Getting the crankies out


She woke up on the cranky side this morning. Tears spilled out through the monitor and more tears fell once I entered the room. She wanted Daddy, she didn’t want to get dressed, she didn’t want to wake up.

We all have those mornings. Adults whine about them too.

And so begins the uphill climb.

You can’t dress a toddler who does not want to get dressed. You can’t move a toddler who doesn’t want to move. They are small but they are humans and our power over them is limited.

And so the trick is to turn it around. Cheer her up. Make her happy. Make getting dressed fun and exciting. Dangle those carrots.

“You have to get dressed so that we can go downstairs and find Charlie!” (Charlie is our elf on the shelf)

“Look at this sweater! You love this sweater!”

“You can hold the wipes while I change your diaper, how does that sound?”

It’s work. And I’m not particularly good at it. Someday I hope to be more subtle. Use fewer carrots.

But I’m getting better. Everyday.

Today I find the magic carrot and she complies. Pajamas off. Clothes on. Happiness regained.

And now, she’ll do anything. Eat breakfast? Sure! Don’t touch the computer while I register for winter art classes? Of course! Go upstairs to get your shoes because it’s almost time to leave? Mommy, I’d love to!

It makes me sad. She is back to her happy, bubbly self but now we have mere minutes to spend together. I won’t see her again until later this afternoon. When the weight of the day will have suppressed some of the bubbly for us both.

It also makes me sad to invest in her happiness and do the work to get those cranikies out… and then take her down the street to the nanny who will reap the benefits of my morning work.

Mostly, it makes me sad to not spend my days with her. Even when I could, I can’t. And it breaks my heart.


*I’m linking up with Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write. Join us!*



  1. Don’t look at it as the nanny reaping the benefits. The one who TRULY gains from all your hard work is your child. How lovely would it be to have someone who put their all into making US smile? In making US happy? THAT is the gift you give to your child, regardless of who is with her!

    • You are absolutely right! I was feeling so cranky and selfish this morning but what you say is so true. Thank you for the perspective!

  2. Oh, yes! CJ has the right idea! I was a nanny for several years and reaped the benefits of my client’s hard work in the morning. And I tried hard to return their child to them bright and bubbly. Some days it worked out beautifully. Other days, we had to chalk up as learning experiences.

  3. I get this so very well.

    {I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this right now.}

  4. The very same thing breaks my heart. I especially feel it when I’m picking out an outfit that I know she will love, and she will wear it all day with someone else instead of out and about with me like it used to be.

    (Of course, there are the cranky days where I’m a little less than sad to drop her off, but those are few and far between…)

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