Wednesday, 31 August 2011

From Grub to Caterpillar

Human Grub to Hungry Caterpillar

As the last precious days of the summer holiday swirl down the plug hole that is ‘shopping-for-things your-toddler-needs-for-pre-school’, I am going to dedicate my next two blogs to activities that you can and can’t do with a two-year old. 

I never appreciated just how easy life was during those first stages of your baby’s life – they are essentially a portable, compliant and extremely sleepy ‘human grub’.  

Just this morning I caught myself staring wistfully at a new mum, her baby cocooned snugly to her chest, deftly managing the self-scan checkout, whilst my mini Godzilla cleaved the heads off gerberas in the fresh flower section.

The brilliant thing about the human grub is that for about nine months you can strap them to you, or to someone or something else, and they will stay there.  Not only will they stay there, they will probably fall into a sound-proof sleep, meaning that everyday tasks, such as shopping, walking and eating (just remember to swat the crumbs from their heads now and again) are relatively easy to accomplish.

Once your grub grows legs, however, it is all about the walking, the poking and the squeezing.

So, in honour of all those at the walking, poking and squeezing stage, here are five things you can do with a two-year old.   

Canary Wharf – yes the heart of the UK’s financial and media district might sound like an unusual place to make a toddler happy but there is something about the heady mix of open spaces to dance, enclosed spaces to make raspberry noises, ratty pigeons to chase and sqooshy fountains to put your hands in that makes Canary Wharf toddler-nip.

Retirement homes – an elderly gentlemen approached Poppy in the supermarket the other day and said, ‘we have lots in common, you and I’. Putting this theory to the test I took Poppy to visit my granny at nursing home.   Expecting Poppy to start poking snoozy post-lunch elderly folk with copy of the Lady I was surprised to find the gentleman’s comment was true – something about the lack of speech, the unsteadiness on the legs and the comfortableness with bodily emissions, make toddlers and the elderly very happy companions indeed.

Gardening – it can be surprisingly easy to entertain your toddler in the garden.  Give them a bucket and spade.  Dig up a worm as an example and then say you need five more.  Brilliant.  Snails are even better, but sadly their shells make them a little more breakable.  I have a theory that if it starts to foam, it is time to rescue it. 

Ducks – providing the ducks are playing ball (our nearest duck shop is Marlow where they are quite frankly spoilt) feeding the ducks can be an endless source of toddler fun.  Gratifying and cheap - we like them.      

Ikea – we struggled with the idea of taking Poppy to Ikea but we were pleasantly surprised by the cheap scandowegian furniture experience.  Like an indoor Canary Wharf, but with cheap ice-cream and hot dogs, there are beds to roll on (with your shoes on), furniture mountains to climb and small pencils to chew.

Which unusual places have you found for toddler fun?   

Next time...funerals and four other places you can’t take your toddler.

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