How to go on a day trip with kids and a head cold in 31 easy steps

1. Do not leave the house with your kids for two days while they have colds. Decide you are leaving the house the following day no matter what happens.

2. Wake up feeling like death warmed up. Look in the mirror and discover you only look marginally better. Remember your determination to leave the house. Groan inwardly.

3. Realise you can’t manage a third day at home with the kids as you observe your toddler emptying all the toys into the floor and bounce off the roof. Decide against making any plans before you’ve had panadol, breakfast and coffee.

4. As the fog around your brain slowly dissipates, reluctantly decide against sharing your germs with your mothers’ group. Arrange to have lunch with your brother at the bookstore he works at so you can buy a christening present.

5. Place baby in his cot and turn Play School on for toddler so you can shower in desperate hope that you’ll feel human afterwards. Leave bathroom door open so you can hear any interactions. Call toddler’s name occasionally to check for response. Realise this feels oddly similar to playing Marco Polo in the pool.

6. Finish shower and realise you still feel sub-human. Go to check on baby and discover toddler in cot with baby. Try not to think about how he got there. Get kids dressed and sit down on couch to finish watching Play School with toddler.

7. Discover baby has fallen asleep in your arms. Place in cot. Make yourself a second cup of coffee while you wait for him to wake up. Make mental note to take some painkillers with you for your next dose. Thoroughly enjoy hot cup of coffee. Pack nappy bag for your trip.

8. Feed screaming baby when he wakes. Place baby on ground and wipe puke off shoulder. Remind toddler babies are not for jumping on.

9. Gather children and belongings and head to door. Pause when you smell something suspicious. Change toddler’s nappy. Decide the only thing good about a head cold is the greatly diminished sense of smell.

10. Repeat step nine with baby.

11. Leave house. Catch train to your destination with no mishaps. Observe on the way that you’ve dressed your boys in the same colours for the fourth day in a row.

12. Meet your brother in the cafe attached to the bookshop. Hand him the baby after he orders lunch. Begin spooning orange vegie mush into baby’s mouth. Sigh as baby’s flailing hand catches the loaded spoon and sends a fine spray of orange vegie mush across the wall.

13. Smile in relief when your coffee and lunches arrive. Watch in abject horror as your baby swipes the burger patty off your brother’s plate. Retrieve it from the floor. Swap lunches with your brother. Take baby back and hold on lap while you alternate bites your your lunch and spoons into his mouth.

14. Turn to discover toddler has spilled half a milkshake in his lap. Stuff a handful of serviettes over the carnage and pretend nothing has happened. Strongly encourage toddler to eat his lunch. Finish lunch and say goodbye to your brother.

15. Move to children’s section of store. Release your toddler into the small enclosed play area while you browse. Leave disgruntled baby in bottom of the pram to make room for your bag and books in the main seat. Finish and inform toddler you need to go and pay so that he can play in the big playground.

16. Be lulled into a false sense of security when he instantly complies with your direction. Make it halfway towards the counter before he suddenly bolts across the store. Sprint Jog haggard lay while pushing your overloaded pram after your nimble child.

17. Ditch the pram at a counter and ask the staff to watch it while you chase your toddler around the shelves of bibles. Catch your nimble child and escort him bag to the pram.

18. Wrestle your shrieking banshee-octopus beloved firstborn son into the pram while standing in front of a display of books on parenting. Add two to your purchases once your toddler is safely restrained. Move to the counter and buy the books.

19. Observe the baby has fallen asleep. Release toddler into play area and sink into seat. Realise instantly this is a mistake as you are now exhausted.

20. Look over to see your child standing motionless, slightly bent, with a look of sheer concentration on his face. Retrieve your stinky offspring and relocate to the change room.

21. Wrestle toddler onto change table and change his nappy. Hear sudden screams from the bottom of the pram – realise the dulcet tones of your oldest has woken his slumbering brother.

22. Replace screaming toddler with screaming baby. Finish changing baby and replace in pram. Turn and discover toddler is drenched to the waist after playing with taps. Return toddler to pram. Reassure yourself your hearing will return shortly. Pick baby out of pram to stop him screaming for a drink. Place bags in bottom of pram. Leave bathroom.

23. Decide once back in the store to place baby in ergo for safe transport. Retrieve ergo from bottom of the pram, emptying half a litre of water from your water bottle on to the floor as you do. Strap the ergo on whilst holding baby. (I have no idea how I managed that)

24. Notify staff of water on the floor. Return to cafe and order coffee. Sit and feed baby. Bribe toddler with iPad. Realise as you drink your coffee that this is the second you’ve had since you went out…and you had two at home. Two and two equals four…yes? No? Not enough? You’re not sure anymore.

