Running at sunrise to become a healthier dad Blog

Happy New Year!

Well would you look at that, 2018 is under way already!

 

I took a little break from the blog over Christmas and the New Year, as most people did. It was the most enjoyable, relaxing time spent in the great company of family. Hopefully you were able to relax and refresh over this time too.
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Dishwasher little helper Blog

The Little Helper

18 months is a wonderful age. In recent weeks Hannah’s cognitive ability and fine motor skills have exploded! We can almost see the change in each day. One of the most recent, unexpected developments is that of the little helper.

Hannah wants to be a part of everything. She would much rather be participating in what the adults are doing than sit by herself and play with her toys. She has perfected the loud wail at the kitchen gate, which she produces any time that she is locked out of a menial task such as unpacking the dishwasher. Hannah loves to help and we are really happy to involve her in every activity that we can.

Of course, the help of an 18 month old kid is not always helpful in the traditional sense of the word. Often, involving Hannah in the activity is a sure-fire way to significantly extend the time that the task takes to complete. Nevertheless, Emma and I both feel that it is really important to make Hannah feel like she is helping, and that her input is valued. We believe that encouraging her now will help Hannah to develop positive attitudes towards household tasks and chores in the future.

The Top 5 Ways in Which Hannah Likes to Be a Little Helper

1. Unpacking the dishwasher

Hannah comes running whenever the dishwasher door is open. She is incredibly eager to be a part of the daily ritual of unpacking. Hannah is getting better at it too, She knows where certain things go, and she is slowly coming to the understanding that some things (such as knives, glasses etc.) are not for her to touch. Hannah diligently removes all plastic containers from the top shelf of the dishwasher (yes, she can reach!) and then reaches up on her tippy-toes to place them on the drying rack.

There is still the occasional (regular) hairy moment, when Hannah picks up something highly breakable. Luckily, she tends to just try and ask us what she is supposed to do with it, rather than drop or throw it. So far we have not had any accidents.

2. Hang out/take in laundry

This is one of Hannah’s favourite pursuits. When she sees one of us heading out the back door with a washing basket, she quickly races to the laundry to find her Frozen crocs (Don’t judge me, they were given to her second-hand). Hannah loves to help with this activity, and she does so by pulling pegs out of the peg basket and handing them to the waiting parent.

Unfortunately, Hannah hasn’t yet learnt to distinguish between taking the washing out and bringing it back in again. That means that even when we are bringing in the washing, Hannah insists on handing us pegs. I have tried to introduce the task of “patting down” the clean laundry when taking it back in, with some success. It has definitely reduced the amount of extra pegs that I have to return to the peg basket.

3. Folding laundry

I don’t know where Hannah gets her love of the laundry from, because both Emma and I hate it. Hopefully it means that she will happily take over from us once she is capable of doing so (keep dreaming dad). Hannah loves to help fold the clean washing. Initially that meant emptying the entire contents of a washing basket all over the floor, one item at a time.

These days she understands the concept of taking washing out of the basket and placing it on the dining table, she just doesn’t understand the techniques of folding, or the concept of placing like items in the same pile. What we end up with is a Hannah pile of clothes at the end of the table (and maybe one or two on the floor). It doesn’t matter, she always seems pretty pleased with her efforts.

4. Shutting doors/gates

Hannah loves to shut doors and gates. She can now reach the door handles in the house and she is quite expert at manipulating them. She is also extremely diligent about ensuring that gates are properly closed. Hannah is so good at these jobs that she closes doors and gates that don’t need to be closed.

5. Packing away toys

This one is great, and I think it has a lot to do with our attitude towards Hannah’s involvement in household tasks. She is an expert at packing away her toys and books at the end of the day. All it takes now is the simple words “pack away” and Hannah gets stuck right in. We rarely leave her to do it herself, after all, housework is a lot more enjoyable with a bit of company. Packing away time is usually a family affair and we get it done quickly, together.

 

Who knows if allowing Hannah to help us with these tasks will really make a difference to her attitude as she gets older? I will not be at all surprised if she hits a certain age and doesn’t want to be our little helper anymore. Have you had any success with introducing your children to chores and responsibility? I would love to know what worked (or didn’t work) for you! Be sure to leave your ideas in the comments.

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Globber Evo 5-in-1 Blog

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 Scooter – First Impressions

A few weeks ago I wrote about Hannah’s frustrations at the playground with other children’s scooters. Every time she saw an unattended one, she was drawn to it like a magnet. It was obvious to Emma and I that it was time for Hannah to learn to ride. Thankfully, we weren’t the only ones who felt that way. The awesome crew at Globber read that post and they felt that they had the perfect scooter for Hannah – the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter.

Today, that scooter arrived. Conveniently, the delivery came while Hannah was having her usual nap. That gave me a few moments to put the new ride together and to have a close look.

