Mom in a Mum’s World: My Toddler Loves Her Apartment Life

apartment life, Little Aussie

With our recent move (two buildings over), I started thinking a lot about apartment living, particularly for children. At the same time, I also stumbled on this article on the often infuriating parenting website, Mamamia, “Is it unfair to raise kids in an apartment” (spoiler: it’s not). I was raised in houses, and it’s been my experience that many people get the feeling that when they have children, moving to or living in a house is a must-do. It’s easy to see the benefit of raising children in a house – plenty of space, a yard, less concern about the neighbors hearing your yelling (not me, ever, promise…) and stomping, living in a neighborhood. Part of me thinks I may be ready for a move to a house in a few years, but right now, I can’t fault our apartment lifestyle, and Hushpuppy certainly isn’t suffering any indignities from living here. So, in defense of the under-appreciated life of apartment dwelling children, I offer you the reasons my toddler loves her apartment life.

Adventures Abound!: I suppose it’s par for the course with a toddler, but everything is an adventure, and our apartment complex offers endless entertainment. The trash chute across the hall? Huzzah! Going downstairs to the recycling bin in the garage? Whee! Walking up and down the stairs next to our building? Yay! Sometimes when I’m cooking dinner, Partner-in-Crime rounds up Hushpuppy and takes her for the very exciting trip to the mailbox. He taught her to smell the flowers along the way, she gets to hold the keys, and she knows the way well enough to take the lead. It’s a pretty epic journey.

Friends, friends, friends: We live in a family friendly complex, and have been so lucky to make a number of friends with children Hushpuppy’s age. We have regular get-togethers, and these children have become such a big part of her life, as much as the mothers have become part of mine. We look out for each other and for each other’s children, and the kids adore each other. I love seeing the special bond they’ve already 2 (8)

We can walk to so many places: Where we live isn’t exactly urban in the inner-city sense, but it’s not suburban in the American sense, either. As a non-driver, the ability to walk places is a massive must for me, and as an adventurer, getting to go places all the time is a huge must for Hushpuppy. Within 10 minutes of walking, we’re at either of two parks, our leisure center (pool, gym, creche), shops and cafes, and the yoga studio. Add another few minutes, and we’re at the grocery store, post office, and oodles more shops and restaurants. Hushpuppy has places to go, and from our place, it’s easy to get to almost all of them.

photo 1 (7)Riding the elevator is THE GREATEST THING IN THIS ENTIRE WORLD: No, seriously. It is. You go up! Or, maybe you go down! And when you get off, it means you’re going somewhere super interesting (like the mailbox) or going to visit a friend. Aaaand, you guys, if Mom lets you push the buttons … aaah! Day is made!

The intercom is the second best thing in the entire world: Sometimes, out of the absolute blue – or so it seems to Hushpuppy – the mystical phone by the door rings, we talk into it, a noise emits, and then a couple minutes later someone knocks on the door. It’s a mystery machine, and Hushpuppy is on the case. She goes frantic with excitement when it buzzes, and throughout the day, she’ll ask to be picked up to inspect it. When we moved into our new place, the old phone had to be replaced, and the technician kindly gave Hushpuppy (who was standing at his feet, staring in wonder) the old phone. It’s one of her most treasured possessions.

Trucks!: My goodness, we see and hear a lot of trucks. In a complex as large as ours, someone is always moving in and out or doing some kind of renovation. Plus, there’s the garbage truck and delivery trucks. Hushpuppy is obsessed with trucks because, when she was smaller, she’d always hear the noise of one outside and look at me concerned to figure it out. “It’s just a truck,” I’d tell her, reassuringly. Now, she loves identifying and checking out all the trucks. “Tah-Wucks!,” she calls them. When the truck came for the most recent council cleanup, we must have spent 20 minutes watching it and the guys load it up. Now that we’re set back from the main entrance and road, we don’t hear quite as many trucks which, honestly, is fine with me.

Helicopters!: But, in our new location we do hear more helicopters. We live next to a local television station, and so their helicopter always seems to be coming and going. Hushpuppy throws her hand in the air to let us know that there’s something exciting overhead. It never ceases to thrill.

Swimming is the best: OK, fair enough, lots of houses have pools. But, how many have three pools? I’ve already elucidated how much Hushpuppy loves the water, so I don’t think I need to explain further how incredible our pools are to her. But, the other great thing is that her apartment friends are always invited, and sometimes we even make new friends at the pool. It’s a pool party that goes on all summer.

It’s not too big: I know. People move into houses for more space. But, when you’re a toddler you want to be where the action is. That spot riiiight behind Mom in the kitchen while she’s cooking breakfast is the best spot in the house. So, there’s comfort in knowing that wherever you are in the apartment, Mom and Dad aren’t too far away. Plus, for me, it’s only a few meters dash when I realize that it’s suddenly gotten way too quiet.

photo 2 (7)She gets to be Harriet the Spy: Hushpuppy has always been curious, so she loves checking out the world, and there’s always something to look at from an apartment. The other day, we killed 10 minutes standing at our window watching the guys below mow the lawn (as I tried to convince her that the lawn mower wasn’t a tah-wuck). Last week, I hoisted her up to look out the kitchen window to see a cat that was perched on our neighbor’s wall. When it jumped down, she said, “uh oh!,” and she’s been gesturing to that window and muttering “uh oh” ever since. Plus, what better vantage point to conduct spy duties than from a balcony. People, birds, trucks, it matters not. There’s always a lot to see.

It’s home: We have a lot of apartment-related adventures and fun, but at the end of the day, the best thing about Hushpuppy’s apartment life is that it’s her home. It’s where her Mom and Dad are, where she knows the lay of the land, where her toys are (mysteriously) laid out for her every morning, where she knows the noises, sights and smells. She feels safe, comfortable, and loved here, and I don’t think any toddler cares about much more than that when it comes to the place they call home.


Seychelles Mama

8 thoughts on “Mom in a Mum’s World: My Toddler Loves Her Apartment Life

  1. Ruth @ Mummy and the Mexicans

    I agree that it’s really not important whether you live in a house or an apartment, what really matters is, as you say, feeling safe, comfortable and loved. Besides, you can get very spacious apartments and tiny cramped houses (I’ve lived in both!) #MyExpatFamily

  2. Seychellesmama

    Ahhh this is such a sweet post!! Your little lady sounds adorable and you definitely make a really strong case for apartment living! It’s wonderful that there are so many friends for her there and for you too.
    When we moved from our little one story house to our two story one I was so excited to be in “a proper house” but honestly it’s a pain, mostly because of the stairs. Dealing with a toddler and a baby when you’ve left something upstairs, or trying to get them upstairs at the same time is a nightmare!!! I’d go one story again in a heartbeat!!
    Thanks for sharing this with #myexpatfamily

    1. Cristin Post author

      Yes, we stayed in my mom’s nice sized house in the States, and I must say that I did a lot more chasing around! Thanks for hosting me again this month.

  3. Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork

    Hear hear! I grew up in houses too, really big ones at that, and always felt sorry for kids who lived in apartments. Now we live in one with our almost 3yo, and I find I have no problem with it whatsoever. I love its compactness, I love that we’re always close together, and I especially love that it takes a very small amount of time to clean. I do sometimes miss having a garden, but the new place we moved to a few months ago has a nice private balcony and a large shared garden with swings and a slide. My son couldn’t be happier, so who I am to complain?

    1. Cristin Post author

      Having an apartment with a little outdoor space is the best of both worlds! Thanks for the lovely comment!

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