25. Leave for train. Realise your head is pounding in time with your feet. Search your bag for the painkillers you reminded yourself to bring. Discover that you didn’t put them in. Find full bottle of children’s nurofen. Calculate volume needed for adult dosage of 400mg (there are some advantages to being a nurse). Decide a headache is better than 20mL of sickly sweet medication.

26. Get on train. Encourage toddler to close his eyes and rest. Display no surprise when he refuses. Keep eyes open for remainder of trip.

27. Get off train and head for home via supermarket to pick up a few items. Glance down and realise your toddler’s eye are barely open. Race around and get the bare essentials (lemsip and chocolate), pleading with your child to stay awake for another five minutes.

28. Make it home before he falls asleep (latest trick – getting him to wriggle his toes). Lug all belongings upstairs. Put Play School on for kids.

29. Sit rocking slightly in corner with lemsip, chocolate, a blanket and your glitter bottle until it’s time to make dinner.

30. Plan to take tomorrow off sick.

31. Remember you’re a stay-at-home-mum. Laugh wildly.

Today’s Zero to Hero post was inspired by the prompt “two plus two equals four: yes or no?” I didn’t know what to write about.

Until I counted my coffee intake for the day.

How to cut a baby’s nails in 17 easy steps

1. Receive scratch inside your nostril from your tiny tot’s titanium talons. Cry and eat chocolate.

2. Realise it’s been more than a week since you last cut said talons. Brace yourself for the task ahead.

3. Peruse your cutting options. Shudder at the thought of using baby nail clippers again after the Great Finger Cutting Incident with your first child (the trauma is fading though). Feel torn between nail scissors with rounded ends or sharp nail scissors.

4. Elect to use sharp nail scissors for the precision they afford (the fact that they’d quite probably pierce armor doesn’t hurt). Place remaining weapons back in hiding place.

5. Realise with trepidation that your six month old is not where you left him – he is now on the opposite side of the room. Wonder how much longer you have before he starts crawling.

6. Retrieve baby and sit on your knee. Wrap left arm around baby to pin his arm to his side and take hold of the other hand.

7. Take a deep breath and prepare to make the first cut.

8. Retrieve scissors from the floor where they landed after your toddler has entered the room imitating a T-Rex. Calm baby.

9. Successfully cut first claw. Realise you’ve been holding your breath – exhale slowly. Begin to cut second claw.

10. Narrowly avoid cuts to both yourself and the baby when the toddler demands asks to help. Inform toddler this is a job for mummies and daddies to do.

11. Turn educational children’s tv show on to distract toddler. Return to task of cutting Baby Wolverine’s nails.

12. Succeed in cutting all nails on one hand.

13. Swap child to opposite knee. Wrap right arm around body. Hold hand in left hand and prepare to cut remaining talons.

14. Realise it’s substantially harder to perform the task with your non-dominant (right) hand while trying to pin the baby’s arm down. Seeing as the scissors won’t work in your left hand, you have no choice but to free the trapped limb.

15. Slowly and methodically cut the first nail, keeping the baby’s other hand well clear of the scissors.

16. Continue in this manner until all nails are cut. Realise this simple task has taken close to 45 minutes.

17. Return scissors to their hiding place. Decide it’s too early for alcohol. Drink very strong coffee instead and hope desperately that the next round of nail cutting isn’t too soon.

How to go away for the weekend with two kids in 35 easy steps

1. Decide to go on church weekend away with your two young children. Ignore the fact that you haven’t even been away with one child, let alone two.

2. Begin planning logistics a week ahead. Plan to do all washing on Wednesday and Thursday.

3. Neglect to plan for rain on those days. Try not to think too much about your next energy bill or growing carbon footprint as you turn the dryer on for the umpteenth time.

4. Realise on Wednesday that your six months of capsule hire expired on Saturday. Arrange for return of capsule and plan for collection of layby-ed car seat.

5. Kick self for combining layby of car seat with layby of toddler bed. Plan to take both off layby and carry home on train with double pram.

6. Decide you’re quite possibly not sane. Call father-in-law and ask for help with collection. Arrange to meet him at the shop on Thursday.

7. Begin to make list of all things necessary for toddler and infant for the weekend. Seriously doubt all items will fit in your hatchback.

8. Arrange to borrow father-in-law’s car for the weekend.

9. Discover you do not own sleeping bags. Successfully purchase double sleeping bags on sale for less than half price. Feel a touch thrilled when you realise they are named ‘tardis’. Organise for collection of child’s sleeping bag for toddler.

10. Ensure husband has packed his belongings and retrieved the suitcase before he leaves for work on Friday. Plan for him to swap cars after work, adding an extra ninety minutes to his travel time. Tell yourself you can’t possibly go mad in that time.

