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Exercise/Toddler Issue

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Old 05-16-2008, 01:46 PM   #1
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I am having a little issue lately with getting my bike riding done, because of my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I am mulling this over to find a good solution, and I hope someone here might have some advice.

My husband is gone for a month. I am home alone all day til my older kids get home from school. It is ESSENTIAL that I ride my recumbent exercise bike daily for at least 30 minutes. I am not able/willing to switch to another exercise. This is like, my lifeblood. I need to ride it.

When I strength train I just bring the toddler with me to my room and she pretends to lift weights with me. Or, I do it in the living room while she watches a video. So the strength training is NOT an issue. However the bike is in the basement in a room that she cannot play in. I found a good solution last month when DH was gone. I got a Reader Rabbit Toddler CD game for her to play on the computer while I rode (the computer is in my eyesight from the bike, and she would easily play for the 20 minutes I was riding).

Now she is bored with the game. She will play for maybe ten minutes and then she is off and running. I have to get off the bike and chase after her constantly and I cannot get in more than 15 minutes.

I tried waiting until she is sleeping. But she is up at 6 with me, she does not nap, and the last 2 nights she was actually awake until 9 or 10pm. I get her down to bed at 7 but then she wakes every 15 min. I am, actually, going to call the pediatrician because... can a toddler have a sleep disorder?? She was a very early preemie and has never slept right. The dr always just told me to go with what she seems to need, but that is a lot less sleep than *I* need!

Anyway... so are there any ideas? What can I do to occupy her safely while I ride? Or where can I put her? Or what can I do? I am just frustrated. I was also having my older son watch her after school but now he has started driving school and there just isn't time for him to watch her AND do his homework.

This is longer than I wanted it to be, and whinier too, but I am trying to sort it all out in my head and find a solution!
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:29 PM   #2
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Really, toddlers are so tough! 2 1/2 is still at that age that doesn't have much reason. I often say it was harder for me than the newborn stage.

Rather than worry about where to move her can you have one of your sons move the exercise bike to a safe room with doors that will shut her in with you? Assuming your kids don't mind an exercise bike in the dining room/bedroom/living room where ever. Then once your husband comes home have it moved back to it's basement spot.

My equipment is in our den, where we hang out 99% of the time. The room is able to be closed off, my son watches TV or plays and I work out. Of course, he's older than your daughter, but it may work?
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:31 PM   #3
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Does she have a ride on toy and is the basement big enough for her to ride around? If you do a search online you could probably find sites such as Nickleodeon that has childrens games that could be played online. Just a few thoughts. I know my cats (4 of them) tend to get in my way when I work out at home. The youngest is about a year old and very feisty.
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:35 PM   #4
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They also make those large play pen area things that you can section off part of the house and put up down there with lots of her toys and such and she can have her own play area where she can be safe and you can exercise. When I'm home, I just get up before the kids to exercise (even if that means I have to get up at 5-5:30). I like the peace and quiet it provides too.
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:39 PM   #5
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If it's only for a month and that son of yours is old enough to drive, I'll bet he's big enough to help you haul that thing upstairs into your bedroom. :-)

It's only for the month your DH is gone... what do you think?
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:20 PM   #6
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I would say wake up a half hour earlier and ride in the morning. Its only for a month. I'm a single mom of a 2 1/2 year old so i can relate and waking up earlier is just what I have to do every day.
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:51 PM   #7
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Honey - I feel your pain!! Since my son was born, I have required more sleep than he does. When I talked his doctor about it, the doctor said "I'm sorry" No really what can I do? "Nothing - thats why I'm apologizing" Argh! My sanity was truly questionable his first 5 years. He is now eleven - so we both survived!

In the meantime, here are a few thing I figured out:
Have certain toys for special times like when you need a break and need to keep her busy. But keep it "special" as long as possible and limit it so it will keep her attention when you need it to.
"Trade" time with the older sibling. I was willing to allow extra priviledges to my older child (she was a teenager) in exchange for some down time for me. It was well worth it - and because she was getting something out of the deal she was all for it.
Do online searchs for educational games, etc and bookmark them for occasions when you need a break. Deleted the bookmark and move to the next site when she gets tired of one.
I also taught my son - quiet time. If he wasn't taking a nap, he needed to have down time. In his room, looking at books, watching a movie, or just something quiet. I started slow - Mom will be back to check on you in 5 minutes, then 10, etc - until he was used to staying in his room by himself. It took awhile, but it was well worth it.

Hang in there - and be inventive!
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:58 PM   #8
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Hmmm. I am still mulling. Here are my thoughts:

I could try "fencing" off an area downstairs for her and giving her a bunch of books and toys. That might work. Although she can climb the "fence" but perhaps since I am right there with her she may not mind.

I also will check online for more games. I think PBS might have toddler games on it.

She does have a ride-on (trike) that she rides around in the room, but only for about 5 minutes.

I would love to have the bike upstairs, but there isn't room. The layout my this house is so lame... I would have to take out a couch to have room for the bike, and with 5 kids that's our family room.

The thing is, it is not really *just* for a month. DH was gone 6 of the last 9 months. As in, gone out of state, usually for 1-2 months at a time. He will be back in a month but only for like a week or two, then gone again. So I need something semi-permanent.

Getting up earlier would be an option if I was getting more than 4 hours of sleep a night. Maybe that's the bigger issue. If I could get this child to sleep, I could ride. I am really not functioning well on 3-4 hours a night. If she was asleep even by 9, I would ride the bike at night. Yeah, hm, maybe that is the real issue here.
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:00 PM   #9
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Thanks, Deb, those are some great suggestions. I am going to try some of those.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:15 PM   #10
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There are some decent toddler games here:

Pauly's Playhouse

It's one of the sites we link to through kids' page at the library. Not as 'educational' as Reader Rabbit, but about the same skill level, I think.
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