How to Keep a Toddler from Toddling: A Tutorial

    Three weeks ago last Thursday, Annie broke her leg.  Well, ok, let's be honest and clear the air here.  Three weeks ago last Thursday, I broke Annie's leg. By accident.  And it broke my heart a little, too.  Bumblebee couldn't decide whether he should come in, or stay out.  I had no patience for waiting, so I left the front door open.  Auggie was very excited about life (as he is pretty much all the time.)  I was holding Annie on my hip.  Auggie started to chase Bumblebee out.  I lunged to grab him.  Annie's little, tiny, baby leg got a little bit squished and a little bit bent, and a little bit broken in her tibia, right above the ankle.  And it is truly just a little broken.  It is called a green stick fracture.  Baby bones are amazingly soft and bendable and her break did not go all the way through.
I may be a nerd, but I loved seeing her x rays,
babies have no knee caps!
That little bump where the cursor is, is the break. 

     Even though it was just a "little" break, she was still in lots of pain.  We spent almost 4 hours in the ER. She got her first set of X rays.  A gigantic splint for 4 days and a just-pretty-big and pretty, purple cast for 2 1/2 weeks.

     No baths.  No pants.  Plastic bags over it when she eats.  Or when it is raining and we have to get to the car.  No walking.

No walking.

     She had just learned to walk, just got the point that it was easier than crawling.  And man, oh man, does she love to walk. And run! And Climb!  She is a busy, little explorer, always on the move from one end of the house to the other, and out of the house and up the stairs and all around the porch.  This break and the purple cast stopped all that walking (and it tried its best to stop a lot of sleeping too, but that is a whole different story, one I am too tired to tell.)

     So here is my tutorial, how to keep a toddler from toddling.  Grab your stroller, lace up those running shoes, because, my friend, if you end up in this same boat, you will not be sitting down for awhile.

1.  Amazon is your friend.  Order some new books and toys.  Anything to keep your little one sitting and snuggling with you for a few extra minutes will really come in handy in the next few weeks.  Annie's first lift the flap book, Zoo, was a particularly good purchase- she loved finding those animals (especially the puppy) under there over and over again.

2. Make play dough.  Have visions of her sitting happily, giggling, in her high chair, squishing the beautiful turquoise dough between her fingers, tasting a few bites, throwing some to the dogs, passing handfuls to you.  Actually sit her in her high chair (with her least favorite friend, the plastic bag, wrapped around her cast,)  watch her reach out, full of curiosity, to touch it for the first time.  She will then pinch the tiniest little bit between her fingers, make a face of disgust, and try to fling it away.  Realize that play dough may be a little too developmentally advanced even for your very advanced, just turned one year old.

3.  Take selfies.

4. Bake these muffins.  They are fast and are made with leftover oatmeal and dark chocolate chips.  Warm chocolate chip muffins with butter on them make everyone happy.

5. Pin lots of ideas for fun, fabric book pages.  It would really be so great to have one of these books during this time.  But you will not have time to sew it.  Sorry.  Maybe one day.

6. Go on adventure picnics to new places you have never been in your city.

All this is in the middle of Balboa Park, I had no idea it was there.
This is 1 1/2 miles away from our house.
We have lived here for 4 years.
I am a little bit ashamed.    
7. Have lots of dance parties! Casts are uncomfortable, and not being able to walk or sleep would make anyone grumpy, but who can be grumpy while listening to "Happy" and bouncing around?  Dance parties were also the only way we could get Annie to sleep for naps or at bedtime.  For me, the only thing that worked was a 30 minute, Buena Vista Social Club Pandora station, Ergo, salsa dancing party in her room.  3 times a day.  Kinda tiring, but plus side, my butt got a pretty good workout, and Annie would actually get some sleep.  No walking + no sleep is no good, for anyone. Seriously.  Do what you need to do to get them some sleep.

8. Oh, and remember that whole "sleep when they sleep" thing from when they were a newborn?  Do that.  I know what you are thinking: "but, when am I going to do the dishes? Or the laundry? or cook dinner? or sew/garden/read?"  You aren't.  And if you can't sleep, at least rest.  Ok, I guess you can read that book, or watch some Netflix, but rest!  Being on your feet and on the move all of your baby's waking hours is exhausting, mentally and physically.  Give yourself a break. Those dishes will get done sometime.  If they make it to the sink, you have succeeded! Get take out for dinner.

