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My Mom is on her way to Las Vegas to stay for three weeks! She is in the air as I speak (type?) and I could not be more relieved. I have not gone into labor yet, which I’m sure is because Grant has been waiting until Granny is settled in and on call to be Truman’s care giver when we go to the hospital. I have been a little anxious about what we would do with him if I went into labor before now. We have some great friends locally, but they all have jobs and none of them would probably be able to drop everything and come stay with Truman at a moment’s notice. Now, I can go any time and Grammy will have her hands full with one awesome and sometimes bratty adorable toddler. It has been a little while since my Mom has had to deal with an almost two year old for any extended period of time. My youngest niece is almost nine years old, and I don’t think anyone else has left their beast two-year old with my parents for awhile. I decided to write a little hand book to help Grammy out.

Dear Momma,

I know you raised three children and have four other grandchildren, but you haven’t had the joy of being around my son all alone for some time. Maybe he’s just like every other kid, but he may also have a few quirks that may take you by surprise. I don’t want you going into this thinking that he is as sweet and innocent as he looks in his photos. The kid can be a handful! I know you’ll do great, but here are a few tips.

1. For the love of all that is good and holy, do NOT break out the broom, vacuum, or mop unless you:

A.) Wish to have Truman chase you around screaming for it and yanking it out of your hands the entire time you want to use it.

B.) Plan on letting him use it until he falls asleep from exhaustion in the middle of the floor. He will NEVER let it go, not to eat, not to play with toys, not to go to bed. NEVER.

If you must use any of the above, make sure he is sound asleep and the apparatus is hidden before he wakes up.

2. He will eat pretty much anything…sometimes. Other times he will beg and beg for whatever he sees and then tell you NO! before smearing it into the table or throwing it to the dog. Don’t be offended, he probably did really want it for a second. Then it became offensive, inedible, swill right before his very eyes.

3. “I’m done!” really means he wants to throw his food in the garbage himself because it is fun. It does not necessarily mean he is done eating. He is truly done after he has shoveled two or three bowls of food into his face and his eyes look a little glazed over. He is allowed to throw remaining food in the trash and please pick him up to let him put his dishes into the sink himself.

4. “A-poon!” Means he wants a spoon… or a fork. They are both “a-poon” so it is up to you to figure out which one he is talking about. If you give him the wrong one, he’ll let you know (not in a kind way.) He likes to buckle himself into the highchair, but can wriggle out and stand up in it. He is on the Not To Be Trusted To Eat Unattended list. Even for a second.

5. NO! is his favorite word and can mean: “Yes” “please” “Thank you” “I want that” “I don’t want that” “do this” “don’t do that” “help” “I’m hungry” “I’m thirsty” “I’m tired” oh, and it can also mean “No.” Good luck.

6. Bedtime is (strangely) the easiest time of day. It goes down at 8:00 sharp. Grab him, his sippy-cup with water only, his binky and a blanket. Kisses and hugs, tell him to lay down in his crib, cover him up and tell him goodnight. Do not re-enter the room unless he cries. He may lose his binky in the middle of the night, or need a sip of water and can’t find his cup. That is usually the only reason you’ll hear from him…until 6:00 am or so.

7. He likes to play with electrical outlets. He knows how to get the child-proof covers out and likes to “plug things in.” Be on guard.

8. He will ask to flush the toilet at every opportunity. If you want to, let him. Sometimes it is just easier.

9. He likes to turn lights on and off himself. He doesn’t care if you need the light on for any reason, he wants it off. Then on. Then off. This will depend on your patience level, I have very little.

10. He likes to help with everything. His usual approved chores include: Feeding the dog, watering the dog, putting clothes that you hand him from the washer into the dryer, handing hangers to the person hanging up clothes, picking up his toys, putting dirty clothes in the basket, picking up imaginary things off of the floor, shutting all of the doors in the house, pulling hair out of the cat and then telling you how yucky it is, disciplining the dog for barking, sleeping, or breathing.

11. A good way to get him out of the house or to move quickly is to encourage marching. I sing, “March! March! March! To the door, to the door!” “March! March! March! To the van, to the van!” or wherever I need him to march. It usually works.

12. Car seat straps must be text-book positioned and tight at all times. (You know how I am on this one already!) Check for pinchy-legs and pinchy necks. He will tell you, “No no no!” if it is pinching.

13. Binky is allowed at home and in the car only. It is not allowed any other place. Truman knows this and will leave it in his car seat if you tell him to. Otherwise, he will sneak it into the store and rub it in your face that he got it past you.

14. He is past the stage of peeing on you during a diaper change, but he is very much in the stage of grabbing his penis and laughing about it for as long as you will allow it. I tell him that it is his penis, and to get his hands out so we can close his diaper. He reluctantly does.

15. If you dare give him a bath, prepare yourself for the unimaginable fury when it is time to get out of the water. It usually takes the entire length of drying, diapering and dressing to get him to calm down and stop crying. Oh, he will hit, kick, throw and flail for the duration, but will apologize and kiss you after he’s dry and dressed.

16. I highly encourage kissing, hugging and squeezing him at every opportunity. He is incredibly squish-able and the best cuddle bug ever made. (Even when he’s arching his back and kicking while flailing like a dying fish.)

I’m sure you’ll be fine Momma. I am so excited that you’re here and able to spend some time with Truman and of course, the rest of us. I am fairly certain you’ll survive the madness of our household, you may just sleep really well once you get back home!

Love You Bunches,

Your Middle Daughter