"The kid's fed, the diaper bag’s packed, my phone is charged, and we are ready to go! This is so effortless!" said no mother of a toddler ever. Unfortunately, leaving the house with a young kiddo is never as easy as that. Even when I put aside a full 30 minutes to prepare for departure — just to the supermarket, guys — I would be derailed by any number of obstacles unique to being accompanied on an outing by the 4-and-under set.
I've thought long and hard about why exactly my kid seems to not give a damn about how late I'm going to be, or how much I need to eat actual food which means we need to go to the f*cking grocery store. And this is what I've deduced from my endless pondering the origin of toddlers' unwillingness to leave the house in an orderly fashion: Children don’t care that they need to be anywhere. Even if they’ve been begging all morning to go to the playground, they will suddenly and inexplicably change their minds at the exact moment you announce you’re taking them there. Even when they are asleep, they manage to sabotage an outing (hello unconscious, spontaneous vomiting).
They also like to see us, their loving parents, cry. They feed off of our tears (which, incidentally, is another reason they don't need to go to the grocery store as urgently as you do — they're fully nourished on your misery).
There were times when I figured it would just be easier to resign myself to being a shut-in, and never attempt to leave home with my child. But then I thought about the unbroken stretch of time ahead of us, surrounded by the same four walls, smeared with sunflower seed butter from a poorly negotiated lunch. No matter the severity of the catastrophe, it was better to have left home, completely undone, than it was to lock myself inside with a vocal toddler on a hunt for more toilet paper to unravel.
I’m a better person, though a much more exhausted mother, for having weathered some of the things that were guaranteed to happen every single time I tried to leave the house with my toddler:
Or a too-late potty run. Or anything that requires you to unbuckle the kid, undress him, dispose of dirty clothes or dump them somewhere to soak, chase the bare-bottomed rascal until you can lock him down, stuff him into another diaper, find a different outfit, wrestle him back into the stroller, buckle him in again and then realize you just placed him in the soiled seat. Repeat.
Because snack cups are designed for children to outsmart them.
Your Phone Will Ring (I Mean, It'll Vibrate. What Kind Of Heathen Actually Has A Ringtone In 2015?)
Now the kid you so carefully transferred from crib to stroller so that you could get a few errands done in peace while he napped is awake, and complaining noisily about it. And of course it was a telemarketer call. You honestly should've known; No one you want to talk to actually calls instead of texting.
Your Kid Will Run Off With Your Keys (Or You'll Discover They Hid Them Hours Ago)
The keys are always the last thing I grab, which means that by the time I go to find them, my brood is all bundled to the nines. Winter layers plus stress plus restless toddler equals profuse sweating. It took me a few times before I learned to check under my kid’s butt, as he sat in the stroller, for the missing keys. Hilarity did not ensue.
She Makes It Sound Like You’re Murdering Her When You Try To Put Her Hat On
The neighbors are not thinking: “Oh, what a good mom for making sure her little one is sufficiently protected from the cold.” No. You are Enemy #1 because it is completely your fault that the kid doesn’t like anything on her head, until she is outside, making a neighbor wonder what the hell you were doing to her to elicit such shrieking. It's all you can do to not run out into the street and start yelling, “She’s not a fan of fleece! I'm not actually hurting her!"
You Will Run Over The One Clean Pacifier With The Stroller
And then you will wipe it on your shirt, give it a quick tongue bath and promptly re-insert it into wailing child, who will then manage to drop it down the elevator shaft.
In Order To Leave, He Will Require An In-Depth Explanation Of Why People Don’t Have Tails
I once tried to count how many times my toddler asked me “why” but after hitting 100 in the first hour, it was adding to my misery too much to continue. It’s cute how their minds work; There is something new every day and they are dying to figure it out. But man, do they get irritated when you admit to not knowing certain things. And don’t even try to quell them by making stuff up — it will amount to a heap of lies you’ll never remember, blowing your cover and they will never trust you again (until you teach them some amazing life skill like navigating Netflix).
The Snowsuit That Fit Him Yesterday Is Suddenly Too Small
Maximizing the life of kids’ clothes takes time, attention and a whole lot of free n' clear laundry detergent. I spent months waiting for my son to fit into his teddy bear bunting, and at the tail end of March, with the temperatures almost reaching 50 degrees, my calculations predicted he would finally fit into the suit without drowning in it. Nope. Too late. He must have grown two inches and packed on seven pounds in a month. What I thought was a sound investment at $75 for four months of every-day wear turned out to be a total waste. Couple that frustration with the exasperation of discovering he’s outgrown the suit as you’re in a rush to get your kid out the door and it’s enough to consider re-locating permanently to a clothing-optional community.
He Will Demand To Wear A Tutu And Rain Boots
And nothing else. In February. And he's got that look on his face that lets you know you're facing one of those moments when one wrong move will send him straight into a full-on meltdown. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
Images: blanketboat/Instagram; Giphy(9)