Outings with a small child.


July 9, 2013 by Dadinator

I often go shopping or run errands with The Lad in tow. It’s a chance for quality dad-lad time, and it gives The Mamanator a break, necessary as she often needs nana naps these days (often our impending daughter doesn’t give her the chance, bless…) So I have learnt a thing or two about erranding with a small child. I imagine the rules change when there is more than one though…. But here’s what I have learnt.

There is no 5 minute trips to the shop with a toddler
This institution ceases to exist when you are transporting a young one. There is packing, gathering, shodding (including finding two matching shoes, getting one from the bath tub and the other one from the bookshelf…) and final nappy changes that all have to happen before you leave. Then there is the cat herding exercise that is getting out the door and to the car or down the street.

The errand is secondary to the act of keeping your child occupied
Your primary mission when undertaking these kinds of trips is to occupy the child and keep them out for AS LONG AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. Let me repeat that AS LONG AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. You will get no brownie points for efficiency in this game. There is one exception to this rule, if they child falls asleep you ride like the wind to get home.

Consider your mode of child conveyance carefully
Prams are great, unless you are going into a china shop with narrow aisles. Actually why the hell are you going china shopping with a toddler, you crazy bastard? They are also fiddly to fold up etc… Arms are adequate, for a while, but you aren’t superman, whatever your T-shirt says….. Carriers can be a great middle ground, if your child is in the right mood, otherwise they are a nightmare. The final option is walking. It is slow, and you have to keep a firm grip. You should also be prepared to be asked to carry your kid regularly during the trip because they get tired, or like making you suffer, one of the two, so be ready for that. So, to sum up, choose your weapons wisely

You will get looked at
Okay, so it’s the child getting looked at, not you, however sexy you think you are… You may attract random praise too, which I always find slightly awkward. And sometimes shop assistants will tend to your child before they acknowledge you. Them’s just the breaks folks. I also often get strange looks because I tend to hold full-blown, if rather one sided, conversations with The Lad as I stroll through Castlemaine. At least these days I’m not talking to myself….

You also get looks from old women that at times seem full of nostalgia and a kind of sad resignation and regret. I’ve never asked one of them about it, but I imagine sometimes they are thinking back to the fathers of their own children who may have never had the chance to do what I take for granted with my own boy due to social conventions and different ideas of fatherhood. But this is pure speculation….

Things will only happen if you are unprepared
Sure as hell, you don’t pack a nappy, they will poo. You forget the drink bottle, that’s all they want. You don’t have spare clothes, they will be a puddle seeking missile. You forget food, well that’s just crazy talk really… If you bring a fully packed load of baby stuff, they won’t need any of it. That’s just the way it works….

So there it is. Compared to my pre-parenting days, there is a lot more to consider. But in those days I never felt the joy of listening to The Lad’s babble or holding onto his hand. I think I like this more.

Digital Parents Blog Carnival

6 thoughts on “Outings with a small child.

  1. Tom Williams says:

    Very true. Trips anywhere with child become significantly more difficult. I’ve definitely experienced the “forget something and you need it, bring everything and they need nothing”.

  2. Tom Williams says:

    Reblogged this on Twins And Then… and commented:
    A great piece on taking your kids out. It’s definitely challenging with one, but we came into it with two to start, then a third one two years later.

  3. Wise words, man. When your second bub arrives, you’ll have to multiply these tips several times over with time and patience… but there’s twice the babbling, hand-holding, and of course joy you speak of. 🙂

  4. My boys are older these days (6.5 &9) but I can remember clearly what you mean. These days its electronics and a drink. Sometimes, it would be nice if they had a nappy – they always seem to need to pea at the most inconvenient times.

  5. Emily Morgan says:

    I have to agree with every word – these thoughts should be compiled and a Baby Manual created for worldwide distribution – then they really can come with a manual! Great post 🙂, stopping by from Digital Carnival.

  6. jacqfruit says:

    Ahhh love it, things will only happen when you’re unprepared is totally true!! Great post 🙂 Stopping by from the Digital Parents Blog Carnival!

    The Urban Ma

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