with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Toddlers

Things Not to Take Your Toddler’s Word For

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

Ah, toddlers. Every day they learn more, and gain more confidence in their capabilities, so much so, that they will declare to you their fitness to do new things. Sometimes, you need to step back and guardedly let them spread their wings. Other times, no. Below are some of those second kind. Don’t trust your toddler when:

They offer to cut your hair


When they want to drive your car. Even when the insist that they DID learn that at preschool.


When he says that he is in fact Ironman and Ironman doesn’t need naps.

He was Nick Fury once though.

He was Nick Fury once though.

When he says that he can slice his own apple. With a regular knife.


When he offers to call someone for you, since he can’t read and my husband’s at work number is not 445 6+= @@@@@@@@@@


When he says that he can carry a watermelon. He used to be a baby. He is NOT Baby from “Dirty Dancing”.

He wants to get stuff down from you off of a high shelf. I don’t want to even think about what his plan was for that.


If the internet goes out and he says that he can fix it. No.

When he insists that you will change your mind about him having a second lollipop. Go with the thing in your brain that says, “No, I won’t”.

Never gonna get it never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it, never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it never gonna get it Never gonna get it, You'll never get it

Never gonna get it never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it, never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it never gonna get it
Never gonna get it,
You’ll never get it


This is not a comprehensive list. What do you parents/caretakers/aunts/uncles/posse of toddlers have to add to it?


The Sweet Midlife Guide to Traveling By Air With A Toddler

by SweetMidlife
Snacks. Binkies. Anything to get that toddler calm. But not whiskey on his gums like the old ladies have advised me, because I like not being in jail.

Snacks. Binkies. Anything to get that toddler calm. But not whiskey on his gums like the old ladies have advised me, because I like not being in jail.


Thanks! See you later!

…Oh, you’re still here. Wait, you’re serious? OK. We were only half serious about Rule #1, although we’d be lying if we said that this was ideal. Obviously, sometimes getting where you have to go involves getting on a plane, and sometimes, if you want to take your kid with you (or couldn’t talk anyone else into keeping them while you jet off to Whateverastan), you gotta go without a partner to help corral the wee one. You might be a single parent, as I now find myself, or just have to travel without your partner for at least some portion of your trip. Whatever the reason, this can be way, way stressful.

So stressful.

Toddlers are stressful when out of their element, overstimulated and way past nap time, even when you have help (See Lynne’s sad/funny story about her son, a plane trip and some poopy pants). So when you’re the only person there to carry, coordinate, wrangle and talk a crazed two-year-old down from a “NONONONOOOOO!!!” jag…let’s say this is not where vacation dreams begin.

I just got back from a similar trip mostly unscathed, and plan to do it again very soon. And I know I wouldn’t have made it back alive (or at least as sane as I claim to be) without following the below listed rules:

1) Do all your documentation, as much as possible, before you get to the airport. I cannot stress this enough. Check in online the minute you can. Print your boarding out, or download it onto your phone. Try to travel as light as you can, even trying to just do a carry-on if you can swing it with both of you, to save yourself from even having to stand in that Godforsaken line to check your bag. The less loose paper you have flying about stuffed in a nasty baby bag as you’re running through Security screaming “Where is your shoe? WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR OTHER SHOE??” the better.

2) Try to figure out what you really need to bring, and what you can borrow or rent when you get there. This is smart anyway, but when you’re the only person who’s going to be dragging the stroller, car seat, luggage, baby bag AND the child (can’t forget him!), you’ll appreciate downsizing. This last weekend we were in NYC, and relied a lot on Uber, a company that, at least in that city,. provides car seats that are installed by trained drivers. So we didn’t need to bring our own. We did take the big stroller, but that can be rolled through the airport with all our stuff in the bottom basket for kind of a third hand, and checked for free at the gate.

