Memories Made Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 Scooter Blog

Memories Made

There’s something truly thrilling about seeing your child doing something for the first time. Especially when it’s something that you have felt they wanted to do for quite a while. It’s on those days when memories are made.

On Sunday we made some memories that will sit fondly in my mind for many years to come – Hannah had her first scooter ride!

We were thrilled when Globber offered to send Hannah a MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter for review, following my post about her attempts to commandeer other children’s rides at the local park. That scooter arrived on Friday and we had been eagerly awaiting the chance to give it a proper test run since. Saturday’s wild winds ruled out a cruise, but we did get a chance to head up to the shops and buy a helmet. That meant that by Sunday morning, we were well and truly ready to hit the track.

 

Arriving At The Park

Hannah was full of energy when we arrived at the park. She was obviously ready to get stuck in, because she didn’t want to even know about her snack. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she was off!… Straight past her shiny new scooter and to the swings.

Not the best start, I’ll have to concede. After all the coveting of scooters over the past few weeks, Hannah all of a sudden didn’t even want to know about hers. Kids, hey! Who can predict them?

 

Oh Yeah, The Scooter!

After a solid ten minutes of swings, Hannah was ready to get off and explore the rest of the park. It was then that she finally noticed the scooter, as if it had magically appeared before her very eyes. Quickly enough she was on board, but we still had to overcome the first hurdle – the helmet.

We had tried to introduce Hannah to her helmet over the past day, but without much success. I had tried placing it on her head (no thanks dad), placing in on my head (hilarious!) and handing it to her to examine. The plan at the park was to get her on the scooter, jam the helmet on her head and then take off at full speed before she figured out what I had done.

That didn’t go quite to plan, and we ended up settling on a compromise of gently balancing the helmet on Hannah’s head without the chin straps done up, while we slowly pushed her along. Baby steps were well-and-truly required, but we were off.

Hannah looked quite pleased with her new ride, and soon enough we were into the swing of things. We stopped a couple of times to begin adjusting the sizing on the helmet and to introduce Hannah to the idea of chin straps. She hopped on and hopped off the scooter a few times.

 

Scooter memories, helmet

 

Definitely Not a Shrinking Violet

It was while we were stopped one of these times that a father approached us with his two young girls.

“What’s that?” he asked, his gaze drawn to the spectacular hot-pink and black, and the unique design.

I told him a bit about it and showed him how it converts. He was pretty impressed and complained about his little girl (slightly older than Hannah) having too many accidents with her stand-up ride. He seemed particularly impressed by the seat and the ability to convert into a proper stand-up scooter. His two little girls seemed enthusiastic too – the littlest one nodding eagerly when he asked her if she wanted one, and the older sister enthusiastically declaring that she too needed a Globber (despite being well past the seated stage).

I took that interaction as pretty good endorsement and made a mental note to joke with my Globber contact that I’d already made him a sale. Perhaps I could earn a commission by handing out business cards at the local parks…

After the dad and his two daughters had moved on, I took a moment to look at the scooter in all its glory. It certainly stands out in a crowd!

 

The Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 stands out in a crowd

Faster Daddy

Soon we had the hang of things and we were ready to really test the scooter. We headed off on the path out of the park and across the railway bridge. Hannah had definitely grown comfortable on the scooter. She was now confident enough to experiment with her feet by dragging them along the ground or placing them on the wheel. I think she quite liked the feel of the wheel rubbing against her ankle, because she kept her foot there for some time (we have the filthy sock to prove it).

 

 

The ground had been a rough asphalt and Hannah had handled that quite well, even though it was a fairly bumpy ride. At some point in the walk we hit a long stretch of smooth tarmac and that gave us the chance to gain some speed.

Hannah’s reaction was terrifying – she gave a hearty laugh of appreciation and leaned forward, as if egging me on to go faster. My mind skipped forward 16 years. I had visions of Hannah’s full speed ahead approach being applied to the piloting of an automobile, and I gave a little silent prayer to whatever deity may have been listening that self-driving cars would very much be a thing by then.

