From September 2015

I’m So Busy: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

It’s Ten Funniest Things time, where frankly it is a miracle The Toddler has turned up at all: she’s so busy.

Nonetheless, here she is:

1. On needing to be on the naughty step
The Toddler has pushed over The Baby (who is now on her bottom, looking mildly confused about how she got there). Silly Mummy tells The Toddler it is naughty to push The Baby, even when you’re playing, and she needs to say sorry or she will have to sit on the naughty step. The Toddler dutifully apologises, and gives The Baby a kiss. Silly Mummy tells her to remember not to push The Baby again because next time she will have to go straight to the naughty step. The Toddler is disappointed by the lenience she has been shown. She feels she needs a hard line on punishment: ‘No, I need to go on naughty step now.’ Off she goes. To sit herself on the naughty step. She reappears when she has suitably punished herself.

2. On her make up, finishing it
Mornings are a busy time for The Toddler. She marches over to the coffee table: ‘I finish my make up.’ (It should be noted that at no point did she start her make up. She is jumping right in with finishing the make up. It should also be noted that she doesn’t have any make up.) The Toddler has forgotten something: ‘I say bye bye Daddy first before I finish my make up.’ Silly Daddy dismissed, The Toddler returns to putting on her make up. Which appears to involve moving soft building blocks from the floor to the coffee table. The Baby wanders over and sits down in all the building blocks. The Toddler is scandalised: ‘My make up! The Baby, you’re on my make up!’

3. On herself, so busy
The Toddler has been told to apologise to The Baby for aggressively snatching from her (The Toddler’s sisterly skills appear to have been questionable this week). Unfortunately, The Toddler, who is lining up a tea set, is having some scheduling issues: ‘I’m too busy. I’m going to say sorry. I’m so busy. Say sorry in a second.’ (In a complete disciplinary fail, Silly Mummy falls about laughing at this point, instead of enforcing the apology. Oops.)

4. On taking photographs, the wrong way
The Toddler has Silly Mummy’s phone, and she is taking pictures: ‘I do photo. Oops, I did it wrong way! I did button wrong way, didn’t I?’ This could indicate anything from turning on the front camera and photographing herself, to inadvertently calling for an ambulance.

5. On the cheese, looking at it
The Toddler asks Silly Mummy, ‘Do you want to look at the cheese now?’ She has not organised an inspection of the cheddar. She wants to show Silly Mummy the photographs she has taken/ambulance she has called on Silly Mummy’s phone (‘say cheese’, you see).

6. On the dog, not allowed to wake up
The Toddler is at Grandma and Pop’s house. Grandma and Pop’s dog has been sleeping under the table, but is now getting up. She has not obtained the appropriate permissions from The Toddler for this behaviour, and The Toddler puts an immediate stop to it: ‘Dog, go back to sleep! Now!’

7. On being a bit older
The Toddler has wandered over to a box of toys and is staring at it contemplatively. She has reached a conclusion: ‘I’m a bit older.’ It is unclear whether she is a bit older than she was last time she played with the toys (about an hour ago), or a bit older than the toys and asserting her authority over them, or simply philosophising.

8. On dressing gowns, lovely
The Toddler is feeling very complimentary towards Silly Mummy: ‘Your dressing gown has spots on there. It’s lovely.’

9. On wands
The Toddler has a wand (well, a drumstick), and she is using it to put a spell on a troll on the TV. She is not letting the fact that she has forgotten both the word ‘spell’ and the word ‘wand’ stand in her way: ‘I shoo it away with my witch!’

10. On The Baby, book related behaviour
The Toddler has one of Silly Mummy’s books. The Toddler no longer tries to eat or rip books, and can be trusted with paper books. The Baby cannot be trusted. The Toddler knows this. However, she would like The Baby to join her for a bit of pretend reading. She gives The Baby very clear instructions as to the expected standard of behaviour for this activity: ‘The Baby, you come and read this? We’re not going to eat it, The Baby, just read it. You come here and read it with me. Don’t eat.’

Some other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 5: Don’t Do It
Week 12: Undone, Everyone
Week 13: I’m Not a Hufflepuff
Week 16: Ooh I Say

Stay at Home Mothers Made Sacrifices Too

*Deep breath. Wades in well aware that she may regret this.*

I see quite a lot written about working mums* and the guilt, the feeling of missing out, the lack of choice. I have great sympathy for all of these feelings, and, to be very clear, this post is not a criticism of those emotions, nor of mothers working. Nonetheless, and maybe I will turn out to be alone in this (in which case, I am probably setting myself up for a tidal wave of indignation, though it is really not my intent to offend), something bothers me in a lot of what I see written about this subject.

It is this: there generally appears to be little acknowledgement of the fact that being a stay at home mother is not always a choice either. Or, worse, little acknowledgement of the fact that often there has actually been a choice by both working and at home parents, and that stay at home mothers have made sacrifices for their choices, too. The suggestion, sometimes explicit, sometimes implied, often seems to be that stay at home mothers are privileged and fortunate to have what working mothers do not. It is there in every statement that a working mother wishes she were ‘lucky enough’ to have had the option to stay at home. The implication is that to stay at home is a matter of luck and good fortune, not something that there may have been no choice over, or something a family has made significant sacrifices (that perhaps the working parents did not wish to make) in order to make happen. It may well be that it is often not the writer’s actual intent to suggest this. But, regardless of the intent, the implication does remain: that it is a position of privilege to be a stay at home mum.

Whilst not disputing that certain people may (wrongly) be guilty of judging the particular sacrifices made by working mothers, I don’t think that there is much dispute that there are sacrifices made. Is the same true of the sacrifices made by stay at home mothers? I am not sure that they receive quite the same level of recognition or discussion. That being a stay at home mother is not more often just vaguely regarded as the position of the privileged (or even, by a few unpleasant specimens, regarded as the position of the lazy). I want to highlight that many families with a stay at home parent have to make difficult financial sacrifices to enable that position, the stay at home parent themselves may have sacrificed a career, and for some families there is not even a choice at all. Why is this perhaps not discussed as much as the hardships facing working parents? Maybe partly because many stay at home parents enjoy and appreciate looking after their children, of course. I do. But many working mothers enjoy their jobs, too. I don’t think this is the whole explanation. Because, while many stay at home parents are happy with their role and the time they spend with their children, would they also like to be able to provide more for their children? To have some financial independence? Yes, many would. But we don’t seem to talk about that. Is it because we wouldn’t want anyone to infer that we don’t like looking after our children, that we don’t appreciate the time we spend with them? Is it less acceptable to mention the sacrifices of being a stay at home parent?

