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The last challenge—well, the last couple of months, really—have been ones of new challenges. Too many challenges.

 

Challenge 1: Lockdown restrictions. Needed, necessary and I support them 100%. But being restricted to one outing a day and all of the myriad complications around having a toddler when everything is canceled and you have to keep them distanced as well... it’s not easy, you guys.

 

Challenge 2: Enting. There’s all that Lockdown stuff, and then there’s the issue where the toddler has also gone through some kind of developmental change which has caused severe separation anxiety. I’m spending a minimum of 1-3 hours a day trying to settle him down to sleep now (I used to spend less than 5 minutes total, as he’d easily go to sleep on his own). That’s a huge chunk of my day gone. And I’m having to bed-share night time as well, and he wakes up half a dozen times a night to make sure I’m still there with him. I have to tell you, I’m exhausted.

 

Challenge 3: Falling apart. See above—I’m tired, I don’t get out for as much exercise as I want or need, and I never get a break, day or night. My evening downtime is all but gone because it takes an hour+ to get Enting to go to sleep and then I need to catch up on chores, and then by the time I can get myself settled, it’s time to get ready for bed.

 

But, this is the new normal around here. And I’m trying to accept that, rather than continue to think of this as an inconvenient blip that will hopefully go away in a couple of days. 

 

Pull Together

There is good news on the horizon—Mr has a new job! He starts on May 18th, likely from home for the short term. The job is in the Midlands, so we’re looking at relocating when the situation allows. And we’ve decided to go for the Dream. We’re planning to make our forever home in the Wye Valley*.

 

Why the Wye?  (You may also recall me pic-spamming about this place last September/October when we were there on holiday.)

 

Mr’s new job will change things around here, as he won’t be as available during the day even though he’s at home. After this week, there will probably be some gradual relaxations on Lockdown. Depending on how relaxed, we may soon be able to go the homes we’ve “registered an interest” with the estate agents about. We need to get our house on the market. We need be prepared to move—because it could happen in 2 months or next year. We just don’t know between the fluctuations on the housing market and what Lockdown will allow, but we want to be ready.

 

This challenge will be rife with transition and also with “hurry up and wait!”.

 

But for any of this to work, I need to pull together. With lack of sleep and toddler issues and Lockdown ennui, everything has fallen apart. I’m not getting the daily chores done—let alone the extra things that need doing! And more is coming! 

 

So, the challenge begins with:

  • Get on top of daily chores
  • Get on top of extra house maintenance (things that don’t need daily attention, but haven’t gotten attention in... um, months weeks)
  • Future relocations activities, which may include:
    • Preparations to sell the house (both in terms of paperwork but state of the house)
    • Preparations to view properties (putting together travel on short term, making sure we know what questions we want to ask about a given property, exploring the area around properties)
  • Putting together a new routine when Mr is working
  • Caring for my balcony garden (good for the soul)
  • Trying not to let the lack of sleep interfere with my relationships (IE, try to think before being cranky)
  • Getting outside daily—even if it’s just sitting in our dark little garden.
    • The trouble here is that sometimes Enting won’t go with me, or won’t want to be out for more than a few minutes, and Mr is not always available to watch him so I can go on a solo walk.
    • Also, we’ve done every possible walk in the acceptable local area over and over again and I hate to say it, but we’re bored.
  • Control stress/boredom eating. I’m doing okay on this one now, but I need to stay vigilant.

 

I’ll probably think of other things. Maybe even a theme!

 

So, it’s not as much of a fitness challenge as a “level up your life” challenge, because I need to sort out a lot of other things before I can get to serious fitness obligations. But these things... this moving to the place we’ve dreamed of, navigating Lockdown, these are the things of heroes and adventurers, too.

 

As for details, I’ll put more of those out every few days—this is a time of flux and priorities may shift too quickly for me to have them out far in advance.

 

But for now... time to make a to-do list!

 

(*Please note, plans can change. But this is our top choice.)

 

 

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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Following!

