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4 Things That Make Holidaying With a Toddler Harder Than Nuclear Physics*

Posted on 4 min read

(*Not actually true.)

(*Close, though.)

So. we’re having a fantastic time here in central Florida, and not even the weird splotches of fake tan on my foot can dampen my enthusiasm for being back in a place where it’s sunny all the time, and the local ZARA is open until 11pm every night. Max, meanwhile, is having the time of his life: there, are, however, a few things about being on holiday with a toddler which make it literally the hardest thing in the entire world, ever: and by “literally” I obviously mean “figuratively”  here, and also, “I am totally just exaggerating for dramatic effect: please don’t send me ‘grammar nazi’ emails explaining what ‘literally’ means, or post comments telling me how lucky I am, because then I’ll have to write a follow-up post called, ‘Things That Make Writing Light-Hearted Blog Posts Harder Than Nuclear Physics’, and the whole cycle will start again.” 

I’ve made this awkward now, haven’t I? Let’s just jump right in, then, shall we, with this TOTALLY LIGHTHEARTED AND NOT EVEN REMOTELY SERIOUS blog post? Here are some of the things that make holidaying with a toddler a bit like being on one of those hidden camera shows, where you’re presented with some kind of totally ridiculous situation, just so people can laugh at your attempts to deal with it…

01.
Putting sunscreen on the toddler

“Coming this winter, from Forever Amber Productions, the impossible new video game, ‘Putting Sunscreen on a Toddler’. Pit your wits and test your reactions against the wiliest, craziest foe you’ve ever encountered: a 16-month-old toddler who just wants to jump straight into the pool before you’ve finished lathering him in SPF50. Progress through the levels to face the ultimate boss: Toddler On The Beach. CAN YOU OUTWIT HIM? You’re about to find out…”

Max and daddy at the splash pad
Seriously, though, who do I pitch this to? Because if there’s something harder than putting sunscreen on a wriggling, squirming baby, who is 100% planning to just stand up and run away halfway through the procedure, I REALLY don’t want to know what it is. Putting Max’s sunscreen on is currently a three-man/woman job: it takes one person to hold him still, one person to actually apply the sunscreen, and a third person to dance around in front of him, singing ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark, which is, slightly bizarrely, his favourite song. And to think that daytime drinking is frowned upon!

02.
Getting him in and out of a baby swimsuit

Have you ever tried putting on a pair of Spanx that are a few sizes too small? OK, imagine doing that while drunk, and also while covered in grease, say, or something else super-slippy. This would still be at least 5X easier than getting a toddler into a swimsuit, but it does, at least, give you SOME idea of what it’s like.

baby playing in the water
Again, the boss level in this particular game involves getting the toddler in and out of his swimsuit on the beach. Where there is sand. And groups of interested onlookers. And, again, while I said you should imagine trying to do this drunk, it’s important to remember that it’s frowned upon to actually BE drunk in this situation, so, yeah. Sucks to be you, hey?

03.
The Battle of the Hat

Before we left the UK, I bought Max a selection of sunhats, carefully chosen so that, no matter what he was wearing, he would have a hat to match. 

As soon as we got here, Max took each hat in turn, and tossed it into the swimming pool. Or the street. Or under the wheels of his pushchair. Anywhere, really, other than on his head. (And yes, I know he’s wearing a hat in most of these photos, but that’s only because the photos were all taken in a three-minute period shortly after we arrived at the splash pad, and while he was still too distracted by the water. Then he snatched the hat off his head and tossed it into the water. My most-repeated phrases on this trip are, “HAT STAYS ON, PLEASE!” and, “But what if he burns his scalp?!” )

04.
Highchairs are for babies

Last, but by no means least, comes the nightly Battle of the High Chair, in which no less than four adults compete to persuade Max to remain in his restaurant high chair until his food arrives. Max meanwhile, passes this time in a number of ways:

01. Pointing out the ceiling fans to random passers-by and instructing then to turn them off. (“FAN! OFF! OFF!”

02. Pointing to his fellow diners, and yelling, “MAN!” or “LADY!” as he feels appropriate. How long will it be before he seriously offends someone, I can’t help but wonder?

