Can you move a sleeping baby or toddler?

Or in my case try and move them from the car into bed

My eldest daughter has been rebelling against her naps for the past few weeks. What has made it worse is that since the last week or so she has figured out how to open doors.

This means that not only will she get out of bed, she will get out of her room and explore the whole upstairs.

Swimming didn’t work

So today we went swimming as she always gets really tired after that. It worked to a certain extent. She fell asleep five minutes before we got home. This is unusual for her as she has pretty much stopped sleeping in the car.

Last year when she used to fall asleep in the car we could easily carry her in and even if she half woke up most of the time she soon settled back down. As we didn’t want to leave her asleep in the car we decided to try and move her. This turned out to be a big mistake, she woke up straight away and flat out refused to settle after that. She got straight out of bed and out of her room every time we tried to put her down. In the end she didn’t have a nap and she was overtired towards the end of the day. 

Double trouble

To make matters worse her younger sister also woke up when we carried her carseat out of the car. Between the two of them they certainly kept my wife and myself busy this afternoon. So should we have moved them or just left them to sleep in the car? Is it ever okay to potentially wake a sleeping baby? Please let me know in my poll.

 

In hindsight I think letting them sleep in the car might have been better, however at the time I was pretty sure they would settle back down if they did wake up.

Princess Mirror-Belle and the Dragon Pox book review

I was really excited to be win a copy of this book through Toppsta as my two year old daughter really loves the Julia Donaldson books she already has. These include the Gruffalo’s Child, What the Ladybird Heard and various books from the Acorn Wood series.

She especially likes the illustrations and the ways the words flow in rhymes.

As a consequence we were both disappointed with Princess Mirror-Belle and the Dragon Pox. I think it is probably just a bit too old for her.

Synopsis

A little girl Ellen has chicken pox, when she looks in the mirror and starts scratching her reflection tells her off. Her reflection jumps out of the mirror and introduces herself as Princess Mirror-belle and she has dragon pox. Princess Mirror-Belle starts making a cure for dragon pox which leaves a big mess in the bathroom. Just as Ellen’s mother appears Princess Mirror-belle jumps back into the mirror, leaving Ellen to explain the mess.

The bad bits (for a two year old)

  • The story didn’t flow that well and there were more words than my daughter is used too. she often tried turning the page before I had gotten halfway through reading it.
  • The book could encourage bad behaviour. In the story Princess Mirror-Belle squirts a whole bottle of bubble bath, a whole tub of toothpaste, a whole can of shaving cream and a whole bottle of shampoo into the bath as a cure for the dragon pox. They also splash this water all over the floor making it soaking wet. My daughter has a tendency to copy things she hears so I would not want to give her the impression that any of this is acceptable behaviour.

The good bits (for a Two year old)

  • My daughter really enjoyed the illustrations. There was so much going on on each page she enjoyed pointing out various objects and animals on each page. In that sense it helps build her vocabulary.

Conclusion

All in all I would say this book is not a good book to get a two year old. However I can imagine an older child getting a lot more out of the book and enjoying it more. After all it has some great reviews on Amazon, but these mainly seem to be from parents/grand parents of four and five year olds.  In which case I’ll have to try it out again in a few years to see if it is more suitable for my daughter then.

Toddlers have half term too!

Do you think half term is only for school aged children? If you do think again. Half term has a major impact on my two year old and five month old.

 

Impact

For our own sanity we try and get out of the house as much as possible so toddler groups and classes are a real godsend. However at half term the majority of them don’t seem to be running. This means that you have to entertain your children in other ways. That’s not easy though.

We went for our weekly swim last Monday and the swimming pool was really busy with older children. There was lots of splashing from the older children, who often didn’t look where they were swimming. This meant that we were often getting bumped or having to take avoiding action. In addition there is a real scramble for the changing rooms with a baby changing unit as older families use them as well. All in all this means the experience is not as relaxing as it normally is. I imagine the same goes for other activities which will also be busier than during term time.

Our solution

Our solution was to pack our bags drive 180 miles and visit some family and friends. We did this on the Tuesday and thankfully we had an excellent drive up both girls were either asleep or passive enough not to stop so the journey was very good. We had enough time to get unpacked, settle in and let our eldest get over the excitement before it was time for bed.

