A Day off with Dad

a day off with dad

For the little guy, Wednesdays are A Day off with Dad each week. It works out well as Ollie goes to daycare Tuesdays and Thursdays, and while Mrs. Down Under is still working until Bub #2 comes along (see When 3 become 4), Dad and the little guy get to spend the day together.

Breakfast with Dad

Whether its a  normal working day, or a Day off with Dad, breakfast it always the first port of call. Literally as soon as we are out of bed Ollie has to drag me to the kitchen to get it started.

Given we have been going through Winter and our house is often cold in the morning we have been having porridge, for breakfast, every day. Although since Down Under Dad has gone back to working days, there have been some mornings where Mrs. Down Under has had to organise breakfast.

That meant today when I tried to make porridge, our 2 year old was adamant that he was having cereal instead. The box of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut that had been left unopened was in his sights, and while he did finish most of a bowl, the rest did end up scattered around him.

Getting Set for a Day off with Dad

One thing about Wednesday mornings is that they can go very quickly. Our first adventure has a deadline of 9:30am, which may not seem early, but anyone with toddlers will tell you that you can never leave enough time to get ready.

With Mrs. Down Under heading off to work early, if the rest of the household isn’t awake by the time she leaves, then its safe to say we will be rushing to get there on time.

The other thing about Wednesday mornings is that, that is when our Bins get collected. This means that our first adventure on a day off with dad is putting the bins away. While this may not seem like an adventure for most people, it is when you have a 2 year old who has to help with everything.

a day off with dad

Swimming Lessons

Longtime followers of Down Under Dad and the adventures on a Day off with Dad, would know that swimming lessons are a weekly occurrence. We have been taking the little guy for lessons for around 12 months now. You might ask how we managed this in Winter? thankfully we decided to take him to Balance at Wests Mayfield where not only are the pools indoors, but the one used for lessons is heated too.

If you want to read some of our previous experiences with swimming lessons you can check out Swimming Lessons Part 1 and Swimming Lessons Part 2, not only do they document our experiences, but also provide some helpful advice for new Dads (or any parents really) who are planning on taking their toddlers swimming.

a day off with dad

As I’ve been lacking in my posts lately, you might not be aware that the last few weeks Ollie hasn’t really been enjoying his swimming, there have been tears on multiple occasions and he has been going backwards in his skills.

Well today I am happy to report that we made some progress!

  • He showed progress in some of the skills they are taught
  • He only argued during some of the activities
  • and the tears didn’t come out until right at the end.

While it may not seem like much, you have to take the wins where you can.

Note, the tears probably could have been avoided, but given he was finally showing some progress both Dad and the instructor pushed* him a little too hard at the end.

*I don’t mean literally pushed, just let him swim freely for too long.

Coffee Break

Any parent would know that spending the day with a toddler without your other half can wear you out. While this is all part of being a parent, a Day off with Dad often requires multiple caffiene hits throughout the day.

What started as a reward for following instruction during swimming has quickly turned into a weekly routine. After the lesson is over we sit in the sun while Dad has a Coffee and Ollie has a Chocolate Milkshake.

There is always some confusion when I go to order them though as Ollie can’t quite pronounce the word Milkshake yet, and as you can see in Vocabulary of an almost 2 year old, when I say the word Coffee, he proceeds to refer to it as a Hot Tea.

After finishing our drinks and snacking on a cookie, or as he refers to them ‘bickkies’ it was time to keep moving.

Dad’s Visit to the Doctor

Now before you start worrying, Dad’s visit to the Doctor was nothing serious. With Bubba #2 not far off, Down Under Dad needed to get his Whooping Cough vaccination updated. Don’t worry, I’m as happy as you are that it wasn’t serious, after being Hit for 6 and Out earlier in the year, the last thing I want to deal with is another Week with a Sick Toddler

Every parent would remember when they had to take their newborn babies along to the doctor for their first set of immunisations. You know walking into the room that it isn’t going to be pleasant for anyone involved, and when your baby starts screaming afterwards, it can bring a tear to your eye.