3) Get help where you can. My mother has, lately, asked for gate passes on days she is not flying with us, so that she can physically help get us through security, carry stuff and stop Boy from climbing on the conveyor belt to make sure no one stole his stroller. (This happened. He’s paranoid. I told him no one wants his nasty cracker-dusted stroller. He did not believe me.) And this weekend, my sister is going to pick us up at the terminal and then drive us to the rental car facility, because I would never be able to get the stroller, car seat and actual bags on the shuttle by myself.

4) Bring the whole kit of wonders. Again, every toddler parent knows to be prepped with snacks, drinks, and whatnot, but when you are alone with that lovely ball of energy and crankiness, you must make sure that they’re…handled. Like Olivia Pope handles people, or at least like she did before she went public with the President, lost her mind and starting acting like a quivering chump. Distraction is key, so I came armed with snacks in tiny containers, those squeezy food packets he’s likely a little old for but which fill the belly with minimal mess, sippy cups, his favorite apps on my phone and extra binkies. At two we really wish he didn’t want binkies anymore, but they’re good for takeoff and landing to prevent the ear popping. And they keep him quiet. So quiet.

4b) Do not rely on wonders you cannot control. JetBlue has the FlyFi free WiFi and I figured that it would provide a chance for Boy to watch his favorite online videos, like that oddly hypnotic ChuChu TV with the little chubby animated children singing “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.” But the FlyFi was a no-go on our last flight, and so the increasingly frantic tug on my arm and little demanding slurry voice going “Hesholkneetoes! HESHOLKNEETOESSSSS!” was met with a lot of “Umm, that’s not working right now.” Toddlers care not about your petty technical difficulties. They are the Tim Gunn of people. They demand you make that thing work. And if you can’t, you sing that song to them yourself in the lowfi version and hope it does the trick till the snacks arrive (It did.)

5) Get there early. But not too early. Most airlines suggest being at the airport two to three hours before you leave. For us at the moment, this isn’t always possible considering nap time and the boy’s tendency to wake up at the most inopportune times. If we fly really early, he usually runs around the terminal before crashing on the plane (Crash good.) But sometimes we can be there too long, and he’s tired in the airport but awake and cranky trapped on a plane. It ain’t good. So know your kid, try to get them to get a good night’s sleep and hope they run it all out before you get on the plane.

I Am the Tired Mom In the Grocery Store

by SweetMidlife

It’s Lynne. Hi.

Have you ever seen those really empathetic posts that show up in a lot of Facebook feeds that are titled things like “To the Tired Mom in the Grocery Store”? They are usually prompted by the author seeing some harried mother whose children are crying in the cereal aisle, while the mom looks overwhelmed and slightly embarrassed at the eyes on her, as her kid’s outburst seems to have lowered a disco ball over her head since everybody seems to be looking at her, and judging with their judgy-ness. And the article is always understanding, and offers the compassion that moms and dads sometimes need when the small person they are with is refusing to move from that spot in the toy aisle (and I NEVER realized how many grocery and drugstores had toy aisles until I regularly shop with someone who seems to have those things on GPS locators).

Well, on several recent occasions,  I was that mom. She is me. We are we.

I am tired.

Both times. I should have probably not even have gone to the store. The first time was in the later morning, and too close to naptime, while the second time was too close to bedtime. Both times, there were things that we needed from the store, and since I was already out, it made since to make a quick trip.

I always think that it’s going to be quick. It’s like the people on “Dr. Quinn:Medicine Woman”. Every week they would learn some lesson about not being so close-minded about Native Americans, or women and their book-learning, or whatever, and the next week, they would forget and be just as close-minded. That analogy works for so many things. But anyway, that was me, acting like I had never met my child before and temporarily forgetting what happens when he stays out for too long.

3 is also a weird age for a shopping companion because they are almost too big for the regular carts, and don’t want to sit in them even if they aren’t. And not all stores have the carts that look like cars, or the magical Target toddler carts. So sometimes said 3 year-old will push one of those “Customer-In-Training” mini-carts alongside of you, or they will insist on pushing your cart. And this is what happened on these trips. And they started so well.