Hannah clearly had a need for speed and her new favourite toy was a means of achieving that. The smile that spread across her face from ear to ear was really all that I needed to egg me on. Every time I pushed that little bit faster, Hannah let her delight be known with a gleeful sound.

 

Making memories on the Globber scooter - faster daddy

Enough of the Helmet

After the glorious patch of smooth tarmac, we once again found ourselves bumping along some rougher terrain. Again, this didn’t bother Hannah and the scooter coped just fine. Much to my surprise, it even glided over the small sticks and other debris that had been blown over the path by the wild winds of the past few days. I put that down to the large front wheels, and probably the way that the scooter is pushed from behind in the sitting configuration.

Then, all of a sudden, we stopped.

Hannah took her hands off the handlebars and reached up to her head. She began to wrestle with the helmet and make some frustrated sounds. I stopped immediately. Hannah continued to wrestle with her helmet, so I took it off.

Then came the battle of the wills.

Hannah was determined to keep scooting, now that she was free of the helmet. I, on the other hand, insisted that she wear it if she wanted to ride.

1 1/2 year old children are not renowned for logical thought processes or the ability to mount counter arguments. Hannah is no exception to that, so she opted for expressing her extreme displeasure with the situation at the top of her voice.

 

Explaining the Situation

I carried Hannah for a while as we walked the return journey to the car. All the while she squirmed and wriggled, desperate to get back on her hot-pink steed. Even through her loud wails I did my best to explain the situation to her. I told her that she had to wear the helmet if she wanted to ride her scooter.

A couple of times we stopped walking and I gave Hannah the opportunity to scoot, but each time she resisted the attempt to reattach the helmet. It occurred to me that the helmet strap may have agitated the eczema under her chin, but there wasn’t a whole lot that I could do about it.

Eventually Hannah wriggled her way down from my arms and she walked along behind Emma, who pushed the scooter in front of her. Every now and then, Hannah pointed at the scooter and loudly protested our helmet rule.

We stopped again. The decent distance that Hannah had covered by walking had helped her to calm down a bit. I got down to her level, looked her straight in the eyes and asked again, “will you wear the helmet?”

A single, large nod was Hannah’s response. I placed the helmet on her head and she clambered aboard. Hannah had understood – if she wants to ride, she must wear a helmet.

 

Just Like Mum

We carried on our journey to the car and all seemed well… Until Hannah decided she wanted to get off… While the scooter was moving. Emma brought the scooter to a halt before Hannah had the chance to do herself any serious damage.

Hannah came round behind her scooter and reached up on to her tippy-toes. She could just reach the handle. It took us a moment to realise what she wanted – to use the handlebars to push the scooter herself.

Sure enough, once I lowered the handlebars to their shortest position, Hannah happily pushed the scooter all the way back to the car.

 

Globber scooter in the park pushed by toddler

 

The Verdict?

An excellent first time on the scooter, memories made! Even with the helmet issues, it was obvious that Hannah was made for scooting, and that the Globber scooter was made for Hannah. I’m very confident that it was the first of many, many rides and I love the way that the Globber scooter will grow and adapt to Hannah’s needs as her ability-level changes.

 

Disclosure – Globber provided Blog Of Dad with this scooter free of charge, for the purpose of review. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views. They are based on my experiences with the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

 

DIY Daddy
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Master the stairs, baby climbs stairs Blog

Master the Stairs

A few weeks ago I wrote about Hannah’s new-found love of all things terrifying. You’ll be pleased to know that her desire to explore all the dangerous things has not subsided. If anything, it has intensified!

 

This makes for interesting times in my house at the moment. Where just a few short weeks ago I was becoming complacent in my attitude towards observing Hannah’s play, I am now back to a state of close hovering. I know that makes me sound like a bit of a helicopter parent, but trust me, Hannah needs to be watched carefully at this point in time.

 

Testing the Water

Take, for example, yesterday’s antics. The three of us were upstairs. Emma and I were completing fairly mundane, adult tasks, while Hannah played with her toys. All of a sudden, Hannah stood up and headed for the stairs at a rate of knots. She navigated them safely, so I was a bit slow to follow. However, when we heard the door to the laundry (and steps of doom) click open, I was after her in a heartbeat.

