How to Leave Your House

You finally get your toddler’s pants on after chasing him through the house while he sings the “no pants” song. Next, the shoes. He insists on wearing his snow boots even though it is sixty degrees outside—you know, the camo-print ones you hate because the Velcro never stays closed and the militarization of boyhood creeps you out. Fine. Anything to cover his naked little toes. He actually flips his coat on the first time you ask so you use that break to get your own shoes and jacket on.

You stand at the top of the stairs and lock the door to your second floor apartment.

“Up pwease!”

“You can walk, you’re a big boy now,” you say.

“Ma carry! Ma carryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” he screams.”

You take a deep breath. Picture throwing your keys at his scrunched up little nose. Put them in your pocket instead.

“I’m not going to carry you,” you say calmly.

“Song!” he replies and grabs your hand. You sigh and sing the “I’m Not Going to Carry You” song as he steps down the stairs. You get to the bottom, open the front door. The sky is that perfect cloudless blue you dream of. The birds are singing. The breeze ruffles your hair.

“No wind!” your toddler screams. “No sun!”

You look back up the stairs to where his sunglasses lay forgotten on the coffee table. You know, the ones made of foam with the bobble alligator head at the bridge of the nose that never stay on his face anyway.

You close the door and drag your screaming toddler off the porch.