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Morning Routine With a 2-Year-Old

How 1 Mom Incorporates Her Toddler's "Me Do It" Motto Into Their Morning Routine

Angela lives in San Leandro, CA, with her husband and 2-year-old son. Since both parents work full time, mornings require constant tag-teaming, reliance on technology, and just the right amount of toddler autonomy to get out the door on time. Here's a glimpse at a typical weekday morning, from wake up calls to podcast selection.

My Morning Juggle

6:00 a.m.
“Awake!” I hear my 2-year-old son shout from his bedroom. “Mama, Daddy, awaaake!” he screams again. I feel around for the phone on my nightstand to see what time it is and realize there’s 20 more minutes until my alarm goes off. I decide to wait until he shouts again.
6:02 a.m.
On the third shout, I roll out of bed, throw on my robe, and head to his bedroom. He’s sitting up alertly, surrounded by a small pile of books he’s dragged into his crib. Leaving him something to read within arm’s reach is a stall tactic that usually buys us extra sleep time. He looks up at me sweetly. “Hi, Mama.” I melt.
6:05 a.m.
After we chat for a couple of minutes, he’s finally ready for a diaper change. I distract him with questions, singing, anything I can really, until the fresh diaper is secured. He points to the bedroom door. “Make-a-the-coffee?” Making coffee has become the highlight of his morning ritual.
6:06 a.m.
We head to the kitchen and he climbs his learning tower to take his position at the Keurig machine. He’s incredibly proud and possessive of his role as house barista. We’ve realized that giving him more household tasks in the mornings and evenings keeps him focused and less prone to tantrums. Whatever works!
6:16 a.m.
After some patience, literal spilled milk, and gentle negotiating, both cups of coffee are made. My husband walks into the kitchen, his eyes adjusting to the bright, overhead light. I grab my cup and take the opportunity to get dressed.
6:26 a.m.
I throw on some clothes and head to the bathroom to wash my face. These days, all showering takes place the night before. Dry shampoo and strategic hairstyling helps me get away with two hair washes a week.
6:38 a.m.
After throwing on the minimum amount of makeup required to look like I slept last night, I head into the living room where Baby Shark is blaring from the television. Our toddler is sitting on the sofa, fully dressed and absolutely glued to the screen, completely unaware that I’m even standing beside him. My husband comes into the room carrying a bowl of cereal topped with sliced bananas and a sippy cup of milk for our son’s breakfast. He scrambles excitedly into his high chair.
6:42 a.m.
I round up diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes for our son’s backpack while also grabbing things for my morning commute. Thankfully, he eats lunch at daycare, so there’s no need to pack that. Headphones, computer, wallet, phone, keys. Ugh, where are my keys?
6:56 a.m.
His backpack and my work bag are set. Keys have been located in the pocket of the jacket I wore yesterday. My husband is out of the shower and just finishing getting dressed, so I head in to brush my teeth and prep our son’s toothbrush.
7:00 a.m.
My teeth are brushed and I can hear my husband preparing our son for the tooth brushing transition. I walk in with his toothbrush in hand and Elmo’s Brush Your Teeth video cued up on YouTube. My husband chases him with a washcloth to wipe his milky face and banana hands, and I block him at the other end of the couch, toothbrush in one hand and Apple remote in the other. “Let’s brush our teeth with Elmo!” I suggest excitedly. He reaches for the tiny toothbrush with a look of determination on his face. "Me do it!" he whines. Time to negotiate. "I'm going to do it first, and then you do it. Let me see those big shark teeth!" This usually works. He opens his mouth wide while I feign a mix of shock, terror, and amusement. He giggles as I brush.
7:03 a.m.
After making contact with most of his teeth, I surrender the toothbrush to him to mostly chomp and suck on while I hit the replay button so he can take a turn on his own. "Your turn!" I say.
7:05 a.m.
I grab my phone out of my bag and glance at an app that tracks incoming train times. If I leave now, I definitely won’t make the next train, but I can hang for seven more minutes and catch the one after that.
7:07 a.m.
I plunk down on the sofa and scoop our son up for a few minutes of cuddling time, while discreetly fumbling behind my back for the remote control to turn off the television. This must be done stealthily. I point to a couple of superheroes on the rug beneath our toes and turn off the television while he's bending over to retrieve the toys. We each grab a plastic superhero and talk to each other through them.
7:12 a.m.
My husband re-enters the living room, grabbing his bag and our son’s backpack. It’s time to go! We all head out the door together, my husband and son getting into one car while I get into another. My husband will drop him off at daycare and I’ll pick him up.
7:14 a.m.
I start the car, choose a podcast, and slowly transition from mom mode.
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