Muffin Meltdown

The muffin was in a vulnerable position, in a crumbly mess on the edge of the counter.

Little Legs had just reduced the tasty baked good to bits and pieces and pushed it aside to try and access the Cheerio’s in my bowl. To be more specific, it was Honey-Nut Cheerio’s: a cereal of delicious compromise between the normal Cheerio flavor of cardboard and a straight spoonful of refined sugar.  

“No, Little Legs,” I said firmly.

“Yes, Mama,” he replied his sticky hand extended towards me.

His confident tone indicated that it was only a matter of time before my cereal became his cereal and I was left with nothing. I suppose there was the muffin crumb pile that I could eat for nourishment.

Obviously, this was the time to strike for any mangy mutt that happened to be passing through Crumb Ally. Coco, our insatiable puppy-dog, took to her hindlegs to briefly rest against the counter with her front paws long enough to take the entire muffin heap into her mouth and gulp it down into her bottomless pit.

Little Legs turned back as a black flash retreated to the ground and into the next room, happily licking her lips. He screwed his face up in disbelief as tears welled in his eyes.

“My muffin,” he wailed.

It was suddenly the only thing he wanted in the entire world, and it was impossibly gone.

“Get new one, get new one,” he chanted.

This was also what he said when our fish died.  

“Sometimes, we can’t replace things that are gone,” I gently explained.

“Get new one, get new one,” he continued.

Of course, this teachable moment would have been more impactful if there were not another three muffins across the counter, ready and waiting for consumption. Still, I held the line and refused with a NO in all caps which led to another meltdown.

And I wondered if I should just give the mouse his muffin.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.: Teaching Cause and Effect | Scholastic | Parents

Sticks and Stones

Jagged, ragged sobs come from the next room.

Little Legs is on the floor, sleep-crying, after the last thirty minutes of yelling, screaming, begging and pleading for release from naptime.

“You don’t have to sleep, but you have to rest in your room,” Daddy Longlegs explained minutes earlier, gently leading him back to his room for the fourth time.

“Hate naps. Hate sleep. Hate Dada,” Little Legs said.

Daddy Longlegs said, “You don’t have to like it, but you have to have quiet time.”

He let the stinging blow of his son’s words glance off his cheek.

If only Little Legs understood the power of words, he would know the pain and joy they can give.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never (not) hurt me.

I hear a rustling from his room, a moan and another cry. The moan is from me, there will be no napping today, for anyone except Baby Brother. Little Legs is back up and well-rested enough to change tactics.

“Need Mama,” he says.

I jump up and my heart swells, ready to rescue him from his room, until it hits me.

Not only does he understand the power of words, he is using it to crush his parents, each one in a unique and specially tailored way.

Toddler 1: Parents 0

Sleep Fight

“Do you want me to sing you a song?”

I laughed softly at Daddy Longlegs’ tenderness in the ongoing struggle to get Little Legs to sleep.

Every night, the boy tries new tricks to stay up.

“Two more stories?” he requests after the 17th book lands on a pile next to him.

“Wa-wa?” he smacks his lips with thirst while holding a cup of water.

“Poo-poo diap-ee,” he announces, certain that someone will assist, with a suspicious glee.

We should feel flattered our company is so desirable that this young person wants to spend even five more minutes together. Instead, we are exhausted, exasperated and did I mention, tired?  

I remind myself that this is yet another phase, one that we will look back on with an aching sense of loss. Someday in the future, he will be knobbly-kneed boy, and then a teenager who has no time and no interest in snuggling up next to us.

So tonight when he fakes a cough and yells out, “Cough med-cine” or “Need Mama”, I will breathe in energy and breathe out grace and compassion for the toddler down the hall who keeps us in a constant state of motion.

The Last Music Class

Music class.

It is supposed to be a joyful celebration of time together, just the two of us, snuggling, clapping, singing and dancing in a half-circle with other moms and their babes. Instead, it has become a battle ground of the wills with boundary pushing and general naughtiness unique to the toddler demographic.

Last Tuesday, Little Legs sat in my lap for half a second before bouncing up and into the center of the group to start twirling into a dizzy delirium. Then he dashed off for the Christmas tree in the corner to pull the ornaments off, one by one.

“Grabby,” he explained.