03. Pointing at the doors to the kitchen and shouting, “CHIPPIES! CHIPPIES!” (‘Chippies’ being ‘chips’, or ‘fries’, btw. He likes them. A lot.)

04. Choosing one person – apparently at random – to stare creepily at for the duration of the meal.

We’ve been doing our best to avoid all of this by taking him out of the restaurant for a walk as soon as we’ve placed our orders. We’ve spent a lot of time in parking lots on this trip. Also a lot of time under tables, picking up the toys we brought to distract him, and which he instantly cast to the ground, like a sunhat. 

We’re having take-out tonight, needless to say. It’s a good job he’s cute, no?

(These photos were taken at the Dr. Phillips Splash Pad in Orlando: an awesome community park where Max befriended a group of little girls, and spend the rest of his time there running around joyfully yelling, “GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!” This was, however, at least marginally less inappropriate than when he walked up to a little boy at the mall and shouted, “DUMMY!” He was, of course, referring to the child’s pacifier: I REALLY hope that didn’t get lost in translation, though…)

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6 Comments
  • Can I just say that I love the title to this post!

  • Alice
    May 24, 2019

    I’m really glad that I am teaching my daughter a second language. This means that when we are on the train and she points to someone walking down the corridor and says “she’s going to pee in the toilet” I can hope that not everyone understands what she is saying!

    Re the hats – we had the same battle with my daughter at that age, a year or so later she loves her hat and wears it all the time. But you know you can get scalp sunscreen spray? We used that when she really refused the hat.

  • Sarah
    May 24, 2019

    😂 we have just been swimming and then for some lunch with my 13 month old so I can totally relate! Hope you are still managing to relax and enjoy your holiday xx

  • Myra
    May 24, 2019

    Made me laugh out loud with a pretty accurate description of sun cream application, and if experience is anything to go by, you have another 10 years of that ahead lol. As to the hat the only tip I can offer is get a hat with a chin strap, as he will never keep one on that he can just yank off.
    Delighted to see you are having such a great holiday.

  • LindaLibraLoca
    May 25, 2019

    I am here t tell you that the constant battle with the hat will pay off in the end: My kids are 3 and 5 years now, and after spending the first two summers with each constantly putting their hat back on, they now refuse to leave the house without it between May and September. No matter if it is raining outside and you really, really need to get going they insist on getting their hats. And they will constantly point out people on the street saying things like: “Look mum, that man doesn’t wear a hat, isn’t that stupid?”.
    Yes, it will pay off in the end, at least for that hat wearing. For the rest though… Oh well.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Tracey
    May 30, 2019

    Okay this is one of the funnier things I’ve read this week; thanks Amber!

AD | Time for a quick game of “Where’s Amber?”⁣
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It’s another rainy Monday, so I’m throwing it back to our trip to @universalorlando ‘s amazing Volcano Bay water park last month. I’m a bit of a scaredy when it comes to water flumes, but this park had tons of stuff for pretty much everyone: plenty of rides for me, and an amazing splash pad for Max 👶In fact, I’d still be on The Fearless River right now if I possibly could be. Still, doing the laundry and turning the heating on will be just as good, right? Right?! 🌋 🏊‍♀️ .
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#universalorlando #volcanobay #waterpark #lazyriver #vacay #floridavacay

AD | Time for a...

