just come out, my car has something computery wrong with it and has to go in on Monday, and the Little Mister has his family birthday celebration coming, so it could look a little healthier. Oh, sh*t! I realise it’s the last day to renew the local council registration for our two dogs. Looks like a trip to the library is in order (that’s one of the local places you can sort that kind of sh*t out). I scoop up the Little Mister and we head out.

“Aw he’s so cute! Can I take him home?” asks the lovely customer service lady. She has given him a cute dinosaur stamp and he turns on the charm with his adorable (fake coy) smile and has already said ‘hi’ to her in a cheery manner (a couple of times). I can see how a mere mortal could be sucked in. Especially when he shows her the lion on his tee shirt and gives his best little toddler “rawr”.

“Are you sure you really want to take him home? Really?” I ask a little too eagerly.

After the dog regos are sorted out, I feel obligated to show the Little Mister the children’s books. I start to feel like one of those good mums. You know the ones. The ones who take their children to the library and stuff. Sure, I’m there with another agenda, but no-one else but me and the customer service lady knows that. In my mind I’m strutting about, like “Oh, yes. It’s me. At the library. I do like to give my son the best literary experiences. Oh, you know. It’s nothing. Just a part of the job.”

In reality, I’m all like, DON’T RUN AWAY! PLEASE DON’T DISASSEMBLE ALL OF THE LOAN PUZZLES BECAUSE MUMMY DOESN’T WANT TO PUT THEM ALL BACK TOGETHER BY HERSELF. OH, LOOK AT ALL THE FLIMSY PAPER PAGES IN THOSE BEAUTIFUL STORY BOOKS. YOU’RE GONNA RIP THEM IF WE TAKE THEM HOME. WE’RE NOT BORROWING THE YO GABBA GABBA DVD – MUMMY CAN ONLY HANDLE SO MUCH. COME BACK HERE!!

Don’t get me wrong, the Little Mister always has new books to read and we’ll read every day without fail. I just think of the library as a magical place where I never end up going haha.

Turns out, being a good mum that borrows books from the library (the card ones that aren’t so easy to rip into shreds and then present them proudly to mummy as if you’ve just given her the best present in the world that you made yourself with your own destructive little hands) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Your child will be so in love with his little library finds that he will not want to be separated from them for anything and while you will have a smug, heartwarming hour reading them to him on the couch at home, while he nuzzles in and learns so much about what he’s ‘reading’, you’ll first experience him crying for the books in the car on the way home because he won’t let you put his seatbelt on in case he loses his grip. Then he’ll be crying for the books at nap time, crying for the books at lunch time, and because you let him borrow a Wiggles book, you’ll realise that when he points at each character in the book, you have no idea which Wiggle is named what. Stumped.

Just FYI.

This afternoon the Little Mister awakes from a (too) short nap crying, all sad and a little too hot and bothered. He then won’t settle by himself so it’s couch cuddles until he feels a little more alive (I take pity on him and it’s the one time I’m guaranteed non squirmy/kicky/bouncy/flailing cuddles). I use this opportunity to serve up some lunch for him to consume in his high chair (which he oddly prefers to his booster seat) – grapes and cheese (his favourite) while I resist the urge to pair water crackers and a nice glass of vino with it (for me).

We spend the next half hour playing a fun little game called, Don’t Look at The Toddler or He’ll Cry.

I have to give sneaky little sideways glances to check if he’s eating and if he catches me, his bottom lip quivers and the snot flows freely. The cheese or grapes hang suspended in mid air just outside of his mouth as he bawls his eyes out. If I look away, order is restored immediately. Forget lovely meal time conversation. I’m not permitted to speak. I just sit and stare at the middle distance (and eventually my iPhone) trying not to laugh (I take a leap and assume laughing is out of the question too).

After we abandon lunch – yes, abandon – the Little Mister heads in the direction of his play room where he is unusually quiet. He’s in his favourite spot behind the IKEA children’s circus tent, where he goes for privacy when he has business he feels like doing in his nappy. I ask him in a gentle, positive tone, “Little Mister, have you done a poo?”

He runs away. I find him playing so nicely by himself. He’s set up camp on one of his dad’s singlets* (stolen from the clothes horse), with a plush giraffe and a story book. He’s obviously being extra peaceful and lovely to avoid any suspicion – pretty transparent, really. Pity about the smell giving it away. Nice try, little buddy.

Afternoon snack time means a little peace for me. I hand the Little Mister a yoghurt squeezie and he seems to be having a lovely time sucking that dairy goodness down. I keep an eye on him from across the room as I field a phone call from Mr Unprepared who has finished work. I answer, “Hello, Tactical Response Group – where can I direct your call?”

In the five seconds that I take to blink and collect myself, the Little Mister is pointing and gesturing. I look. Yoghurt is splattered all over the floor, with just a little artistic splash over the couch for extra effect. I hand the Little Mister a bunch of tissues (a blogger who shall remain nameless forgot to buy paper towels yesterday) and we both get to wiping. The Little Mister gives up half way and of course, good old mum finishes the job.

Seconds later, he’s balancing on his little chair and peering over a divider wall with an “I’ve got an idea and I’m not afraid to make bad choices” look on his face…

What is it they say about toddlers being like terrorists or dictators? I wouldn’t know. *snooty face* I’m too busy taking my child to the library.

