We’ve become one of ‘those parents’

Before you have kids you have certain ideas about what sort of parents you’re going to be and you do tend to look at your friends who are already parents and decide whether you will follow their lead or not.

I always declared before Master ATWWAH’s arrival that my life wouldn’t change that much and we’d still go to festivals etc and take him with us.   We have done this but the whole experience of going to festivals and doing what you did pre-baby has changed.  Master ATWWAH attended the Ben and Jerry’s festival at about eight or nine weeks old and it was a pretty stressful experience all round, not helped by the blustery weather, my mastitis (google it non-parents and weep!) and my over-anxious in-laws in tow too.  My ideal of sitting around drinking cider and eating ice cream in the sunshine whilst Master ATWWAH slept in his pram and we listened to the musical line-up went a bit more like sheltering Master ATWWAH from the wind as he drank his milk, constantly checking when he was in his pram he was warm enough or not too warm, dealing with my in-laws fretting we were going to deafen him even though we were nowhere near the stage or speakers and finding cider doesn’t mix too well with antibiotics and a photo of you holding a pint of cider and a bottle of Aptamil can look a bit naff and probably isn’t one for the photo frames.

And, it doesn’t change as they get older.  Toddlers are much easier to take to festivals, although again, the experience is never quite how it was, but you still find yourself declaring you would never be that sort of parent and then doing exactly what it is you condone.  And, for us, on our recent holiday to Dubai it was bringing out the iPad at mealtimes.  I’m a big fan of technology and toddlers as previous posts will prove.  They’re a god send on flights and giving yourself ten minutes to have a shower but I’ve always said they are not for meal times.  I used to nod my head discreetly to Mr ATWWAH on my metaphorical high horse when we ate out if we saw little people transfixed by an iPad screen secretly smug that Master ATWWAH was joining in our conversation or reading a book with one of us while we waited for our food to arrive.  Not anymore……

Master ATWWAH has discovered the joy of getting down from the table.  He’s way too big to be put in a high chair and this newfound choice (or so it seems to him) as to whether he sits with us or runs amok in a restaurant is such an adventure for him.  I’ve given him pep talks on behaviour before we’ve arrived somewhere, threatened all manner of punishments if he doesn’t stay sat down, exhausted my own creative colouring talents, read many a Thomas The Tank Engine short story but sometimes he just won’t sit still.   Until that is, while on holiday, Mr ATWWAH suggested taking the iPad with us as well as the books and crayons.  I succumbed and agreed it could be a last resort only to be used in emergencies when all other entertainment and physical restraint had failed.  Needless to say within fifteen minutes of sitting down in the hotel restaurant he was glued to  Mister Maker courtesy of the BBC iPlayer.

And, on this occasion, subtly getting Mr ATWWAH’s attention I nodded over to the family on the next table whose two kids were both playing with their own devices quietly while the adults had a conversation and declared ‘see, everyone does it, it’s perfectly fine’ 🙂

Mrs ATWWAH’s Top Tips For IPad Dining Entertainment

  • On holiday they are great for entertaining toddlers especially as you may be eating out most days which lets face it is not going to be the greatest fun for toddlers when there is so much other stuff to be doing
  • Before leaving for your holiday go to the BBC iPlayer and download their favourite cBeebies shows.  These will then work abroad, you can’t download when you are out of the UK, and will be available to view for seven days from the first viewing.  So, if you are going away for longer than a week make sure you keep some new episodes in reserve.  It doesn’t take long to download lots of episodes
  • Install a new, surprise app to be revealed whilst on holiday
  • Don’t use it at every mealtime.  Games of ispy, colouring books, reading books, talking about the menu etc are all just as entertaining as a screen
  • Watch the volume, you want it loud enough to entertain but not too loud it annoys other diners

Some of Master ATWWAH’s current favourite apps are:

Thomas The Tank Engine, The Delivery

This app is an audio story with pictures about a special delivery for the Fat Controller and also has a play function with Thomas related puzzles and colouring in as well as easy/hard settings.

Thomas app

The Delivery – Thomas The Tank Engine app

LEGO Duplo

Follow a rabbit and a giraffe as they look for the lion to deliver his birthday present. The graphics on this app are brilliant, the story is very cute and there is lots for you to get involved in including flying a plane, building a bridge and making a campfire.  It can also be muted and it doesn’t really take anything away from the game.

LEGO Duplo app

Going on an adventure to the zoo in the LEGO Duplo app

CBeebies Playtime

This includes a whole host of games based on cBeebies characters and shows including the Alphablocks, Octonauts, Tree Fu Tom, Mr Tumble, Nina and the Neurons and Andy and his Dinosaur Adventures.  The app gets updated a lot with new games too.

Cbeebies app

Join The Octonauts on a mission on the cBeebies app



  1. Travel is definitely one of the times I relax most of my parenting rules. Probably all of them 😉 Especially on a long-haul flight…

  2. There were no iPads when my kids were little (aaagh, that makes us sound ridiculously old), but we found that the mini aquadraw sets were really good – you just needed to fill the pens with water, so simple, and kept the children entertained for ages.

    • Like the AquaDoodle ones? I’ll have to have a look for the mini sets, great idea, thanks.

      • That is a good idea! Something where she’s ‘doing’ rather than eg just looking at a book/screen always goes down well but crayons are not always a reliable substitute at the moment…

  3. Arrgh – my current dilemma. Thanks for this post! We’ve splashed out on the iPad Air in preparation for our upcoming trips for any occasions (especially the plane) where we have exhausted our arsenal of non-electronic entertainments or just need 20 minutes to ourselves to sit with a glass of something cold and alcoholic. We have the water magic pads by Galt, which didn’t seem to grab our then 17 month old’s attention on flight to NZ (I enjoyed it more!) but we’re hoping that now he’s a bit older he’ll be into it. Thanks again for the app recommendations!

    • No problem about the app recommendations and hopefully the iPad will do the trick. Let me know if you find any more good apps.

Leave a Reply