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What to do with a one-year old, day in, day out... help...

(26 Posts)
wastingmyeducation Thu 18-Jun-09 15:33:38

I'm feeling a bit rubbish at this.

We don't seem to do anything.

He potters about with Cbeebies on, he feeds, he eats, then I take him to his room and change his nappy, then he plays upstairs while I do some jobs. He has fun at bath time, and plays with his Dad, but I am faced with a blank wall everything when trying to figure out how to fill the day. We go for a walk to the shops, or round the park now and then. We go out every Sunday with ILs.
But I'm not really playing with him for the majority of the time.

I desperately want to stop having the TV on all the time, but the silence is deafening.

When we do go somewhere we have fun, but SIL doesn't want to go to any groups and I've been too chicken to go by myself.

I just don't know what I'm doing anymore, so much easier when he just needing feeding every hour of the day and night.

I'm still not getting enough sleep and I can't have a night off yet as still bf and think that the long-term sleep-deprivation isn't helping, but if I knew what was reasonable then I could get on with it. I've lost all my powers of creativity. The guilt isn't helping either I dare say. sad

Geocentric Thu 18-Jun-09 15:41:58

Maybe if you get into some little routines (more for yourself then for him) it might help? Such as: each day plan a small outing, for instance, Monday - shops, Tuesday - park day, etc. Then plan a certain time of day when you do planned things with him - bang pots and pans/ make noise. Scribble with crayons. Put on music and dance together. Just a certain time of the day when you can plan spmething specific and feel like you have done something "productive" with him. Does this make sense?

And... joining groups can be scary, but once you take the leap, so nice to have "big person time" while he plays with other kids...

Pingpong Thu 18-Jun-09 15:50:42

Groups can be scary but so worth it for social interaction for you and LO. I go to a music/activity session with DD on Monday, the family centre on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Thursday lunchtime is swimming and Friday is my morning (MIL comes and minds DD while I do a course at the community centre)
It gives me a structure to the week, gets me out the house, I can pick up things in town when I'm there so rarely have 'shopping only' trips - v boring for a one year old and sometimes have lunch with friends or a picnic in the park now the weather is better after said activities.
DH works long, long shifts so having a routine in the week keeps me sane so if DH is working at the weekend I can cope with two alone days without going bonkers.
I moved to a new country when I was pregnant with DD and it was very important for me to 'get out there' and meet new people and I've found that with DD it's been easy. Taking the first step is the hardest.

cyanarasamba Thu 18-Jun-09 15:55:34

Agree it helps to develop a weekly routine based around a few fixed activities. A few ideas here:

Check out local library for song/story time sessions and treat yourself to a coffee in town afterwards. While you're there see what else they have advertised - may be nature walks, other activities there.

Go to local kids farms/theme park/zoo type places before the school holidays start - he may be a bit young but he'll still have fun. Maybe SIL would be up for a few days out?

I'd think about trying an activity once a week - swimming, tumble tots or jo jingles (try googling these). You can often have a "taster" session before paying for a whole term.

Do try your local toddler groups a few times, maybe accept you won't instantly make friends but aim to chat a little. I've only really got into these since my DS turned 18 months so don't feel you've missed out my staying away too long!

Sheeta Thu 18-Jun-09 15:58:48

Another one for the weekly routine. Monday's I usually meet up with the NCT lot (not every week), tuesday is Sainsbury's and Wednesday is small chores/trips into town etc. Going to the park usually happens at the weekend, among all the family/other things that are happening.

Do you have a zoo/theme park nearby? A lot of them to season tickets (our local one is £50 for unlimited access for a year!)

Tumble Tots is something I need to get back into as well..

Sheeta Thu 18-Jun-09 15:59:41

(oh, i work Thursday and Friday, so he's with Granny or nursery then, i don't just ignore those days grin)

Sarey1 Thu 18-Jun-09 16:02:11

Hiya - don't feel rubbish!

I am not a creative person at all so I know I need hints on how to ... well, play really!

When we moved to a new house just after DS was born I had to FORCE myself out to meet people when all I wanted to do was stay in and eat jaffa cakes. Walking into a room when you don't know anyone is really hard, but it's worth it and a baby is a brilliant ice breaker. I got ideas of fun things to do from watching everyone else, and if you start chatting over a cup of tea you'll be able to relax a bit, get your sanity back and find other people who feel exactly the same as you! I also found routine was good for me, and going to groups during the week really helped the days and weeks go by nicely rather than dragging along.

