Hello…it’s me again.

Hey friends,

I know, I know it’s been a long time. I started off this blog guns blazing and I desperately wanted to create something that people would flock to amidst the saturated blog market. It started off swimmingly, I was featured in Scary Mommy  and I felt unstoppable. The response to the article was widely positive (of course some lovely people felt the need to minimize by feelings from behind their keyboards but that’s the internet for you) and it was amazing to have people from all over the world reach out to me. I was asked to be a part of a collection of expat stories for a book which was really special. I felt unstoppable. But then, I started to run out of steam.

Desperate to make the blog a success that might allow me to supplement my income, I lost focus and direction and focused on writing about what was popular and might get more hits rather than what I really cared about. I became too bogged down in affiliate programs and honestly the content suffered. I started this blog as a space to be real about the trials and tribulations of parenting as an immigrant (not expat, thank you keyboard warriors) farm wife and to share things I am interested in. It’s time to get back to that and if success comes then fantastic but what’s more important is connecting with other women and men who might get a little laugh and support from my ramblings musings.

At the same time as trying to be the world’s most unlikely influencer I decided to start taking better care of myself and found that nap times were taken up by getting active rather than writing and my little window of available time slowly got smaller. Add to that the never ending mum guilt of having a 4 year old that constantly wants to play and I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write. Now, I chose to say yes to play as much as possible as I know my daughter will be going to school soon and I just want to soak up every delicious minute with her so I’m not complaining, it just naturally happened that the blog took a back seat. I just tried to enjoy this maternity leave as much as possible, I went on trips, took lots of pictures and made new friends. Oh and let’s not forget the most stressful, long planting season EVER (yes I’m a farm wife to those of you who are new) and my little space in the internet just gathered dust.

Now I feel like I want to write again. Maybe it’s the giant upheaval that’s coming in the form of returning to work? I mean I’ll have so much more time now right?!  I’m not sure but I hope that whoever is reading this blog is happy to have me back and enjoys what’s to come!

Love,

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A Day In The Life Of A Mum On Maternity Leave As Told By GIFs

Maternity leave is amazing. I get to spend lots of quality time with the kids, wear leggings or PJs all day long and watch tons of daytime TV (I’ve watched so much HGTV I’m positive I can now redecorate a run down farm house on a $50 budget). Living in Canada means that I am able to take a whole year off to stay at home with the kids on maternity leave which is fantastic! I cannot imagine being in work right now especially as it would mean washing my hair and putting on real pants. No buenos. However some days I feel like I am going to go nuts from being stuck indoors with a baby and a toddler and only Joanna Gaines for company (let me clarify that I understand that she is on the TV and not actually in my living room talking to me). My husband often comes home and asks “how was your day?” and honestly some days I can’t even put it into words.

Here is a little collection of GIFs to explain what my day looks like.

  1. Wakey wakey Mummy. Forget those peaceful alarm clocks that wake you gradually from your slumber with the peaceful sounds of birds or whales. If you have an infant you’re getting full on screaming to jolt you awake every morning.

Audrey Hepburn Cat GIF

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2. COFFEEEEEE

Coffee Drinking GIF

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3. Make breakfast for everyone. This task will usually involve at least 34 different types of cereal, 52 changes of cups for juice and being told “I don’t want orange juice, I want ORANGE juice”. What does that even mean?

Snow White Cooking GIF

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4. Husband leaves for work. I’m on my own now.

Disney Hello GIF by O&O, Inc

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5. Try to get the kids to do something educational like read.

Read Beauty And The Beast GIF by Disney

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6. Nope, that was fun for 10 minutes and now she wants to get out the Playdoh.

Lady Gaga Nod GIF

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7. Get kids ready to go out

Mr T Alligator GIF

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8. Get self ready. Hair is a little crazy but it works

Sigourney Weaver Derek Stevens Comeback GIF by Saturday Night Live

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9. Have a snack as I probably didn’t eat breakfast. Toddler hears wrapper and promptly seeks me out and steals my snack.

Friends Joey GIF

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10. Story Time at the library. Mamma gotta show off her moves.

“Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap”

Siouxsie Sioux Dancing GIF

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11. Baby has fallen asleep in the car on the way home. Gotta get this puppy into her crib without waking her.

