We can now only go to places that are toddler-proofed. The list is short and reads like this: other people’s homes that also have toddlers. Of course we can venture anywhere we want, but it sounds a lot like if you were to put a puppy in a room with a new pair of leather loafers, “No. Don’t do that. Don’t put that in your mouth. Come here. No.” Every house should be equipped with a child-sized safety pod that contains novel age-appropriate toys and books, if for no other reason than I’d like to be able to finish an adult conversation that lasts longer than 45 seconds and doesn’t end with, “I’m sorry, I’ll be right back.” That’s a lie. I will not be right back unless you manage to acquire some bubbles or perhaps a shiny ball that will hold my daughter’s attention for the next 4 and a half minutes. Also let’s make these minutes count; I don’t have time for small talk. I love to hear ramblings from other busy parents and have absolutely no patience for stories that involve you wine tasting in Napa Valley and being too tired to get out of bed until 3:00pm the next “morning”. I’m a pregnant mother of a toddler, unless you are using the phrase, “You must be exhausted,” I don’t want to hear you use “tired” or any of its forms in a sentence.
A fellow mom-friend who is also deep in the trenches put it well: I wish we could go into hibernation with our children and emerge in 3 years with all our friendships still intact. Amen sister. I remember, BC (Before Children), when I invited my best friend and her then 1 year old over for an afternoon get together and I told her to bring her pack-n-play. I pictured us visiting while her baby amused herself happily in the pack-n-play, perhaps with a block or two to keep her occupied for the duration of the party. My friend explained that her daughter only ever napped in the pack-n-play when they went places and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why. I think about it now and laugh hysterically about what it would look like to try and enclose Charlotte in a pack-n-play. If only it were that simple, my friends. The only other option for us is to do things that are toddler-centered. So we go to swim lessons, anywhere with dog-poop-free grassy areas, or gymnastics as we prepare for hibernation upon the arrival of our second child, which is where we shall stay until our children are 3 or until everyone we know invests in two child-sized safety pods. Whichever comes first.