Tag: fatherhood

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones Blog

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Headphones – First Impressions

The more I talk to people about travelling with a toddler, the more one thing becomes apparent. The flight from Sydney to Tokyo has the potential to make or break the whole adventure.

That is pretty high stakes! It’s no small sum of money that we have invested in airfare and accommodation, not to mention the annual leave that we have both taken. When I think that the first ten hours have the potential to set the tone for the next 23 days, I start to look at it pretty seriously.

So how do we go about ensuring a smooth flight? I posed that question on Twitter and the results were conclusive – snacks and entertainment (for the toddler, not me). And a key part of that entertainment? Headphones.

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones… The Box

Why is it that so much of the quality of a technology-based product is reflected in the cardboard packaging in which it arrives? The box for these Puro Labs BT2200 headphones headphones oozed class – it felt sturdier and longer lasting than some of the actual headphones that I’ve owned in the past! The glossy, white cardboard opened invitingly after a small amount of pressure released the magnetic clasps.


Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones
The box


I felt like a kid at Christmas as I opened it up to reveal a solid black carry-case. The carry case feels as if it is built to last. It is the perfect accessory to include with a set of headphones like these, as it offers great protection for the valuable equipment inside and an easy way of keeping the three important components together.


Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones protective case
The protective case


The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Headphones – First Look

I unzipped the carry case and opened it to find a brilliant white pair of headphones. A brief wave of jealousy washed over me as I realised that my 18-month old child was now the proud owner of a far better pair of headphones than I had ever had the luxury of owning. However, that jealousy soon turned to joy. If these are a key piece in the puzzle of a successful ten hour flight, then let her have it… (okay, I may have gone straight back to the Puro Sound Labs website and eyed off an adult version for myself).


Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones in case


My immediate impression when I pulled the headphones out of their carry case was that they are built to last. For a journey like this, I wasn’t prepared to gamble on a cheap plastic pair that ran the risk of falling apart half way through. I can just imagine how enraged the little one could become, should she be denied The Grand Old Duke of York for the 31st time at 30,000 feet. The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are light-weight, but still feel very sturdy – perfect for long periods of time on a toddler’s head.

The padding around the ear is soft and comfortable, and the headband is also padded. Again, these elements should make for longer periods of comfortable wear.

The left earpiece houses all of the controls – on/off, Bluetooth and volume control. It also has a micro USB port for charging, and an auxiliary input for wired connections.


Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones connections



The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones charge via a standard USB to Micro USB cable. It is the same type of cable that is used by my phone, so that is quite useful. It took about 1 1/2 hours to fully charge the first time, when plugged into a USB port on my PC. An indicator light turns from red to blue, to let the user know that the headphones are charged and ready to go.


Connecting to a Device

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are wireless. They use Bluetooth to pair with compatible devices and my experience was that it worked well. I paired the headphones with a Nokia 1020 Windows phone, a Moto G3 Android phone, an iPhone 7, a Windows 10 PC and a Windows 10 tablet. Each time the headphones were discovered by the device and paired on the first attempt. The connection was never lost during the time that I tested the headphones, even when I walked to the next room.



While Bluetooth connectivity is handy to have, it may not always be practical. Many home stereo systems, for example, don’t use a Bluetooth connection. Also, when flying there can be certain limitations to the types and times when a broadcasting device can be used. Some parents may also worry about using a transmitting device close to their child’s head for extended periods.


Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones bluetooth
Buttons for Bluetooth connection and on/off


Puro Sound Labs have thought of all this and they have included the ability to use the headphones with a wired connection. Simply plug in the auxiliary cable, turn the switch to “off” and you have a premium pair of corded headphones! It’s simple things like that, that make the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones such an attractive option for parents of toddlers.

A final advantage of the auxiliary cable is that even if I forget to charge the headphones, they are always usable. We will never be without music (unless I forget to charge the devices…).


Sound Quality

Forget all the other features, there’s not much point in spending money on a set of headphones if they don’t sound any good. I tried these out before I put them anywhere near my daughter’s ears (yes, they do just fit my head) and I liked what I heard.

Even on the standard Spotify stream, the songs came across clearly. I’m no audiophile, so don’t expect me to wax lyrical about the finer points of music listening, but I was suitably impressed. Keep in mind that these are volume-limited headphones, so don’t expect to be blown away by big sound. This, of course, is an excellent feature for tiny, sensitive ears.


Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones


I listened through a few of my favourite songs with these headphones. Alicia Keys‘ voice in Fallin‘ was as stunning as ever, and each instrument was clear. Bob Dylan’s Duquesne Whistle was a pleasure to listen to. Every intricate quirk of Bob’s (love it or hate it) voice came through in a way that reminded me of the last time I saw him in concert. My amateur ears were pretty impressed with what they heard, and it left my finger hovering ever closer to the ‘buy’ button on an adult pair of Puro Sound Labs headphones!



Protecting children’s hearing is obviously something the people over at Puro Sound Labs take very seriously. As I mentioned above, these headphones are volume limited. This is an extremely important feature for tiny, sensitive ears and frankly, I wouldn’t buy a set of headphones for my little one that didn’t offer such protection. Hearing is a precious gift and it can be too easy to lose.

The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones manual states that “85 dBA of sound can be listened to for up to 20 hours at a time without the risk of hearing loss”. This certainly helps to provide me with some peace-of-mind if Hannah decides that she wants to listen to a lot of music on our flight.

When I first started looking for a pair of headphones for this trip, I read some parents complaining about 85dBA limited headphones as being too soft to hear. At the time I found it strange that parents would opt for potential hearing damage over a safety feature, but I guess the point is valid. What is the purpose of headphones if the user can’t hear the sound? Once again, the technicians at Puro Sound Labs have thought of this, and they designed the headphones to block out 82% of background noise (according to their website). What is even more impressive is that they have achieved that passively, without the need for battery-draining, active noise cancelling.

That means that 85dBA is just fine for listening to music, even in a potentially noisy environment like a plane or transit lounge.


Stay Tuned…

That’s it for now. The Puro Sound Labs BT2200’s will be given a proper work-out on our travels to Japan. I’ll let you know how they perform out in the real world…


Disclosure – Puro Sound Labs provided Blog Of Dad with these headphones free of charge, for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

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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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Travelling to Japan With a Toddler – Introduction

Okay, I’m going to need you to be honest with me here. I’m ready for it, I can take the truth. I just really need to know…

Am I insane?


The reason I ask is because I recently booked a family trip to Japan… with a 20 month old child… Not to see family or friends, just because Emma and I thought it would be fun…

Even reading back over what I just wrote somewhat reinforced the slightly unnerving feeling that I may have finally spilt my lollies. However, when I really think about what we are doing and how we are planning it, I’m not so sure. Maybe, just maybe, my sanity is intact. Maybe this idea isn’t nuts after-all.


The Top Five Reasons I’m Not Insane for Travelling to Japan With A Toddler


Japan is safe

According to the OECD Better Life Index website, Japan has one of the lowest rates of homicide in the world. Excellent news!

My experience of Japan in the past has been that it is not too different to Australia for safety. Be sensible and respectful, acknowledge your place as a bumbling tourist and you should have a pleasant and enjoyable trip.

Last time we travelled to Japan, we found excellent standards of hygiene, a logical and efficient public transport system, and local people who were genuinely pleasant and more than willing to help us out with things like purchasing public transport tickets and giving directions.

Even in the massive metropolis of Tokyo, amongst the neon lights and throngs of pedestrians, there is a sense of order and calmness. Most of the population there work hard and live simple lives. There appears to be a high value placed on maintaining the peace, most likely because it greatly benefits everyone.

Amazing food is just around every corner, and thanks to Japan’s obsession with cleanliness, we have never worried about the quality.


Flights can be cheap

I’ll go into this in greater detail in my Booking Flights post, but travelling to Japan from Australia can be cheap. It can also be very expensive.

We made up our minds that we wanted to travel to Japan months ago. We put together a rough outline of the dates on which we wanted to travel, then set about playing the waiting game. We monitored the three major airlines that fly direct from Sydney to Japan, and when we saw the best deal, we jumped on it. It means that we are staying in Japan for a few days longer than we had originally intended, but it also means that we saved over $1000 on the average price.

Air travel prices fluctuate massively. If I were to book the same trip with the same carrier right now, it would cost me over $2000 more. It pays to give yourself plenty of time and to do the homework.



Remember when people said “YOLO” (you only live once)? Well, even back then I was too old and uncool to use it in anything other than an ironic tone. But now, as with all fads, the term YOLO is old and out of fashion – perfect!