Last week, he pushed his cute little cart next to me, and let me put the giant bag of frozen french fries in it. That lasted a step and a half, because it was too heavy. So now he had an empty mini cart to put all kinds of things in. Things on his level that he had to have. BECAUSE. And sometimes he would get so enthralled by the fly swatter display, that he would stop pushing his cart, and when I tried to push both, he yelled “NO!!! IT’S MINE!!” And then he would get moving. And then he would find something else he wanted. And it got later and later.

Guess which things i didn't put in our cart.

Guess which things i didn’t put in our cart.

And I felt bad because I knew he was sleepy, but I also needed him to not act like, well, a jerk. I am not saying that my kid is a jerk. He is a kid. But 3 year-old’s do FANTASTIC jerk impersonations. And people were very, very nice to him, even when he started selecting orchids from the florist section, with me telling him to put things back, because people realized that he was a kid, and that we were both trying. But by the time he walked past like the 4th cupcake display and declared that he NEEDED one,  I raised my voice and said “STOP IT. You don’t need it. LET’S GO”. And this dude looked at me like I was a terrible, terrible mother.

I’m not a terrible mother. And neither are you. We might have that capacity in us. But I doubt that most of us are like that.

Most of us are just tired. And so are your kids. And you have things you have to do that trump the tired right then, and you need to finish up and get the heck out of there. On our nighttime Target trip a few days ago, everything looked like a toy, and my son wanted all of it. All the toys. And I felt like I was walking through molasses. And, right before I literally scooped him up and took him to the checkout counters, he was actually crawling on the floor like he was in a remake of Rambo.

Alex Target Floor

And you get through it. And those moments that you feel like you are on the edge of asking the Giant Food lady to watch your cart and your child while you do stress-relieving laps around the store are really outnumbered by the times that everything is hunky-dory. The crazy moments usually actually go away quickly, and you are back to calm-like behavior. Because 3 year-old’s are usually never really calm.  But hey, mom in grocery store/me/you, I get it. I see you. I will wave at your kid, or give you a reassuring nod, or smile. Because I know. And you know. And it gets better. It does. Go home. Put your kid to bed. Tell them you love them. Close the door gently. Run to the couch. Have a seat. Relax. You are doing a good job. Me too. We got this.

Bookroo sends your kid a monthly literary gift

by SweetMidlife
This is gonna be fun!

This is gonna be fun!

Leslie here! As a writer, and a very early lover of books who with Lynne tortured our Granddaddy into reading “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” over and over, it’s important to me that the toddler I live with become a tiny bookworm as well. Story time is a big deal here and now we have an ingenious way to make sure that the shelf is never bare: a service called Bookroo, a kid’s book subscription service. (Disclosure: We signed up for the service and are receiving a discounted fee.)

I was excited about it from the beginning because I’m fan of subscription services, including a clothing service that sends new stuff to my house each month. Even though I pay for it, and know that it’s coming, it’s nice to get a wrapped thing in the mail. The Boy doesn’t have a calendar, doesn’t pay for anything and thinks everything is for him, so when the Bookroo box came to the house with his name on it, I pointed out the label even though he can’t read.

He can, however, open wrapping paper, and that was a whole other adventure (we like adventure – note the above tiny hand excitedly reaching for that delicious rippy stuff.


Once we got all the paper off, we settled into our books for the month, “Hush Little Polar Bear,” by Jeff Mack, “Duck and Goose, 1-2-3” by Tad Hills and “The Pout-Pout Fish” by Deborah Diesen.” Toddler is at the point where he likes the concept of turning the pages, but lacks the patience to sit there and hit every page, so these board books are perfect for him – colorful, tactile and easy to hold.
So far, Toddler kind of read through “Hush Hush Little Polar Bear” once and then moved onto “Duck and Goose” which I thought was adorable. He’s really big on counting right now – sometimes the numbers are even in order! – so being able to point to them on the page was huge. He also knows what a duck looks like, so that was exciting.
But our favorite was “The Pout-Pout Fish,” not only because it’s gorgeous and introduces a lot of colorful sea creatures, all of which Toddler wanted to touch and “Ooh” over, but because the story is so darned charming. The aforementioned fish believes that he’s destined to be pouty and sad, even though the other creatures try to get him to smile. Eventually, Pouty meets someone who turns his frown upside down. It’s a nice reminder that we can always find something to smile about.
I plan to keep the service, which starts at $17.95 a month but you can get a discount of $4 off your order by following this link!

