Tag Archives: happy toddler

A Happy Toddler on a Sad Day Offers Hope

Ten years ago, C. was eight days shy of his first birthday. We were a little less than two weeks away from his big first year birthday bash. I was a magazine editor in New York City, working from home most of the time and traveling into midtown Manhattan just once a week.

That Tuesday I was supposed to go into the city, but for a now-forgotten reason, I didn’t. Instead, like most, T. and I spent the day in a surreal state, our moods switching from sadness to anger and back again as we tried to process what was unfolding in front of us on the television. And while the two of us were encompassed in a profound state of sorrow, the reality was we had a happy toddler living in our house with us. A sweet nearly-one-year old who had no idea what was going on. That the country he lived in would never be the same. Who didn’t know why his parents were weeping or that his godfather and mother’s cousin were NYPD officers that we couldn’t get in touch with. (They were fine.)

So through our tears and our worries and host of emotions, we tried our best to entertain our happy toddler, playing and singing and coloring and skipping and acting like everything was normal. Even though it was the furthest thing from it. In the days that followed, it was more of the same, our happy parenting nothing more than a facade.

Ten years later I find myself in a similar position. I’m always sad on September 11, but this year even more so. I don’t know if it’s the magnitude of the anniversary or that the coverage has just been more ramped up than in pervious years, but I’m definitely more reflective this September. And yet what am I doing this morning instead of watching the coverage from Ground Zero? Watching Blue’s Clues. Playing cars. Seeing how high I can jump. Giving as many extra hugs and kisses as my kids will let me.

And as my happy toddler jumps around in his self-chosen mismatched outfit, as he giggles and shrieks and plays with his brother and sister, as my three kids spend the morning simply loving one another, I am reminded of why I don’t forget.

Want to learn more about Spencer? Check out Shock and Aww on Facebook and my other parenting blog, We Are Both Right. Also, I’m on Twitter too.


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A Happy Toddler Spies a Familiar Face in an Unexpected Place

We were sitting around the kitchen table last night eating dinner, my children and I. It was a little after six and we were winding down from a fun day — A. had lacrosse camp where she was named “Camper of the Day,”; we went to Target where we picked up some back-to-school supplies and clothes as well as some other assorted sundries; and we had capped it all off with a trip to a local playground that we hadn’t been to in a while.

That morning I had thought ahead and prepared dinner in the slow cooker earlier that day (sausage and peppers) so all I needed to do was heat up some pasta and defrost some homemade tomato sauce and we were good to go. T. was at work and wasn’t joining us, but otherwise I had a happy toddler and two not-fighting older kids who were content to watch television while I cooked. Life was good.

Once dinner was ready, we gathered together and dug in. I have a little television in the kitchen that isn’t hooked up to a cable box, but it does get some local channels. I like to watch the news while I cook (and if I’m being honest, Judge Judy, shhh) and tonight I opted to keep it on while we ate. I normally don’t do that, but I had been away from “life” all day and wanted to catch up on what was going on in the world, as well as the weather.

We were going around the table sharing our favorite parts of the day (Spencer’s, as per the usual was when we went outside) when all of a sudden A. shouted, “Look! It’s Daddy! On t.v.!” She was right, there he was in the background where someone was being interviewed. The two older kids went bananas, yelling and pointing. And my happy toddler? He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“It’s Daddy!,” he kept repeating. “On t.v. in the kitchen!” I don’t know what made him more excited, that Daddy was on television or that it was happening in the kitchen. For the rest of the night, it was all he talked about. He couldn’t stop smiling. If I thought he was a happy toddler before, I was completely off base. He was ecstatic!

It got better for him though. Our local broadcast tends to repeat certain segments on the later airings of the news, so I decided to record the 11 p.m. edition. And sure enough, there was T. once more. This morning, when Spencer woke up I showed him the recording from last night.

“Daddy!” he giggled. “Now Daddy on t.v. in the living room! Daddy on t.v. in the kitchen. Daddy on t.v. in the living room! So silly Daddy!”

I thought that Elmo and Mickey Mouse were his favorite on-screen characters. I guess they have some competition!

Want to read more about Spencer? Check out Shock and Aww on Facebook and my other parenting blog, We Are Both Right.

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A Happy Toddler in the Great Outdoors

I got an adorable greeting from a very happy toddler this morning.

“MOMMY!,” Spencer said, jumping up and down in his crib when I walked into his room. “MOMMY! I wake up! I wake up Mommy! I get dressed? I wear bathing suit? I go outside? I go in pool? I go to beach! Mommy! I go to beach! I go in pool! Outside! I wake up! I go outside! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! Outside Mommy! Outside!”

He was a just a teensy bit excited. As I got him dressed, his happy toddler chatter continued.

“I eat ice pops outside? I go outside! I eat ice pops! I go to park outside! I eat ice pops!” And on and on and on, his words tripping over themselves in their enthusiasm and fervor.

As If waking up! and starting the day! wasn’t enough of a jubilant occasion for a toddler, waking up! and starting a SUMMER day!!! is downright glorious.

Spencer loves to go outside. It’s all he ever wants to do, with no regard for the weather or the time of day. He’s like a postal worker. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom or night…” When he goes to bed at night, likes to make sure that heading out the door is tops on the agenda for the next day. “I go outside when I wake up? I see sun, I wake up, I go outside?”

I do understand why though. We have a lot for him to do out there. Between his kiddie pool (with built-in sprinkler) and water table and swing set and toddler slide, he’s always busy. Not to mention the bubbles and the chalk and the baseball tee and the hula hoops and the tricycle and the myriad other outdoor toys we have for him and C. and A. to play with. When you are a kid, summer is nothing but fun, fun, fun and Spencer is having the time of his life.

I feel bad though, I don’t get to take him out as often as he would like. (Which to be fair is 24 hours a day. We average about four.) He’s not old enough to go out on his own yet, not to mention that our yard isn’t fenced in so he needs full-on adult (or big brother or sister) supervision. And sometimes I’m just a big tease — simply bringing him to the car instead of letting him running around and play. (This morning I spent, no kidding, 15 minutes chasing him around the yard before I was finally able to wrestle him into his car seat.)

Still, once we are out, he’s a happy toddler to the max.

What makes for a happy toddler in your house?

Want to read more about Spencer? Check out Shock and Aww on Facebook and my other parenting blog, We Are Both Right.

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