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.

Friends & Family

Dropped Off and Picked Up

samschoolMonday was the boy’s first day of preschool.

No, it isn’t September. Yes, he only just turned three. But it’s a developmental preschool. You see, on his third birthday he aged out of his regular speech therapy, and after a series of tests, he qualified to go to a preschool that will take its place. Because he requires special help, he gets special circumstances.

He was so excited to go to school. I did my best to make sure he knew that it was something he’d be doing on his own, that though he had been in his classroom playing with trucks a couple times while I had meetings with the teacher, today would be different. He kept saying he understood. But, with his speech delay, it’s often hard to tell whether he’s saying something he understands or just parroting me. Also he’s three. Three-year-olds aren’t exactly reliable.

I was prepared for tears and screams. The tantrum of a lifetime. I had contingency plans.

But then, as I explained the situation for the fifteenth time, he looked at me and said, “kiss,” and planted one right on my mouth. Then the teacher showed up and he said hi, and he gave me a hug and followed her to the school bus to pick up the other kids, eager and happy and so grown-up. I didn’t allow myself to linger. I went right back to the car and packed up the baby and the stroller and drove away. Continue reading “Dropped Off and Picked Up”

Friends & Family

My First Second Pregnancy

Back when I thought the second time would be easier.
Back when I thought the second time would be easier.


When I got pregnant nine-ish months ago, I knew almost immediately. I began feeling those early pregnancy symptoms (the ones I looked up on the internet a thousand times when trying for my son) within three days of conception. This, medically, is not supposed to be possible, though with a little more Googling, I found many moms on the mommy boards who reported the same thing (maybe we got knocked up earlier than we think we did, maybe we’re psychic, maybe the doctors don’t know what they’re talking about–hmm). Everything seemed to come earlier–the nausea, the belly, the waddling. Of course they did! It was my second pregnancy! MY BODY HAD DONE THIS BEFORE. It knew what it was doing. Unfortunately, despite the fact that my body knows a lot more about what it’s doing this time, I do not.

People will tell you that you feel a second pregnancy earlier because you’re more attuned to what to look for. Mistaking gas bubbles for baby kicks? Not this time. You’re smarter this time. You can more accurately differentiate these things. Be confident. You know what you’re doing. Continue reading “My First Second Pregnancy”

Friends & Family

The Countdown

Baby Number Two

My baby is due in twenty-nine days. That means:

I am the size of a manatee and keep getting bigger.

My son is doing all he can to take advantage of me as I waddle around with a child’s feet wedged into my lungs, too tired to take away the granola bar he just stole off the counter or find an alternate activity when he wants to watch yet another episode of Daniel Tiger.

My dog runs through my house with muddy feet every time she comes inside because I can’t catch her to wipe them down.

My husband is getting yelled at almost every day.

All I want to do is eat but everything I eat gives me heartburn. Even water.

Every day I wish the baby would just come already, and then I feel guilty for wishing that because she needs every moment she can get in utero until her due date.

I’m getting ahead on Christmas shopping because I’ll have a newborn for a huge chunk of the holiday season.

I have no problem with businesses decorating early this year, because I figure I’ll probably miss most of the festivities.

Then I feel sorry for myself because being so pregnant means I won’t get to travel for Thanksgiving and no one is coming here, plus I’ll be bleeding and achy and leaking milk through Christmastime, and my son hates Halloween so I missed that, too.

Then I watch Christmas specials though it’s November and my son protests the whole time unless there’s a dog or a truck on the screen.

And, of course, I feel guilty because those partially watched Christmas specials still count as screen time and I’m turning my kid into a TV addict.

In fact, he’s watching me type this and that counts as screen time, too.

So he’s going to grow up to be not a doctor or lawyer or teddy bear salesman, but a zombie.

So I do my best to get him out of the house and active and having fun in the real world, even if it’s raining, even if I feel like a giant slug.

So I cried this morning because I couldn’t get my son’s boots on but he remained calm and we got it done.

So, I am now officially less reasonable than a two-year-old.