I almost did myself some serious damage as my sock-clad feet struggled for traction on the carpet at the top of our stairs. Fortunately, I caught the handrail and steadied myself before becoming the first in our family to go to hospital for a stair-related injury. I had no time to contemplate my near-death experience. Hannah was, in my mind, mere steps away from her own misfortune.

I cleared the flight of stairs in three great leaps and, using the banister as a kind of turning pole I slid around 180 degrees to run to the laundry. Again my socked feet made that part slightly more hairy than it otherwise would have been, and I once again had to steady myself, to avoid coming to grief on the tiles.

After gathering my composure I set myself to take off at full speed, only to look up and stop in my tracks.

There was Hannah, standing next to the laundry door, a big smile on her face. She had obviously enjoyed the show, and may or may not have now formed a connection in her brain that tells her that if she opens the door, daddy comes running in a crazy way.

 

Becoming a Big Girl

As I have mentioned before, Hannah has long known how to navigate the stairs. She takes herself up and down with ease and perfect safety in a well-practised motion.

But that is no longer enough. Hannah is hell-bent on growing up and becoming a big kid. A key part of that in her mind right now is using the stairs in the same way that the adults do. Thankfully, a few scares early on have helped Hannah to realise that she’s not quite ready to do it by herself. Unfortunately, that means that she DEMANDS that one of us help her. Every time.

Hannah now waits at the top of the stairs and makes a big noise. As we draw near to see what all the fuss is about, she holds out her hands and steps threateningly close to the edge of the top step. This, of course, leaves us with no option but to offer a hand. As soon as one is within reach, Hannah latches on and she doesn’t let go. Her grip is amazingly strong for little girl who has only been on this planet for 18 months, and she uses it to her full advantage.

Once she has secured a parent, Hannah is in big kid heaven. She grins from ear to ear as she slowly descends the stairs in an upright, forward-facing position. She is using the stairs just as we do and it’s obviously a big thrill for her!

 

Try and Try Again

Did I mention that Hannah has a strong grip? Did I also mention that she knows how to use it to her full advantage? I did? Good.

When we reach the bottom of the stairs, Hannah does not release her captured parent. That would be a waste. After-all, who knows when the opportunity to capture one might present its self again? No, Hannah doesn’t release her parent, she merely turns them around and prepares for the journey back up the stairs.

See, Hannah’s tiny toddler brain has a more profound understanding of one of the keys to a successful life than many of us adults. It is a fact that we probably all once had a grasp of, long ago, and it really is simple. Mastery comes through repeated, deliberate practice. Failure is a part of the journey. It presents an opportunity to learn, to get better.

Hannah wants to climb the steps like a big kid, and she already knows that the only way she is going to be able to do that is be practising and practising and practising until she can master the stairs.

 

Now to You

So, grown adult, now it’s your turn to master the stairs. What daunting learning have you been putting off, because you don’t think you can do it?

In what aspect of your life do you desperately wish to be like the big kids? Who is offering you helping hand to guide you safely off the top step as you take the plunge towards your goal?

Mastery is hard work. It requires sustained effort. Failure and its inbuilt lessons are fundamental to your eventual success. Can you handle that as well as a toddler does, or have you learnt to shy away and protect yourself? Are you really ready to climb that staircase again, and again, and again, or are you just waiting for someone to pick you up and carry you down?

 

Do you want my advice?

Go on, do it! Embrace the effort. Take a page out of the toddler’s handbook. Master the stairs.

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scooter path at park Blog

Covet Thy Neighbour’s Scooter

It’s no secret that we love the park. I’ve written about it many times before. We regularly go to our local toddler playground, but we also enjoy exploring Sydney and finding great new places to play. Many of the playgrounds that we find have bike tracks. These are always well-used, and why wouldn’t they be? They offer the perfect, safe environment for kids to learn how to ride a bike or scooter.

