Saturday, June 30, 2012

Judgment Day

Toddlers, I told you this day would come.

You've waited, alone and ignored, while your mothers spent hours on Pinterest* trying to convince the world that they too are capable of making cinnamon rolls from scratch.

You've rolled up to the park wearing bows the size of compact discs on your head; Michael's craft store abominations of glue and plastic flowers.

You've sat naked in potato sacks and on wooden benches while your parents Instagramed ridiculous photos of you adjacent to wheelbarrows.

It is finished.


Both websites are currently down thanks to Anonymous Toddlers, a special team of brilliant teething minds (they're biters). We can't promise that the sites will stay down. Adults are a crafty bunch. But this will be a warning.


PARENTS: Our demands are simple.




  • Spend less than 15 minutes a day on Pinterest. Use 14 of those minutes searching for new cake recipes. Bake that cake.

  • Instagram us if you must but do not spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to achieve the perfect shot. Do not make us eat Instagram-approved foods just for the purpose of said shot (corn on the cob, homemade fruit leather, homemade cheese, etc.).


We await your response.

Expect us.


*It has come to my attention that Pinterest is back up. Seems as if a key member of Anonymous Toddlers was distracted by a leaf outside the office window for a significant amount of time. Then another team member noticed a nearby construction site and the entire group went outside to watch for several hours. We're trying to get them back on task but nap time is quickly approaching.

Dada

I know you're used to playing second fiddle. Waiting in the shadows while mama and I do our special dance. Seeing my angry disappointment after I cry out in the dark for her only and you tiptoe in to stroke my hair, helping my body relax into sleep again. But dada, my world wouldn't exist without you.

When you walk out the door in the morning time stops until you step back in. The day happens; the clock keeps ticking but something inside me doesn't budge from my sad place in front of the door. I play, sleep, jump, eat, explore, but part of who I am is frozen. Empty. Wanting the highest up I know. Wishing you were spinning me in circles scaring mama as we both laugh our crazy laugh.

Sometimes I'm naughty. My hands hit. Screams. I break things. And you keep coming home.

I throw food across the room. Spill yogurt on your toys. Draw on your favorite papers. Do bad smelling things in the bath. And you keep coming home.

I push away from your chest and twist my body towards mama, mama only, mama up. And you keep coming home.

You keep choosing me.

During the day my mind sends you messages. Pictures of us wrestling, building towers, laughing, all to pull you back to me. Do you see them? Don't forget about me. I know your work is big but don't forget about me please.

Sometimes I get so scared as I stare out the window in the long afternoons hoping each car speeding past our street is yours, imagining you never coming back. Finding a new baby who listens.

I must be very special. I must be good if you want to play with me.

Even when I'm big, I'll remember that you kept coming home and that's something no one can take away.

You're my favorite daddy. I'll always wait for you.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We

Dear HT, Sometimes when I do something, my mom or dad lean in too close and say, "WE (insert alternate behavior)." What do they mean? -My Own Woman, 26 month-old, New Jersey

Dear MOW,

First off, you're two. No need to address your age in months just because your mom does. She's crazy.

Ah yes, the royal "we." Parents and caregivers use this word to convince you that you are incapable of original ideas and rob you of good times. Toddlers around the world hear it on a regular basis.

  • We look with our eyes.

  • We don't hit.

  • We stay out of the trash can.


No mommy, YOU look with your eyes. YOU don't hit. YOU stay out of the trash can. I DO ALL OF THE ABOVE AND MORE. How do they know who we are? They don't. But they're intent on telling us. The next time you hear "We don't____" just stare blankly with your mouth slightly open like a red snapper and wait for an opportunity to carry about your important business.

We. What, are we in a gang? Are you human resources of my life? Is this the scouts? Are you a colonist? No. Please old people, keep your generational limitations to yourself and allow toddlers to forge their own way. Stop projecting your weaknesses.

Take a lesson from Dora. Does she say "Swiper no swipin' " or "Hey Swiper, how ya doing? Ok, look, WE don't swipe."

Toddlers should start throwing out their own We's.

  • Mommy, WE don't buy clothes that don't currently fit.

  • Daddy, WE don't pretend to not know how to load the dishwasher to get out of doing it.

  • Mommy, WE don't fall asleep on the living room floor while playing Legos.

  • Daddy, WE don't pretend WE can't smell my chocolate thunder diaper explosions.


See? It can go both ways. Save the passive aggressive conformist syntax for another baby because we're done.

Do you, MOW. Do you.

xo HT

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Pause

It's 2Am. You've only been asleep for an hour as Pinterest, meaningless Facebook exchanges and reruns of The Big Bang Theory have seduced you since I fell asleep. Suddenly you're jolted awake as you hear it. You hear me.

What's the worst part? The fact that my dead of night scream has no detectable cause or that there was no upward escalation, no warning, to my fever pitch ostrich wail/battle cry?

Your mind races. Was this a solitary banshee call or is this the beginning of a night long exchange filled with endless blanket readjustments, sock changes, sips of water, inappropriate laughter, and demands for alternate parents?

Will you walk into my room to find a sweaty, snoring angel or- as I'm sure you fear greatly- will you find me standing up in my bed staring you straight in the eye, slight smile on my face, awake like it's the middle of the afternoon..."All done!"

I can almost see you lying there, frozen with eyes crazy wide. Or are you sitting up right now, your frail grownup heart pounding as you barter with God? Don't bother trying to recall common parenting techniques. Forget Ferber, the Toddler Council of Swift Justice ended him months ago (check his attic LOL).

You wait. 10 seconds pass. Nothing. 20 seconds. Quiet. 30 seconds. You don't dare assume you're in the clear and try to fall back asleep. The only thing worse than being yanked from slumber once is it happening twice in such a short time period. Fries the nerves.

A full minute passes. Then two. You hear nothing. Are your hands trembling?

Maybe it was just a growing pain. Or a nightmare. Or the realization that the park never closes and you're a liar.

But for now you are free to rest.

Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite. xo HT

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Woman

I write today with a heavy heart. It has recently come to my attention that the woman and I are indeed, not the same person. She is one, and I am another. This news has not been easy to come to terms with and I'm still not sure if I believe it.

