give me freedom or hear me wail

Every day lately I’m discovering someplace new. Someplace I can no longer go with my toddler.

Reagan started walking just after her first birthday. At first, she was very hesitant about the whole ordeal, and chose to crawl the majority of the time. Then a few weeks ago, she really took off. Now all she needs for entertainment is space to toddle around and explore. Which is great. At home. Or at the park. Or when there’s a 2-1 ratio like this past weekend’s Costco run.

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During the week when it’s just the two of us, it’s another story.

It’s like I have a newborn again. Except much, much louder.

Used-to-be-normal outings are now being added to a growing list I’ve titled:

“Off-Limits With My Toddler Unless Absolutely Necessary”

Muni. Yes, this is the perfect place to take a toddler who has absolutely no concept of don’t-fall-off-the-platform or speeding-train-coming or even don’t-get-run-over-by-crowds. So, you say, “Why don’t you just hold her, or keep her in her stroller?”  Ah, young grasshopper. You obviously still have possession of your eardrums. I tried that. I no longer have mine. And neither does anyone else on that platform. Or in the train car. Or anyone on the sidewalk after I realized that I’d somehow lost my SECOND jacket on Muni while juggling a diaper bag, an umbrella stroller, and a baby coyote.

The grocery store. When Reagan was a newborn I used to order my groceries from Safeway and have them delivered. Over the months I’ve developed a complex system that involves an Ergobaby, a cart masquerading as a Britax stroller, four trips up and down my apartment stairs, and profuse sweating. Reagan loves to get out and I could use the exercise, so somehow it’s worked for us. We walked to Trader Joe’s and I let her hold all the groceries in turn. She loved it. Until the cart became a prison. So last time, I handed her a block of cheese to entertain her and she started chewing on it. It was a few minutes before I realized she had actually chewed her way through the plastic and was literally eating the cheese. When I took it away, she suddenly realized she was STARVING and was compelled to tell me about it. All the way home. Safeway delivery? Yes please.

A line. Any line. Today I lost my place twice trying to buy a sandwich because she kept wandering off. When I tried to pick her up, she entertained herself by screeching as loudly as possible just to hear her own voice. I stupidly tried to muffle the sound with my hand, which she thought was absolutely hilarious and was met with giggling and more screeching. Eventually I gave up in embarrassment when the cashier gave me a third wide-eyed look and we went home instead.

Walking down the street. Unless of course we have the time to smell the roses. Or I’m not also carrying a bunch of other crap that would prevent me from stopping her wandering off the curb or being run over by suits. When that’s not possible? I endure the weeping and wailing that I imagine sounding something like, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?! I WANT FREEDOM!”

Not today, little one. We need to go home. Again.

One thought on “give me freedom or hear me wail

  1. I went to high school with your husband and I have a son just a few days older than your daughter. I always enjoy seeing the pictures of your family on Facebook, she is just too cute! I was just talking about this with a stranger at Whole Foods over the weekend as she tried to offer her sympathy after my son “wailed” away during the entire shopping trip! Not worth it! Home is the place to be at this stage!

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