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE PEOPLE! If we don’t go now, then we may never go. Circumstances can change rapidly and I would hate to live the rest of my life regretting the decision to not plunge in the deep end and have the experience of a lifetime. Right now, we have the chance. All of our ducks are in a row and I’ll be damned if I let that kind of opportunity pass.

(P.S. I’m so looking forward to the day when Hannah is completely embarrassed by the fact that I’ve used YOLO in a blog post… Hi sweetie, love you).

(P.P.S I really wish I had actual ducks in a row. That would be great.)


We Travel Light

Right now I need to offer a special note of thanks to the awesome companies that have come on board to make this experience as easy as possible for this dad and his family. Because of the products that they have provided us to test during our journey, we will be able to travel very lightly.

BabyBjorn were happy to share their excellent Travel Cot Light, which will make a world of difference to the bulk and weight that we have to lug around. This little beauty is compact enough to fit inside one of our suitcases. It is supremely light, yet still sturdy and obviously built to last. It is a breeze to set up and pack away, meaning that in the most manic, panicked of moments, of packing and unpacking, the portable cot won’t be causing and dramas.


BabyBjorn and Grobag for Japan trip


The Gro Company have also jumped on board with the perfect complement to the travel cot. The Grobags are light-weight, high quality and very comfortable. They are the same product that Hannah sleeps in at home, so the element of familiarity should be very comforting as she sleeps in a foreign environment.


RECARO provided a set of wheels. A good pram makes all the difference when travelling overseas. You need a workhorse, something that is heavy-duty, versatile and capable of carrying the endless bags of stuff that accompany a small child. Check out the RECARO Performance Denali Luxury stroller, it’s hard to go past.




Finally, Antler were confident that they could help make our journey a smoother experience with their light and tough Prism suitcase. It is large enough to hold the portable cot, and there is plenty of room to spare for other essential toddler gear (nappies, clothes, toys, etc.). With Antler on board (and the convenience of in-room washers and dryers), we are pretty confident that we can limit our total checked luggage to two suitcases – not bad for two adults and a toddler for 23 days-worth of travel. This will make a huge difference as we walk the streets of Japan’s busiest cities in search of our accommodation.


Antler Luggage for Japan trip


We have been there before

Japan is no mystery to Emma and I. We both have a long-standing love of the country and we have visited before. Because of this we were able to choose accommodation locations in Tokyo and Kyoto that were familiar to us and suited our needs. We know where to find excellent food and we have in mind some particular attractions that we know will be worthwhile. Of course, we will be incorporating some new experiences and new locations, so it won’t all be the same-old stuff.

Osaka will be new for us, so figuring out the best place to stay was a little more difficult. In the end, we aimed for as close to Namba as possible. We are reasonably confident that we have found a good spot. Even though Osaka is new to us, it is not overly concerning.


There you have it readers, conclusive proof that I haven’t lost the plot. Feel free to disagree and provide reasons why I am most definitely insane in the comments. You know, things like a slightly unhinged near-nuclear dictator with ICBMs pointed in the general direction of Honshu… that kind of thing…


Disclosure – BabyBjorn, The Gro Company, The Amazing Baby Company and The Cache Group of Companies provided Blog Of Dad with free products for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with these products. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

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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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childcare, Little table, kids, play, small, table, sitting, play dough, house, home, lifestlye, life, kids, baby Blog

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.



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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knuckles, blood, wall Blog

Ten Things I’ve Learnt Today – Knuckles

For today’s post, I thought I would pass on a few words of wisdom. I learnt these ten knuckles-related facts the hard way, so that you don’t have to…


  1. Knuckles graze easily when scraped on concrete stairs.
  2. Grazed knuckles bleed. A lot.
  3. Bleeding knuckles should be tended to immediately, not left to deal with after the cleaning is done.
  4. Eventually, blood from a grazed knuckle will find its way onto the white wall.
  5. Blood should be cleaned off white walls immediately. Under no circumstances should it be left to dry a little bit while you go to find a camera because you think it will make a good photo for a blog post.
  6. Photos of knuckle-blood stained walls don’t make for good blog post photos.
  7. Babies WILL wake up from naps and immediately demand to be attended to at the exact moment that you are trying to remove dried-on blood from a wall. You really should have done something about the still-bleeding knuckle earlier.
  8. Band-Aids don’t stay stuck when placed on knuckles.
  9. I may never finish sweeping the stairs.
  10. Sweeping stairs is a crap job.
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book, heavy, trilogy, paperback Blog

The Book and The Staircase

Having a toddler is fun. Much more fun than a baby. They are interactive and mobile. They live to learn, to explore. They have just begun the great journey of understanding the world around them and it is a delight to observe.


