Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yard Work with a Toddler

Getting yard work done with a toddler can be somewhat tricky. Sometimes, I work on the yard during Joseph's naps, but that only gives me about an hour at a time. Besides, Joseph L-O-V-E-S to go outside. If you open the door to the outside while holding Joseph, he becomes a shrieking, wiggling bundle of happiness.

In case you were wondering, shrieking happiness looks like this...

So, if I'm going to be outside and it makes the kid that happy, then I might as well enjoy his company whilst spreading some mulch around!

Of course, sometimes, that company thinks that it's fun to HELP me spread as much mulch around as he can get his little hands on.

Mostly into places I don't want him to. Such as the grass. And perhaps his mouth. Mmm. Tasty.

Way back before Joseph could walk around (eons ago!), if we wanted to get some yard work done, we'd plop him in his exersaucer and just move him around with us. Easy peasy.

Ah, those were simpler times.

Then, as he began crawling, we devised other ways to contain him while allowing him a degree of freedom. We tried using a pen (which we affectionately term the "baby cage") and we tried using a tent (which comes with the added benefit of shade), but Joseph quickly lost patience with those. Even with toys scattered all throughout the tent, he'd much rather stand at the tent "door" and stare longingly at his parents and the world beyond, loudly expressing his displeasure.

Now that Joseph is an expert walker, we've given him free run of the whole yard. With supervision of course. And we let him "help out" with the yard work.

You've got to start young, right? And the transportation of goods is very serious business!

When Joseph isn't helping, he's got other distractions to keep him occupied.

EVERY one year old with a huge back yard needs a battery operated four wheeler. It's the only way to travel.

Like the hat? Sunburn is always a concern for me, so Joseph gets slathered with sunscreen and strapped into a slightly oversized fishing hat everytime we go outside. Way better than a baby hat! We also set up a tent over our playground as an added precaution. Added bonus: quality slide time even on rainy days!

We acquired Joseph's playground for free. Stephen's Aunt Mary recently bought a new home that came with the playground in the backyard. She wanted it gone and we were more than happy to take it off her hands (THANK YOU!!). Joseph loves it. He loves to go down the slide. But he loves sitting at the top of the slide even more!

He just sits there. And sits there. And let's out shrieks of happiness. And sits there. And says, "woof" whenever he hears a dog bark. And sits there. And shamelessly models his hat.

"What?! Don't be ridiculous, Mom! I hate this thing. I only keep it on because it's got a drawstring and I can't get it off!"

"Shush, baby! The hat is superb! Now give me your best impression of a lion!"

"Mo-om! Your being silly!"

"Oh, come on! Just one more lion?"

"Oooo, maybe I should go down the slide now. What do you think?"

"I think that it's about time. That's what I think!"

"I don't know, Mom... I'm a bit skeptical. It's really nice up here."

"What if I crouch by the bottom of the slide and cheer you on?"

"That would be great, Mom!"

"Here goes!"

Then we do it all over again. Apparently, sitting at the top of the slide is the shiznit.

Going down the slide is a only a little disconcerting, but totally worth it when you get to the end. Right?

I do so love big, drooly, tonguey, open-mouthed kisses. They're the best!

In conclusion, we manage to do yard work with a toddler in tow by including him, distracting him, and taking frequent breaks to either join him, redirect him, or keep him from sticking mulch in his mouth. We get work done (albeit slowly) and he gets to play outside. Every little boy's favorite pastime.

However, as I give it some more thought, I think I want to get a fence up before he figures out how to go from walking to full out running... Just a thought.


  1. Did he get bigger? Must be the hat!

    I was thinking about this as I surveyed the gross-ness that is my backyard and wondered how Joseph entertained himself while you worked. Guess I need to pull Colton's new slide outside and not worry if he eats a little dirt.

  2. I always wondered what shrieking happiness looked like! :)


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