Brace Yourself. School Holidays Are Coming.

Yesterday was day 1 of school holidays. I was working from home as I had taken a days leave to photograph at a birth, but it all happened so quickly that I was home by 8:30 and decided to just work from there instead of heading into the office.  Every year Carter’s school closes for the full month of December, and like every other parent out there, I shit myself. 30 days is a very, very long time for a small human to be at home. Lord, coming out of a long weekend with a kid feels like a scene from Braveheart.

This year we have had to hire full time a nanny just so she can watch him for one month of the year (most expensive salary, ever, right?). She started with us a few months ago and is absolutely fantastic, so I am feeling slightly better about leaving him alone as she’s great with him, and he simply adores her. But still, she could be Chicco the Clown made of actual ice-cream and he would still get bored after a month.

Yesterday was hectic. I take my hat, and all other items of clothing, off to stay at home moms. As for creche teachers? My god, they should be paid in Bitcoin and rainbows. Apart from trying to work and get my job done I was also trying to entertain a very busy, very active and very bored toddler. We filled his pool and swam, we cleaned the big pool we swept and mopped and scrubbed. We puzzled and read books and made dinosaurs out of playdoh. I took him to the shops to get baking ingredients and then we mixed and battered and rolled and cut out intricate Reindeer shapes and then decorated those and then we showered together because we both looked like a unicorn had sharted food colouring on us and then we cooked supper and ate fruit and fed the birds and played with the dogs and spoke about ‘Chippy’ our Elf On The Shelf and built pillow forts. And then it was only 6pm and I felt as f I had been hit.by. a.bus. What made it even harder was that his usual 2-3 hour nap just did not happen, so that felt like another eleventy hundred hours to fill.

And flip, after he went to bed and I cleaned and got back to my study and worked some more, I reflected on what a flipping fun day it was with my son. Fun, but not something I can repeat daily. Sorry, new nanny.

So now, back at the office until Christmas I’m in a slight state of anxiety about how I’m going to fill his time until 2018. I know I may sound like one of those moms who’s kid cant entertain himself, but its more just trying to keep his busy brain and body stimulated enough so that he’s tired enough t fall asleep at night. The biggest issue is that I’m not home and Kelly, our Nanny, cant really do much with him apart from in the house.

I popped over to the Crazy Store earlier and bought my body weight in arts and crafts supplies, playdoh, paper, paint and pencils. But let’s be realistic, that’s going to cover him for 2, 3 days tops.

Help, moms. What are your holiday solutions for keeping kids busy? Would love for you to share them in the comments section, and perhaps you will also be helping a fellow bewildered mom with some fun activities to do with their kids (or, for someone else to do, because, grown-ups have jobs) over the holidays.

PS – No moms were harmed (too much) on day one of school holidays.

‘Honest Dad! All I said was school holidays!’

 

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Let The Shopping Fun Begin With Toy Kingdom.

If you are anything like me – still stuck at the office until the 23rd and working frantically until Christmas, then you’re probably also really stressing about how you are going to get everything done in time.

Me. 2 days before Christmas.
Me. 2 days before Christmas.

We went shopping this weekend and fought the masses as we tried to check off a million to-do items from our list. Short of the actual kitchen sink we are almost up to speed on the shopping list. The only person left to buy for is my hubby, but I can throw a pair of running shoes at his head and he will be happy. Sometimes I also throw a pair of running shoes at his head because he’s being an arse, but that’s beside the point.

Unfortunately, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone else, 2 days before Christmas, looks a little bit like this:

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Luckily, shopping for the littlies will be the easiest thing you need to do this year. Because, let’s face it, they leave us fat, stretchmarked and poor, so splurging on gifts is as much for them as it is for us. If you are stuck with all the amazing choices this festive season, you can choose from the Festive Season gift guide in-store and on the Toy Kingdom website or get a Toy Kingdom gift card.

We headed off to Toy Kingdom in Sandton City a few weeks ago and my jaw literally hit the floor when I saw the goodies on display. When I was a kid my folks tied some ribbon to a stick and that was my entertainment. Growing up on a farm was tough, guys.

Carter, on the other hand, has no idea just how lucky he is. Going into Toy Kingdom to buy him a present brought back childhood memories of birthing sheep and said ribbon on sticks, and a definite lack of toy store visits, so I really had to hold myself back from buying everything I wanted (A Furby Connect and everything Barbie) and I had to rationalise (read: wrestle him away) with the husband that a Gold Hoverboard was probably a little bit too advanced for our clumsy 19 month old). Eventually we settled on something to keep help with his creativity and hand eye co-ord – so a mega-pack of ‘Bunchems’ it was, as well as something to bring out on special occasions – and something that will hopefully stop him stealing my iPad and lowering my street cred points on Youtube – a LeapPad Tablet. Then we got him something to wrap and open in a few years time – a Meccano 5 Model set car.

bunchems leappad-epic meccano

So basically, Carter is going to be living his best life come 25 December.

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It may sound like all fun and games but I have to be honest, choosing age appropriate, quality presents was actually very stressful. Barry at that stage was lost in a toy truck aisle and no amount of whistling for him could get his attention. Luckily I had the most awesome shop assistant helping me – he even went to far as to unpack several boxes of things for me to have a proper look.

I would highly recommend Toy Kingdom – there is something for everyone, and if they had top open up a wine bar next to the Build-A-Bear section I suspect I would never leave.

I can’t wait to share photos of Carter opening up his pressies on Christmas. For now they remain safely wrapped and tucked under the tree.

You can find Toy Kingdom in Jozi Town opposite Clicks in Sandton City or in Cape Town, Shop 407 in Canal Walk.

If you are really pressed/stressed for time then have a look at their ‘Top 50 gift guide‘. It helps to whittle down your choices and guarantees a great buy. It’s what we used – along with recommendation from in-store staff – to decide on what to buy. Pop in to their store and tell them I sent you – then share your purchases with me here or on their Facebook page.

PS – Next year I’m going back for a Furby. I don’t care what anyone says

PPS – I’m also going back for a Gold Hoverboard. Don’t tell my husband.

ABOUT TOY KINGDOM:

Toy Kingdom is Africa’s most loved toy store with 14 retail stores nationally, offering the latest and most recognised toy brands to families. Toy Kingdom brings together unrivalled quality toys, beautifully designed stores and friendly and knowledgeable staff who encourage children and parents to interact and play with the toys. Each store is designed not as a retail space but rather around the concept of play, creating a unique in-store experience of ‘toadally’ charming fun.

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