If I were in charge of training someone to spend a day with a toddler, I’d start by playing this clip at top volume, on repeat, from sunup to sundown. I’d couple this with reaching out a finger to poke at their face at eleven second intervals. Then I’d make sure to include some kind of monkey or small animal, to be climbing all over them for the duration of the training.

Spending a day with small kids is an absolute assault on both privacy and personal space. In fact by the time I put my little minions of encroachment to bed, my personal space has been so thoroughly violated that I need at least 107 minutes before I can stand to be touched.

It’s just nonstop. All day. Every time I go to the bathroom I’ve got Alex strapped to me in a Bjorn and Evelyn swinging the plunger at me. On the rare occasion that I manage to escape her notice on my way in, it’s only a matter of seconds before the door knob starts a horror story-esque slow turn. She’s found me.


Lucky for most parents, there is both nap time and bed time, during which you can bask in the glory that is a whole couch all to yourself.

Unlucky for me, there is Pippa.

They say you can tell a lot about how someone will turn out by looking at their parents.

I should have taken this into consideration when I met Pippa’s Dad.


How sweet, I said. This 180 pound dog thinks he’s a lap dog, I said. Let’s bring home his spawn to raise as our own, I said.

Fast forward three years, to me finally lying down on the couch after a long day with the kids. Finally I can recline without hearing “Mama get up NOW!” screamed into my ear because God forbid I even pretend to relax. I enjoy this freedom for one. full. minute.

And then I open my eyes.


If there’s anyone who values personal space less than my kids, it’s my dog.

Here we are last Sunday morning, having a nice, relaxing tea party in our pajamas.


She’s not just stopping in to say hi. She’s just standing there. Not moving. I had to duck every time I wanted to see my daughter so I could lip-read and try to decipher her toddler language. And every time I ducked my head, Pippa took it as a direct invitation to lick my mouth. And the firmer I closed my mouth, the harder she tried to break in. And her breath smells like roadkill, only worse.

Here we have Eric later that same morning, enjoying some “one-on-one” time with Alex.



When I managed to sneak in a quick shower, something I rarely have time for, Pippa saw it as the perfect opportunity to perfect her water catching skills.


And later yet, as I was helping Evelyn go potty before nap, this is what Pippa was doing.


You can’t tell, but she is resting her head on the sink waiting for me to turn on the water so she can have a drink. Because she is above drinking from the bowl of water on the floor with her name on it. What you also can’t see is that she has the kids and I completely blocked in to the world’s smallest bathroom.

What you can see, however, is a bottle of Cinnamon on my bathroom sink. Why? Because I have a two-year-old, that’s why. Last week I spent three full days looking for my computer power cord, only to find it wrapped neatly inside a blanket, inside her doll’s crib, inside her teepee.

Do you know who was standing outside that teepee the minute I emerged with the cord?


You guessed it.

Once I started thinking about her total disregard for space, I started seeing it everywhere. I noticed it in the car … the car that we bought for its ample trunk space in which Pippa could ride … where she now refuses to stay in the trunk.


At my parent’s house, where no one is allowed to take a nap unless she is included.


And during Pumpkin carving, when her big nose must be a part of every moment.


Earlier this week I thought I’d catch up on some reading.


Pippa thought she’d catch up on some balance practice. I told her very firmly to sit. And she did…right on top of me.


Oh well.

On the plus side, my new-parent-training curriculum just got a whole lot easier. I’d just make them spend a day with Pippa. After that, the kids are a breeze.