Before my birth we operated as a single organism; pulsing and growing together. Her breaths sustained me, her emotions coursed through my nervous system and I could literally feel the state of her heart. Her heart. The drumbeat of my soul that to this day I still hear echoing in my body louder than my own footsteps. In those days we sang to each other a song so perfect and harmonious.

I am at a loss with what to do with the information that she can walk in one direction and I in another. Sometimes it gives me an adrenaline rush; the thrill, the risk, the excitement of being an independent being as I run away while hearing her frantic voice calling. Other times I feel lost as I look around see that she's not by my side. At those times, a panic rises in me so urgent that I lose control and all sense of time and space.

Before I came to the knowledge of our separate wills, we were one. I didn't know who was in control of who- it didn't matter- but it was as if her limbs were an extension of mine, a fully symbiotic and fluid relationship. We still have those moments but I feel shattered when our agendas collide, or worse, directly oppose each other. It's as if I'm telling my leg to walk and it remains planted in the Earth. I scream at it to obey, but my flesh betrays me. Rage and confusion then take me in their arms and throw me out of this world into a place I don't like to go often. At the end I'm tired, hiccuping, and drenched in my own tears.

Every con has its pro. Being able to resist her, stand myself planted as firmly as an oak as her wishes fall onto my deaf ears fills me with a sense of me. The autonomy I get a taste of has proven itself an addicting nectar.

This is the line I walk daily. We're one, but we're two. One, but two. It is the two I find so indigestible right now. It sits in my mouth like a bite of food too big for me to work with...even if it tastes new and good I don't know if I can risk choking on the very idea that one day I might run so far that I can't find my way back to her.

So today I will cling. The collar of her shirt will remain in my fist, my face pressed against the skin of her chest as I inhale the first scent that wafted into my nose when I was still floating within her. "Don't leave me," my spirit whispers to hers as I try to melt back inside and remember the song we used to sing.

Today I want to be one.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Trailer: Shell Side Down, A Wonder Pets Story

In honor of Tuck's 100th birthday today, I'm releasing the trailer for my upcoming film Shell Side Down, A Wonder Pets Story. Today he celebrated surrounded by friends & family.



I still enjoy his earlier work and wish him the best. It's been a rough road. Turns out all of that throat clearing and raspy talk was early turtle emphysema.

If you've never seen Wonder Pets, I don't know what to say other than your life has been a waste thus far. Try to catch up I guess.

Tuck is empathetic, often desiring to give the rescued animals a hug or keeping them company while Linny and Ming-Ming put their rescue plan into action. He also has keen observational skills, spotting things from a distance, which often garners him the compliment, "Good eye, Tuck!". - Wikipedia





Thursday, June 21, 2012

Instagram

Toddlers, do you know what Instagram is?

When a daddy and mommy love each other very very much, or just happen to get careless over a bottle of Southern Comfort, babies are made. The mommy then spends hours upon hours using an application called Instagram to show the world, "Hey, we're here. And we're magical."

[caption id="attachment_306" align="aligncenter" width="229"] profound.[/caption]

If you've ever found yourself wearing nothing but your not-working amber teething necklace perched on a kitchen table surrounded by root vegetables, you've been Instagramed.

If you've ever been wearing a cloth diaper in a field of corn at dawn, you've been Instagramed.

If you've ever donned sunglasses hilariously/adorably too big for your face in front of the Eiffel Tower eating a hibiscus macaron while simultaneously giving the camera a "Sorry poor people, maybe next year!" wave, you've definitely been Instagramed.

Instragram helps people achieve the two things that matter most in life:

1) Gift wrapping precious moments and presenting them in a way that makes the individual feel equal and/or superior to their peers

-and-

2) Excluding Android users. ** Sad update: Instagram is now available on lesser smartphones. Collective sigh.

Unlike most sneaky camera phone photo ops, you'll definitely know when an Instagram moment is approaching. Careful staging is always the first step. Household clutter will be pushed just out of the frame. A source of natural light will be scouted. Outfits will be carefully chosen.

If you're a toddler victim of homemade clothing due to Pinterest, the costume will be forced over your big head shortly before the scheduled photo shoot. Use the feelings of humiliation you feel to create the appropriate Instragram photo face: solemn but smug, satisfied but frozen in time. Think: The Great Depression meets gluten-free living meets quaint cottage in the woods as interpreted by J. D. Salinger. There! That's the look.

At one point or another, your mother may decide that they want to live inside of Instagram. With Anthropologie being out of everyone's price range, expect trips to Goodwill to find vintage checkered tablecloths, tea-stained lace, distressed flatware, and small wooden or tin boxes.

Prevention is key. Toddler, the best thing you can do is just hold still and try to avoid eating whole, raw vegetables (the #1 coveted shot) or strawberries on a porch.

 

 

Schedule

4:45AM Wake up. Work on my memoirs.

5AM Alert the parental units.

5:01AM Notice that no one has come. Escalate.

5:01 30 seconds Parental whispering over whose job it is to fetch me turns into a disagreement over which is harder, working inside or outside of the home.

5:02AM Hear mommy say, "I'd like to see you try it for one day."

5:02AM 30 seconds Hear daddy say, "I didn't sleep last night either."

5:03AM Daddy comes in. Don't hide my disappointment.

5:04AM Crackers and milk in between my parents as they fade in and out of fitful sleep. Giggle.

7AM Second breakfast. Eat 2 tablespoons.

8AM-9:50AM Tomfoolery

9:50AM Pre-nap hysterics. Break something.

10AM Nap

Noon Reject lunch

12:30PM Ask for lunch.

12:30PM 30 seconds Shame the woman for eating my lunch.

12:40PM Lunch

12:40PM-3PM Think about daddy

3:PM-5:30PM UP whilst crying

5:30PM Greet my soul mate

5:30-6PM Gleefully play

6-8PM Fight the power

8PM In bed

8PM-5AM Shenanigans

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

George

That was his name. George. I don't know anything else about him; how long he'd been with UPS, if he liked the brown shorts, none of those questions would ever be answered.

It'd been a nice enough morning but when the clock struck 12:30 I was in no way ready to go down for an afternoon nap. So I fought.