Consider the situation if I was to write that it upsets me that I can’t provide for my children, and that I wish I was lucky enough to have had the option to have an income, and to be able to give the children more material luxuries and opportunities. I imagine many working parents would indignantly think, ‘Hang on a bloody minute: luck? It’s not luck. I chose to go to work to provide for my children, and I have to miss out on spending time with them as a result. If you want to have more money, do what I do and go to work.’ And that would be a reasonable response, as far as I am concerned. But it should apply the other way around, too, and I think there is something of a subconscious mindset around that says that it does not. Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone knows really that stay at home parents have made sacrifices, would agree this if asked, but there remains a tendency to be unthinkingly dismissive of it. I am not sure how many people really consider that perhaps when a working mother states that she wishes she were fortunate enough that she could have stayed at home and not had to work, stay at home mothers may also be just a little indignant. That there may be a mother who stays at home who had just as little choice in her role, who maybe feels sad that she can’t provide financially for her child. Or a mother who knows that, in order for her to stay at home, her family gets by on a fraction of the money that working mother’s family does. Maybe even gets by on less than the working family would have on a single income, who knows? Maybe she feels that she is accepting the sacrifices that came for her to stay at home, and that others could have done so too, had they wanted to. And maybe, just maybe, she feels like she should not mention any of this, for fear that she would be accused of not appreciating her time with her children, or of not showing sufficient empathy for the feelings of the working mother.

In truth, when it comes to working or staying at home, there are really only two groups of people: those who had a choice, and those who did not. Not having a choice is not the preserve of working parents. There are those families who really cannot in any way afford to live on one person’s income (or single parent families, where there is only one person to provide an income), but who do have free or affordable childcare options, for whom working is the only available path. Equally, however, there are those with no one to provide free childcare, and no (or insufficient) assistance towards childcare costs, for whom the cost of childcare would exceed what the second person could earn, making one parent undertaking the childcare the only viable option. In both cases, the decision is made for the parents by the limits of their circumstances. They may or may not be perfectly happy with the arrangement they have had to pursue, but this is not particularly relevant: there is no choice regardless.

Then there is everyone else. The people with some level of choice. Now, there are, of course, a few people who have such privilege that they have literally any option they want available to them, and little sacrifice to make. We can all agree that we hate those jammy sods (sorry – just kidding). But this is rare. For most, this is not how it goes. Instead there is choice, but it has constraints. Sacrifices must be made. Having it all is not an option. Decisions have to be made, priorities assessed, myriad considerations taken into account. And, guess what? There are no wrong answers here. All the possible decisions are valid. All the considerations have merit. Children can benefit from being cared for by a parent at home. Equally, children can benefit from having a comfortable, more affluent lifestyle. We all want to spend time with our children. We all want to provide well for our children. How much you like your job and the potential for career development is, of course, relevant. So is the availability of family members to provide childcare. It is perfectly acceptable to decide that you will take a greater degree of financial hardship because it is important to you that you stay home with your child. It is perfectly acceptable to decide that you want to be able to maintain the standard of living or the lifestyle you have for your child’s sake, and cannot do that on one income. It is perfectly acceptable to decide that you love spending time with your child, but do not want to surrender a career you enjoy.

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with whichever decision anyone makes. What I am saying is that perhaps we all need to accept the consequences of those decisions. Perhaps we need to take responsibility for the fact that this is what we chose, we reaped the rewards and paid the price of whichever path we followed. We should not be jealously comparing ourselves with others who made a different decision. We need to acknowledge that they have made their own sacrifices, ones we chose not to make, in order to have those benefits we covet. That should not be brushed under the carpet. You cannot choose the starter and main from a two course set price menu, not be willing to pay extra for dessert, but complain about how unfair it is that someone else had the dessert, how lucky they are. It is not luck: they made a different choice to you. They skipped the starter. (Yes, analogies are not my strong point. And clearly this is not exactly analogous, as in my menu scenario there is obviously only one correct option: dessert. Sorry, starter people – what are you thinking? I digress.)

It may not feel fair. The available options may be hard, imperfect, limited. But that is life. Apart from those few jammy sods we have all agreed to hate (sorry, again), everyone is either having to make similar decisions, determining their priorities, sacrificing on something; or they are simply having to play the hand they were dealt. Perhaps the level of choice we have in modern life has given rise to the idea that there must be this elusive option of having it all, and that we should therefore feel dissatisfied and cheated if we do not. For most people, however, having it all simply does not exist. Perhaps we would all be happier if we accepted that. Accepted that we make our choices, pay the price, and that nearly everyone else is doing exactly the same.

None of this, of course, is to say that there is anything wrong with working mothers saying that they feel sad that they do not see their children as much as they would like. I suppose what I want to say is: working mothers, don’t beat yourself up with guilt over your choice (or lack thereof). You made the decision that was most right for your family, or you simply got on with the only option you had, and I am very sorry for what you feel you are missing out on. But perhaps you could be careful to remember that stay at home mothers made a decision and sacrifices, or did what they had to do, too.

No working mother should feel judged because she had to, or chose to, work. But, equally, no stay at home mother should feel resented. Nor should she have the decision she made to stay at home, and the price she has paid for it, undermined by being dismissed as someone who has merely had luck, ‘luck’ that may be acceptably coveted by those who did not make her sacrifices.

(*Everything I have read has been from the perspective of mothers, and I am a mother, so I have – mostly – referred to mothers, but of course the points can apply to fathers too.)

Knock Knock

The Toddler is still trying to master knock knock jokes. She now believes they are part of dinner time ritual. After eating her food, she leans over and knocks on the table. She prefers physical comedy. Why say ‘knock knock’ when you can make a banging noise?

Before we go any further, something needs to be mentioned here. When the Silly Parents started the knock knock joke teaching, Silly Daddy thought it was amusing to use the very appropriate (*ahem*) ‘Ben Dover’. Because The Toddler wouldn’t get it or remember it, of course. Well, she doesn’t get it. She does remember. Kind of. She remembers Ben.

So, The Toddler is knocking on the table. The Silly Parents obligingly ask, ‘Who’s there?’
‘Ben.’
‘Ben who?’ The Toddler does not reply; she collapses in giggles at her joke.

The Toddler is not done yet. She knocks on the table again.
‘Who’s there?’
‘Ben.’ (This seems familiar.)
‘Ben who?’
‘Ben Bob!’ (Progress. Not towards an actual punchline, of course, but progression from ‘Ben’.) The Toddler starts giggling again.

The Toddler repeats her Ben Bob joke multiple times, each time to rapturous approval and much laughter…from The Toddler.

On the three hundredth rendition, The Toddler makes an alteration to her joke. She knocks on the table. The despairing Silly Parents say, ‘Who’s there?’
‘Ben!’
‘Ben who?’
‘Grandma!’ Oh good, perhaps Grandma knows who Ben is. Perhaps Grandma could have a look around and see if she can find a punchline anywhere: one seems to have gone astray. Perhaps Ben could help her.

The Baby has been watching proceedings from her high chair. She now feels she has got the hang of this joke thing, and is ready to join in. She knocks on her high chair and waits expectantly.
‘Who’s there, The Baby?’
The Baby is ready. She has trained for this moment: ‘Duck!’
‘Duck who?’
The Baby is a knock knock maverick. She holds no truck with punchlines. She knows the humour lies in banging things and yelling ‘duck’. She knocks on the Highchair again and yells, ‘Duck!’
(Perhaps the duck is Ben Bob?)

