Life With a Toddler: A Short Story

"All done!" Mila said as she handed me a lump of slobber-covered bread.

I grabbed the bread from her.

"More!" Mila said.

I handed the exact same piece of bread back to Mila.

"Thank you!" Mila said. Then, a minute later, "All done!"

I grabbed the bread from her.

"More!" Mila said.

I handed the exact same piece of bread back to Mila.

And repeat. For ten minutes. For ten minutes Mila rejected a piece of bread, then asked for a piece of bread, and then happily accepted the piece she had already rejected.

If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, there should be a photo of a toddler next to the definition. Because yeah.



Is There a Harry Potter Support Group? I'm Asking for a Friend.

To know Alexis is to know that she doesn't do anything halfway. She can't just read a book; she has to alter the orbit of her universe so that it revolves around that book.

She received the entire Harry Potter series for Christmas. From the second she turned the first page, she was all in. The kid has dedicated all of her spare hours to Harry's story, with brief distractions for food, sleep, dance, and school. Which, school. That created quite the distraction because she couldn't count any of the Harry Potter books towards her monthly reading goals. If you want to see how hard I can roll my eyes, ask me how I feel about the fact that books above a kid's reading level don't count for reading goals.


(It hurts to roll your eyes that hard.)

Even with the need to stop reading Harry Potter to read other (easier)(OMG IT HURTS WHEN I ROLL MY EYES THAT HARD) books and all of the other things that got in the way, Alexis managed to devour the wizard's story pretty quickly.

So quickly, in fact, that yesterday she declared she had 200 pages left in the series. In that moment, I knew I was in trouble. The ugly thing that happens when people finish those books was on its way.

And it was travelling full speed.

It happens to be PSSA week, so it happens to be a week when Alexis has all of the time in the world while at school. She tends to finish the tests quickly and is then left to sit and read quietly. So, if she had 200 pages left at 8:00pm last night, she should finish the book ... tonight. She finished the book tonight.

I told you she has too much free time at school.

The thing is that I was paying a lot of attention as she neared the end. While I haven't read the books myself (they just don't do it for me), I have heard story after story about people who have sobbed uncontrollably after finishing the 7th book. Alexis is the soft-hearted empathy queen, so surely everything was going to fall apart in those last pages.

I was ready.

When Alexis said at 8:00 that she had 39 pages left to go, I dropped everything. I ran for the hills. Not literally, I suppose, but I did grab Mila and take her for a walk through our neighborhood. It's very hilly, so I came close to "running for the hills." Because OMG THE UGLY. IT WAS ON THE WAY.

I love that kid with the fire of 135913041 suns, but I didn't want to be there when she lost her mind. Go ahead and judge me for it. I don't mind AT ALL. Because tears. And drama. It was going to be UGLY.

When Mila and I returned to the house, I tread very lightly. I tiptoed into the family room, absolutely ready to run for cover. "Hi," I whispered to Alexis.

"HI! I finished the book!" Alexis gleefully replied.

No tears.

Just happiness.

"That was the best book ending EVER!" she exclaimed. WITHOUT TEARS.

I'm not entirely sure that Alexis is human. I am, however, entirely sure that she and her sister are made of the same brand of crazy.


A Different View That's Actually the Same

Because I am a special sort of insane, I let Alexis add a tumbling class to her schedule a few months back. It's all sorts of fun for her because it's an hour dedicated to back tucks and arabians and all sorts of other things that I can't name because do you hear that? The tumble-loving girl who won't stop talking? I hear it. I stopped trying to figure out the words because THERE ARE TOO MANY OF THEM.

She really loves that class, is what I'm saying. She ends up talking the whole way home. It basically sounds like omgdidyouseethatbacktuckstepoutomgsofunblahblahblahblahblahwordsmorewordsallwords because ALEXIS FORGETS TO BREATHE. She just talks excitedly the entire way home.

I'm glad she is enjoying the class. It has helped her accelerate her ability to make me cringe when she flips around all over the place. As I have noted many times, we're talking about a kid who gets attacked by the floor when she's standing still. How it is that she can be a graceful dancer and flip around like she's made of springs baffles me. She loves it, though.

Most of the time all of the words are fine. I enjoy her enthusiasm and ignore the details and everybody is happy. Tonight, though. TONIGHT.







The NHL playoffs. They are a thing I care about. Muchly. Therefore, I am ready to give myself Mother of the Year just for leaving the house during the game to take Alexis to her class. That's sacrifice, friends. True sacrifice.

I'm not sure what it is when you're trying to hear the game on the radio and the excited little person in the back seat is talking over the game. What's bigger than a sacrifice? Because me not screaming SHHHHHOOOOOOOOSH! at the top of my lungs is bigger than a sacrifice.

I want a cookie, dammit. Ten of them, even.

ANYWAY, as I was using all of my energy to focus on the words coming out of the radio while ignoring all of the words coming from behind me, a singular sentence somehow crashed into my consciousness.

"Mom, have you ever noticed that tree?" Alexis asked.

I had, actually. There is a very perfect tree that sits atop a very perfect hill that is often framed by the sunset as we head home at certain times of the year. It's a very perfect tree that sits atop a very perfect hill that isn't really along the most direct route home, but I take it every time anyway because I like seeing the tree. I told Alexis as much.

"Really? I didn't think anyone ever noticed that tree," she said.

"I've always wanted to grab a book and climb that hill so I could sit under that tree and read for a few hours," I told her. It's true. It's the sort of tree that screams for you to visit it for a long while so that it can spread its branches and hug you with its shade.

"ME, TOO!" Alexis excitedly exclaimed.

We continued for a minute talking about the big tree that had caught our attention and how much we like that it's there. We talked about the randomness of wanting to create the same little moment of joy and the little bits of beauty that park themselves in our everyday lives.

It was a very good night. Definitely.