Mind you, I sometimes wonder if my little boy (just turned 1) actually WANTS to play with me as he often crawls off and does his own thing, usually at playgroups when all the other little ones are playing nicely on Mummy's lap ... then at other times he is all over me! But he's started interacting a lot more with me recently which is so much fun. Hang in there and don't feel guilty - it's hard being a Mum but I'm sure you are a brilliant one smile.

fleacircus Thu 18-Jun-09 16:02:53

Libraries are good, lots of them have regular singing sessions for babies or under-5s groups. Is my standby option on wet Saturdays. Local park, if he's 1 he'd probably enjoy swings, roundabout, sandpit, and you could help him down the slide, even if he's not that independently mobile yet.

Playdoh and crayons are good at home, I got paints as well and really wish I hadn't as DD is now 17mths and points at them shouting 'paint, paint, paint' and I really can't face the mess! Stay with him though or he'll eat them.

Groups are good, I also found it hard getting up the courage to go but soon found a couple that I really like and met some other nice local mums and that means coffee shops and cake soon follow. Also now DD is at an age where I'm able to sit and chat and let her get on with it, which is great.

Lots of people love swimming, must admit I am too chicken to take DD without DP (although he is quite happy to take her alone, leaving me at home relaxing on a Saturday morning!)

It is hard though, I know, getting started, but once you're into the swing of it you'll feel better. I'm really forcing myself to make the effort at the moment as I'm expecting a second in September and desperately seeking out places I'll be able to take them both!

smackapacka Thu 18-Jun-09 16:04:00

Here Here for groups - everyone there is in the same boat.

I do work part time but on Sundays when my DH is at work I struggle as I'm on my own (all other mums are with their husbands). I go out at least once a day.

I haven't joined any groups, but just a good old fashioned toddler group is marvellous for £1.50 - good toys, interaction, sing-song, snack and then you're done. Then lunch and either swim or park in the afternoon. They aren't heavily structured but get us going each day.

Congrats on BF for this long though - that's a real achievement!

fleacircus Thu 18-Jun-09 16:06:26

Oh, is there a city farm (or a non-city but family friendly one) nearby? And also don't write off museums/art galleries, on a quiet day, or in a very dull and therefore empty exhibition, it gives crawlers and new walkers interesting space to roam about in safely. And you get to feel cultured and sophisticated, even though you haven't actually looked at the exhibits because you were too busy following your roaming toddler.

christmasmum Thu 18-Jun-09 16:09:07

I just wanted to say that I posted something incredibly similar a while back. I used to feel like such a rubbish mum because I just didn't know what to DO with a baby.

Happy to say, 6 months on, I feel so much better these days. The key thing, looking back is that I was looking at it all from an adult perspective and thinking how bored with me my DD must be. Actually, it's only now that she even wants to play with me, rather than just investigate on her own. And now that she's more interested (interesting??!) I find that things just seem to fall into place. So for example she'll now grab me and tug me over to her play dough, or start banging pots together so I take my lead from her. Not that it's always easy to be fair...

While I totally agree with all suggestions above, I'd also add, DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP!! You're probably doing a great job of being a 1 year old's mum, it's just a lot different from being a toddler's mum smile

fleacircus Thu 18-Jun-09 16:09:45

Are you BF during the night? I was in the same position when DD was 10mths, she's always been a great eater so didn't need the milk but it was the easiest way to deal with her waking up. But I was working and knackered, so we introduced new system: DP got up and settled her back to sleep if it was before 2am, I did 2-6am. She pretty quickly stopped waking up before about 3am, at which point DP took over the 2-6am shift and in about a week she was sleeping through quite happily. Worth a go - you do sound exhausted and that's probably exacerbating your feeling that you're somehow failing - which you are absolutely obviously not!

Seeline Thu 18-Jun-09 16:15:45

Do try some groups - they really saved my life when my Ds was little. It does take abit of courage at first but well worth the effort. If you don't like the first one you try after a couple of weeks, it doesn't seem nearly as hard to try another one! I found that the groups with a purpose were easier to begin with eg gym, singing etc as most of the time you were concentrating on the activity and not having to chat too much. Definitely try the library - they often having singing and story sessions - sometimes even craft. Where abouts are you?

wastingmyeducation Thu 18-Jun-09 16:45:10

Oh thank you all!

fleacircus He generally wakes once at around 3/4/5, but sometimes it's earlier and then we're up from half five.
I feed him to sleep, so it's difficult trying to get anywhere, and MIL won't have him overnight til he sleeps through. hmm
We did a similar thing, where DH went to him before midnight for a couple nights, but he started only waking once in the early morning, so we left it. I've told him though that I shall need at least a week of him being home all evening and night to get DS to fall asleep without the boob. I'll still feed him before bed, but not to sleep.

Seeline I'm in Doncaster.

There are a few different groups and activities, I've tried some, but found that once I missed a few again, I'd lost the nerve again.

Geocentric I like the idea of scheduling in different play activities when we are at home, I suppose that would help get us out of our funk.

I shall have a look at what groups and activities we can go to, and pick one to try first.
I've got some crayons, so I'll put them in a basket with paper for 'colouring time'.

