WARNING: What follows may or may not be a work of fiction. Tread carefully into the realm of possible hyperbole. Do not let any likely truth scare you from either a) writing or b) having a child (though it may scare you from doing both at once). I take no responsibility at the emotions the following text will invoke.
(Not) Writing With A Toddler
1. Wake up, tired and bedraggled, but determined to get some writing done today. Some things don't change from one age to the next, huh?
2. Quickly hop into the shower before toddler wakes up. Of course, when you get out, she's already awake. But she's not lying nicely in bed. Oh, no. She's already grabbed your phone and texted your husband ten unintelligible messages. You receive a text back asking if you've already dipped into the booze.
3. Change toddler's diaper, get her dressed, and feed her breakfast. The first two things usually include kicking and laughing, the last an insane amount of multi-tasking because she's sure to be banging on the computer keyboard while you're trying to cut up her banana. Or turning the computer off.
4. No hope for a nap yet (for her or you), you offer toddler about a million toys to play with while you sit down at the computer determined to get some work done. She seems content for now.
5. Open up your current project, start formulating your next sentence, and then halfway through the thought, toddler screams. A toy offended her. It wouldn't bend the way she wanted it to. She proceeds to have a meltdown for five to ten minutes.
6. Toddler finally calms down. OK, back to it. You try to remember what that sentence was you were pondering, but it's fled. Drat. Ah! You start typing, but halfway through the sentence you hear, "Blankie! Blankie!" The toddler is a yard away, lying on the floor with her blankie next to her. She wants to be covered up. No, she can't just grab the blankie and cover herself. Of course not. You get up to cover her to silence the screams of "Blankie! Blankie!"
7. You type another word in the sentence. "Cup!" Toddler wants her water while she's snuggling under her blanket. You oblige. "Plate!" Now the bananas she never finished eating. You set it next to her. "Pikachu!" Her favorite stuffed toy. You hunt around downstairs looking for the stuffed animal, and when you finally find it, toddler has thrown the blanket off and upended the bananas. She takes Pikachu and runs up the stairs.
8. For a second, you ponder leaving her to her own devices upstairs while you get some writing done. What's the worst she can do? Then the sound of a radio blares--she's playing with your alarm clock. You climb the stairs, change her diaper and brush her teeth while you're upstairs, then drag her back downstairs kicking and screaming.
9. Right when you set her down, she darts back upstairs. How can a 2-year-old be so damned fast? After a few cycles of going up and down the stairs to fetch her, you decide to hold onto her and sit at the computer.
10. Toddler bangs on the keyboard. Oh, look, she's written more words than you have. When you pull her hands away, she grabs at your neck and face and pinches. You imagine bruises forming on your throat. How can a 2-year-old be so damned strong? She wiggles like a crazed wildcat and you almost drop her.
11. Once she finally settles down, she stands next to you and says, "Hi." You say, "Hi," but you're sure there's a catch to the sweetness. She then proceeds to grab everything off of your desk. After a few minutes of chiding and snatching the items back, she runs off squealing.
12. You sigh, and hope you have a few moments reprieve. Amazingly, you bang out a whole paragraph! Wait. But it's awfully quiet. Too quiet. Uh, oh. You find toddler in the kitchen eating the cat food.
13. Toddler runs off after being scolded and starts torturing one of the cats. You pull her away and say, "Not nice!" She decides you've offended her, like the toy did earlier, picks up a hard toy from the floor and throws it at you. Then she throws her pacifier, flings herself on the floor, and bangs her head until you pick her up and try to contain her fit.
14. After another ten minutes of calming the wildcat, you decide it's nap time. Of course, the only way to get her to sleep is to sit in the bed with her. After ten to fifteen minutes of fiddling on your iPad quietly while you tell toddler to lay down, she finally drifts off to sleep.
15. Now you can get some writing done! But the last fifteen minutes of sitting in a nice, warm bed has made you sleepy. You snuggle under the covers and tell yourself you'll only close your eyes for a few minutes, then you'll write.
16. Two hours later the toddler giggles and wakes you up.
17. Change toddler's diaper, then prepare lunch (while taking your phone and iPad out of her clutches--your husband texted you again asking how much booze is left in the house and if he should pick more up on the way home). You both eat.
18. You're at your limit, and you really need to get some writing done. So, you inhale the guilt, and put a TV show on for the toddler. Bad, bad mom. You have her sit nice, then gather all the items she needs--blankie, pacifier, bowl of Cheerios, plate with the rest of lunch, water cup, and Pikachu. Once she seems sucked into the show, you sneak off to write.
19. Look at that another whole paragraph! Then the tell-tale sound of a plastic bowl hitting the floor interrupts your flow of thought. Toddler spilled her Cheerios all over. You clean them up, and then she has another fit because you're throwing them in the garbage. She throws her plate of food.
20. You finally calm her down and clean everything up. Maybe she'll sit through another episode, if you're lucky. But then you look at the clock and realize you need to pick up the grade-schooler. Crap.
21. You pat yourself on the back for writing two paragraphs today, knowing once your eldest is home, there will be no getting anything done. But that's a whole 'nother list.