Just to clarify, today’s appointment was for Dad, not for the little guy. However when they Doctor came into the room to give Dad his injection, Ollie burst into tears, despite it having nothing to do with him. The Doctor was even nice enough to give him a lolly afterwards to help settle him down.

Dad can we stop for Ice-Cream

Located beside the Chemist where we saw the Doctor is a Baskin Robbins Ice-Cream Parlour, which depending on which way you look at it can be a good or a bad thing.

One method often used by parents to calm their kids is bribery. Given I’ve said I will always be honest on this Blog, Yes, Yes I did resort to bribery, but to be fair, I also wanted the Ice-Cream.

While he still hasn’t mastered some of the skills he needs to swim safely in the pool, he does a pretty good job of not making a mess when eating an ice-cream.

a day off with dad

The Remainder of the Day

Heading home after ice-cream it was time to wind down. While according to the clock we were only halfway through the day, again anyone with a toddler will tell you sometimes that’s enough for them.

Without even making lunch, the little guy promptly told me it was time for a ‘bot bot’, which roughly translates to “I’m ready for a nap”. I say roughly because despite him telling me he was ready, the 35 minutes we lied there before he fell asleep says differently.

By the time he woke up, Mrs. Down Under had returned home from work, which meant a day off with dad had come to an end.

 

2 Years of Parenthood

birthday party

When you were young, 2 years seemed like a long time, now as adults 2 years can go by pretty quickly.

This Dad is proud to say the Down Under Family has made it through 2 years of parenthood, that’s right our little guy has just turned 2 years old.

There has been plenty of good memories made from the last 2 years, there was also plenty of tough days. As always though the good ones will always outnumber the bad.

“The next time you think you are struggling with parenthood, just remember the duck that let all 5 of her ducklings go away before going looking for them”

But that’s not what this post is about, this is about our little guy turning 2.

kangaroo

His Birthday

As part of his birthday celebrations we went on a short break into the Hunter Valley which you can read about here – Our Quick Escape – Part 1

The last day of that break matched up with his actual birthday and we started the day off by going to the Zoo! You can read a lot more detail about that in the final part of that series.

Oliver got to see many of the animals he had only ever seen in books or on TV up close and even got to feed some kangaroos. While he did get freaked out by Dad feeding an Emu, he was amazed when the lions decided to roar at each other for a good 5 minutes non stop.

To summarise though at the age of 2 no matter how many times we told him it was his birthday, it didn’t really click until later on in the day.

When we got home we wasted no time in giving him his birthday presents from us. If you read Vocabulary of a almost 2 Year Old you probably have a fair idea of what we were getting him.

car

That’s right, his presents were themed from his 2 favorite things, Cars (not just any cars, has to be the licensed stuff), and Dinosaurs.

Awhile ago I wrote a piece on Kids Toys – Kids Toys . In this you can read my thoughts on how strict parents should be with the age guidelines on toys. Given the size of one of his dinosaurs, lets just say we still don’t follow these strictly.

His Party

I never wrote about the party we held for his 1st birthday as this blog wasn’t around. To get you up to speed, it was in our backyard (our small backyard), we did all the food ourselves (with a little help from our family), and Mrs Down Under made a multi-layer cake herself (with many practice runs). While it ran smoothly and the weather was great, it was also a lot of work, something we didn’t really want to do this year.

Fortunately we had found a great venue to have it. A local pub that has recently undergone renovations has built an indoors playground next to a large beer garden area. We booked the tables closest to the only entry point to the playground so the kids could play as they pleased and the adults could relax – as much as possible at a kids party.

birthday party

After a couple hours of playing, snacking, and a couple of drinks it was time for cake

“A Party without Cake is just a Meeting”

A simple ice cream cake with his favorite car on top was certainly a hit. So much that when the car was taken off a few of the toddlers wanted to ‘share’ the car. I say ‘share’ because we know how good toddlers can be at sharing.