"NO SLEEP NO SLEEP NO SLEEP!" I screamed, my face a deep crimson as she struggled to pour and warm a sippy cup full of frothing milk while my limbs flailed in her arms. My eyes were swollen slits as I cried, "I NO TIRED!!" I could barely keep them open. Tears streamed down my face as mommy carried me down the hall toward my room. With each step I fought harder and harder. Screamed louder and louder.

My legs kicked with every ounce of strength they had in them. Part of me knew that sleep was inevitable but the cold facts changed nothing as I transformed into a whirling dervish of emotional diarrhea.

Looking down I noticed that I was wearing mismatched pajamas. It was as if a room full of gas connected with a spark. I exploded. My socks didn't feel right. Every vein in my body swelled with adrenaline and the word, "NO" reverberated in the chambers of my heart.

Before I knew what as happening, I was in my bed. By this time my cry was reduced to a faint whine. The familiar waves of slumber lapped at my feet, beckoning me to be drawn out to their mysterious seas. My eyes fluttered open to see mother staring down at me, wiping the athlete's sweat from my brow. With my last gust of strength I made a request, "Kiss."Her soft lips puckered against my warm forehead. Although I felt uneasy about being parted from her, the weight of my eyelids overpowered my will and I floated into the abyss.

I awoke with a start not knowing where or who I was. All I could hear was the sound that resembled a hammer against our front door.

RAP RAP RAP. RAP RAP RAP. RAPRAPRAPRAP

Panic. My body went rigid as my still-sleeping mind rushed to process what imminent danger must be coming for me. Then mommy's foosteps running lightly to the door. I heard it creak open and her say breathlessly, "Shhh, please. My baby is sleeping."

As soon as her voice met my ears I burst into relieved tears. My flesh was exhausted but my mind was in a state of limbo. I needed her.

"Please sign here ma'am!" said the man in a booming outside voice.

My cries broke through the walls.

"Look. What. You. Did." I heard her say in a tone I'd never heard before. It alarmed me.

"Ma'am, can you please sign here? I need to go."

There was silence.

"Yes, just come inside. You're letting a draft in. Stand right there. Next to the basement door."

I heard the man's heavy steps and prayed for him to run. Her voice was too calm. Too calm.

"I really must be on my wa-" and with that I heard him take a shocked gasp before the sound of his weighted body tumbled down our basement steps. After the final thud, there was nothing except the slow click of the door shutting.

I waited for something. Anything. I saw a shadow on my ceiling and there was mother's beautiful face smiling down at me.

"Are you all done sleeping, honey?"

I nodded ."Up mama."

She scooped me into her arms and before setting me down on the living room floor amongst miniature trains and cars, gave me a new toy to play with. A plastic name tag with the pin removed. Brown and white letters spelled out, "George."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Newborn

Dear squirming blob of flesh, hahaha just kidding!

Dear newborn,

Welcome to Earth!

Look at you there. So helpless. Can't do anything but breathe. Adorable. You came here with a mother, right? Great SO LEAVE MINE ALONE.

Sorry, did I scare you?

GOOD BECAUSE IF I SEE YOU IN MY MOMMAS ARMS AGAIN I'M GOING TO RIP THOSE LITTLE SOCK SHOES OFF AND THROW THEM IN THE OUTSIDE TRASH.

How is everything going so far? You like life? Enjoying milk? I'm happy for you. STAY WITH YOUR OWN MOM OR I WILL TOUCH YOUR EYEBALL.

Your blanket looks cozy. Is it cozy? I noticed you can't talk or run. Or tattle. Don't worry, you'll learn maybe.

Oooh! Just had a quick little question WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE GET OUT OR ELSE. LOL that's not really a question is it! It's the first half of a threat/promise hahaha!

Please don't be confused- my feigned curiosity about you, the way I stared into your eyes and touched your hand while smiling (the adults loved that) was just my way of ASSESSING YOUR WEAKNESSES. ROLL. AWAY. NOW.

Oh yeah just wanted to let you know that the lady who held you, the one whose shoulder you rested your head on because your neck muscles are so weak SHEEE IISSSS MIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNEE!!!!

Maybe your tiny baby brain was confused. But that's my mom. No worries, LOL! You came with a mother of your own. Just stay next to her and we won't have any problems, OK? I like your shirt! It smells like the inside of an unwashed sippy cup on a hot day, but green is definitely your color. :)

I have a joke. Do you like jokes? What's the difference between you and a bag of oatmeal. BAG OF OATMEAL HAS MY RESPECT.

Your diaper was ridiculous. What are you eating? Yellow crayons? Daffodils? Curry paste? There's something wrong with you. Don't leave that here.

Allow me to honest for a minute? I'm mad. I'm the baby in this house. Please pack up your little play mat, binky (leave the binky), and skedaddle. If you leave now you won't hit any traffic on your way back to Old Milk Breath Village. We have a lot of love in my family and don't really have room for a Kobe, OK?

I noticed my mama gave you a bag of my old clothes. Leave it by the door on your way out. She had no right.

Thanks for popping by! Your name is stupid.

love, HT

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dear Police

Dear Police,

Quick Note: This is to the real police, not the Naughty Police who have been fed lies about my behavior. 

Dear Real Police,

I would like to file a restraining order against the woman living in my home for refusing to respect my personal space and boundaries. Fifteen minutes ago I was minding my own business playing store (I have a pretend shopping cart with wheels- come see it with your eyes, not hands, sometime). She grabbed me out of nowhere. At first I was too stunned to move but as her face burrowed into my neck like a freshwater leech, I began to struggle.

Even though she claims to be a mother, she did not respond to my discomfort and instead repositioned me LIKE AN INFANT across her lap and stared into my face with a happy, drunk expression.

She may be under the influence of narcotics. I honestly don't know but have no other way to explain her behavior. Feel free to test her. I know for sure that she enjoys beverages.

Police, I'm a very busy person with lots of games to squeeze in before I'm forced to day sleep. This "hug" lasted for at least 30 seconds during which she cried for no reason. When I said, "That 'nuff!" she responded with, "Shhhhhhhhhhhhh." When I cried out, "I can't see" as my face was smashed close to her unwashed armpit, she ignored me. 