Silly Mummy attempts to demonstrate a full knock knock joke to The Toddler. Silly Mummy says, ‘Knock knock.’
The Toddler knocks on the table: ‘Knock knock!’
‘No, darling, you say, “Who’s there?”‘
‘Who’s there?’
‘Lettuce.’ The Toddler laughs. She really is the person who laughs because she has no idea what’s going on.
Silly Mummy says, ‘That’s not the end of the joke, The Toddler! You say, “Lettuce who?”‘
‘Lettuce who?’
‘Lettuce in, it’s cold out here!’
The Toddler considers Silly Mummy’s piece of comedy genius: ‘No, it’s not cold outside.’ The Toddler points at, yes, outside: ‘It’s cold out there.’
The Baby knocks on the highchair: ‘Duck!’

The Toddler and The Baby will be here all week, ladies and gentlemen. Duck!

Double, Double Toil and Trouble: A Halloween Review for Zazzle

I love Halloween. This may be a little odd as I am the world’s biggest scaredy cat. Nonetheless, I am a fan of the gothic, the weird and the kooky. I love vampires, witches, magic, Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Being Human, gothic horror stories. I always did. As a child I loved The Worst Witch books, Vlad the Drac and Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat. And I love the dressing up.

Now I have little people to dress up. And I have. Last Halloween, The Toddler was dressed as a little witch. She enjoyed this. She particularly enjoyed the attention she received from random strangers, running around town in her little black and purple dress, sweeping the floor with a purple broomstick. The Toddler did not quite understand the purpose of the broomstick. She has since watched Bedknobs and Broomsticks and now knows exactly what a witch’s broomstick is for: ‘Get my fishing, Mummy!’ Okay, not exactly what it is for, maybe. The Baby was only two months old last Halloween so, obviously, she wasn’t dressed up. Ahem. (*Looks at floor*) Okay, she was The Toddler Witch’s black cat. It wasn’t that cruel – it was just a sleepsuit with a cat’s body on it, and cat head and ears on the hood. She didn’t even notice. I didn’t make her ride on the end of the broomstick, or anything. No, really this time, I didn’t. I didn’t. She was oblivious in the pram. This year it appears that The Toddler would like to be Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. I am a little less enthused about these prospects. I am trying a subtle approach: ‘Isn’t Maleficent pretty?’

I like to watch films for Halloween too, of course. Not actual scary ones, let’s not get silly. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Shaun of the Dead. I have been wondering how old The Toddler will need to be before we can watch Ghostbusters. I could play her the song. I’m sure she’d love to join in:
‘If there’s something strange in the neighbourhood, who you gonna call?’
‘Grandma! Me call Grandma on the Skype now?’

So, given my love of Halloween, and all things supernatural, when online store Zazzle asked if I would like to review items from their Halloween range I was excited.

I’m new to Zazzle, and I can honestly say I loved it. Firstly, there is a vast range of products. I was obviously looking specifically at the Halloween products, which is in itself a huge choice, but I did take a quick look at the wider ranges too, and confirmed I could have shopped for days.

What I was really excited by, however, was the discovery that you can personalise literally anything. Not only that, you can choose exactly what it says, where it goes, the font, the size. You can even add images. It’s really fun to get involved in the design of your items. A further feature that I loved was the range of choice on clothing items. If you pick a child’s top, for example, you can then choose to change the style and colour as well.

I chose a Halloween incy wincy spider top (seen here) for The Toddler, a Halloween witch top (seen here) for The Baby and a Halloween black cat courier bag (seen here) for myself. I picked long sleeved tops for the girls, ready for Autumn. I then personalised the items to have our blog names on the back. I am really pleased to have some items that commemorate my blog (especially as I will soon have to change the names I use for the girls, now that both are technically toddlers, and will always be fondly attached to the names I started out with). All the items arrived promptly and with no fuss, and I really love them.

Zazzle 5Zazzle 6

 
The girls’ tops are so cute. The Toddler is very excited about her top. And The Baby’s top. And my bag. Particularly my bag, in fact. She knows incy wincy spider, and is taken with witches and spells at present, so she likes the designs on the tops. The Baby apparently thought she had ordered a ‘duck’. But this is really The Baby’s response to everything at present, and she does look very cute in her witchy top.

Zazzle 7Zazzle 8

 
The bag is brilliant. The Toddler has noted that the cat is ‘like our cat’, which she seems to approve of (that is she approves of the similarity, not our cat, who is frankly a grump). She does not appear to have noted that the bag is not, in fact, hers. I picked the bag because I never have anything that I can put just the basics I need into, rather than my massive handbags. Now that both girls are heavy and walking, I am often walking one and pushing a pushchair, walking one and carrying one, or walking two, and an additional big bag for my keys, phone and purse is not ideal. This bag is perfect. Even better, for short local trips, it is also the perfect size for a couple of nappies, some wipes and snacks to be added to money and phone, and no other bag is needed. I love the little cat design. I am not a pink, flowery person. Halloween or not, all things gothic, creepy or kooky are easily my favourite design choices. Not to mention that it is now my ‘Silly Mummy’ bag.

Zazzle 4aZazzle 3a

 
I would really recommend having a look at Zazzle if you want any personalised item; and for events, holidays and gifts. They have a bit (well, a lot, actually) of everything: clothing, accessories, mugs, household items, office items, keyrings, notebooks, to name just a few. The site is also good for offering a wide price range to suit different budgets. Plus, I noticed that there’s a Harry Potter range – I’m thinking I may get The Toddler a top to confirm ‘I’m not a Hufflepuff‘.

As for the Halloween range, you can choose from the huge selection of Halloween tops, mugs, party accessories, and much more. As stated, I am a fan of the kooky and I chose designs that suit that. The choice is immense, however, and would have something to suit any taste. There are kooky designs, cute designs, word designs, funny designs, witches, pumpkins, cats, spiders, bats, skeletons, zombies, vampires, monsters – you name it. The choice of fonts is also extensive. I picked ones that suited the Halloween theme and the designs.

I am also going to mention the fantastic range of trick or treat bags (seen here) that you can have personalised for your child. I loved these, and I think they would be great if you are going trick or treating or to Halloween parties with your children. I only didn’t get one of these because I am well aware that The Toddler must not discover that asking people to give her chocolate to fill a bag is a thing. Much as it would be funny to hear her yell what I am fairly sure would be her version of trick or treat: ‘Choccy or you are the naughty wolf!’

Zazzle 1Zazzle 2

 

Disclosure: I was sent these items by Zazzle to review. All opinions are my own.

Ooh I Say: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

Welcome to this week’s screening of Carry On Toddlering…sorry, this week’s Ten Funniest Things post.

Silly Mummy presents Kenneth Williams…sorry, The Toddler:

1. On her mind, ready
The Toddler is preparing for one of her trips again. It appears there is some confusion today as to the imaginary weather. The Toddler says, ‘Going now. Very cold outside. Very warm outside.’
Silly Mummy laughs, ‘Make your mind up!’
The Toddler replies, ‘Yes, mind up. Mind’s all ready to go.’

