Top 3 Tantrums of the Week – 8/4/18

For something a bit more light hearted I’ve decided to start ranking some ‘top moments’ of the week. The idea being parents have something they can relate to and the non-parents can get a peak behind closed doors, but overall everyone can have a laugh.

Last week’s Top moments is all about Tantrums! We have all experienced them, some worse then others. Last weeks have been filtered down to the top 3.

Number 3: The Over-tired need to eat but don’t know what I want to eat tantrum.

Today I haven’t wanted to go down for a nap and its past lunch time. I’m Hungry, I’m Tired, but nothing you offer me looks tasty enough to eat.

Number 2: The I don’t want to eat whats on my plate I want whats on yours. Using your cutlery. Even though its identical to mine.

I don’t care that we are eating the same meal, I don’t care that you have foregone using toddler plates and utensils in an effort to get me to eat. I want whatever is on your plate, and I need to use your fork to eat it.

Number 1: The why isn’t there more watermelon tantrum.

I just discovered I like Watermelon, I like it a lot. So much I want to keep eating it. I don’t care its making a mess, I don’t understand why you won’t let me have anymore, the other kids clearly aren’t enjoying it as much as me.

I’ve only just noticed the running theme here of Food. Had Similar experiences? Can your kids tantrums beat mine this week? I’d love to hear your experiences as well.

Tune in this time next week for another ‘Top Happenings’ of the week.

Dad’s Best Friend

Dad’s best friend has always been Dog. Faithful companions for Life, through tough times and good. What happens when a little someone comes along to interfere with that relationship?

Growing up our family had dogs. While not the most well behaved dogs they were still part of the family and helped create many cherished memories. Mrs Down Under also grew up with a faithful companion so we knew early on that a dog would be part of our lives together.

Meet our beloved Eddie, a Large (50kgs) Black Labrador who will be as settled or as active as you want him to be. Eddie was around for over 4 years before our young one came along so you can imagine he was pretty set in his ways.

All of a sudden his life was turned upside down. Along came this blob that mum and dad were paying all their attention to. He took it like a champ, avoiding it at all costs for awhile. Yet becoming a lot more defensive of our house at the same time.

It was important at this stage to ensure Eddie remained part of the family and wasn’t excluded. We took him along to family outings where possible, and spent time with him when the child was asleep. This allowed our family to grow together.

Fast forward 9 months and the two followed each other around everywhere. At that stage our child was very curious about this giant hair black animal. Eddie just loved the extra attention.

These days our toddler does most of the chasing and there are some days Eddie looks like he has had enough, but still puts up with him. True sibling love right there.

Kids Toys

How many toys is too many? Should you have a variety? When do you decide your child is too old for that? Do you have to abide by the age guides on the box? Why does every toy have a choking hazard? So many questions that I won’t even try to have the right answer for but here’s my thoughts.

How many toys is too many? Ask your kids and they will say you can never have enough. Ask a parent and they will tell you they already have too many. Finding a way to keep them tidy plays a massive role in this. The Down Under household is lucky enough to have a designated toy room, or rather a neat pile in the corner. If you can’t control them, then you have too many. If you can control them, then variety is a blessing

Should you have a variety? absolutely, I cannot stress this enough. If your children are anything like mine then they have a short attention span and need change to keep them occupied. A variety isn’t having a toy car in every color – although my toddler begs to differ. This is also for your sanity, any toy that makes a noise gets old very quickly when it is played for hours on repeat.

When do you decide if your child is too old for that? Simple, when they stop playing with it. Or rather when they beg you to buy the bigger truck because it has more flashing lights and makes more noise then the older one. This is going to be different with every child and every parent. Run with what works, and my advice is to put said toy in the cupboard before tossing it as a toddlers mind can change quickly. Bonus tip – if your planning on having another kid keep said toy in the closet until they come along, not only is it sentimental but will save you money!

Do you have to abide by ages on the box? if your 3 year old is still playing with toys designed for infants i’d say its time to move on. But if your toddler likes the look of the train set designed for a 4 year old, why not give them a shot at it. Supervise them to avoid choking hazards (more on that later), but you might find they really enjoy them, and it will also help your sanity! Think of the ages more as loose guidelines rather then rules.

