So this is what a toddler acts like.

by Janelle Hanchett

I have a real toddler.

My first two kids weren’t “real” toddlers. Evidently they went through the toddler stage, but they didn’t really ACT like toddlers. They just kind of hung out. I’ve never bought those drawer or door locks or done any “toddler-proofing” (what a stupid expression).

This one, though? This Georgia character? She’s the real deal.

And holy crap my friends, this is a lot of work.

I spend most of my time averting disaster.

If she can reach it, she pulls it over. On her head. On the floor. On the cat.

If she’s in the bathroom, she’s inspecting the toilet bowl brush.

Or the trash.

She’s climbed into the dishwasher. Onto the kitchen island. Attempted entrance into the fireplace. And will leave through any opened doors.

Gets stuck under tables. Gets inside bags, baskets and boxes.

Wedges herself into all accessible small spaces. Then screams.

Topples head-first into items she’s attempting to scale, such as, the bathtub.

Climbs stairs.

In short, if there is an item in the room that is disgusting and messy or has the ability to choke her or cause some other grievous bodily harm or threaten her immediate well-being, she makes a damn beeline for it and if I’m not RIGHT THERE, there will be disaster.

Not maybe. For sure.

Everything I do I have to do it quickly, because there is a toddler on my tail. She’s gotta be RIGHT up in my business, all the time. If I’m unloading the dishwasher, she’s standing next to me grabbing shit out of it, preferably knives.

And what is she some sort of power crawler? She’s NEVER IN THE SAME PLACE for more than 3 seconds. She’s there. I look away. She’s GONE.

And then I’m bolting around “Georgia!?” (as if she’s some sort of dog that comes when called), finally finding her wrapped in the computer power cords and grinning at me like “What?”

Taking a shower. Always a treat.

Three to five minutes during which I leave the toddler unattended. I usually resort to letting her play with a roll of toilet paper or some other weirdness, because at least that way she’s not engaging in potentially life-threatening behavior and it’s a mess I know and anticipate, which somehow makes it easier.

I guess.

There is really no way to make toddlerhood easier.

This shit pretty much just bites.

Except for the fact that they’re freaking adorable and are still babies most of the time, cuddling and being fat and babbling and laughing and kissing and perfect.

Well, when they’re not eating the cat’s food.

Or pulling books off the shelves.

Or crawling into the refrigerator.

For the tenth time today.

Because your older kids just can’t seem to figure out the whole refrigerator-door shutting phenomenon.


Let’s just look at a picture. To forget.

Or maybe, to remember.

"Who, me?"


  • Stephanie

    Yep. I have one of these, too. And I want to cry.

    • renegademama

      Yes. It crosses my mind. Especially the mayhem mixed with the exhaustion. Brutal.

  • Angela

    I absolutely loved this post. You’re right… despite the crazy stories, how can you not love that face!?!!

    • renegademama

      Thanks! And I KNOW. She’s so much work and YET so perfect. I guess they all are, huh? Good thing…

  • Laurie

    Yep also. My first 2 were so easy, and then my third was exactly like yours. Of course, I was out of my mind and had a fourth. What kind of toddlerhood he’ll have remains to be seen. If I survive that long. 🙂

    • renegademama

      The “out of my mind” thing cracked me up. Nicely said. Very accurate.

  • Teresa

    Too cute…and wow, she looks like Rocket! Yes, Anna is just the same right now. The worst fear is our 18-year-old cat’s dingleberries. But sometimes it is adorable. This morning she helped me load the clothes washer. Very sweet. Then of course she switched to unloading it mid-stream!!!

    • renegademama

      Doesn’t she? She’s a Rocket clone.

      And you killed me with the ancient cat’s dingleberries. AWESOME. Just awesome. I miss you and Anna.

  • Jennifer K

    I have one of the “real” ones this time around and it IS so much work! My two girls (7 and 4 1/2) were nothing like their speed demon little brother (14 months). He started walking at 12 months and within 2 weeks was running everywhere. Now it’s the standing on tables, stacking things up so he can reach and climb onto even higher things. Ack!!
    I’ve seriously considered buying a toddler crash helmet for him.
    Want one? 🙂

    • renegademama

      It sounds like a great idea, though I doubt I’d be reliable enough to actually USE the thing. 🙂

  • sherilinr

    i only have one & she was definitely one of those “real deal” all nonsense, finding fun and danger constantly kind of toddlers. but she’s 9 now & seems to have totally outgrown that need for exploring and danger, so that’s a happy thing.
    your baby girl is just adorable!