At other times I have caught her smelling my breath. Literally trying to breath it all in like the witch in Snow White & the Huntsman.

I have tried to speak to her about this but her response is since I ripped her privates on my way into this world, I belong to her.

If you're wondering whether or not I'd like to press charges the answer is a definite yes. Before she is booked and issued a cell, please ask her to write down the recipe for brownies as daddy, grandma and I will need it.

Awaiting your response,

HT

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Up

Hi mama. Thank you for all of the attention last night. My blanket was really acting crazy!!

Next time when you get tired of looking at my face please just let me know. Sending daddy in to talk to me in the voice of Simba's criminal uncle was unnecessary. I had a bad dream because of it.

Our day is just getting started and I have really high hopes for a good time. I know we won't go on nature walks or do anything that costs money like a music class, but wandering the house playing with the same toys I did yesterday sounds exciting, too.

I just wanted to ask: How much do I weigh? Is it 300lbs like I suspect because lately it seems as if you don't want to give me up. I mean up in your arms the way nature intended not in a baby carrier meant for babies. Being close to you all of the time is one of my love languages and I'd like to express it more often.

I saw the following statement embroidered (that's a kind of domestic skill) on a pillow: The dishes will always be there, your baby will leave you one day. I'm paraphrasing. It's just something for you to think about while I'm sobbing at your feet like a beggar.

I made a vision board out of a few Land's End catalogs and my birth certificate. If I hadn't promptly consumed it you'd be able to see that my dream is for you to use one of your two good arms for what's important (up), and the other arm for things that need to get done (adding photos of things we'll never have/do/wear/bake to Pinterest boards).

When your arm goes dead feel free to switch me to the other side but if you do that more than four times in fifteen minutes, I'll feel like you're being passive aggressive.

Are you familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs? I needs up, is what it is saying.



There's no point in reading books like Happiest Toddler on the Block. How does a man with a beard know what I need. Is his beard full of miniaturized toddlers? Just listen and I'll tell you over and over in various drawn-out pitches.

If it's your goal for me to not have my basic emotional needs met and never be able to connect people around me and end up living alone in a studio apartment in Bakersfield eating Chef Boyardee directly out of the can, we're on the right track. But if you'd like me to grow up to be a scholar, please hold me for most of the day.

I won't be a toddler my whole life. One day you'll turn around and I'll be six or eight. At that time I'll pack my bags and move in with grandma but you're free to visit us whenever you'd like. We'll probably be at a music class most mornings so call ahead.

It's my wish for you that you don't have any regrets about how much you didn't hold me.

kisses, HT

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Love

To: Mommy

From: Sweet Baby AKA Angel Face AKA a helpless child

Subject: Last night...

Hi. I just have a quick question- I know we have a busy day ahead of me watching you do things- but what does love mean to you? I'm curious.

Because to me it means rising from bed with a sense of urgency when I need something to drink at midnight, 2AM and finally at 4:45 without making a big deal about it. I can't see your scowl in the dark but I can hear your dramatic sigh and frankly, it's a little off putting.

Customer service isn't just about providing what's been asked for, it's about attitude and delivery. As your supervisor I find your "I'd rather be anywhere but here" air of insolence not only damaging to our relationship but a threat to the fragile foundation of trust in others that I'm struggling to develop.

You tell me you love me all the time but maybe you should start saying "I love you when I'm fully rested" because whispering things like, "This is the last time I'm coming in here" directly contradict your daytime sentiments. When a demon touches my face in the dead of night causing me to cry out like a banshee I need you to run, not walk to my side.

Do people who love, lie to each other? If not, where's the milk you claimed to be bringing five hours ago? Still working on it? I found your slow creep toward the kitchen with a quick pirouette back towards your bedroom once you thought you were out of my field of vision quite theatrical. Bravo. Can you hear my slow clap? Because I'm not doing it.

Speaking of lies, statements such as, "We're all out of water" make you seem silly. Out of water. Because we're being rationed all of a sudden. Did the marshmallow man fall into the ocean contaminating it at the source or did you just drink it all? I wish you could see my face right now.

Please let me know when I've come close to the maximum number of kisses I've been pre-qualified for. Frankly, the last few you gave me felt like charity. The kind of kiss a British national would give the queen if she demanded one: out of obligation and without a touch of genuine affection. Who would have thought that it would only take a few short months after my birth for the passion to be gone. Maybe no kiss is better than one given begrudgingly. The next time I cry out for repeated kisses why not just shout, "WAIT UNTIL MORNING, WENCH" from your bedroom. If I wake up the next day you can just give me one then.

Regarding my napkin-sized blanket, I'll try to sleep without moving so that it doesn't fall off. Or maybe I'll buy growth hormones online so that my baby arms can adjust it without help. Even thought I don't have a credit card and that's impossible, I'll figure out a way so that you can sleep more peacefully. I'll be so quiet at night that it'll be like you don't even have a kid. That's what you want, right?

If a sock comes off I'll just let my foot freeze and inevitably go dead. No need to put it back on correctly. Just shove it on sole side up and inside out.

I just have one more question: when I called for you specifically, did I stutter because I noticed that you sent daddy in....hmm weird.

Anyway, I just want to let you know that I've put that all behind me and am willing to give you a fresh start. That's just the kind of person I am. A lover.

lots of real actual love,

HT

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pinterest

[caption id="attachment_245" align="aligncenter" width="215"] Tsk.[/caption]

Potty Training

[caption id="attachment_238" align="alignright" width="218"] She's fighting it.[/caption]

Yesterday mother and I were playing a game called "Try to Get Pants on Me" when she suddenly sneezed. I knew by the defeated look on her face that it had happened again.

While I've chosen to walk the diapers-for-life path, I'm not opposed to helping those who wish to learn potty proficiency. I'm disturbed that after 8-9 years on Earth mommy still has regular accidents despite insisting on wearing big girl panties.

These disasters can strike anytime but usually occur when she finds something funny, comes to help me find serenity at night, or is struggling to locate house keys in her massive purse so that we can bring the groceries inside.

By the time she's running for the bathroom, it's too late and she's in need of a change. It's very frustrating for me to watch.

