I often get asked, ‘How do you find the time?’
We are on high alert
He sits astride an ocean
Head down, expectant.
The world halts.
Suspended in time
our lives hang in the breeze
our breaths break like waves
we are the moon and the tide
but nothing on the horizon.
The tide is out.
The world relaxes and turns once more.
Here is an easy Outie idea for storing your baby’s toys.
Cover a canvas with tree fabric (or paint a tree).
Lay toys out on top where you would like the toys to ‘sit’.
Add loops of elastic around the toys and tie them off on the back. You can use a large needle to punch through the fabric in two places for each toy. Thread the elastic through and knot firmly on the back side.
My son loves choosing his toys and putting them back in their imaginary nests by looping them back through their own little elastic loop.
Easy peasy and pretty cute!
Love from Outie.co.nz (We make fun stuff for fun parents)
I often pine for the delicious state my house used to be in pre-children – but I do get little windows of clean house that I like to enjoy alone before it all gets messed up again.
The best advice I have for new mummies – is to do your chores with your babies so that you can rest when they do. I never did this with my son and raced around making myself miserable while he slept doing all my chores and never got a break!
I have only found the time to write this today because I have managed to get my cleaning done with both my babies awake. Now that they are both sleeping, I get to have some down time.
Here are some of my cleaning tips: (I also like to clean just before nap time so that all the activity wears my toddler out nicely. Hee hee hee he doesn’t know I am on to him…)
First make sure that the baby is changed and fed and safe from toddler terrorism. I like to wear my baby while I vacuum but I can’t really wear her when I want to clean the toilet or bend down for something. I use a baby bouncinette or I set her up with a play gym for the duration of my super-quick house clean. If she is not ready for a sleep, she just comes along from room to room with us.
This is my cleaning kit:
Bottle of white vinegar in a spray bottle
Bottle of 50/50 bleach and water spray
Spray bottle of water
An old tee shirt
Eco-store cream cleaning solution (like jiff)
QUICK CLEAN UP
Involve toddler in a series of slam dunking ‘pick up’ activities to clear floor ready for vacuuming.
Use brush and shovel for fun ‘digger’ activity if you have lots of smaller toys.
Give toddler brush and shovel or broom to help.
Give toddler pile of books to sit and read in a special sitting spot. Wear baby to zen her out ready for nap.
Put baby down to nap and move on to other chores.
Sometimes I like to give my toddler some baking soda with a sieve to sieve baking soda over the carpet as a home-made deodoriser (he has fun and afterwards I get to ‘see’ how clean my house is).
Occupy toddler in dry bath with bath crayons or give toddler bottle of water to spray around bathroom to ‘help’.
Spray toilet with bleach solution and leave.
Spray counters and mirrors with vinegar solution and leave.
Squirt jiff around toilet and quickly scrub bowl.
Run shower and swap toddler’s water spray bottle for vinegar spray bottle.
Scrub shower while in shower with toddler. (this is my shower) ‘Rub out’ drawings as part of cleaning method – get them to help by spraying vinegar.
Leave plug in shower for toddler to splash in bottom (if it’s a bath one like our one) while quickly wiping vanity down.
Use newspaper to polish mirror.
Polish taps with dry t-shirt.
Wipe down all surfaces. Finally wipe toilet and throw first cloth away/in wash.
Take wet toddler with you to do bedrooms.
Dress wet toddler and chuck wet towel in laundry.
Strip beds and make tent with dry laundry for toddler to play in. (roll up and make a round ‘nest’ or hang over couch cushions to make a hut)
Add teacups for tea party.
Play ‘red rag to a bull’ or ‘whoosh’ toddler with sheets.
Put toddler on bed to jump and ‘help’ tuck in sheets.
Put toddler in duvet cover and carry around for a while like a mad santa.
Put duvet cover on duvet.
Finish making bed/s.
Use second cloth to dust surfaces in bedrooms and move to kitchen.
Set toddler up in high chair with pre-nap snacks.
While they eat, spray counters of kitchen with vinegar.
Boil kettle for coffee.
Empty dish washer while kettle boils.
Wipe all surfaces and load dish washer. Turn it on.
Polish taps with dry tee-shirt.
Clean up toddler, wipe high chair and put to bed.
Relax with coffee and enjoy your down time.
OK. So I didn’t wash the floors yet. But that one has to be done when the toddler is out or asleep otherwise the slippery floor is dangerous…
And this way I get to have some me time in my lovely clean house. Even if it is only clean for me to see.
And finally, four small confessions:
Sometimes I scrub the toilet and leave the soapy stuff in the bottom so that my work can be ‘seen’. This is my ‘thank you prompt’.
Sometimes I fold the toilet paper and pretend I am in a hotel.