Why does every toy have a choking hazard? because those loose little pieces are the best part of the toy and there is no way the manufacturer could make the toy successful without them. Honestly I can’t answer this one, I am thankful that my toddler isn’t one for putting toys in his mouth though, gotta take the little wins where you can. Also look at the answer to the previous question, they are there for a reason.

Easter Morning or Is it ok to have chocolate for breakfast. . .

How did this magical rabbit sneak into my house last night and why is there chocolate eggs ‘hidden’ everywhere? Did I miss a joke played against all parents of seeing how sick or hyper active our kids can get before midday?

Its Easter Sunday and given my little guy isn’t quite 2 years old yet the hype around hiding chocolate in foil is still lost on him. However given its a tradition both of our families grew up with and we still enjoy the occassional chocolate we have decided to play along this year. Although the game is called “can mum and dad keep the child engaged long enough to find all the eggs mum and dad forgot where they are hid before the dog finds them”. Not to mention can we control how much chocolate the child eats before it becomes an issue.

Looking in shops over the last few weeks its no wonder everyone still follows this tradition because eggs are everywhere, in every store. And they couldn’t be less appealing to children if they tried. Although these days confectionary companies are trying so hard not to affend anyone they are no longer easter eggs but chocolate eggs and rabbits. And chocolate just about anything else that lays an egg.

Has easter moved away from its original intention? Has it just become another long weekend that burns a hole in our wallets? Probably, but given it keeps the kids happy for the most part, I cant see it going away from the Down Under Household. Next year ill try to come up with a better name for the game, or at least a shorter one.

Home Handyman

Home Handyman, Jack of all Trades, Handyman from Hell? What role as a dad do you play in maintaining your home? I’m not talking about mowing the lawn or cleaning, tasks like patching the wall, tightening the door, painting a room, landscaping outside, changing the oil in your car. These are all tasks which many of us take upon ourselves to do ourself. That we could also hire someone else to do.

Ill start with what I have done:

  • Patch holes in the wall, sand back, and paint good as new
  • change oil, filters, and brake pads on the car
  • removing old concrete from the yard and laying down turf
  • change a shower head and faucet taps.
  • Built a large veranda for entertaining.

just to name a few. We are also in the process of renovating our entire house, the bulk of which we are doing ourselves. Skilled family members and online instructional videos are extremely handy.

I have always gotten a sense of accomplishment after completing one of these tasks, a solid pat on the back, and a warm fuzzy feeling like I can conquer any task that might come next. Of course there is always the other side when things don’t go according to plan and you need to call in outside help, but i prefer to focus on the wins.

As a Dad I look forward to showing my kids what the Average Joe can accomplish when they put their mind to it, and hopefully passing on some of the skills and knowledge I have gained to them. What have you done? What are you most proud of?

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A Good Nights Sleep

When was the last time you had a good nights sleep? Please only parents respond to that question, the rest of you don’t know what your in for until you have kids. I’m not just talking about a night where your kid(s) slept all the way through, but one were you woke up truly rested and ready to start the day.

As I write this I have just gone through one of the worst nights I’ve had in awhile. The little guy woke up 2 hours after we had gone to bed and didn’t go back down for 4 hours. That’s 4 hours of playing, singing, reading, rocking, until he finally fell asleep – as I driving him around the block at 3:30am. Then 3 hours later he woke back up. We have an unwritten rule between me and my wife that if one of us isn’t working the next day then it falls to them to deal with these nights, until we realise they are struggling then the other will always help out. This was one of my nights.

Remember those days when you were younger, before fatherhood where you would stay up all night partying and then go to work the next day? Those are long gone, as a Dad you need to take the sleep when you can get it. As a Dad, or any parent your days just aren’t long enough to get everything done. After nights like these is it worth trying to stick to your original schedule and plan or should you sacrifice that to regain some sleep.

Personally I sit on the fence with this one. On one side, I feel the need to stay on top of a schedule and feel a little disheartened when plans fall through due to a rough night. On the other we need to look after ourselves and if that means missing out on an early morning gym session or the chores falling behind then that’s what happens. What do you do in this situation?

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Swimming Lessons

Just Dad and the little guy, time to teach him how to swim. What could go wrong? After almost 2 terms I can tell you a lot can go wrong, but both of us have come out the other side better then before.

