Category Archives: Toddler Antics

The Top Five Toddler Truths

Today I bring you one of my favorite blog posts…a blast from the past….something everyone can relate too – whether you are struggling through the toddler years right now or have once before. Read on and have a good Friday laugh.


My baby just turned four….my reaction, you ask?

Part this:

And part this:


Anyone who has survived the twos and threes knows exactly why. Now that both of my children are 4 and 7, I’ve had the horror honor of experiencing the two different ways these two very different children experienced these nightmare lovely years. And so, it is time for some reflection on what I believe are common traits shared by this age group, charming as they are. And setting aside the sarcasm, there is something really delightful and sweet about toddlers. No really, there really is. But also, there’s not.

Here’s my list of five toddler truths to help keep your patience and your mind in tact:

1. Channeling your inner-zombie apocalypse paranoia will get you through the toddler years. Allow me to be frank: the strongest will survive by prepping for biological warfare. Ideally, you own this:

The HAZMAT suit is likely the only guard against toddler illnesses

Because the shorties excel at nothing if not contracting disgusting diseases — and not just any old disease. Mais non!! Think – disgusting ones that you have never before heard of and oh, are highly contagious. Sicknesses with gross names like Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease….or Norovirus….or Fifths Disease. Most charming of them all is the Norovirus which ever-so-thoughtfully tends to peak from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Seasoned parents immediately assess what they eat once a child has started puking in their home because they know it is anywhere from 12-24 hours before they, too, will fall.

“Please pass the potatoes, it’ll be great coming back up later when I’m hugging the toilet, vomiting it all up,” most parents of 2 or 3-year-olds are thinking during at least one holiday family gathering.

Many of you know that my now 7-year-old gave my ENTIRE family the gift of the Norovirus on Christmas Eve when she was 2 years old. We all started dropping like flies around midnight. “Merry Christmas, I’ve given you the gift of instant weight loss,” she snickered with an evil laugh in her sleep as visions of sugar-plum fairies and unicorns danced in her head.

While we wished for death.

Or at least more bathrooms in my parent’s house. Oh. and More mops.

#True story

2. Their fierce need for Independence is soul crushing at times. Intuitively the small human knows precisely when you are short on patience and running late (#Always) and that is when they boldly declare:


Don’t worry, their path to discovering independence in the form of putting on shoes (on the wrong feet) and getting into car seats only takes 65 minutes and 23 seconds.

While we’re on the subject of getting into car seats, you will experience one or all of these:


So what else do I know?

3. One of you is a serial killer, according to your toddler. Sorry Dad, usually it’s you. Typically, this revelation washes over them with no warning. Clear signs that they believe you’ve just murdered their pet cat or are stashing human brains in the freezer are as follows: Screaming when you enter the room, recoiling in horror at your touch, pleading with the beloved parent that you, the murderer, shouldn’t touch or look at them. True, there are days when the chosen parent wishes they were the serial killer parent. But like everything else, one day, this will pass, and the former serial killer could become most-favored-parent. Again, with no warning or explanation.

4. Toddlers are compulsive liars. Either that or they are the only human beings on the planet that never have to go to the bathroom. EVER.

Except they always do (click here for more perspective on potty training). Just know that their

why do they do this? Photo Credit:

why do they do this? Photo Credit:

purpose in life is to fight you to the death that they DO NOT HAVE TO GO POTTY.

5. Speaking of fighting you to the death, enter meal time. Hunger strikes are common with this age group. The cause they are fighting against? Parental control, obviously. Look, just accept now that even though you fed them something the day before, which they ate quite happily, doesn’t mean they will eat it. Ever again. For at least two years.

Just go with it.

This is what I know about toddlers. Now that we’ve emerged from this phase, I am still no fool. I will keep my HAZMAT suit hung in a closet but certainly not packed away, Mr. Wired Momma still timidly enters a room, unclear if the mere sight of him will cause our youngest to recoil in horror or if he’s regained his status and meal time still brings us nothing but unfettered joy…cough cough cough.

For more on parenting and hopefully some good laughs, be sure to “Like” the Wired Momma Facebook page. And please, feel free to add your toddler truths here.

Godzilla meets the Lion Tamer…an epic tale of surviving summer break

In prep for schools letting out in the next two weeks….I offer you a retro WM post….my piece to mark the beginning of summer break last year and a retrospective on surviving previous summers….it covers kids of a variety ages so you probably will find something for yourself in here and I also get to my fav summer accessories:


This week marks the end of school. The beginning of summer. What better way to kick it off than with a walk down memory lane?

First Summer Home with 2 kids: Sink or Swim?

My baby morphed into Godzilla that first summer....

