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You can learn more about the subject of leaving the house with small children and fathers here.

If you have nowhere to go and no particular time to be there, you will successfully have everyone out of the house in fresh diapers with snacks, spit-up free shirts, sunhats, water bottles and sunscreen in eleven minutes.

If you have somewhere to be, even if it’s somewhere that the children would like to be, such as gym class, accomplishing the aforementioned feat will take one hour and eleven minutes. Add forty minutes if you are feeling particularly stressed for time.

Exception: If you have somewhere to be at a particular time, but are being very, very, very zen about it, wearing life like a loose garment and accepting the scattering of time that herding toddlers and babies requires, you can make it out of house in thirty minutes.

Exception to the Exception: Don’t bother trying to fake yourself into being in a state of super-zen to get out of the house on time. Children can sense disingenuous lackadaisicality the same way they’ll refuse to eat even a cupcake if they think you really want them to eat it. If you opt for faux-zen, you are guaranteed to experience one (or all) of the following:

  • Getting out of the house one hour and thirty seven minutes later.
  • Having a complete conniption fit that puts your toddler’s worst tantrums to shame
  • Giving up on leaving the house altogether because —- whoops! —- so much time has been wasted tying shoes back on that were just put on four minutes ago, second and third potty runs have had to be taken, one blow-out poopie diaper (and outfit) have had to be changed, and spit-up has had to be hosed off of mommy’s one last “clean” shirt, that we’ve rounded the clock right back to another nap or meal time. It’s a veritable “Do Not Pass Go.”
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Isn’t that an oxymoron? Is it possible for both you and your toddler to enjoy yourselves while you get your shopping done? With a little creativity, the answer is, yes, it’s possible!

I’m constantly surprised at how, when I offer more “responsibility” to my toddler, she rises to the occasion. She really listens to me much better when I’m letting her participate in our chores, rather than just being toted along as a sidekick. As every parent with a toddler knows, a happy toddler = a much easier time for all!

Sometimes, when I’m shopping for just a few things at the market, I have my two year old carry the basket. She LOVES feeling like she’s being helpful, which, not counting how much extra time it takes to wait for her to toddle up and down the aisles, is true. Since we’ve started shopping this way, I’ve noticed a number of other benefits – my daughter helps me select which produce to buy – which apples look the best, which tomatoes smell the most ripe. I find that, since she’s involved in the process, I’m naturally teaching her about food as we make our way through the store.

Will she remember this information when she’s in college? No. But, I do believe that by immersing her in food and cooking early on, teaching her about fresh produce and letting her try the foods, she’ll have an inherent understanding that food doesn’t grow in shiny boxes and crinkly packaging… it comes from the earth.

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