I whispered, “No, no,” into his ear as I ushered him back to our spot to shake a tambourine while another toddler boy got loose and ran behind the curtain that separated the room into two.

Inspired by the dash of freedom, Little Legs undertook the same trip. He sprang to his feet from my lap and darted for the curtain, wrapping himself in it.

“Mama, hide.”

“I can see you baby, and this is not the time to hide.”

He peeked out with one eye to see the other toddler boy race across the room, with his mama in hot pursuit and of course, he made the same mad sprint.

This repeated itself no less than twelve times.

Another mother tried to intervene on my behalf by grabbing Little Legs, he escaped, and she said, to my horror, “I’ll get him next time for you.”

The threat of time-out beaded up and dropped away like rain on the wing of a bird. Spanking was not an option and yelling would reveal my true nature as a crazy, stressed out mother which would not do anyone any good.

I chased my Wilding around the room until the end of class. At the end of that long hour, I gathered Little Legs up in my arms and gave him a big squeeze because last Tuesday was the last music class.

We are going back into lockdown and will figure out how to act in public once we re-emerge, hopefully sometime in Spring.

Banana Bread Bonanza

“You have to peel the banana first,” his mother patiently explained.

“Drop,” the boy said as he released an unpeeled banana into the mixing bowl onto a white bed of sugar.

He picked up a second unpeeled and equally ripe banana. The stem bent when he tried to pull it down and the fruit refused to open in his hands. Undeterred, the boy channeled his inner animal and tried to peel it with his sharp teeth, only further mushifying it.

He discarded the banana and prepared to dismount his stool with slimy banana hands.


“No, Little Legs. It is not trash. We need that to make the banana bread.”

His mother reviewed the recipe with one eye while watching her son with the other. He turned around and decided to stay, hopeful for a few moments alone with the sugar. He grabbed for the bag with both hands.

“I don’t think so, buster,” she declared, removing the bag from his hands.  

He didn’t protest because a new opportunity presented itself, the unguarded mixing bowl. He grabbed it and dipped his finger in to sample the sugar and butter. The bowl was pushed out of his reach by an omnipotent hand, only encouraging him to climb onto the counter after it.

“Ok, the eggs are next.  Do you want to help add them?”  


From that point, the eggs were cracked with the shells and dumped on the counter, the flour barely made it to the bowl, minus a swiped handful which ended up in Little Legs’ mouth, and the gooey mixture was still not ready for the oven because a baby started to cry in the background, ready for his next all-liquid, all-the-time snack.

If there was a world record for the longest banana bread making experience, they probably would have won it, hands down.

For all we know, they are still mixing and mashing.  

Peas, please.

“Did you just ask for peas?”

I was in disbelief. Ever since Little Legs started solids, he refused to eat vegetables. Anything that was green was instantly rejected without even trying it. He turned his head in the opposite direction of whatever tasty healthy morsel was being offered, his mouth clamped shut and his lips sealed shut like the tomb of an Egyptian king, only to be reopened with the magic word, “Cookie.”

Our pediatrician laughed when I explained my concerns that Little Legs was surely missing out on some key nutrients and may be headed for a nasty case of scurvy.

“You need to starve him, a little. Hold back on the fun snacks, like Goldfish and muffins, and give him carrots or peas for a snack.”

This cruel approach only resulted in Little Legs not eating a snack and with a mini-salad on the floor, thrown there in disgust. I would have more luck force feeding a turtle than getting this child to eat vegetables.

Or so I thought.

Today, I opened a bag of sweet sugar snap peas that had been shoved in the back of the fridge and crunched on a whole pea snap.

“Mmm…mmm… these are delicious.”

I split one open with my thumb like I was opening an envelope to reveal the cutest little sweet peas attached inside of the seam. I popped one after the other into my mouth while watching Little Legs out of the side of my eye.

He dropped his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and clapped his hands to get my attention. He held his hands out, wriggling his fingers in a sudden need to try the green treat.

I held out a little longer, letting the excitement build before splitting open another snap pea and showing him the tiny peas inside.

“Peeez…” he asked with his hands outstretched.

How could I refuse?

I turned over the pea and a subsequent handful, all of which he greedily gobbled up, and held his hands out for more in a very Green Eggs and Ham transition. At last, I think it’s safe to say that he does so like them, Sam-I-Am.