Clingy Toddler Alert & The Three-nage Years – Lessons Learned

Dealing with a clingy toddler (he’s nearly 3, can I still class him as a toddler?) in my view challenges parents to the extreme.

At 3 years of age, my son is now old enough to declare (loudly) what he does and doesn’t like but the skill of rationalising opinions and decisions is still a rather complex matter for his little developing grey matter.

During mid August, I was very lucky to go away for 4 days with my friend for some husband and child free girly fun. We certainly explored the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and it’s array of street food and beverages to the full. This resulting in me returning with what I can only describe as man-flu – 3 days off work confined to bed with aches, pains and a miserable cold.

In true female form, I bounced back just in time to head off on another girls jolly to Ibiza with my sister. I’m not going to deny it was bliss – sunshine, uninterrupted beach time and the odd glass of rioja made for a fantastic break.

Having returned refreshed (well, as refreshed as anyone is after a 4 day break on the party island) I was completing final preparations for my sons 3rd birthday. However, my best laid plans for a kiddy-centric celebratory day were promptly thrown out of the window when he suddenly became very poorly and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Don’t worry, he’s recovered well and we’re returning to some semblance of normality. So why am I telling you all of this? Well it would appear that following my unusual absence on holibobs (I’m NEVER away from home overnight), a poorly episode and a birthday, we appear to have in our midst the dreaded Three-nager!

Now, my son has always been the fairly chilled cuddly but confident general picture of loveliness. We’ll gloss over the biting stage at 18 months, that’s for another post. However, since recent events he’s become an emotional and extremely clingy little terror. When I reflect It’s certainly been an unsettling time for him but when, on a Monday morning it takes a full hour to stop the tears and tantrums to get him in the car to nursery, the calm reflection goes out of the window. Whilst we’re certainly not out of the woods of this behavioural stage yet, I can share with you a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned along the way so far, for what they’re worth;

  1. Stay calm

If I get upset, he gets upset. I’ve I get angry he goes nuclear. Me having an extreme reaction doesn’t stop his frustration but staying calm definitely eases it

2. Offer comfort

Now, I tried the discipline bit to stop the tantrums but that didn’t work for us. Comfort and cuddles did work, but with a firm approach. I don’t want to be a walkover but when sometimes you just need to cry it out, a cuddle always helps to ease the sobs.

3. Distraction and reward

I’m not a reward chart kind of mum. Don’t get me wrong, they have their place and never say never, but it’s not an approach we currently use. What does seem to work is to distract to a positive event that’s coming up, be it a day out or meeting up with some friends to take the attention away from the current moment of angst.

4. Wine

Ah yes, the solution to most things of a parenting nature, after bedtime of course so you can drink uninterrupted! Seriously though, sometimes when you feel you’ve tried absolutely everything a break is what you need to re-group, gather your thoughts and be ready to face the next day. It may be wine, it may be a session at the gym but some unwind time seriously helps you to think of some more tactics to face the next day with!

Good luck parenting friends and if the UN ever have a vacancy for a negotiator, feel smug in the fact that you would nail the job description in spades!

Unexpected Get Aways – Ibiza 2016

ibiza sunset

I was recently very lucky to be invited by my sister to join her for an Ibiza great escape. Certainly an unexpected get away to the year having not expected to be flying in a plane at all this year! Don’t get me wrong, we had a lovely family week in Norfolk during the summer heatwave but there’s something special about airport departure lounges and aeroplane food that still has that same magic from my first childhood holiday to Majorca many years ago.

Now before we get started, the holiday was a competition win courtesy of my sisters mother-in-law. At almost 70, when she entered the competition on the side of a Pringles tube, she didn’t anticipate a 3 night stay at the Ibiza Rocks hotel with VIP entry to the closing party and free San Miguels all night. She had probably anticipated a more sedate holiday. Lucky for us.

Having visited Ibiza many times before, I was really looking forward to heading back to the White Isle after a 4 year hiatus. Even more excited that it would be a girls only holiday with no children in tow. I do love holidaying with my son (and the husband obvs!) but the thought of laying and reading a book on the beach instead of building sandcastles and relentless kiddy entertaining was pretty appealing!

Now, let’s get the accommodation part out of the way straight away. We were slightly dubious that we would be at the upper end of the average age scale (by approx. 20 years!) staying at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel but we needn’t have worried as it was a complete mixed bag of guests. But this is certainly a party hotel which our ‘Stage View Room’ confirmed as soon as we arrived.

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The accommodation is really very basic but the kind of hotel guest that this place attracts isn’t looking for luxury, they just want somewhere to lay their head in the early hours of the morning. However, the Ibiza Rocks brand does appear to have recognised that they would be wise to invest in something a little more upmarket for the returning Ibiza kid now in their 30’s like me and have created the Sol House Ibiza concept for the more discerning traveler who likes to believe they can still throw some shapes with the young ones.

Ses Salines beach

Whilst we had some relaxing beach days at Ses Salines (my favourite beach and home to The Jockey Club) and Cala Comte (beautiful but absolutely packed) we still partied like it was 2004. Our VIP entry to the Ibiza Rocks closing party meant we had a great view of Wolf Alice performing and the after party at Pikes Hotel certainly provided a little peek of the secret Ibiza we all hear about.

pikes

The famous Sunset Strip and home to Café Mambo and Café Del Mar is still ever popular thanks to the beautiful backdrop of the fantastic sunset. It’s certainly the coolest (and probably most expensive) place on the island but it has lost a little of it’s charm since the days of wonky tables on the rocks and clambering across uneven ground to get to it. However, way more comfortable and in line with health and safety standards I’m sure.

ibiza sunset

We stayed out until 6am, got ourselves a little sunburnt and I read a whole book whilst I was there. Although we had little sleep, I came back refreshed and revitalized. There’s something about the island that takes away all of your worries and, just for a short time, instead of being the mum/wife/worker you’re you again x