Navigating Life With a Toddler


Last time I wrote I was home sick with the plague. By the time the weekend arrived, I had such Cabin Fever I needed to get out. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and we decided spur of the moment to take Mia to Mystic Aquarium.  We slept in that morning and so we made the decision and hurried out the door.  We were halfway there, when I realized we forgot the stroller. “Oh well, she’s nearly two and she could walk on her own,” I thought. Yes, she can walk, but everything takes ten times longer when you are walking the pace of an inquisitive toddler, I soon discovered.

Once we got there, Mia did this about five times before we even entered the place. I swear it took a half-hour to go from the car to the entrance. (That’s me in the background cheering her on.)

We finally enter the indoor aquarium. I thought she’d be excited by all the interesting things to see (I was): beautifully colored tropical fish, a gigantic octopus, red jelly-fish. It was so cool!!! But all Mia cared about was climbing into the displays, not the least bit fascinated by the underworld sea creatures all around her.  She threw herself to the floor (ick) like this, in protest when my husband tried to carry her so we could pick up the pace.

We were not alone in our struggles.  All around me I could hear: “Don’t do that,” “Stop grabbing that wire!”, “Get away from there!”  The place  was crawling with active toddlers and the tired parents chasing them. And it was pretty funny.

I knew it was time for lunch when she started grabbing my “goods” shouting “Milk! Milk!” in front of the whole place.  Since I didn’t bring anything except water and a couple of snacks, we headed over to the Penguin Cafe. I should’ve packed lunch because the Penguin Cafe was a bit pricey and it always scares me when food sits warming under lightbulbs.

Rather than watching the Sea Lions, she was more interested in climbing up and down the concrete stairs. I shot my husband a look of exasperation for him to do something and he said, “What? She’s just playing.” He was right. I realized she may not experience places, events, or things like adults do, or how I want her to, but this is how she learns and explores.

And then there are moments like these…


Love from a Beluga Whale.


I have definitely learned that the days of making snap decisions and rushing out the door with my toddler are gone. Things are a bit more complicated now. I will always pack a meal, snacks, and beverages wherever I go. And never, ever will I forget the stroller. How people do it with more than one child, I can’t even imagine!

7 comments on “Navigating Life With a Toddler”

  1. Marie! I almost wrote about her behavior at Church, but that’s a post in itself….just picture screaming during the priest’s homily, doing everything we can to keep her from rushing the altar, and of course all the snacks. Jesus would be so proud.

  2. You will be ok Michelle!!! Just remember to laugh. This is a challenging age, but it also is a very, very fun age too. I’m slowly learning to relax and let go..

  3. Mary Grace- the picture of Mia reminds me of why we only try *try* to take Jake to church once a month. Fortunately there’s a kid room at ours, but even then, it’s running back and forth from one end of the room to the other, snacks, bottle, diaper, etc! Going with the flow of Jake sometimes means no Sunday mass, but hey, you do what you gotta do!! And I literally laughed my own butt off at Mia’s “MILK! MILK!” comment. HIL-ARIOUS!

  4. This whole post is great but also scares me. I ALREADY have little patience for Lills getting into everything and she’s only just about 1. I know that the toddler years are going to really, REALLY challenge me…

  5. Thanks Katie! We had a lot if fun and I learned a lot too about being a little more prepared.

  6. Hahhaa, I can only imagine! She probably picked up alot more than we think, and if she was entertained for a while, then it sounds like a good day to me. I am so glad you are feeling better!

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