Free Roaming Toddlers


Hi, it’s me again. 7:30 AM Friday morning. Jack and Fiona will be up any minute, but right now I am enjoying quietness, hot coffee, and sunflower butter on toast. It’s been another wild week. Its possible Jack is phasing out of naps. Yesterday when we got home from Early Start (school) I put Jack upstairs in the guestroom, he seemed tired, I thought he would definitely take a nap. AS I was putting Fiona in the nursery two doggies came running in. They are my neighbor’s dogs, the cutest little things, and I knew they were friendly with kids because the owners  have three kids. So I let Fiona hang out with them in the nursery for a few minutes and I got some cuddles in myself! Such sweet doggies, Billy’s a sweet girl but she’s not cuddly, she’s like a wolf dog, always on the job. Plus, she’s always covered in poison oak! After a few minutes I tell Fiona, “Time for your nap”, she starts crying, “My doggie”, “Fiona, we have to put the doggies out, those aren’t your doggies, they’re the neighbors’ doggies” Crying, “My Dog”, “That’s not your doggie” “Mine, mine, mine” “Awww, you want those puppies? Aww they aren’t your doggies; come on puppies you have to go home.” “Puppy, puppy, puppy” “They’re not our doggies, I’m going to leave the puppies out here” “No, NO, NO” As the doggies exit the garage I start laughing and so does Fiona! I put her back in the nursery to take her nap and she bawls. I tell her “I need to eat” then she says, “Me Eat” so I bring her down a yogurt pack and piece of cheese. She cries but does fall asleep. 


I come upstairs, pour some granola over yogurt, go down to my studio, paint with one hand, scoop yogurt in my mouth with the other hand. I can hear banging on the floor. I get scared, what if Jack learned how to open doors. I go upstairs and Jack’s still in his room but says “Mama”, he’s wide awake. “Are you tired?” “No” he says. “you’re not going to take a nap?”, “No”. “O.K.” I let him out, he wants to watch bear, “O.K., you can watch bear and mommies going to do her exercises.” We cancelled our gym membership this month so we can save money. So I’m working out at home, I was going to do it while the babies took their nap or before they woke up! But now, while they watch T.V.! After  I exercise, it’s 3:00, time for Fiona to get up. I go down and wake her up, she only had an hour nap, she would have slept longer but then she would be up late! Now that both babies are up things get crazy. First is food! They eat outside in the lawn, I give them fish sticks, O’s, berries, cereal, chocolate covered pretzels, they eat it all. I go back and forth between my studio and upstairs. I have the baby gate open and the garage door open so the babies can find me easily. They come down and Gasp! I’m painting faces, paints all over my hands. Jack starts moving the press back and forth. “I need to teach you how to print” I say. The babies are examining my studio, watching me be crazy and talk to myself. It’s dangerously cool. I finally “Finish” two pieces. I clean my hands and brushes. The babies are getting into the house paint closet, looking at golf balls and wooden  tee’s, super excited, like they are on a treasure hunt. It takes me awhile to pry them back upstairs. When I get upstairs I notice milk and cereal spilt all over the good table. I say to myself, “This is what happens when I let toddlers free roam!” 


But then Fiona grabs a piece of paper towel and starts cleaning up her mess. I say, “Do you want mommies help?” I go to help, she says “No” and continues cleaning. I control my natural urge to clean it good and let Fiona do her thing. She comes to me when she’s done! I tell her how much I appreciate her initiative and that she’s helping mommy, and realize this is the other part of letting toddlers free roam!


After I put the babies to bed last night I still had to clean the WHOLE house, dishes, toys, vacuuming. I didn’t sit down until 9:00PM! When I did I couldn’t believe I wrote in the morning, spent mid-morning at Early Start, most of it in our parents’ support group, exercised, painted, had absolutely no time to myself, I couldn’t even take a shower alone because Fiona wanted to take a shower with me! But when I sat down I was amazed at all that I had done in the past thirteen hours, but I know I couldn’t keep up this pace! Or could I? Anyhow The babies are awake now! It’s already 8:00AM. Oh and this weekend is my birthday!!! I’m going to be forty-five years old!!! Can you believe it?! I can’t!


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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist