Days Out

Travelling with a toddler

We’re back from Florida on our two-week vacation. Had a lovely time visiting my parents and my friends. Lots of family time was had and Jack as the master of ceremonies, decided most of our adventure destinations.
He did really well on the plane compared to last year when we were stuck on the tarmac for 4 hours and I had no choice but to let my then 2-year-old run back and forth in the plane.
This year he was able to fall asleep on his own in his seat with his headphones and inflatable footrest to keep him comfortable and entertained.
However, I will say that it was really tough on me and Mister Pick to deal with a pre-schooler on holiday. The trouble was, that we were trying to do the vacation the way we had before (same hotel, same restaurants, same activities) but adding a 3-year-old into the equation just made it frustrating for us. This was only the second time we’d gone away with Jack, so we didn’t consider that he would be extra tired, off his routine, in strange places, and very grumpy at times.
It got to the point where both of us thought, “We can’t do anything normal anymore because he won’t let us.” Restaurants were a place for him to be completely uninterested and disrupt the meal. (At one point, I was standing up, eating my chicken and mashed potatoes, trying to keep him comforted while he screamed about wanting to go.) He flat-out didn’t want to be at most places except for my parents’ house. Hotels, despite the pool and the arcade, were not as interesting as home and he asked us every time we got into the car if we were going back to his house.
He didn’t understand why his dog wasn’t with him. He didn’t know why we didn’t have our regular car or why we were staying in weird beds.
Before I left for the holiday, I told Steve that if it weren’t for my parents, I would never have considered taking Jack on holiday at this age. During the holiday, as sad as I was to leave my parents, I knew Jack was going to be happier at home.
To be honest, it was a relief for all of us when we arrived in Newcastle. We’d made it, like soldiers coming back from war.
But of course, the way our family situation is, we have to go back next year. This time Jack will be 4 years old and maybe more familiar with the process of travelling. He’s since asked if he can go back to see his grandparents and the rockets (Kennedy Space Center was super fun for him) so I’ll have to hope that he enjoys it more the next time around.

Days Out

Entertaining your toddler on rainy days

Today was one of those days where I was just too tired to do much. Yesterday, I treated myself to a Nando’s lunch and the Barbie movie. (Am I the only one who cried a lot after seeing that? I think I had my own existential crisis alongside Barbie.) This morning it was all systems go with the dog needing to go to the groomer’s first thing, then Jack and I got to the movies in time to get snacks.

However, we were there early and I think all those commercials are unnecessary for little kids’ movies. They just can’t sit for that long. By the time the trailers started, Jack was already antsy.

He enjoyed Elemental and after a potty break, he wanted to go back to see more of it but we didn’t stay for the whole thing. We got towards the end but by that time we’d already been in the theatre for over two hours. After we got home, I had to get the dog from the groomers and eat lunch.

Jack had knocked over my popcorn breakfast at the movies so I was fairly hungry and ready to call it a day. Needless to say I skipped his swim lessons and Slimming World this week. Saying that, the last time I didn’t heed my own indications that we should stay home, Jack was too tired to go swimming and I wasted time going to the pool.

So when I feel like it, I stay home. If Jack wants to go out, fine, but if he wants to stay home where it’s dry to watch Boo Snoo and play with his Hot Wheels, that’s also extremely fine.

— Read on


Home is where the comfort is

Jack loves being outside, even at snack time.

Hello from the other side.

Today is a me and Jack day so he is busy with his toys while I’m trying to finish my coffee. Jack asks us to “Talk, Mommy! Talk, Daddy!” all day when he wants us to actively pretend to be one of his Paw Patrol figures.

Currently, small cuddly versions of Skye and Rubble are in my lap.

It occurred to me today that since I was destined to be Jack’s mother, my personality matches his needs. I always think I should be productive when I have time like this with him at home. That I should be watching YouTube videos to learn something, or blogging (eh, hem) or even looking into my writing options such as book or article or even newsletter posts.

But I don’t. Instead, I hang out with Jack, watch Teen Titans Go, drink my coffee and contemplate going somewhere in the afternoon even though it’s super cold outside. The house is so warm and cozy and most days Jack will say, “I stay in my house, Mommy. I happy in my house.”

As you should be, baby.

So this is us. Me with my second cup of Café Nero and Jack with his Hot Wheels garage and cartoons. Probably most mothers would have a schedule to stick to or objectives for the day. For me if we’ve slept, eaten, and stay warm, we’re good.

Now, keep in mind, it’s half term and swimming lessons aren’t on this week. Also, most kids will be doing the kid-based fun activities so being confined to our little relaxation station is kind of okay.

We can always go to soft play later on.


Toddlers and your time

Is it always so easy to just do things for yourself because you want to? No.

If it’s one thing I’ve learned slowly, it’s that I just do not have time to do anything other than be in my house. Jack has really been into being home and tells us he doesn’t want to go to such and such a place and, instead, “want to stay in my house, Mommy.” So we stay home.

