We are experiencing a bit of an early summer, which is all kinds of wonderful. The weather is fabulous but I’m not completely thrilled about the “open door policy” that comes with the sun and heat. It’s not the kind of friendly and voluntary “open door policy” that I’m sure you’re  thinking of. It’s the kind where our door is always open because no one can remember to CLOSE THE DOOR.

It’s that special time of year were insects and rodents take up residence in our home because my kids never CLOSE THE DOOR. It’s not that hard; You remembered to open it before you tried to walk through it, now please, CLOSE THE DOOR. You are skilled and coordinated enough to open the door, so I know you are physically capable enough to CLOSE THE DOOR. 

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, but I have to be real careful about not yelling it, since as I previously mentioned, the door is wide open. The neighbors have to think I’m a crazy lady at this point, so I’m not sure why I try to keep up the charade of “normal-completely-sane-person-who-doesn’t-yell ‘CLOSE THE DOOR!’ every -3-minutes.” I’m living a lie, because that’s not the woman I am. I’ve been forced to wear these crazy pants and they actually fit quite well.

It’s not just the constant indecision between playing inside or playing outside that causes the tiresome slide of the patio door. It’s the running commentary I receive on every thing that my children experience while playing outside.

*slide* “Mom! The bumble bee is back!”

*slide* “Mom! We found a dead June bug!”

*slide* “Mom! We filled your garden with sand!”

*slide* “Mom! Nolan ate an ant!”

I’m experiencing most of these happenings in real time as I constantly poke my head out of the door to ensure that no one has expired or done irreparable damaged to the exterior of our home. So logistically, I don’t need to hear about the June bug for the fourth time. I can appreciate the sense of wonder that comes from being a child, but is it asking too much for efficiency in wonderment? Could they save up three exciting insect sightings and then open the door (probably still inviting at least one of said insects into our lovely home) instead of reporting each one independently? It would cut the door openings by a third. I don’t want to be the efficiency-over-fun Mom, but I’m already the neighborhood crazy person, so I’m feeling pretty good about starting the lessons in efficiency early. 

Lesson one: CLOSE THE DOOR.

5 Ways Parenting Toddlers is Like a Day at the Beach

If you are currently in the trenches parenting toddlers, it goes without saying that you could use a vacation. Unfortunately, you might not be able to escape for that much needed R&R. Fear not; your toddlers can bring the vacation to you! Kick back and relax, here are five ways that parenting toddlers is likea day at the beach.

1) The feeling of sand between your toes.
Don’t you love stepping onto the beach, barefoot, and feeling the sun-warmed sand between your toes? Having toddlers is a similar sensation, only it’s the soft crunch of Cheerios beneath your feet and the feeling of tiny pieces of everything-your-child-ate-today between your toes. Why go to the beach when your toddler can create a sand-like experience covering your entire kitchen floor? Every meal is a new experience, a new sensation. Might I recommend day-old dried peas combined with crusted who-knows-how-old Playdoh crumbs? Pure paradise!

2) The sound of waves crashing against the shore.

The repetitive and soothing sound of loud waves crashing into the shore is universally relaxing. There’s a reason ocean sounds are included on most white noise machines; they drown out other noises and offer a sense of calm and focus. The constant dialogue and questions that toddlers emit can offer an equivalent sensation. Since toddlers will summon you no less than ten times, you can relax to the therapeutic soundtrack of “Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommmmmy!” Or “What’s that? What’s that? What’s that? What’s that?! What’s that?!” Much like the lapping waves at the seashore, your toddler’s questions can take you to a place of serenity and calm. As you learn to drown out the noise, (wine also helps with this) you’ll eventually start imagining yourself on a beach. Without toddlers. And more wine. Voila, vacation!

3) Long walks searching for seashells.

The quest for a delicate unscathed seashell is a challenge, as the force of the ocean and its journey to the shore often shatters or damages most shells. It’s the search to find beauty in the rough. Living with a toddler is similar, in that they will destroy everything that you own and hold dear. Searching for a piece of unstained clothing, a pair of unbroken sunglasses, or a book without a freaking page ripped out can give you the same sense of delight as a peaceful hunt for shells on the beach. Such a satisfying scavenger hunt!

