barcelona · dad · ex-pat · fatherhood · kids · motherhood · mums · parenting

Never underestimate the power of bubbles

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A snack away from a meltdown…

Upon having kids you quickly realise there is a growing list of essential items that make your day-to-day existence that little bit easier, to the point where justifying your bubble budget starts to make sense. There is also a list of pre-kid things that you would formerly never entertain, that suddenly when you throw kids into the mix simply become the norm. I have noted a few of these down in a bid to get other parents to say, ‘oh, great – it’s not just me’ as there’s nothing like a bit of parent solidarity, particularly in the run up to the somewhat fraught festive season that lies ahead of us all…

And so, here we go with my list of the essential and the acceptable, let us begin with the latter.

Eating paper. There are some days when the kids are so ravenous that the time it takes to open a packet of whatever ‘keep them going’ snack you’re opting for, is simply too long and you can almost smell the tantrum before it takes place. On such occasion I have been known to hurriedly pass them a cake with the wrapper still on only to discover the boo boo (kid speak for mistake) as I collect scattered paper crumbs from beneath their appeased faces . I’ve been told, if it comes out the other side it can’t really hurt them.

Befriending strangers.  Growing up we’re always told not to talk to strangers.  If as a parent you choose to attempt to have any kind of existence that resembles the life you had pre-kids – such as dining out, travelling etc, talking to strangers will become something you actively seek out. For example, we recently took the boys out for a meal (yes we are those annoying people who take their young kids to restaurants to ruin the other diners’ experience, or remind them how lucky they are) and the only way the boys seem to be entertained was by socialising with the non-kid couple beside us. Rather than put a stop to this, we happily embraced the opportunity for some complimentary babysitting and enjoyed our meal whilst the boys amused themselves and the strangers  who fast became our new best friends.

Bribery. “I will never be that parent who makes deals with my kids or offers them things to behave.” HA HA HA HA HA. I cannot overstate the HA. Famous last words of almost any parent “I will never be the kind of parent who…” you can bet your kids entire toy collection you will be, whether you like it or not. I have lost track of the amount of times I have recently ‘negotiated ‘and ‘bargained’ with my two year old in order for him to do something I ask him, generally in a more speedy fashion than he so desires. On the plus side I think he is learning solid, practical negotiation skills that will no doubt serve him well in the future. Another thing you quickly learn as a parent, there’s always a way to spin your questionable actions to the benefit of your kids.

There are, of course, many more items I could list of things that become acceptable not long after having kids – from leaving the house in your slippers to thinking a meal in Burger King is a treat, but there is only so much time and so let us move on to my top list of ‘essential’ items when you have kids.

Snacks. These seemingly simple corn-based shapes WILL save your life EVERY time. Stuck in traffic with frustrated kids on the edge of a major meltdown – hand them a biscuit or eight. Minutes (which inevitably feel more like hours) queuing to buy yet another senseless Christmas gift whilst munchkins grow increasingly agitated – never fear send some crisps their way to keep the nerves at bay.  Thirty seconds into the five minute walk home from nursery when the joint cries for hunger attract looks from passersby – no problem, make a grab for the ‘still can’t believe they eat these’ rice cakes. At home and only minutes away from that lovingly home-cooked meal you have prepared and the simultaneous whining begins – where’s that tupper of breadsticks just waiting to ruin their appetite?

Wet wipes. Seriously, need I say more? Probably not, however, I will none-the-less. Wet wipes used to be something I associate with my overly sanitised childhood as most of my memories consist of my mother pulling out the wipes from any place you can imagine (she must have bulk bought) to clean off the latest dirt we caked ourselves in. Now, with two young boys of my own, I finally understand my mother’s love of these small, wet squares and truly believe you can never have enough wet wipes in your life. Remains of food, mud, poop (their own and others), all things sticky, snot, paint – you name it, wet wipes will save the day. They are worth every penny spent on them – if I could bulk buy I would too. They say we all become our mothers…

Bubbles. I am telling you now – this will be the best £1 you will EVER spend. Major tantrum happening – pull out the bubbles and all will be forgotten. Tumble from adventurous climbing of the book shelf (obviously while our backs were turned) bring out the bubbles and say goodbye to those tears. I really cannot emphasise enough the power of a simple combination of soap and water. The only problem is when those bubbles run out. So make sure you’re well stocked up as the last thing you want on your hands is to see your kids face when you blow into the plastic circle and nothing but air comes out the other end – believe me, I have been there. If you do find yourself in such circumstances, you better make sure you have a snack to hand…




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