The next day we had arranged to meet friends at Gulliver’s world in Warrington. I did a detailed review here, but suffice to say our eldest daughter loved it and even today a full five days later still talks about the ladybird ride that she went on. The next few days involved seeing family and going with them to a garden centre with aquarium when it was raining, and visiting Tam O’Shanters farm when it wasn’t. At Tam O’Shanters my eldest daughter got to stroke an owl which she really loved. Other activities included house visits to friends and family and getting windswept on the beach.  The days were really jam packed and fun, with family taking a bit of the pressure off having to constantly entertain a two year old and five month old.

The children not being in school gives you a little more flexibility with regards to travelling. For example we decided to travel back today, on a Monday, when children were already back at school to avoid the traffic. If we had had to travel back on a Sunday the traffic would have been chaotic and we wouldn’t have had such an easy trip.

We left this morning and to tire out my eldest daughter, as well as to give mummy and daddy time to pack the car in peace, she went on a bus ride to the local beach with family. She really enjoyed it and it definitely did the job as she was asleep soon after we left. Again the journey was really good. Our youngest slept the whole way and although our eldest did wake up about an hour from home she wasn’t that restless that we needed to stop so we managed to get home at a decent time.

 

Upcoming holidays

Both my wife and myself think this past week has been a huge success. Our eldest daughter hasn’t been missing her classes as there has been so many other things going on. She has had plenty of distractions without taking up all of our time. We have already planned to visit family and friends again at Easter time. Hopefully that will be just as successful. I’m not sure we will be wanting to go away every holiday, but probably we would for a good portion of them. Alternatively it might also be worth timing relatives trips to see us around school holidays so that there is an extra distraction for the girls.

I also think late spring and summer holidays will be different anyway as there are a lot more outdoor activities that we can do and we don’t feel like we have to be cooped up in the house or having to drive to expensive soft plays and theme parks.

All in all I do think that doing something different like taking a trip to see family and friends during school holidays is a great idea. .

 

Have a great day out at Gulliver’s World Warrington.

After travelling up north to see family and friends we decided to visit Gulliver’s World in Warrington to meet up with some friends.

Gullivers-Logo-

I was a little sceptical at first as our eldest is only two and under 90cm so I wasn’t sure how much there would be for her to do. However my wife went on the Gulliver’s website to have a look at the list of rides  available to children under 90cm  and saw that there was plenty of rides that she would be able to go on.

Getting there and in

The good bit

The sign posting on the roads was very good, which was a bit of luck as our sat nav decided to lose it’s GPS signal just as we were approaching Warrington. Having arrived we were caught up in a bit of a queue for parking as it was very busy. However there was ample parking and what’s more the parking was free. This is very good compared to lots of places where you buy entrance tickets and you then have to pay extra for parking.

The bad bit

The queues were pretty bad and we had to endure two of them. First of all we had to queue up to get our tickets. You can buy tickets in advance and print them off.  We however had decided not to do this in case we had to cancel our visit, as the tickets are non-refundable. Next time we might try and book in the morning before we set off just to avoid the ticket queue. Unfortunately you cannot by-pass the second queue, which is the queue to actually get into the park. However it did start to move when they opened some more gates and we didn’t have to wait too long in the end. It probably just felt like longer with an impatient two year old.

Inside the park

The good bit

There were lots of rides and activities to choose from even for our daughter who is under 90cm. Quite a few of them were indoors so that if the weather had been bad there would still have been plenty to do. There also seemed to be different playgrounds everywhere from an indoor shop, to an outside sandpit, a play fort and lots more. Everywhere you turned there seemed to be something to do.

The staff were very friendly and patient, especially when our daughter was taking her time to decide if she wanted to go on a ride or not.

She especially liked the train, the ladybirds and the merry go round, as well as one particular slide in one of the playgrounds.

There was plenty of benches as well as comfy seating for my wife to breastfeed. There was also lots to look at as you were walking round, from mirrors on walls to ducks on the lake. My daughter didn’t know in which direction to go as there was excitement everywhere.

The bad bit

Some of the rides and attractions looked a bit tired and could have done with a lick of paint. This isn’t something that bothers the children, but it was something both my wife and myself picked up on.

As it’s not the peak season not all the rides were running. This could be annoying if you have come for a particular ride, but it was fine for us.

