My blogging silence over the past couple weeks has been thanks to the nonstop fun that has been attempting to buy a new house, while being a mummy to a nonstop toddler.
She is a walking, talking, giggling, troublesome, attention-seeking bundle of fun, providing an 11 hour day of chaos I didn’t believe was possible til she was at least 2 or 3.
So as if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, we’ve decided to move home. This is a full time job in itself, with not just a house to buy, but one to sell too.
With house searching, viewings, many many estate agents, solicitors, banks, mortgages, housing companies, surveyors, and a whole host of various other people to speak to, needless to say, it’s not been easy.
At times I do feel I’ve abandoned Lily, with an extra episode of Postman Pat thrown in to reply to a solicitor email, and add in the guilt when I just want to be spending every minute with her before work starts again soon. But there have been some funny sides to this too (if I don’t laugh then I’d probably cry… and I did get close to it at times!!), so I thought I’d share with you some of the fun of selling and buying a house with a toddler in tow.
1. When the estate agent wants to take photos of your house, keeping it pristine is not the easiest of things. It’s also an adventure when you need to relocate items between rooms to make rooms look emptier and nicer for photos. This provides a new adventure playground for the little one, that’s clearly not toddler-proof.
2. Viewings are always interesting, particularly as they’re usually in the evenings so close to bedtime where she needs continuous attention to keep her awake. Or an endless supply of snacks. Which usually end up like a Hansel and Gretel trail of carrot wafers through this poor person’s house.
3. She wants to be put down to walk, but clearly this isn’t possible in someone else’s house. The more dangerous they are for toddlers, the more she seemed to want to get down and explore. Fire pokers, glass cabinets of pure china, huge caged 6-stone dogs, and glass pointy table corners become the least of your worries when you see the state of the floor in some places (had they EVER vacuumed/mopped in 30 years?!)
4. There’s also times when she’d get excited by something in a house, such as a giant pink bunny, or a stray remote control. Estate agents would have to put up with sudden loud squealing and manic pointing from a previously quiet baby until we made our apologies and relocated to another room, away from said distraction. She will also make it very clear if there is a bizarre smell or an equally bizarre resident. At least then you have an excuse to make your excuses.
5. Phone calls can be extremely challenging with a little one who loves to pull the phone out of your hand and babble down it before pressing the big red hang-up button on the screen. This can be useful with estate agents who are wasting your time, but not so much when you’re giving bank details to someone who you’re hoping will give you a mortgage.
6. Paperwork is near impossible. Similar to when we had a cat (she loved destroying important papers), paperwork looks so inviting to someone who doesn’t need to actually complete it. Mortgage applications are therefore likely to be covered in smeared banana with a chewed corner, or crumpled up somewhere along the line. And no matter how hard you try to keep it away from her or in the same order, she will seek it out, dribble something orange on it, then jumble up the pages. That’s if you can find all the necessary documents around your house anyway – “popping upstairs” to grab something is just not an option when devastation can occur within seconds, and a neatly organised file of bank statements or payslips will be like a candy store for little fingers!
7. Don’t think you can complete it around the little one either. Laptop forms will land an array of unnecessary letters mid sentence. If she doesn’t demand that sheet of paper you’re writing on, or attempt to pull it away, the pen will be stolen from your hands. A replacement baby pen will not suffice, she will want yours. If you don’t give in, she will grab the pen mid-sentence, resulting in a beautiful black line across the ‘block capitals only’ form.
8. Completing paperwork after baby bedtime is also not an option. This will be the one night she refuses to go to bed, and you’ll be so exhausted by the time she’s sleeping, that any complicated 20-page document to complete is just going to be impossible.
9. Providing a ‘good time to call’ to anyone is also going to be impossible. After bedtime she will wake up, and during daytime she will skip naps, or just make so many loud noises down the phone until you pay her attention, that you’ll just have to reschedule anyway.
10. Taking a toddler to a mortgage meeting at the bank is near fatal. She will not sit still through an hour of boring numbers chat. Once the previously-friendly advisor has given you all the baby-friendly items off her desk (stress balls, novelty pens, laminated pyramids with latest bank offers etc) to distract her, the little one will want to make her escape out of the open-plan booth, resulting in you having to run after her every two minutes as she makes her speedy exit towards the large display of neatly organised flyers across the room.
And finally… never, NEVER, take a toddler to a show home. That pretty array of flowers down the path will be beheaded, the mirrors will be smeared with kiss marks and sticky fingers, and the low-hanging crystal chandelier will seem like a dangling crib mobile to little paws. Even worse are the new build homes that aren’t quite finished, with the sight of stray magnolia paint pots, uncovered electric wires, and neat piles of screws causing so much excitement to the little one, that you won’t make it past the front door before you need to make a hasty retreat!
Thankfully we have made it to the stage that we’ve found a home, sold ours, and are just awaiting the mortgage advisors to say whether our application has been successful (oh yes, we decided to go through a government Help to Buy scheme, just to add to the paperwork!). If this goes ahead then it’s just the fun of the final paperwork, solicitors, exchanging, moving out and moving in to look forward to! If it’s not accepted, then I’m hibernating!!!