2. On stealing from The Baby
The Toddler has snatched a handful of The Baby’s lunch from the highchair. Silly Mummy says, ‘Don’t eat The Baby’s food, please. Give it back to her.’ The Toddler returns the food. Silly Mummy turns to The Baby: ‘The Baby, if The Toddler takes your food, say, “Stop thief!”‘ The Baby smiles. Two minutes later, The Toddler sidles over to the highchair, grabs another handful of The Baby’s food, and helpfully says, ‘Stop thief!’

3. On the Bandersnatch
The Toddler is watching Alice in Wonderland. She points at the screen: ‘What’s that?’
Silly Mummy says, ‘That’s the Bandersnatch.’
The Toddler watches the Bandersnatch chase Alice: ‘Look, it’s the big bad Bander…thingy!’

4. On Silly Mummy, very funny
Silly Mummy is chattering away, nothing very groundbreaking. The Toddler wanders over, ‘You’re very funny.’ (*Silly Mummy takes a bow*) Well, thank you very much, The Toddler: Silly Mummy will be here all week.

5. On childrens, responsibility for
The Toddler is watching Balamory. She appears to have decided that she is looking after the school children. Who are older than her. And aren’t in the living room. She announces, ‘Hello, childrens. I’m going to come with you.’ She proceeds to tear off in the direction of the door. She trips and falls. Her little voice can be heard: ‘Whoops! Sorry, childrens!’

6. On manners
The Toddler is feeling very polite. She sticks her face in Silly Mummy’s: ‘Might I kiss you?’

7. On Sleeping Beauty
The Toddler’s skill at abridging stories is in evidence again. This time she is telling Sleeping Beauty: ‘Is sleeping beauty. Once upon a time…was Sleeping Beauty.’ She really knows how to capture the key elements of a story.

8. On Silly Mummy, sweetheart
The Toddler wanders up to Silly Mummy. Silly Mummy says, ‘Hello, sweetheart.’
The Toddler replies, ‘Hello, sweetheart Mummy.’

9. On being Kenneth Williams
The Toddler is holding her water at a precarious angle. Silly Mummy says, ‘Can you be careful with the water?’
The Toddler replies, ‘Ooh I say!’ Silly Mummy didn’t realise we were in Carry On Toddlering.

10. On sorting it out
The Toddler has a new obsession with removing pyjamas from The Baby. The Baby is wandering the living room in her nappy. Silly Mummy says, ‘The Baby might be a bit cold now you’ve undressed her, The Toddler.’
The Toddler sets off after The Baby, ‘I’ll go and sort it out.’ Despite The Toddler’s air of calm competence, Silly Mummy can’t help but notice that she ‘sorts it out’ by commandeering The Baby’s ball. The Baby is still rather naked. And she now has no ball.

Some other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 7: Calm Down
Week 9: That’s Not Fair
Week 14: Childrens
Week 15: We Are Not a Stinker

The Sound of Poppins

Mary_Poppins2 The Toddler is singing:
‘Supercalifragilistic*mumble mumble*docious
Even though The Sound of Music…’
Yes, she has created a Mary Poppins/Sound of Music mash up. The hair dye has not fooled her: Julie Andrews is Julie Andrews, no need for separate songs around here.

I have been hoping she will continue on with the original lyrics of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious:
‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Even though The Sound of Music is something quite atrocious…’
Accurate, no?

Thus far, The Toddler has not obliged. I have therefore kindly completed the verse on her behalf. I expect that Julie Andrews will be wanting to use my new song, and she is very welcome.
‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Even though The Sound of Music is something quite atrocious
If you watch Mary Poppins long enough, you always will forgive me
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’

Obviously, following this triumph, I was feeling a little bit pleased with myself, and I have therefore taken the whole thing too far. Oh, yes, I have come up with further Mary Poppins/Sound of Music mashups.

Introducing The Sound of Poppins, in which flying nanny nuns ward off marauding Nazis and amorous chimney sweeps in fairly equal measure. Featuring an award winning soundtrack*, including:

    1. Sister Maria Suffragette
    2. ‘A spoonful of sugar helps the anschluss go down
    The anschuss go down
    The anschluss go down
    Just a spoonful of sugar helps the anschluss go down
    In the most delightful way’
    3. My Carpet Bag Things
    4. Let’s Go Fly a Swastika
    5. Goose Step in Time
    (‘It’s the Fuhrer, step in time
    It’s the Fuhrer, step in time’)

Actually, they could have used Mary Poppins in The Sound of Music. She’d have got those troublesome Nazis under control. Practically Perfect people don’t stand for invasions of Poland. Of course, then who would have stopped those bloody awful children caterwauling? (People claim the Nazis did nothing for the arts. No one ever remembers that they got the Von Trapps off the stage. Credit where it’s due, I say.)

(*Someone is surely going to award me Daftest Blog Post of the Week, right?)

We Are Not a Stinker: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

It’s Ten Funniest Things time. Last week started quietly, but Silly Mummy is pleased to say that The Toddler stepped up her game, pulled it out of the bag, and turned into Queen Victoria. As you do.

So please curtesy for Queen Toddler:

1. On cooking and the Can Can
The Toddler has a new television obsession. She enjoys ‘Can Can Cook’.* This is obviously that CBeebies programme where Katy teaches us how to make risotto whilst wearing a frilly dress and performing a high-kicking French dance. It’s an innovative idea, but only for the very coordinated among us.

(*She means ‘I Can Cook‘, which Silly Mummy now realises is disappointingly lacking in anyone doing the Can Can.)

 
2. On the royal we
The Toddler has a new identity. As Queen Victoria. She has done a poo and Silly Mummy says, ‘I think you’re a stinker.’
The Toddler replies with the royal we: ‘We are not a stinker, are we?’ Silly Mummy believes we are a stinker, but we are certainly not amused. (See what we did there?)

3. On one’s boots
Further to the above, The Toddler apparently also now receives her shoes in a manner befitting her new role as Queen Victoria: ‘There’s one’s boots.’

4. On eating The Baby’s food
The Toddler has just finished her lunch. The Baby is still eating in the high chair. The Toddler says, ‘May I go and see The Baby?’
Silly Mummy has some experience with the possible motivation behind this request: ‘Yes, but please don’t take her food. Let her eat her food.’
The Toddler nods, ‘Okay.’ She pauses. ‘I might have a little bit.’ It was not a suggestion, The Toddler!

5. On thank you, sooooo much
The Toddler’s usual form of showing gratitude is now: ‘Thank you. Thank you sooooo much.’ Is she really, really grateful? Or is she really sarcastic? Did anyone watch Father Ted? Remember Father Jack’s tone when he was doing an exaggerated, sarcastic thank you? It’s exactly that tone. Yep: she’s sarcastic, isn’t she?