Most of the attendees at the party were actually friends that the little guy made before he was even born. My wife’s mum’s group became friends before any of their kids were born and are still good friends 2 years down the track. What does this mean? it means that 12 months ago there was a party every weekend for close to 2 months. It also means that this is the first 2nd birthday party of many in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned!

A Week with a Sick Toddler

toddler wooden trainset

So as your probably aware by now, it is the middle of winter in our part of the world. That means our usual warm and dry days have been replaced by cold and wet ones. Instead of the sun rising early and setting late, most people are leaving for work in the cold and getting home after dark. What else does it mean? it means we are in the middle of the so called ‘flu’ season.

Now if you have been following you would know that Down Under Dad was recently struck down by the dreaded Dad Flu – see Hit for 6 and Out! Some Antibiotics and a few days off work later and I recovered. Unfortunately all those stories you hear of sickness running through entire families are true and now our little guy is sick.

Sick Toddler

After a bit of a rough night on Monday, Mrs Down Under took the day off on Tuesday to look after the poor guy and ended up taking him to the Doctors. That saying about bad things coming in three’s is true. He has, an Ear Infection, a mild case of Croup, and a bit of conjunctivitis to round it out.

OK so it hasn’t quite been a week yet, but ruling out an overnight recovery, it probably will be.

How do you know when your Child is actually Sick?

Every so often as a parent you know you are going to have a rough day or night here and there. Maybe its a sleepless night, maybe your child is being a lot more needy then usual, Maybe you just really want to have a quiet day on the lounge and all your children want to do is go outside. What constitutes a rough day will vary from parent to parent. Sometimes your child is teething, sometimes they are sick, sometimes there will be no explanation whatsoever for there behavior.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how our little guy wasn’t sleeping like he used to, you can read that here Toddler Sleep Regressions , As a parent how do you know if your toddler is simply going through a regression (although there is nothing simple about a toddler being awake all night), or if its something more.

Nobody knows our kids better then their own parents. To determine if your child is sick you can ask two sets of questions. Firstly, You know their behavior better then anybody. What’s normal (for them), and What is out of the ordinary. Secondly, You also know their habits as well. How much they normally eat, How often do they go to the toilet. The first set of questions are ones you can ask yourself and it will let you know if something is up. The second set are what a doctor will ask you if you go visit them. Generally speaking if your child is eating/drinking and doing number 1 and 2, if they don’t have a temperature they probably are OK (again i’m not a doctor, just not a helicopter parent either).

 

What to do when your Sick?

I’m not going to tell you when to go to the Doctor, in no way am I a trained medical professional, and if you ask my wife, she will tell you there is plenty of times when I personally should have gone to the doctor and didn’t.

This is more about how to pass the time that you should be ‘resting’ – who can really get a toddler.

If you are looking for some easy ways to keep your toddler entertained, check out my earlier post Go To Tricks For Entertaining Kids , while some of them might be obvious, sometimes its the simple things that work the best.

Back to this week, being sick means no daycare and limited time outside (especially in winter) so how did we keep ourselves busy?

toddler wooden trainset

A Brand New Toy!

No I’m not encouraging you to go out and buy your kids new toys every time they are feeling under the weather, unless you can afford to, then go for it!

I actually bought this wooden set from Aldi as a Christmas present for the little guy last year. Given how many toys he had at the time and the potential for ‘choking hazards’ it has never been opened. What better time to open it!

If you want to read more about my thoughts on kids toys check out this post Kids Toys it sums up my thoughts on ‘age requirements’ and how many toys is too many.

Anyway staying on Track (ha ha track, get it #dadjoke), it was a hit! sure the millions of little pieces (yes I counted them) didn’t look like much in his eyes to begin with, once he realised the tracks joined together (with a bit of help from Dad) and the trains rolled along them he was hooked.

Pro Tip: when buying something like this in the future, always consider how you will store it, I can guarantee not all the pieces will fit back in the box they came from, and a cardboard box will only last so long in the hands of a toddler.

So What Now?

