My early days with Milo were a mixed bag. Milo and I struggled with the ''getting to know you'' stages and thanks to a serious lack of sleep, post-natal depression, hormones madness I often found that the only way I could cope with Milo, the only way to stop him screaming, was to go out of the house and find some way to entertain him. This need to find ways to keep Milo entertained taught me early on that there are many ways to keep your child happy that are different to those standard ideas you find in books. These are also good alternatives for when the weather outside is not so delightful and the option of walking through the streets not so attractive. So here are the alternative entertainment options that helped me in Milo's first year (and some even now), some are specific to Berlin but they are just a basis, try them out yourself when you really can't cope any more...
The Ring Bahn - I live near Berlin's version of 'The Circle Line' (a reference for the Londoner's out there reading this post). It is a train line which runs in a circle around Berlin. In Milo's first months, before he became more of a mover, when I really couldn't 'do it anymore', I would alight the Ring Bahn and sit with Milo on my lap and simply stare miserable out of the window whilst the passengers sat opposite us would entertain Milo. I'm not kidding. This was one of my favourites. I think the Ring needs about 50 minutes or so to complete the full circle and Milo would happily sit there for 90% or so of the journey whilst I tried to build my energy levels back. I guess people often use cars for this method but being not only a non-car owner but also a non-driver this was the next best thing.
The Pet Shop - I have a giant shop called 'Karstadt' which sits a short bus journey down the road from me and on the ground floor they have a big pet shop section. I have often used this pet shop as a free mini-zoo. I did this on Monday this week as well! It's still really useful. My local has fish, birds, rabbits, mice etc etc and I can keep Milo happy for about an hour looking around in there!
Large Clothes Shop - C&A is my best choice. I used to go to C&A all the time when the weather outside was ghastly. On the top floor Milo could freely run around, choose clothes and play hide and seek among them and I only had to really keep an eye out that he didn't go near the escalator. For me, a clothes shop was a good option as there weren't alot of small things for him to grab hold of and for a long time he couldn't take the hangers off rails so there was little damage control to do.
Ikea - Another great one for the bad weather days and especially good when your child is able to move about a bit more. Ikea not only has changing rooms, a cafe with high chairs but also my local (and most if not all Ikea's I believe) has a large ballpit for kids to play in and on top of that a number of large (fake) rooms for your child to move around in and very little that they can break. Ikea is fantastic for weekday daytime visits, I wouldn't recommend this for a weekend!
So those were my alternatives, have you got any worth sharing? Please share them over at Workingberlinmum
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