6. On herself, only little
Silly Mummy is explaining to The Toddler why she can’t eat a whole rock bun: ‘That’s a grown up size portion of cake. You’re only little.’
The Toddler decides to concede the point: ‘Yes, I am a bit little.’

7. On The Baby, how she should eat
The Toddler is offering advice and instruction to The Baby on an area in which she has great expertise: eating. She is pointing at The Baby’s mouth, and explaining exactly what she should do: ‘Eat it very properly.’

8. On naughty penguins/oranges
The Toddler is pushing around a toy shopping trolley. She brings it over to Silly Mummy and opines, ‘That one’s being naughty!’ She points at a plastic orange (which does its best to look innocent), and continues, ‘That penguin!’ Well, that is a naughty penguin, living a double life as an orange. Thank god The Toddler can see through its web of deception to the (naughty) penguin within.

9. On supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
The Toddler’s love of Mary Poppins has still not abated, and she continues to attempt to learn to say ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. She has made progress, and can now say about half of the word, but she is using it in a rather odd context. The Baby has taken one of The Toddler’s toys: ‘Give it back, The Baby! Supercalifragilistic you!’ It is possible she thinks supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a threat. Or voodoo.

10. On reading
The Toddler picks up one of Silly Mummy’s books: ‘Right then, Mummy’s book. Right then, let’s read this.’ Following this pep talk, The Toddler starts turning pages. After a few pages, she looks up and says sadly, ‘I’m not very well at reading books.’

Some other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 2: I’ll Tell You What, Mummy
Week 5: Don’t Do It
Week 13: I’m Not a Hufflepuff
Week 14: Childrens

Bob’s Algebra, Fred’s Hair: Should Schools Dictate Appearance?

With new stories of children sent home for failure to comply with their school’s uniform or appearance rules, we seem to be back to the question of whether schools should be allowed to dictate students’ appearance. On one side you have those supporting the students’ individuality, arguing their rights and freedom of expression are being infringed by the schools. On the other, those who argue that the students and their parents knew the rules, and the rules are there for a reason.

I don’t believe either of these positions quite cuts to the core of the issue. The answer to whether schools should be allowed to dictate pupils’ appearance must surely lie in what we believe schools should be achieving, what we believe their purpose is in respect of how they shape children.

Firstly, let’s just put to rest a couple of fallacies that are sometimes trotted out in support of uniform policies: that they save parents money, and that they create equality (thus reducing bullying). School uniforms are expensive, and children outgrow them at a rate of knots. Furthermore, children don’t wear uniforms outside school, thus creating a need for normal clothes in addition to the uniform. Normal clothes that could have also been worn to school if the school had no uniform. No, uniforms do not save parents money. Nor do they create equality. Students will always find a way to distinguish themselves: a way of wearing the uniform that is the way, accessories that you must have to be accepted. There will always be the popular ones and the unpopular ones. There will always be bullies. Uniforms don’t, as is sometimes suggested, prevent children from being able to tell whose parents have less money. The tendency of teenagers to form cliques, and to judge and pick on others, comes from their own insecurities, their fragile sense of self, and from what they learn from adults. (If you want to see the latter point in action, take a look at the comments from many adults on the articles about the girl with the leopard print hair. You’ll see where children learn judgemental behaviour.) Not only do uniforms not prevent students from bullying others, it could even be argued that uniforms, by telling children it is important to be the same, actively encourage the idea of intolerance towards those who are different.

Oh, and I suppose creation of a school identity should be briefly mentioned, too. It can, of course, be said that uniforms do achieve this aim (whether this needs to be an aim is perhaps more questionable, and that it can in any case be achieved without the need for a full uniform is indisputable). However, identifying the school certainly provides no justification for restricting students’ hairstyles, piercings, shoes or tightness of trousers (all the areas of appearance forming the usual subject matter of the disputed cases, in fact).

So, school uniforms are not about money or equality. School uniform and appearance codes are about conformity. Some rules exist to keep children safe. Some to tackle bullying or other unacceptable behaviour. Some are about the structure of the school day. Others the standard and level of work required from students. These rules all serve some specific purpose relating to the educating of children. What purpose do uniforms and rules on appearance serve? How do they further the students’ education? They have no point beyond the promotion of conformity. A rule for a rule’s sake.

Such rules are, of course, effective for the purpose of psychological conditioning. This is why so many exist in the military. Rules about tradition, appearance, ceremony, ritual. They have no direct significance to the work carried out by the armed forces but, indirectly, they are relevant to the effective running of a military. They exist to ingrain obedience and order; to create a mindset of following rules for the sake of following rules, even when you don’t agree with them or can’t see the point. It is not hard to see why that is important within the military, where it is necessary that people follow orders without question simply because they are orders. It is also, of course, important to encourage those in the armed forces to identify as a group, not as an individual. Rules that exist to make everyone look and act the same help with this. If the armed forces did not have a mindset of compliance and conformity, there could be chaos and disorder in potentially disastrous circumstances. These types of rules thus play their part in a form of psychological conditioning that is necessary for an effective, organised military.

But schools are not the military. Is conformity necessary for effective education? Or is it actually damaging to education, hindering free thinking and independence? This brings us back to the point: the need for uniforms and appearance codes surely depends on what you want to achieve. If your main priority is to make as many children as possible conformist and obedient, seen and not heard, then, yes, uniform codes probably help. They serve to instil in children the idea that they must all be the same and they must follow rules, regardless of whether the rule has a point.

Is that really what we want for our children? There is an important distinction between school children and the armed forces. The armed forces are a self-selecting group; they are people who have chosen to submit to these rules and this type of psychological conditioning. Children do not choose to go into the school system. Whilst those in the military know that all these rules they live by are a consequence of something they chose for themselves, for a child who does not agree with these school rules, they are simply alienating. Something forced upon them for no real reason. Do we want to alienate children from the education system?

Further, those in the military have selected their path, have decided that a military career is what they want, and worth obeying the rules for. Children’s futures are not yet decided. Among our children are the potential leaders, inventors, researchers, teachers, artists. For those futures, is conformity something to aspire to? Conformity and group mentality may be important in some areas of life, but in others freedom and individuality are everything. Do we hinder potential in those areas if we crush children with rules and uniformity?

Yes, children need to learn rules. Rules are part of society. But there are numerous other rules in school for them to follow. Just going to school is itself a rule. The question is not whether they need to follow rules, but whether they need to follow rules that serve no other purpose beyond the following of the rule.

Finally, what are we afraid of in allowing children to be individual, unregimented? Again, this is not the military. It is not a risk of chaos in a combat zone. If a whole year 9 maths class has strangely coloured hair and non-regulation shoes, what do we think is likely to happen? Is Bob’s ability to do quadratic equations dependent upon the colour of Fred’s hair? (In fact, ironically, anyone who thinks it is probably didn’t grasp the difference between independent and mutually exclusive probabilities in their own maths studies, despite their regulation hairstyle.)