Well Down Under Dad has the next few days off his day job so hopefully as a family we can get through this. Next weekend the little guy turns 2 and no one wants to be sick on their birthday. We are also planning a 3 day getaway as a family to celebrate his birthday as it will be that last time there will only be 3 of us – see When 3 become 4. . .

If you have any hot tips for beating child sickness definitely share them, or any advice for avoiding them altogether without creating a baby in a bubble share them below.

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Toddler Sleep Regressions

sleep regression effects

The term every parent doesn’t want to hear.

You think you finally getting the hang of raising a toddler, your sleep patterns have gotten a little more regular, you no longer act like a zombie during daylight hours. Everything seems to be going pretty smoothly, and then it happens.

Your toddler starts to take a lot longer to go to sleep of a night, your toddler goes through a couple of days without naps, or what starts off as one bad night of sleep turns into multiple nights.

sleep regression

You start to wonder if you have done anything different? or if your child might be sick, and then it clicks. That dreaded term you had only heard rumors of or read about online comes back to haunt you. That’s right

Toddler Sleep Regressions

Yes they are a real thing that the majority of us will experience. They are not just a legend told to scare parents.

Thankfully there is plenty of information available online from experts about what exactly a sleep regression is: sleep regression refers to a period of time when a baby or toddler who’s been sleeping well suddenly begins waking at night and during naptime, or even refusing to go to sleep at all (Baby Sleep Site).

So at least you will know if you are going through an actual regression, or you know, your child is just being painful.

If you have been following for awhile I have actually written about this before in A Good Nights Sleep Is this a reoccurring theme? maybe, all well, this is a Dad Blog after all.

Our Current Situation

Last night our toddler decided to wake up at around midnight, to a non parent this might seem funny, to another parent this may seem like a common occurrence and something we should be used to. Either one would be fine, if he had decided to go back to sleep before 5am.

note, I need to be honest here, it wasn’t actually last night this happened, it was earlier in the week, but yesterday I was too tired to write something that at least made sense.

sleep regression effects

If this was the only ‘refusing to sleep’ event that had occurred recently I would put it down to a bad night, unfortunately its not.

As a shift worker I am not home most evenings when its time for our little guy to go to sleep, so the ‘falling asleep’ routine has fallen upon my wife. She is fine with this (as far as I know), what does get to her is when a routine that used to take all of about 10-15 minutes to complete, lately has been taking up to 2 hours. Yes, that’s 2 hours of comforting, watching, settling, before he falls asleep.

As you can imagine this tends to have an impact on our sanity. It does help to know we are not alone though. Baby Sleep Site has written a good article on the topic here. However as parents know, every child is different and it doesn’t matter how many articles you read or strategies you research, sometimes you just have to wait it out.

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Shopping for Kids Toys – With Kids

kids ride

Shopping for kids toys has got to be one of more fun jobs that comes with raising children, albeit an expensive one.

The Down Under family has just returned from an after daycare / after work, impromptu  shopping trip. The occasion? The Annual Big W toy sale. You can read about previous shopping trips with kids here – Shopping with Kids.

note this isn’t an ad, just a rundown of our afternoon.

As we discovered this time last year when our toddler was about to turn 1, Big W has an annual toy sale during which not only are a lot of their toys on special (duh), but they offer extended lay-by services until Christmas. Unfortunately last year we had already bought his presents for his birthday, but were able to get our Christmas shopping started.

This year we knew it was coming, in fact it started at midnight last night. While we were planning on leaving it until the weekend, reports from friends told us “all the good toys are selling out”, so this afternoon we ventured out.

As I mentioned before this was an after daycare trip, which meant our toddler was already tired, was that a risk we were willing to take? absolutely! Did he play up while we were there? it could have been worse.

shopping with kids

Above photo was taken during a pit-stop, here I am trying to get a laugh out by sitting in the tiny car next to him, as you can see he is not impressed.

The thing about these toy sales is you generally know what you want to buy before you go in – we had a catalogue circled ready to go. If you have been following for awhile you already know my thoughts on Kids Toys. The other thing about these toy sales is the toys aren’t just confined to the toy section of the shop, they are everywhere. What does this mean?

