From March 2016

The Egg Hunt

easter-nest-1162973_1920Girls, would you like to do an egg hunt? You would? Okay, Mummy will hide these eggs around the living room, and then you can come and look for them. You go out into the corridor with Daddy while Mummy hides eggs. No, don’t look at what Mummy’s doing, stay out there with Daddy. No, The Baby, Mummy’s hiding things – go back to Daddy. No, put that down, The Baby. Go back to Daddy. Good girl. No looking, either of you.

Okay, Mummy has hidden the eggs, you can come back into the living room now, and…No, wait a minute, Mummy is still talking. Come here. Here are your bags – put your eggs in here when you find them…No, wait a minute. There are five eggs each. Okay, go and look. See if you can find them.

Well done, The Toddler. Put that in your bag. The Baby, The Toddler has found an egg over here. Do you think there’s one for you too? Come and look. No, The Toddler, let The Baby look. Come on, The Baby, what’s over here? The Toddler, let The Baby look! Well done, The Baby. Put that in your bag.

Okay, let’s see if The Baby can find where some eggs are hidden. No, The Toddler, let The Baby look first this time. The Baby, where would you like to look? Perhaps you would like to look here, The Baby? No, here. Lie down here and look under there. Not you, The Toddler. Lie down, The Baby. Look under here. No, here. No, look this way. Oh, well done, The Baby. Put that in your bag. Can you see one too, The Toddler? Well done.

Okay, The Toddler’s turn to look for where the eggs are hiding. Where could they be? You already looked there, didn’t you? Shall we look somewhere you haven’t looked? No, that’s the same place. Let’s try somewhere completely different. How about here? Yes, just here. Oh, you found an egg – imagine that! Can you find an egg too, The Baby? Yes, that’s Peppa Pig. Can you see an egg? The Baby? Put down Peppa. Here, look: here’s your egg. Put it in your bag.

Where would you like to look for an egg now, The Baby? The Baby, where are you going? Come back: we’re looking for eggs! Not you, The Toddler, it’s the baby’s turn. Oh, you found one. Okay. Let’s see if The Baby can find the other one, then. No, let her look. No, let The Ba…Never mind. Put that in The Baby’s bag for her.

Okay, girls, let’s find the last pair of eggs. Where could they be? You already looked there, The Toddler. Try somewhere else. Yes, The Baby, those are eggs. But they’re in your bag – you already found those ones. Shall we look over here? Just here. Right here. Shall we look in this teapot? This teapot here. Shall we look at these eggs right here? These eggs. The ones I’m holding out. These might be the eggs. I’ll put them in your bags. Well done, you found all the eggs. Wasn’t that fun?

The Sheriff of Downing Street: Have We Regressed to the Middle Ages?

sherif1(Yes, it is a rare non-parenting post.)

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it has come to my attention that we, or at least our government, appear to have regressed to the Middle Ages. More specifically, the rule of Richard the Lionheart. Even more specifically – and worryingly – the rule of Richard the Lionheart, as portrayed in the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. I know, I know, but stick with me.

1. The Sheriff of Nottingham

I can’t be the only one to have noticed that the Chancellor is the Sheriff of Nottingham, as characterised in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. He can surely be only one budget away from announcing: ‘Cancel the kitchen scraps for the lepers and the orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!’

2. Robin Hood

Meanwhile, I am not yet entirely convinced by Iain Duncan Smith’s recent attempt to recast himself as Robin Hood, protector of the poor and vulnerable (though, admittedly, at least in the Prince of Thieves film, Robin did start out as a cruel, entitled arse, too). However, if he wants to learn archery, don a pair of tights, and rob some of Jeremy Hunt’s ample supplies of arrogance to redistribute amongst the less fortunate, I will reconsider the position.

3. Feudal Overlords

As far as I can tell, the government’s housing policy (you know, the ‘get rid of all the social housing and build new houses no one can afford’ one) is pretty heavily based on the feudal system/manorialism of the Middle Ages. The intention appears to be to return to a situation in which the peasants cannot own land, and have no option but to give all of their money to the feudal overlords/Tory crony landlords in order to live on their land/rented accommodation.

4. Education and Health care

It would appear that several key members of the government would quite like to see state provision of education and healthcare equal that available in the Middle Ages: none. (Though they seem to be aiming to achieve this goal by borrowing from another period of history: that bit where we got a load of British people to go to Australia.)

5. Prince John

Boris Johnson seems to have cast himself as Prince John in this ridiculous re-enactment, stirring up discord and making his bid to seize power. As with Prince John, it all seems vaguely ridiculous and unlikely to succeed at the moment, but they’ll probably nonetheless hand him the leadership at some point.

6. Animal Monikers

I think I’ve made my case, so I’ll just leave everyone to insert their own Richard the Lionheart style animal based moniker for our Prime Minister here. I doubt the animal would be lion. Or the body part a heart.

 
 

(Side Note: On the plus side, it should be noted that there is good news to be taken from the reign of Richard the Lionheart for the anti-Europe faction, who are terrified that we are being ‘ruled by Europe’. You know, like we were during Richard the Lionheart’s reign (and those of all the kings of that era). When our king was French. Spoke French. Had French parents. Ruled large areas of France. Lived in France. Visited England only a handful of times during his reign. Took England’s money to fund his Crusades. You know, that period where we were ruled by the French? That one we’ve kind of conveniently forgotten about. You know, Richard the Lionheart? Remembered as one of our most iconic English kings (or as Sean Connery), despite being French. The good news therefore being that, even if we were being ruled by Europe, we would presumably just block it out, continue to assume we were in charge, and eventually remember Angela Merkel as one of our most famed Prime Ministers.