11. Give some consideration to sleeping arrangements – you have one portacot and two children still in cots. Decline offers of second travel cot as you don’t know if they’ll fit in the room. Consider possible options involving toddler on mattress on floor or baby in double bed with you. Decide you will wait until you arrive to finalise details.

12. Discover on Friday morning that both of your monitors are totally dead. Attempt to purchase new basic monitor from various shops in local Westfield.

13. Quickly realise this is pretty much impossible. Investigate local op shop in desperation.

14. Discover brand new monitor still in plastic wrap for $20. Buy as fast as possible. Buy baby food pouches for simplicity.

15. Return home and pack, preparing for all eventualities for both kids. Throw in fresh underwear, extra shirts and toiletries for both adults. Entertain toddler with Play School ad nauseum while baby sleeps.

16. Toy with idea of colouring hair before you leave. Dismiss thought as sheer lunacy. Begin preparing toddler for car trip in the evening. Load iPad with Play School and the Wiggles.

17. Do dinner and bath routine as normal when husband gets home. Pack car and ferry children downstairs.

18. Open door and stare as torrential rain begins that very second. Firm your resolve – you are going.

19. Stay undercover while husband ferries toddler to the car.

20. Groan inwardly as husband returns with toddler and offers you a small backside to smell.

21. Ferry all family members to garage. Change offensive bottom while its owner lies in the pram.

22. Load all family members into car and depart. Realise this is the baby’s first trip in his new car seat. Desperately hope he doesn’t scream the entire trip. Sigh when both children are asleep within five minutes.

23. Arrive at campsite 90 minutes later. Ascertain whereabouts of your cabin and deposit luggage. Set up portacot.

24. Retrieve sleeping children from car. Successfully transfer baby to portacot. Place toddler on lower bunk.

25. Gently inform wide awake, disoriented and hysterical child you will be sleeping there tonight. Feel heartless as he pleads with you to get in the car and drive home. Place toddler in double bed with you.

26. Sing all nursery rhymes in your arsenal. Feel unsure of your vocal stylings due to volume of toddler screams.

27. Make up multiple stories. Wonder if screams are actually decreasing or if you’re going deaf.

28. Give toddler to husband on the trundle bed. Try and relax while he attempts to soothe child.

29. Cheer silently when he succeeds. Make room for him in double bed.

30. Launch yourself into trundle bed when toddler suddenly sits up screaming. Decide you will sleep there for the night.

31. Instantly regret decision as you are now half on the bed, half on the floor. Resolve to put toddler in double bed with you the following night. Eventually drift off to sleep.

32. Wake at stupid o’clock to see toddler rolling off trundle bed under bunk bed without waking. Retrieve still-sleeping toddler and place on bed. Try not to count the small number of hours available for sleep.

33. Wake a further three times. Remind yourself there is an excellent weekend ahead of you for the thousandth time. Congratulate self for bringing a plunger and decent coffee.

How to introduce a toddler clock in 19 easy steps

1. Purchase clock. Do not deploy immediately – plan to wait until big bed is introduced.

2. Have ‘discussion’ for over an hour with toddler at 2am about whether it is daytime yet. Decide to begin clock use that evening.

3. Unpack clock, read instructions and plug in.

4. Re-read instructions.

5. Attempt to follow instructions. Fail.

6. Read booklet for a third time. Successfully program clock. Select time that daddy is up for work as wake up time.

7. Prepare toddler for bed at the appropriate time. Tell toddler about his new clock and how he can get up when the sun gets up.

8. Be suitably impressed when toddler informs you that it is his alarm clock. Wonder where he learned that.

9. Turn on clock. Put toddler straight to bed without stories at his insistence.

10. Feel excited that toddler is so enthusiastic about sleep. Wonder if a clock would work for six month old.

11. Wake in the morning to realise that toddler slept all night (even if baby didn’t). Resist urge to whoop for joy.

12. Get toddler out of cot when you hear calls of “it’s day time! Morning sun!”

13. Repeat for remainder of week.

14. Set as normal for Friday night.

15. Wake in morning to crying toddler yelling “is not day TIME! Is night time! My do back feep!”

16. Send daddy into mediate between distressed toddler and offending time piece while you feed baby.

17. Hear yells subside into silence.

18. Ask daddy what happened on his return – toddler was very upset that his alarm clock had told him it was time to get up before he felt he was ready.

19. Simultaneously feel a twinge of regret (your toddler now understands the tyranny of the alarm clock), a flash of pride (is he a nocturne like his mum?!), and a sense of foreboding (will you ever get him out if bed as a teen?).