As much as I’m in denial, I can’t avoid it. G turns two next month. 2!? When did that happen??
So I need to start planning his birthday. We held his 1st in our house, and it was a lovely day, but our family has way too many people to do it again this year. There are more adults than children and they take up more space than small children, but last year the small children were smaller, and moved less. This year there’s still a small army of adults and now not as small children who move around. A lot. At speed! So hosting in the house again is just not an option.
There’s two main options really, hiring a play centre venue or a community centre hall. Both have pros and cons.
The play centre: unless you can find one that hires out completely you may have to share the venue. Most will have a separate party room for food and games, but then the children share the play areas. This usually means that they don’t end up playing together, or parents end up chasing kids across the other side and not speaking to other parents. They’re fab, but I think better for older children rather than toddlers. Especially for numbers. Play centre parties always have a minimum number limit, and at (almost) 2 G only really has family, cousin and close family friends who’ll be coming, I don’t think we can have a party usually for a class of children for possibly less than 10.
But the best thing about play centres is that they usually have a complete package, so there’s less to organise/stress about. Entertainment, food, party bags and sometimes even cake. All included in the price, all cooked and laid out for you and even cleared up after you’ve gone. So very very tempting!
The Hall: you can hire for as long as you want, so you don’t have to have the party done in just 2 hours, although this may not always be a good thing. But if you want a more relaxed feel or want to have time for more family to join if they have other commitments etc. You have full control over the food and decorations, you don’t have to pick from a list of foods or deal with the existing decor clashing with your chosen theme. There’s a lot more freedom of what you want from a party.
But at the same time you have to choose everything for the party. Cook and lay out the food and drinks, decorate the venue and clear it all up afterwards. Also you have to provide entertainment, which for older children is a lot easier. A disco, some classic party games maybe even a visit from a favourite character. But toddlers are different, they may enjoy bopping along to a few songs but a whole disco will not hold their attention. And have you tried getting a toddler to sit still through a meal let alone pass the parcel!? Yeah, that is not going to happen for another year or 3.
I need to think really fast because, because this needs booking really soon! Like last week :-/
What did you do for your toddlers’ birthday? What’s the best kids’ party that you’ve been to (aka which one didn’t make you want to down a 2 litre bottle of vodka?)
We all know that babies come with a lot of stuff. From packing the hospital bag with 37 babygros, to filling the daily nappy bag with 16 nappies, 3 outfit changes and 12 spare feeds (that might just be me!) baby G, well toddler G now, comes with a plethora of crap to be heaved around. I try and cut it down, but usually this just involves forgetting something actually important.
So how do you decide what to take on holiday!? I mean abroad, where you’ll be staying in a strange place. How do you make it safe and homely?
These are some basic essentials we took for a good night’s sleep on our recent holiday.
Bedding: the villa came with a travel cot, but I thought it might be nice for G to have something familiar to help settle. Also I didn’t know what would be supplied, so I didn’t want him sleeping on a bare mattress. A fitted sheet, pillowcase (Thomas the tank FYI) and a thin knitted blanket. I knew he wouldn’t need a duvet or thick blanket but his grey knitted blanket was good for a light covering or a comforting cwtch.
Baby monitor: ok so it turns out we didn’t need it this year, the rooms in the villa were closer together so it wasn’t really needed so much, but as we still rely on it at home to hear him upstairs (valleys houses are surprisingly well insulated against sound!) we thought it may be needed if we were in the living room at night and he was serenading his penguins!
Room thermometer: keeping little ones safe, comfy and layered appropriately is tricky to get right, but even more so when abroad in a hot country. If they’re too hot or too cold it could mean a sleepless night for them and you, or you could be risking their health, especially from overheating.
The lovely people at the Gro Company sent us a Gro Egg to try out, and our holiday was the perfect chance to put it through its paces. Being able to see at a glance if the room is too hot or cold was really handy. The Gro Egg gives off a gentle light (bonus – it’s a night light!) that glows different colours depending on the temperature of the room. Blue is too cold, yellow just right and red too hot. We were able to adjust what G wore to bed and put the air con on for a little while before bedtime to help cool the room down and be safer and more comfortable.
