Building Blocks: The Social Life of the Toddler, and his Secretary

12.01.09: Leo's 18th month


I’m back! It’s me, Mama, the lady who goes to the playground with snacks every morning. The lady who pushes the stroller back and forth for as long as it takes to make the nap happen (did I mention I’ve given up on getting Leo to nap in the crib and adopted the nanny’s indoor stroller technique?). I’m the lady who says “no splashing!” and “which block is the green one?” and “okay, one more book.”

I am thrilled and relieved to be done with my full-time work for now, and so happy to be home with my 18-month angel-monster. Charming and silly and naughty and changeable, Leo is certainly not easier to be around than my co-workers, but he is definitely more fun, and better exercise.

There is plenty of motivation to keep planning and stay active when you’re the mom of a toddler. Things fall apart fast if you’re home with no better ideas, and once they do, even getting shoes and coats on can feel catastrophic, and may require me to sit on a screaming person, which I generally prefer to avoid.

Leo’s social calendar is actually quite full this first week, with two playgroups, a toddler and parent cocktail party at our house this weekend, and his two grandparent afternoons and three mornings of childcare. In fact, to keep track of it all, I’ve started a Google calendar for him. Is that ridiculous?

It certainly seems ridiculous when you consider that my own Google calendar is rather less full. But of course, Leo tends to like bringing me along to all his ‘events’ so this is hardly a coincidence. Last week, I was worried about filling Leo’s days. Tonight, as I wait for my experimental leftover cranberry sauce upside-down cake to come out of the oven (er, I guess I’m baking for tomorrow’s playgroup?), I’m reminded that figuring out how to fill my own calendar is much trickier business. And no one is going to pack my snack, sit on me, then push me out the door. If only you could build an adult life out of bristle blocks!

Recipe: Buttermilk–Cranberry Sauce Upside-Down Cake