 

Re: Challenges 1-3:

     These are all things that have made all this a lot easier in having 3 kids. I mean, there’s a ton of extra crazy stuff, sure. But they’re each others’ playmates. When the middle kid started getting that separation anxiety his brother snuggled him to sleep as often as we did. I hear you on your struggles and they are real. 

May the Force be with you. 

 

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Adventurer, Half-Dwarf Chaotic-Good Paladin

Ne me dites jamais les chances!  ¡Nunca me digas las probabilidades!

Character Sheet Training Logs Challenges Prepping for Adventure PrepAdventure Prep Fall BabyWhen Are We Again, Anyway?WhirlwindThe Leaf's LocusHarnessing Hamingja New Roots More Beginnings, More Roots Cleaning Up Facing The Hailstorm Yo Ho Yo The... Keto Life For Me? Taming the Beast Another Step Towards the Future Baking, Suburban Homesteading, and Health, The Adventurers of the Lucky Vale IIIIIIIVVVI, VII VIIIIX

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Perennial goals: Sleep 7+ hours a night, retain (and continue to learn) French and Spanish as a family, increase Spanish Proficiency for work and play,  read like a maniac on my own and with my kids, carry heavy stuff

Long term goals: Cut to 13-15% bodyfat, And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a baaaaarge! -> Someday I'll challenge a Disney world Gaston to a push up contest and win

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My nephews each went through that separation anxiety phase, and my brother and his wife were so damn tired. Having a set routine seemed to help but its still really exhausting and you have my sympathyIt’s hard when the world is so big, and you are so small. You have a ton of patience and compassion and it sounds like you’re handling this as well as you can getting some time to yourself. 

 

congrats to the mr on the job! And how awesome that you are thinking of moving to a place you love! That would be wonderful!
 

 

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16 minutes ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

This is super sweet. ❤️

17 minutes ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

This is super sweet. ❤️ 

 

 

It really is. They’re pretty great. They squabble sometimes but they’re still best friends. 
 

Booger on the quote feature. 

Adventurer, Half-Dwarf Chaotic-Good Paladin

Ne me dites jamais les chances!  ¡Nunca me digas las probabilidades!

Character Sheet Training Logs Challenges Prepping for Adventure PrepAdventure Prep Fall BabyWhen Are We Again, Anyway?WhirlwindThe Leaf's LocusHarnessing Hamingja New Roots More Beginnings, More Roots Cleaning Up Facing The Hailstorm Yo Ho Yo The... Keto Life For Me? Taming the Beast Another Step Towards the Future Baking, Suburban Homesteading, and Health, The Adventurers of the Lucky Vale IIIIIIIVVVI, VII VIIIIX

Spoiler

Perennial goals: Sleep 7+ hours a night, retain (and continue to learn) French and Spanish as a family, increase Spanish Proficiency for work and play,  read like a maniac on my own and with my kids, carry heavy stuff

Long term goals: Cut to 13-15% bodyfat, And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a baaaaarge! -> Someday I'll challenge a Disney world Gaston to a push up contest and win

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Zero week is going all right so far. I’m getting a better handle on the daily things again, even managed some extra tidying in places that really needed it. Rowan’s aunt and (adult) niece pooled together to get a big wooden train track set with over 50 pieces for his birthday, so I’ve finally ordered a toy storage rack. Mr is slightly afraid by the size of the thing, but as I told him—if I thought we’d be moving for sure in 6 weeks, I’d wait until we (theoretically) have a bigger play space. As we don’t know how long it’ll be until we move, we’re just going to live with it hulking out in our lounge until that time in hopes it helps keep the place tidier and the toys more usable than a pile in a basket or on the floor.

 

 We took a family walk today to Borough Market (Enting and I wandered around outside while Mr did the shopping for maximum social responsibility), which got me my 10k steps before noon. Toddler sleep issues are still escalating at the moment (Enting can now remove his sleeping bag and climb out of cot, so he’s not sleeping *and* he’s uncontainable) and we’re continuing to try to manage it. He’s started letting Mr cuddle him to sleep (instead of Mummy, Only Mummy) which means he can help share that load. Hurrah.