Spoiler Alert! I sank. I didn’t even have a chance. I was drowning, I was gasping for air, I hated that summer. DD1 was 3.5 and horrible. DD2 was 6 months old and suddenly gained her mobility and morphed from sweet drooling baby into Godzilla, a super human creature who’s only purpose in life was to mercilessly terrorize every Little People village her sister had carefully arranged, chew on each book her sister wanted to read and destroy any block tower that might have just been assembled. It was war. I lost every battle.  And to boot, one of life’s great unsolved mysteries emerged: exactly how does a 6 month old crawl so quickly and why are they magnets for elder sibling’s toys? So I headed into the next summer with a whole new plan, armed with tactics, prepared to win and enjoy the summer. This battle worn soldier couldn’t lose again.


Summer 2 home with the kids: Life vest

Spoiler Alert: my life vest mocked me. All summer long.

This time I boarded the ship prepared. My life jacket purchased in the form of 4 beautiful words: CAMP. Lots and lots of CAMP. But see, what I failed to anticipate was that much changes in one year of the lives of these little people. My wounds were still open and fresh but the children had moved on. How could I fail to realize that Godzilla can’t really survive for one year with an older sibling? Think of the eldest like a lion tamer: breaking the beast, taming the savage soul and maybe assaulting them a few times. Godzilla morphs into a different kind of species when she is 18 months old. True, a child

Can anyone else relate?

headed straight for the 2s is still part-human, part-beast but at least they have more control over their motor skills when lingering around block towers. And the eldest is more adept at handling younger sibling assault on their world. Another lesson for me:  3.5 year olds don’t stay that miserable argumentative nasty way forever and as it turns out, at least chez moi, 4.5 year olds are fun and fabulous companions. So there I had shipped her off to various weekly camps only for me and DD2 to look at each other, and wonder where our playmate was, especially DD2. I had naively shipped off the companion who kept the 18 month old entertained, busy and tired her out for naps. I PAID to send away our buddy. What the? My life vest deflated. I was beat again. When will I not suck at anticipating how to manage for a great summer home?


Summer 3 home with the kids: Lifeguard

And so begins summer 3 home with the kids. We’re off to a good start, we are miraculously diaper free chez moi, they are now 2.5 and 5.5 (have you seen the new spring in my step as I bypass the diaper aisle at Target with an extra $20 to blow on something dumb?) and after my steep learning curves the past two summers, dare I say I am heading into this summer with an all new plan: the pool. We are super camp light and planning on lots of pool time. But will I fail to anticipate again? So far, I have a huge ding against me because DH is headed off to a new job that puts him in San Fran 4 days of every week through the summer. I wasn’t counting on that when I signed them up for basically no camps this summer . . .Will I sink or swim this year? Stay tuned, you know you’ll be hearing about it.


Until then, let’s cover what accessories  a gal needs to survive the summer.

The first is the appropriate pool or beach bag and that bag is the Scout bag. This bag changed my pool/beach experience because it’s stylish and has 6 pockets around the outside of the bag. Never has it been so easy to store sunglasses, iPhone, camera, sun block, kid’s trash,  snacks, water bottles and actually FIND these things with ease. Naturally the bag was created by a local DC mother who has 4 kids, so it’s no wonder it’s a miracle worker.

Speaking of miracle workers, what I need is the right swimsuit. I tend to go for halters but is this really a good idea when children are climbing all over you and creating multiple chances for a wardrobe malfunction on any given day? My youngest likes to shove her pool toys down the suit as if it’s her own personal pocket.  Does style need to be compromised in favor of practicality? Have you found the perfect swimsuit that is stylish but functional? I’m desperate here, friends. Speak up. Links encouraged.

And my final summer survival necessity for those of you who are beach bound but don’t live steps from the beach: the Wonder Wheeler Deluxe (WWD). The minivan of beach carts, this thing screams dork, flashes parenthood in bright lights, earns you mockery from teens for being  lame, but when a beach trip heads south (and really, how often do they not), you can toss all your gear and chairs and umbrellas into this thing (and sometimes I think a few kids) and clear the beach in record time.

So with that, what are your plans for summer survival? And did you find a great suit? Let me know.

For more fun, survival tips and accessories gossip…..”Like” the WM community FB page.

Listen To Your Mother: Occupy Parents

Yesterday we packed the house and practically sold out the first ever Listen To Your Mother DC show. It was remarkable. Fourteen local writers had the audience laughing and sometimes, crying, for 90 minutes. I was so honored to be a part of the debut show and humbled by the packed house. We even started late because of the line out front to get into the theatre. One of the things I really liked about the show was it was generational – it powerfully opened with a piece by a grandmother who reminded us all that we are mother warriors.  After the show, it was a pleasure to stop and talk with people who enjoyed our show and to hear more about why they enjoyed it. My conclusion – sometimes we all need a break from the kids to sit together and remember that we aren’t alone.  Final thing – sometimes I feel like I am writing in a black hole – I just put it out there into cyberspace and there it goes – but reading in front of an audience and hearing their reaction – now I see why people love performing! What a thrill!!