Living on the coastline in a part of the world where summers are hot and dry learning to swim is a necessity. Not only is it a good skill to have, its great to keep active, and it also helps to cool off on a hot day. However to enjoy all the benefits, one must get through the trials of swimming lessons first.

Let me describe the situation, Wednesdays Dad has the day off to spend with the Son, Mum and Dad agree its time to start swimming lessons, and it would be a good opportunity for Dad and Son to Bond. Sounds good so far?

Trial #1: Preparation

As with any outing with a toddler, you can never pack too much. Always pack extra nappies/wipes/anything else required for a change, along with this make sure you have multiple sets of clothes. Towels are important, yes that’s plural. Snacks are also important (afterwards only, no one wants a sick toddler in the pool), swimming uses a lot of energy.

Also don’t forget about yourself, toddler swimming lessons means you are in the pool too, you need a towel, you need a change of clothes, and a snack is nice too. Always good to remember this is about them not you, so avoid the budgie smugglers, and if you’re rocking the dadbod, a rash shirt won’t go astray.

Trial #2: The Lessons

Now the fun begins, every lesson is a new adventure. Sometimes they will be happy and laughing, others they will be crying, or refusing to get back in the pool. A note for beginners, this is pretty normal, and you can guarantee every other parent in the pool has had the same experience. Don’t be ashamed by it or embarrassed, just do your best, there is always next week.

If your not sure of the songs and the activities don’t worry, they are exactly the same every week. apparently humans of all sizes learn through repetition, it only took me 2 weeks. Hot tip though, try to avoid swallowing pool water (that goes for Dad and Son), usually tears will follow and it can be hard to settle. On that note, focus on reassuring your toddler as one crying toddler can quickly multiply and the next thing you know every toddler is crying. I learnt that the hard way.

Trial #3: Afterwards

Just because your not cold doesn’t mean toddler isn’t. Focus on getting them dried and dressed first.  Then they can relax (did someone say snack?), while you attempt to get dressed – don’t forget to bring your change of clothes, its embarrassing to get halfway changed then realise you forgot them. I say attempt because take too long and whoops they fell over in a puddle – remember that extra change of clothes! Don’t worry if this takes awhile at first and your the last parent left, you will get quicker as time goes on (repetition?)

Current Situation:

Preparation – Check! This is second nature now, given our lessons are in the morning, our bag is always packed the night before when our head is clear and we are not rushing.

Lessons – Check! Yes the songs are stuck in my head but they are in my sons too, the familar sounds help reassure him and he is finally feeling comfortable in the pool.

Afterwards – Check! Well I am still the slowest, but have avoided having to get dried and dressed multiple times for a few weeks now.

 

While this may seem like I dread our weekly lesson, its quite the opposite. We both enjoy it now, I can see the benefits, and no matter how bad the lesson might go, I know everyone else has had the same and next week will be another lesson. Learn what you can from my experiences, but most of all enjoy them!

Update 25/5/18:

The tale of Swimming Lessons continues in Part 2 find it here

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Our House, or rather Our Home

What is the difference between a House and a Home? A House is the physical place where you keep your belongings and where you sleep at night. A Home is where Love is nurtured, laughs are had, and memories are made.

As i write this i look around my house and see a never ending to do list. This list ranges from day to day tasks such as cleaning, vacuuming, scrubbing. To longterm tasks such as fixing that loose cupboard, or repainting the hallway. This can seem quite daunting, how can someone possibly stay on top of all these tasks while working a full time job and raising a family? The answer is simple, they don’t. . .

While it may drive you a little insane that there is dirty washing all over the house, your kids aren’t going to mind. This is what i’m getting at. Don’t spend all your free time trying to tick off that to do list instead of spending with your family, growing your love, laughing a lot, and making those memories.

Sure your house may have been perfect when you moved in, but it was just a house. Now it’s a home, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as you and your family are happy. and yes when your friends come over to visit its in your nature to rush around and tidy the house to give the impression you are holding it all together, but don’t worry too much. Because i can guarantee if they have kids in their household, they are going through the same situation as you.

Sure tomorrow morning i will probably get up early, spend my time away from work mowing the lawn, ticking that job off the list. But after that ill be able to enjoy spending time outside with my family.

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