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The happiest of new years to you and welcome to 2021!  On January 1st without fail everyone says “wow, what a year” – but this time it really was!  Although it wasn’t all bad, for instance; Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden welcomed a new baby into the world, as did Robbie and Ayda Williams, Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova and even Diversity’s own Ashley and Francesca Banjo!  Blinding Light spent 8 weeks at Number 1, Bad Boys For Life was the highest grossing movie and they even managed an Xmas Bake Off special!

When I look back on this year my thoughts are dominated by what I have had to deprive Paige of, what she missed out on, how this might affect her development, her social skills, her speech, and general interaction with kids her own age.  But…as the world changes so must we.  So rather than dwell on the lower end of the happy-spectrum, here are a few things we achieved where we were grateful for the time together and found the fun and positive amongst all the crazy: (in no particular order)

  • We have turned our front bedroom (general dumping ground, baking supplies storage, wardrobes etc into a beautiful pink and white expanse for Paige. Complete with a toy dressing table, a pink extendable bed (for when she’s ready) and a box of dress up goodies (this is for transition purposes and a gentle toe dip into the world of soon to be not-an-only-child)
  • The carpet has never been cleaner – I bought a new toy in the form of a carpet cleaner so that I don’t stress when the pups trapse in mud
  • We have got our food shop down to a more manageable budget – there are perks to online
  • We are growing a baby, due to make an appearance early Feb (and can I just say…eeeek!)
  • We transformed the downstairs ‘Monica’ cupboard into a messy-play area replete with art supplies and Disney stickers.

All these things really helped to keep Paige entertained as we did them together.  There’s is no two ways about it, having a child, whatever age and stage of development is challenging when you are deprived of things like toddler groups, soft play, nursery, school etc.  For us, we have a 2-year-old, so WE feel like she is missing out on so much, but SHE doesn’t really know anything about it.  This is how we have kept Paige amused during lockdown:

  • Building dens in the lounge where raucous games of chase ensue
  • Unrolling the unused Christmas wrapping and making noisy paths across the living room
  • Lots and lots of baking, icing, decorating and finger dipping
  • Teaching Paige to groom the dogs (keeps all three of them amused)
  • Stickers – I ordered about 6000 for £4 online, she sticks them everywhere and loves it
  • Each morning we make sugar free jelly for dessert and Paige decants frozen berries into each little bowl with the utmost care and due diligence
  • Long baths – bubbles, music, bath crayons, things to fill up and tip out (mostly, but not always, within the bath itself)
  • Short forays out into the cold with an air ball, wellies and lots of layers
  • Going out and splashing in puddles for the sheer fun of it
  • Messy play in the kitchen (water, pasta, paint, sprinkles, glue)
  • Making our own playdough and supplying various plastic things (bottle lids, teaspoons, tops to pringle packs) to make patterns with

How I keep sane whilst filling my days with toddler activities

Its so simple, but music for me (in the absence of gin) really works!  I love a golden oldie, I turn the volume up and just shout along with the lyrics.   Now believe me when I say I cannot sing or dance and never do so in public, but with Paige it’s so much fun.  Singing at the top of my voice with Paige warbling along with her little nonsensical words makes me grin, furthermore I then copy her little dance moves which makes her shriek with delight and makes me belly laugh.  My advice – it’s not all about how many ducks decided to go swimming that day or how many monkeys thought they would jump on the bed, its about a proper cathartic chest belt, power ballads, feel good, jump around and shake off the cobweb’s tunes.  My new fav song: Life is a Highway!  I defy you not to love it and throw your head along to the beat!  Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!

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