All I know is that it’s my job and I’ll do it all over again tomorrow! I also have about a million things I would like to add to my resumé when I return to paid work. Some of which include…

  • Tactical Response Negotiator
  • Advertising Executive (I have to sell almost every task we do to the Little Mister before we can perform said task – creativity and knowing your demographic are a must)
  • Crime Scene Investigator (putting evidence together to figure out what’s gone wrong and who’s done it)

What would you like to add to your resumé to reflect your experience as a parent? How has your day been?

*I love the idea of Mr Unprepared reading this blog post after the fact and thinking, EW MY SINGLET WAS A TEMPORARY RESTING PLACE FOR MY SON’S STINKY BOTTOM. Bonus points if he’s wearing it at the time hahaha. 

What are you scared of?

fd8c605b97c45485f16083da54848315

pic

The past week (although I’d swear it feels like it’s been a month), the Little Mister and sleep have not been the best of friends (to put it mildly). It started with teething, evolved into separation anxiety and turned into a sniffly cold. Now that he’s recovering from his cold, I suspect he’s found a new fear of the dark. Who says life is boring with an almost 2 year old? Actually, no-one ever. With good reason, it seems!

The Little Mister is usually known for his exuberance and ability to dive headfirst into anything – fear being a concept he’s hardly understood. He’s had nervous moments, times he’s hesitated and not trusted his own ability to climb off that big step or to eat the first spoonful of a warm meal (he’s a bit sensitive and will only eat his food when it’s lukewarm bordering on cold). But overall, he’s that kid who will make friends with anyone, run off almost anywhere to satisfy a curiosity, fend off our big, black dog with a bemused look on his face (I swear he almost rolls his eyes) and loves being up high. The occasional separation anxiety has been the worst it’s ever got. Even then, it’s never held us all back in life. He’s done well. We’ve been so unbelievably lucky.

But this is toddlerhood. A natural part of this growing process is to develop fears. Some of my dear friends have claimed their children are scared of the bathroom taps, the shower head and other curious, less obvious things. In our household, the Little Mister has developed a fear of the garage door. It has rattled in the strong winds we’ve been experiencing and he now tries to re-enter the house when I open the door, ready to get in the car for yet another mundane supermarket adventure (whether the door is rattling or not). While I would love to run back into the house on supermarket day (so over it!), his reason is a new one! He loves cars and he loves going on trips to the shops or anywhere, really. I used to have to physically restrain him from rushing out of the door too fast and falling over himself onto the concrete floor! Now I have to encourage, coax and offer my hand. Go first. Show him it’s safe. More often than not he will sit on the little step looking so small (and really actually quite cute and vulnerable). He’s never had a tantrum about it, screamed or cried, but his hesitation is enough to tell me something’s different.

A more obvious fear that he appears to be developing (not confirmed yet) is a fear of the dark. Turning off his light and saying goodnight is a little bit heartbreaking as he starts whimpering. I don’t know why, but I’ve hesitated in turning on his night light. Some weird, irrational fear that he might never be able to sleep in the dark ever again for the rest of his life? I don’t know. Now I feel cruel for putting him through that. Tonight the night light goes on, because I remember being scared of the dark when I was little. I recall feeling safe with my door open a little where the light of the bathroom would glow through. That was my night light. I remember one of my first birthday party sleep overs when I started primary school. Staying at a friend’s house in her spare room (surrounded by other little girls) and feeling like I was the only one disturbed by the fact that there were no curtains to ward off the darkness outside. I remember almost panicking when the scritchy branches of a small tree outside scraped against the window, the shadows terrifying me. I remember as a tween, when my mum would ask me to put something in the outside bin, in the early hours of the evening – just after dark. The bushland behind their house would scare me just enough that I would scurry really fast. WHO KNEW WHAT WAS HIDING IN THE DARK? Monsters? Murderers? I don’t even think I knew what I thought was out there. I just knew it was a bit scary and got my heart racing.

Today, I remind myself that I can sleep without a light on. The darker my room, the better. It means more quality sleep. Peace. I know I’m safe in my house (well as safe as I can be) that I own. The doors and windows locked. If the blinds aren’t closed completely when I go to check on the Little Mister or grab a glass of water from the kitchen late at night, I don’t freak out. Doesn’t mean I don’t have the odd moment when I think I see ‘something’ or worry about intruders, but the fear doesn’t cripple me. I just do what I can (as an empowered adult) to control what I can and I know to let the rest go.

It is this that makes me feel better about turning on that night light. I need to reassure my Little Mister. In fact, it’s probably the best thing I can do to make sure his little kid fears don’t last forever.

Don’t want to scar him for life!!!

You see, that’s what I do when I need to keep perspective as an awesomely unprepared parent (not the scarring him for life thing haha). I ask myself, do I still do/need/hate those things as an adult? More often than not, the idea seems ridiculous to present day me. This gives me hope. I don’t sleep swaddled. I try new foods (sometimes even going on to like something I previously had an aversion to). I am not that scared of the dark anymore.

OK, so I am deathly scared of big spiders (or any spiders with bulbous bodies and hairy legs or ones that can kill you). And obviously I’m a little bit scared of f*cking up this whole parenting caper. But you can’t win ’em all.

What are you (or your child) scared of? How do you deal with this fear? x

Find Awesomely Unprepared on Facebook