I shall have another read through of everyone's suggestions again later.

I feel better for talking about it. smile

lynniep Thu 18-Jun-09 16:52:50

not a lot to add, but agree with everyones comments.

How are you financially? I know thats a rude question! But I found that it was initially easier for me to join 'paid, structured' groups rather than general parent and toddler. This is because there is a teacher which the group revolves around, rather than you having to try and initiate some kind of conversation yourself. Over time you get to interact with the parents, you really appreciate the time out of the house, and little one gets to interact with other kiddies of a similar age.

From about 7 months I went completely mad (way over the top - I was desperate to get out of the house!) and enrolled DS in swimming (actually that was at 4 months) sing and sign (recommend) babygrowz (dont recommend) clap and sing (just a local group which was cheap but much fun) and also took him to library so he could play with the books, the local indoor soft play areas.

I signed up for a years membership of our nearest zoo, and we reneweed that it was so worth it. Also every Friday morning we have a little mums group - about 5 of us - and take it in turn to meet at each others houses which is a nice break for 4 of us! I met those mums at swimming class, and at weightwatchers wink

ilovetochat Thu 18-Jun-09 16:58:06

do you have local childrens centres, ours does lots of classes like music, signing, swimming, baby group, breast feeding group, most are £1 or free.

goingnowherefast Thu 18-Jun-09 17:08:25

I could have written your post a couple of months ago. I second having some activities - Monday we go to breastfeeding group, Tuesday swimming, Wednesday a toddler music class and Friday meet with NCT people. Thurs is a free day.
However I was rubbish at "doing" things with her - she plays on her own a lot. I read to her and play peekaboo, but she likes to play with her toys. Remember though it's good for them to play independently. Don't worry - you're doing a great job.

Mumwhensdinnerready Thu 18-Jun-09 17:33:07

Lots of good ideas for going out entertainment but there are still a lot of hours in the day at home.

I used to do lots of (rather repetative) reading at that age. Using large picture books with full busy pages you can spend quite a long time talking through the pictures, describing them, naming objects and colours. My Big Book of Everything by Roger Priddy was a favourite.

Also try to play with him with his toys ..building with chunky blocks which he can endlessly knock over for you to rebuild. It's true it's not stimulating stuff for you but it's so easy to make babies laugh and have fun at one year old you get the reward that way.

wastingmyeducation Thu 18-Jun-09 22:24:54

Not a huge amount of disposable cash, but it's more the fact I don't drive that stops us going to some of the classes I'd like to.

There is a children's centre about half an hours walk away, it just opened in January, think they have a few more classes on now.

Yes, we need more books and to get to the library! That's something we'll do next week.

Thank you all. smile

LovelyDear Thu 18-Jun-09 22:32:43

i used to get a washing up bowl of soapy warm water on the kitchen floor and let him play with cups, jugs, sponges etc. That used to fill quite a lot of day. and to stop myself going insane i sang 'educational' songs a lot. maybe you could take up an instrument? sounds mad but if you sit and practice in front of him, he'll be entertained and you'll be learning something useful. i'm thinking guitar - it's feasible to learn it from a book.

wastingmyeducation Thu 18-Jun-09 22:38:30

Funny you should say that Lovely, but I was playing guitar for him earlier. grin
I shall def do it more often, he was loving it! Then he pulled all the books off the shelves. grin

snickersnack Thu 18-Jun-09 22:48:05

As far as silence, I know exactly what you mean about silence being deafening (though wait until he starts talking!) but like you I didn't want the tv on all the time. I put the radio on in the morning and leave it on - usually radio 4 but sometimes music radio.

I do remember those yawningly empty days. They used to terrify me, particularly when dd was around 12 months. It will get much easier soon, I promise - once they start talking, it's much easier to interact and get involved in things. And in a few months you'll be too busy managing tantrums to wonder how to fill the day grin.

LovelyDear Thu 18-Jun-09 22:49:42

that is excitingly bizarre! well i'm glad - that's a fab thing to do. must get mine out - i've forgotten everything i learnt....

wastingmyeducation Fri 19-Jun-09 09:27:23

I'm going to go through my songbooks later and pick a few to learn. I've spotted some childrens songbooks on amazon too. Yay!

I have Radio 4 on all day in the kitchen snickersnack, but it's out of synch with the radio in the living room, different digital signals, which is very irritating if you can hear them both. I can cope with turning them on/off though. smile

melmog Fri 19-Jun-09 09:56:27

Another vote for baby groups. I moved to this area 18 months ago while pg and with dd1 and was going out of my mind. It took me weeks to pluck up the courage to go to a library bounce and rhyme thing but off the back of that got invited to a different group. The friends I made there I now see at least twice a week and there is always someone up for a visit to the soft play or park or just to come over for a cuppa or 4. Go for it I say!

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