Some of the larger rides had very long queues, up to an hour for the log flume. Again this didn’t affect us too much, but it can be annoying if going with older children.

Other items

As it was off-season and not all the rides were operating, entry was reduced to £9.95 per adult and child over 90cm. The normal price is £17 if bought on the day or £15 if bought online at least two days in advance.

Mothers day special deal: On the mothers day weekend of 14th-15th of March, mums go free with one other paying person. This could be a great day out. For full details visit the Gulliver’s world website. This deal is also valid in Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes.

Definitely worth a visit.

All in all I would definitely recommend a visit to Gulliver’s World for age ranges between 2 and about 11. I think my eldest daughter would also enjoy it even more when she is a little bit older and taller and can go on even more rides. It would also be nice to go when my youngest daughter is a bit older so she too can enjoy the atmosphere. Today my youngest daughter was either in her buggy or in her sling. She did look like she was soaking up some of the atmosphere though.

 

 

 

Tips for surviving long car journeys with children.

So as it’s half term next week and most of the toddler classes will not be running we have decided to go and visit friends and family. However this entails a four hour car journey. Below are the tips I can give you from our long car journeys so far as well as memories from when I was younger. However, as our daughters are getting older and more active I could really do with some additional tips for surviving long car journeys. Hopefully I can then compile a comprehensive list for surviving long car journeys.

 My tips for surviving long car journeys:

Pre-Journey tips

These are tips for planning the journey so that you are as prepared as you can be.

    • Timing: If at all possible time the journey to avoid rush hour and to fit in with your childrens schedule. For example when we went to Europe via Dover we determined that a 6.30am ferry was the best option for us. This would mean leaving at around 3am, but it would also hopefully mean that our daughter would sleep most of the way there. As it happened she didn’t sleep that much, but she was quite calm as she was tired. The timing meant that we missed rush hour on the M25, were on board just in time for breakfast, she got to run around on the ferry after breakfast and expend some energy. By the time we had to get of the ferry and back in the car for another long stretch she was ready for a rest. This journey, about eight hours in total, worked out better than we thought it would.
    • Route planning: Plan your route in advance or at the very least have a reliable Sat-Nav handy. Getting lost is stressful. It’s even more stressful with a crying toddler in the back seat. It is therefore important to know where you’re going. On the eight hour trip to Europe I mentioned above we had planned the journey and printed out directions, but we hadn’t used our Sat Nav as we didn’t want to use roaming charges on our mobile phone. We took one exit too early, it was confusing right in the heart of Antwerp, and ended up taking a 45 minute detour as it took us a while to realise our mistake and  correct it.
    • Packing: Pack the car in advance as much as possible as it will probably end up taking longer than you think. Have everything you think you might need, such as changing bag, change of clothes, snacks, etc, within easy reach.
    • Baby Car Mirror: A baby car mirror is really good for both the adult and the child. What it does is allow you to see any child in a rear facing car seat through the rear view mirror. It attaches to the headrest in front of the child so they can have fun looking at themselves in the mirror too. We have found ours to be really useful.

Passive in car tips

By passive in car tips I mean tips that include little adult participation.

    • Toys: Toys are a good distraction especially for younger children who do not get as easily distracted by music and other activities. Having said that toys do fall easily out of little hands and if you don’t want a crying baby, because they’ve dropped their toy somewhere you can’t reach I suggest having a bag at the front with a wide selection of little toys that can be passed back to your child.
    • Music: At the moment our daughter really likes listening to music and she often asks for the music to be put on. We have a lot of children’s CD’s by the CRS Players, which we managed to find in a charity shop. This is lucky as she absolutely loves these and they are now hard to find although they are available on itunes.We have put them all on our ipod which we can connect to the car stereo so that we don’t have to keep switching cd’s. My daughter has her own playlist on the ipod so we can go quite a distance without the music going off. I expect that once our daughters are a bit older we might need to give them their own ipod with headphones so they can listen to what they want. Especially as we have two in the car as they might otherwise fight over the music choice. It would also be nice to get a break from the childrens music.