Happy, Qualified

by SweetMidlife

Howdy! Lynne here!

Yesterday, my son wasn’t happy with me. I had put him in his room for quiet time, which I hoped would morph into nap-time, because he needed it. He had a few toys in there, but when I picked up the stool that he climbs on to look out of his window, he kinda freaked out.

“I NEED it!”, he shrieked,

“I’m sorry. I’m taking it.”

“But I NEEEEEED it (shriek, cry, confusion, hubbub)”, he whined.

“No, honey, you don’t. Have a good quiet time.”, said me, as I closed the door.

And as I went to put the stool away in my office (or the place that my husband calls “The junk room”. Working on that), I had a very brief moment where I thought about leaving him the stool. He would be able to see outside, and he loves talking to the birdies, and watching cars go up and down the street, and telling the bugs to get off of the window. He would be so happy. But he would also be working himself up so much that he wouldn’t be able to relax, and then the chances of him actually napping would be very, very slim. So I went back in my room, with him protesting from across the hall.

Yep, not happy with me at all.

I am 3 years into this parenting thing, and sometimes the strangest thing happens, and I have talked to friends with small kids and they have gone through the same thing. It’s when your kid is mad because you are making him put on pants, and you think, “Well, he’s upset, and he’s cute, so who’s going to say anything if he goes to the playground in a shirt and a Pull-Up?” Then I remember that I am the parent, and I get to say if he wears pants or not, and I make him get dressed, and if he’s mad, he’ll get over it, and be sliding down the sliding board in no time, pants and all.

Because I do everything I can to make sure that my son has a happy life, full of love and support, and entertainment and toys, and treats and faith, and friends and family and music and donuts. But that doesn’t mean that he is going to be happy WITH everything that happens.

Sometimes he can’t have a lollipop for breakfast.

He still has to go to the potty when he gets up, whether he wants to or not.

If he won’t stop banging his tool box on the table after I told him to stop, then I am taking it. And I just paused to do this because this JUST HAPPENED.

And I won’t get the balance right all of the time, and sometimes I am probably too lenient, and other times I need to learn pick my battles.  I am working on it. I am still learning. But this way he won’t be a jerk. And he will learn good things. And we will all be happier in the end.


Our current state: happy AND happy with his after breakfast lollipop and plenty of Nick, Jr.

Our current state: happy AND happy with his after breakfast lollipop and plenty of Nick, Jr.

Mom question: What won’t you eat after your kid?

by SweetMidlife
Would you eat this after your toddler? I did!

Would you eat this after your toddler? I did!

This is Leslie, and like my sister, and a lot of you, I live with a small person with no jobs, bad table manners and a demented joy in painting in his own food. Because he is developing his own palate, there are some things that he loves to eat over and over again, like bananas and yogurt, some things he likes most of the time, like small pieces of hamburger, greens and noodles, and stuff he turns on fickle-like, takes out of his mouth and drops on the floor like “How dare you even?”

A lot of the time, the food left over is not in a state where I’d ever consider eating it – Toddler is teething and he’s a drool monster, so sometimes his cups and plates and forks are a river of yuck. No yummy. But sometimes, as in the case of the above banana, or when he’s eating off my plate and there’s enough left that doesn’t have drool on it…well, I’m still hungry if he’s not.

So my question is…what can you not go for (no can do) when it comes to eating after your kids? Can you eat anything for love but you won’t do that? What is too gross for you?

Ode To My Kid’s Crib Upon Finding That He Can Get Out Of It

by SweetMidlife

by Lynne, with apologies to Boyz II Men. But not really.

How do I say goodbye to what we had?

The high bars that kept him in helped Mom and Dad.

