The toddler survival kit

It seems I blinked and now I have not one but two toddlers on my hands. With two boys, aged 3 and 1, I have certainly learned a thing or two about life with toddlers.

In no particular order, here are my must-haves for surviving life with toddlers.

A hand-held vacuum

Toddlers and mess go hand in hand. Get used to it. Meal time mess used to be restricted to the floor under the highchair but toddlers prefer to eat on the go. This means nothing is safe! The floors are constantly covered in crumbs, squashed fruit and week old sultanas. Don’t even get me started on the couches, walls and windows. Enter hand-held vacuum. You can easily whip that baby out and quickly clean up the floor, lounge or child’s lap without the fuss of a bulky corded vacuum.

A bubble machine

Kids LOVE bubbles. A manual wand type situation will work just fine but if you really want to up your bubble game and keep your toddlers occupied while you remain hands free, you need to get a bubble machine. These suckers can pump out hundreds of bubbles a minute all at the push of a button. Genius! Just be careful where you use this. If you are out in public you will very quickly attract all the children within a 500m radius.

A “beach” caddy

Toddlers require lots of crap. Yes, even more than babies if you can believe that. A simple trip to the park or family outing requires precision planning and packing. Between food, drinks, toys to keep them amused, changes of clothes in case of accidents or mess, hats for in the sun, jackets if it gets cold. The list goes on and on. One of the best things we have ever bought was a “beach” caddy from Kmart (hint, most of the things on this list can be purchased at this wonderful store). It folds up and is big enough to hold all of the crap and a kid or two as well. Every time I use this I get comments about it. God send.

Snacks… a lot of snacks

I never really understood the power of snacks until my second toddler. Toddler one can easily survive a week on nothing but milk and kinder surprises but toddler two LOVES his food (got it from his mama!). Snacks can be used for loads of different purposes including a diversion tactic, tantrum diffuser, boredom cure, oh and sometimes even for hunger.

A happy place

Toddlers are assholes. This is not new information. But if you’re like me you always thought that seemed a bit harsh. Nope. It’s true. Toddlers have a way of breaking you down. They may be small but they can make even the most mindful of mums lose their shit from time to time. Your spirit will break a little every time you have to wrestle a toddler to the ground to brush their teeth or drag them out from under the desk because they think running away and hiding from you at bath time is hilarious (or is that just me?). At some point you will need to walk away from your child, close the door and punch the air or scream into a pillow. Then find your happy place before emerging to try again. Don’t worry, bed time will come. Eventually.

There is never a dull moment with toddlers around that’s for certain. And though none of the above is ground breaking, life changing advice, hopefully it helps you to navigate the mine field that is life with toddlers whilst keeping a shred of sanity in tact.

What are your toddler survival tips?

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Photo Friday: Summer Love

Summer in Queensland is hot. Very hot. So whenever you get the chance to swim in a pool, you take it!

And that’s exactly what we did yesterday.

It was a such a nice and relaxing day by the pool with some good company, good food, and good laughs.

Exactly how summer should be spent in Queensland.

Oh yea, and we also have the worlds youngest beer pong player on our hands. Because once we cracked out the cups and table tennis balls, all Jesse wanted to do was play too.

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Bringing in the New Year

Our New Years getaway was a little different this year. And not just because we strayed from tradition and went to Maleny instead of the Bunya Mountains.

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We went from having no children in our party two years ago to one last year (Jesse) to four this year. A preschooler, a toddler and two babies in the one house certainly kept us all on our toes for the past 5 days. Especially given the multitude of staircases and Jesse’s love of climbing stairs!

But we had such a great time away. Jesse had such a fun time I’m not sure he wanted to come home. Between the big yard to run around in, loads of junk food to eat, his big cousin to play chasey with and his Nanny and Poppy living in the same house, he was a very happy boy!

Being surrounded by family and just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company is such a beautiful way to end the year and start a new one. And next year there will be at least one more baby to add to the group.

Life is good. Happy new year. 

Photo Friday: Story Bridge Climb

Have you ever taken a day (or a week) to explore and be a tourist in your own city?

We like to do this regularly and just recently, to kick off our 10th wedding anniversary, we took in the spectacular sights of Brisbane from the top of the Story Bridge.

Apart from barely making it out alive thanks to a very angry crow (possibly a slight exaggeration by someone with a bird phobia) protecting his nest, the climb was amazing. Definitely an item ticked off the dreams list.

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Footage Friday: Jesse loves the outdoors!

So Jesse absolutely loves the outdoors!

So much so that it doesn’t even matter if its 8pm and pitch black out… He still wants to go outside to play.

So that’s why we try and give him every opportunity we can to get outdoors, get his feet in the grass or in the dirt or in the sand… and get dirty!

And going by his squealing in this video, he was absolutely loving his time outdoors yesterday!

When is the perfect time?

So as you would have seen from our ‘Photo Friday’ post two days ago, there is a new addition to the extended Barton family. Little Flynn. My brother and sister-in-law’s second child.

And with that comes new conversations with family members and work colleagues. Well, not new for Renee and I, because its a conversation we’ve been having for a while now. But no one else knows that.

The hot topic of conversation… when Renee and I are planning on having a second baby. It never ends does it!

“When are you getting married?”

“When are you having a baby?”

“When are you having another baby?”

Over the past few days since Flynn’s birth, we’ve been advised on the benefits of having kids close together; we’ve been reminded about our ‘age’ and how the ‘clock’ is ticking (as if we didn’t know); and I’ve been told by someone that she is very keen to be an Aunty again! About as subtle as a gun don’t you think!

But what everyone doesn’t realise, is that we are already all over this.

The conversation about when we should have more kids, and how many kids at that, is a conversation that Renee and I frequently have. As do probably all first time parents. But funnily enough, even though we do talk about it regularly, I feel like we aren’t really any closer to coming to an agreement on both questions. Particularly how many children to have.

I am set on two. We won’t be outnumbered, and wherever you go, family passes are always for two adults and two children. Perfect! But Renee is still trying to talk me into three. She’s pretty adamant she will win this argument too! I think just recently she even said something along the lines of, “Oh we’re having three kids” in that kind of tone where you realise you don’t have any say in the matter.

So back on the topic of when we should have bubba number two! Well, while both Renee and I come from families of three kids, our family dynamics are quite different. Renee, her brother and her sister are all around 5 years apart, whereas me, my brother and my sister are all quite close at around 1-2 years apart.

And look, I really can see the pros and cons at doing it either way. Which timeline is best for us… I still don’t know at this stage. Though we don’t really have age on our side to consider the five years apart option.

Are we ready or a second baby? I don’t know… But is anyone ever truly ready for a second baby? Is there even such a thing as the perfect time?

I still feel like I’m learning to be a parent to Jesse. I still feel like I am yet to truly find my feet as a dad, where I can go out and confidently say, ‘yes, I have got this!’

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Though I’m not sure if a parent ever gets to that point.

But then you have the people that go, the second one is easy! The first born is always the hardest. It gets easier with each baby you have. Really? Does it? It seems like it’d just be Jesse x 2… and just Jesse by himself can sometime be a little overwhelming. Maybe its actually a matter of the parent getting more relaxed rather than the subsequent babies getting easier.

So the question is, is it time to jump into the deep end and try for baby number two? Or do we revel in the delight of our only child for a little bit longer?

Guess I better go find Renee so we can start the conversation again…