Tales from the Toddler Tides…#023

What would we do in this world without our toddlers?  They help us slow down, perhaps actually force us to so that we can breathe in life as they do daily.  They present us with curious impromptu challenges, like how do you remove the #2 bathroom feature off your Samsonite luggage after a 6 hour flight across a continent?

This particular tale is tedious and maybe boring at best for most of you. However, I wanted to share its simplicity as my abandonment to the occurence lightened my usual parental moodiness.

One of my family members has a very tall, two-tiered staircase that I like to get us up or down as quickly as possible on most days.  The only reason we really go upstairs in this house is to take a nap and get reprieve from our hot and humid days here in South Florida.

The other day we had arisen from our nap and were making our way down the stairs.  Mr. Independence has decided lately that he can make it down the stars himself as long as he holds onto the railing and has Mama within arm’s length just in case.  So we’re beginning our descent on the top couple stair steps and I’m allowing him his safe personal space when suddenly he stops in his tracks.

“What’s wrong?” I ask him in Greek…he just looks at me and then promptly sits down on the second step.  His right hand still holding on to the wrought iron railing, his left arm extends downwards along his side and his left hand pats the stair step beckoning me to sit beside him.

My gut parental reaction is to be the responsible, stressed-out adult and ask him to stop the nonsense and drag or carry him down the stairs.  However, thank God, for a moment I soften and decide to take my son’s invitation and I sit down right next to him, my right arm hovering behind him and my right leg extended in front of him (I can’t completely shut down the worry wart in me, gotta make sure he’s not taking a tumble).

Once I’ve settled beside him, he begins to point at particular items in the room below, naming some himself while asking me to declare others.  After he’s made his initial scan, I follow his lead as he goes down a few more stairs only to stop a couple more times along the way.  The routine is similar but each object he points out is different, never repeating.  In other words, methodical.

It seemed that once he was satisfied and had made it down the stairs, he relinquished the floor back to Mama and my agenda ruled again as I began to lead him to what our next activity was. 

Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to go along with a toddler’s whims.  In this case it was relatively harmless, it just required me to be patient and to enjoy the moment.  The unfortunate reality is that as parents we are many times just trying to survive the passing moments each day as we pummel forward with raising our offspring and meeting all other demands of our individual lives. 

Thankfully, the toddlers of the world help not only their parents but others around them to try to savor the obscure and ordinary moments of life.  I must remind myself of that daily lest I plod right through the precious opportunities to enjoy the unexpected.


Friday’s Closing Thoughts: Simplify, Why & Gov. Crist’s Peril


It doesn’t matter what type of work you’re involved in, Fridays still seem to hold such a relief factor for most of us.  Especially if you have children and go by school or self-imposed schedules weekly.  For stay-at-home parents, Friday also brings the joy of your other half coming to the home front for hopefully most of the weekend helping you feel a little like an adult again. Welcome to Friday friends!


I pulled an all-nighter this past week, I believe it occurred on Tuesday evening when my husband was out-of-town for a business trip.  It began with crusade to clean out our car, it has been a virtual gyspy-mobile for months with the necessity of mini-cleans along the way.  However, the spring cleaning I’m talking about consisted of pulling out all rugs, mats, special vinyl and leather cleaner, leather conditioner (yes, conditioner cream for leather!),vacuuming EVERYWHERE, de-gunking all appendages, buttons, et cetera. 

In addition to the car itself, I boldly attempted to clean my son’s car seat as well. WARNING to all my parent friends and strangers alike, do have your owner’s manual to the car seat handy before you start to remove fabric pieces and if you can manage, just take wipes and spot clean for the large areas. I almost tossed the entire entourage out of frustration of trying to reassemble the doggone contraption while my beloved toddler was in tantrum wind-up mode the next morning. (another caveat: reassemble child car seat while child is still sleeping soundly, so even if it’s 3:40am, just do it!)

Besides the car, in my post-tax season purge, I went nuts and tore into all random bags of receipts, bill stubs, business cards, random mail, you name it and I found it in its burrowed sack/box and had it all on the floor.  Between sips of my favorite Greek Retsina wine and leftover Publix cake, I battled through this reorganization, reallocation and ultimate trash-fest at about 4am officially Wednesday morning.  Shortly before 5am I came to my senses and realized that I was on morning kid duty in less than 2 hours so a nap would be in order.