I thought we’d have more time together

But that boy learned to climb, yes he did.

It’s so hard to say to say goodbye to your kid’s crib.

So I’ll take with me the memories (with me the memories)

Of the peace of having a nice confined kid

It’s so hard to say goodbye to your kid’s crib (Crib-i-i-i-i-i-i-ib)

Pouring a drink out for my homie, the crib.

Pouring a drink out for my homie, the crib.

Five lines from ’90s Westerns I’ve said to toddlers

by SweetMidlife

1) “I’m your huckleberry!” (“Tombstone): Uttered during standoffs where the toddler is looking for a fight, and although you weigh more than him and can just snatch him up and put him to bed, you make eye contact and explain that you’re up to the challenge. And can also just snatch him up and put him to bed.

2) “You called down the thunder and now you’ve got it!” (“Tombstone”): Actually said by me, yesterday, to the wriggling little spider monkey in my arms who found out what happens when you test the “I swear if you throw that remote one more time, you’re going to nap time” rule. (I don’t bluff. Go and tell the other toddlers.)

3) “Tell them the law’s coming. Tell them I’m coming! And HELL’S COMING WITH ME!” (“Tombstone”) : I did not actually say that to a toddler. I said it to my husband after the “You called down the thunder” incident, because it’s the next line in the speech and I felt like a baller.

4) “You call yourself the scourge of New Mexico? By God, I am New Mexico!” (‘Young Guns 2″) This was a thwarted attempt to get said toddler to stop throwing my pot lids around. He thought it was hilarious. Was not taken seriously. Burned by a toddler. Not a good look.

5) “You killed the boys, Patsy!” (“Young Guns 2): OK, so the stuffed turtle and bear weren’t dead. But he did throw them off the couch, and then looked at me like “Why are my friends on the floor???” Umm, cause you rude?

No is the New Everything

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

My sister Leslie wrote a wonderful post yesterday inspired by Amy Poehler’s new book, “Yes, Please!”, and specifically the thought that we sometimes say “yes” to things that we don’t want to because we are afraid of being though of as not “nice”, and that we compromise out time and real wishes to please other people. And Amy (and Leslie) surmise that saying “no” is often the right thing. Leslie even had a pastor who told her that “no” was holy. It was powerful and very meaningful.

But right now, in my world, “no” is powerful,  but in a different way.

Because I have a 2 year-old.

I am wearing shark pajamas, so heed my "no".

I am wearing shark pajamas, so heed my “no”.

“No” is the soundtrack of my days. Well, when it’s not “truck”. He loves some trucks, y’all.

I know that him saying “no” is part of him asserting his independence. Being able to express his disapproval and will is an important part of his growth, and I respect his “no” at times. It’s okay if he doesn’t want to hug me all of the time, or if he doesn’t want grapes today, even when he inhaled them yesterday. He sometimes says “no” as a joke, but sometimes the brother needs some room, or would rather have an apple, and I want him to know that we listen to him and trust when he’s had enough. And sometimes he says “no” to things that are gonna happen anyway, like bedtime, and me taking the crayons away when he tries to draw on the television. That is a healthy “no”. A futile one, but healthy.

Today we went out to breakfast at Cracker Barrel with a friend of mine, and he said “no” to juice, only to ask for it again 2 seconds later. And he said “no” to me telling him that he could not play the clarinet on the wall. Or the accordion. And he just threw in some “no” a few times just because he could. Because two.

So, I will try to remember, as we get deeper into toddler-dom, that this is all normal. I hear that 3 can be tougher than 2, because then he will REALLY think he knows a little something. I will remember that our days are mostly enjoyable, and I pray that we are dealing with all of this the right way. And in a crazy way, I will enjoy the “no’s”, because they are all a part of him becoming the wonderful dude he will be. Daggone, he already is wonderful. So, bring on the “no”, honey. You still can’t have lollipops for breakfast, but sure, let’s watch that Elmo video again. And sure, you can have another hug.


I’ll say “yes” to that.

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