Adam West Running GIF

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12. Baby wakes up

Angry Tyra Banks GIF

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13. Make lunch and throw away pretty much everything because your child got distracted by shadows and now refuses to sit at the table and eat while she investigates.

Mostly 4 Millennials Smile GIF by Adult Swim

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14. Afternoon activities. I wanted to try some pinterest crafts but I’m EXHAUSTED so I pretty much let my kids do whatever. Insanity has set in as this point. You want to try that Indian ink calligraphy set on the white carpet …

Do It Whatever GIF by Abbey Luck

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15. why is it still only 2:30?

Dawsons Creek Crying Dawson GIF by HULU

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16. Try any means possible to get baby to sleep but they wont.Gluten Free Crying GIF

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17. Make your child’s favourite dinner. Oh you thought pasta was your child’s favourite food? Think again. You are wrong.

Angry Beauty And The Beast GIF

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18. Husband walks through the door. TAG.

Seattle Seahawks Im Here GIF by NFL

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19. Observes the chaos

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20. He plays calm games with the children.Wwe Spinning GIF

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21. Bath time. Hope you got the bathroom floor waterproofed!

Killer Whale Texas GIF

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22. You get the kids to bed. You’re freeee!Baby One More Time Dancing GIF by Britney Spears

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23. Your toddler has an existential crisis and wants to get out of bed but you’re too experienced for that nonsense. Not after I’ve clocked out junior.

Rihanna No GIF

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24. Pour a small glass of wine
Amy Schumer Drinking GIF

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25. Do fun and exciting things with the hour you have before you fall asleep.
Tired Killing Eve GIF by BBC America

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26. Try to go to sleep but your head is spinning your to do list and you think you just heard the baby.

Black And White Sleeping GIF by FilmStruck

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So how does your day look? Do you put on proper pants?

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Little frequent flyers. Activities and advice for surviving long haul flights with toddlers.

There is nothing more humbling than a screaming child at 37,000 feet. As you “shh” them desperately through gritted teeth and offer them everything from stickers to your kidney if they just cooperate all you can think of is “why the fresh heck did I put myself through this?” Pretty much anyone who has ever flown with a child has been through this and if they say that they haven’t then they are either lying or actually have an angel for a child.

Flying Alone With A Baby

I remember going on my first flight with a baby ALONE. That’s right, in the throws of postpartum fog (not to mention the postpartum anxiety I was feeling) I thought it would be a great idea to head back home to the UK. Honestly, I was so homesick after having a baby I didn’t care. I needed to get out of Canada and to my parents’ house to lounge around in my tracksuit bottoms and be fed wine. So armed with a 4 month old baby and an arsenal of things I was told by numerous online resources that I MUST have, I started the 7 + hour journey to Cardiff. Oh did I mention I threw a stop over in there? Lay overs are not ideal with kids. However we made it and so began a lifetime of flying with kids.

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This is HONEST TO GOD what I thought I needed for a flight with a baby. This is what Pinterest tips tell you to pack when you are flying with a baby. Life hack – you definitely do NOT need all these things. Why did I think I’d need 5000 breast milk storage bags?

Navigating the airport with a million different things and a baby

Getting through security was my first challenge of flying with a baby alone. I had so much stuff, a baby and just two hands. It is unreal how unhelpful people actually are when you’re flying alone. I definitely made a mental note to offer my assistance to others more readily at the airport in the future as a business man pushed past me and dumped his crap into the tray I had put out for myself (I made some other mental notes but I wont go into that). As I struggled to collapse my stroller and get it onto the x-ray machine all while holding my baby I was slowly regretting what I had gotten myself into. We made it to departures, Mummy had a nice BIG glass of wine and snapped the obligatory “we’re going on holidays” passport Instagram photo. Next thing I know we’re walking down the walkway to the plane and I take up my residence in the tiny seat that would be my prison home for the next several hours. Emerson was asleep pretty much as soon as I sat down and I optimistically got out my headphones and book and settled down to smugly spend the flight with a sleeping baby. That lasted until the cabin pressurized and her eyes popped open and she screamed until we were up in the sky and there was no escape. I frantically apologized to all those around me “she’s usually so good”, “she wont scream long” as beads of sweat appeared on my brow. Finally she did stop screaming after what seemed like hours but was in actuality about 15 minutes and she did indeed sleep all the way home.

What I wish I knew before heading on a long haul flight with kids solo

  1. Peeing with a baby in a plane toilet involves Gwyneth Paltrow yogi level flexibility. You have to hold your demon you don’t want to wake sweet sleeping child while pulling down your pants, doing your business, flushing that crazy loud flush that makes you feel like you’ll get sucked out, wash up and leave the bathroom. Trust me, this is no easy feat.
  2. You can’t wear your baby for the whole flight. For take off and landing they must be out of the carrier and on your lap. Fun times if you just got your child to sleep.
  3. If you lucked out and got a bassinet seat, you can’t use this during turbulence. I guarantee this will happen several times when crossing the Atlantic. Cue screaming baby who has been woken up.
  4. If you are in these bassinet seats that you upgraded to people will use your extra leg room to walk through, stand in, do stretches in, .
  5. Collapsing your stroller and car seat combo will be the hardest thing you have ever done when you have a line on antsy people behind you and a baby in your arms. Start practicing now if your flight is in a year.
  6. Your stroller and car seat will likely get lost/broken/look like it survived a tornado.

There’s a lot to learn and I’m sure I haven’t mastered it all but I do have some tips to help you get through what will feel like the longest flight of your life

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Emmy is a little frequent flyer. This Christmas will be her 8th flight at 3.5 years old. Better get her an Airmiles card.

Advice for getting through a long haul flight with kids

  1. Don’t pay attention to all those packing lists, they are totally crazy. For a baby you literally need milk, bottles (pack 2/3 so you don’t have to wash on the plane), a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, antibac wipes, a blanket, a dummy, one toy.
  2. Make a busy bag for your toddler (blog post to follow) with colouring books, stickers (PACK LOTS OF THESE), a small toy, water painting books.
  3. Get to the airport EARLY. I used to stroll through security without a care in the world 90 minutes before my flight but that’s not going to fly with kids (get it?!) You’ll need a lot of time for diaper changes, bathroom breaks etc. Rushing will not help your stress levels which are probably a little higher than usual. Sit and have a beer before the flight and relax!
  4. Take the stroller and check it at the gate. It is a great way to lug all of your duty free items baby crap around the airport.
  5. You will want to get a stroller bag and car seat bag if you value these items at all NO offence to ground staff at the airport but sometimes it looks like they’re practicing for log throwing when they load your items on to the plane. I saw my car seat sitting in the pouring rain on the tarmac at Cardiff and I was really happy I had it in a bag to keep the water off it. I got mine off Amazon and they survived loads of flights. I actually just got new ones for this flight and this time they’re a pretty grey colour! They actually seem a little sturdier than the last bright red ones I had. If you click on the picture it will take you straight to Amazon.
  6. Take advantage of priority boarding. I know it seems crazy to sit on the plane longer but this way you guarantee that you can put your diaper bag or purse above where you are sitting rather than having to fight with the people in row 43 who have thoughtfully filled your overhead bin space with their full sized case.
  7. Your technology rules are going to have to go out of the window here. Take an iPad if you have one for the love of God, it will save you. My husband actually forgot to pack ours last time we flew and I think we set a new world record for how long you can be salty.
  8. Do not pack toys that are loud, roll, bounce, rattle, squeak, are valuable. It’s not fair to those around you if your child is playing with something that is bleating in the middle of the overnight red eye flight. Also planes are black holes and I guarantee you that you will lose something. Honestly my kids played with plastic cups and the headphone wires last time we flew.
  9. Those pacifier clips make great toy clips and stop your child lobbing Sophie at unsuspecting passengers’ heads.
  10. Get some nice big headphones for your kid so they can easily listen to the TV. Earbuds are not nice for littles.
  11. If you’re alone then take your carrier so you can wear your baby as you board the plane and you can strap them to you when they fall asleep. I have also gone to the bathroom with a baby strapped on me but that wasn’t easy or sanitary.
  12. Wear leggings or sweatpants. Yeah like I need to tell you twice. If you are alone with a baby you will probably only have one hand and buttons aren’t your friend in this scenario.
  13. Pack ALL THE SNACKS. Whatever your kid likes, pack it. Favourites are Goldfish, gummies, chips, crackers and granola bars.
  14. Lollipops are your friend. They’re great to pop ears and I am yet to meet a kid that wont step into line at the promise of a lollipop.
  15. Take water or juice for your kids so they don’t have to wait for the drinks cart to come around.
  16. If you have room, pack an extra blanket. Planes are cold overnight and those static polyblend monstrosities the airline provides have the tog factor of toilet paper.
  17. Accept the help of strangers. You will be so surprised with how many people are happy to lend a hand if you just ask. You will also be surprised at how clueless other people can be but focus on the positives!
  18. Know that you might not get a lot of sleep so try to have someone pick you up at the airport if possible or arrange to stay over night at an airport hotel.

