Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: toddlers (page 2 of 2)

Toddler Christmas withdrawal symptoms

Chopping up the Christmas treeMatilda has loved Christmas this year, she really got it, but what she loved perhaps most of all was the tree. In fact all trees, if there was a competition for who could spot a Christmas tree first as you drive around she would win it hands down.

As a parent this was awesome, experiencing the magic through the eyes of your children is just fabulous. That is until you have to be the one to break the news to her that it’s time for the tree to leave its cosy corner in the dining room and head off to Christmas tree heaven.

The conversation went a something like this:

Me: Matilda, it’s time for us to get rid of the tree now that Christmas has finished. 

Matilda: but I don’t want to, I like having a tree.

Me: I know, but it’s not Christmas any more so we need to take it down and we’ll get another one next Christmas.

Matilda; *pauses to think* ok, that’s fine, we’ll get another one later?

Me: yes we’ll get another one later

Matilda: maybe this afternoon?

Matilda with a Christmas tree branch

Now you can’t really fault that logic can you? But what do you do? There is no way we’re keeping the tree for a year. Well dear reader, I came up with a perfect plan. The next day I got Matilda to help me move the tree out of the house and then we cut it up and put it on the compost heap. I figured this way she’d know exactly what had happened to it and where it had gone.

Then came the clever bit, we have a small Christmas tree in a pot in the garden that Matilda was given on her first Christmas. So I grabbed that pot and put it on the decking just outside the house, then I decorated it with some outside lights. Now we have pretty Christmassy lights just outside the window, which with the dark evenings and mornings can be on everyday for Matilda to see.

Garden lights

Not quite the ducks I expected to feed

Look at my stick daddy.... carry it for me

Look at my stick daddy…. carry it for me

This weekend I’m solo parenting while the lady of the manor enjoys herself on a hen weekend in Italy for 3 days, but I’ve been determined not to take the easy route and stay home for the whole time. One of the biggest challenges of being here on my own is walking Bracken given that I normally run with him before the kids are up and if I want to walk I can hardly carry them both can I?

So I decided to be brave and take them all to the local lake where Matilda would happily trot around while I carried Henry. Plus it had the added bonus of earning some top dad points by taking some bread to feed the ducks which is one of Henry’s favourite things. Of all the animals in the world it is the humble duck that he loves and he will spot even the tiniest drawing of one in any book we read and then spend the next 5 minutes saying quack quack over and over again.

I see you duck, come a little bit closer and you're mine

I see you duck, come a little bit closer and you’re mine

Things didn’t get off to the greatest start when Matilda realised I hadn’t brought her pushchair to push like last time and then we started our walk just as 50 members of the local running club hit the trail around the lake. Interesting trying to keep both a toddler and a dog out of their way, thankfully having a smiling boy in the rucksack on my back helped wipe out any potential for grumbles.

Once the path was empty again we happily trotted down one side throwing sticks for Bracken and playing hide and seek, we managed to get at least 400m before Matilda said she was hungry and started acting like she hadn’t eaten anything for a week. I coaxed her a little further with the promise of an apple and then spotted one of those wooden platforms that stick out into the water from the bank for fishermen.

A perfect spot for a snack and to feed the ducks, plus of course Bracken could have a paddle which he’s never going to refuse. A popped Henry’s carrier down on its stand so he could see and then prepared myself to be the worlds greatest dad by attracting the lakes waterfowl to our little spot with a nice bit of french stick. Henry was going to love seeing all those ducks just a few metres away, maybe even near enough for Matilda to throw bread for them too (if she doesn’t eat it all first of course).

Oh bread, tasty bread, get in my belly bread, far too good for these bloody ducks

Oh bread, tasty bread, get in my belly bread, far too good for these bloody ducks

I stood up to get a bit more freedom for my throwing arm and started launching pieces of bread out into the lake. As that first piece flew through the air it was joined by a Spaniel shaped object in hot pursuit. He performed a perfect running leap and dive off the platform into the water landing with a giant splash and then happily swam around mopping up all the bread I’d thrown in.

When he finally returned to the bank he leapt up onto the platform and gave us the opportunity to experience exactly how cold the water was by shaking it all over us. I then had to spend the next 10 minutes holding his collar to stop him jumping in again while throwing bits of bread into the water and handing apples to my darling children.

Where’s my home gone?

It’s the first night in our holiday cottage, the drive up to Scotland the previous night had gone well if you ignore the fact the kids stayed awake for the first 100 miles and we were just doing our normal bedtime routine.

All going well so far, Matilda and Henry are knackered after a long day and all the excitement of a new house. We read stories together and then I took Matilda through to her room and give her a cuddle. Just as I’m putting her into her cot she utters the question for the first time.

Where’s my home gone?

I’m a little stumped, it’s obvious isn’t it? It’s where it’s always is and we’re just here on holiday. But apparently not in the mind of a toddler. I never considered that she wouldn’t ‘get’ the concept of holiday and then as I tried to explain what it is I could hear myself talking and knew it wasn’t making sense to her.

I reassured her that we would definitely be going back to her little house again, (and her garden and her cot and her high chair). But there was no way this was the end of it.

And so we had to answer that question at least once a day, each time the same worry in her voice. We offered to to send postcards home to her house and also our neighbours who are watching the house for us. This seemed to make her happier, that someone was watching it and we could send post to it.