 

They fell asleep on the sofa together this morning. I was very jealous.

 

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The balcony garden is thriving. I may be able to harvest a few leaves to make a salad with in the next day or two. 

 

After @hollybelltook mentioned the Walk to Mordor thing on her challenge, I found the existence of an app for my phone so I’ve starting logging my daily mileage. I’ve always loved the Eowyn Challenge (as it was originally known), but the bookkeeping forever turned me off. At the moment, that’s all I’m doing—not having a mileage goal or judging how much I did or didn’t do. Just logging what I’ve done. The rest will come later. 

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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I made a salad mostly of my balcony greens to have with dinner tonight (along with braised, slow-cooked short ribs and homemade sourdough bread). This pleases me, although it’ll probably be a week or so before my greens grow enough to do it again.

 

I’ve been trying to spend less time in front of screens these last couple of days and more time focused on Doing Things (non screen oriented). I spend a lot of time asking “what useful thing can I do next?” The things on my Daily List, the things on the Big Extra List of irregular, infrequent or one-off needful tasks. Today’s extras included assembling the toy storage together, organizing the toys, helping with a climbing rose that had detached from our garden wall, and various other things.

 

Week 1 Goals

  • Work to complete the Daily List
  • Make progress on at least one Extra List item per day.
  • Log my daily mileage into Walk to Mordor.

 

 

 

 

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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Week 1 So Far

 

I had a blip for a couple of days due to feeling a little off (not in a Covid kind of way), but I’m catching up on tasks again today.

 

I have been logging my mileage for Mordor.

 

Rules have changed in England and the property market (and activities related to enabling it) are back in action. So we’re having works done on our house by a handyman we know and trust (both in his actual work, but also if he says his household has been obeying health precautions as we have been, then we believe him), ramping up conversations with local estate agents to get our home valued and on the market, and this weekend we are driving out to the Wye to view houses!!! It’ll be something of an ”interesting” drive since it’s 3+ hour each way, lodgings and restaurants are still closed (and overnight travel is still not allowed anyway), but it at least looks like the motorway service stations (“rest stops” in American English) are open for toilets. We’ll be bringing plenty of masks and gloves.

 

We’re a long, long way from a done deal, but we’re moving forward in concrete ways, rather than hypothetical ones, and this is awesome.

 

My neighbour is letting me borrow her bicycle to get around and get exercise. I had not ridden a bicycle since I was school-aged (I’m 40 now), and today was a bit hilarious as I practiced on the pedestrian areas around the house. Part of it is getting used to her bicycle, which I find really awkward (It’s just a little too big for me, and it’s adjusted as small as it can go). In any case, I have been wanting to get comfortable on a bicycle so I can then do the next step of being able to get around with Enting on a bicycle. While our impending move will probably necessitate another car, I’d like to have an eco- and exercise-friendly alternative to getting around locally faster than on my feet (with buggy or carrier).

 

Also, the Enting is back to sleeping through the night in a semi-reasonable way, but he’s dropped his naps, which has really messed with how I used schedule my day. Hey, you can’t win them all.

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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We have been to the Wye and back. We have looked at 2.5 houses. Seven hours in the car and it was worth it.

 

We loved all of them for different reasons. We found problems with all of them for different reasons. We have a theme of what we are looking for—they were all variations within that theme.

 

(We don’t necessarily believe there will be that “perfect property” that has no cons, but we’re happy to be proven wrong!)

 

And we are excited. We’ve seen what kind of property we can get out there, we have confirmed we still love the area (it doesn’t hurt that it’s lush spring, but I fell in love with it in the late autumn when it rained on our heads every day, so).

 

We are going back in 2 weeks to get another look at one of the houses (we could only do an external view and we have a million questions and want to see the upstairs) and to try to get viewings on a couple of other ones while we’re out there so we have more data on what we want and don’t want.

