How to Keep Up with a Toddler

I get asked some version of “Can you keep up with him?” regularly.

This is in reference to Little Sir who is your average two year old ball of energy.

Most days I think this is just one of those questions everyone gets asked. You know on the days when my mental health meter reads at the high end.

But when the mental health is ebbing, I wonder if I’m being asked this because I’m old. Or fat. Or both. Though I claim 39 and my driver’s license says I’m not overweight at all (God forbid they ever put a scale at the DMV), I wonder if I’d still be asked this so often if I was in my 20’s and ran marathons. I don’t remember being asked this with my daughter, but that’s probably senility settling in.

Well, the answer is yes (that I can keep up with him, not the senility). Though some days I certainly do a better job of it than others. I also have developed a few strategies.  I may not be as young or as agile, but I make it up for it in critical thinking skills.

The Shoe and Sock Advantage: Put one sock and one shoe on at a time. This way if Little Sir bolts with  one shoe and one sock on, he is hobbled a bit by being uneven.  Never put your child’s shoes on without having your shoes on first. You’re only giving them the advantage. And they don’t need more of those.

Keep ’em dumb: Have you seen this toy? This is clearly designed by a childless person. Or a sadist. WHY on earth would you want your  child to learn all these latches? Use locks, latches, hooks and the assorted keys to your advantage.

Supplements: For me, not him. My doctor suggested vitamins and a healthier diet. But I’ve found that hot caffeine (ie coffee) before noon and cold caffeine (ie diet coke) after noon is best. A bit of dark chocolate during nap time is also a good boost. I keep a bag of m&ms in my purse for emergencies. If you can’t tolerate caffeine in those quantities, then you’re just not trying hard enough.

Time Management: There is before nap time, after nap time and before bedtime. On the harder days, thinking in terms of the next reprieve can do wonders.

Safety in Numbers: What makes one toddler easier to handle? Another toddler. A new unfamiliar one. Once Little Sir sees a new toddler, he’s thunderstruck. Another of his species fascinates more than the jellyfish exhibit at the aquarium.  And toddlers come with moms and if I’m really lucky a Dad too. That means another adult (or two!) to corral, cajole and bar all exits.