Put a Bib on It

How to enjoy the holidays with a toddler?

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The holiday season is upon us, and with it anxiety about the holiday season! How do you negotiate the demands on your time and energy with a toddler?Am I the only parent who gets anxious about the holidays? I find them a bit overwhelming and over stimulating and worry about my 2-year-old. I wasn’t sure about trick or treating this past Halloween, but most people responded to my uncertainty by insisting that he would have fun, and that all of the other kids would be doing it.

Well, folks, for starters, given that Ev is only 2, he wouldn’t even have known what trick-or-treating was or realized he was missing out on anything. Secondly, he’d gotten to wear his costume twice already, at a birthday party and at his child care program, collecting candy around the different classrooms. And as for all of that candy, it complicates things even more. We are working on developing Ev’s oral hygiene habits but he doesn’t go to the dentist or anything yet so we are careful not to pack on the sugar. So another part of my trick-or-treat struggle was what would we do with all the candy and how would we discuss with Ev why he couldn’t eat it all.

But Halloween arrived and a storm was predicted so the neighborhood right next to ours postponed trick-or-treating for three days later. Since I was stressing about getting Ev home from child care, fed and in costume in time to go door-to-door, in the rain, I took the reschedule as a sign to hold off.

On actual Halloween night, Ev had a blast passing out candy with me. He never once seemed concerned or asked if he could join those braving the wind and light rain. So, I felt good about that. But three days later, the stars were aligned so my husband and I decided to take Ev out. We actually had a lovely time and stayed out for almost an hour. Ev was adorable saying “trick-or-treat” and “thank you” and grabbing for more candy. He didn’t get scared of any scary masks. He told one man he had a “cool house” because it was elaborately decorated. He got a treat from a police man driving around in a police car, we stopped at the fire station and he got treats from the firemen and he got to sit and watch Monster University on a giant screen someone was projecting in their yard. All of which made the experience memorable. I’m glad we made sure we only did what felt the most comfortable for us on Halloween.

My hope is that we can continue to follow our instincts with the rest of this year’s holidays. If a family outing is scheduled for his nap time, then we may need to pass and catch the next event or ask for alternative arrangements. If we are headed for a long drive, we’ll need to prepare Ev and have some time passing activities on hand. My first priority is always Ev. Whatever we do this holiday season, we’ll follow his lead and our hearts. He hasn’t lead us wrong yet.

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