12 Days of Shortcut Girl: 12 Toddler Tricks


So, in order to entertain myself and my readers, I have put together a series of 12 posts, ranging from serious to sarcastic, witty to ridiculous, poignant to preposterous.

Today I bring you: 12 Ways to Survive Your Toddlers at Christmas

Whenever I tell people I have a one year old and a three year old, the retort is, “Wow, then you’re REAL busy!” It’s kind of like telling people you’re an undercover ninja. “Yes, I might seem really, really normal and have it together here at the grocery store, but you should see the mounting laundry pile at home, it’s a doozie. Actually, being here at the grocery store is kind of a little vacation. I’m just driving my cart in circles until I am ready to pick them up from day care at a socially appropriate time” (not too early, not too late).

1. The Big Guy.

I know, I know, it’s cruel. Busting out the threat of no presents is a rookie toddler Mom mistake. But, take heed, there is a small period of time that this threat will actually inject pure fear into your child, so why not make the most of it?

Some good tips: Parker has decided that there are more than just naughty and nice lists, there is also a mad list, a happy list, a sad list, a mean list, etc. He has appropriately said that only the good people (the happy and the nice) will receive presents and the bad (naughty, sad, mad, mean) do not. This is a major coup. Any time he pouts and glares at me or shows anger towards me turning off another episode of Doc McStuffins, I can say, “do you want to be on Santa’s ‘mad at your Mommy’ list? Or Santa’s ‘you don’t ever eat vegetables list’? THOSE kids NEVER get presents.”

And it works like a charm.

2. The Little Guy

I wish someone had told me about all of the craziness that is Elf on a Shelf. Like, for instance, I wish I read this blog post. Because, even though I consider myself a rather creative person, being chained to moving and putting this elf in crafty and silly positions every day is just another thing on my list that I’d neglect. I am already successfully ignoring the pile of laundry in the laundry room—don’t give me ANOTHER chore to ignore!

But, he does work. Along with Santa threats, “Eddie is watching you” threats also work. And yes, it is creepy and commercial. And yes, it is a pain, and yes, the book is written really poorly. And yes, you will disagree with your spouse about the elf on the shelf “technique.” (Side bar: Mike thinks the elf should always be up high to show his “magic” and that Parker should never be able to touch him. Ugh, this makes it hard to be Super Mom and try all the Elf positions I have seen on Pinterest. Elf cotton ball bubble bath? Elf cereal party? Elf driving the Barbie car? In other words, your rule is making me fail at motherhood, just so you know.)

3. Your Guy

Husband/Dads can be depended on for rough play, loud play and sports play. If you have a warm day, get the kids O-U-T of the house with Dad. It’s your only chance to clean that dried yogurt under the table or fold every last pair of Woody underpants (Tee Hee).

4. Date Night

For the love of all that is good and holy, at least ONCE around Christmas time you should get out with your significant other to just, well, kind of, be able to talk about where you will next hide the elf on the shelf when you get home.

5. Pump up the Volume

This is something I have taken part in thrice already this Christmas season. Blaring till your ears bleed “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in the car with silent and slightly deafened children in the backseat. Just look in the rearview mirror, that’s Christmas spirit you see.

6. Run, run, run, run.

Many Moms have the same focus for their afternoons: Tire the heck out of every toddler in sight so you can have an early bedtime and watch more Breaking Bad.

Other Tip: My son has started soccer and we have found that his endurance is not that great (read: he lies on the floor during practice?). So, we have started doing some laps with him on the indoor track at the high school. A. Hilarious watching a three year old run the track. B. Makes you look like “one of those parents” who get their kids into psycho exercise at a too early age. Either way, fun to see what kind of looks you get.

7. Be cognizant of Toddler Time

“Next week,” “in two weeks” and “Christmas” all mean the same thing= NOW. Don’t mess with telling them what’s coming up in the weeks ahead. Let’s just take this day by day. My son actually started crying three days after Thanksgiving because he realized he never ate any turkey. They aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders when it comes to concepts of time.

8. Don’t use up all your carrots too soon.

Pace yourself. If you bake all your cookies, see all your Santas and do all you’re decorating before December 6th (I did), what the hell are you doing for the next 19 days?

9. Car Survival Kit

So that you can go anywhere you want when you throw those two tots in the car and take off, make sure you have a Winter Car Survival Kit (has nothing to do with being stranded with a broken car).

  • Goldfish
  • Wipes
  • Nutri-grain bars
  • Diapers
  • Plastic bags

You know why. You will get stuck “just picking up a few things” and feel like fast food might be your only method of making it through the night. No way, Jose. That’s only for emergencies. Give them some of these no-fail car snacks and you are good to go. And you’re good if they go— in their pants.

10. Toy Storage

It’s important to do a “where is _______gonna fit?” survey before the big day. Clear out old toys, toys missing parts, toys that are annoying or toys your kids fight over and make room for the ridiculous ones you know that big guy is bringing.

11. Embrace your addiction to creating a Baby Gap model.

Winter gives you the chance to layer the crap out of your toddler and give him all the accessories needed to be C-U-T-E. Zip sweaters, puffer vests, fancy hats and mittens. Just live it up, this time only comes once a year.

12. Chocolate Anything.

This is for you. Just eat it. The carbs and the sugar are cancelled out by the number of calories you burn shuttling around little people on your hip. Don’t think about it for a minute.

Leave a Reply