We used it for the first time whilst on holiday, in more extreme temperatures, so although I would say it’s an essential for going on holiday, I wasn’t sure we’d use it as much at home but we still love it! Turns out the nights are still colder than we thought what with spring approaching, so it’s been easy to see if the room is cooler and adjust his pjs to long sleeved or have a thicker blanket to keep him warm.
As parents we are loving how much piece of mind the Gro Egg gives us, and as a toddler G is loving how the penguin Gro Egg Shell adds a little of his personality to his room, we both love penguins!
Cuddly toy/Favourite blanket etc: ok so it might seem obvious if your little have a favourite friend that they usually take to bed, but we very nearly forgot Waddles the penguin! I dread to think how the week would have been without G’s best friend, so from now on he is always first on the list. We also got him his own ‘reins’ for the plane trip, aka a hair bobble and a lanyard with a clip :D
What are your must haves when travelling with a baby or toddler? Have you tried the Gro Egg or other Gro Company products?
Mrs H xxx
Disclosure: we were sent a Gro Egg and Penguin Gro Egg Shell for the purpose of a review, all opinions are honest and my own.
Food is of course a big priority, for us in general, but especially when travelling. I like to be prepared if possible, and have healthy (or at least be in control of the unhealthy) snacks to graze on along the way. Even more so for longer trips and flights, because your schedule gets all thrown out of whack.
We have ordered G a breakfast on the flight, but in case of any delays or dislike of plane food (to be honest this is unlikely, but if I don’t plan for it you can bet it’ll happen!) I’ll be packing a few snacks to offer. Also you never can tell what time you’ll be able to stop the other side. Between securities, baggage claim, travelling to the villa and so on it’s easier to have things to hand to ward off a hangry toddler. I can’t complain, he gets his angry hunger tendencies from his mother!
At least this year I won’t have to be taking readymade porridge. It’s also going to be a lot easier to grab something suitable in the airport, but to avoid having to pay a ridiculous price for a little bag of crisps I’ll be packing a few key items.
Organix cheese and herb puffs. Definitely G’s favourite crisps.
Babybell cheese. Individually wrapped and not essential to keep in the fridge, they are guaranteed to tempt G whatever time it is. I think it’s safe to say cheese is in his top 3 fave foods.
Cheerio trail mix. This is just a fancy way of saying cheerio’s, dried fruit and treats chucked in a bag. The ingredients vary but are combos of cheerio’s, raisins, plain popcorn, smarties, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, dried apricots, pretzels, craisins. I never include any kind of nuts or seeds in a trail mix that G will be eating. And I’d certainly avoid including them for the flight, on the rare occasion that someone with a nut allergy would be flying too I’d have to bin the lot so not worth including them.
I haven’t decided if it’s worth packing our NomNom Pouches ready filled with yogurt (technically its food not liquid but having to faff around getting it tested is a draw back) Most likely I’ll take the empty pouches and pick up a yogurt if he really wants one when we’re passed security. It’s definitely worth taking the pouch because it means if you’ve got to move along quickly or he doesn’t want to eat it all in one go, it can be easily carried or packed away for later. They’ve also just started doing the pouches in a bigger size which is even better for toddler appetites.
Flapjacks, either homemade (working the two days before we leave means I’m not likely to for this trip) or Organix do a great range in a few different flavours.
A bonus treat, if slightly unusual, is something we discovered by accident on last year’s holiday. Soreen loaf. You know, the chewy, fruit cake/malt loaf that takes you about 10minutes to chew one mouthful. Well we were planning/hoping that G would want to have a drink on takeoff/landing, but he wasn’t interested, at least not for long enough. So after a quick panic and a fleeting thought to whether 11 month olds could have chewing gum (I’m joking. Honest I am) an individually wrapped portion of Soreen loaf from my mum saved the day! Although not exactly healthy, it’s plenty chewy enough to keep him busy and reduce the risk of his little ears popping.
What are your favourite toddler snacks to take on a trip? Do you have any tips to help stop ear popping?