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There’s a reason they start out as babies

May 27, 2009 - Kelly Valeri
I think my daughter scared a pregnant woman about her impending due date. Sure, most people realize that toddlers are a handful, but sometimes I feel like I need four hands for Allison.

Last weekend, she and I took a road trip to visit my friend and her husband. We met at their house, and Allison made quick work of raiding the pile of gift bags in their otherwise empty nursery.

When it became clear Allison wasn’t going to be content until the room was covered in tissue paper scraps, I suggested we leave for lunch. In our e-mail correspondence the day before, we had settled on a restaurant in a nearby mall.

The hostess gave us a booth, and Allison and I took one side. The benefit of that seating arrangement is that she is content much longer. The downside is that she can reach almost everything on the table — pre-placed steak knives, the salt and pepper shakers, those colorful little sugar packets that scream TOSS ME and, of course, drinks.

This was my first time attempting Allison on my own at a restaurant, and it was nearly impossible to eat or hold a conversation. The entire outing seemed like I was intercepting her from something that she could injure herself with, spill everywhere or launch.

And, ironically, right as I asked the parents-to-be what they were most looking forward to, Allison shoved her entire fist into my water, grabbed an ice cube, crammed it into her mouth and flashed me a warped grin as I quickly used my fingers to expel the choking hazard.

But before either could answer when I asked a second time, I smelled something foul.

I lifted Allison up at the table and sniffed — something I would’ve been ap­palled at a mere 18 months ago — and an­nounced we’d be right back. Nothing like the aroma of a dirty diaper to whet the appetite.

When we returned to the table, our meals were waiting for us, but by then, Allison had consumed so much water that she wasn’t hungry. A few bites later and she was ready to roll.

I somehow managed to prevent her from sliding underneath the table long enough to eat my sandwich, but that was it. She was done with that booth and, frankly, the restaurant. And because we were conveniently seated near the entry, Allison took off running into the mall, pausing only momentarily to look back in my direction as if to say, “Let the games begin.”

I tried to let her blow off a little steam, but getting her to return to the booth was impossible once she realized there was a whole world of benches and giant potted plants and people to converse with.

Eventually I just picked her up and carried her, but signing a bill, packing leftovers, getting the diaper bag reassembled and reorganizing my purse is not an easy task when one arm is trying to contain a writhing child.

Thankfully my friends were able to help, but I’m pretty sure if the situation had been reversed, I would’ve been looking at my belly a little differently. There’s a reason babies come out immobile and snugly and perfect.

Because you fall helplessly in love with them before they turn into tiny tots with an unnerving arm span and an independent streak.


Article Comments



Jun-16-2009 5:26 PM

textcop - So I supposed you have a child that you've raised through the toddler years? I hope so, because otherwise you've got no right to say a word about this post. This was not a blog about discipline of toddlers, just a mother sharing her experiences about what a handfull toddlers can be. I'm sure you and your sibling were perfect angels. According to my memory, I was too...but ask my mother and I'm sure she'd having stories just like the bloggers. So textcop, how old are your kids again?


Jun-01-2009 10:50 PM

Ever heard of potty training and a little discipline? It amazes me how the young women of today find pregnancy and toddlers the impossible task. My Mother had 5 kids 2 years apart with the exception of my brother who was 8 years younger than the 4th child. My Mother took us all out on Saturday Morning as a treat to have pancakes and we were good in a restaurant. Young mother's today cannot even do grocery shopping without having a Grandmother babysit the child. Letting you child completely wreck your friends nursery or being out of control in the restaurant or letting her run amuck screams of the needs for teaching your child social skills and it isn't cute, and it's unruly behavior and that you have no parenting skills. I remember to this day my Mother pretending our kitchen table was a restaurant and teaching us how to sit, how to ask for something politely and how to act in public. She also worked 8 hrs per day in a factory but always found time to teach her children well.


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