Toddler Tips

Immediately after I posted my “I had a normal weekend!” blog post, Zoe decided to start acting all crazy, thus confirming my friend Michele’s truism that YOU CANNOT POST GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN ON SOCIAL MEDIA, LEST THEY STOP BEING TRUE.

To that end, I’ve been compiling a list in my head of the various places where one should and should not go with a two-year-old. I do not mean “the beaches of Bali versus Lake Erie for a weekend.”  I mean, the places you may or may not want to frequent on a day-to-day basis.


  • Shopping.  This was initially going to be several subcategories, but in the interest of space, it’s best to combine it into one.  You do not want to take your two-year-old to the grocery store (not that I’m counting, but I have 48 weeks left until I can leave Zoe with her sister in the Eagle’s Nest at Giant Eagle) where she may pull over a FULL GALLON OF APPLE CIDER ON TO THE FLOOR.  You do not want to take your two-year-old to the liquor store, AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO GO, where one of the clerks may say to her, “you were really making me scared” in a non-joking manner.  You do not want to take your toddler shopping for clothes for yourself, a potential task so daunting that I have never, not once, even considered doing it.
  • To any restaurants where either (a) you can hear yourself think or (b) your food will not be on your table within 7 minutes of you sitting down.  This is not to say that you can’t go out to eat.  You can.  You just can’t go anywhere you want.  Also a consideration: at one point in my life, I had high hopes that my children would have subtle, refined palates, but at this point in my life I’m not interested in spending $10 for them to make faces at kale quinoa, so if a restaurant does not have chicken, pizza, or mac and cheese options, we do not go there.
  • To the house of your family or friends who do not have children but who also have a lot of potentially breakable things, sensitive pets and/or really steep stairs.  No matter how chill these people are about their place and their stuff, you will spend your whole visit chasing your child around and yelling “DO NOT TOUCH THE GUITAR” or “WATCH YOURSELF ON THOSE STAIRS” or “LEAVE THE CAT ALONE” at them.
Peanut butter bagels: a solid maybe

Peanut butter bagels: a solid maybe


The absolute two best places to take your toddler are as follows:

  • To your friends’ house, where “friends” is defined as “people who have children, a lot of liquor and food, and don’t care what time you leave.”  You can assume any guitars that are below waist level are free to be destroyed, the cats will all be hiding in the basement, and they probably have a baby gate somewhere.
  • To a family gathering where the adult-to-child ratio is adult-favorable and there is at least one grandparent or grandparent-like person there who will basically steal your child, and you can sit on the couch and watch the sports and no one will ask you to do anything, including but not limited to “feed your children” or “change diapers.”

Coming in at third is any museum or play area specifically designed for young children.

If smocks are provided, we're there

If smocks are provided, we’re there

Fourth is every place else in the world.  Stay home for another year or so.  You can save up some money.  It’s not so bad.


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