I believe there is one thing military strategy can certainly teach us here, and it isn’t the psychological conditioning of conformity, it’s this: pick your battles. Being individualistic and non-conformist does not indicate that a child does not have potential in education and beyond, possibly even quite the opposite. If we are willing to alienate or exclude a child from education over purple hair or tight trousers, I can’t help but feel we may be missing what is actually important.

The Cat in the Is That a HAT?*

cat-84770_1280

(* Or: What on Earth is Happening in The Cat in the Hat?)

 

As we sat all alone
In our house for the day,
We wondered was it legal
For our mother to leave us this way?

We are after all only four and a half.
Social Services would not like it.
Not one little bit.

We did not roll in jam
Or paint on the wall.
Despite being left unattended at four,
Quite inexplicably we did nothing at all.

Then a cat came on in.
(Was that cat wearing a hat?)
Did our mother even lock the door?
Seems like bad parenting, that.

Our fish was upset
But his priorities were wrong.
Never mind the cat in the house:
Where had our mother gone?

Undeterred by the lack of an opposable thumb,
The cat began juggling with…
Is that a rake? Where did that come from?

Then our fish was dropped into a pot.
Did the lack of oxygen stop him from moaning?
Why, no, it did not.

So our fish could not breathe,
But still kept on telling
That cat he must leave.

The cat would not leave, he put up a fight.
Perhaps he’s a squatter.
It would serve our mother right.

No, the cat would not go
(Seriously, was that a hat),
And he brought out two Things.
Well, just fancy that.

What the hell were those Things?
No, really: animal, plant or mineral?
And how did they fly those kites in the house
Where there’s no wind at all?

Then our fish saw our mother on her way home.
So we had to capture those Things and throw out the cat.
Tidy the house and…
Why was he wearing a hat?

Luckily, it took our mother some time from window to door.
We were able to remove the cat (and his hat)
With no sign at all.

Our mother came in, opening the door with a creak.
She asked us, ‘Did you have fun?’
What a cheek!
What a cheek!
What a cheek!

Child abandonment.
A cat with a hat.
And those Things were quite strange,
We’re sure about that.

Should we report her?
What should we do?
Does this story really
Seem normal to you?

Invasion of the Pyjama Snatchers

The baby has taken off her pyjama bottoms and is waving them over her head. The Toddler runs over and snatches the pyjama bottoms. She tries to put them on. The Toddler is now in two pyjama bottoms. That’s not right. The Toddler takes off The Baby’s pyjama bottoms. So that she can take off her own pyjama bottoms, and put The Baby’s back on. The Toddler is now wearing just one pair of pyjama bottoms. The Baby’s. On one leg. (The Baby, meanwhile, is wandering the living room giving her bottom a good airing.)

The Toddler confirms the current situation: ‘Wearing The Baby’s trousers on now.’ She starts trying to walk towards Silly Mummy and The Baby. She is hampered by having both of her legs in one hole of some pyjama bottoms that are too small for her. She takes them off. And puts them on her arms.

The Toddler is now waving her own discarded pyjama bottoms at The Baby: ‘The Baby, need to put these ones on now.’ Indeed. It certainly wouldn’t do for anyone to be wearing their own pyjamas. Or, even better, actual clothes.

The Toddler, wearing The Baby’s pyjama bottoms on her arms, her own pyjama top, and nothing on her bottom, announces: ‘Need to go to work now.’ Ah, well, that explains it. The Toddler is getting dressed for work. Her work evidently has a strict dress code: no jeans, no trainers, The Baby’s pyjamas…

The Toddler is still chattering about her plans for the day: ‘Need to go to shops first. Not gone to work yet. Daddy gone to work.’ (Shirt, tie, socks and Silly Mummy’s pyjama bottoms on his head, in case you were wondering.)

The Toddler declares: ‘I’m going to go now.’ She marches to the door, The Baby’s pyjamas still on her arms. She is very busy, and can’t hang around any longer waiting for The Baby to get her arse into gear, put both her legs into one hole of someone else’s pyjamas, and get ready for work.

Childrens: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

In this week’s Ten Funniest Things feature, The Toddler is trying to tell jokes despite being really very, very sick. Meanwhile, The Baby is embroiled in a stand off with a toy remote control.

It’s The Toddler:

1. On Balamory, what’s the story in
The Toddler is sitting on the sofa. Apropos of nothing she suddenly pipes up, ‘Right then, what’s the story in Balamory?…Well, it’s quite windy.’ In all fairness, that is a reasonable representation of both the usual excitement level of the stories on Balamory, and the likely weather in Scotland. Offers of a script writing position will surely flood in.

2. On pants, cleaning with
The Toddler is supposed to be getting dressed. Instead, she is cleaning the coffee table with her underwear. Silly Mummy’s suggestion that perhaps we do not need to be cleaning the coffee table with our underwear is dismissed: ‘Yes, I do need to clean with my pants.’

3. On being patronising
The Toddler has this week been consolidating her position as the Boss of Everything by calling everybody else ‘childrens’ whenever possible, in her best patronising tone. Silly Daddy dropped the bag containing the nail clippers on the floor whilst trying to put it out of reach. The Toddler was on hand with instructions on how everyone should proceed: ‘Childrens, please don’t go through the nails.’

4. Also on also
The Toddler has learnt the word ‘also’, and also she likes to use it a lot, also. She is showing Silly Mummy some of her toys: ‘Have this one also. Also got this one and these. Also.’

5. On compliments, giving and receiving
The Toddler has progressed from last week’s self forgiveness. She is now complimenting and thanking herself. She is making a pattern on the floor with some stacking cups. It’s quite good, if she does say so herself (which, incidentally, was very kind of her to say, if she does say so herself): ‘Is very good…Thank you.’

6. On subliminal messages
There’s something The Toddler feels Silly Daddy should be doing. She is attempting subliminal messaging to prompt him. She sidles over to him, whispering, ‘Food, food. Chop, chop: get food.’

7. On going to work with Silly Daddy
The Toddler has decided to go to work with Silly Daddy. Silly Daddy has just left. The Toddler yells at the door, ‘Wait a minute I got to come with you now, just wait there a minute!’ She runs off in the opposite direction to the door. Presumably to get her tie: she’s not dressed for the office. Fortunately, Silly Daddy was not waiting on the other side of the door, as The Toddler does not return. She is now discussing tea making with The Baby. Perhaps she remembered she does not have a tie.

8. On bright lights
Silly Mummy is squinting because the light is in her eyes. The Toddler notices: ‘What’s wrong?’
‘It’s just a bit bright.’
The Toddler looks at The Baby, who is also looking a bit squinty: ‘The Baby has brights, too, look.’

9. On telling jokes
Silly Mummy and Silly Daddy, rather ambitiously, have decided to try to teach a two year old bad jokes. Knock knock jokes quickly fail. The routine is explained to The Toddler. She nods. Silly Daddy starts: ‘Knock knock.’ The Toddler looks at him expectantly. Silly Daddy prompts The Toddler: ‘You say, “Who’s there?” Okay? Knock knock.’
The Toddler wants to knock too. She bangs on the table: ‘Knock knock!’
Silly Mummy decides to try something else: ‘What do you call a man with a spade on his head?’
The Toddler does not know. Silly Daddy tries to help her. He whispers, ‘Doug.’
The Toddler triumphantly gives Silly Mummy the answer, which she may have misheard: ‘Dork!’