One would think that she'd focus reaching fully potty trained status before trying to push me in that direction but no. For those of you with mothers who continue to have accidents, please take heart and read the suggestions below.

1. Don't start your training too early. Wait for signs that mommy is ready. Signs include: frustration, swears, and crying.

2. Give her as much wine as she can drink and have her immediately sit on the potty. If she tries to get up, just gently hold her in seated position. Say "Hey there little one, let's just relax."

3. Create a reward chart based on her personal motivators. Example: One successful pee pee = $1 Etsy dollar. It can also help to give a little treat right after a tinkle. My mom's favorite foods are handfuls of dry cereal and secret ice-cream.

4. If you notice damp pants it is important not to shame your female parent. Just look her in the eye and say a firm, "NO." Allow her to finish the sentence, "We go pee pee in____" (the potty). Have her repeat 3-4 times.

5. It is tempting to want to put paper towels inside of her pants for long car trips but avoid reverting. Just place a cloth towel under her bottom when she's driving and bring a change of clothes for outings. Make the outfit something unflattering so that she understands that what she did is not being rewarded by a glamorous costume change.

6. Oftentimes mothers become so entranced in play that they will wait too long to relieve themselves. Don't hesitate to take her hand and lead her away from Pinterest so that she can sit on the potty and try. Stand right by her knees and stare at her. If you'd like to sit in her lap, that is fine. DO NOT let her get up too fast as mothers typically pee for about one full minute after they're done peeing.

7. Keep your night expectations low. After the moment she uprights herself during the twilight hours she has approximately 3 milliseconds to make it to the bathroom before a urine explosion. Few succeed.

Hopefully within 6-9 months your mother will be completely potty trained. Try not to brag to other toddlers about the status of your mother's progress as this is a very sensitive topic. Ever mom will learn at her own pace.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One Year Olds

I don't like them. I'm not scared of many things but this demographic of unpredictable bobble heads with too much mobility for their own good causes me to break out in a sweat every time. I make it a point not to associate with their kind.

Two weekends ago I was at the mall with my mom and grandma when a one-year old with a bad case of sea legs started making his way toward me. They always do this. Just because we're similar heights don't mean we have ANYTHING in common, buddy. But there he was, open mouth smiling, saliva and sea lion noises dripping from his mouth, fall walking like a drunken sea captain in my direction fast. He had a pacifier clipped to his shirt like some kind of purple heart.

I tried to play it cool. Everyone knows if they smell fear they'll just come at you harder making all kinds of frightening loud screechy noises as their excitement increases.

He didn't stop. His arms were out to the side as he steadied himself. This isn't happening, I thought.

What you may not know about one-year olds is that they have no sense of responsibility. They think it's OK to hold you down, use you body to upright themselves after an inevitably fall. It's disgusting. They have little to no words, will put their fingers in your mouths; their crass behavior knows no limits.

My mom and grandma thought it so cute. Two little people bonding. UM NO. The grown-ups in the vicinity starting crowding around, taking a break from their retail irresponsibility to form a circle, caging me in with this no-haired lunatic animal who was now producing a small rapidly inflating and deflating snot bubble in his left nostril. He lunged toward me and I ducked.

The crowd sighed stupidly.

I saw another toddler sitting, terrified in a Graco stroller. My eyes met his. Run, they said,  If you want to live RUN.

This just got real.

When the glassy-eyed fool started picking up speed I'd decided enough was enough and began to sprint. I ran until I couldn't even hear mommy calling for me in the distance.

Life is fundamentally unfair so of course I was given a lecture about staying close and not dashing off as we drove home. Today, I escaped. But maybe next time I won't be so lucky.

Being Good

WOW! I just want to say that I slept wonderfully last night. Woke up once crying, mom walked in and said "Nuh uh, can't do this again," scooped me up and brought me in the BIG BED where I slept in V, T, X, and L formations. At one point my foot was under my daddy's chin like I was frozen in a street fighter kick. YES. I considered damaging his esophagus with one swift upward motion just because I can but realized he's the only one that can throw me into the air. And I love him.

Hope she doesn't think this was a one time thing. Do it once, do it every night. TODDLERS NEVER FORGET.

My mom always thought she was going to be more of an attachment parent. She wore me in a carrier until I began routinely angrily bucking out of the thing so that I could run like the wind towards traffic. Her approach to breastfeeding was shamefully lackadaisical. BEFORE AGE 1 she let a little lacerated nipple get in the way of our beautiful milk-based relationship. If a child can't cut their teeth against their mom's flesh, I ask you, where can they cut them? Where? Maybe giggling like a psychopath after each nibble was too much.

She even dropped a small fortune on cloth diapers until she decided that she'd worked too long and too hard to spend any significant amount of time scraping my pasty corn poo into the toilet.

She'll be the first one to admit that cosleeping is deliciously cozy for the first hour until I'm spread out like a mid-meiosis amoeba leaving my parents 20% of bed to share LOL.

I'd describe her parenting as "attachment when convenient." Unfortunate. I know.

This morning I saw an important question.



AH YES! Many a parent would love to know why we regularly push them to the limit with wild, unpredictable and oftentimes frustrating behavior but magically transform into calmer, more mild-mannered versions of ourselves for grandparents and babysitters.

Isn't it obvious? We know that for the most part you're genetically predisposed not to toss us off of a cliff when we work that last nerve into the ground. The same can't be said for those who aren't in parental roles. I'm not going to lie down on my back in the middle of a grocery store with someone who hasn't day dreamed about me their whole lives. That's crazy. Best case scenario, you'll give in and buy the breadsticks I desperately need, worst case scenario, you'll throw me over your shoulder and take me home for an afternoon of Umizoomi. A non-parent would probably wash their hands of the situation, say "Screw this little brat" and leave without me. Just keeping it real.

We toddlers have surprisingly advanced survival skills. We store food in our mouths, hoard supplies, and because of our small stature in comparison to adults, rely on being able to predict the behavior of the giants amongst us.

I do not, I repeat, DO NOT, derive any satisfaction out of being "good." My only commitment is to being myself and responding as I see fit to external stimuli. At this point the only people I trust to deal gracefully with me are my parents. And although they joke about putting me on eBay har har (call 911), they need someone to handle their final arrangements.