Flying with kids can be done!

I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy but for lots of us travelling with kids is a fact of life. Don’t ever apologize for taking your child on a plane. I’ve yet to experience a flight with a kid (mine or someone else’s) screaming the entire time and honestly people aren’t as bothered by a kid on board as you might think. Even if they are, you bought a ticket just like them and you’re entitled to travel.

Do you have any amazing tips or tricks for surviving a long haul flight with kids?

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Tips and Advice For Surviving The Colic Storm From A Mum Who’s Been There

“It’s just colic sorry”, my doctor said to me with a casual shrug as I sat in his office with red rimmed eyes, wearing leggings that I had worn for more days than I care to mention and unkempt hair bouncing my crying baby around. “But she won’t stop screaming, please diagnose her with something so we can make it better” I pleaded with him. I listed off what Google told me might be the reasons my baby was crying nonstop (top tip, this is probably not the best idea when talking to a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. Newsflash, Google does not make you a Doctor)

Why is my baby crying all the time? (according to Dr.Google)

  1. Dairy allergy
  2. Reflux
  3. Silent reflux
  4. Soy allergy
  5. Allergy to some other unspecified things
  6. The baby is broken
  7. Your baby hates you and you are an awful parent

He turned to look at me like he probably looks at so many frazzled mums and told me first of all to stay off Google and that she was just colic and she would get better by three months. THREE EFFING MONTHS I almost screamed at him. Aria was 6 weeks old at this point and I was slowly but surely losing what remained of my marbles from my first child. This was NOT what I wanted to hear after hardly sleeping and listening to the not so mellow sound of my baby screeching for 3 hours a day.  Let me tell you, that noise is hardly whale music and would probably be suited to CIA torture techniques. That’s right 3 HOURS A DAY.

colic

So what is colic?

For a colic diagnosis you have to follow the rule of 3. Uncontrollable crying for 3 hours a day, appearing at or after 3 weeks, occurring at least 3 days of the week for 3 weeks. 3 is not such a magic number after all.

I wasn’t having it. I was a second time parent. I was a smug baby rearing expert seeing as I had managed to keep my first born alive for over 3 years. Everyone knows the second time around is meant to be easier. IT WASN’T FAIR. THIS ISN’T WHAT I ORDERED. As I went to reel off my Google list again he finally suggested I cut out everything and anything that might be allergenic from my diet and to test over the next few weeks to see what made her colic worse.

Could an allergy be causing the colic crying? Allergens included but were not limited to:

  1. dairy
  2. soy
  3. ANYTHING that contains milk protein (crackers even have this sneaky bugger in it)
  4. broccoli
  5. beans
  6. tomatoes
  7. peppers
  8. spicy food
  9. red meat
  10. nuts
  11. any food that you might currently enjoy

Yet again he told me that it was “just colic” (at this point I searched the office for something to hurl at him but my arms were full with a screaming baby and I didn’t think throwing the tongue depressors that were at arms reach would make much of an impact) and it would probably just go away on its own. Sensing that I wasn’t going to get much further and conceding (begrudgingly) that perhaps I wasn’t as smart or experienced as the Doctor (despite what Google told me) I set off home with my list that would suck every ounce of fun out of life of what I couldn’t eat and headed home. After a very fun week or so of partaking in the “what will make my baby scream like a banshee for hours on end?” experiment I gave in and gave her hypoallergenic formula (side note, can we talk about how I felt like I “gave in” by giving her formula? I truly believe that fed is best but my Mum guilt prevailed yet again). It was like a different baby had taken Aria’s place within two days. I was cautiously optimistic as I had two nights in a row without the piercing colic cries reverberating around the house from 5-8pm. After a week of no colic crying I decided to try her on my milk again, just for kicks. Well that was a gas as the screaming returned. My dear Watson, I think we found the culprit. So back to the formula it was and I’ve never looked back. Aria is happy and thriving, she is sleeping through the night and she is happy to be awake whereas before it seemed like she was in pain constantly. Moreover, my husband and I are happier. We are getting more sleep, I can take Aria out of the house without worrying about a colic episode and we can play together happily for hours on end. It feels so indulgent to be able to bathe her, give her a baby massage and settle down with a bottle without her screaming. I also am getting to the point where I can take a shower without suffering colic PTSD (when I think I hear the baby crying even when she is not).

What can I do if I think my baby has colic?

Research into colic hasn’t produced any definitive answers and what has been produced is conflicting. What seems to be overlooked is the impact colic can have on mum’s mental health and this is perhaps the most important consideration of all. Merely telling a mum who is clearly distressed that it is “just” colic isn’t helpful. Maybe the child does have this weird affliction that no one knows much about but we need to be more mindful of using the term “just”. When this mum has agonized for hours about what on earth she is doing wrong, sometimes she needs someone to truly hear her and understand (or at least empathize) with her struggle. Because let me tell you, the struggle is REAL.

So mums of colic babies, I promise you it gets better. We made it through the colic trenches and whilst I am positive I have aged at least 15 years and have taken to bouncing bags of potatoes and other produce in the supermarket like a strange tick the crying has stopped.

Surviving the colic storm

    1. Take all the help you can.
    1. Know it’s OK to put the baby in their cot for a few moments so you can take a breather. Come back when you’re calm and try again.
    1. Also know that you aren’t doing anything wrong. Colic is strange and unpredictable and until it vanishes as quickly as your dignity in the birthing room you just have to roll with it.
    1. Try talking to your doctor about a possible milk protein allergy.
    1. Try the anti-colic bottles from Avent. I only just stopped using them for Aria and you could see the air bubbles dissipating. They’re on sale on amazon!

  1. Have your partner do the night shift so you can sleep. You are much better equipped to deal with screaming when you’re rested.
  2. Take time for you when you can. Do your nails, get out of the house, have a bath.
  3. Know that it will end and colic will go away.
  4. Drink all the wine you want.

You’ve got this

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How to get your toddler out of the house in 38 easy steps

Congratulations, now that you’re a mum you will perpetually be running a little late. Tardiness is a fact of parenting like how you will lovingly prepare your child’s favourite food for dinner only to be met by gagging, tears and the revelation that it is no longer their favourite food and you are a disgrace to motherhood for even thinking that they would eat it. I don’t know about you but no matter how good my intentions are to leave 10  minutes early or how organized I am, I am always running around yelling “GET YOUR SHOES ON, NO NOT THE FLIP FLOPS IT’S MINUS 20, SWEET LORD LOOK AT THE TIME, MOOOOVE” pretty much every time I need to leave the house. There really is no easy way to get your toddler out of the house quickly.

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“Sure honey wear what you want just for the love of all that is holy get out of the house.”

If you somehow reached this post through a search engine I’m going to applaud you for being realistic enough to bypass the posts that promise that you will be able to get your toddler ready and out of the house in 10 easy steps with minimal tears. I’m calling BS on those posts, there is no way on God’s green earth that Emmy is going to get into that car and let me get onto the road in anything close to 10 steps. Whenever we leave the house she packs like a middle aged mother going for a two week holiday to Greece. None of what she takes is of any use but for some reason she feels like if it doesn’t come with us to the supermarket then something dreadful might happen. I guess there might be a time when she might need a plastic onion and an old receipt? So let me share with you my ultimate guide to getting your child out of the house in a realistic number of steps.

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An example of the “essentials” Emmy packs.

