It’s Not All Mary Poppins

They call this “busy”

1084925_abstract_tree_2I sit at the dining table, chatting with Timmy. Across from me, suddenly, the lights on the Christmas tree go out.

How odd! Oh, but that’s okay. They just came back on.

They go out.
They come back on.
They go out.
They come back on.

I duck my head under the table. Baby Tyler sits on the floor, pressing the pretty red light on the power bar. On! Off! On! Off!

He catches my eye and gives me his full-voltage “I’m-a-charmer” smile. Isn’t that COOL, Mary???

I have a low, handmade babygate across the door to the kitchen. It is low enough that the three-year-olds can step over, but high enough to keep under-threes out. (Homemade, and very sturdy. I once tripped over it, carrying a basket of laundry. My back blew up. The gate held firm.)

I set the gate in place when the three-year-olds need a place to play with their non-baby-friendly toys. The one-year-olds sometimes stand at the gate and talk to their friends on the other side, but they do not cross the gate.

Until Tyler. Who made it across the gate, and into the kitchen. On his face. Ouch.

My iPod is snapped into its spot in the top of the amplifying unit, wafting Christmas music throughout. It only lasts a couple of hours, though. I need to put more music on there.

Except when I go to do that? It’s gone. Gone, gone, gone.

I know who I’m blaming, and I check in all the likely spots. “If I were a busy year-old boy, where would I drop an iPod?” Some of the possibilities are not heartening: down a heat vent, down the back of the couch. Maybe if I follow him around for a day?

The dog has a collar that lights up. (No, really. It has little LED lights on it, so that when we take her to the off-leash park after dark, we can find her. Little LED lights in red, white, yellow, and blue. Lights that blink. Blink in turn, round and round her collar. Red, white, yellow, blue, red, white, yellow, blue. The other dog owners are calling her “Disco Indie”. My husband bought it. Ahem.) It stays turned off in the house, obviously.

Only not these days. Every time I turn around, there is a blinking dog wandering about.

He obviously likes the dog. (A little background for you non-winter types, so I can finish this story: Tiny tot winter boots often have an elastic drawstring at the top, secured with a toggle, which enables a parent to snug the boot up to the child’s leg and prevent snow from getting in and soaking a small foot.)

He obviously likes the dog, I say — emulates her, in fact. Like the dog, Tyler is fascinated by the toggles on the boots. Like the dog, Tyler crawls around with the toggle clenched firmly between his teeth, the boot dangling below his chin, dragging on the floor as he goes.

Tyler’s Boot Relocation Service, I call it. I like it better than his iPod relocation service.

Despite my best efforts (and occasionally due to my lackadaisical ones), our small front hall, over-crowded as it is with winter footwear, is often awash in salty, gritty puddles.

Despite my best efforts (these efforts are never lackadaisical), Tyler will insist on exploring the front hall. Tyler crawls. At least once a week, I have to change him mid-morning because he has soaked up a puddle or three with the knees/shins of his pants. And his slippers. And sometimes, heaven help us, even his socks.

I work until 1:00 today, when I will feed the parents a civilized glass of mulled wine, prior to sending them off to their own festivities. And then, oh, the bliss! I will have a week and a half off. A week to decompress, to clean the house. (Really. It’s a treat to do that with no toddlers underfoot, undoing your work as you go.) A week to let down my guard, to relax the eternal vigilance that caring for Tyler requires.

And when I begin in the New Year, refreshed and invigorated, ready for the next few months of toddler delight and mayhem?

Tyler will be (I would bet good money on this)…

Tyler will be (it’s virtually assured)…

Tyler will be…


Heaven help me.

December 24, 2008 - Posted by | Canada, Christmas, health and safety, individuality, Mischief, the dog, Tyler | , , , , , , ,


  1. Merry Christmas, and enjoy your respite!

    Merry Christmas to you, too, and thank you. I most assuredly will.

    Comment by Florinda | December 24, 2008 | Reply

  2. Heaven helps us all!

    My baby has not quite managed to control the direction of his crawling – we were hoping he would hold off until tomorrow, so we wouldn’t have to fence off the tree – but that’s not going to last much longer. Time to do some serious cleaning-up in this house.

    Merry Christmas!

    Your Christmas present: a directional crawler. At least your house will be cleaner? Or not…

    Comment by Lady M | December 24, 2008 | Reply

  3. I hope you find your i-pod and have a lovely holiday!

    Maybe you could tape towels to the front of Tyler’s legs and his hands so when he crawls in the front hall, he’s like a tiny little mop. 😉

    You are Brilliant! If he’s not walking when he returns, which is highly unlikely, but if he’s not, I might just try something like this. I mean, he is a tiny little mop already, isn’t he?

    And we did find the iPod! Emma (my 15-year-old) unearthed it in a file drawer in the dining room. Hurrah!

    Comment by rambleicious | December 24, 2008 | Reply

  4. Merry Christmas from a long-time lurker!

    Hello! I didn’t know you were still checking in here! Thanks for the comment, and Merry Christmas to you and the family!

    Comment by L. | December 24, 2008 | Reply

  5. Merry Christmas Mary, and thank you for a lovely year of wisdom and laughter.

    Thank you! Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Merrilee Faber | December 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. when you’re done cleaning your house can you come and do mine…?

    In exchange for a trip to England, I think I could manage that. Tell me when you’ve bought my tickets, and I’ll send you my mailing address. 😀

    Comment by jenny | December 25, 2008 | Reply

  7. Yow. This is why I worried so about having a boy, in fact – I’ve known some busy ones! Hopefully he will stay relaxed, because yeah, that will keep you on your toes, alright. Good luck!

    Comment by kittenpie | December 28, 2008 | Reply

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