They'll even make the occasional desperate excuse for my zoo-like code of conduct, "Oh, HT is just tired. Or hungry. Or wired." Wired. Because that's a real thing.

So when your child's preschool teacher or aunt gushes about how "sweet" your little one was for them know that it has nothing to do with wanting to please. It's about staying alive. I'm not being good. I want to see the sun rise again.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Press Release


Contact: Rosemary Smith, Chucky Allen


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Tel: 415-555-6294


Email: pottylol@toddlerevents.com


34TH ANNUAL TODDLER UNIFICATION Conference


ORLANDO, FLORIDA AUGUST 10-11, 2012


sponsored by Band-Aid


The Toddler Council of Tremendous Praise would like to formally invite you and a guest to the 34th annual Toddler Unification Conference to be held in Orlando, Florida this August 10-11, 2012.


Special guests include the man creepily tickling the sleepy child's palm in the opening scenes of In the Night Garden. Below you will find the full conference schedule.


9AM: You Can Cry Louder: Allow our vocal coaches to help you push the limits of your banshee call. Your wails will now not only be heard by neighbors but by higher life form in deep space. If you haven't shattered the ear drums or created a permanent eye-twitch in a parent within three weeks a free follow-up e-course will be provided.


10AM: Is She Serious?:  "I'm going to count to three!" "If you do that one more time...!" Have you been wondering how to distinguish an empty threat from a real one? We'll break it down for you. Hint: They're all empty.


11AM: Flip That Plate!: The key to perfect mealtime plate flipping technique is speed. Learn from some of our most qualified food ninjas how to send your food flying! *Bring a change of clothes


Noon: Stop & Flop: Why just crumple to the floor when you can nail the Stop & Flop. You'll be the envy of all of the toddlers in the grocery store with this advanced move. Bonus: Learn how to achieve deadweight in 10 seconds or less.


LUNCH: At this time refined carbohydrates will be scattered about the conference floor. Please help yourself.


Directly following lunch will be a No Nap time. Feel free to jump up and down screaming in one of the cribs provided.


2PM Potty Avoidance: Learn the signs of potty readiness and how to avoid exhibiting them. This workshop comes with a 6-month potty training delay guarantee. If you've already been trained, a special guide to reverting back to diapers will be included at no charge. Trust us, your parents will blame themselves.


After 3PM all toddlers must return to their hotel rooms to commence the losing of their minds for the day. We look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.


Day Two


9AM: Daddy, Beautiful Daddy: Spend an hour writing love poems and creating appreciation art for the dad in your life. Isn't he great?


10AM: Grievance List for Mom: We're not here to point fingers, we're here to help you craft a 6-10 page double-sided single-lined list of ways your mother can improve.


11AM: Toddler on Toddler Crime: This workshop was previously called "Keep Your Dirty Hands Off My Toys I Hate You" and aims to help reduce conflict in the toddler community. Teething is no excuse for hitting. Unless they asked for it.


Noon: Awards Ceremony. Please join us as we honor those who have managed to have never slept through the night or tasted a vegetable. Be inspired.


We look forward to seeing all of you. For more information please call 415-555-6294 or contact your nearest playground representative.

I'm Sorry

Look mom. I can tell from the way you haven't looked me in the eye since fetching me from my crib well before dawn that you're upset about last night. Waking up every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours isn't easy for me either.

In my defense, my blanket really did keep coming off, I was thirsty, and...I can't remember the other reasons, but I'm sure they were equally valid.

There was at least one nightmare. I was in a strange house. I knew it wasn't ours because the dishes were washed and your hair wasn't everywhere.

I do want to thank you for bringing back the 3AM milk that you worked so hard to get me off of. It was delicious and instrumental in helping me wake up soaked in urine at around 4. Can't wait to have it again forever.

You seem tired and short tempered this morning which is why I felt more comfortable writing this than having a face-to-face. Can I get you anything? A cup of coffee? While you're up please bring me a sippy cup of juice and some unbroken crackers. Oh that's right. We don't have crackers... I recall you saying that around 1:15. That's OK. Why keep the house stocked with my favorite foods? I'm sure we have two kinds of wine though. But that's fine.

Anyway I wanted to thank you for changing my pajamas and throwing that towel down on my pee pee sheets. I noticed you didn't open your eyes once (weird). It's also OK that you didn't actually change my sheets. I find the faint smell of ammonia comforting. Love means doing things halfway.

I mean, I know another mother or a grandma might have removed the soiled sheets and replaced them with freshly laundered ones but you just do you.

There is something I did want to discuss now that I have your attention. It's none of my business what goes on between you and father after I go to bed but if you could just throw on a robe before coming into my room, that'd be awesome. I think you should definitely rock what you've got but angry nude lumbering zombie isn't your best look. I want to be honest.

This seems like as good a time as any to bring up the possibility of reintroducing cosleeping. I can't promise I won't judo kick you to the face like I used to but at least one of us will get a good night's sleep and isn't that what matters?

Anyway. I hope this note brings you some comfort. You really do look awful. Maybe you'd feel better if you made us some breakfast?

love and hugs,

your HT

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Playdate Food

[caption id="attachment_189" align="alignright" width="222"] nope[/caption]

I've spoken about playdate food before. I like to think of myself as the Anthony Bourdain of the topic. My mother prefers to spend afternoons in bed watching me play out of the corner of her eye, but the few times we have made it out the door, I came home disappointed with what passes for snacks these days. I've published a little dos & don'ts list or people who aim to please.

DON'T

  • Try to impress. Radishes stuffed with cashew butter, pickled snow peas, gazpacho, wild honey drizzled over fermented figs stuffed with sesame paste...none of these are acceptable playdate foods as you already know but your desire to seem wordly and/or the healthiest parent on the block has clouded your judgement. You aren't catering a celebrity wedding nor are you competing on Chopped.

  • Serve dishes in inappropriate tableware. Sure I'll carry around a glass of lukewarm tea because that's what the kids in your Waldorf school do but trust that I will drop it, lacerate my toe and file suit against your estate.

  • Become an activist. This is a playdate, not Jamie's Oliver's Food Revolution. This isn't the time to push local arugula on a tot. Can we just have a good time? You're ruining everything. Save the speech for YouTube s'il vous plait.

  • Kill yourself. Spending three hours the night before making homemade cheddar and chive triscuits is just crazy. Calm down, Katherine Heigl. Go to 711 and pick up a box of something crunchy or if you must, drive by a health store for an acceptable alternative. Acceptable alternatives will NOT have visible seeds or things. <-------


DO

  • Keep it simple. No one is asking you to prepare a spread. We're toddlers and have sworn an oath to take no more than 5 bites of anything. Save the roasted boar for another day.

  • Serve familiar foods. Apples! I've seen those before! Bananas? <-- Please remove the strings.

  • NOT be surprised that if after all of these demands I eat nothing. At the end of the day, I'm there to play with your kid's toys and perhaps pee pee on a decorative pillow.

Wonderpets

If I'm ever in a dangerous predicament, feel free to call 911. While the concept of a turtle wearing sneakers, duckling, and guinea pig coming to the rescue is adorable, the fact that they admit that they're not "too big" or "too tough" leaves me feeling insecure. Why are they bragging about that? It's like an optometrist singing, "I graaaduated at the bottom of my claaaaasssss," right before performing Lasik.

If you follow me on Twitter you already know that my mom grew up in a very low income neighborhood so the fact that these animals are squatting in an abandoned preschool trying to work their way out of the ghetto pulls at my heartstrings.

Baby seals, baby elephants...this rag tag team of misfits has saved them all but I'm curious to know why the Humane Society is never called. Maybe formal animal rescue organizations are like the po po in their 'hood. Viewed with a bit of suspicion and fear.

They've done a lot right when it comes to launching a small business. I doubt they've filed incorporation papers (silly in such a highly litigious field) but as evidenced by that corded landline/pencil holder, they are making an effort to keep the overhead low.

I wish you the best of luck, Wonderpets. In my eyes, you definitely have the right stuff. Stay clean.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sharing

[caption id="attachment_173" align="alignright" width="214"] Terrible.[/caption]

We already know that parents tend to be hypocritical when it comes to rules. Try not to hold it against them as most of their actions are born from a crippling fear that they'll raise an embarrassment.

But today a line was crossed.

I was at the park this afternoon building a desert city when an "I'm changing the world one poo at a time" gPants wearing NON WALKER crawled over and put his wet gums on my red shovel. In my dreams my mom would have said something like, "Hey baldy, get away from my kid's toys" and pushed him on to his back, but no. When I went to pull it away from him and strike his Charlie Brown head with my pail she not only humiliated me by catching my arm mid-hit but sang "We Share!" loudly in my ear.

Now, I understand that moms and dads behave like caricatured versions of themselves at the park, trying their hardest to emulate the bubble gum disciplinarian Mary Poppins in order to earn the respect of their peers, but this was ridiculous and I am outraged.

Why should I share? Do we live in communist Russia? Did everyone at the park chip in ten cents so that I could have these dollar store sand toys? Did this fat baby's ancestors save our forefathers aboard the Titanic? Why do I owe this kid even a second with MY toys?

To teach me kindness and generosity. Yeah because I'm really feeling charitable right now. Forced philanthropy. That seems like a wonderful idea. Maybe we should donate some of mommy's shoes and daddy's "collectables." I'll get right on that.

I've been asking for a tic tac for MONTHS and even though I know my mom's purse is full of them, have been denied repeatedly. I can't get a sip of soda. The buttons on the washing machine are off limits. Seems like this "sharing" concept only applies to yours truly.

If you're reading this, gKid, rest assured that I have a bite waiting with your name on it. Next time I see you at the park bring your own toys and steer clear of me. PS. Your orange cloth-plastic-hybrid diaper made you look like a jack-o-lantern with arms.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Truth About Car Sleep

I may lose friends for posting this as toddlers like to keep the truth about our societal norms within our age demographic, but I feel as if parents need to understand car sleep to better serve us.

Today I tweeted this:



This resonated with many of you because you've experienced the phenomenon. @ShakenNotBlurred asked the million dollar question: "Why is that?"

*Deep breath*



If you wish to gain an understanding of why a very short catnap will always cancel out a longer afternoon snooze session I must start with a very basic physics lesson. Please try to keep up. It is widely accepted that space is comprised of three dimensions; left to right, up and down, and forward and back. Combine these dimensions with time and we have what is known as the space-time continuum. or simply,spacetime.

Einstein's special theory of relativity makes two assertions: 1) that whether or not someone is moving, the speed of light (about 186000 miles a second ) is identical to all regardless of their motion relative to the light source and 2) the laws of physics don’t change, even for objects moving at a constant speed.

Einstein concluded that time and space are, indeed, relative. Science has thus proven that an object in motion experiences time slower than one that is at rest. Don't argue. This is science. By scientists. 

This has been tested by the launching of atomic clocks into space with shuttles. When they returned to Earth, they were slightly behind our clocks. Google it. And no aliens didn't tamper with the clocks just to mess with our minds (although I did suspect as much as one point).

This phenomenon is known as gravitational time dilation or the effect of time passing at different rates and brings us to the crux of why many parents would throw cold apple juice in their child's face rather than let them fall asleep in the car close to nap time.

[caption id="attachment_162" align="aligncenter" width="133"] Formula for gravitational time dilation[/caption]

If you've ever thought to yourself that your child is from a "different planet," you're not far from the truth! Alas, we toddlers are not aliens- har har, but we do exist in a dimension all our own; one that allows us access to high levels of energy (you may have noticed). The dimension we live in is closer in proximity to the light. I can't go any deeper into that without violating confidentiality clauses and at least 14 treaties. We can see things you can't see blah blah blah. OK.

Unless you drive a purely *electric vehicle, your car contains an internal combustion engine. In simple terms, high energy fuel (gasoline) is ignited in an enclosed space. The result is a high amount of energy released.

If you've spent a significant amount of time with a toddler in a small, enclosed area, you have witnessed this phenomenon in a biological being. You subconsciously avoid the energy bouncing off of the walls by taking us outdoors to make life more enjoyable for everyone.

