When I’m trying to <get dressed, do my hair/makeup, cook, clean, insert parent-duty-thing-here> I will sometimes give Liam something to do as a distraction so I can get said thing done.
Well, sometimes that backfires.
Here is a list of things I have learned to only give to an un-attended toddler with caution.
- A banana. Seems innocent enough, and you may be thinking, “my kid loves bananas!” Yes, so does mine. I often give him one to eat and he happily runs away with it. Well, the last time I did this, I came home to find my husband scrubbing squished banana out of the bathroom rug. Whoops.
- Your cell phone. It’s the perfect distraction, I know. I used to let him hold it because he didn’t know how to unlock the screen, so it was no big deal. Holding it made him happy and let me get shit done. Well, apparently he knows how to unlock the screen now because I once took it back from him to find half my apps deleted and that he had gotten into my banking app and transferred money between accounts.
- His toothbrush. You might be wondering, what’s wrong with good oral hygiene? Nothing. However, I gave Liam his toothbrush this morning to so he could brush his teeth (which he loves doing) while I was getting dressed for work. Suddenly, I felt something wet rubbing on my bare-butt. It was Liam’s toothbrush. He was rubbing his wet toothbrush all over my butt.
- A dish towel. I know, this one seems really weird. But here’s the deal: Toddlers are extremely helpful little creatures. When something spills, Liam likes to grab a dish towel and clean it up. It’s cute. So one day, as a distraction, I gave him a towel and told him “go clean!” He took that job very seriously. When I was finished getting ready, I came out of the bathroom to find Liam had purposely been spilling milk out of his sippy cup all over the living room so he could clean it up. OMG.
In a lot of ways, I feel like I should have seen each of these blunders coming. Live and learn, and then come up with new and better toddler distractions.
This Halloween was Liam’s first that we got all dressed up together and went Trick-or-Treating!
Because at 20-months I can dress Liam all cutesy and he doesn’t really care, he was a cuddly monkey. I borrowed a banana costume from a friend… and I wanted my husband to be The Man in the Yellow Hat so we could be a little Curious George family, but he opted for something “cool” – he was a nijna. Sweet.
Well, in 45 minutes, we made it around the block. Once. That was it. And while it was fun, it was completely exhausting and not what I expected.
Here’s the run-down of what to expect the first time Trick-or-Treating with a Toddler.
- A lot of chasing. Liam acted like we normally keep him on a leash or something – he ran around free-range like a crazy person. So much of my time was spent trying to steer him away from the street and toward the front steps of houses. This was actually the first time I thought to myself “I could really use one of those kid leashes right about now.”
- Hatred of hats, hoods, and anything over the head. Liam’s monkey costume had the cutest little hood on it. My kid who LOVES wearing hats (he asks to put it on all the time!) despised this hood and spent half his night trying to take it off.
- Complete cluelessness. We had practiced what to say. We had practiced putting things into his little treat bag. But when it came time to shine, Liam was clueless about how to Trick-or-Treat. It was actually pretty cute and went a little something like this:
- I would have to carry him up to the doorstep.
- He’d pick out a piece of candy and then either put it back into the candy bowl, or hang onto it like his life depended on it. He would NOT let us put it in his bag.
- Then, as we’d walk/run/zigzag to the next house, he’d get sick of holding it and chuck it in the grass somewhere.
I think he ended up with like 6 pieces of candy, which is fine with me because we don’t really do sugar in our house anyway, but OH MAN. After that experience, this mom had a beer. ;)
Twice this week, I looked in the mirror at work and realized my shirt was on inside out. Three times I went to unzip my fly in the bathroom only to find it was already down and open. And four times, I ran back in the house while trying to load Liam, myself and all of our “things” into the car because I of course forgot something. All of these things lead me to this one, very important question:
When will I get my brain back after baby?
Liam is a full-blown toddler! He’s closer to being two than he is to being a baby. Yet my baby-brain remains, which (for all you non-believers out there) is a very real thing.
Just ask my husband: This morning as I attempted to pack up chili to bring to work for my lunch, I looked between the crock-pot and my Tupperware and asked him, “How do I get this out of here?”
HELP. ME. I miss my brain cells.
If you blush easily, don’t read on. You’ve been warned.
So, this morning I’m doing my usual rush to get dressed for work while Liam toddles around the bedroom checkin’ things out, drinkin’ milk – just chillin’. I turn around and notice he is not only holding, but shaking, a small bottle of Astroglide that he grabbed from a bedside table (I warned you!). My first thought should have been “Uhh… we don’t play with adult things” but honestly, I thought only two things:
- Damn, that’s sticky.
- How the fuck did he get so tall?
Bottom line: it was not something that should be in toddler hands.
He’s at the age where I can no longer just grab things from him – he melts down into freak-city. Can’t blame him. I’d be pretty pissed if someone just took things out of my hands, too. So, I did what any amazing mother would do – I grabbed a bottle of Tylenol that was on the bedside table and arranged a trade with him. (Full disclosure: The bottle had a child-proof lock and I did check to make sure it was on properly before giving it to him and I traded him a monkey for the bottle before we left the bedroom).