Firstly is it takes a lot longer then you would expect to find what you are looking for. You want cars? better check the book section, looking for Lego? check the home-wares, Dinosaurs? clothing. I could go on but you get the idea.

Secondly is that you have no idea if something has sold out, or if you just haven’t found it yet. Sure you could ask someone, but then they have to go check. Got a few things you can’t find? you are going to be asking a lot. If someone from Big W happens to be reading this, next year make a map. Seriously it wouldn’t be hard, and would make shoppers lives a lot easier, in fact give me early access to get exactly what I want without the crowds and I’ll even make one for you.

Now I won’t go into detail around how many times we walked around the store, or how long we waited in line for lay-by. But if you happened to be there, our child was the one riding around on the trike getting in everyone’s way.

I’m also not going to spoil the surprise of what we bought. If you keep following his 2nd birthday is only weeks away so you will see then what he gets, Christmas is also closer then you think so you will see those too.

If your after a clue, checkout my post – Vocabulary of an Almost 2 year old, it lists a few of his favorite words which match some of his favorite things.

After a couple of hours shopping, an early dinner out as well. Sometimes its the simple things that put a smile on your child’s face.

kids ride

 

Vocabulary of an almost 2 Year Old

Learning to speak another language isn’t easy, it requires time, patience, and commitment. Everyone has a different opinion on how long it takes based on how fluent you wish to become in the language and your environment. Below you will find the complete Vocabulary of an almost 2 year old. One thing is for sure, it takes a lot longer to learn your first language.

For those who haven’t been following along, I currently have 1 child who turns 2 in just under 2 months. Every day it seems his vocabulary is expanding. So far he hasn’t learnt to say any words he shouldn’t, So far. He at the stage where the words he picks up are random and he may have only heard them once or twice.

 

Words he has Mastered

Mum – An easy one, and often a first word for many children. It has also expanded to many other derivatives such as, Mummy, Mumma, Mom.

Dad – Another easy one, often comes hand in hand with the last one. Also expanded to include Daddy and Dada

Car – If you have a favorite object then there is a good chance you are going to learn how to say it so your family knows what you want. Our son is obsessed with cars, or anything with wheels

Nanna – multiple syllable words that repeat the same sounds are easy for a toddler to learn. They also enjoy saying them with varying levels of tone. NANA when he sees her. Nana? if she is on the phone. Nana Car! when she pulls up out the front.

Pop – for a simple word this one did take awhile to learn. It was his first word with a P in it though.

Tea – Not the meal, but the warm beverage. Also, coffee is seen as tea to him. Both commonly found in our household.

Ball – If you are playing outside, it doesn’t matter where you are a Ball can turn it into a game. Along with this we have started learning to kick a ball around too.

Move – When something or someone is in your way, you either move it yourself, or ask them to move. We must use this term a lot in our home as he as picked it up pretty clearly.

Stuck – What happens when something doesn’t move or you can’t move it yourself? Its Stuck! We used to use this word in conversations with our toddler about his playing. “is the ball stuck?” Now he uses it to announce to the family when he is having difficulty moving something.

Shoes – We all wear shoes, we all have different kinds of shoes. If our son wants his shoes on then he will find them and bring them to us. If we say the word ‘shoe’ in conversation, he will proceed to bring us various pairs of shoes until we put one on.

Uggboot – Everyone has their favorite pair of shoes, including Uggboots. Not being allowed to wear the Uggboots outside though has been the cause of multiple tantrums.

vocabulary of an almost 2 year old

 

Words he is struggling with

Eddie – EeeEee. Our beloved dog’s name, this was always going to be a word he learnt early on as he often hears us say it.

Truck – Tuck. When you love cars so much, the next evolution of this is always going to be bigger cars or Trucks! He loves watching them, the weekly garbage truck is like a celebrity to him. Just need to master the R.