With exploration comes experimentation, and in Hannah we undoubtedly have a budding scientist. She observes and she examines everything in her world. For the past few months her favourite toys have been the ones that involve stacking or nesting objects.


Sometimes, however, the inquisitive mind of a toddler drives them to conduct “experiments” that have less than desirable outcomes for us adults. Experiments with food, excrement, paints and crayons are well documented by frustrated an bemused parents across the globe. Thankfully, we have not had too many of those yet.


Hannah’s latest series of experiments are firmly planted within the field of physics. She is obsessed by the movement of objects and she appears to have a burning desire to push everything within reach to its breaking point. Her mechanical toy train, for example, was recently placed on top of the lounge and then sent on its merry journey. As it recited the ABC, it elegantly performed a front half-flip and landed upside-down on the hard tiles – song still blaring in the vaguely annoying American accent. Hannah’s reaction to this was, of course, to immediately pick it up and try to repeat the process.


Today, Hannah decided to take her physics experiments to the next level. She had been sitting on the floor next to me, happily pulling novels off of the bookshelf while I sat and typed. This activity has never bothered me too much, she is normally reasonably delicate with the books, often choosing to flick through the pages or admire the pictures on the front covers.


However, this time she suddenly stood up. In her hand was The Bourne Trilogy – a hefty book. Purposefully, she looked out of the door and towards the staircase. A plan had formed in her mind – an experiment to test the effect of gravity on the humble paperback. In an instant, Hannah was off. Trailing close behind her was me. I had seen the look in her eye and almost immediately I knew what she was up to.


A part of me – the responsible, adult part of me – knew that the experiment had to be stopped. After all, children cannot be lefty to throw objects down stairs according to their whims. Imagine the chaos! Another part of me – the perpetually juvenile – insisted that the experiment be allowed to continue. What harm could come from it?


The adult side won the battle this time and so I called out to Hannah “stop, don’t throw the book”. Despite my speedy reaction, Hannah had reached the top of the staircase first. The sound of my voice had interrupted her, mid wind-up. Hannah turned around and faced me. Despite her young age and inability to understand the specific words, Hannah knows an instruction when she hears one. Comprehension dawned as she looked at me, then down as the book in her hands. She turned back to look at the staircase, then she looked back up at me again.


An internal struggle was undoubtedly raging in her little mind. It was written all over her tiny face. In direct competition was the burning desire to complete her experiment – to add to her growing neurological catalogue of “things that happen when I throw stuff”, while at the same time she wished to please the “bringer of afternoon snacks” (me) by doing as I asked.


“Can I please have the book?” I asked, while inching closer to Hannah, who was still standing in her commanding position at the top of the stairs. Once again she looked at me, at my outstretched hand. Once again, she turned back to look at the stairs. It was now or never. Shortly I would be in a position to grasp the book and the opportunity to conduct the experiment would be lost.


Hannah wasted no more time, she heaved the book above her head and hurled it with all her might. It spun through the air in slow motion and gracefully cleared the first five stairs. On the sixth it landed with a thud. The spine-side corner hit the steps. The pages splayed open. The book tumbled down a further four steps, then stopped.


Hannah smiled and let out a pleased sound. Her experiment was complete and the results were very satisfying indeed. I looked at her and tried to hide my smile. Despite my best efforts at presenting as an adult to Hannah, I had undeniably enjoyed watching the spectacular journey of the book almost as much as she had. Despite the hard landing, no damage had been done to the book. I appreciated that Hannah had formulated, then conducted an interesting experiment.


Do I want Hannah to throw books down the stairs on a regular basis? No, of course not. But I don’t believe she will. If she does persist with doing it, it is then my job to teach her that it is not appropriate. Some may suggest that I have made this task harder for myself by failing to stop it the first time, but I’m not so sure. My observations of Hannah to this point lead me to believe that she gets great satisfaction from turning the unknown into the known. It is possible that had I stopped her the first time, her desire to throw books down the stairs may have grown.


I could be wrong. Maybe I’ve created a monster. Time will tell…

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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