How to Leave The House With A Toddler in 42 Easy Steps

  1. Announce, “Let’s go get some groceries! We’re going to leave in fiiiive minutes.” Hold up five fingers — toddler cannot count, but it’s still a helpful visual cue.
  2. Upon finishing this sentence, check the clock and notice that thirty minutes have elapsed. Make a mental note to phone local scientists about the space-time singularity that must exist in your living room.
  3. Begin muttering the word “shoes.” Repeat until word loses all meaning.
  4. Take toddler’s sticky hand and lead her toward the front door. Use positive encouragement to keep her moving. Tickle her to get her to stand up when she sits down.
  5. Tickle her? No! Stupid idea. Now toddler is lying on floor in hysterics. Way to go.
  6. Stand her up. Stage a “race” toward the door: 1-2-3 go!
  7. Stop and collect baby doll.
  8. Stop and collect Elmo.
  9. Discard Elmo.
  10. Discard baby doll.
  11. Pick toddler up, which you shouldn’t be doing, because your pregnancy sciatica is already acting up. Marvel abstractly that a person now so large and heavy was once tiny enough to fit in your uterus. Vaguely remember that actually, she didn’t feel so tiny toward the end. Be suddenly filled with dread for the later months of this pregnancy.
  12. Obtain ANY shoe, shove it on toddler’s foot.
  13. Obtain ANY other shoe, matching is not required at this point. Shove it on her other foot.
  14. Notice that they are both right-foot shoes. Pretend you did not just notice this.
  15. Hold out her jacket in that polite “your coat, Madame,” way. Sigh when she walks into it front-first. Remove jacket, put it on properly.
  16. Open the front door.
  17. Close the front door.
  18. Find and put on your own shoes and jacket.
  19. Open the front door.
  20. Close the front door.
  21. Retrieve your purse from upstairs.
  22. Open the front door.
  23. Close the front door.
  24. Fly through the entire house looking for your phone. Secret: phone is in your pocket, and has been all along.
  25. Open the front door.
  26. Toddler closes the front door, because obviously, this is a game.
  27. Open the front door.
  28. VERY LOUDLY instruct toddler to stay put at the top of the stairs while you bump the stroller down the porch steps.
  29. Toddler squeezes in beside you as you are doing this, holding the railing and stepping down with her tiny unsteady feet. Be overcome with visions of the peril that would become her if she tripped; slam the stroller down the last few steps as you hold on to toddler with one hand.
  30. Abandon stroller, race after toddler as she books it down the driveway.
  31. Scoop up the toddler and exclaim with great faux-excitement that we get to go in the stroller now! Muse to yourself dreamily that once, there was a time when you were just you, and not “we”. And leaving the house was easy.
  32. Hover toddler over stroller seat. Make another note for that phone call to the scientists: a magnetic forcefield of repulsion exists between toddler’s lower body and the stroller seat. The rigidity and convex angle of her body are directly proportional to the level of hurry you are in.
  33. Pop soother in toddler’s mouth. Pounce on her split second of relaxation and distraction and strap her in. Success! You’re getting good at this. Prematurely reward yourself for your perseverance with the notion of purchasing ice cream.
  34. Check phone. Fifty-seven minutes have elapsed.
  35. Shove purse into stroller basket, and while hunched over, notice an odour.
  36. Try to convince yourself it is coming from some unseen, nearby roadkill.
  37. Peek around the canopy at smiling, calm, peaceful toddler, who is babbling sweetly to herself and has obviously just produced a tremendous, remarkable, record-setting, award-winning shit.
  38. Sit down on pavement beside stroller and burst into exhausted, hormonal tears.
  39. Pull it together and carry toddler back in the house to be changed.
  40. Put on Dora the Explorer and hand toddler a granola bar.
  41. Lie down on couch.
  42. Text spouse and tell him to bring home some ice cream for his pregnant wife.
Photo by: Travis Swan
Alanna Schiffer

Alanna Schiffer

Alanna Schiffer runs the exceedingly popular PLN Facebook group. She is also a writer who lives in Toronto with her husband and three kids, Android, Panda and Emily. She enjoys sushi and unicorns.