Bowl – Booowwl. 9 times out of 10, a bowl means breakfast. If we are in the kitchen, then he feels the need to point out the bowls, just with a bit of emphasis on the oooowl.

Bottle – Bot Bot. Not sure if this is his nickname for a bottle or just can’t grasp it. Either way if its time and you mention that word, you better have one on the way.

Lunch Box – Ln Box. When we go to daycare we need to make sure we pack our lunch. Once its packed we better make sure we don’t leave it behind.

Pool – Apool. You can read all about our adventures with swimming lessons here. Where else do you go for swimming lessons but the pool of course. Not sure if he can’t pronounce it or he just gets too excited to speak clearly..

Moana – Ana. Everyone has a favorite movie to watch. Our Son is obsessed with Disney’s ‘Moana’, more specifically the songs. Whether its for some quiet time on the lounge or to get up and dance to, this movie never fails to entertain.

Shower – Hower. Fun fact, our house doesn’t have a bath, which means our son has gotten used to showering everyday rather then baths. He really enjoys this daily routine, so much he can almost pronounce it clearly, or at least enough so we know what he means.

Grandma – nndma. I know someone who is eagerly awaiting him mastering this word. Its not that he doesn’t know who she is, but can’t quite get the word out.

Banana – naaana. One of his favorite fruits. 3 syllable words aren’t part of his skill set yet.

What comes next

Sentences of course!

While he often starts up very interesting conversations with either himself or other family members, he can’t quite string clear words together yet. However if he is trying to talk to you, you better respond as if you know exactly what he means otherwise he won’t be too impressed.

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Top 3 Tantrums of the Week 20/5/18

TOP 3

Its the End of the week which means its time for another Top 3 Moments of the week gone by. This week has been what parents would know as a ‘long’ week so to finish it off, in no particular order, here are the Top 3 Tantrums from this week.

We only just arrived, I don’t want to leave yet

After a 2 and a half hour car ride I wouldn’t want to hop straight back in the car either, thankfully that’s not what we were doing.

We had arrived at a park for a friends birthday and wandered over to where they had set up. Once we placed our things down we all needed a toilet trip and someone needed a nappy change, unfortunately the toilets were in a similar direction to the car. By similar I mean away from where we were.

The standout was when our child decided

to hop off his little ride on car and proceed to flip it over in outrage.

I know the sun is up but I still want the light on

The unfortunate nature of toddler sleeping patterns is that they are forever changing. The unfortunate nature of living in Australia means twice a year we change our clocks by 1 hour. As an adult this doesn’t mean much, as a toddler when you wake up at a similar time most days, that time has now changed.

How does this relate to our tantrum? well when our child decided to wake us up this morning it was still dark enough to put the light on. As the morning passed the light was then turned off.

How Dare We! In response our toddler stood in front of the light switch pointing at it, demanding it be turned back on. Trying to save money on our power bill we tried not to give in. I say tried, because sometimes the easiest way to avoid another tantrum is to give in.

No I will not let you try and wipe the chocolate off my forehead

Now I’ll start this off by saying we don’t consume a lot of sugar in our household, and neither does our child. However the occasional chocolate biscuit is enjoyed, and our child is never far away.

Anyone who knows chocolate, knows it can melt quickly and become sticky. Anyone who knows toddlers, knows they can make a mess out of just about anything. The other thing about toddlers is they generally don’t like being cleaned up. Mix the 3 together and you get chocolate on your child’s face.

The unfortunate thing about chocolate is it looks a lot like your child has dirt all over their face (parent of the year). Depending on the location and severity it can also look like a bad scratch. Both of these were the first things I asked when my wife showed me the picture.

 

Just to clarify, by no means are these the only tantrums that occurred this week. I would be writing all night if I listed them all, but after careful deliberation between my wife and I, these were the best. To narrow it down we used the criteria that they needed to be a classic toddler tantrum, that is, they needed to be for a ridiculous excuse that no amount of reasoning would have helped the situation.

Enjoyed this list? Got some stories of your own to share? Tune in this time next week for another Top 3

TOP 3