It is a well known fact that being in public with a toddler, especially for errands that fall near a typical dinner or nap time, is the single most relaxing activity a parent can do. In fact, it’s recommended that you get out and about with your hungry/tired/hangry toddler a minimum of once a week if you want to keep the spark alive in your marriage and feelings of well-being high in your home.
To this I say, Amen!
The one thing that makes me happiest as a mother of a toddler is to know that I can take him out anywhere, at any time, and in any company and know that I can count on exemplary behavior. It is literally the most relaxing thing I have ever done.
It’s a relaxing blessing is what it is.
If your toddler isn’t a breeze in public at all times (and especially around nap and meal time), then chances are you either picked up the wrong baby from the hospital, or your toddler needs to be restored to factory settings so that reprogramming can begin immediately.
Assuming you don’t have a “glitchy” model of child, you know that being polite and easy to deal with comes as naturally to a toddler as hair maintenance comes to Donald Trump. Very naturally!
The reason is this: Facts show that 10 out of 10 toddlers have an amazing aptitude for absorbing social graces. They then spread those social graces to their peers via direct skin contact. It’s their strong suit, along with smearing yogurt.
Sometimes what looks like grabbing, punching, and wrestling during playgroup is actually a toddler’s attempt to impart social grace through a combination of brute physical force and osmosis. Toddlers understand that skin is porous, and intuitively know that spreading good behavior to their peers can be most readily achieved through close bodily contact (aka “getting up in your grill”).
Your toddler knows that adhering to adult norms regarding personal space is the surest way to remain an idiot. Feel free to continue to respect personal space if you don’t want to learn anything new, ever.
Being with a toddler outside your home is relaxing because toddlers excel in the following areas:
- Social pleasantries
- Not being a narc
- Monitoring volume
- Being thoughtful
- Minding your business
For example, just today my toddler said “please” and “thank you” to a woman at the doctor’s office, all while he was producing a very large bowel movement (social pleasantries). Lesson: there is never not a time to be polite, no matter what is going on down south.
He was able to keep his feces a secret (not being a narc on oneself is the most important way not to be a narc). He continued to dazzle the crowd by yelling out the word for every object he saw (and there were lots of objects!), and then periodically shrieking like a hyena. Some folks are hard of hearing and need that extra decibel to feel included (great use of both monitoring volume and being thoughtful).
My toddler made sure everything in the office was his business, which is “Minding Your Business 101″ for toddlers. He shared the glory of his presence with everyone by running right up to them, stopping abruptly, and then staring like a lobotomized creep. That’s what sharing means. It has nothing to do with goldfish crackers and desirable toys, so stop saying that it does, moms.
As you can see, this was a master class in toddler etiquette. If you want to watch polite toddlers in action stay tuned for an upcoming DVD series for the low monthly price of $19.99 plus shipping and handling. You can play it for the toddler dearest to you as a form of role modeling/inspiration.