Monday, September 29, 2014

Toddlers Be Crazy

Today, I attempted to slip away and get some work done at my computer. A gate divides my work area from the living room, and Sweet Pea was hanging on the gate calling to me "Wanna come iiiinnn." I told her it would be just one moment, and then I would come play.  That lasted about 5 minutes, and then I heard those two, terrifying words:

"Uh oh." 

"What's wrong, baby?" I said as I looked to the gate. She had reached her arms through the bars and was holding her hands together on the other side.
"Uh oh, arms." She said, concerned yet preoccupied.
I laughed. "Did you put your arms through the gate?"
She very abruptly pulled her face to the gate and barked out "WANNA DRAW A KITTY CAT!"

Because sometimes having a toddler is kind of like having a rabid beast.

 A rabid beast with a taste for crayons.


Today, we had a sample Gymboree class.  The group was about 20 kids from ages varying from infant to 4 year olds.  The instructor had about 2 months experience with Gymoboree.  What followed was pure, unfiltered chaos.

Sweet Pea is a timid toddler.  She needs time to warm up to new places and new children.  She's much easier going with other adults, especially at the mall.  Don't ask me why.. maybe it's the music.  When she was about 14 months old, she walked right up to what looked like a linebacker for The Dallas Cowboys, sulking angrily outside the women's changing room.  She placed her tiny hand upon his knee, and then she started dancing.  Not a small dance, but a full-blown "YOU CAN DANCE IF YOU WANT TO, YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR FRIENDS BEHIND" dance.  The man couldn't help himself.  He broke into laughter.

I knew going into Gymboree that it was going to take some time for her to warm up to the idea.  But I really had no idea what we were getting into.  For the first 10 minutes, she just stood next to me, holding my hand and staring in disbelief as the children ran up this, slid down that, jumped off over here, crawled under there.  I feel like the site could have been likened to animals escaping a zoo.  She just held on and watched.  It was not until a small child ran by carrying A Sacred Ball that she spoke up.

I responded calmly, "Yes, he has a ball.  That's so cool."  Another child ran by with a ball, and I started to panic.  We are going to have to find a ball.
"ANOTHER BALL?!" Sweet Pea was elated.
"Okay, let's go find a ball."  It didn't take long before I spotted some hanging in the back.  We plucked one off the jungle gym from which it was suspended.  She was ecstatic.  That's all she needed.  Yep, folks, nothing more to see here.

Filled with the last breath of all the parents & toddlers trapped before you.

The whole place was kind of like standing in the middle of a tornado.  We were just there... rolling a ball back and forth,while things screamed and ran by.  It wasn't long before the eye of the storm dissolved into THE STORM OF THE CENTURY.  It was every Mommy & Me pair for themselves.

Imagine: The Purge, Toddler Edition.

Look over there, that kids hanging upside down.  Oops, while you were looking, that kid stole your ball.  Don't worry, here's another kid bringing you a different ball.  Oh, that's really nice, isn't it?  Say,  "Thank you!"  Wait. Why is this ball wet?  A kid slams into your back.  The mom waves apologetically.  You smile.  No harm done.  Wait, why is Sweet Pea on the ground?  Here, I'll roll the ball to you, you roll the ball to me.  Ugh, this is still the wet ball?  You look around.  Is anyone else concerned why this ball is wet?

Moms are everywhere, chatting with other moms, catching children by the back of their shirts to lower them gently on the padded floor.  Don't jump off there, jump off here.  Don't slide until that little boy has moved.  Too late, there's a pile up of toddlers wailing, but the bottom one is just trying to re-load the slide.  He's stuck... sliding in place on the mat.  Where's Sweet Pea? Oh, she has 4 balls now.  What's that on the floor next to her?  A BANDAID? DON'T TOUCH THAT!  LOOK, another BALL!  A baby spits up on the floor.  No one is looking.  You try to call for assistance, but no one can hear you.  Sweet Pea is running for a bucket of balls, you have no choice... you have to leave the puddle behind.  Another kid slides through it.  That mouth spit is officially everywhere.  And Sweet Pea is carrying around the wet ball again.  FOR CHRIST SAKE, WHY IS THAT BALL WET?  Did you even bring hand wipes?  That link on Facebook said that hand wipes can't even kill Enterovirus.  Only good hand washing.  Is there even a bathroom here?  How many times do you have to wash your hands after this?  Maybe you will both just take a shower.  Maybe you need a bio-shower with a steel bristle brush.

Something cold touches your shoulder.  There is a little one pulling up on you, but his hands are covered in something wet, slimy, and.... opaque.  His mouth is agape and nearing your arm.  This is it.  Forget Enterovirus, the zombie plague has arrived.  Your mind screams: YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE.  YOU HAVE TO RUN FOR THE BATHROOM RIGHT NOW.  LOCK THE DOOR AND DO NOT OPEN IT EVER AGAIN.  NO ONE IS SAFE! But Sweet Pea looks scared over there.  The baby smiles as you slide away from him. You try to smile back.  "Oh, he's so cute," you say to the exhausted mother as you choke back your own bile.  The instructor yells that it's time to gather around the parachute.  FINALLY! An exit plan!  But, by the time you navigate the crowd, the parachute is covered in babies.  That's it.  You melt to the ground and desperately grasp the edge, smiling through clenched teeth, waiting for the wind to take you away.  You dream of a simpler time... floating in the quiet peaceful waves of Kindermusik...

This post was not sponsored by Gymboree, Kindermusik, Enterovirus, or The Purge.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Sweet Pea aka Toddler is extremely fond of drawing.  Matter of fact, I was recently stressing over what on earth I would do for an upcoming two hour flight, just her and I.  I bought toys, packed a back pack full of distractions, and we never even made it past the crayons.  It was two hours of giggles and drawing, and it was great.  I can only imagine that the gentleman sitting next to us, however, walked off the plane in a daze repeating the same phrase over and over again while trembling and weeping.  "Wanna draw a kitty cat.  Wanna draw a kitty cat.  WANNA DRAW A KITTY CAT?!"  Oops.

A couple of days ago, Sweet Pea and I were enjoying some only mildly horrible Texas weather while playing with chalk, another big crowd pleaser.  As you can imagine, I had the pleasure of drawing a Kitty Cat, a Big Kitty Cat, a Little Kitty Cat, a Mommy Kitty Cat, a Baby Kitty Cat, and the always popular Another Kitty Cat.  Here is the conversation that followed half an hour of Chalk Kitty-Cat-A-Palooza.

Toddler: "Wanna draw kitty cat."
Me: "We just drew that. What else?"
Toddler: "Hot air balloon."
Me: "We have 2 of those. What else can we draw?"
Toddler: "Milk."
Me: "...What?"
Toddler: "Wanna draw milk."
Me: Blink. Blink.  Picks up a piece of chalk and draws Another Kitty Cat.

The requests keep coming, and, so far, I've managed to distract my way out of that commission.  BUT, if you're out walking and happen to come across a sidewalk covered in chalk boobs, you might want to think twice before you point the finger at those suspicious little boys across the street.