    • renegademama

      Thanks. And glad to hear they’ll mellow eventually.

  • Michael Ann Riley

    Sooo glad those days are over for me! It is really exhausting. The photo is freakin’ adorable though! I do miss the squishy hugs and kisses.

    • renegademama

      Yeah, I don’t think I’ll miss them too much.

      Actually, yes I will. I’ll totally miss the toddler years, because I have that forgetting disease. You know? The one that makes you think, at around the time your youngest turns 3, “oh, it wasn’t that bad – let’s have another one!” And then you have it. And you remember.

  • Shan

    I’m thinking it’s “third child phenomenon” (previous mama to an only’s comments *completely* disregarded). My MIL said if she’d had her third son first, she’d be a mother of one. HAHA!, I laughed nervously as Tom and I were trying for our third. And now she’s here. And now I know.

    • renegademama

      There really is something to that third child phenomena. It’s pretty weird. I think it’s that everything is so batshit crazy the baby just goes nuts — since it’s the energy of the house. She’s also the most talkative. And that, my friend, is sayin’ something.

  • Deb

    Great post – put into words exactly what’s going on at my house. And he’s a first baby …

  • Stacey

    Consider yourself lucky – I have TWO of those! I am constantly having to turn my back on one of them to chase the other one. My goal these days is to keep them alive and preferably without any major injuries. I’ve given up on minor injuries. My husband and I are constantly wondering how evolution came up with human babies.

  • Steph

    This is my favorite post yet! Way too much of it resonates with my toddler and made me laugh hysterically 🙂 Thank you for the giggles.

  • Terri Babin

    Hi Janelle,

    Thank you for introducing yourself on Bloggy Moms! I have an 11 month old who sounds very much like your daughter, earlier today she was pulling beers out of the Dear Husband’s 12 pack and dropping them on the tile floor. She is also obsessed with sticking random objects into eletrical outlets. Your blog is fantastic, I’d love for you to come visit me at I am following via Networked Blogs and look forward to keeping in touch.


  • Andrea

    That is my toddler exactly. Mine will be two in a few weeks and does every last one of those things you described! And it is a whole lot of work!!! I hear ya sister. LOVE your blog.

  • Lynsey Summers

    I believe I have Georgia’s male counter part here in Blighty!!

  • NovelTeaMommy

    It’s those picture type moments that have kept me from killing myself &/or my children. My 18 month old has made life harder. If she had been first I think she would have been an only child. Cause really, who chooses this?

  • Gretchen

    Ok, I know I’m a bit slow to join the party…but I’m catching up on old posts, and howled with laughter all through this one. THIS is my second child, and at least 50% of the reason there will be no third!
    My son, my firstborn? There was no need to childproof – he listened, and thought, and contemplated, and while he certainly has a streak of wicked genius and wanted to know how and why everything worked, he’d at least ask for permission before he took (most) things apart. And he NEVER drew on walls, bear-hugged the cat, juggled knives or put anything other than CDs in the CD player.
    My daughter, however? Dear LORD, where did that child come from? She somehow absorbed all those stupid “you must childproof your house now before your baby does something awful” books without me seeing, and memorised every “tip” in it so she could have a REALLY good time in her toddlerhood. Thank goodness she’s now 4 – we’ve passed the most physically life-threatening stage, and are now on to the attitude stage. Actually, who said this stage couldn’t be life-threatening…? 🙂

  • Dee

    I read this and cried. Haha. I was seriously wondering where I went wrong with this child or if I was just not attentive enough. Her big sis never did this crazy crap. I came out of thee shower yesterday just in time to see her in the nicely gated off
    “safe” zone in the hallway, rip off a hunk of drywall from the place she had managed to pry up the base board and proceed to choke on it. I think 2 is a great number of kids for us, I don’t think I could keep #3 alive…

  • Marion Craft

    ‘Oh, no.’, she said. ‘Toddlers are not so bad’, she said. ‘I babysat for six families when I was in high school and they were all lovely’, she said. “They were the fake kind of toddler, clearly”, she now says. Because my kid is pure and unadulterated mayhem. We call him the tiny tornado. I am on keep the kid alive duty at all times. He just turned three and things seem to be ramping up, but with more arguing as he gains verbal mischief skills. Your kid is cute (so is mine) I think this helps.