This post is about the observable signs and symptoms you will experience that indicates you have little kids living in your home with you. Would you be able to tell when you enter someone’s home if they have young children? Other than the toys and baby items that may be strewn around the house, there will be other ‘symptoms’ of young children staying there. Here’s how it looks like in my home, where I have a 5, 3, and 1 year old nesting here.
1. You keep losing things and finding it in random places in the house
My kids like to touch my things, if it’s within reach, and if mummy didn’t say very specifically that you cannot take it, it will be touched and moved to different locations in the house. While the older kids have more control over themselves, my youngest child who is 16 months old will still take my things from my dressing table and relocate them. I will find my contact lens casing on the hall sofa or my hairbrush in the laundry basket. She moves like a ninja and she knows when it’s a forbidden object (that makes it more attractive to her). We then make sure the smaller objects that can be choking hazards are kept well away from her to prevent any accidents.
2. There will always be things found underneath furniture
When you move a sofa, the playpen, or any piece of furniture that has a clearance gap underneath it, you will always find something. It could be a toy or object that was missing for half a year or longer (a lego, a old diaper, a puzzle piece, a book) and conveniently found again, covered in dust. A plus point is that the kids will usually be excited to find these hidden items again, as it will become ‘new and interesting’ again after being lost for so long.
3. Bodily fluids are common around the house
This may be too much information for some, but in reality, if you have babies and toddlers in your home, you will have to deal with their bodily fluids quite frequently. Sometimes it’s dried mucus on the floor, sometimes its pee stains on the toilet seat, drool on the bed, or even blood on the wall.
Why blood on the wall? My eldest has a sinus issue, and a sensitive nose that has nose bleeds occasionally every few weeks. When the face cloth is soaked in blood, he sometimes accidentally ( or not accidentally, it depends on his risk appetite on that day) smears it against the wall or his pillow case and bedsheets.
My older kids also occasionally have runny noses in the morning when they wake, so we always leave a cloth out for each of them at night for those mornings they wake with an episode of stuffy noses. When they can’t get to their clothes on time, mucus ends up on the floor or on the table tops. Sometimes they inform us and they try to clean it up, and other times we find out by stepping on it.
Plus, did I mention we have a 16th month old who is still in diapers ?
4. You’re always meal prepping and thinking what to eat
We are constantly thinking what to feed the children and ourselves. Especially with the pandemic, we basically cook 75% of the meals at home (and the other 25% of the time we buy packed food from the shops).
The kids eat 3 main meals a day and 1 tea break in between around 4.30-5pm every day, so we have to think what to feed them from breakfast till dinner. We need to cater to what the kids can eat and also balance out their meals with good nutrition, which usually include vegetables, fruits and paired with one protein dish daily (I acknowledge I can be fussy on their meals, read here for my past post on what I found out about myself after I become a mother). Also we have a 16month old who has only 8.5 teeth ( her canine teeth just pooped out and on its way to the top) . Generally, this also means no spicy food, and we limit their sugar intake to ‘reasonable’ amounts.
Candy is a prized item at our home its supply controlled by mum and dad. With this we sometimes use it as a reward for good behavior (eg. when they share or when they finish their homework, we surprise them with candy).
We do try new foods with the kids on occasion to broaden their taste buds, and recently our kids have started to enjoy chili sauce ( from the small sachets from McDonalds or Burger King). Its some progress at least and I’m pretty glad about it. This will pave the way to curry , rendang and ikan bakar dishes at home in future.
5. Never-ending laundry to be folded and kept
It feels like the pile of laundry on the couch will always be there. On some days its smaller, other days it’s larger, and on rare occasions its all folded and kept away ( for a day or two before fresh laundry is accumulated again). My husband and I both work and of all the things to give attention to in the home, laundry seems to be on the lower priority. Sometimes the kids even use it as a landing pad for their jumps during physical play.
Remember point 3 above where I talked about my kids and their bodily fluids? Yes, we go through a few face cloths a day for their mucus to wiping their food remnants from their face during meals. Sometimes the youngest has a diaper look or worst poop explosions, and sometimes the bedsheets are stained, and not forgot their many soft toys, pillows and mini blankets. There are also incidents of their teddy bear or husky dog conveniently falling (suspected thrown) into my 3-year-old’s potty in the room during the night, and getting pee-pee all over.
6. Stickers everywhere (and some artwork too)
This would link back to my first ever blog post about the 3 cheap fine motor skills for toddlers. Up to today I still allow them to stick on the walls and doors of the house (within reason) to encourage fine motor skill development. The stickers extend to their toys, bathroom walls, toilet paper holders, kitchen cabinets, on the baby gate, etc. It’s usually a reminder to us of what they’ve been up to that day, and a small surprise when we find new stickers around the house. As mentioned in the previous post, when they are grown, mummy and daddy will repaint the home, and maybe leave some spots with the stickers on as a reminder of their childhood.
Apart from stickers, I would hang up their ‘artwork’ around the house too to show that we care about the craft and drawings that they create. Hence it acts as a motivation for them to do more arts and drawings, and a cute display image of the kids work around the home.
The days are long but the years pass quickly, my advice to other parents is not to be too stressed about the mess at home, as this season too shall pass. I would rather focus on giving them a happy childhood, even if the house was a mess 24/7.
As always, happy parenting.