I get this odd foreboding sensation in Wisconsin during August. I feel like I HAVE to go outside because there’s a limited number of warm, sunny weeks left before the snow. This is me being a bit over dramatic. But one day I was feeling this foreboding and I got the crazy idea to take my toddler and newborn to a park for a picnic dinner. Boy, was that a mistake.
I love watching my toddler son play at parks because it’s fascinating to watch him process things. He’s 2 years old now so it feels like he’s learning 10 new words everyday or putting familiar words in new orders to make sentences. It’s adorable.
Less than adorable is my son’s affection for ketchup. I swear, that boy loves ketchup, and all kinds of cheese.
And so I thought if I got chicken tenders, french fries, milk, and ketchup for our picnic dinner, he’d love it.
That was mistake #1.
The boy did not eat. Okay, maybe he had 3 french fries and sucked the ketchup packet like it was a pouch of Gogurt. But that was it. He was too distracted by the playground to eat more than those few bites.
Mistake number two was thinking that playing at the playground would make him more tired and thus easier to put to bed.
However, my son didn’t spend a whole lot of energy at playing on the playground. Instead, my son spent most of his energy naming his surroundings and reminding me how he spilled a snack cup of cheerios by our car.
Cheerios. Wheel. Slide. Steps. Doggie. People. Alix resting…
That part was actually pretty cute – I’m growing more amazed at how many words my son knows and how he puts words together.
When my daughter was showing signs of needing her next bottle. I managed to shepherd my son to the car. I don’t remember exactly how I pulled this off,…I think it was telling him we should go home to see Daddy and Gjalla.
As I clicked my daughter’s car seat into its base, I turned around just in time to watch my son eat the last of those Cheerios he had dropped on the street upon our arrival.
Toddlers are like little drunk people. Sometimes you can’t stop them and you just have to laugh.
My final mistake of the night was not trying to get my son to eat more food at home. After bath time and the usual stack of books, he normally admits defeat and goes to bed. If we’re lucky…
But lately my husband and I have struggled to get our kids to sleep. Sometimes the toddler won’t stay in his bed. Sometimes the newborn laughs and kicks to communicate she’s not tired at all.
On this special day of our picnic dinner, our son fought bedtime for approximately 90 minutes. Then he dropped this gem of a sentence on me:
“Belly. Owie. Eat.”
My heart! Oh my baby! Of course you are hungry!
So I let him stay up 3 hours past his bedtime to eat some yogurt, apples, and peanut butter. Eventually he was ready to go to bed, thank goodness!
Lesson learned. Maybe we’ll try the picnic lunch or dinner again soon, but I know parenthood is like being a scientist: you run the experiment over and over and over with different variables until you find what works. Then you prepare for it to stop working some day, and you keep trying.