Friends & Family

A Toddler’s Guide to Making Mischief When Mommy Nods Off on the Couch

By Violet (dictated but not read)violetFirst, be sure she’s really asleep. Stack toys on top of her. If she doesn’t stir, you’re golden. If she does, come back a few minutes later and try again.

Once she’s really out, you’ve got to move quickly. Find the following items. Most should be easily available, especially if you’re good with a step stool (or a conveniently placed toy: large shape sorters, ride-on toys, and toy boxes work especially well).

Crayons, chalk, pens and pencils

Tape and/or sticky notes

Kleenex and/or wet wipes



Anything from the kitchen

These are the best toys in the house. There’s a reason Mommy keeps them away from you: she wants them for herself! But that whole sharing bit she’s always going on about, well, that has to apply to her, too. And really, so many of these things help your development in ways she must not realize. Like, getting the caps off of markers really helps your fine motor skills. Same for peeling off Post-Its and handling tape. Scribbling is actually one of those things the doctor asks about at your check-ups. The doctor wants you to do this. So grab a writing implement and go to town. Walls are good, but carpet and upholstery are even better. Think how excited Mommy will be when she sees that you can draw a circle. A circle! That’s one step away from Picasso! And the art pieces you can make with tape and Kleenex: out of this world. Throw in the jangle of her keys and the scrape of those sunglasses against the kitchen tile: you are a performance artist. Don’t let her tell you otherwise. And if she screams and yells when she wakes up, if all the chalk and crayons go in the trash, just remember: most artists are not appreciated in their own time.

If you feel the need to wash up after this (and Mommy still hasn’t woken–mine tends to jerk awake every few minutes to make sure everything’s okay so it’s good to have a toy car or something wholesome to play with to create this illusion as needed) the dog’s water works very well, and she usually leaves some kibble in her bowl so there’s snack time covered, too. It’s delicious, crunchy stuff. Much better than Cheerios.

If you’ve still got time to kill (take the number of times you woke last night, add seven, multiply by eighteen and divide by three to get a good estimated nap time–and if you can do this, get on the computer and send an email to Mensa because they’re going to want to meet you) you need to start checking drawers. There’s always something somewhere they’ve forgotten to baby proof, or that they don’t realize you can reach (yay growth spurts!) The step stool/push toy/toy box is helpful here, too. In my house, there’s a drawer full of serving spoons, tongs, this amazing thing called a garlic press: hours of fun. In fact, if you come across a drawer like this, you’ve got entertainment covered not just until Mommy wakes up, but until the end of time. Just don’t get too loud (this is hard–these things all make excellent sounds) or you’ll wake her and–

Well. You’ve got cute baby face. You’re golden.