SQ Thoughts on Toddlers

Raising a toddler has created new levels of chaos in our home I never knew were possible.

Dear Diary,

Remember when our house was just a house? You were there. Cupboards stayed shut, and food stayed on the shelves, and power outlets were helpful dispensers of electricity for my lovely, intact floor lamps? It was great, wasn’t it? 

Ok, one more: remember when Desi was an infant? Sure, he was sometimes loud and sometimes gave off a slight odor, but for the most part, he was just very cute and posed very few threats to me and you and our very normal house. Most importantly, he stayed where I put him. 

Raising a toddler has created new levels of chaos in our home. At this point it's best just to laugh about it!

Diary, I had no idea. I should have been thanking my lucky stars every single morning that my kid had the weak legs and miraculous lack of ambition of a normal baby. Because Diary, everything. Has. Changed. 

I no longer live in a house, as previously described. We now reside in a multi-floored danger zone, complete with potentially hazardous items behind every hinged enclosure. 

Those power outlets we were just talking about? The ones that gave light to our light bulbs? Every one of them needs to be surrounded by traffic cones and caution tape (also have you looked at a power outlet lately? It’s like a little concerned face. The power outlet and I have the same expression every time Desi crawls by.) 

Raising a toddler has created new levels of chaos in our home I never knew were possible.

I make that concerned face all the time now. Even during routine trips to the kitchen. Diary, I have lived over three, long, full decades without worrying about accidentally stepping in a puddle of olive oil. Like, it’s just not one of those things I’m watching out for.

Sure, I used to check my shoulder for spit stains and made sure I wasn't leaking through my bra. I learned those new, essential-habits-of-socially-acceptable-moms. But have I been checking for oil spills? 

NO BECAUSE I’M NOT A MECHANIC OR A BIRD IN THE GULF OF MEXICO (sorry, southern birds. We both deserve better.) But now that I evidently have a strangely dextrous toddler with a need to saute his teething toy, I’m going to be checking for oil spills. It was all over the floor, Diary. In fact, I think Desi was going beyond a mere saute. I think he was looking to deep fry. 

(Although my left foot did have very soft skin for a week. Thank you for that, baby boy. Maybe you should start a skincare company.)

Raising a toddler has created new levels of chaos in our home I never knew were possible.

Another thing, Diary, and you wouldn’t know this because you have very poor arm strength, but did you know that almost everything in our house can tip over? Yeah, I know. I hadn’t tried it, either. I usually don’t pull myself to a standing position using a bar stool or a bag of groceries, but our new housemate does. And now, everything in our house that can be tipped over, will be tipped over.

It’s like Murphy’s law, but for unanchored furniture and unsupervised centerpieces. If ever I had a reason to cut back on clutter, ‘tis now. But OH YEAH I HAVE A TODDLER so we have recently reached stuff-level 11.

Below is a picture of my living room. A few weeks ago I decided to fully lean into the disaster and move my coffee table to the back wall. Do you see it back there looking sad and forgotten? I used prop my feet up and set hot drinks on it. Gone are the days...

Raising a toddler has created new levels of chaos in our home I never knew were possible.

And so, Dear Diary, our previously adult-ish home has been transformed. We have put corks in all of our electrical sockets and masked their worried faces. We have chained all of our furniture to the wall, lest it attempts to leave the house for fear of grubby hands on its upholstery. And we have locked and gated so many cupboards, doors and drawers that I feel like just moving through my house normally is a test of my own fine motor skills (and I don’t always pass.)

I should start advertising my residence as Chicago’s hottest new escape room.

This is my new life. Because people tell me that once your kid starts moving, they don’t really ever stop. It’s another one of those scientific laws, right? Objects in motion stay in motion? Well I have amazing dreams that I’m the other object – the object at rest that stays at rest.

Raising a toddler has created new levels of chaos in our home I never knew were possible.

But Diary, I have a feeling that this time, Physics isn’t on my side. Physics has joined Team Toddler, and if I don’t stop writing this and go find him, their team jersey will likely be soaked in the cup of ice water I left on the floor since I no longer have a coffee table. 

I don't have time to sign off affectionately this time, Diary. Suzy out!

Raising a toddler has created new levels of chaos in our home I never knew were possible.

