Monday, July 17, 2023

Toddler Life

I really do adore toddlers. They are so exuberant, and you can just see them getting smarter as they observe the world, notice patterns, and figure out how to express themselves. Minnie has started asking me if I “MEMBER” things, and then she recounts experiences from weeks or months ago, and it’s so charming. I love to think about the private thoughts she has.



A day with a toddler can feel years long. Especially a toddler who does not nap and has no inside voice. (She does have a very careful and thoughtful library voice, but she will only use it at the actual library).

Sometimes we take bedtime selfies because WE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END OF A DAY AND THERE WILL BE WINE SOON. 
In health hacks, I realized that to keep the kids in a constant supply of fresh baked cookies, I only have to buy a tub of cookie dough. This is wonderful because I don’t even like store bought cookie dough (or the cookies they become), but the kids love it. So, if I really want cookies, I can make them, but I m not constantly baking and snacking to keep up with demand. 
Also Chipotle is delicious, and why don’t we go there more often?
Minnie made  homemade Funafuti cupcakes— heavy on the sprinkles.
He’s so preppy, you guys. I cannot even.
Oh, I remember why we never go to Chipotle. MINNIE DOESN’T LIKE IT. Cool cool.
Suzanne asked me in the comments a couple weeks ago if I am a different parent to my current toddler than I was to my OG toddlers. YES YES YES, is the answer. As Corey said, my first baby was definitely my practice pancake. I was so much more uptight with him, and everything mattered SO MUCH, from the food he ate to the amount of milk he drank to the amount of TV he watched. It all felt so, so, so crucial, and I needed to get it exactly right, and I didn’t know yet that there IS NO RIGHT.

(And poor practice pancake first college baby, too— trying really really hard to apply the perspective of FIVE FRIGGIN KIDS to this process even though we are newbies)

Minnie is a gift the way I imagine people think their grandkids are gifts. She is all enjoyment and no stress at all. Except the quotidian stress of living with a flesh and blood cartoon teddy bear vampire mogwai gremlin. But toddler emotions— while big— are also very simple and easy to soothe. There is no angst in her upset, you know? No one has ever been mean to her or hurt her feelings on purpose or excluded her or cut her from a team, etc. Sometimes she loses her marbles because she can’t have chocolate chips for snack, but that’s easily fixed with some quartered grapes and a pile of just the orange veggie straws, so **shrug** I can’t take her feelings personally, is my point.

It helps to know that all kids develop (at their own pace, sure, but they all march steadily on to preschooler and elementary schooler and big kid and tween, etc), so we don’t sweat the milestones.

I still think she’s going to choke on everything and cut her food into tiny strips especially when it is something new. I still make sure she is in the same room as I am most of the day. She still sleeps in a crib and uses a sleep sack and a tiny toddler pillow and her breathable crib mattress. I AM ALWAYS GOING TO BE ANXIOUS YOU GUYS THAT’S WHO I AM.

I wish I could tell the toddler mom I was 15 years ago to chill out, but she was young and had less autonomy at work and less money and a newborn— she was very tightly wound. I sometimes think about how wonderful it would be if I had been as relaxed with the other 4 toddlers I’ve loved as I am with this one, but, of course, that could never have happened— it’s not who I am.

Here are the other 4 kids when they were Minnie’s exact age, their final month of being 2:

Harry, the practice pancake, already a big brother:
Jack, already a big brother to-be, although I don’t think he knew it yet:
Coop, a big bro for 17 months already by the ripe old age of 35 months: (I WOULD NEVER GIVE MINNE A SUCKER MY GOD)
Doted-on Dot, pattern mixing like a pro since 2016: (Minnie and I get that same cookie at that same coffee shop after The Little Gym every week, just like I have been doing with all the kids since HARRY WENT THERE)

A perimenopause baby is an extra special treat.


  1. Why did I get so teary reading this? Gah. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mom!

    Thank you for addressing my question. I also wish I could tell the me of ten years ago to chill out; I was also (and still am) very tightly wound. Poor little practice pancake kiddo. Hopefully I am learning as I go LOL.

    1. I am sure grandma me will tell current me to chill out, too.

  2. There's so much joy in your parenting, especially the delight you take in Minnie. I'm getting flashes of that toddler experience a bit with Max the puppy myself... It really is so fun watching him as he figures things out!

  3. It seems to me that you're a great mother at every stage and your joy in it is contagious!

  4. Anonymous12:34 PM

    Lisa here! Stupid phone won’t let me log into my google account. As you can probably tell from my blog, we don’t love the toddler stage… I try to see the good parts but toddlers are so exhausting for me and Will’s feelings are SO BIG and he’s SO HARD TO CALM DOWN! He wouldn’t nap on Sunday but was mostly happy rolling around his crib. We got him after 45 min and I said that I think dropping the nap is prob better than the 30+ process it often takes to calm him down when he does nap - especially when Phil gets him up from his nap. He really struggles with transitioning from sleeping to waking. But he is very sweet and snuggly and very enthusiastic about most things. I think we are more suited to parent the 4+ age set.

    1. I JUST told Ben today after a very screamy breakfast that the only way to make sure Minnie doesn’t svcream is to prevent the screams form happening LOL

  5. Oh LORD, I wish I could tell first-mom me to chill out. Happily, even with my second baby almost three years later things were much different - saying no to the low-estrogen birth control pill which sent me absolutely bonkers the first time was a good start. But I am just an easily-overwhelmed person, and things turned out pretty well anyway. Loving watching you with Baby Five, and all the other pancakes.

    1. I lost my shit on the mini pill too! Like house cleaners TWICE A WEEK and the place was still not clean enough. I burned some chicken and the smell lingered and I went to the doctor for an MRI (she did not order one) because I was sure the smell meant a brain tumor.

  6. I just love the joy you bring to parenting. You share the hard, but you focus on the joy.