Life with a Toddler
My husband told me I've been writing too many articles about pregnancy instead of mums. I didn't go into the politics of 'you're a mum if you're pregnant', but instead admitted he was probably right… I have a lot of pregnant friends and friends with new babies, so that's why these topics have been on my mind recently. However, my life is very much about managing my days around my lively little two-year-old girl. A few people have asked me lately what we do all week, so here's a snapshot of what our weeks look like.
Mondays: Home days, usually catching up on washing from the weekend. We might do some pottering around the garden, playing with playdough and reading lots of books. It's really about connecting with each other and being happy in our home, ready for the week ahead.
Tuesdays: Coffee and a playground or big grassy area. After spending all day (omg) at home on Monday, I can't stand the idea of trying to fill in another whole day at home. My toddler is bursting with energy so we go to a playground or somewhere she can run and climb, usually near somewhere I can get a nice coffee. We often do this with some friends who have toddlers a similar age.
Wednesdays: We try and catch up with someone - some friends or family. This usually means visiting Grandpa's house and walking down town for morning tea. We usually check out our local surf club and beach views too.
Thursdays: Library day! We go to the local library for their fun Storytime program for pre-schoolers. I have friends here I catch up with too.
Fridays: Mainly Music (a music program for babies-preschoolers) at our local church. This is the highlight of the week at the moment, because it includes morning tea for my toddler and me. I also get to catch up with friends.
In the afternoons when my husband gets home from work, we will often take our toddler across the road to the beach to run around in the sand or go for a little walk before it gets dark.
Life with a toddler is different to having a baby because:
- We are very flexible and always on call to catch up with other mum-toddler friends.
- We can stay out all morning.
- My toddler has lots of energy, so I try to get her walking, playing or climbing most days.
- My toddler can climb on more playground equipment by herself, which makes it much more enjoyable for me to take her to a playground.
- We have many more mummy friends as a result of the various groups we've tried. I usually catch up with a couple friends a week.
- Preparation is easier - we don't need to take lots of nappies or food. We often do take lots, but now my toddler prefers to have a fresh muffin while at the café rather than the home-brought sultanas.
- It's very predictable. The routine is the same every single day. Morning activity, morning tea, quiet time and nap time, lunch/afternoon tea, play time, dinner time, bath time, bed time. I know when she will have her rest in the day, and I can make solid plans around it.
- It's easy to fill in time because we can just water the garden, tickle each other, read books, draw, put some music on and dance, dress ups, or just do whatever…
- She can watch tv programs or things on a tablet - it's an instant saviour sometimes.
Other activities around our area that I have on hand if we desperately need to fill in time:
- Official playgroups
- Toddler play gym classes
- Free craft at our local shopping centre one day a week
- Swimming pool
- Go to the beach
- Activities at home
- Visit friends
- Go explore some area (e.g. feed birds at headland, look at boats at the marina, run around at the botanic gardens)
I try to make a list of activities at the start of each week so if I'm stuck for something to do, I can just pick it off the list. I try to do some sort of playground, outdoor exploring, walking, music, craft and household (e.g. cleaning or cooking) with my toddler each week, to make sure she's learning different skills.
The world is fascinating to a toddler, so it is easy to just go for a walk and take our time checking things out. Life is very relaxed when you go at toddler pace, but when you want to go at adult pace, it can get frustrating very quickly.
For me, life with a toddler is pretty cruisy at the moment. I'm really enjoying it, and the only big battle of the day is getting her dressed. Everything else seems to run pretty smoothly (I hope I haven't jinxed it by saying this out loud).