So there I was… living my best Coronapocalypse life, doing what I do best… staying in bed, not wearing pants, and avoiding people in real life so I can talk to different people on the interwebz. I was enjoying having a good excuse to socially isolate and not go to work!
Then I HAD to go and open my big, stupid mouth and dare Sim Guru Grant to play The Sims 4 with a household of toddlers in a Tiny home (he said no *cough* wimp *cough*). Then I felt like I had something to prove. Was it even possible to survive a lockdown scenario with a household of toddlers in a restricted size home using Tiny Living? Could Cinderelli_Sim survive WEEKS of social isolation with just toddlers for company without going LITERALLY INSANE??? Well… it would be fun to find out!
Self-challenge accepted, I built a small home using the ‘Tiny home Residential’ lot type from tiny Living Stuff which restricts the number of tiles you can use for your home’s floor plan. Without using the ‘bb.moveobjects on’ cheat to create hacks like ‘bunkbeds’, I was able to make a Small Home of 100 tiles which looked sort-of sensible and had all the basic things a household of cooped-up toddlers would need.
Next up I needed some toddlers! Now… this isn’t the 100 baby challenge and I wasn’t feeling inclined to have Cinderelli_Sim boning random passers-by to have 7 children of her own. This is the CORONAPOCALYPSE challenge and I needed insta-babies! Although… Mortimer IS a great daddy in my game… NO! Stop it Cinderelli! Think about Bella!.
Now I could go around stealing existing toddlers from other sims in my game like some kind of crazed over-protective Chitty Chitty Bang bang character shouting ‘GET THE BABIES IN MY BUNKER’!!! But that didn’t seem quite right to me for some reason.
OOOOORRRRRR… I could age down some of my favourite pre-made Sims and protect them like the kind and nurturing Watcher I’ve always been to them. I chose that option… because who DOESN’T want to see Bob Pancakes as an adorable chubby toddler?
The Pre-made Sims chosen were: Bella and Mortimer Goth; Bob Pancakes (not you Eliza); Bjorn Bjergsen; Penny Pizzazz; Katrina Caliente; and Nancy Landgraab. I gave them all cute makeovers and a different toddler trait each.
Next, I corralled them into the house and locked the door FOR ALL SIMS!
What do we say to the Welcome Wagon?
At first, the gaggle of toddlers seemed pretty happy, exploring their new colourful home and bopping to the radio with Cinderelli… but the happiness was not to last.
Turns out, it’s pretty hard to keep 7 toddlers clean, entertained and well-fed when they have NO communication skills and NO ability to use the potty by themselves. Fortunately, Cinderelli could plonk group meals down on the tables and the little critters would fend for themselves when they got hungry. So as long as Cinderelli prepared two meals a day, she was able to keep the social worker at bay.
Since bathing the kids was time consuming, potty training became the priority skill to focus on. The logic being that if I could get them to stop pooping themselves, they would be less disgusting all the time. Right?
Nancy picked up the idea very quickly, followed by Katrina Caliente. Once they could take themselves to the potty, it freed up a lot of their time: they stopped wailing about being stinky all the time they were able to focus on other important tasks, like gossiping and playing in the ball pit. Bella was also pretty happy-go-lucky, which must have had something to do with whichever trait I gave her. These three superstars then got a head-start on building other skills like communication, movement and imagination which they developed mostly on their own by having fun and chatting.
As well as raising the toddlers, I’d wanted to make my isolation gameplay more challenging by giving Cinderelli household chores to do. Firstly, I’d given her a laundry basket, washing machine and outdoor line so that she had to do a steady supply of laundry every time the toddlers got changed. What made this more challenging was that I had seasons on a weekly cycle and there was a lot of rain through spring and autumn, and since she didn’t have a dryer, the washing on the line sometimes took a long time before it got dry. There was dirty laundry EVERYWHERE for a while!
Cinderelli also had to do gardening because I felt like it was important, story-wise, to have a reliable source of food. This also, was season dependant, and I could only grow most plants for a week at a time before they were out of season again. This meant maintaining them was important!