Sometimes I skate on the floor with wet towels soaked in detergent when no-one is around as a more fun way to mop.
I pay myself to clean the house instead of paying a cleaner so that I feel more valued and do a better job. (So I keep the money that I would otherwise pay a cleaner – that’s paying myself!)
How do you manage your chores with children?
I’m not ready.
We crossed a significant line today and cut some apron strings – or at least lengthened them a little. It was our son’s first day at preschool.
It probably shouldn’t be a big deal, but I felt apprehensive and a little sick. I had butterflies in my tummy like it was my first day at school (and he was pretty much oblivious and just keen to start playing).
My butterflies caused me to over-plan everything. I packed him an extra drink bottle (why?) and double-labelled his lunch box and I even stuffed in a puffy vest at the last minute ‘in case he gets cold’.
The worrying voice in my head was yelling at me:
‘He isn’t ready!’
‘He’s too young!’
‘Keep him at home!’
‘You’re doing the wrong thing!’
But another gentler voice was also whispering:
‘He needs to be extended’
‘More play with other kids will do him good’
‘He is ready’
‘Two days a week will be great for all of you’
(DISCLAIMER: I don’t ‘actually’ hear voices for the record)
But even when I ignored both voices, there was still a little squeak inside me saying something else entirely.
It was saying ‘you are not ready’.
So this problem is entirely my own.
Because at the other end of the day I have a happy kid who had lots of fun and still gave me delicious kisses before bedtime. I have a happy kid who is sleeping now and looking forward to another play-filled day tomorrow. I have a happy kid that is thankfully oblivious to the turmoil that he has put his mummy through.
And when I reflect on my lack of readiness the feeling is really familiar.
I haven’t been ‘ready’ for any of this stuff.
I wasn’t ready to get pregnant.
I wasn’t ready to become a mum.
I wasn’t ready to leave my job.
I wasn’t ready to give birth.
I wasn’t ready to wean him.
I wasn’t ready to put him in his big bed.
I wasn’t ready to tackle this big parenting ‘thing’.
– I have never been ready for any of it.
So what’s the moral of this little end-of-day tale?
We are never ready for anything. Whatever will be, will be. And maybe it’s best to just go with the flow.
Be like water.
Be like the ping pong.*
Be like the kettle.
Whistle when you are done.**
* *the hotter it gets, the more we should try to whistle a happy tune.
12 Memorable Parenting Disaster Moments
I probably haven’t told anyone about all of these yet they deserve to be remembered and ‘treasured’ in a ‘whoa, that was a steep learning curve’ kind of way. This ‘real life baby’ memory trip is in response to the ugly volvo’s blog about what a baby book should ‘really’ record in terms of Baby Milestones.
Here are a dozen moments that didn’t make it to my son’s baby book.
(In no particular order, this is an ode to the little mister who is now two).
- The time you nearly fell out of my pouch sling when I bent down in the bush to pick up an interesting leaf.
- The time I cried more than you when you got your first shots.
- The time I smooshed your newborn face into the handle of the baby carrier accidentally in front of the doctor because I didn’t know that the handle could be put down.
- The time you made a ‘brown crayon’ and drew with it in the bath.
- The time you choked on a dried apricot that had somehow been left in your car seat.
- The time I swore with some very snaggly child-unfriendly words in front of you because your teeth were embedded in my arm.
- The time(s) we both cried and cried because I couldn’t console you.
- The night terrors.
- The time I bit my own lip (literally) because you bit my finger while I was applying teething jelly (and I didn’t want to repeat the swearing incident).
- The time you had a vomit avalanche I couldn’t contain and I stupidly spread it all over the house by pacing in a panic around the house.
- The time the air pressure changed in the car and I worked out that you had opened the rear passenger car door while I was driving on the highway.
- Your first public tantrum that sent my glasses flying and made your sister cry because you kicked us both in your rage.
Ah babies. We do love them so.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
300 g condensed tomato soup
1 can coconut cream (or half – add it until you think the colour is right for your family’s taste buds)
300 g chickpeas
200 g boiled baby potatoes, cubed
1 -2 tablespoon chopped coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fry the onion and garlic in the spices until they are aromatic but not too dry. (This is when you add the chicken if you want a meaty option).
Add the soup, coconut cream, chick peas and potatoes and leave to simmer.
Add the chopped coriander and salt to taste just before serving.
Serve over ‘rice castles’ or as a moat around a rice island (rice pressed into little bowls and turned out onto the plate).
(Adapted from Alison Holst’s Meals without Meat).
(Check out my well-used recipe book… always a sign of a favourite – the stickier the pages, the better!)
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http://www.outie.co.nz – fun stuff for fun families.