The Great Toddler Swap

First, I must say I am so excited to be sharing my own voice and thoughts with you again this week. We were so honored to have such an amazing group of guest bloggers in July and then to share our “Happy, Healthy, & Loved” series with all of you a couple of weeks ago. But man, did I miss writing and did I miss this little community!

Anyway, last weekend, we needed some help with N. We were preparing for a garage sale and solely taking advantage of nap time wasn’t going to give us enough time. Seano’s parents are usually first on our list to call for babysitting but they had N twice during the week for various reasons so I didn’t want to ask again. So, I called Chelse and asked if they could take N for a few hours on Saturday and then, in turn, we would take A on Sunday. She instantly said yes and off we went.

Asking for help is not something I’m always good at. But I have to tell you, it felt really good to admit that I needed help and to let my guard down for a second. And it felt even better that she didn’t hesitate. It was a clear reminder that the people who love us really do want to support us.

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I know I am certainly not the first to come up with a kiddo swap. Chelse and I had talked about it before, we just hadn’t tried this approach yet. I’m telling you though, this was genius! And here’s why…

We spend lots of time with Chelse and her family. N is very comfortable with Chelse and D and A is with us. Moreover, we know each others’ parenting styles and boundaries. When we had A,  we honored Chelse and D’s preferences and tried to be similar to them with words, direction, and redirection. And I’m confident they did the same with N. We gave each other a quick set of instructions, but other than that we were already familiar with routines and needs. We have watched them become wonderful parents and truly trust them.

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Besides, who truly understands the need for help if not a friend who is the trenches with you? We each understand how difficult it can be to get a project done with a toddler around, know that a trip to the grocery store can take twice as long with little hands grabbing everything, have a hard time scheduling alone time with our spouses, and know what it is like to go weeks without personal time. So, I suspect, when I called and asked for the swap, there was a part of her that was ecstatic about some free time and care also.

As I thought about having two toddlers, I figured, “Well, I already have one, so what’s one more.” These boys adore each other and play HARD! They never stop moving and one idea runs right into the next. The house may look like a bomb went off but it is worth it because they have a ball. And it doesn’t hurt that mom and dad usually get a good night sleep after they have played, also.

To top it off, Chelse and her family live two blocks from us. We can easily walk or drive to each others’ homes for pickup and drop off. While it may not seem like a big deal, the number of tasks I can get done in just 15 minutes constantly surprises me these days. These days, if it’s convenient, I’m in!

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Probably, the biggest tangible difference was we didn’t have to pay a babysitter. In addition to Seano’s parents, we have a wonderful teenage girl who sits for us as we need her. She earns every penny when she here. But, we appreciated not having to pay a babysitter and it was nice to learn that toddler trade is an accepted currency with our friends. I see “Toddler Trade” coupon gifts in my future!

The only strange thing was, we have never had A without Chelse and D before so it felt different. I kept expecting them to pop out from around the corner. I also found myself being a little harder on N and more flexible with A because we were was also responsible for him. By the end of the afternoon though, we all seemed to have settled in.

Overall, the boys were wonderful and we had a great time. It was a successful toddler swap! I will be happy to participate in more toddler swaps in the future. Have you guys had good experiences trading kiddos? What other positives/negatives are there that I missed?

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