10. On malingering
The Toddler has taken up malingering. She arranges herself on the sofa and looks pitiful. ‘I’m not very well.’
Silly Mummy says, ‘Oh dear, aren’t you? What feels the matter?’
‘I’m quite unwell. I’m really very sick. Very, very sick, yes.’ Silly Mummy points out that it is a good job that it is nap time and The Toddler is about to go for a lie down. The Toddler makes a remarkable recovery: ‘No, can’t do that.’

 
Meanwhile…
The Baby is arguing with a toy remote control, which is trying to tell her the Spanish for nine. The Baby does not want to talk about the Spanish for nine. She is trying to change the subject to a matter of more interest to her. The Baby and the remote are now engaged in a stand off, and are shouting at each other. The Baby presses a button. The remote says, ‘Neuve.’
The Baby yells, ‘Duck!’ She presses the button again.
‘Neuve.’
‘Duck!’
‘Neuve.’
‘Duck!’

Other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 2: I’ll Tell You What, Mummy
Week 5: Don’t Do It
Week 9: That’s Not Fair
Week 10: Silly Me
Week 12: Undone, Everyone
Week 13: I’m Not a Hufflepuff

Daddy on the Naughty Step

There is something of a commotion going on in the Silly household. Silly Daddy has been naughty. No one but The Toddler knows what Silly Daddy has actually done, but it appears to be quite serious. An immediate naughty step offence, in fact.

The Toddler orders: ‘Daddy, naughty step.’ Silly Daddy protests against being sent to the naughty step, but The Toddler is unmoved: ‘Daddy, go to naughty step now!’ Silly Daddy is not giving in without a fight; he does not want to sit on the naughty step. The Toddler, however, has brushed up on her Super Nanny* technique, and she is not negotiating: ‘Go and sit on naughty step.’
Silly Daddy realises resistance is futile and resigns himself to his punishment: ‘How long do I have to sit on the naughty step?’
The Toddler considers: ‘Five minutes. Go and sit on naughty step five minutes!’ Silly Mummy feels obligated to remind The Toddler that naughty step time should be one minute for every year of age, and that Silly Daddy therefore needs to remain on the step for 34 minutes. This may seem mean of Silly Mummy, but Silly Mummy is acting in Silly Daddy’s best interests. How will he learn if the rules are not applied properly and consistently? The Toddler ponders Silly Mummy’s correction, nods and confirms: ‘Two minutes. That’s right.’ Silly Daddy looks smug.

In accordance with the strictly enforced timeframe for Silly Daddy’s naughty step sitting, exactly four seconds later The Toddler announces: ‘Say sorry? You say sorry, get up now.’

Silly Mummy can’t help but notice that there has been a further breach of naughty step protocol. Silly Daddy has not been reminded of why he was asked to sit on the naughty step. Indeed, Silly Daddy has not been told what he had done wrong at any time. No one has. Silly Mummy wants to know. Silly Mummy says to The Toddler, ‘Don’t forget to tell Daddy why he was naughty. What had he done?’
The Toddler announces Silly Daddy’s naughty step-worthy misbehaviour: ‘Didn’t sit on naughty step.’ Ah, of course. Toddler logic. Having not done anything wrong, Silly Daddy was unsurprisingly not sitting on the naughty step. This was very naughty, and required immediate banishment to sit on the naughty step. Presumably to think about what he hadn’t done.

The Toddler continues, ‘But Daddy’s better now. Good boy, Daddy!’ Well, yes, Silly Mummy can see how sitting on the naughty step would have made the naughty behaviour of not sitting on the naughty step better.

The Toddler is now trying out the behavioural technique of positive reinforcement. Daddy has been a good boy, he will be rewarded: ‘Can sit on sofa now. Clap, Mummy! Clap!’ Silly Mummy obediently claps Silly Daddy’s progression from naughty step to sofa. Silly Mummy doesn’t want to end up on the naughty step.

(*She must have been taking a break from her usual favourite nanny Mary Poppins. If The Toddler had been channelling Mary Poppins, Silly Daddy would have been singing songs and clicking his fingers. Mary Poppins would not use the naughty step: practically perfect people NEVER use the naughty step.)

Why Breast v Formula Should Not Be a Debate

baby-105063_1280 We all know the breastfeeding versus formula feeding debate. We’ve all heard the passionate, and often outright hostile, arguments on each side. Many of us probably have an opinion one way or the other. Well, this post is not going to be about mine. No, I am not here to wade into the debate, I am here to ask whether it should be a debate at all.

I think not. You see, in this country (and the rest of the developed world), both breast and formula feeding are valid options. This feeding dilemma is not, in fact, a dilemma. It is a choice. An extremely fortunate choice between two options that are both ultimately safe and acceptable.

Yes, breastfeeding is obviously what nature intended. No, it being a natural process does not mean that all mothers and babies can do it. That is not how nature works. In nature, in all species, there are young who are unable to feed effectively. They die. It is natural selection. We as a species have developed to the point where we deem it unacceptable for some of our young to simply be allowed to starve. As with so many aspects of life, we have interfered in nature and developed alternatives. That’s great. But some of us seem to have forgotten along the way that, of course, not every mother and baby is able to breastfeed just because it is nature. We should appreciate the amazing alternatives that have been developed, rather than insist that all mothers must be able to breastfeed if they really tried.

About these alternatives. So they aren’t natural. A lot of things in modern life aren’t. They have been carefully formulated, used for generations. They are safe. They work. Formula fed babies grow up just fine. Yes, there are certain benefits to breast milk that formula milk cannot replicate but, in the developed world, the difference won’t be life or death, the impact is not significant.

Breast milk is cheaper, it’s quicker, it’s ready prepared. Of course, it puts every feed onto the mother. That is not always very convenient or practical in a modern world. Mothers do not sit in a cave and suckle young these days. They are expected to do things, see people, go out, often work. 2-3 hourly feeds, requiring the partial exposing of body parts, can be a strain. Formula, meanwhile, is more difficult to prepare, costs money, doesn’t benefit the immune system. On the other hand, feeding can be shared with other people, and no one feels awkward about doing it in public. It’s swings and roundabouts. There are positives and negatives to both options.

The key is that we have this choice. We have a choice and it really doesn’t matter which option we choose. Not in the grand scheme of things. Whichever way you decide to feed your baby, there will have been pluses and minuses, and your baby will have received nutrition, will have grown and thrived.

This is not a dilemma. There is nothing to debate. A dilemma is when you are HIV positive (communicable through breast milk), and have no option but to breastfeed your baby or allow it to starve. A dilemma is when formula milk has been aggressively pushed as an alternative by the formula companies, but there is no clean water to make it with, no sterilisation facilities, and you cannot afford enough formula to properly feed your baby. A dilemma is when you are too weak yourself to effectively breastfeed an infant, but have no other safe options available.