 

We plan to sign with an estate agent for our own home on Tuesday.

 

This challenge is apparently getting hijacked by the beginning of our once hypothetical and now beginning to turn concrete relocation to the countryside.

 

I think that’s okay.

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  • That's Metal 1

Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

Current Storyline: Tales of Owlshire | 0 | 1

Previous  Storyline: The Entwife’s Heart | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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I’d take a pleasant surprise to change things up any day. I’m happy to hear the hypothetical is becoming a reality! Best of luck in that!

 

 

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Adventurer, Half-Dwarf Chaotic-Good Paladin

Ne me dites jamais les chances!  ¡Nunca me digas las probabilidades!

Character Sheet Training Logs Challenges Prepping for Adventure PrepAdventure Prep Fall BabyWhen Are We Again, Anyway?WhirlwindThe Leaf's LocusHarnessing Hamingja New Roots More Beginnings, More Roots Cleaning Up Facing The Hailstorm Yo Ho Yo The... Keto Life For Me? Taming the Beast Another Step Towards the Future Baking, Suburban Homesteading, and Health, The Adventurers of the Lucky Vale IIIIIIIVVVI, VII VIIIIX

Spoiler

Perennial goals: Sleep 7+ hours a night, retain (and continue to learn) French and Spanish as a family, increase Spanish Proficiency for work and play,  read like a maniac on my own and with my kids, carry heavy stuff

Long term goals: Cut to 13-15% bodyfat, And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a baaaaarge! -> Someday I'll challenge a Disney world Gaston to a push up contest and win

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Week 2, Mid-week

 

So I have decided to approach toddler sleep struggles by deciding they aren’t a struggle.

 

Rowan has been literally falling over into naps the last couple of days. These lead to late, late bedtimes and unpredictable evenings. 

 

07AFB0BD-3133-470C-B6F8-0596EC9FB646.thumb.jpeg.8aaaff1e0c3339d44e933bbf62dbec88.jpeg

 

And I just decided not to stress about it. We have our dinner, he has his bath, and if he’s napped (which he doesn’t always) and he’s not ready to go to sleep he plays with his toys in a dimly lit lounge until he seems tired enough to take upstairs. (Last night, he told me he was ready to go to bed, which was really helpful.) This is not convenient or predictable, but it’s a lot better than fighting and trying to get him down for an hour and a half. If he wakes up at 5:30AM I just drink coffee and remind myself to be kind to people. He’s a 2 year old. All the battles and crying and screaming and sick-making isn’t going to turn him a better human being and it doesn’t make me feel like much of one at the time, either.

 

(I realize that I’m a middle class stay at home mother and have more flexibility to deal with this. But I am also allowed to use that flexibility to make my family’s life easier, which frankly, was the point of me being a stay at home mother in the first place.)

 

Mr began his new job this week. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but we’re getting there. Rowan is confused that Daddy is technically around (in his office), but not available. I’m also getting used to this! 

 

I’m not getting much exercise. Rowan has been much more interested in kicking his ball around the garden around lately than walking around and doesn’t want to go in the buggy at all (including the expensive running buggy!) to even let me get a walk in. I’ve decided that on nights he goes to bed at a reasonable hour, I’ll go out for a solo walk. I’m behind on tracking Walk to Mordor, but I’ve updated the FitBit app so I have the data when I actually sit down to do it.

 

I’m mostly managing the Daily List, and I didn’t think I was doing much for the Big List but actually when I went to look at it the other day I was able to cross a few things off. Hurrah!

 

We have officially signed on with estate agents. Photographers come by on Tuesday, and the house should officially be on the market by the end of next week. Eek! The estate agents only had us sign on for 8 week exclusivity. Considering a lot of agents have 6 month exclusivity clauses, I’m hoping this means they are confident that the house will get an offer quickly.

 

We have a lot of cleaning and decluttering to do this weekend.... hey, that’ll get several things off the Big List, too!

