Trying to leave the house with a toddler is like breaking out of Alcatraz
Last week we decided to go to the farm.
It took us approximately forever.
We’re still trying to leave now, actually: I’m writing this post somewhere in the indeterminate expanse of time that opened up between us deciding to leave the house and us actually leaving the house. And this happens, without fail, every single time we try to go somewhere, leaving me with only two possible conclusions:
01. Leaving the house with a toddler is like breaking out of Alcatraz, only much, much harder.
02. It also has the ability to warp time. FACT.
In my life BC (Before Children), for instance, the time it took me to get ready to go somewhere would have been broken down something like this:
25 MINUTES : aimless scrolling through my phone
30 – 40 MINUTES: shower and indulgent hair mask
25 MINUTES: makeup
45 MINUTES: blow-drying and styling hair
60 – 90 MINUTES: choosing an outfit
20 MINUTES: just sitting on the edge of the bed with one leg in my pants, staring into space
20 MINUTES: re-styling hair
25 MINUTES: more aimless phone scrolling
20 MINUTES: last-minute change of outfit
Now, however, it looks more like this:
20 MINUTES: tidy kitchen, empty dishwasher, put on a load of laundry, make bed, shower, makeup, run comb through unwashed hair, get dressed.
1 HOUR: catching Max and wrestling him into his clothes.
1.5 HOURS: realising that the above step has taken so long that it’s now lunchtime, and Max will have to be fed before we can leave, or he will kick off in the car.
1 HOUR: changing Max’s top, which is now covered in food, then trying to get his shoes on him.
40 MINUTES: filling the changing bag with everything Max is likely to need for the next three years, because that’s approximately how long this is going to take.
20 MINUTES: Unexpected poop emergency requiring chasing down of the toddler, who does NOT want to have his nappy changed, under any circumstances.
20 MINUTES: Complicated negotiations to secure agreement on nappy changing proposal.
5 MINUTES: Change nappy.
2 HOURS: Terry gets a phonecall from a client. Even although the phonecall itself only lasts 20 minutes, the fallout from it lasts a further 90 minutes, as we now need to go back and repeat the previous four steps, but now with the added challenge of ‘Tired Max’ in the mix.
20 MINUTES: Debating whether we should try to put him down for a nap, or nah?
15 MINUTES: Searching for the red car, which Max absolutely cannot leave the house without.
15 MINUTES: Searching for the blue car, which Max has decided he would, in fact, prefer.
20 MINUTES: Trying to wrestle a cranky toddler into his car seat, while determinedly ignoring his plaintive wails of “ORANGE CAR! ORANGE CAR!”
15 MINUTES: Sitting in the parked car while Terry searches the house for our membership passes for the farm, which he says I had last, and I maintain HE had last.
10 MINUTES: Short but spirited debate on the subject of, ‘Who Has The Most Things To Remember Right Now And Thus The Hardest Life.’
5 MINUTES: Explaining to Max that we absolutely, definitely will NOT be going back to the house for the orange car, because he’s already thrown both the blue and red cars into the passenger side footwell, and we know perfectly well that he’s planning to do the same thing with the orange car, too. We will absolutely not be moved on this decision.
10 MINUTES: Going back into the house for the orange car.
5 MINUTES: Reaching the end of the street, only to realise that although the changing bag does contain five tubes of SPF 50 suncreen, which are absolutely no use to us in October, plus a small Jellycat monkey called Clive, it does not, in fact, contain the sippy cup containing Max’s water, or the snack he is now demanding.
5 MINUTES: Debating the merits of returning to the house for cup and snack, and concluding that doing this will likely involve us falling through yet another gap in the time-space continuum, and that, when we finally emerge from it, it’ll be 2035, and the farm will have flooded due to climate change, anyway. Also, as it’s now almost dinner time, we’ll just buy him some food when we get there, yeah?
As we finally leave our street, with Max’s wails of “GREEN CAR! GREEN CAR!” echoing in our ears, I comfort myself with the knowledge that, by the time we return from our outing, the day will be almost over, and it’ll be time to start Max’s 17-hour bedtime routine. Alas, however, as we leave the farm approximately 7 hours later, I check my watch, only to find that, actually, we’ve only been out of the house for 15 minutes, and there’s still 43 hours left until I can go to bed.
Conclusion: leaving the house with a toddler in some way alters the very fabric of time itself, and also kind of sucks, really.
And the best bit?
Tomorrow we get to do it all over again…