4) Easy breezy wind-blown beach hair.

When you hit the beach, it’s time to let your hair down and feel the breeze flow through your locks. Beach hair is a natural and effortless look that you can also accomplish by caring for toddlers day in and day out. Usually you’re too tired to shower, so your hair takes on a matted and tangled texture sure to impress. Combine this with the number of airborne foods your hair will intercept and you’ve mastered a style similar to that casual and simple beach look. Your wind-blown beach waves will be easy to pull together, since most days your brush will get stuck in your hair (probably on some yogurt or applesauce). So just scrunch it a bit while your toddler tugs on the other side and you’ll have instant trouble-free tropical tresses!

5) The fresh ocean air.

You know that smell unique to the ocean, a combination of salt water, sea weed, fresh air and freedom? Having toddlers kind of smells like that, only what you’re really smelling is poop. It always smells like poop. So maybe this isn’t that similar to the beach. I just wanted to remind you that having toddlers smells a lot like poop, all the time.

So suit up ladies! Although I’m guessing that since having kids you probably dread wearing a swimsuit. A smock or just your bathrobe would be fine too. Ain’t life a beach?

The Sandbox is The Worst

The sandbox is the worst. We can still argue about vaccines, organic food and attachment parenting, but can we all as parents, as humans, agree on this one little thing? The sandbox is the worst.

That doesn’t mean my kids don’t play in it. They love their giant litter box. They’d roll around and make sand angels in it, if it were large enough. Unfortunately for them, it’s too small for that variety of filthy fun. So they mostly just stick to throwing it in each others hair and dumping it all over the patio.

Every time we go outside, that stupid green turtle laughs at me. He mocks me from a distance as if to remind me that there’s no way I can avoid immersing my children into his grimey dusty ring of hell. “HAHA – guess it’s bath night!” He chides.

He’s right. He smirks while they beg me to play in the sandbox, and I relent. “I only said yes because they’ll play happily for at least 30 minutes.” I snap at his smug, green, sun-faded face. Why do all the fun things have to be so dirty? Why can’t my kids love organizing my closet, folding laundry or a quiet game of parcheesi? 

The sandbox wins every time, and good luck enforcing any sandbox rules you may try to establish in order to minimize the horrific nature of sandbox play. Sand will be thrown. Sand will end up everywhere in your home. Sand will end up in diapers, hair and every conceivable orifice. Despite not even playing in the sandbox, it will somehow end up in your bra. Sand cannot be contained. 

If the sand can’t be contained, then why not just embrace it? Arguably I am, since it’s finding its way into my bra. I believe that sand, like children, needs boundaries.

“Sand stays in the sandbox” is a funny little rule I made up when we first got that trite turtle. As a rule it makes sense, but it’s funny because once you hand a toddler a shovel and bucket and then set them in a plastic pit filled with tiny dusty rocks, they’re taking that filled bucket for a walk. 100% of the time. Then it’s anyone’s guess which toy will be the next lucky recipient of a sand shower. 

That used to be a sun hat, before my kids made it look like it had been unearthed in a archaeological dig.

Go spread that sandy love, lawn mower.

“Don’t throw the sand” is a necessary rule that is exhausting to enforce. It’s a little easier for the four-year-olds to comply, but when little dude fills his chubby little paws with what appears to be hundreds of tiny balls, it’s airborne in a hot second. It’s some kind of overpowering, irresistible impulse that little boys have, which means a majority of my sandbox supervision involves sand throwing time-outs. I’m clearly ineffective at explaining to a one-year-old how much better we could all get a long better without microscopic pieces of rocks in our eyes. 

Despite my long list of complaints and loathsome distaste for our sand-filled reptile, there is no denying how effective the sandbox is at occupying my children. As long as you continue to provide mostly uninterrupted entertainment for my wild brood, I’ll suffer the inconveniences and allow you to reside on my patio. I tolerate you, sandbox, but you’re still the worst.