38 easy and simple steps to get your child out of the house

  1. Chase the olympic 100 metre sprinter  your toddler around the house while pleading with them to just go into their room so you can begin the process of getting them dressed.
  2. After much coercion and a negotiation battle comparable to what I imagine goes on during a multi-country trade deal get your child up the stairs and into their room. You now owe your child a puppy, a Kinder egg and a trip to one of those intolerable indoor play places.
  3. Chase child around the upstairs for 15 minutes. I guess you welcome the exercise and now your fitbit can stop telling you that you’re a sloth.
  4. Catch child, put them under your arm and march to their room in a most authoritative manner.
  5. Wrestle child to the ground, be sure to pin each limb down or you will get sucker punched in the throat, head, stomach, genitals or boob.
  6. Pick out clothes for your child to wear.
  7. Wrong choice.
  8. Ask them what they want to wear. The answer will be totally inappropriate for whatever season you might be in and will almost certainly include an item of clothing that is sat in the washing machine.
  9. After more negotiating, dress child in something that is somewhat appropriate (or you can at least live with). This is the tricky part as dressing a toddler is akin to trying to dress an angry octopus (watch out again for those limbs).
  10. Now move into the bathroom to brush teeth and wash their face.
  11. Put toothpaste on toothbrush, have child eat toothpaste off brush and demand more.
  12. Tell them tough luck and turn attention to something else for a millisecond during which time child has turned into a ninja and is eating toothpaste directly out of the tube.
  13. Shove toothbrush in child’s mouth to keep them occupied so you can turn attention to their hair.
  14. Arrange hair into some type of pony tail and gather the strange short bit of your kid’s hair with a clip haphazardly.
  15. Rub washcloth over your toddler’s face as they streak out of the room towards the stairs (you notice that you didn’t close the baby gate during the battle to get them upstairs so you probably have a small heart attack, die for a moment and then realize that you’re a mum and don’t have time to be dead).
  16. Ask your child nicely to use the potty so they wont pee in the car seat (that’s a gas) or scream that they need to use the potty while you are out and then refuse to use a public toilet.
  17. Ask your child to use the potty again with a little more force.
  18. Morph into The Beast and shout at your child to use the potty because you’re now late which will make them cry (ego depletion strikes again). You feel bad and promise them you’ll buy some sort of toy when you’re out.
  19. Give up on the potty. Maybe they don’t really need to go? Right what’s next? shoes.
  20. Go to put on your child’s shoes.
  21. Wrong choice. How could you not know they wanted to wear one rubber boot and one ballet shoe? GOD MUM.
  22. Finally squash their incredibly rigid foot into their shoe. When did their bones turn to cement?
  23. Coat time. Put it on backwards first. Then put the wrong arm in the hole. Finally get it on.
  24. Toddler takes off coat. Your head explodes.
  25. Get coat back on. No time for mittens and hat. You are now officially late.
  26. Throw snacks into a bag and get your child to the door.
  27. Your toddler says they just want to take one thing with them. You concede and let them choose ONE toy. They come back looking like a Sherpa. Whatever.
  28. Your toddler says they just need one more thing. You refuse and they start to scream again.
  29. Your patience is totally thinned out now so you tell your toddler that you’re going to put the Roomba on and it will suck them up if they don’t leave the house IMMEDIATELY (just me?).
  30. Get out of the door FINALLY.
  31. Just kidding, you need to back inside because your kid has decided they actually do want to use the potty. Is it too late to leave them on the church steps?
  32. False alarm.
  33. Get child into car seat. Go to do up buckles and child suddenly decides that they are auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil.
  34. After folding them in half, quickly do up buckles tight enough to constitute as a straight jacket. They will complain it’s too tight, don’t fall for it, they want some slack to escape when you’re driving at 100kms/hr on the motorway. “Look mummy, I’ve climbed into the trunk!”.
  35. You did it, everyone is in the car and you’re on your way!
  36. Realise that you’re wearing your slippers, run back inside.
  37. Toddler screams that they need to use the potty.
  38. Give up, you’re a week late anyway.

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Take the Timbits, my soul, whatever, just get into the car seat PLEASE.

So as you can see with my easy 38 step plan getting your child out is a cinch! Once you’ve mastered this you might want to consider adding another child into the mix for kicks.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

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