Good news! We took Max to hospital this morning, and saw two different surgeons, who agreed there was no need to go ahead with the surgery as his lip is healing really well on its own 😅  He’ll definitely have a scar, unfortunately, but that would’ve been the case whether he’d had the surgery or not, and if it turns out to be worse than anticipated, we’ll have the option to have it corrected under local anaesthetic when he’s older. ⁣
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I’m still really upset that this happened in the first place, obviously, but so relieved that we don’t have to put him through a general anaesthetic, and just incredibly grateful that it wasn’t anything worse. I know some parents have to deal with much more serious stuff than this, and my heart goes out to you all: it’s been a rough couple of days, and I’m really grateful to everyone who took the time to comment on yesterday’s post - your stories were so comforting when I was panicking yesterday ❤️ ⁣
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(Old photo, obviously: every time Max sees the selfie camera, he thinks it’s going to be one of those filters where you open your mouth and something happens 😂)⁣
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#pbloggers #mummybloggers #mummybloggersuk #ukmumblog #mumblogsuk #mumblogs #mamablog #ukparentbloggers #parentbloggersuk #ukparentingblog #parentingbloggers #motherhoodblogger #motherhoodblog #ukblogger #ukofficialblogger #happyblogger #mummyblog #bloggerclubuk #instamum

Good news! We took Max...

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve just spent the morning in Accident & Emergency with Max, who fell on the path outside the house and split his lip open 😥 ⁣
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They tried to stitch it up at A&E, but it was totally impossible with him awake, so they’ve booked him in to have it done under general anaesthetic tomorrow ... Max is absolutely fine: the bleeding stopped quickly, he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and is just his normal, happy little self. I, on the other hand, am a complete wreck: the plastic surgeon he saw today reckons if we don’t have it fixed, his lip will be crooked when it heals, but I’m absolutely *terrified* of the thought of my baby having to have a GA. ⁣
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If you’re a long-time follower, you might know that I have a full-blown phobia of general anaesthetic (I literally had an elective c-section in order to eliminate the possibility of an emergency one, which might have had to be done under GA), so I just can’t get my head to accept that it’s safe and he’ll be fine 😥 ⁣
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Positive stories and advice very welcome: I’m just so terrified, I can’t even imagine how to get through the next 24 hours 😥😥😥

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve...

#throwbackthursday to last week, when I needed a sunhat and SPF 50 to leave the house, rather than the current raincoat and wellies situation. Can you tell the post-holiday blues are still in full swing over here? 🌧 .
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#whatiwear #30plusblogs #everydaystyle #realoutfitgram  #scottishbloggers #fashionblogger  #fashionblog #fashionstyle #whatimwearing #stylegram  #outfitoftheday #personalstyle #todayiamwearing #styleinspiration 
#stylediaries #styleblogger #over30style

#throwbackthursday to last week, when...

I posted this on Stories over the weekend, but he looked so cute in it I figured it deserved a spot on the grid, too! This is Max all ready for his friend Eleah’s 1st birthday party on Saturday: despite the jetlag and his continuing obsession with doors of all kinds (He had an entire soft play at his disposal, but he mostly just wanted to open and close the gate into it...) he had an absolute ball, and spent the whole drive home shouting, “HAPPY! HAPPY!” Thanks to @thestirlingstyle for a great party 🥳 🎈 🎉 . (Oh, and that’s his hairbrush in his hand - boy likes to look his best 😉)
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#littlepiecesofchildhood #cameramama #chikdhoodeveryday #childofig #celebrate_childhood #babieswithstyle #ootdkids #fashionbaby #trendykids

I posted this on Stories...

We’re back home in not-so-sunny Scotland, but my feed is still stuck in Florida... New post is up on the blog (direct link in Stories..), talking about how we’ve been dealing with toddler jetlag, and why I always hate coming home after a trip...
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#myunicornlife #lifecolorfully #liveauthentic  #ABMlifeissweet #ABMhappylife #ABMlifeiscolorful #howyouglow #makeyousmilestyle #thegoodlist #thecolorwallproject #colorsplash #colorworld #colorsplurge #lovecolors #jj_colorlove #gf_colour #huntgramcolor #jj_colorful #tv_colors #pocketcolors #sunnypicchallenge #colorhunters #colorgram #colorfulllife #colorinspiration #brightcolors #colormyworld #colorinspiration #womeninframe #ihavethisthingforwalls

We’re back home in not-so-sunny...

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4 Things That Make Holidaying With a Toddler Harder Than Nuclear Physics*