Your Toddler Waze

Thank you for downloading the Toddler Waze app, the most innovative navigation technology in existence. Through crowdsourcing and real-time updates, we make your commute more toddler-like everywhere you go.

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See another car? We know you just love to point out every one on the *#%@ing road, so now you can just say “car” and we mark them for you. Every. Single. One. Until your screen is as clogged as the driver’s poor, poor eardrums.

What about a horse? Don’t you think other toddlers would like to know one is coming up, too? Again, just shout out the word and a marker is put on the interactive mapping app. Same goes for dog, sheep, cow and water. See something? By golly say something.

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Wait– what’s this? Oh, don’t worry. You just pressed a bunch of buttons on the device and are now steaming Curious Geo–Dora the–Sesame St– argh! Will you pick a show and stick with it, Kid?

Ok, back to Toddler Waze. Bird! Bird! (Other icons available include plane and Superman, since the three are often confused.)

If there is something happening on the side of the road, just say “uh oh” and an indiscriminate icon will pop up on your journey. Don’t worry about specifics; we know toddlers can’t tell the difference between a noisy muscle car and a car fire.

Hungry? Just yell “snack!” repeatedly until an adult gives you food. It doesn’t matter if you just ate, or have trouble enunciating because THERE IS THTILL FOOD IN YOUR MOUFF… you will get a snack with persistence. Also, be sure to click on the banner ad for Costco, sponsor of Toddler Waze and proud supplier of toddler snacks everywhere.

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Finally, an optional feature is the “wee!” button. You can push this when going over speed bumps or down rolling country hills. Or if your parent has convinced you their bad driving is intentional, for extra entertainment. Now, why would they do that?

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Hey Little Bug, hey Little Bug—

You are pulchritude.

And just because that means beauty,

Don’t you let some dude

Make you feel dumb for being smart, if that’s what you end up to be.

 

Hey Junior Bug, hey Little Mug

You can wear his clothes, or you can wear hers

You can wear old clothes

Or your hair up each day, if you prefer.

Winter in summer, dark in the dark, pink top with red shoes.

A smile.  Or not.  You get to choose.

 

Lucie Louis Louie, my kid

They’ll armchair your life, making calls from afar

Naming you names they would not give their moms,

Saying things when you dared show your face, more than they can say,

Saying things as AnonymousUser69

Saying the things to say the things.

If you take a big step, which I hope you do,

Out in the world, or out on the line,

Make sure it is for none other than you you you.

 

Little Bug Little Bug

You’ve got your mama’s heart

And your mama’s laugh

And your mama’s pout

And your mamas’ hearts

Yes, as in love.

You’ve got your mama’s push

And your mama’s touch

And possibly all that we’ve got to give.

You you you.  You you you.

 

 

The Five Kids You Will Meet at Daycare

1. The Bully.  This kid is super cute and baby-faced, but man, does he pack a punch. I once watched him beat up a girl at her own birthday party! In the past, I used to really like him, but Mama K, the better judge of character, has always been wary. How can you spot him? The teacher is always correcting his behavior and his cubby almost always has an incident report attached to it. Also, Lucie really likes him, so they’re often causing mischief together. Greeeeaaaat.

2. Egghead. Nice kid, just has a funny shaped head. His mom is gorgeous, though, so there’s hope.

3. Nora. Blonde, smiley, smallest kid in the class. Always watching you like a haunted house portrait. Her parents are engineers, so naturally she mastered potty training in a week. Nora’s dad: “We didn’t even tell her to go; she just went!”

4. Disney Princess. Like, all of them mish-mashed together. Or, rather like their costumes were layered upon one another as a means to keep warm in a Disney snowpacolypse, and then peeled off in a random reveal.

5. Scuzzy. This is my favorite one!! Why, you ask? Because the minute she ran across the room with her ratty hair and raisin-covered face, I knew I loved her. Maybe not when Lucie gets lice or hand, foot & mouth disease from her, but in the meantime, she makes us look like really responsible parents. And, in this age of Lucie picking out all of her completely uncoordinated clothes, we need all the help we can get to look good. Even if it’s by comparison.

They say it’s your birthday

Scene: a busy morning at our local Starbucks. Lucie has dragged Mama K to the bathroom while Mama C waits in line to order breakfast. It is Lucie’s 3rd birthday. Mama K and Lucie join Mama C.

Lucie: What’s that? (points to cake pop in the display case)

Mama C: Oh, nothing.

Lucie: Want that. (eager pointing)

Mama K to Mama C: She really wants it.

Mama C: She’s not having cake for breakfast.

Lucie: That! That! That!

Mama K: But it’s her birthday.

Mama C (sing song voice): She doesn’t know that.

Lucie: Mama. Mommy. Mommy. Mama. (pointing)

Mama C: No, Lucie.

Lucie: Mama! Mommeeeeeeeee!

Mama C: Lucie, I said–

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The villaining

So… you thought you were a decent human being, eh? We’ll try these things and then come back and let me know how good you feel about yourself:

– brush your kid’s hair while she cries and says “Mama, no.”

– take your toddler out past her bedtime and wake her up after you pull into the garage. You monster!

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“This is my tired pose.”

– tell your child the last yogurt is the one flipped upside down by her on the kitchen floor.

– pull her away from a birthday party because she’s potty training and you don’t want a big mess in public. Instead, you get a meltdown.

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Still feeling like a member of the human race?

– try taking her blanket away because she has FOUR already in the car.

– explain to her why the mamas can have beer but she can’t. Then consider giving her a little sip just to calm her down.

– take her to the dentist.

– scrub behind her ears.

– drop her off at daycare.

Meanie. Might as well call yourself Gaston or Ursula or Uncle Scar from now on.

The Heartbreak

Sometimes it is small. Like when she falls and cries, or even the times she falls and gets right back up. The almighty instinct to absorb her pain kicks in, or in the other case, it’s awe and astonishment. Pride. Swelling heart.

Other times the feelings are internalized, mixed and difficult for even the other parent to fully understand. It happened when I realized she suddenly learned to count to ten correctly (when did that happen?), or watching her gently pet our sick and dying dog with such kind and curious intent.

Lately it has been shameful and helpless. The heartache. Why is she behind others when it comes to vocabulary, comprehension, enunciation? How did we backslide in swim class to the point that she can’t make it 30 minutes without bawling and breaking down? And these two words: potty training.

Then there is the shared sentiment that plagues a generation. What kind of world will she inherit? Environment, society, global community. Can I protect her from the monsters both metaphysical and real? Oh, and the cost of college. Ugh. HeartBURN.

Finally is the sorrow of want. Things out of my control, or that I should have harnessed but didn’t. I wish I made more money for her, had a shorter commute to work for her, could provide her with a sibling, or simply put down the damn phone when she was dancing to the opening theme of “Superstore” last night. Instead of savoring that moment, I was deleting junk mail or reading a “Top ten secrets about broccoli” list. And none of those secrets pertained to getting my kid to eat vegetables, so…

Parenting is a great joy. Like falling in love every day of the year. And sometimes… parenting is just a series of heartbreaks: big, small, meaningful and fleeting. Worth it? Every single one.

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*Photos by Kellie O’Donnell