Saturday, 1 August 2015

Getting out of the house

There are probably (at least) two posts I could write with this title, one of them on the subject of the importance of just getting out of the house to preserve sanity. When you've run out of the ability to find new ways of making a game with three cuddly penguins, two plastic crocodiles, a crocheted blanket and a pile of shiny pebbles interesting. I mean, interesting for the adult involved that is. Apparently anything involving Mummy being required to put on silly voices, crawl around the floor or race (and lose) is endlessly entertaining to LittleBear. And after the third hour I'm on the edge of a nervous breakdown and finding any excuse to retreat to the kitchen because there's suddenly an urgent need to put on another load of laundry. Seriously, I actually use putting the laundry on as an excuse to take a break from playing with my son.

However, that's not this post.

This post is about the simple practicalities of actually managing to get LittleBear to leave the house. I've now given up on going to our local toddler group, as the half hour of tears and fighting about leaving the house were not compensated for by the cup of coffee and a biscuit at the end. Especially when LittleBear stole ate half my biscuit.

Let's take Friday as an example. We were due to go play at a friend's house, with the invitation being for 10am. From 9am onwards I primed LittleBear - "we're going to Friend's house this morning, we've got another X minutes before we go". I put the clock on the table beside where we playing and made it known that when the big hand was at the 9, we'd go and brush teeth and get ready. LittleBear acquiesed to all this quite amicably. I was not fooled. We've Been Here Before. More or less every morning in fact, but still I persist with my system of preparation, warning and getting agreement. You'd think I'd give up given my negligible success rate.

At about 9:45 I started trying to herd LittleBear towards the bathroom to get his teeth clean. You'd think brushing his teeth was some variation on waterboarding the way he carries on. Lying on the floor, sobbing, demanding "more playing, pleeeeeease". Eventually, by getting the lego shark to race against the paper squid, we get to the bathroom. At this point, LittleBear's favourite game kicks in and he "hides" behind the bathroom door. Ground down by too many iterations of this particular favourite, I fail to spend enough time "looking" in the wrong places and instead I find him. More tears, more throwing himself around. Eventually the teeth are clean and I dispatch him to get some clean socks while I brush my teeth.

I hear giggling, then the thunder of little feet returning to the bathroom. Both socks are on one foot. "Mummy! My socks were in one bundle so I put them both on one foot!" Biting my tongue, I suggest he go and take one off and put it on the other foot, as his shoes won't both go on one foot.

Next thing I know there are wailing sobs emanating from the sitting room. "My socks aren't working!" Apparently it's not possible to take only one sock off and leave the other in the perfect position. Who'd have thought it? I peel one sock off while completely failing to leave the other in a millimetre-perfect location. More tears.

Finally the socks are on, and before I know it LittleBear has run away. This time he's upstairs. "Little Bear? Why are you upstairs?" ..... "I'm checking your bedroom for monsters!" Great. It's important to make sure all the rooms are clear of monsters.

Shoes. I give up. Give me the shoes, sit down, stop kicking, stop flailing and just let me put them on for you, or we'll be here all day. It's already ten past ten.

Oops, no, we can't leave the house yet, we need to take some books and toys with us, you know, just in case the two small children we're visiting don't already have a houseful of the damn things. What does LittleBear choose? Two encyclopaedic tomes on coral reefs and a coathanger. Yes, a coathanger. Except it's not really a coathanger Mummy, it's really an Everest Crab Mummy, which is the biggest crab in the world and these are its legs and that's its one big claw. You see Mummy? Yes dear.

We finally arrive at our destination at half past ten. I guess half an hour late isn't too bad... and at least we've got a coathanger Everest Crab with us, just in case.


  1. I eventually gave over with the warnings because it didn't seem to decrease the fot throwing in any meaningful way! Three is my least favorite age.

    1. Can I cling to the hope that four will be a better age? Or just differently trying...

  2. I agree - I switched to a 'when you are complete readyto go out, we will play' option; sometimes we are completely ready hours early (this is rare) but mostly it takes the time pressure out of the getting ready, and offers the incentive of play after. You still have to stop play to get in the car, but that is one tantrum rather than 60!

    1. I think it may be time to attempt that strategy. This one isn't working after all.