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What Toddlers and First Dates Have in Common

I never liked first dates. Even when they went well, there was this constant worry that maybe things wouldn’t go as well next time. What do I wear? Where should we go? Should I pay for my meal or let him pay for all of it? Do I shave my legs? What if I can’t stand him? What if he smells? WHAT IF? Thankfully I haven’t had to go on a first date in over a dozen years, but I’ve recently realized that every outing with Vivi runs the risk of being very similar to a terrible first date. From the risk of embarrassment to the awkward conversations, here are some of the reasons I stress about outings with my toddler (almost) as much as I worried about first dates.


  • What Toddlers and First Dates Have in Common. 1 of 9
    What Toddlers and First Dates Have in Common.
    Do you miss first date adventures? Take a toddler out! They're pretty much the same thing.
  • Be! Prepared! For! Anything! 2 of 9
    Be! Prepared! For! Anything!
    I once went out with a jazz singer who decided it was a capital idea to take me hiking up a mountain in a dress after dinner.
    I once went to get ice cream with a toddler who later fell in a pile of dog poo when we were 30+ miles from home. You want to test your resiliency skills? Take a toddler out in public.
  • They’re Unpredictable 3 of 9
    They're Unpredictable
    Are you going to get the charming smiling person who smiled at you from your computer screen or will you land yourself with an unpredictable, terribly cranky, hard to please date? WHO KNOWS?
  • High Likelihood for Extreme Embarrassment 4 of 9
    High Likelihood for Extreme Embarrassment
    I was on a first date years ago when an woman stormed into the restaurant and began yelling at my date. Turns out the woman was his mother and he had failed to mow the lawn. She was FURIOUS. She dragged him out, leaving me alone with the bill and all eyes on me. Six years ago I was taking care of some personal business in a Chicago airport restroom with a toddler corralled in the stall with me. My focus was elsewhere and when I looked up I realized my toddler had swung the bathroom door wide open to a whole line of women waiting to use the restroom. My pants were around my ankles and my pride was down the toilet.
  • Have an Emergency Out 5 of 9
    Have an Emergency Out
    We've all had friends call to check on us during a questionable first date, it's nice to know you have an emergency out just in case. Get stuck with a toddler? There's a chance yo may have to cut and run. I've abandoned many a full shopping cart when an outing went from pleasant to hairy.
  • Bodily Functions 6 of 9
    Bodily Functions
    I fart when I'm really nervous. I spent a lot of time suppressing the urge to toot in front of Cody on our first date. I liked him a lot and the butterflies in my stomach wreaked havoc on my tender digestive system. When you're out with a toddler there's double the bodily functions to keep track of, whether they're still in diapers or potty training.
  • Everything Revolves Around Food 7 of 9
    Everything Revolves Around Food
    Meeting for coffee, going out to dinner, grabbing lunch — there's many different ways to approach a first date and almost all of them involve food at some point. No matter where you go with a toddler or for how long, food will somehow be involved. Whether it's the snacks packed away deep in your bag just in case or a quick stop at the Target cafe for a bag of popcorn, food is essential. Don't believe me? Forget snacks and your wallet when you're out with your toddler, watch all hell break loose.
  • Awkward Conversation 8 of 9
    Awkward Conversation
    I think this one is totally self explanatory from the point of view of a first date. As for the toddler comparison? Vivi's favorite thing to say (loudly) is "MAMA POO-POO! MAMA POOOOOOO! MAMA POOP! POOP POOP POOP!" (I blame her older sister for this one. THANKS ADDIE.) She also likes to call every man 'daddy' and every kid under 15 a 'baby.' No really, it doesn't make anyone uncomfortable at all. After all, everybody poops and everyone is somebody's baby.
  • A Chance at True Love 9 of 9
    A Chance at True Love
    There are some outings with toddlers that go perfectly. They are charming, well behaved and we have an amazing time. No fits are thrown, no snacks are spilled and no tears are shed. They're the rare reward outings for all the ones that go so terribly wrong. Same with dating, some first dates I will remember forever while others? Well. I'd like to forget those ever happened.

I’ll keep taking her out, no matter how unpredictable things may be sometimes. I can’t keep her home until she’s 8 and suddenly expect her to behave out in public. It’s a (exhausting) learning process, but it’s also a pretty funny one if you can keep your sense of humor and wits about you.

Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.

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