You may expect that I regretted staying up all night clean and organize but the fact is that taking that unfettered time to simplify areas of my life that I spend so much time in was the best thing I’ve done in months.  Yes, I’ve paid through being a little more tired this week but I’ve relaxed in my mood because the catharsis of simplifying clutter and mess has allowed me to just indulge in the adventures (both expected and unexpected) of every day after Tuesday this week.  If you can find a way to do this for you and your family, I highly advise it as it truly has been a relief.

PERIL: Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist

In other news, I awake this morning to the www.sayfiereview.com headline for Gov. Crist stating that the stage may be set for him to become and run as an Independent in the state as he seeks the election win for the U.S. Senate race.

A fun quote from Mr. Steve Bousquet’s report from the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau reads: “Crist is boxed in politically. His political future is in peril. The former quarterback who loves sports analogies needs to throw a Hail Mary.” You can look this story up here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/with-veto-crist-sets-stage-for-independent-run/1087793

I remember working in Congress for a Florida congressman back when Crist was seeking to run for the Florida governor seat he now occupies. I had been tracking him in the headlines for years as I watched him strategically position himself to be the right candidate on paper.  Many of my colleagues contested the idea that he’d win the race, I stood my ground because I knew he was packaging it well.

In this case, I haven’t been paying much mind as everyday life keeps me occupied from reading all the details of the going-ons in the politics world. But I believe my sense of Crist hasn’t changed and I’m disappointed that he got the governor’s seat only to look again to other higher political aspirations instead of just doing the job he was elected to do. Now a young, vocal and naive Marco Rubio comes out and challenges him like Rufio from the Lost Boys in the Peter Pan movie rendition of “Hook” with Robin Williams.  Crist is flustered that his carefully crafted goals may be shook and possibly destroyed so he goes for the old change-my-political-affiliation get-out-of-jail free card.

Sigh. I love Florida and the politics in our state truly can be unique from other parts of our nation.  I just hope that this governor’s race plays out for the best of the citizens of the state of every political party: democrat, republican, independent and otherwise.  I’ve lived through both democratic and republican governors in our state and respect the office and the job they do more than the party they affiliate with. 

I simply don’t support Crist for the U.S. Senate seat because I feel he just went through the mediocre motions needed to fulfill his governor’s role and with that type of attitude, I don’t want him to represent our Florida voices in the U.S. Senate.


Toddler Time: Why We Should Follow It Sometimes

In my latest quest to make sure that my son T.A. and I maximize our time spent outdoors, I’ve enlisted his help in walking our 11-year-old Beagle named Rosie.

Taking my son by the hand down the neighborhood street is no easy task.  I have compromised with him that I’ll allow him to walk hands-free with me as long as when  spot a vehicle he heeds my call to stand by me with both hands in mine.  If you’re a parent, you’re well aware of these multiple mini-negotiations that fill your days–it’s wonder we’re not all hired to be diplomats for our nation.

At first these walks were a humorous observation of who was the more distracted one on either end of the leash: the dog or the toddler.  He stopped to point at pile of leaves on the side of the road. He said “whoa!” in adoration in response to the sound and then sight of the helicopter whizzing overhead.  He reached up toward the leaves of the tree full of yellow blossoms (subsequently dropping the leash handle sending me scrambling for Rosie).

So my first reactions to all of this was atypical of us stressed-out mammas. Lots of “quit that”, “come on and keep moving”, “leave that alone” and so forth in Greek and English.  Then came the day when I looked up and saw the most beautiful yellow bird in the branches of a tree he was passionately in “Bam-Bam” tones pointing out.  I started explaining the bird’s color and behavior as I simultaneously thought to myself that I need to check my bird field book to find out the name of this bird and others that we see on our walks together.

The past week or so I have found myself becoming addicted to these walks with T.A.  It occurred to me that this a type of salve that we have almost lost in our human society.  It means I’ve had to let go of my obsession with keeping to a contrived schedule of busyness. 

Whatever happened to taking a leisurely walk alone or with others WITHOUT an Ipod.  What is our addiction to stimulation stemming from?  Why must we try to fill each moment of the day with a preprogrammed task to check off?  My toddler son has reminded me that it’s quite refreshing to just indulge in the moment as simple as walking down the neighborhood street and taking in the sights and sounds–mundane or extraordinary.

I now look forward to these walks with my dog and son.  I hope that when he is my age he’ll still enjoy them, hopefully with his friends, loved ones or possibly little ones of his own.  My resolve, thanks to Toddler Time, is to enjoy these walks even when alone one day–absorbing the environment around me unfettered while also fondly reminiscing the times I watched my toddler son dance along before the years sped off too fast for my aging soul.