Stories from January 2010

Rogue Toddlers

Becca Sanders

Recently I signed F. up for a “Wiggles and Giggles” tumbling and music class at our local community center. At our first class, I watched F.’s behavior closely as I flashed back to H.’s toddlerhood several years ago. It was in a class like this that H.’s difference started to become clear. He didn’t interact with other kids. He barely looked at them. I remember watching him study a sunbeam as it played across the patterned carpet in the classroom. He was utterly absorbed by it, and I thought it sweet but just a little bit odd. The other kids were all bopping around, darting from one toy to another, but H. was completely focused on that patch of carpet.

It was through this experience –  seeing H. with other kids – that I began to realize that he wasn’t merely a shy child.

Being in another toddler class with daughter F. brings it all back. I watched as she chased a stray ball across the floor. Is she interested in the actual ball or is she just interested in the stripes? She’s still chasing it..she won’t stop chasing it…now she’s just staring at it…is she obsessing over the ball? She’s not looking at the other kids…I think she’s too caught up in that ball!

F., get away from the ball!” I began to shout, but it was unnecessary – she’s was on to something else: the paintings of deer and raccoon on the gym walls. “Oooh, wha’ dat?” she called out to me. “Wha’ dat?”

Then she ran over to the slide, which another little girl hurtled down. F. laughed and pointed, clearly wanting me to set her on the top of the slide so she can have a turn. My anxiety eased back a bit.

And then cranked back up again during the circle time at the end. The instructor – an extremely cheerful and resilient young woman– attempted to get all eight tots to sit down together and clap along to “You Are My Sunshine.” But F. kept popping up, running away, back to the ball (that damn ball!), the slide, the water fountain. F. can’t sit still. She’s not paying attention. This is not good.

But when I looked around, I saw that she wasn’t the only one. Only a couple tots stayed in the circle. The rest darted here and there, rogue toddlers following their own scripts.

Just like F. And her brother.

Anatomy of a 10 Outfit Week

Laura De Veau

When you send your kid to daycare, there are some essentials that you are required to send along: lunch, slippers, blanket (all labeled), and, most importantly, the back-up outfit. Up until recently, rarely did we break into the extra outfit. Only a handful of lunchtime mishaps and the occasional finger paint spill resulted in the need to dip into the inventory.

I try to keep the back-up outfit pretty neutral, in order to keep my Posh Spicy Girl from looking more like Punky Brewster at pick-up time. But now, seven weeks into potty training, we find ourselves in another reality. A reality where laundry is done daily, and where not just one, but two or three back-up outfits are always packed and ready to go.

This past week was a record setter: Five days – each one with a costume change. Our fashion experts weigh in…

Monday: Spicy Girl fell asleep in her lunch, which made changing her into a pull up impossible. The end of day ensemble: Brown, food-encrusted shirt with clean pink leggings. 3 stars.

Tuesday: There was some sort of pile up at the potty. Too many kids and not enough cans. Spicy Girl’s bladder couldn’t hold out any longer. The final outfit: Multi-striped turtleneck with tan corduroys … emblazoned with floral appliqués. 2 stars.

Wednesday: This one came with an incident report. Let’s just say, she got a bloody nose. All over her New England Patriots pink sweat suit jacket and matching shirt. I won’t say how the bloody nose occurred, but let’s just say it wasn’t a self-inflicted wound. (Read more…)

Grandma’s Potty Talk

Kate Chretien

We love it when we visit my parents since we know that means lots of free and available babysitting. That means, when the bloody murder sibling screams start, the Husband and I don’t have to move ourselves away from our laptops.

However, the free and available babysitting comes at a price. 

I must endure the Potty Madame.

The Potty Madame, aka Grandma, believes each child should have been potty trained at 12 months. She always brings up the fact that she potty trained me at 12 months, an item of recall I’m rather suspect about.  How could any child be potty trained at 12 months?  I’m pretty confident all I could do well at 12 months was drool.

Still, Luke’s card-carrying member status of the diaper-wearing club greatly disturbs The Potty Madame. 

“Tell Grandma next time you have to poopoo, okay, Luke? What do you say when you have to go poopoo?”


“YES! Very good! Grandma is going to potty train you! Today!”

Flash forward an hour and I’m squatting next to the kid’s potty, conveniently stored  in their guest room for occasions like this, watching my not-even-2-year-old getting up and sitting down 100 times as I try to coach him into making one for the potty. (Read more…)

First Grade is Not for the Faint of Heart

Angie McCullagh

I always thought once preschool was over, I’d be out of the woods. My kids would go to school full time and I would become a lady of leisure.

I’ll organize the house, I thought. I’ll clean closets and cook amazing meals every night and get a job and publish my novel and run the world.

Except it doesn’t work like that. Because once your child hits big kid elementary school, there’s all this other detritus that comes with it. There’s volunteering, which I’m not very good about but which public schools want you to do, there are more activities to transport your older child to, there’s lunch to pack, there are PTA and other meetings to attend and there’s homework.

Did you catch my eye rolling and barely stifled groan? There’s homework.

I hate homework more now than I did when I was in school. It’s true. First of all, I don’t think my teacher assigned much actual work when I was in first grade. If she did, it was stuff like, practice tying your shoes or count the number of doorknobs in your house. It was nothing like the mini-SAT prep work they do now, the two pages of heavy-duty math a night, plus reading, plus spelling words.

Work that Milo, after a full day of school and all the learning and social nuances that entails, wants nothing to do with. The kid wants to zone out and watch Cyberchase while he picks his nose and eats pretzels. (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

You would think at our age that we wouldn’t have to worry about these things. But, as Kate will attest, even at *ahem* 27, untimely breakouts can (and will) happen. What to do? Apply an ice cube for 30 second. Then soak a cotton ball in eye drops and press it to the “spot” for 3 minutes. The theory is that the ice and drop combination will cause blood vessels below the surface to contract—leaving you looking, well, a little less like Rudolph.