But, YES – I traded Tylenol to my toddler for Astroglide. I’m not sure it gets any better than this.
At 18-months old, Liam is busy in his own careful, cautious way – but the poor kid just keeps getting his ass handed to him on a daily basis by hazards known only in the World of Toddler. Thus, I give you:
Cautionary Tales of Toddler Hazards
1. Footie pajamas. Yes – they are adorable. Yes – they are fuzzy and warm. But dude, they are also slippery. Not the best match for hardwood floors. Liam has become an expert at the splits. Toddlers everywhere, be warned.
2. Spicy foods. I hate spicy foods. Despise them – like it’s pretty much a health hazard for me. That is how much I can’t handle the heat. Awesome husband is the exact opposite – he adds hot sauce and jalapenos to practically everything. Cue the little wandering toddler hands at the dinner table…. don’t eat off Dad’s plate. Seriously – you regret it EVERY. TIME.
3. Slides. Well, I should specify… wet slides. We went to the park after it rained… Liam wanted to go down the slide by himself… I didn’t bat an eye. This thirty-year-old hasn’t gone down a slide in like forever and forgot that water transforms an otherwise normal slide into an amazingly fast and awesome slip-and-slide. Well, awesome only if you are not 18-months old and only if you are expecting the ride. Oops.
4. Hills. Any kind of hill. It doesn’t matter – grassy field, paved sidewalk, hell, it could be made of fucking rubber and it wouldn’t matter. My kid will sprint down the incline at full-speed and I guaran-fucking-tee he face-plants and comes to a skidding stop. Ever heard of rug-burn? Well, this is pavement burn – and it ain’t pretty.
Poor, Liam. He just can’t win lately. And I’d really like him to win… just once… at least so his little face can heal. At least he’s still smiling. I can’t wait until he’s more steady on his feet! That does happen, right?
1. He loves reading. He doesn’t want me to read to him, but give him the book and away he goes telling you all sorts of stories in language known only to him.
2. He “hugs” animals in said stories. If there are pictures of animals in a book he’s “reading” he stops, leans forward touching his cheek to the page and “hugs” them. OMG. Be still my beating heart.
3. He tries to help with diaper changes. Umm….. thoughtful, but please, just keep your little hands outta the mess down there.
4. He does a Happy Dance. If you’re familiar with “the Molly” dance, it is very similar. If you’re not, well, too bad. You have to see it in action to even start to comprehend its awesomeness.
5. Every time our phones beep when we get a new text message or email, Liam shouts “uh-oh!” and runs to the phone. He obviously understands the importance of timely text response. ;)
6. Not only does he keep hats on his head unlike most 18-month olds, he actually likes wearing them. LOVES it. His shoes too.
7. He likes brushing his teeth. This needs no further explanation.
8. The kid laughs when he farts and burps. Got gas? At least you got a sense of humor.
9. He sings when he wakes up in the morning. Who needs nature with birds singing when you got a kid in a crib singing his fucking heart out?
10. And number ten…. clearly the most awesome of all: He asks to go to bed. I’m not fucking with you here… the kid ASKS to be put in his crib and put to bed. Lately, he doesn’t even want a bedtime story or to snuggle. He just runs to his crib and tries to climb in. I’ll ask him if he wants to go to bed, he’ll shout “YEAH!” – so I’ll put him in and he lays down and goes to sleep. Yeah, my kid fuckin’ rocks.
Well, I say bullshit.
It gets better, that’s for sure. Every stage Liam has gone through thus far has me overwhelmed with his awesomeness in a truly fantastic, head-over-heals, “wow – I love you” kind of way. But keeping a small human alive and raising them to be a large human never really gets easier. In fact, I would argue that quick a few things get harder. Much, much harder.
Thus, I give you:
Things that have begun to suck a bit
1. Diaper changes. Dude, a baby just lays on the changing table, you wave your magic wand and the new diaper is on. Putting a diaper on my now 18-month old son is like trying to wrangle a revved up octopus that’s had too much caffeine. Arms – legs – body parts all over the place. Stop being suicidal and trying to leap off the changing table and let me wipe your poop!
2. Bath time. Sit the ‘ef down in the tub. That is all.
3. Playtime. Yes, playtime can be hard, too! Liam loves his lawnmower and his stroller. He runs all over the house pushing them. But lately, I find myself saying far too often “we don’t lawn-mow the cat” or “strollers are not for ramming dogs” – really? You know what else we don’t do? Dance on books. ‘Lil stinker…
4. Meal time. Oh, you don’t want your Mac ‘n cheese, you want my steak? Eh. Too bad. Eat your dinner.
5. Meal time. And by “eat your dinner” I don’t mean slyly throw it to the dogs when you think I’m not looking….
Welcome to toddler-hood. That is all.