As I was writing this list, I got a bit worried that it doesn't leave much that I do want to do with my toddler. But there is, I love playing with her, reading to her, watching her explore new places and interact with people, teaching her new words and sitting with her at meals. Toddlers can be a great time, but there are still things no one actually wants to do with their toddler around.
My toddler is currently redistributing every book in the house into a layer on the floor of the living room while I try to get a little work done. Yesterday, when we went to the grocery store it took no fewer than seven snacks to get her to the checkout line without losing her mind. After which, we went to the park and nearly started another world war when it was time to leave. Aren't toddlers a blast?!
Once we got home, however, we sat together while she had her dinner and repeated, over and over with complete glee, all the body parts she knows the names for. Then I watched as she splashed in the tub for nearly an hour, having the time of her life. We read books and cuddled in our pajamas, and she smiled up at me as I kissed her good night in her crib. Toddlers may be the most exhausting creatures on the planet, but they sure suck you in with their cuteness.
When You're Grocery Shopping
I have so quickly become that mom who feeds her child anything and everything in the grocery store, shamelessly trying to get the toddler not to throw an enormous fit for everyone to see. It typically works, but she's getting savvier and knows that the slightest elevation in her voice results in me offering a new and flashier snack.
When You're Leaving The Park
Every time we get ready to leave the park, I prepare myself for a meltdown of epic proportions. How we ever manage to make it home from there, is nothing short of a miracle. The slide, the rocks, the new friends, it's all much too much fun to ever leave, no matter how hot or cold it might be, or how far past dinnertime we've stayed.
When You're Trying To Leave Anywhere, For That Matter
For that matter, leaving anywhere is a pretty risky endeavor with a toddler. I've taken to parking as far as possible from the entrance to anywhere we're heading, just so I have less of an audience for the flailing and screaming that can happen when I strap her into the car seat.
When You're On A Road Trip
Road trips before kids used to involve stocking up on a bag of candy and drinks, and the biggest question was what would we listen to for a few hours. Now it's like we're preparing for a natural disaster. All the snacks, all the drinks, all the toys she could possibly ever think of enjoying, all to be doled out at the perfect sequence so that they last for the entire trip. We've got it down to a science. Unless, of course, the toddler decides she doesn't want anything we've offered and would rather have us sing the ABC's 7,342 times until we get there.
When You're Trying To Work
We've all seen the BBC guy and his adorable kids, and his wife who dives into the room to rescue the whole situation. Working with a toddler is a recipe for disaster. Either they're pestering you so you can't possibly concentrate or they're systematically dismantling your house while your attention is elsewhere.
When You're Folding Laundry
Folding laundry provides my toddler with her favorite pass time: unfolding laundry. Followed by her other favorite pass time: throwing laundry on the floor.
Any Doctor's Appointments
Whether they're for you or her or a sibling, taking a toddler to a doctor's office is nothing short of hell. I once sat in a doctor's office with my toddler daughter and a 7-month-old foster baby for two hours. No reserve of snacks would have been big enough to keep her occupied for that long. Any place where you're required to wait quietly is just the worst with a toddler.
When You're Trying To Clean The House
My husband and I spent the day yesterday, while our daughter was in daycare, scrubbing our house. It's something that needed to get done for months, but the minute we'd start, the toddler would need something or feel a strong desire to make a giant mess that also needed cleaning up. We literally took a day off to clean, toddler-free. And it was amazing.
When You're Cooking Dinner
Whenever there is a meal to be made, my toddler turns into a stage-5 clinger, attaching herself to my ankles and repeating, "Up! Up" until I pick her up and attempt to cook one handed.