Tuesday, October 15, 2013

5 tips to survive renovating with small children

We have been renovating our house for nearly seven weeks. It has been seven weeks of early starts (who knew tradies could be on time?!), lots of banging, old walls going down, new walls going up and us trying to make do living in one bedroom, a jam packed lounge room, and half a kitchen. Our small house is getting smaller before it gets bigger!

It is frustrating at times, and I readily admit to bouts of insanity and an overwhelming urge to cry, but seeing it all happening around us has been amazing and Tricky is absolutely loving it - especially having cement mixers, cranes, pump trucks and skip bin trucks coming and going.

But the five main things that have kept me (relatively) sane during these weeks are:

1. Babywearing all the time

Our house turned in to a construction site when Bobbin was four days old and from that moment on, as long as she was in the Hugabub, she has slept through sledgehammers, circular saws, nail guns and more. Nuzzled in to my chest she is oblivious to it all. And let’s be honest, if you were that close to my awesome rack you’d be oblivious to everything else, too. At this rate the girl will not learn to sit or crawl before she’s 12 months old, but hey, the floor is currently covered in sand so I figure that is probably a good thing.

Dirt level after just two days without vacuuming
2. Learning to go with the flow

My house is usually clean but not 100% tidy (hello, toddler on premises). But right now, our lounge is home to Tricky & Bobbin’s furniture – it looks like a second hand store with everything rammed in against each other. Add the dust and sand (dear lawd, THE SAND!) that comes with a build, and the mountains of hair from the injured dog who isn’t allowed outside and the place is feral. No, really. It is pretty disgusting right now. But you know what? There isn’t too much that can be done about that and the moment I let go of how things “should” look is the moment when it all became so much easier. I’ve even had friends over! I keep reminding myself this is only temporary and the house is going to look amazing really soon.

The littlest team member
3. Utilizing the grandparents

My parents live about five minutes away and we visit them pretty much every day we don’t have a planned activity. It’s a triple win: they get to see the grandkiddies, Tricks gets to run around without tripping over all the furniture that has been shoved in to our one usable room, and I get to relax and do nothing. Sometimes we’ll go get a coffee or some lunch and usually my Dad insists on paying. That makes it a quadruple win! Free lunch FTW!

4. Having fantastic builders

We’re using Perth builders Exactus and I couldn’t be happier. I’m blogging some of our renovation story for them over on their website – which is paid but unedited. I could prattle on about site management, deliveries being on time and blah, blah, blah, but the thing that has made this less stressful are the blokes on site. Tricky loves them. He excitedly announces when each of them arrive every day and runs out to talk to them, showing off his latest toy/skill/joke – and they’re all so lovely to him, asking him questions and telling him what the different tools are. If this build runs over time it will only be because Tricks is interrupting them. I don’t know how he is going to go when this is all finished – he’s grown so attached to them all that last week he cried because they left before he got a chance to say goodbye!

But children aside, I thought they’d be a nice bunch of blokes when in the first week, when I didn’t even know their names yet, I heard them all singing along to the radio, belting out “What’s Up?” by Four Non Blondes with gusto. Yes, I completely judge people by their ability to perform karaoke at work, don’t you? If you don’t sing along to that song then I don’t want to know you. It was topped off when ‘Grubby’ showed Miley Cyrus how sledgehammer licking should really be done:

That's not a sledgehammer lick, THIS is a sledgehammer lick
5. Embracing my inner craft nut

As much as he’d love it, it isn’t really safe to let Tricky play in the backyard when half of it is a building site. I had grand plans to go to the park a lot but the weather has been unseasonably wet so we have been stuck inside. In the one room. With all our furniture. And the dog. GAH! But a daily raiding of the craft drawers has been brilliant. Tricks loves craft and we normally do it once or twice a week but now it is once or twice a day. We’ve been making egg carton caterpillars, toilet roll birds, pipecleaner spiders and now we're on to Halloween craft. But nothing beats painting all over the temporary walls - let's just hope he doesn't paint the new walls.

My craft activity is better than your craft activity

Have you built/renovated with little kids? What kept you sane(ish)?

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