Tape and Toddlers

Whoever coined the phrase ‘terrible twos’ weren’t fucking kidding were they. Little Miss A goes from sweetie-pie (“Oh thank you Mammy, that’s very kind of you Mammy”) to incandescent ball of rage kicking and screaming on the floor in nought to sixty. The last couple of days have brought tantrums and tears because I wouldn’t stop the car so she could pick a dandelion, because I wouldn’t “make the sunshine off”, because the curry was “too spiky”, I wouldn’t let her wee in the cat’s litter tray, along with the general having to move from one place to another within a specific time period. I’ll be honest, I have drunk a fair amount of wine recently.

It took three attempts to visit Tape. Tape is an art installation that’s been set up in Bute Park during August. It’s part of RSPB Cymru’s ‘Giving Nature a Home’ project, and involved sticky tape being wound around trees to resemble a giant spider’s web. It’s so big it can hold five people at a time.

As it’s such an intriguing prospect, it has been attracting a lot more than five people at a time. Which means queues. Queuing. With a toddler. Not my favourite prospect. The first time we went I just saw how many people were waiting, laughed, and left. There were not enough snacks in my bag. The second time we’d arranged to meet up with friends but they were having their own toddler tantrum problems so weren’t there yet. We lasted about five minutes in the queue, before Ari decided the queue didn’t apply to her and kept repeatedly trying to queue jump. So un-British of her. Attempts to explain queueing resulted in much kicking and screaming in the mud before I had to throw her over my shoulder and admit defeat. Luckily our friends turned up later, yay! Queuing is much easier with another adult to chase the little ones.

And so, eventually, we made it. It was so surreal. And so much fun!



You only get a few minutes in there, which is understandable when there’s a queue outside, but it’s enough time for slipping and sliding and thinking “Shit, this is all just sellotape”.


DSC01960  It’s apparently been funded by the levy on carrier bags, which makes me feel better for all the times I’ve managed to forget my bags-for-life. It’s going to be turned into bird houses when it’s finished.DSC01962

And I would have urged you to go see it before it does finish, but I think that’s Monday.

When our time was up, I even managed to get Ari out without any refusal. Although I may have had to bribe her with ice-cream…


Out and About 2

I watched a documentary called Project Wild Thing last week. It was about getting children outside more and reconnecting with nature. It argued that children are spending too much time in front of screens and not enough time playing out in the wild, and looked at what could be done about this. A laudable aim for sure, although I agree with Tim Gill that the film didn’t pay enough attention to the impact of traffic on access to outdoor spaces (and the fact that most of those we could get to without a car are mostly full of dog poo anyway. Cardiff has some beautiful green spaces but for how much longer?).

Mostly though, that it didn’t pay nearly enough attention to two factors: nature can be a faff, and children (and I say this with all the love and respect in the world) can be a pain in the bum.

We went for a walk in Fforest Fawr, the woodlands behind Castell Coch, just outside of Cardiff. It was a freezing day but the rain mostly held off. Inspired by the film and by the idea of MiniRegz reconnecting with nature, I decided not to take the buggy. Mistake! We slowly bimbled. Mostly backwards or off the path. It was far too cold for slow bimbling. I headed back to the car, leaving her with Eleanor and Mostyn (who was unfailingly polite and charming and HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION).

fforest fawr


After pulling the buggy out of the boot, having a quick chat with a woman walking her dog, I headed back up the path. And then realised I must have looked a bit daft taking my empty buggy for a walk. Still, taking the empty buggy for a walk can seem preferable to trying to get Ari into the buggy. When we did manage to fold her in there she didn’t really stop whinging the whole way round, except for when she was eating a banana. Still, nice to get out eh?

fforest fawr




Out and About

One of my aims this year is to get outside more. I love lots of things about living in the city, but cabin fever can set in easily. Go somewhere where we can kick through leaves and puddles rather than bin bags and dog shit! Unfortunately I’ve not found any wellies small enough for MiniRegz’s little feet but that doesn’t stop her from loving those puddles.


It’s not as easy as jumping in the car and heading off where we fancy. At the moment every shoe, every coat, every hat can kick off a mighty battle. She’s also at the stage where walking is fine, direction not so much (that is just a stage right?).

wetlands2 This afternoon we got out with Eleanor to the Newport Wetlands, an RSPB reserve on the Severn Estuary. We’ve been before and seen not a single bird.  Today we spotted a Woodpecker, from the comfort of the cafe no less. It’s a strange place, out past Newport’s industrial estates, in the shadows of a power station, but a great place for a walk. Although I am sad that the cafe seems to have stopped serving PieMinisters.

When I’d picked up MiniRegz from nursery after her morning session, I was told she’d fallen asleep at the table, before she;d even had any food, which is very much not like her. So I knew she was a bit under the weather, which made for a bit of a whingy walk round.  Trying to get a toddler who doesn’t want to go in her buggy is a bit like getting a slippery mackerel caught in a tornado into a sock.
wetlands3 wetlands4

It took us a surprisingly long time to get to the lighthouse and back, what with all the puddles, detours, mud traps and dragons to spot. But it was so nice to be out.