While most of the toddlers’ needs started to become more consistently high, the need for attention was the biggest struggle! With all the cooking, cleaning and general tasks Cinderelli had to do, she was struggling to keep up with their social needs. I would get her to play with them and cuddle them whenever possible, but it just wasn’t enough!
An added challenge was that the toddlers would have nightmares and would need soothing back to sleep. In a way, this was helpful because I could give them some one-on-one attention while the house was quiet and give them a little attention need boost. Luckily I’d given Cinderelli a pretty decent bed and her energy need refreshed pretty quickly.
It took a while before I figured out that I could ‘read a toddler book’ to one child and then click on all the others to instruct them to ‘listen to story’. This meant Cinderelli could boost their attention and fun needs as a group. It also had the added benefit of increasing their imagination skill.
At this point, things seemed to be under control. I was getting pretty sharp with the timing of the meals, and all the toddlers were potty trained, which kept them cleaner. The group were generally happier and able to look after themselves, for the most part, which freed up some of Cinderelli’s time to do some one-on-one flashcard lessons to boost the thinking skill.
Even Harvestfest gnomes need an education, you know!?
I’d given myself a rule that to ‘win’ the challenge and survive the Coronapocalyspe, I would have to age up all the toddlers into children. Before I could do this they had to max all their toddler skills.
It became a bit of a race to see who would skill up the fastest! At first, Nancy and Katrina had a head-start because of their advanced potty skills. They actually became quite good friends, despite Katrina’s constant tantrums, emotional breakdowns and generally nasty attitude. I’ve never thought of these two as being friends before but I might buddy them up in my normal game in the future. Bella and Mortimer also naturally gravitated towards each other which was SO DAMN SWEET!!!
In fact, Bella’s generally happy demeanour meant she was good at keeping herself happy and she steadily improved her skills and came in like a dark horse to win in the end!
With Bella as a child things became so much easier! The plan was to simply leave her to her own devices, as child Sims are generally pretty good at caring for themselves. She didn’t have to go to school or do homework as I’d made every weekday an ‘isolation holiday’ using the seasons create-a-holiday feature on the calendar.
But Bella, being Bella, was AN ABSOLUTE SUPERSTAR!!! She was constantly helping out around the house, clearing plates, mopping up mess, cleaning out the potties and chatting to the toddlers. She did this all out of her own autonomy and further cemented her place in my heart as The Best Sim Ever!
Even though Nancy and Katrina had a head start on their skills, they started to fall behind because they spent so much time attention-seeking, chatting and being little drama queens! So the next toddler to age up was the quiet and steadfast Mortimer Goth! Which made me very happy because Bella and Morty were children together like in The Sims 3!
Next to age up was Penny Pizzazz! Who was closely followed by Nancy Landraab. This pair also started to bond as children, in my mind it was because of their shared love of fashion and style!
I made the mistake of thinking things would get easier at this point. However, things had been breaking a lot and I’d broken the isolation rule by calling in a repairman to fix the electrical items. I couldn’t risk Cinderelli dying from electrocution!
Unfortunately, Cinderelli hadn’t been accepting any freelance writing jobs and basically had no money coming in for weeks! So as the toddlers aged up to children there wasn’t enough money to replace all the toddler beds with decent single beds. Down to her last $30, Cinderelli worked through the night to complete a gig and finally had a bit of cash to tide them over for a while. However, this also meant that the remaining toddlers were feeling a bit negelected and all hell broke loose for a day while Cinderelli tried to catch up on some sleep (don’t worry, she’d left them some food out at least).
Cinderelli was prepared to risk getting a virus if it meant she could have 40 minutes of sleep in the mud at this point!
Winter came and I was determined to get the last three toddlers skilled up. After some intense flash-card training, I was finally able to age up Bob Pancakes and Bjorn Bjergsen! Surprisingly, Katrina was the last to age up, even though she had done so well in the beginning. She seemed to take a long time eating her meals, compared to the other toddlers, and spent more time chatting and ‘being mean’ than actually finishing her meals. She was also pretty bad-tempered and uncooperative when Cinderelli was trying to interact with her, which I figure was due to her ‘Wild’ trait.
Anyway! Finally I had completed the coronapocalypse challenge! Whose dumb idea was it to do that anyway?