  • Food: This used to be a big no-no for us, but we have found it to be helpful on many occasions especially when stuck in traffic and unable to stop. We always carry a snack box with us which include drinks and snacks like breadsticks and bananas. Easy food that they can hold and eat without making too much mess.
  • Video: Although not on our radar yet I imagine a portable dvd player or Ipad will be required at some point in the future. Again they would probably need to have one each as they will otherwise fight over it.
  • Books: I think we will try this with our daughters, however I’m a little unsure as reading can lead to car sickness. Whenever I used to read in the car I got sick. That’s not to say it will happen with my daughters and having books nearby can also be good for when you need to stop.

 

Active in car tips

By active in car tips I mean tips that will probably require adult participation.

    • Sing alongs: Although my eldest daughter loves listening to music on the in car stereo she sometimes wants a change. She likes mummy and daddy singing to her and she’s reaching the age where she is starting to sing along herself.
    • Games: We haven’t started his with our daughters yet, but I don’t think it will be that long till games like I Spy become popular. Another game I enjoyed when I was younger was the game where you try to spot certain things, like trains, dogs, etc before the other people in the car.

Other tips

These are my tips that don’t fall in the above categories.

  • Scheduled stops: Try and have a scheduled stop every two to three hours so that the children can stretch their legs for a bit. It’s also good to have some lunch/snacks outside the car so you can enjoy some time as a family, without them talking to the back of your heads. Of course you should also plan for unscheduled stops. When our eldest was younger we took her on a journey that lasted six and a half hours when before she was born it took three hours. We had stopped at a service station and between nappy changes and feeds we were there for nearly two hours. Five minutes after we left the service station she did a dirty nappy. By the time we had reached the next service station and changed her nappy she was ready for another feed.
  • When you arrive: Don’t expect too much normal behaviour after a long car journey as it can affect your children in different ways. Sometimes they can get exhausted from the journey even if they’ve just been sitting there. At other times they get a bit hyperactive to let of steam. The latter is usually the case when they see familiar faces like grandparents who are obviously also excited to see them so they gee each other up a bit. Be aware that they might need to alter their routine be it an earlier night or a later night.

 

Share your tips for surviving long car journeys with children

The above are tips based on my experience of travelling with a two year old and now also a four month old as well as from my childhood memories. As my children grow up I’m sure I’ll add massively to this list. However I would also be grateful for any tips you can share with me now so I don’t have to find out the hard way.

The Dad Network

 

The List
Running in Lavender

Battery recharge needed

This week has been exhausting. Our youngest daughter is having a growth spurt and/or teething. She has been up every 2 hours at night time and not been sleeping much during the day. She also believes that between 4am and 5am is a good time to wake up and not settle back down. Three times this week I’ve been down with her very early in the morning, trying to keep her occupied so my wife can catch up on some sleep.

On top of that our eldest has decided that she doesn’t need daytime naps anymore. She has been resisting most days. Luckily she had a nap yesterday as we tired her out by going swimming. She’s also having a nap as I’m writing this so maybe she is starting to realise that she feels better in the afternoon if she’s had a nap.

When she doesn’t have a nap she gets unsteady on her feet, cries at the merest slip and gets very clingy. this is very tiring especially when the youngest has been keeping us awake at night.

Back into swimming routine

One positive from this week is that we are starting to get back into the routine of taking them swimming every week. Last week I wrote an article about the importance of routine and how a lack of swimming meant that my eldest daughter had lost a lot of the confidence she had.

Although it was only the second week in a row we’d been we could already see a lot of improvement over last week. She was starting to jump into the water herself a bit more and was generally a bit less clingy. Hopefully, once we keep going weekly she will soon have her old confidence back. At that point we can start thinking about giving her some lessons.

Having stressed the importance of routine it’s a shame that it’s half term next week. Most toddler groups won’t be running and the swimming pool is likely to be really busy. As such we’re thinking about going away for a few days to give us a bit of a break away and see some family and friends. This should hopefully keep our daughter distracted enough to forget that she is missing her usual activities. We will however, try and go swimming either before we go away or on our trip.

Battery recharge needed

Hopefully my youngest will stop her growth spurt and/or the teething long enough to have a few good nights sleep as I think my wife and I could really do with having a few good nights under our belt to recharge the batteries. On top of that if our eldest does keep napping regularly it will also help a great deal as it allows us to either recharge our batteries or get some housework done without tripping over her.