Mister Pick is keen to not have much on the agenda either, especially on the weekends. I’ve been working extra Saturday mornings and that ends up making me more tired by the afternoon, especially if I’ve had a tough time getting back to sleep during the night.

That means I’m either at work or I am home watching Jack. Luckily, I’ve figured out that when I need a nap, I only need an hour to relax and feel as if I’ve been off duty for a bit. Granted, a lot of what we do at home is sitting around playing with Legos or watching cartoons, but if Jack is content at home with us, that makes me happy.

The reason I say that I’ve slowly realized that I can’t do anything else is that I have to turn down invites to work parties anymore because I just don’t have the time to do it. I work two counties away and most of our parties require a meet-up at a restaurant that requires a bit of a commute. If Steve drives me over, Jack will fall asleep, and then they have to stay home while I sort myself out with transportation back home.

Now, if you’re a Brit and used to going out and about, fair enough, but for me, using public transportation and paying for taxis is a complete pain. I’d gotten stuck in a far-out part of town before and no taxis were available, the buses and metro had stopped for the night, and Jack and Steve had already gone to bed. It’s not an easy life we lead over here. It’s not like we were in Florida where you drive to a place, park up, enjoy your social interaction, and drive home.

I refuse to drive in town here and I have no idea where to park so I won’t get a ticket. (I’ve had two just parking next to the library for work.) I’m sure it’s like this or worse in big cities in America but I’ve only lived in smaller places where you can just park up front to your chosen venue.

With that said, it’s very easy to feel stuck because having a toddler at home means the toddler is your number one priority and little whims like, “Oh, I should go hang out with my work pals,” isn’t important. People will argue this topic plenty but it all boils down to what kind of actual means you have to do frivolous things like spend time in the evening outside of your parental duties. If we had his grandparents living nearby, yeah, sure, we would be able to do like most people here do and just have him spend the night with them. Unfortunately, it’s just me and Mister Pick so we have to work as a team and keep Jack on his schedule.

And with that said, aside from my walks with Jack (now that my push chair’s wheel is fixed) I’ve accepted that I’m not going to be able to hit the gym or get back to Couch to 5K anytime soon. Therefore, I’m seriously looking into getting a Boogie Bounce to use at home. Wish me luck!


Happy New Year! It’s time to start preschool.


Jack is 3 now and an official preschooler!



An update for November

It’s November and that means the year is almost at a close and Jack’s 2nd birthday isn’t that far off. Christmas will be coming and all the Santa visits arranged. This is a busy time for a Mum and, personally, being off work to spend all that quality time is a grateful reward for surviving this year. I returned to work after maternity leave during a pandemic as a key worker. I got my child who has only know his parents for the first year of his life, settled into nursery. My husband and I still enjoy one another’s company after being together most days through sickness and lack of funds and the world going mad while we couldn’t even go to walk the dog together. 

With that said, I wanted to write a post while I had the chance to put down some of the things that Jack’s been up to lately. 

Currently, he is enrolled in three Mummy and Me classes. We got to Little Movers, Baby Ballet, and swimming lessons. 

We were going to art class but Jack just wants to run and play, so sitting at stations to paint and do crafts just was not happening. He does that at other classes but they’re made for running about, so I’m less stressed about it when we go to those classes and he is off, circling the other kids. 

His language is getting better. The last time I spoke to his key worker about his language development, he wasn’t quite at 10 words. Now he’s putting things together so two words are getting more common. Oh no. Oh wow! Night night. My Mommy. My Daddy 

Hello, Daddy! Hello, Mommy! 

The dog is still “D.D.” 

Jack loves ketchup and if we put it on his food, most of the time, he just licks the ketchup off and won’t eat the fries or potato waffles. 

He does like peanut butter, obviously, because I give him pb&j most days. (This led to a theft of someone’s toast with pb at nursery during lunchtime.) 

Jack loves to climb. He watches tv a bit more intently now, so his attention span has grown. He holds our hand and brings us to his play pen so we can stack Duplo bricks with him. 

I’ve been trying to do some things for myself for a long time, even when Jack was first born. One is bullet journaling because I like the organisation of things. The other is writing. I know keeping a journal and an account of all the things going on with us in these first precious years. I wanted to write all about being a mother and work on the podcast to encourage other mothers to stick with it and know someone out there understands. 

But there’s the irony: I don’t have time to write about parenting because parenting keeps me insanely busy.  

But it’s a good busy and I am bored to tears on my days when I have off work and Jack is at nursery. 

That’s why another thing I’m going to keep a tally of is self care things I do for myself. 

The need for me to accept that the side projects won’t happen or at least won’t happen as easy and as often as they could for someone else is fine. I will accept that because my bigger number one task is to be a mother and that part is what fills my heart, soul, day, and time.  

But I’m still going to keep the dream of that work in process (book) alive though.