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How to Leave the House With a Toddler in 26 Easy Steps

Image source: ThinkStock
Image source: ThinkStock

For busy parents, sometimes just making it out the door is a sweat-inducing wrestling match crossed with a marathon and psychological warfare. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about.

Here’s how to make it out of the house with a toddler in tow, in just 26 simple steps:

  1. Set your alarm so you can wake up and get dressed before your child is up. This step is essential. All other steps will be delayed by 20 minutes if this does not occur. Or you may end up walking through the grocery store in your slippers.
  2. Get your child dressed. Let her wear a leotard, as long as she puts leggings on underneath it. Or pants. Or tights. Or legwarmers. Or socks. Even your socks. Any socks will do.
  3. When she balks at leggings, remind her that the super cool 6-year-old down the block has the exact same leggings. See, peer pressure has an upside!
  4. Comb her hair — or attempt to comb it — while she’s demonstrating how to hop like a frog and singing Happy Birthday to her stuffed monkey.
  5. Find your child’s shoes.
  6. Discover they are the wrong shoes.
  7. Try to figure out what your toddler means by “Boo!”
  8. Find the other pair of shoes. The blue shoes.
  9. Duck when a blue shoe gets kicked off in your direction.
  10. Now go get the rain boots. Boo. It must means BOOTS, not blue. BOO. BOO! Watch as your toddler stamps a foot and sticks out a lip, with an attitude that suggest that she would add an expletive, if she knew one. Perhaps she does. Maybe that’s what her other unidentifiable word, “Foop,” means. Or perhaps it’s just plain old poop.
  11. Discover, now that the blue boots are ready for feet, the legs attached to those feet are wearing wet pants. Peel off the wet pants. Try to get the toddler to sit on the potty.
  12. Read The Three Little Pigs for the 100th time while the toddler sits on the potty.
  13. Put the wet pants in the hamper.
  14. Chase the naked toddler around the house, as she has been compelled to run and giggle gleefully, as all naked toddlers are, bound by the rules of toddler-dom.
  15. Wrestle the toddler into pants. Wipe sweat from your brow, and try not to teach the toddler yet another way to say Foop.
  16. Put on your own shoes. Discover a mashed up grape in one toe. Hope this does not mean all of your shoes have become repositories for discarded, soon-to-be-moldy fruit.
  17. Grab your car keys and your wallet or purse.
  18. And your toddler’s purse, AKA a reusable grocery bag stuffed full of essentials like extra pants, Band-Aids, a few special toddler-selected rocks, and the ten absolutely vital rainbow colored plastic straws put in there by the toddler.
  19. Ask the toddler to race you to the car. On your mark, get set, go!
  20. Watch her sprint the other way, away from the car. Chase her.
  21. Fly her to the car like an airplane.
  22. Put her safely in her car seat. Start to relax … until the cries come because you put her in the seat, and she didn’t get to climb in to it herself. Watch her wriggle down from the seat, sobbing.
  23. Duck as a boot comes flying out of the car.
  24. Retrieve the boot, and follow Daniel Tiger’s sage advice: take a deep breath and count to ten.
  25. Pull out the big guns: snacks and songs. Offer a snack bag full of Cheerios and begin round one of today’s dozen rounds of “Wheels on the Bus” as you buckle her in.
  26. Look at your watch. Realize it’s only 8:15 AM and you already need a nap.
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