9.  Keep the bum warm.  This one doesn't have so much to do with keeping them from walking, but it is an important one to remember.  Their cute little jeans are not going to fit, and their little stretchy pants might fit, but they are probably going to get really stretched out.  The answer? Leg warmers! I am super glad that we live in San Diego, and it was not particularly freezing for the course of these three weeks.  If we lived somewhere with one of these scary polar vortexes going on, we would have been in a whole lot more trouble.  If you live one of those places, you might want to skip to number 6 now, because I am about to complain about some rain and temps in the 50s.  Fair warning.  California is in a drought.  A serious drought. And we need rain, plus, I love rain, but really, really? (And yes, you should be reading those "really"s in Amy Poehler and Seth Meyer's voices.) The only rain storm of the entire year happened to be three days during our three weeks of no walking.  Days we needed to get out of the house to not go crazy.  Days when there was a cast that could not get wet.

But ok, I am getting off topic here, the point is- leg warmers!  They keep the cast-less leg warm and stop it from getting scratched up by the cast.  They do not have to be pulled down for diaper changes.  And oh yeah, they are adorable!

     Buy 2 pairs of baby legs, but then discover this tutorial.  Simply pin the tutorial, have a sister who looks at your pin, reads it, goes to Target, and tells you they have the perfect socks for making it.  Next, you go to Target, look for socks in the baby department (this is wrong,) then look for socks in the children's department (also wrong.)  Go home and tell your sister your Target did not have the right socks.  Then tell your mom the same thing.  Your mom will tell you that your sister actually read the pin, and understood that you need to buy adult socks.  Whoops.  But that she (your sister) bought some, to make the leg warmer's for your daughter. Aw!  Then, your sister should give the socks to your mom, because she is borrowing your sister's sewing machine, and bam! You will have awesome baby leg warmers!

Oh, and if you are lucky enough to have a knitting master as a mother, you can also try to get her to knit some leg warmers too.

But unless your mom is my mom, they probably won't be as cute. 

Bloomers and harem pants also do a pretty good job of keeping that leg and bum warm, as do hand me down stretchy pants from bigger cousins who do not mind if they get stretched out.

Nightgowns are a necessity!  A pajama shirt and a leg warmer does not keep wiggly toddlers who don't stay under their blankets all night warm.  It does not matter if they haven't worn a nightgown since they were a newborn.  I bought and downloaded a pattern.  The fabric store made a good excuse to get out of the house the next day.  The sizing on the pattern was off, and I added some elastic to the bottom to help hold it in place.  My mom bought a better pattern and made one too, plus brought a few she made when my sisters and I were little down out of the attic.  Oh, and just so you know, nightgowns are cute,  they are definitely staying in rotation even though she can wear pants again now.

10.  Stay busy and out of the house!  I kind of touched on this one during my slight pity party regarding rain.  We had much better days when we were out of the house and busy for most of her waking hours.  Staying home when you can't walk is boring!  It also really does not help you get tired for naps.  So load up that stroller with blankets, snacks, water bottles and a change of clothes.  If it is raining, get a rain cover for the stroller, it will be worth it!  You will still get wet, but at least you will be going somewhere and the cast will stay dry!  Some places you can go: the grocery store, the playground, the dog park, the circle park, the chicken park, Balboa Park, Costco, Target, Target again even when you don't need anything, the farmers market (bonus if there is live music and you can add in a dance party,) the vet, library story time (but be prepared to tell the story of what happened lots of times, try not to feel judged.)

11.  Make friends at the playground.  You are going to be spending a lot of time there.

12.   Go to yoga any chance you get.  Or any activity that helps loosen up your legs and hips and back from all that carrying and all those dance parties.  And that helps you feel calm and centered and ready to go home and be awesome again when you weren't sure you could keep being awesome for that many more days before you walked in the door.

13.  Pay attention here, because this one is the most important.

Take help when it is offered.

Even if you suck at letting people help you.

     These three weeks were hard, but they were made so much less hard, and more doable, and even maybe, slightly fun because my mom came to help.  We would have made it through without her help, but it would not have been pretty.  And I even have a super helpful and awesome husband.  But he does have to go to work sometimes.  And ten hours alone, with a baby who wants to walk, but can't, and can't sleep because she is in pain, a few days in a row, is actually scary how exhausting it is.  Moms are awesome and know how to take care of you.

And remember, you are one of these awesome moms now, and you can do this.  Just keep remembering how sweet the celebration will be when that purple cast comes off!

Leave a comment