 

Quality – Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter

Regular readers of Blog of Dad know that quality is very important to me. Years of wasted money spent on cheap products that just don’t last have taught me that quality is half of the value equation (along with price). My first impression of the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter is that it is a well-constructed, quality piece of gear.

The first thing that I noticed when it was delivered was that the box had some weight to it. Not so much that it would be unwieldly for a small child to use, but enough to fill me with confidence that it wasn’t some kind of cheaply made plastic-fantastic.

Upon opening the box, I could see where that weight came from. The scooter came in five separate parts, each one made out of metal or sturdy-feeling moulded plastic.

 

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter in box

 

I quickly built the scooter. The instructions in the provided booklet were fairly basic, but they weren’t really even needed. The Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 was intuitive and easy to put together.

I stood back and admired my handy work. The Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter is a pretty spectacular piece of equipment, especially in the hot pink. Hannah will certainly be seen coming as she flies down the bike track at the park!

 

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter side view

 

I gave the scooter a little push around the living room. All three of the wheels glided smoothly over the tiled floor. It took a little while to get used to the steering. The two front wheels are attached to ball bearing-mounted directional pivots, but they don’t “turn” as such. In the configuration where the scooter is controlled by a parent pushing, I often found myself having to lift the handle up, which brought the rear wheel off the ground. Once I had figured that out, I was able to get the scooter to pivot on the spot. I imagine that this will be less noticeable out on the wide-open bike tracks of the local park.

 

Versatility – Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter

The Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter has three main configurations – parent-propelled sitting, self-propelled sitting, and standing. The name 5-in-1 appears to come from further variations to these configurations (handlebar hight adjustment). As this is all very new to Hannah, I set her new ride up in the parent-propelled, sitting position.

 

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter handlebars

 

I really like the versatility of this design. It means that we should be able to get many years of use out of it. According to the advertised specifications, the scooter can hold 50kg in the standing position. Again, it comes back to the idea that this scooter is built to last. It will grow with Hannah and help transition her from passive rider to actively in control. Not that she plans to be passive for long…

 

Toddler Magnet – Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter

As I said at the start, Hannah was fast asleep when the package arrived. Imagine her surprise when she came downstairs after her nap and saw this glorious pink, grey and black contraption sitting right there on her play mat! The same type of contraption that she had been so highly coveting EVERY SINGLE TIME we went to the playground in the past few months.

She sat in her high chair and drank her milk (nothing gets in the way of her after-nap milk), but she was pretty quick to discard the accompanying biscuit. Hannah demanded to be released from her high chair, and it was no surprise where she went immediately following her release. The shiny new scooter had all of her attention and, unlike at the park, she was free to touch it.

 

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter rear wheel

 

Hannah hesitated for a second. She had been told all too often over the past month that she was not allowed to touch these things. But the reality of the situation quickly dawned on her. This was one of her very own. She was allowed to touch it! Even better, she was allowed to sit on it!

Hannah began to clamber aboard. The set-up was pretty easy for an 18 month old to understand (although she did initially try to mount it backwards). She needed a little help to begin with – I had to hold the handlebars to stop the scooter from moving as she climbed on.

Within seconds she was on, and all-too-late I realised my mistake. Once Hannah was aboard, there was no getting her off. Not only that, but to compound my mistake I began pushing her around the living room. I figured that was the end of any independent play for the afternoon – so long pile of washing that I was supposed to fold, good luck dishwasher that needed emptying. None of that was getting done now. For the rest of the afternoon, my life had a single purpose, to push an ecstatic toddler around the living room on her new favourite object.

 

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 seat

 

Every time that I stopped pushing, a loud protest was issued. How dare I ruin the fun?

That was until Hannah realised she had the power of self-propulsion. Never one to stay too passive, Hannah soon figured out that she could run her feet along the ground and in doing so, gain control of the beast. Just like that I was released from my pushing duties. I was free to return to folding washing while at the same time keeping an eagle eye on Hannah as she explored her new device. She wasn’t too hard to observe – she hadn’t yet figured out how to turn the thing, so she had a pretty limited range.

 

Safety First

If the wild Sydney winds don’t stop us, it’s pretty certain that we will spend a decent chuck of this weekend at parks with great bike tracks. My first task for tomorrow morning will be to head down to the shops and buy a helmet. It is important to remember that even on a well-designed unit like the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter, there is an inherent degree of risk. After all, that’s actually part of the fun.

Even with the stability of three wheels, the scooter has the potential to tip, or Hannah may simply just fall off. A helmet is an absolute must, as will be very close supervision. I think the ability for a parent to control the movement of the scooter via the attached handlebars goes a long way to mitigating some of that danger in the learning phase.

 

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter

 

Stay tuned…

As soon as we manage to get the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 into the wild (the bike track), I’ll report back. I’m itching to get outside and give it a propper go, and judging by the amount of attention Hannah is giving the scooter, so is she! Hopefully the Sydney August winds ease up just a little bit so that we can get out and about.

 

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.

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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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