Sunday, September 15, 2013
Duct Tape or Die Trying: Managing a Toddler by Anna Giattina Lee
DUCT TAPE OR DIE TRYING: MANAGING A TODDLER
Yesterday, I found myself saying aloud to my 15-month-old, “Child, do you have any idea what toys are? Introducing them, I pointed and said, “These two huge baskets of things are designed specifically for you to play with.” He ignores me. Hearing the knob turning on the front door, he races for it, hoping to escape before I can grab him. I leap forward, knowing that if he escapes, I will have to sprint to catch up with his chubby little bow legs that can leave the Road Runner in the dust.
My toddler could give Houdini a run for his money! This kid can escape from any position meant to keep him safe and secure. We have tried everything but Duct Tape to hold him down. He shimmy’s out of his highchair (tightened strap and all) like a professional escape artist removing himself from a straight jacket before the rope burns and he is plunged into a tank of man-eating sharks.
He can pull over a chair, climb up onto a countertop, stand up and hang from the light fixture with such stealth and grace that standing within 3 feet of him I don’t hear him until I happen to turn around from my position at the stove.
There is no “safety” gate for this kid. We have tried every brand available and rigged and engineered it for maximum harassment. Yet, he manages to find a way to open the child-proof lock. Or he climbs over the gate using his toes, feet and hands like a professional rock climber. Federal standards require certain spacing between bars. But the federal government forgot to consult my child. He has been known to push the gate with such force that he can make the space large enough for him to get through – starting feet first so that he can use his hands and feet to keep the space open for his head.
And those supersized play yards – the ones designed to contain children playing nicely with their toys – he simply pushes the ENTIRE play yard through the house, molding and bending it to fit through doorways, into the kitchen, through the laundry room and anyplace else he chooses to drag it, himself, and all his toys.
Oh, and because lifting it up is too much trouble sometimes, he simply pushes the gate over the edge of the first stair going down, creating a hole for him to crawl under so that he can escape. The play yard is nothing more than one more step in the game of SET ME FREE!!!
This toddler can push furniture around the house and shove chairs close to the wall so that he can remove the pictures from the walls!! I have raised a heck of a lot of kids. He is the FIRST to remove hanging pictures from the walls!
Yesterday, at the store, I had him strapped into the cart. While I was at the checkout, he managed to pull his body out of the strap and stand up – strap still attached. The clerk, an elderly woman with a cane standing behind me in line and I all lunged toward him thinking he was about to fall. He just laughed and sat back down! I re-tightened the strap and I’ll be dang if he wasn’t out of it and about to stand again before the clerk had given me my change!
This morning was a cool, crisp Alabama morning and I decide to walk seven kids under the age of seven to our local farmer’s market a few blocks away. My toddler and 2-year-old were in a double stroller. My toddler leans forward and places both hands on the front wheels to feel the motion. Almost instantly, he discovers that he can stick his head UNDER the seat, while still keeping both hands on the wheels! Put it this way, he would have flipped the entire double stroller if I hadn’t maintained a counterweighted position at the handles. Every time I pulled him back into the seat, he instantly flipped forward again! And again! At one point we were crossing the street and a man in a truck just stared in disbelief at the scene of me repeatedly trying to stop his flipping, while still watching all the other kids. Finally, I gave up and just held my position at the rear!
Ugggh! This mom to many knows nothing about raising kids. Every time I think I have things under control – or at least that I should – a new child changes the rules by being different from the last kid.
I titled this blog post, “Managing a Toddler.” That’s a joke.
Ultimately, I think I’m stuck with editing the title, “How Do I Manage a Toddler?!?!? ”
Pssst. Hey. For the record, duct tape is not allowed. If it was, I would have used it!