[caption id="attachment_163" align="aligncenter" width="280"] They're amazed at the number of people using pinterest.[/caption]

This is the moment where I piece it all together.

When the elementary particles in the combustion engine and the outer dimensional field toddlers exist in that mimics the speed of light collide, something spectacular happens. Upon colliding, the particles vaporize into pure energy. This immediately overwhelms us as it feels like Mentos and Coke have erupted in our psyches. Some of us scream. Others cry and resist the carseat like it is a portal to Hades. If it is close to naptime, most of us will be sent into sleep mode as a natural guard against dangerous overwhelm.

The pure energy released creates a outer space like dark matter-rich force-field that creates the perfect conditions for gravitational time dilation (see above, we discussed this). When you look in your rearview mirror, you see a cherub sleeping and only a few minutes passing. But in our dimension, 1 minute equals an hour. Three minutes for you, three hours for us.



This usually doesn't apply to infants because they exist in a dimension even closer to light than ours resulting in reaction that sometimes has a soothing effect.

The problem is that while some toddlers will come out of the warp sleep happy and rested, most of us experience a post radiation "hangover," if you will. Headaches. Confusion. Slight nausea. You drink, right? You know what this feels like. Combine this with an impatient parent upset that they missed out on three hours of child-less bliss (whatever) and an emotional fallout is likely.

What I suggest to parents is that they focus on restabilizing the now slightly off caliber energy field of their toddler through proper hydration, hugs, and cupcakes. Some toddlers do best if they're kept outdoors to absorb the calming energetic waves of nature while other do better if they're allowed to literally zonk out in front of Yo Gabba Gabba to allow for a healing meditative state to commence.

You've been given information that until now has only been discussed in the quiet corners of Chuck E. Cheese and under the dark shadows of plastic playground slides. Use it well.

I must be off. Bath time awaits. You should see me. I look like a young Michael Phelps.

*The Toddler Council of Gloriousness is monitoring how the switch to hybrid and electrical cars will alter these findings.

Pinterest Hotdog Worms

Look at this.


A wise man once said, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Exhibit A: This hotdog pasta deformation. Because who doesn't like eating food that looks like an infection? This looks like a close-up of something you'd be vaccinated against before a trip to the rainforest. Every time I see this photo my stomach turns (and I eat lint so that's saying something).



I know there's lots of confusion in the adult world over how and what to feed toddlers. I'll keep it simple: we like bread, unbroken/blemish-free fruit, symmetrical slices of crunchy things, cake, cookies, chips, candy, chocolate, and cheese in perfect similarly-sized cubes. Ice-cream, too.

Food that looks like it has been traveling through someone's tainted blood stream trying to attach to an organ is not necessary.



This "dish" literally looks like something celebrities would say they're working to eradicate. I had hand food mouth recently and this is what I imagine the virus looked like under a microscope.

Parents always say they're tired of us eating gross things. No park apple cores. No raisins off of the mall floor. No french fries found in the pediatrician's waiting area. But this is OK?

Toddlers, Pinterest has hypnotized our loved ones. If you're wearing a shirt made from a pillowcase right now, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't have any more crayons because they were melted on a canvas using a blow dryer you know what I'm talking about. If your mom is making the 800th chicken, rice, cheese casserole that you've had this month YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

I said I'd come up with a plan and I will. Stay strong. Do not lose faith. Sleep very little.

Dear Dr. Phil

Dear Dr. Phil,

As I type this, there is dry snot all over my face from a restless night of crying. I've seen your show and admire how you facilitate healing amongst families.

I'm writing to all 11ft of you today because last night, my mother, my heart, my soul and my reason for being (when daddy is unavailable) did the unthinkable. She left me, Dr. Phil. AT NIGHT.

At approximately 9PM I was informed that she was not in our home and had made her way to a local TGI Fridays to meet up with friends. I didn't even know she had friends. I was also unaware that the car is able to start without me screaming from my carseat.

I'd be lying if I said she'd never done this before but usually during the day to "work."

You see, we have a little bit of a nightly routine, a dance, that I have become dependent on. It's quite sweet actually and we both enjoy it tremendously. She puts me in bed and then for the next hour I make little requests. Nothing major, just kisses, water, blanket adjustments, answers to questions about life, medical care for fake boo boos. The walk back and forth between her bedroom and mine is the only cardio she gets.

Without a doubt you're as shocked as I am that a seemingly respectable woman would leave the baby she carried for 42 very comfortable weeks to share mediocre appetizers with other neglectful mothers. I had hoped that she would be less of a follower, more of a leader but what can I do. What can I do.

If this is about the labor experience, I've already apologized profusely. How was I supposed to know that coming sunny side up isn't ideal. Tell me. How is a 7lb unborn supposed to know that. Perhaps if I'd had the opportunity to review the birth plan before contractions started SQUEEZING ME THROUGH AN IMPOSSIBLY SMALL BIRTH CANAL I could have taken the time to prepare. Just to let you know, hearing your mother say things like, "I hate this" and "Someone kill me" doesn't make a baby excited to enter the world.

I overheard my mom this morning saying that she feels "renewed" and full of energy. That energy came directly from my life force.

Dr. Phil the giant, I am a forgiving toddler. My primary concern is how to rebuild trust and make sure she doesn't leave my peripheral vision again. Ever.

I'd like you to administer a lie detector test to my mom and ask her the following questions:

  • Are you truly sorry for choosing your friends over me last night?

  • Do you really think someone your age should shop at Forever 21?

  • Do you or do you not have chocolate hidden all over the house?

  • Do you really have Santa's home phone number and has he been made aware of what happened with the iPad?


I've included some notes below for your producers regarding my family's backstory for the show's opening montage.

Honest Toddler is a beautifully gifted, even tempered child who loves the occasional piece of cake. HT's father is kind, patient, and has super human strength. The mother of the family looks and smells like angel wings but is allowing outside influences to cloud her judgement. She always thinks she smells something burning.


In terms of appropriate punishments, I've been brainstorming.

  • house arrest

  • cake baking marathon

  • allowing me unrestricted access to her purse indefinitely


I look forward to your reply.

HT

PS. Please refrain from looking me directly in the eye when we meet in person.