Navigating the terrible twos

Yesterday my daughter had a dreaded accident at a soft play centre. As I changed her clothes in the toilet, her screaming was so loud staff knocked the door to ask if everything was okay. “Yes. Just changing my daughter!” I replied as sweetly as I could.

At two and a half, she is fiercely independent, brilliantly confident and fearless. And that’s awesome, but challenging to parent. 

As she’s our second child, I’m finding navigating the toddler tantrums a little easier to navigate than they were with our eldest. 

So here are the three tips I’m clinging on to while navigating the toddler years.

1. Try to see the funny side It’s easy to lose your sense of humour after trying to get your toddler to put their socks on for the umpteenth time. But trying to see the funny side of their requests does help. This morning my daughter was crying because she couldn’t eat her breakfast in a high chair. We don’t own one anymore so there was little I could do to meet her demands. 

2. Pick your battles This is one I try hard to focus on when I’m negotiating. Does it really matter if they wear wellies and a party dress? This morning I spent 10 minutes trying to dress her in a matching outfit, but she was insistent on a pyjama top. So I let her wear it.

3. Put your pride aside. I’m a firm believer that any pride you had before becoming a parent is left firmly behind in the delivery room. I really struggled with this as a first time parent. I was mortified about what people would think of my child’s behaviour. But I try to park my pride during toddler meltdowns and support them through them. 

How do you manage toddler meltdowns? I’d love to hear your tips.

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Why I didn’t capture that Kodak moment today 

You are likely to be aware that today is Children in Need day, where children and grown ups alike take on fun fundraising challenges for this worthy cause. 

In the Pyke household, it meant dressing our son and daughter in their pyjamas for school and nursery for a sponsored pyjama day. I’d excitedly got the Pudsey ears out last night and imagined the lovely photograph I’d take of our pyjama-clad pair to post on Facebook and Instagram.

But when it came to 7.55am this morning, it became clear that this imagined moment was going to remain a figment of myover optimistic imagination. 

My son most definitely did not want to wear his Pudsey ears. Our daughter cried because she wanted to wear her brother’s Pudsey ears, which he suddenly insisted on keeping when she declared her interest. This then led to a shoe,  sock and coat refusal standoff that lasted for 17 minutes and meant we were running late. 

So, no Kodak moment this Children in Need day unfortunately, but I’m pleased they both took part in this brilliant fundraiser. And, hey, there’s always next year.

How have you supported Children in Need this year?

5 potty training tips


It’s eight days since we started potty training our toddler. It wasn’t the carefully planned out approach we did with our son; it was a spur of the moment decision after weeks of nappy time tantrums. 

At 6am last Saturday, I admitted defeat after 20 minutes of trying to wrestle a nappy onto the toddler. I said “Okay, let’s try pants instead then” and the decision was made. 

So, second time around, and just over one week in, I thought I would share our five top tips for any of you who may be embarking on this adventure soon.

1. Supplies

Think of the number of pants you will need and double it. Do the same for trousers/tights. And socks. Because when an accident happens, socks can get a soaking too. Don’t forget your cleaning supplies too.

2. Patience

This is vital. Luckily, as a parent, you will have already developed saint-like patience skills. Boy, you’re going to need them. 

You’ll also need to draw on your negotiation skills. Toddlers can be hard to negotiate with at the best of times and, in my experience, potty training can bring their stubbornness to the fore.

3. Praise

You will need to praise like never before. Our toddler has to have a round of applause with each successful potty visit. She also likes a high five. Positive praise really helps to reinforce that they have done well. 

Reward stickers have been popular with our children too. My daughter is thrilled to get a Frozen sticker after every successful trip.

4. Resources 

As well as potties and toilet training seats, we have found portable potties to be super helpful for when you embark on the nerve-shredding milestone of leaving the house. The pottete is a popular option, but we like the My Carry Potty. It’s leak proof, which is brilliant for those dreaded caught-short-nowhere-near-a-loo moments.

5. Nerves of steel

Nothing prepares you for how nervousness you will feel when you’re taking a child who is potty-training to soft play. No matter how many times you coax them to have a toilet trip, they will usually decide they need a wee when they are in the furthest and highest recesses of the soft play equipment. That requires Usain Bolt-level speed as you run the gauntlet between the ball pool and the loo. But it gets easier as both they and you get into the swing of this potty training malarkey.

So if you will be potty training your child soon, good luck. Like many aspects of parenting, it’s not easy, but you will feel so proud when they get to grips with it. 

How did you find potty training? What are your top tips?