35 thoughts on “SQ Thoughts on Toddlers

  1. Karen Quigley says:

    Oh my, you are just getting started. This faze is the corral and hold faze. It does look like it won’t be long before he will be able to open a door. That presents new challenges to keep him in the house. This will go on for the next 22 or so years. It is a wild ride but you are going to love every minute of it. Good and bad he is yours.

    • Jules says:

      Your writing makes this sound so cute! But I know how frustrating it can be.
      Our 2nd was very into outlets but I think I finally uncovered them all by the time he was in college. Now he makes the big bucks as an Electrical & Computer Engineer. OTOH, he has a bit of my CDO… (OCD in alphabetical order 😉) so he made sure all the cupboards and drawers were closed! (He forgot to teach dad! 🤦‍♀️) Firstborn tried the scissors… on the couch!… enter degree in Fashion Design! LOL!
      Maybe you have a chef on your hands!
      Love your posts and great patterns! 💗

        • Jules says:

          I just read this post again. He is so very cute, SQ! ♥
          I had hoped that 1 kid would be a chiropractor and 1 a massage therapist. I lost.

          A chef would be great! I hate cooking and no delivery or carry-out here unless we drive 30 miles and then it is cold once back home.
          Miss Fashion Designer said a few years ago that we could have Caesar Salad for part of Tgiving dinner…. “but don’t buy the stuff in the bag, Mom.” #nosesnub

      • Jennifer M House says:

        My Uncle, sweet man and great story teller. Not sure if any of those stories were completely true but they were entertaining. Anyway, in this story it’s the 1940’s and he’s very active baby or toddler (I can’t remember). When his mom, my Great Aunt who I hear was a sweet woman, needed to clean their house she would put him in a t-shirt, sit him on the floor next to a dining table leg, then place the bottom of his t-shirt under the table leg. She was a single parent and maybe didn’t have room for a play pen? Anyway, I loved hearing him tell this story. His face would beam with a big smile and I would always laugh with a shocked face.
        I’m telling you this because altho a little barbaric my Great Aunt had ingenuity and patience. Your home won’t always be upside down. I bet the olive oil story will be told in a toast at one of his graduations. Never let him forget, lol!

  2. Anorina says:

    Don’t worry, they do stop moving when they reach teenager-hood. Every time you ask them to do anything, they’ll just be soooooooo exhausted they can’t possibly put their phones down and get off the couch. Enjoy toddlerhood. It’s exhausting, but in hindsight, very wonderful.

  3. Kelly Hartman says:

    Gone are the days that I would merely arrive at a friend’s house, ready to engage in a carefree evening of eating, laughing and merriment. Now, I immediately scan each room for potential climbing structures and breakable items. Those shelves need to be cleared, that candle is a potential weapon and don’t even get me started on those lovely poisonous flowers in a GLASS VASE on the coffee table. Does this rug look expensive? Will it be hard to get mashed food out of it without leaving a mark? Thanks so much for having us. It’s time to go.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Before having Desi my mom friends would do that every time they entered my house! I thought it was so funny that they would come in the front door and immediately get to work clearing my coffee table of all decorations. Now I truly get it!!

      • Elisa Fagundes says:

        You’re doing great. You’re a fantastic mom. Desi is a very happy and loved child.

        Momhood is always a stupid confidence game.

        You’re already a pro!

  4. RoseAnn Battista says:

    Lol. This is why my generation used play pens to corral toddlers! But this too will pass and you’ll be on to another stage. Do enjoy all of these phases as time passes so quickly!!!!

  5. Andrea M says:

    This is just the beginning. I have five kids (9, 6, 5, 2.5, 14 months), and it gets crazier. The one year old will climb anything with surprising balance and likes to stand on things with wheels, with his hands in the air. Be worried when they are quiet and when they are loud; it could all be just fine or a disaster. But it is all fun in the long run. Oh, and they will figure out all of the locks you put on everything, too; eventually. 🙂

  6. Liz Bess says:

    Just remember, if there are child proof locks on things hand them to Desi, he will be able to open them before you will once he is a little older! Oh and always keep the scissors locked up and someplace high up out of reach or you and Scrappy might end up with new do’s ask me how I know!