Because I was pretty busy all weekend and had no time for blogging, instead today, here’s the piece I read yesterday, which was something I wrote on this blog and posted back in December. I call it Occupy Parents: Oppression by Toddler.

This fall it hit me – I am the 99%. There are no protestors out front, no camp, no drum circles, no one is fighting for my rights. I am oppressed, mistreated.  Yet I do nothing. I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

I sympathize with my oppressor. I’m incapable of leaving the very person holding me captive. True, I’ve plotted my escape; Richard Branson’s Caribbean home, pre-fire of course, tops the list.  But no one can help.  Because they are captives too. This is upside down world where the 99 percent and the 1 percent live together simultaneously in harmony and in chaos.

I recognize the others when I am out during the day, it’s the only time of day I am typically released. I see their blood-shot, tired eyes and like myself, I see them traveling around town with their captors. It is rare to see a 99%er at night. We aren’t let out easily and truthfully, our eyes struggle to readjust in the darkness.

The working conditions of my oppressor are technically listed as a form of torture under the Geneva Convention. I googled it. She operates with the most criminally insane device: the unpredictable, the unknown. Could the day start at 3am? 4am?  I don’t know. I start to believe that 5am would be a gift. And it’s not just when she wakes up, it’s her erratic behavior once she wakes up.

But I am not weak. I am not helpless. I know the 99 percent need to rise above. And in this twisted reality, the 99 percent are the ones who hold the keys to the front door, the car, the bank account, we know how to work the remote control.  We provide the food and shelter to the one percenters. And yet we do not leave.

Ultimately, the question is simple: Why does a toddler abruptly go from sleeping through the night and waking after 6:30 to suddenly waking daily at 4:18 or 5:02 and then refusing to go back to sleep? And as anyone knows who has lived through this, an awake 3-year-old is an entirely different beast from a baby who wakes in the middle of the night for one simple reason:  a baby can’t march into your room, flip on the overhead lights, pull off your covers and shout “MOMMY WAKE UP!”

If they could, none of us would have them. Ever.

And that’s the catch, the rules change without warning under these working conditions.  I was ambushed.

This bunny alarm clock didn't do squat for moi

In my house, the upheaval began on a crisp fall day. And commenced what has turned out to be four consecutive months of torture. Though the question seems simple: why wake so early for no reason, unfortunately the answer remains deeply complex. The motivations of the one percent offer little understanding to us 99
percenters, though it is studied and evaluated in grave detail.
We wracked our sleep-deprived brains. Was it moving her to a big bed? Did she have to pee? Was she hungry? Is it her eczema? Wait wait, I know! Let’s buy
a bunny alarm clock
that teaches her to stay in bed until the bunny wakes! Can an inanimate bunny teach this child something that I can’t? I
will pay anything if it is a magical bunny that can lure a toddler back to sleep. And when you are so tired, you start to believe it could happen.

How about taking away story time until she sleeps longer? How about no songs before bed? Maybe punishment will work because she loves those things.  And
punishment can feel so good because it gives the false feeling of power. To the powerless.

But wait – don’t the “experts” say to reward good behavior.

Confusion is part of the torture.

So how about promising her candy if she stays in her room until the bunny wakes up? Will sugar only incentivize the already cruel tactics of this small dictator?
Do we negotiate with terrorists?

Doubt is part of the torture.

The truth is the 99 percent will negotiate and bribe with total disregard for future repercussions if it means sleeping until the sun comes up. Recall: we
believe in the possible power of a bunny alarm clock.

You can drive yourself INSANE trying to trouble shoot and problem solve with a child who has the attention span of a gnat and an ability to ignore your
direct questions more skillfully  than Newt Gingrich Except these kids don’t lie. They just don’t offer you any hint or help.

And then, one day, for me, it just ended. After four months of mind-numbing exhaustion, she just began sleeping until 6am. Back to wracking my brain for answers that will never come: Was it getting a bedtime snack? Was it going potty at 11pm? We will never know. But I am left with only the emotional scars and the fear of this: will it start again without warning or explanation?  In the end, that bunny clock remains useless.

I offer you this tale as a warning and with sympathy, in case you, too, suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

We are the 99% and so far – Occupy Parents is kicking my ass.

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Life with a 3-year-old: Welcome to the Year of the Rat

Much has been documented about life with a three-year-old. Personally, I’ve written about how the only conceivable answer to why I don’t leave for 365 days  is that I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome because what else can rationally explain living life under the cruel regime of a small and unpredictable dictator?