 

You see me rolling

 

Recently, Hannah has begun to take notice. She likes to watch the older kids zoom past confidently on their scooters. She happily sits or stands, for long periods of time and she studies them.

Of course, the inevitable result of that activity is that Hannah desperately wants to have a go as well. The scooter, after all, fits her modus operandi perfectly – full speed and just a hint of danger.

It has now reached the point where Hannah sees any poorly-guarded scooter as fair game. She can spot one from across the other side of the playground. And once she has seen one, she’s off. Nothing gets in her way. Her previous favourite piece of playground equipment – the swings – don’t even get a look-in once Hannah has spotted a scooter. She walks with Terminator-like determination. Other kids have to slam on the brakes, or violently swerve, in order to avoid crashing in to the tiny little tot as she bee-lines straight across the bike track.

 

The eternal dilemma

 

However, once she reaches the discarded personal transport, she is faced with the eternal dilemma – Do I listen to dad, who is telling me not to touch it, or do I follow my burning impulse and give it a crack?

To give Hannah full credit, she is a better listener than many children. More often than not she follows the simple instructions that I give her. Pack-up time, for example is fairly consistently an easy affair in our house. But even for the most eager-to-please toddler, the lure of a shiny, unattended scooter can be too much.

Inevitably, Hannah will tentatively reach out, the freedom-machine tantalisingly close to her fingertips. She will pause, briefly, just centimetres away when she once again hears my voice gently remind her that the scooter is not hers. She will consider the information for a moment, but as soon as her eye is once-again drawn to the prize, she is left with little choice. Her impulse is now in charge. It tells her that if she can just wrap her tiny little fingers around the smooth, chrome handlebar, then it will indeed be hers!

 

Foiled

 

Unfortunately for Hannah, it is at that exact same moment that I swoop in and scoop her up. Over the wail of her own voice, she doesn’t her me mumble an apology to the disapproving 6 year old who has just raced over to rescue his pride-and-joy from a devastating touching by a toddler GIRL! And she probably doesn’t care much for my apology anyway. The only thing that she’s sorry about at that point in time is that her long, golden locks are not fluttering in the breeze as she elegantly sails down the bike track on her shiny silver steed.

 

One day soon, my darling, I will get you a shiny scooter of your very own. But for now, you have to wait. Have patience, my dear. Know that I’m looking forward to the day that I teach you how to ride one, almost as much as you are.

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She can open the door, terrifying milestone Blog

…Unless They Figure Out How To Open Doors

I’ve written about milestones before. Some make me cringe at the competitiveness with which parents approach them, some (non-official) milestones make me laugh, some milestones genuinely fill me with joy and excitement. But just this week, we have discovered a new type of milestone – the absolutely terrifying milestone.

 

It has been a week of explosive development. Hannah has come leaps and bounds with her comprehension and communication. She looks older, she walks more confidently, and she has suddenly decided to grow up. All of that is wonderful! Except that three specific incidents in the past week make it absolutely terrifying.

 

1 – Hannah can open doors

 

You know the scene in Jurassic Park, the one where the velociraptor figures out how to open doors? Well that was re-enacted in my house. And it was far more terrifying that in Jurassic Park, because instead of an oversized, animatronic raptor, it was an overly-curious, real-life toddler. She’s 17 months old! Surely she shouldn’t be able to reach the handle yet.

To be honest, she was as surprised by it as we were. At least she was the first time. By mid-afternoon she had her technique down, and all of a sudden she had unfettered access to the laundry and basement steps (aka the steps of doom). Up until that point, the laundry had been the ‘safe place’ to dump cleaning chemicals and anything else that needed to be out of reach. Now that needs to change, because the look in Hannah’s eyes told me that it is her new mission to explore every last cranny of this mysterious new room. What’s going to stop her? Certainly not a puny door.

 

toddler open door, terrifying milestone
We’re doomed!

 

2 – Hannah wants to walk down the stairs

 

Hannah has always been interested in the stairs. From an early age we taught her how to safely ascend and descend, as it was obvious that she was going to figure it out, with or without our help.