  7. Laura says:

    Desi is adorable! My 8 month old is trying DESPERATELY to figure out crawling and we waver between cheering him on and wanting him to stop because we are not ready. Brb, gonna go lock up our olive oil now. (it does get easier, we un-baby-proofed all the cabinets when we moved into our house because we weren’t worried about big brother [7] getting into things but we are regretting that decision now)

  8. Areanne says:

    I am going through the toddler stage right now, too, and ohh boy haha. We use the velcro command strips to “lock” kitchen cabinets that have glass dishes or sharp objects, and it’s genius! Adults can open them if you just pull a little harder, and then press it closed, but little ones are too weak to open them. 🙂

  9. Ann says:

    What’s it with olive oil….
    I kicked off my favorite loafers at the front door to later find them in the kitchen filled w olive oil…. expensive lesson…both w olive oil and shoes
    He is 32 now and I still shake my head and laugh…

  10. Suzanne says:

    Wow, Suzy! You took me back to when my 42-year-old was tiny. There’s the superglue-the-toes-to-the-bottom-of-the-foot story, the cat-with-no-whiskers-on-one-side-of-his-face story, the chocolate-syrup-all-over-the-kitchen-floor story, etc., etc. And we were those paranoid, careful, watchful parents. Really! Your stories will fill the rest of your life and always make you laugh! Enjoy the adventure!

  11. Catherine says:

    I wish I were back in the toddler stage. My toddlers are 42 and 38. Time goes by quickly. Enjoy every day of it. Desi is so adorable.

  12. Jude says:

    You are such a wonderful writer. Seriously- hilarious and adorable blog. (BTW, your house is gorgeous and the pics of Desi are so cute!) 🤣🤣🤣

  13. C. Sewn says:

    Well my baby boy, now 38, skipped crawling in favor of rolling. Yes, he would lay on the floor and roll his little body from room to room and even though he was quite agile in turning corners we had to pad the corners of the walls in foam rubber. He was a very fast roller and kept us on our toes. Best time of my life!

  14. Jenni-Hope Kelland says:

    My babies are 33, 30, 26 and 22 years old but I tend my 17 month old grandson in the mornings… I am exhausted. There is a reason why we have our babies when we are young!

    • Shawn Depasse says:

      Love this! My oldest daughter is living this dream too!! My granddaughter Ella painted herself and a red chair with lipstick that was in a zippered pouch in the middle of the dining room table. Hmm how did she quietly get it to her bedroom to play with it? Such a lovely mess !!

  15. Judith Marilyn says:

    I’ve had 4 of the! The oldest is 45 & the youngest is 33. Besides a play pen, a jolly jumper, & a self-propelled “bumber car” with food tray, I made the bottom drawer between the stove & the sink the “plastic kitchen items” drawer. When I wanted to work in the kitchen my little one would work right along with me from the drawer. (Kids are more interested in our toys than theirs). A pot/pan, a top, a wooden spoon made them very happy! No plugging outlets or locking cabinets…Just a watchful eye & reminders of what not to touch/do & why. (The really dangerous item were kept out of reach, of course).

  16. Bonnie Kampmeyer says:

    This story reminded me of the day I walked into the kitchen and found my (now 46-year old) 2-year old son ON TOP OF THE REFRIGERATOR!!! How the HECK did he get up there?? I never did understand, but he almost gave me a heart attack! And yeah, as others have said, sometimes I miss those wonderful/terrible days – a lot! ❤😊

  17. Heather D Kinion says:

    Pro-tip from the mom of a 3.5 year old, you probably can just pull those knobs off your gas stove and pop them in a drawer for the next two years or so, and that way he won’t kill you with natural gas and/or burn the house down. I found just plucking them off (mine do just pop off and on with a shocking ease) was much more effective and cheaper than the devices that the internet sells you to child proof them.

      • Winifred says:

        I wouldn’t worry too much. Human pet food testers are employed to make sure it’s OK! Not a job I would fancy.

        Are your gas knobs easy to switch on? My gas oven is thirty years old (probably should be condemned) but it’s really hard to switch the knobs on. You have to press in really hard and keep it in then turn. My grandchildren never sussed how to do it nor the children with the one before it. Telly & everything else yes, no problem!

  18. Jeanne C Risser says:

    I am laughing so hard right now! My 30 year old son was at the crawling stage when I got locks for the kitchen cabinets – took me 20 minutes to figure it out while he played with one. As soon as I’d finished he crawled over and opened the cabinet door! I too had a collection of pots, pans, wood spoons, measuring cups … and he loved playing with them. Wish I’d seen the velcro locks. Have fun with your son, time really does go very fast!

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