Wednesday, 30 March 2011


A couple of people have asked me what on earth I think I'm doing (I'm paraphrasing a bit, but just a bit). Why would I want to go out every day, toddler in tow? And, slightly differently, how is this a challenge?

The basic answers - the weather's getting better and we should enjoy it while we can, fun for all the family, fun for the not-working family members during the week - aren't the whole story. I'm a fast-paced sort of person and I keep a to-do list at home that currently, on a slow day, has 24 items on it. When I play with the toddler at home, in the back of mind there's always the nagging thought of the things I've not done yet. Have I emptied the washing machine? Wiped down the surfaces in the kitchen? Done the banking? Changed the bedlinen? And I often find myself settling her with her toys and rushing off to do one of the tasks, leaving playtime interrupted. When I come back to her, she's often moved on to something else and it takes me a while to catch up to her new game.

So what I'm trying to do is to match my pace to hers, so that I can enjoy the world as she does and enjoy her enjoying it too (it's like multi-tasking and doesn't that appeal to me!). I'm not sure I can slow down enough at home, surrounded by all the familiar tasks that need to get done and the guilt associated with either not doing them or doing them at the expense of time with the toddler.

Right now she's playing with bracelets and I'm writing this and making a list of Things For Our Outing Bag.

So far we have:

- water for Mama and Toddler with appropriate receptacles (the toddler always gets a separate cup: I love and accept my daughter absolutely, but that doesn't mean I have to get intimate with her backwash)
- bonus layer of clothing for both, just in case
- sunhat (we wish!)
- snacks for the toddler to stave off meltdowns
- camera to record our experiences
- changing pack in case the small one's caught short
- toy for prolonged public transport periods

It's starting to feel like an expedition.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A spreadsheet of fun!

The 30 Day Toddler Challenge is due to start on the 1st April, and so today I have been busy organising our itinerary. In Excel. With colour coordination and five separate columns (I'm going to add links to various venues for my own convenience later, of course. What sort of disorganised spreadsheet would it be otherwise?)

Two days of every week are taken up with a regular class at Gymboree, which the toddler adores. Weekends I've tried to organise with family days out rather than a mother-and-child outing, and the weekdays are split between indoor and outdoor activities so we can move things around if the weather fails to cooperate with my whims.

My aim is partly to make sure we shake off the winter hibernation, but also because we've been so busy with non-toddler-related things over the last few months that I want to devote a lot more of my time to showing her new things and reinforcing the ones she already knows. Lastly, I think it will be fun and I am looking forward to having fun with my daughter outside the house. There's a limited number of times I can read Put Me In The Zoo and we're rapidly approaching it; a few hours a day without the book will repair my enthusiasm for it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all.