This past week, however, Hannah has decided that being able to navigate the stairs safely is no longer good enough. She is a big girl and she’ll be damned if she doesn’t use the stairs like a big girl. Upright. Without holding on. Face first.

Hannah has taken to standing at the top of the stairs, right on the edge. She understands the basic mechanics of walking down the stairs like a big person, she just can’t yet get all of her bits to do what they are supposed to do. At one point she dangled one foot precariously over the edge, before fear took over and she retreated to the corner of the landing.

I don’t think she will actually try to do this by herself, but one can never be too sure. I really don’t want to be that parent, who didn’t pay attention that one time…

Then again, my parents tell me that my brother used to routinely tumble down the stairs, and he has turned out reasonably normal.

 

3 – Hannah knows how to work the child gate

 

We have a child safety gate which separates our kitchen from Hannah’s play area. Up until this point it has been quite effective. Hannah has been able to play with her toys while we prepare dinner, and when she gets the overwhelming urge to cling to our legs while we stir boiling hot liquids on the stove top, she is prohibited from doing so.

Except that she isn’t. It started a few days ago. I was working in the kitchen when I noticed that Hannah was intently studying the latch mechanism on the gate. That’s not unusual, she is a keen observer of her environment. I then watched as she stretched out her tiny little finger and somehow applied enough pressure to slide the latch. It made a satisfying ‘click’. The type of satisfying click that acts as an incentive to do it again. And again. And again.

Hannah quickly had the latch mastered. Thankfully, the gate still had a second line of defence. It has to be lifted up in order to open. I was still safe in my culinary sanctuary.

Except that I wasn’t. The next day I was checking on some salmon that was roasting in the oven. It was just at the crucial point, so I was having a close inspection to see if it needed another minute or two. All of a sudden, a little head popped up beside me. It peered intently at the fish.

“What do you think, Hannah?” I asked. “Is it done?”

A large, toothy grin smiled back.

A moment later the danger of the situation dawned on me. An inquisitive toddler was now mere centimetres away from a hot oven door, her favourite protein tantalisingly waiting on the other side.

“AAAAAHHH!” I exclaimed as my composure abandoned me. In one movement I pushed the salmon back in, shut the door and scooped up Hannah. She was mildly annoyed by our hasty retreat, but at least she was safe.

 

More to come?

 

I have the unnerving feeling that this is just the beginning of the absolutely terrifying milestone phase. After all, we still have knives, traffic, open water and wild animals still to learn about, just to name a few.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad that Hannah wants to push boundaries. I’m excited that she wants to explore and understand the world in which she lives. With these experiences, Hannah is making all kinds of neurological connections. She is learning about safety, confidence, risks and consequence.

I might gain a few more grey hairs as I make sure that the consequences are never too severe, but it’s worth it!

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Is My Toddler Ready for Childcare?

We are currently attempting to navigate our way through the dilemma that many modern parents face – should we send our toddler to childcare?

Next year she will turn two and we are aware that as she gets older, her need for social interaction with other children grows. While she gets some of this a the local park, a regular place in a childcare centre, in which she can begin to develop friendships with familiar people is becoming more attractive. Also, the exposure to trained early childhood educators can’t hurt.

But is Hannah ready? It’s a big change to spend time away from family and around people who are (at least to begin with) complete strangers. Hannah can, at times come across as shy. She sometimes hides her face when in new environments or when surrounded by unfamiliar people. At other times Hannah is playful and engaging. She has shown an interest in other kids.

To get a feel for what to expect, Emma and I organised to visit some of our local centres. While each one was vastly different (this is a topic for a whole different post) one thing was for sure – Hannah would be quite at home in any of them.

Some of the moments throughout the day that made us feel confident Hannah is ready for childcare…

 

Join the queue

We were standing in a brightly-lit hallway at the first childcare centre. As the director waxed lyrical about the difficulties that some two year-olds have with adjusting to the setting, she seemed completely oblivious to the actions of Hannah. She had watched a door open and a small army of toddlers file out into the hallway.