She’s such a funny little thing, such a home girl, loves all her own things and makes sure we take them with us. She’s at her most happiest at home, playing in the garden with her pushchair and collection of bags. I love that she will happily sit and play by herself, really not needing prompting but it does also make it hard when we want to do trips out.

Anyone else have a toddler like this? Are we destined to carry a blanket and bunny everywhere we go for the next  5 years?

Matilda reading

These legs are made for walking

You keep saying you can you can do it for yourself.

all those things, you don’t need any help

But you’ve been falling, when you shouldn’t have been falling

and now daddy has to kiss it all better again.

These legs are made for walking

And that’s just what they’ll do

One of these days these legs are going to bump right into you

matilda's legs

I’m sure Matilda isn’t the only toddler with legs that look battered and bruised like this right?

No, I’m daddy

Wednesday’s are the craziest mornings of the week. The day that I have to get both babies up and out of the house by 7.15am to go to the childminders. I get the feeling that Matilda likes to use these opportunities when the lady of the manor isn’t around to test me. She pushes a few buttons to see if she can get a reaction. You have to stay strong, don’t show your weakness. Not easy when the conversation goes something like this.

Matilda – more crunchy nuts mummy

Me – you mean more crunchy nuts DADDY

Matilda – toast mummy

Me – can I have some toast DADDY

Matilda – Mummy, read a book

Me – Daddy, DADDY read a book

She knows, don’t let the innocent face confuse you, she knows exactly what she’s doing. She know’s that it winds me up that she forgets my name and would rather be with mummy. But it didn’t stop there, I herded them both into the car and we set off. All was quiet to begin with, happily looking out of the window and then a little voice perked up.

Matilda – Tilda is a big girl

Me – yes, that’s right and what’s Henry?

Matilda – Enry is a boy

Me – clever girl, what about Daddy? Is he a boy or a girl?

Matilda – Daddy is a big girl!

And there we have it, 2 years old and already taking the piss out of her dad. But don’t worry little girl, daddy’s got lots of photos of you rudey nudey filed away and ready for a slide show when I give me father of the bride speech.

Butter wouldn't melt eh?

Butter wouldn’t melt eh?

10 things parenting books don’t tell you about toddlers

Matilda is now the grand old age of 21 months and I have to say I think the age she is right now is the most fun of the whole time. She’s this little walking, talking, laughing, crazy little girl who quite honestly cracks me up. But I have noticed one or two things that those so called parenting books don’t tell you about.

So in time honoured fashion here’s my top 10 things parenting books don’t tell you about toddlers:

  1. Any time you get undressed in front of them they will stop whatever it is that they’re doing and point at you shouting WILLY. Precisely why I have yet to take her swimming.
  2. They will learn to say the name of your dog perfectly long before they will ever say mummy or daddy.
  3. Somehow they develop pickpocket skills to rival the artful dodger and before you know it your phone has disappeared and sticky fingers are trying to unlock it.
  4. Running away when naked is hilarious, the only thing funnier is doing a wee while you run.
  5. Cheese is a suitable addition to any meal no matter the time of day.
  6. You may well put them in their cot fully clothed in a zipped up Grobag, but they can take off all their clothes and throw them on the floor without seemingly unzipping the Grobag (or at least doing it back up again).
  7. Farts are the 2nd funniest thing ever to a toddler (see point 4), although daddy may have had a hand in this one
  8. They have more and cooler clothes than you, your only hope of being fashionable is to wear something long enough that it comes back in fashion. They on the other hand are always wearing the latest seasons styles. One look at Matilda’s selection of knitwear will tell you that.
  9. If you think you’ve put something high enough that they can’t reach it then put it another metre higher. Those little hands get everywhere.
  10. To finish potentially the most important of them all, despite what you think a toddler is very much in control. You may have grand plans and parenting ideas but you will end up doing what they want. Mind games to defeat even Derren Brown.

But despite this they are rather cute aren’t they?

The no game

It seems I am not alone in playing this game, I was chatting this morning with @motherscuffer, @f8andbethere and @The_iDad and the consensus was that even at the age of 1 children know how to test you.

Now I fully expected this from teenagers, I’d prepared myself for that, but a 1 year old? No one mentions that at NCT classes do they?! Most of the day Matilda is an absolute delight to be around, she is chatty, funny, loves interacting and exploring and laughs all day long. But every so often she flips into this stroppy little girl who has a tantrum when you do something she doesn’t like. She also likes to test you to see how naughty she can be, these moments go a little something like this:

Matilda: ooh look a washing machine and the coast is clear, I know where I’m going, quick look back, no dad is tweeting again he won’t notice *evil cackle* (this is her thoughts by the way, she’s not THAT clever)

Me:(spotting where she is heading) Matilda, no

Matilda: yeah whatever dad *evil cackle*

Me: (Slightly sterner) Matilda, no

Matilda: Catch me if you can loser *evil cackle*

Me: (getting up) Matilda, I said no

Matilda: one last push and I’m there *evil cackle*

Me: (picking Matilda up) No Matilda, leave the washing machine alone

Matilda: That ain’t going to stop me daddio, I’m like the terminator, I’ll be back *evil cackle*

Now repeat that for 15 minutes and you’ll get an idea of my day yesterday. Anyone else get this from such a young age? Do we just stay consistent and hope it improves or is this the start of her career as a master criminal?

P.S. She really does have a little evil cackle when she know’s she’s being naughty

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