Climbing Mount Everest: The Trek from Garage to Kitchen in 12 Easy Steps
As with anything involving an inquisitive toddler, planning the day can be quite a challenge. Some days, for instance, I have to weigh the necessity of food shopping against the challenge of carting a toddler and a baby to the grocery store. Often I wonder, do we really need to eat that badly? Other times, I know I’d better get the toddler to the park, or the circles he’s running in the living room will be permanently tattooed into the carpet. But wherever I go, I know I have to keep a little bit of energy in reserve, because a new adventure begins when the car ride home ends.
Now, you wouldn’t think that climbing twelve steps would require a 12-step process, but if I had to leave instructions for someone else to accomplish this seemingly simple feat, they might look something like this:
1. Park car. Close garage door so that toddler does not bolt the moment he is outside of the vehicle, heedless of weather, other vehicles, and protestations of one or both parents/adults/caregivers.
2. Walk to other side of car, open rear door. Empty the toddler’s hands and lap of the three toys, four books, two pairs of sunglasses, blanket, and any other items necessary for a car ride exceeding 2 minutes. Unbuckle car seat.
3. Catch toddler as he does his escape slide, melting over the edge of the seat and slipping his arms out of the straps as he oozes toward the floor in an effort to evade capture; grab him quickly before he makes for the front of the car.
A. If you catch him, yay! If not (more likely), run to a front door and make a mad-dive attempt to capture him before he switches every switch, turns every knob, and presses every button in under four seconds flat.
B. Pray that the next time you turn on the car, you don’t
* Blow an eardrum from the radio,
*Toast your buns on the heated seats while getting blasted by the arctic chill of the A/C that is now pointing directly in your face,
*Slam your knees on the steering wheel that’s three inches from the edge of the driver’s seat, or
* Get strangled by the seat belt which has somehow become wrapped around the headrest. Twice.
4. Deposit toddler in garage and instruct him to enter the house.
5. Start to open the other rear door to get baby brother, but get distracted when toddler makes for the tool bench/lawnmower/gas can/oil pan/ice melt/snow shovel/trash can, and run to catch toddler again.
6. Deposit toddler directly inside of basement door then a) distract with promises of junk food or b) threaten a time out, and go and get baby brother. Run.
7. Return with baby brother and begin to herd toddler up the stairs. (Is it “herding” if it’s only one? What if it just feels like six?)
8. Put down baby brother’s car seat as toddler dashes for the boiler room instead of up the stairs, chase and catch toddler, re-deposit at base of stairs, then block him with car seat and diaper bag. Repeat step 6a or 6b.
9. Follow him up the stairs. He will go up about three, and you two, before he stops short and sits down for a rest. With your arm about to be wrenched from its socket by the 30 plus pounds of baby and car seat, try not to scream as you ask him to “please keep going up the stairs, I’m asking you nicely.” (Because that will really make a difference…) Repeat request eight times with your voice rising in volume and desperation at each repetition.
10. At the top of the stairs, reach around toddler to open the doorknob that he has suddenly and inexplicably forgotten how to operate (“Mommy, I need help!) and “nudge” him gently with the car seat as you try not to stumble through on top of him.
11.Quickly grab the child-proofed interior door knob and slam door shut before dog runs down the stairs, taking you and the baby with him. Wonder for the 800th time why you didn’t just make two trips.
12. Pray you remembered to close and latch the gate at the foot of the stairs to the second floor before you left the house. If not…well…that’s another adventure for another time…
It just seems like getting from the garage to the kitchen with a toddler and a baby is harder than climbing Mount Everest some days…
Does anyone else have a routine like this?