You’ve read all the books, the glossy baby magazines with the pretty pictures and you’ve spent hours scrolling through Pinterest. You’ve got all your baby ‘must have’ items, the pram, the buggy and the scandi-chic nursery and to be honest, you don’t really think beyond this, but what about when that baby turns into an actual small person? A child? What other essential items do you need and where do you get your ideas from? What happens is, you generally get ideas from other parents. A friend will tell you how amazing something is or you’ll see someone using something and realise you need said item, but does anyone share with you the items that are slightly ‘off piste’? The items that might not have been tried and tested, that might not spring to mind but that might be needed when that beautiful (non mobile) being becomes an movable, un-stopable force? That’s where I step in to help. You’re welcome.
Reverse parking camera: Obviously this is a sort of luxury item but where possible, all car choices once having a child should involve a parking camera. I’ve spoken about the difficulty of parking with a small child in the car, even without Olivia in the car I find parking out and about a tad stressful at times. I’m one of those people who prefers to go to level ten of the car park rather than try and park in the first space I find, with five cars impatiently waiting behind me, judging my reversing skills. What also adds to the stress of parking however, is having your children in the car shouting important things like, ‘I’M HUNGRY, I WANT A SNACK!! MUMMYEE! LOOK AT ME MUMMMYYEE! LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! WHY WONT YOU LOOK AT ME!’ and so on, and so forth. How the hell are you supposed to concentrate? A parking camera is a must have.
Coffee Cups: This one involves poo, sorry. Several times, whilst wondering round a National Trust venue (which all have minimal bins) the kid has happily informed me that she’s needed a poo, despite being asked twenty times when we were stood right next to the toilets, if she needed to go. Now, this leaves you in a quandary. Do you run back the ten or so minutes to the toilets and hope that your child can control themselves in that time, or do you handle the ‘situation’ now? I generally plump for the ‘handle the situation now’ option. Thus I’ve found myself having to catch a poo, Mr Whippy stylie in a nappy bag. Lovely. But then what? What do you do with said poo? Do you carry it around for the world to see, a la dog? This my friends, is where the coffee cup comes in handy. Pop the poo in the used cup OR worst case scenario, if you find yourself without a nappy bag (and yes, I’ve also done this) you catch the poo in the cup. I know, I know! It’s disgusting, but quite frankly having kids makes you immune to things like this so parents, if out on a long walk, just hold onto that coffee cup, you never know when you might need it.
Phone Data: Trust me, you do NOT want to even attempt leaving the house without a fully charged, data full phone. If you want to navigate a coffee shop with your smallie, to give yourself just one moment to sip your drink before it becomes tepid then you need to get Peppa Pig on You Tube ASAP people. I learnt the hard way with Olivia when sitting down to the message of doom, ‘Data Allowance Reached’
The Flailing Car Arm: This one is the ability to drive, whilst also retrieving a snack for the toddler, opening it, then passing it back to said toddler, all whilst keeping your eyes completely safely on the road and other hand on the steering wheel.
Negotiation Skills: I’ve learnt quite quickly that being a parent involves skills of akin to that of a hostage negotiator. You have to talk your way out of walking past a merry-go-round in the highstreet or a motorised car outside a shop, ‘It’s not working today darling, sorry. Why’s that child using it? Ummmm, oh look a cat darling!’ You have to think fast, on your feet, ALL THE TIME! Kids are relentless. You’re constantly being questioned about why they can’t have certain things and often they move on quickly from one request to the next, leaving you very confused. Talking children out of tantrums requires extreme negotiations skills.
The ability to pick up a child who has gone into the Crocodile Death Roll: This one is really bloody difficult, esepcially as my kid has nailed the death roll quite nicely. I go to pick her up underneath the arm, her arms shoot up straight and she starts to pull downwards, thrashing about wildly, trying to drag me down with her. You have to remain strong here, especially if you’re in the middle of a shop or high-street and are being watched by many. You essentially have to whip one arm around their legs or bottom quickly, to keep them within your grip, otherwise they wiggle out, thus giving you a virtual two fingers. All the while, laughing as if there’s ‘nothing to see here, thank you’. It’s a skill and one to be proud of.