Corralling Two Kids While You're On the Go: Impossible Task?

Linda Sharps
Toddlers & Preschoolers
Here's some breaking news from the Department of No Duh: two kids are harder than one.

I mean, I love having two boys, and they mostly love each other (when they're not battling to the death, that is, over whose turn it is to hold the blue plastic car, never mind that there are 80 trillion goddamned plastic cars littering every square inch of our house, THE BLUE ONE IS MIIIIIIINE), and a lot of times they actually keep each other entertained. Sometimes even long enough for me to pee for five seconds without someone kicking down the door and demanding a sippy cup refill.

But oh man, how the work compounds with two. The messes they create, the noise they make, the needs they have. One kid turns your life upside down, the second goes through with a Dustbuster and sucks up every last bit of remaining sanity. 

I don't know what happens after two. I assume you just go ahead and pull your brain out your nostril with a crochet hook, because hey, why not? Saves the kids the trouble.

My current challenge with two has to do with speed. No, not the Red Bull variety I suck down on a daily basis, but the speed at which we tend to get from one place to another on foot. See, the toddler is pretty much over the stroller, which was a milestone I wasn't quite prepared for. He wants to get around on his own two feet, thanks very much, and that's great—except holy wow, toddlers walk like they're avoiding sandworms on Dune: slow ... slow ... dawdle ... stop to inspect a bug ... stare at sky ... RUN LIKE HELL FOR LIKE 50 BLOCKSdeadstop.

In comparison, the 5-year-old goes in short sprinting bursts. He runs in totally random directions until I shriek at him to slow down, then he stands there vibrating with impatience until he can be off again.

So every time we walk somewhere where I need to keep track of them, my eyes protrude wildly from either side of my head while I bark a series of endless commands: "Come on, Dylan! Slow down, Riley! Keep with us, Dylan! SLOW DOWN DYLAN. Riley, THIS WAY!" I'm constantly tripping over a child, smashing the toe of another, circling back to grab the hand of whoever has stopped to peer at an invisible oxygen molecule, cattle-prodding someone in the back to propel them forward, and generally wishing like hell I could put a choke-chain on them both.

I often make them hold hands with me if we're in an area like a parking lot, and even then I can feel myself getting pulled around like I'm trying to take a herd of inquisitive cats for a stroll. I never thought I'd miss shoving a stroller around, but man, DO I EVER.

I suppose at some point they'll be a little easier to control (maybe? Please? You in the back, STOP THAT LAUGHING), but for now I don't know what else to do but go with the chaotic flow of it all. Unless some of you have some pointers? Have you found any good way to, well, make your kids heel when you need them to stay close by?

Read More