Put her shoes on in the car. She’s trapped. She’s still. You have, for once, the upper hand.
Get a mudroom. Do it however it will work for you. What it means for us is a bench outside our front door, stocked with “outside” towels and soap. This isn’t a joke. S has been hosed off in our driveway more times than I can count this summer. A portable mudroom might work, too, and maybe even better for you if you’re short on space. Stock your stroller with a hand towel and a spray bottle. Voila. Portable mudroom. You’ll enjoy your toddler time more if you’re not worried about him tracking mud through the house. Which brings me to…
Let it go. Just let it go. You know the advice you get all the time in middle school, that no one is paying as much attention to you as you think they are? It’s still true. No one cares if your house is clean. No one is inspecting your dining room floor (thank God). No one will ask if the cake was made from scratch. You don’t have time for everything (sometimes you probably don’t have time for anything), so let some things slide.
Stock the bottom drawer of the fridge with toddler-friendly foods. She’s going to learn how to open the refrigerator and you’re not going to be prepared for what this means. Let me tell you: it means all drawers and shelves within reach will be demolished in search of CHEESE. (Or whatever your kid is crazy for.) Just go ahead and put the cheese in the bottom drawer (in our case, along with the edamame, the tomatoes, and, fortheloveofGODTHESTRAWBERRIES) and save yourself the headache of spilt milk, as it were.
Learn new math. It doesn’t make sense, but two toddlers? Easier than one. Add another kid to the mix and, as long as it’s not nearing naptime (or, as we call it in our house: “naptime”), you’ve got a really solid chance of having it relatively easy: more distraction equals fewer fits. They entertain one another and you’ve got the moderately simple task of making sure no one climbs on anything that’s not firmly attached to the wall. Plus, you’re doing something great for your kid (socializing), AND, if you’ve taken the scary leap of drop-and-go playdates, then you’ve got a parent who owes you one.
Your kid? A happy camper. You? Probably still learning…aren’t we all?