The choice we have in Britain is between two non-harmful, acceptable alternatives. Yet, we manage to fight about this choice. For some women in the world, their choices are between which potential cause of death they want for their baby. AIDS? Deadly water borne infections? Starvation? That is a ‘choice’ people should be fighting about.

Arguing over breast or formula, judging and criticising others for making a different – but still perfectly safe – choice for their child, is surely a monumental waste of time and energy. Preaching to another British mother for feeding in a different way from you is pointless. Nothing is achieved. She won’t appreciate your interference. Wouldn’t that energy and passion for the cause be better spent campaigning for those mothers in the world who desperately need help to be able to give adequate and safe milk to their babies? They would appreciate your interference.

Put the effort into a real crisis, a debate worth having. Make a difference. Because irritating Cheryl next door over breast being best isn’t making a difference to anything, except maybe Cheryl’s Christmas card list.

Not Little Red Riding Toddler

Little_Red_Riding_Hood_-_J._W._Smith Once upon a time, there was a little toddler, who did not live in a village by a forest. She never wore a red riding cloak (though she sometimes wore a bumble bee outfit), and no one called her Little Red Riding Toddler.

One day, Not Little Red Riding Toddler said, ‘I’m going to see my grandma.’ So she packed an imaginary picnic to take to Grandma’s house, and didn’t put on a red cloak. Silly Mummy warned her not to dawdle on her way: dangerous babies lurked in the living room.

So Not Little Red Riding Toddler set out to visit Grandma. On her journey, she came across some beautiful pull along turtles and a tea set. She promptly forgot Silly Mummy’s warning, and stopped to sniff the turtles and pick a few tea cups. She did not notice when a shadowy Silly Daddy approached and snuck onto the sofa.

Silly Daddy was not interested in the slightest to hear that Not Little Red Riding Toddler was going to see her grandma. He gobbled up something more likely to fall into the category of ‘leftovers’ than ‘Grandma’, before making minimal (no) effort to dress as Grandma.

Not Little Red Riding Toddler arrived in front of Silly Daddy. Silly Daddy continued to devote his best efforts to not looking like Grandma. Without needing to question Silly Daddy’s eyes, ears or teeth, Not Little Red Riding Toddler declared, ‘You’re not Grandma!’

Not Little Red Riding Toddler was nothing if not persistent. She was visiting Grandma. She had not visited Grandma. She announced again, ‘I’m going to see my grandma.’

Presently, Not Little Red Riding Toddler reappeared in front of Silly Daddy, who was still showing remarkably little interest in pretending to be Grandma. Not Little Red Riding Toddler was once again able to see right through Silly Daddy’s complete lack of disguise: ‘You’re not Grandma!’ Not Little Red Riding Toddler knew who Silly Daddy was really: ‘You’re the big bad wolf. Roar!’

So, in something of a role reversal, Not Little Red Riding Toddler roared at the big bad wolf, who disappointingly failed to either chase or attempt to eat anyone. Nonetheless, The Baby Woodcutter appeared at that moment, brandishing a toy remote control at the Silly Daddy Wolf, just in case. The Silly Daddy Wolf situation under control, Not Little Red Riding Goldfish Toddler announced, yet again, ‘I’m going to see my grandma!’

Later, Not Little Red Riding Toddler returned to Silly Mummy, where she declared that she was actually Peppa Pig (of course), and was just…off to see her grandma.

And they all lived repetitively ever after.

I’m Not a Hufflepuff: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

It’s that time of the week again: the Ten Funniest Things feature.

Very appropriately on the very day we all pile onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters, The Toddler is talking Hogwarts houses.

On with the sorting…sorry, talking, with The Toddler:

1. On herself, talking all the time
The Toddler has a bit of a problem, which she explains to Silly Mummy: ‘I talk all the time. I don’t want to.’

2. On Hogwarts’ Houses
The Toddler appears to quite like Harry Potter, though Silly Mummy had assumed she did not take that much in. Silly Mummy assumed wrong. The Toddler is roaring and huffing, leading Silly Mummy to ask, ‘Are you the big bad wolf? Do you huff and puff?’
The Toddler gives Silly Mummy a disparaging look, ‘No, I’m not a Hufflepuff.’ There you go: taken it all in, right down to knowing which house is, frankly, a bit rubbish. Any allegation of being a Hufflepuff (or even something that sounds a little bit like it) will be firmly denied by The Toddler and her people (The Baby).

3. On origami
Silly Mummy has had a rainy day activity brainwave*: ‘Would you like to do some origami?’
The Toddler would like to do some origami: ‘Yes, me do gabagoombadi!’
(*It wasn’t a brainwave. The Toddler is two. The Baby is one. Origami is fiddly folding of small pieces of paper. It was a stupid idea. Miraculously, a dog, a crane, a waterlily, a jumping frog and a giraffe were made. The Baby ate the frog and the giraffe. The lily was inexplicably deeply offensive to The Toddler. She still cries if it is shown to her.)

4. On best friends
The Toddler plops herself down next to The Baby, puts her arm around her, and announces, ‘We’re best friends!’ The Baby does not appear to have a say in the matter, but looks quite pleased anyway.

5. On being a sandwich
The Toddler is being a funny girl, and Silly Mummy tells her so. The Toddler disagrees: ‘I’m not a funny girl – I’m a sandwich!’ Ah, well, Silly Mummy always did get those two mixed up.

6. On forgiving yourself
The Toddler is looking at a display in the book shop. She knocks something over and picks it back up, muttering to herself, ‘Oh sorry, sorry…It’s okay, don’t worry.’ She may have taken learning to forgive yourself a little literally.

7. On baby bumps
The Toddler has had a little collision with The Baby in the hallway, but she has it under control: ‘Sorry, gorgeous. You okay, gorgeous?’ She even knows a song for the situation: ‘Ouch said the baby bumps in to door.’

8. On imaginary friends, not holding hands
The Toddler is wandering around, talking to herself: ‘You not want to hold my hand? No? I go back to the the door?’ It sounds to Silly Mummy like The Toddler has a not very friendly imaginary friend.
Silly Mummy asks, ‘Did your imaginary friend not want to hold your hand?’
‘No, didn’t want to.’ Well, it’s nice that The Toddler realises that imaginary people can have personal space issues too.

9. On Grandma, good girl
The Toddler has had her nappy changed by Grandma. She feels it is important to encourage this sort of behaviour: ‘Oh good girl, Grandma! Good girl!’

10. On The Baby, what her problem is
The Baby is sitting on the sofa, minding her own business. The Toddler is not impressed with her attitude: ‘The Baby, what’s your problem? Why are you doing nothing?’

 
 
Other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 2: I’ll Tell You What, Mummy
Week 5: Don’t Do It
Week 7: Calm Down
Week 9: That’s Not Fair
Week 10: Silly Me
Week 11: Right, What’s The Problem