Hell-bent on joining them, Hannah had squirmed out of my arms and run the length of the hallway. She neatly joined the back of their line as they headed out the door leading to the outdoor play area. I left Emma and the director chatting away to rescue Hannah, moments before she had crossed the threshold and was part of the day’s activities for good. I returned to the conversation, holding a madly kicking little girl. Given half a chance, Hannah was ready to join in. She didn’t even think twice about glancing back to her parents to say goodbye.

 

Let me in

At the second childcare centre, Hannah was even more determined to join the fun. She wriggled her way out of my arms early on and made a beeline for the outdoor play area. She stood and looked longingly at the children playing on the other side of the fence, until a kind-hearted centre educator took pity on her and invited us to come on over and join in. I opened the gate and Hannah was off. Again, she didn’t think to look back. She suddenly had unfettered access to a yard full of kids, some younger, some older and some her age.

As is Hannah’s way, she soon found an older girl who took her under her wing and looked after her as she climbed the nearest balance beam. Hannah then abandoned her new friend and went to join a young boy who was sitting on the ground, spinning a contraption. He happily allowed her to join in, and together they spun the device around and around, until more kids came over and joined in.

Hannah eventually left that party and went to play by herself in the sandpit. She finally walked over to a seesaw, which she happily operated by herself for a few minutes. The whole time, she never once looked around to see where I was. I could have dropped her and run, and as long as someone fed, changed and played with her, she wouldn’t have cared one bit.

 

Must be getting hungry

By the time we visited the third childcare centre, we were feeling pretty good. Hannah had demonstrated enjoyment and a willingness to explore without direct parental supervision. We were surprised by how comfortable she had felt in both places. Nothing, however, had prepared us for her next demonstration of her willingness to attend childcare.

The director of the third centre was taking us on a tour and we entered the 0-2 room. Seated at a small table on little chairs, and on an assortment of high chairs was a gaggle of babies and toddlers. At first I was slightly disturbed. They were all sitting silently and looking directly at us. Obviously they were waiting for lunch and well-used to the drill.

Hannah, however, did not know what was going on. She looked at the other children then looked up at us. She grinned a big grin, then toddled over to the table, pulled the one remaining seat out and sat herself down with the rest of the kids. There she sat, a big grin on her face. She looked at the little girl next to her who shot back a similarly toothy smile. Hannah was in her element. She had no idea what was going on, yet she assessed the situation and summed it up perfectly. It was clear that her thought process was “if everyone else is sitting, I should too”.

I delicately removed Hannah from the table and we continued on our tour. She diligently waved goodbye to the other kids and the various staff, who had just begun bringing out food. I heard the now familiar “she’s sooo cute!” whispered from one educator to another as we headed out the door.

When we finally made it to the play area, the older kids were busy at play. Once again, Hannah toddled off without so much as a glance back in our direction. She played with the other children for a while, then they headed inside to eat their lunch. Hannah wasn’t bothered, she set about making her own fun while we finished our discussion with the director.

At some point I glanced over at Hannah. She had made her way to the kitchen play area. She was banging away in the sink, then she quickly lifted a spoon to her mouth. I wasn’t bothered, she often pretends to eat from her toy spoons at home. Then I looked a little closer. There was something white in her mouth. I excused myself and walked over to Hannah, who was now happily sitting on the floor. She was clearly munching away at something.

“What do you have in your mouth?” I asked. Hannah looked up and grinned at me. Specks of dirt surrounded her lips. I quickly stuck my fingers into her mouth and retrieved a sizeable pebble.

I hoped that the director hadn’t seen it. This was the best childcare centre that we had visited and the one to which I wanted to send Hannah. I couldn’t stand the thought of her already being labelled as “the rock eater”. Reputations can be hard to shake.

 

Conclusion

Hannah is more ready for childcare than we possibly could have imagined. In another six months-time she will be even more outgoing and adventurous. It is obvious she thrives on social interactions and imagination-based play. Whereas before I was still quite apprehensive about the idea of sending Hannah to childcare, now I’m almost excited about the prospect.

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