Other times, I marvel over her still-chubby arms and dread the day she has an actual wrist instead of a Michelin Man arm. The charm of hearing her pronounce her S’s with her tongue creating a sweet lisp noise as it presses against her front teeth and she waxes on about her love for “Sphider Man,” could make anyone forget the insane breakdown that just happened 2.3 seconds prior or is about to erupt in 12 seconds.

But it isn’t until you are into toddlerhood that you realize something else: They are rats.

No no. Not snitches. In my house, that’s the older one.

The human species at three exhibits many characteristics shared only by the rat. I know this because I am a world renown scientist. C’est vrai. Oh. And a human behavior specialist. And an early childhood educator.

Or I’m just super good at sounding like one.

What do I mean, you ask, all aghast that I’m telling you that your kid is cousins with that rat you’re trying to trap out back?

Remember these scenes?

The Bubonic Plague

Why probably weren’t in England in the Middle Ages as the Bubonic Plague swept across Europe. HOWEVER life with a 3-year-old means life with constant disease. They are nothing if not incubators and spreaders of all sorts of nasty illnesses. Look closely at that poor sad couple slumped down in the foreground. It’s totally you – probably like 3 weeks ago.

You know you’ve lived with a three-year-old when at least one holiday has been spent vomiting the entire time. We’ve been lucky enough to have two of those. The first time, our gift to my entire family on Christmas eve was the highly contagious norovirus.

Merry Christmas family! We brought the rat! We offer you a quick way to drop 5 pounds before New Year’s Eve.

#You’reWelcome. No need to send a Thank You note this year. Really, I insist.

This past year, we were quarantined to our own separate table over Thanksgiving dinner because the day started with puking again. Naturally.

Next year’s invite might read: You’re invited, leave the rats out back. And please wear your HAZMAT suit the entire time so as to keep your inevitable disease contained:

Pass the gravy, not whatver disease your kid is inevitably harboring right now. Happy Holidays.

Come to think of it, that suit might come in handy beyond the holidays. How about all those times the apparently “potty trained” 3-year-old craps their pants? My favorite is when she pees her pants while we’re standing in the bathroom.


You really didn’t know 1 second ago when I brought you in here, that you had to use the facilities?


Not long ago, I learned that some idiot parents at a preschool called the Department of Health on the preschool and complained it wasn’t clean enough because their kid was getting sick all the time. This story is endlessly amusing to me. Had these ahole parents never once ever come across a 3-year-old in their life until they had one?? Or better yet, were they the jerks who assumed every other parent did something wrong, like I don’t know, bathe their kid in illness, and continuously forget to wash their grubby little hands, because why else would that kid be sick so much?


So what other characteristics do 3-year-olds share with rats?

Hoarding and thieving things to retrieve for their nest. Specifically the hoarding of a totally random assortment of teeny tiny small plastic toys, that rotate in favorability and importance with no clear warning or obvious reasoning. My favorite part of this hoarding characteristic, which includes carefully guarding said items and squirreling them away in their room and random bags, is keeping track of these 2 inch items.

Because you know, they never get lost. Exhibit A: the world’s smallest rhino and the world’s happiest blue plastic bunny. I rue the day they entered my life.

How quickly can I make these guys disappear?

When the tiny toy flavor of the week leaves the rat’s nest, it is the adult human who bears sole responsibility for keeping an eye on said toy and ensuring its safe return to the nest. This agreement is not even a verbal agreement. Consider it part of the mind-reading terms you agreed too upon birthing this child, after hosting it in your uterus for 10 long months. If you defy the terms of this agreement because your brain dare crowd with other more pressing thoughts, the wrath of the rat will wreak havoc on your life. David beat Goliath. This is the modern day tale. During the year of the rat, the rat-human child will inevitably wear you down; you will find yourself scouring a park, the playroom, the bedroom, the laundry machine, anywhere you can deseperately think you might relocate the world’s smallest lost toy, as fear ricochets through your body. Your blood turns cold in ancitipation of the epic meltdown that awaits you in the very near future.


As for the thievery part of this phase of life, my best advice is, if a 3-year-old has entered your home, pat them down before leaving because odds are they’ve located more of the world’s smallest  plastic toys and carefully placed them somewhere on their person or in the backpack of “treasures” they insisted on bringing to the outing.

Desperate times call for desperate measures in the year of rat. As a well regarded scientist myself, even moi can’t shed any light on why the small rat-human favors small toys and hoarding them in this third year of life.

You will never win.

Accept it for what it is.

Am I missing any of the rat-like characteristics of the 3-year-old? Chime in.

In the mean time, if you’ve got a rat living in your home, my best advice: Dust off your hazmat suit, prepare to ruin a few holidays, hunt down some magnifying glasses and don’t forget to take your vitamins.

For more survival tips on the Year of the Rat, and general hilarity, be sure to “Like” the Wired Momma Facebook page.