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Toddler Proofing A Toddler Proof Home

You’d think it’s  easy, right, having toddler play dates in your home when you have a toddler already. We have safety gates, door catches, plug covers, no exposed wires, radiator turned down/off, etc, etc. Yet it really isn’t that easy. Or I’m too much of a control freak.

In the week after Christmas, Elvis was off nursery for the week so I thought it would be good to have some toddler playdates (and mummy catch ups). I feel bad during a normal  week that I put Elvis’ naps (and rest time for me) before him socialising. But he socialises at nursery. I miss out on seeing him interact with children though. And I wonder how he will be with children in his home.

We had 3 in total in that week — I was 38 weeks pregnant so everyone happily came to me! And I learnt quickly after the first. Just because I have the safety issues covered, it does not mean that toys are safe. We have a fireplace in our living room (never turned on but has edges that could hurt a child). Elvis knows not to touch it, that it’s hot so I don’t think about it. Elvis has a play desk that he knows not to climb and he knows not to take the chalks and crayons away from the desk. He has jigsaws that  he knows not to chew.

I’m not saying these things to say “my son is perfect” these are simply my house rules and I’ve taught him them. Sometimes he’s cheeky and disobeys one. We have had to take away a few pop up books as he wasn’t careful enough with them (that’s what library books are for!) That’s our rules. There is nothing wrong, nothing right about our rules, friends’ rules or anyone’s rules.

But I do need to chill out when guests come around. Or, as I quickly learnt, tidy up and hide questionable toys. I now hide the chalks and crayons, the bouncy horse that can be climbed on, the wooden jigsaws that can have their picture chewed off, the books that could be damaged by toddler hands, the more delicate pieces of train track. I considered hiding the garage with extra track that took hours to figure out a configuration, but then realised no toddler could damage it, only break it up so Daddy and I would have to spend hours refitting it all!

I was much calmer on the second playdate. And there were two toddler guests! I didn’t even mind the mess – some toddlers play with everything all at once, others tidy as they play. Just like some toddlers happily play alone, others need someone to interact with. As with all things there is no right or wrong. There are pros and cons to both. The first playdate saw Elvis share brilliantly (except his Santa hat that no one else can touch ) which is my primary concern for an only child. The second playdate saw Elvis throw a mini fit whenever I passed a toy to another child (what’s mummy’s is mummy’s which doesn’t bode well for the baby!) And saw him push another child over.

Elvis isn’t at the stage yet where punishments work. Normally when he’s naughty he gets a time out to stop crying and then has to cuddle whoever he disobeyed/hurt/upset. Well, he was never going to cuddle his friend. I really need to work on “telling off” and discipline when it comes to others! He did then play brilliantly with both boys – they were giggling and playing away and we had no idea what they were doing!

I love seeing him play with other children! But I also need to figure which are his toys – toys that he just won’t share. Which I’m fine with. Everyone has a few things or one special thing that is theirs and I don’t think they should be forced to share everything. During the week of playdates, Elvis’ special toys were his bouncy horse and Leeds Santa Hat. Fair enough. Now, when he refused to share his cars (he has 7), that is not fair and I will make him share.

And those toys that he refuses to share (because they’re special to him) will be removed from the room so no one can play! Along with the chalks, crayons, jigsaws and other delicate/damageable toys!

Here’s to more sharing and more playdates!

~ P

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3 Comments »

Baby Envy

Firstly, Elvis and his tempers have gone! He is having trouble with his naps sometimes (dropping to 1 but length depends on time of day) but whatever his problems were they seem to have settled down. I think it was just the upheaval – the move, the changes in nursery, the house guests. I am so relieved. I mean, it does make me wonder if when Robin arrives, Elvis won’t have some sort of regression with his tempers, but that’s in another few months.

I’m trying to encourage Elvis to walk more. He loves walking and running, but if I have the pushchair he just wants to climb in it. I don’t really blame him. The only thing is I haven’t bought, and really don’t intend to, a double pushchair. I will try and get a buggy board, but he needs to be walking home from nursery in January/February. And it’ll be raining and snowing which will either encourage him because it’s fun or not! Am I putting too much faith in / pressure on him?

On an amazingly positive note, Elvis let me hold a baby! Back in July he wouldn’t even let me go near one. I was his. I knew that he would have to adapt to Robin, but I hoped he wouldn’t have that immediate jealousy. Well, he let me pick up and then comfort jiggle my friend’s 6month old. I think he’s also making steps with sharing, too. There’s hope for Robin!

No, there’s hope for all of us!

~ P

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Surprises

I’ve moved house. Yay?

Well, I absolutely ache all over. I am never moving house again. Never ever ever. Except if we ever decide to make the move out of town to get the garden. If hubby starts down a new road at work. Or if we win the lottery. Or if we have more than 3 children. When those things are satisfied, I’ll consider moving. But one thing I do promise is that I am never moving whilst pregnant ever again!

I last moved about 2 years ago. Pregnant with Elvis. Why didn’t I learn from that event?

All I really did was make sure that stuff was packed, unpacked a few bits and bobs. Oh, yeah and went on a mammoth walk because Elvis needed a nap and there was no bed ready for him (despite all of my planning, someone did not get my toddler’s room ready first). I ache. The only thing that hasn’t really hurt at some point over the past few days is actually my pelvis! So, nothing actually pregnancy related (on that note, I think I’ve ballooned over night and am clearly pregnant – bump is also harder now so less like a ball of fat!). It’s been quite stressful.

Do you know what kept me going through the worst moments? Through the arguments, the hang up phone calls, the pain and exreme tiredness? Elvis!

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Nursery Settling: Session 1

We had our first hour at nursery yesterday, where Elvis and I got to play with all the toys and other children. It took him a while to have the confidence to leave me to wander across the room, but he happily did and then started playing quite happily with some of the children.

When we came to leave he even had a cry out because he wanted to stay playing, then he wanted to go and play in the back garden with the older children. My son would be the one who cries when we leave!

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Baby’s Second Picnic – A Much Better Day

I was so apprehensive about our second picnic invite, this time with two older babies, that I didn’t take any food as I was adamant I was going to feed him at home.

I just really hadn’t wanted another day of sitting there cold as Elvis slept and my friends sat with their babies on the swings. Nor did I want to have a complaining baby because he wanted to move and be free. That was the joy of having the second picnic with older babies (only about 4 months, but they’re toddlers now), they understood Elvis and my frustrations.

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