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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Awwww. I love that you have the freedom to make choices that are best for you and the lil one. Also finding it fascinating how well its Working and that he's communicating his sleep needs to you. The former counselor in me is like “lets study this and get more families to do this!” But the Auntie in me knows one size doesn't fit all. 
 

 

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Good on you for picking your battles. Sometimes that is the sanest thing to do (even if it feels insane to do)

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On 5/21/2020 at 12:01 PM, Ann of Vries said:

If he wakes up at 5:30AM I just drink coffee and remind myself to be kind to people. He’s a 2 year old. All the battles and crying and screaming and sick-making isn’t going to turn him a better human being and it doesn’t make me feel like much of one at the time, either.

 

 

Good advice for all!

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On 5/21/2020 at 11:42 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

Awwww. I love that you have the freedom to make choices that are best for you and the lil one. Also finding it fascinating how well its Working and that he's communicating his sleep needs to you. The former counselor in me is like “lets study this and get more families to do this!” But the Auntie in me knows one size doesn't fit all. 

 

Each family has their rhythm/schedule (choice and necessity) and children are part of the family—they need to fit into it. 

 

But sometimes I forget I have the flexibility to try “new” (read counter to what the books and websites say) things. Sometimes I worry that he’ll have a harder time fitting into established routines like nursery and school, but at least before Lockdown he’d been great at his nursery so it’s probably just unfounded parental worrying. 

 

Yesterday he fell asleep 10 minutes before dinner. We tried to wake him a couple of times, he wasn’t game to stay awake, so we took him upstairs and that was that until 6AM this morning. (He’d had a late snack, so it wasn’t on an empty stomach.) Easiest bedtime ever! 

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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Apparently this thread is a diary of my child sleeping, but hey, Toddler Sleep Issues was one of my challenges this time around XD

 

He woke at 6AM, no nap, and was quite sleepy around 5PM so I let him have milk and snack in case he dropped again, but by the time we finished our dinner and did his bath and tried to get him to bed he’d caught a second wind. No overtiredness issues, just quite lively. So we let him come back downstairs and play (darkened room, instrumental lullabies playing, little parental interactions—Mr was in his office and I was in the next room cleaning the kitchen from dinner). I felt myself getting stressed and reminded myself not to worry about it. Around 7:50PM he took all his bedtime stuffies to the stairs that go up to his room and told me he wanted “Ni ni” and we went upstairs and snuggled down and within 5 minutes I was able to exit the room.

 

A little later than I’d hoped for, but a good result.

 

*

 

I managed to get out for a short walk today. Hurrah!

 

*

 

Mostly, though, I spent the day decluttering and cleaning. The house is looking better, but trying to get this place photo ready by Tuesday still feels like an impossible dream. Getting and keeping a house ready for viewings in Lockdown with a toddler who no longer naps feels like the universe is having a laugh at me :P 

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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We have done the photography shoot. 4 solid days of cleaning and decluttering, and we are exhausted. I know there is much more to come and we’ll have to keep it tidy for when there are hopefully viewings and do another declutter when we actually sell and offer and prepare to move... but man, that was exhausting.

 

Let’s not talk about how much TV my toddler watched this weekend.

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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21 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

Let’s not talk about how much TV my toddler watched this weekend.

You do what you need to do and try not to feel guilty about it. Moving is a huge stressor and you've got to find all the ways to cope. I feel you.

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On 5/26/2020 at 12:26 PM, Ann of Vries said:

We have done the photography shoot. 4 solid days of cleaning and decluttering, and we are exhausted. I know there is much more to come and we’ll have to keep it tidy for when there are hopefully viewings and do another declutter when we actually sell and offer and prepare to move... but man, that was exhausting.

 

Let’s not talk about how much TV my toddler watched this weekend.

When my brother and SiL were in london for a week and a half, my 7year old nephew spent an entire day watching TV. Like 12 hours.The older nephew played video games while I cleaned out the kitchen and murdered no one. 
 

Sometimes their screen time is our sanity. 💚💚💚

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50 minutes ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

Sometimes their screen time is our sanity. 💚💚💚

 

Oh yes, it’s just gone up astronomically since Lockdown and it drives me a little crazy. Today he “only” watched 3 hours of TV and I feel like a rock star parent. A few months ago, I would have been horrified with myself.

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

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16 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

Oh yes, it’s just gone up astronomically since Lockdown and it drives me a little crazy. Today he “only” watched 3 hours of TV and I feel like a rock star parent. A few months ago, I would have been horrified with myself.


Cheers to that!

 

On nice days they’ve spent tons of time outside but it’s stormed almost every day going on 2 weeks so that’s been really limited lately. At this point, I’m calling TV screen time a freebie and spending more effort tracking Minecraft and PlayStation screen time...

 

I’m aware that there are consequences to all these actions, but I’m also writing it off as general consequences of the pandemic. Since we still have to work full-time with the kids. Since you’re moving during a pandemic with a tiny human and need to sleep sometime!

 

Maybe it’s something in the air but Bo Peep’s toddler sleep schedule has been getting creative lately, too. I will say that Rex had a weird toddler sleep schedule and he’s done really well in school all things considered (as long as they don’t ask him to sit passively for an extended period of time!). Kids are creatures of habit, but they’re also adaptable. When the time comes, there’s probably going to be a rough couple of weeks while the new routines set in and then he’ll be fine. 

Adventurer, Half-Dwarf Chaotic-Good Paladin

Ne me dites jamais les chances!  ¡Nunca me digas las probabilidades!

Character Sheet Training Logs Challenges Prepping for Adventure PrepAdventure Prep Fall BabyWhen Are We Again, Anyway?WhirlwindThe Leaf's LocusHarnessing Hamingja New Roots More Beginnings, More Roots Cleaning Up Facing The Hailstorm Yo Ho Yo The... Keto Life For Me? Taming the Beast Another Step Towards the Future Baking, Suburban Homesteading, and Health, The Adventurers of the Lucky Vale IIIIIIIVVVI, VII VIIIIX

Spoiler

Perennial goals: Sleep 7+ hours a night, retain (and continue to learn) French and Spanish as a family, increase Spanish Proficiency for work and play,  read like a maniac on my own and with my kids, carry heavy stuff

Long term goals: Cut to 13-15% bodyfat, And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a baaaaarge! -> Someday I'll challenge a Disney world Gaston to a push up contest and win

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3 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

I’m calling TV screen time a freebie and spending more effort tracking Minecraft and PlayStation screen time...

 

Currently, we only allow him to watch TV, on the TV. That’s the boundary line. I don’t want him to get into his head that he can grab my phone or tablet and play/watch/etc. media anywhere. There will be a time when that changes, but I’m just trying to put in any boundaries that I can XD

 

(Note: Whatever you are doing for screens is totally valid. I’m measuring my own family behaviour by our own yard stick.) 

 

The downside is that whenever he’s in the room with the TV, he wants to watch the TV. This room happen to be the only common room in the house, so pretty much if we’re inside, he’s in the common room (and thus wants to watch TV). Given sleep problems of late, I don’t want to convert his bedroom to a play room. While the weather has been nice here, in our urban area there’s only so many things one can do while the playgrounds and other child-friendly establishments are closed and we have to social distance with a 2 year old in less child-friendly public areas. Believe me, we have been creative, but we’ve also been in a strict Lockdown for over two months now.

 

Also, children’s programming is basically the only exposure he has to “other” children doing children things right now. I’m concerned that he thinks Bing and Peppa are his friends, but it’s not like he has alternatives.

 

3 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

I’m aware that there are consequences to all these actions, but I’m also writing it off as general consequences of the pandemic

 

Pretty much this. In our new house, when we have a new house, we plan to have a common room without a TV which will be his main playroom, eliminating the current issue until he’s older. (I’d like to ditch the TV completely, but Mr makes console games so that’s not really feasible—but it can be in another room.) But that’s—at the earliest—months away.... and for now we’re still in Lockdown.

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