And, yes, I have steered away from the issue of The Crusades, but suffice it to say there is probably a parallel in a general feeling of: ‘Excuse us, but what the hell do you think you’re doing? We were trying to live here!’)

 
 
BritMumsI am very excited to have been shortlisted in the ‘Writer’ category in the BiB Awards. If you’ve heard of my blog, like my blog, don’t want to vote for someone else in my category, aren’t sick of people asking, and have a minute to spare, I would love your vote! You can vote here.

 
 

Pink Pear Bear

We Have a Problem: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

It’s Ten Funniest Things time, where The Toddler is arranging sight-seeing trips and lamenting having the wrong head. Meanwhile, in her corner, The Baby has developed an unintentional attitude.

Over to The Toddler:

1. On problems, urgent Baby assistance required
The Toddler is on the phone. She is phoning The Baby. The Baby is in her castle, on the other side of the room, obviously. Apparently, there is an emergency situation for The Baby to deal with: ‘The Baby, come quick! We have a problem…Someone has done something.’ Yes, sometimes The Toddler’s dramatic streak starts something it can’t finish. In a testament to The Baby’s willingness to assist her sister, she actually does come running for that rather vague anti-climax.

2. On being Snow White, not having the right head
The Toddler is dressed in her Snow White costume, but she has identified a problem with it: ‘I’m looking like Snow White, but I haven’t got a Snow White head!’

3. On The Baby’s food, eating it
Silly Mummy, The Toddler, The Baby and Grandma are at a cafe. The Toddler and The Baby are sharing a sandwich. However, The Baby is currently asleep, and her part is waiting for her. The Toddler has finished her own share and is now eyeing up The Baby’s share. As the sandwich was cut into three pieces originally, Silly Mummy decides The Toddler can eat The Baby’s half of the third piece (The Baby rarely eats as much as The Toddler anyway). The Toddler approves of this decision: ‘I’m sure The Baby won’t mind.’ The Toddler subsequently relents, and feels like she should leave a bit for The Baby: ‘The Baby can have a tiny little bit. That’s for The Baby.’ The Toddler sets aside the tiniest imaginable piece. Then she picks it up again and eats half of the tiny piece. She puts the remaining morsel back on the plate, before reaching for it once more: ‘Try a bit more of it.’ She eats the rest of The Baby’s tiny share. The Baby is apparently not getting her tiny little bit. The Baby is going to be lucky to get any sandwich at all, as The Toddler points at the remaining third of the sandwich – The Baby’s share – and declares: ‘That one’s for me!’

4. On her new single
The Toddler is thrilled to reveal her new single to the world: ‘So, what I’m going to sing is a new one. It’s called Going on the Step.’ As it turns out, this is less of a song and more of an interpretative dance, as The Toddler promptly (and silently) runs off to the step.

5. On castle building
The Toddler has plans, but she is not entirely confident about them: ‘I’m going to build a big castle. But I’m not very good at these things. But I can try.’

6. On anyone, not there
The Toddler is on the phone, but it appears no one else is: ”Hello? Is anyone there? No. Anyone isn’t there.’

7. On knowing what she’s doing
The Toddler is rushing up the stairs, and Silly Mummy warns her to be careful. The Toddler pooh poohs Silly Mummy’s concerns: ‘I will be careful. I know what I’m doing.’

8. On Lady Mummy
Silly Mummy has a new name, apparently. The Toddler dashes over: ‘Hi, Lady. Lady, what can I do for you? Thanks, bye, Lady!’

9. On toast, no time to lose
Silly Mummy has just informed The Toddler that her toast is ready. This is something The Toddler takes very seriously: ‘The toast is ready! Quick! No time to lose!’

10. On sight-seeing
The Toddler is trying to arrange a sight-seeing trip for The Baby: ‘Come on, The Baby, let’s go and look at the view.’ The Baby seems underwhelmed. Possibly because the ‘view’ The Toddler is excitedly encouraging The Baby to come an inspect is…the sofa.

 
The Baby’s Corner
The Toddler is refusing to eat her dinner. Silly Daddy wants her to eat her dinner: ‘The Toddler, take a bite.’
The Baby wants to join in. She wants to take a bite. She nearly gets it right: ‘Bite me!’

 
 

If you’d like to see further posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature, they can be found here.

How (Not) to Make an Easter Nest With Toddlers

EasternestFollowing on from my Christmas tutorial on how (not) to make Christmas cards with toddlers, I present these detailed instructions for making a chocolate covered Easter mess, sorry, nest.

I guarantee that, as long as you exactly follow these directions, you will be able to achieve complete chocolate coverage of all participants – and the floor – and at least one person crying at some point. I do not guarantee that you will achieve the production of an Easter nest.

 
 
What you need:

Two toddlers of varying ages
Rice Krispies
Cooking chocolate
Mini eggs
Small decorative Easter chicks
A bowl
A wooden spoon
A plate
A mess mat for the floor
Copious amounts of wipes
Six hands
Eyes in the back of your head
To have lost your mind

 
 
What to do:

1. Break up the chocolate. Give a strip each to the toddlers, and show them how to break it into pieces. If done correctly, the biggest toddler will make valiant attempts with two outcomes. Firstly, her hands will be covered in sticky chocolate. Secondly, you will realise that this is not an ideal activity for toddlers (chocolate squares are actually quite hard to break). The strip actually getting broken into pieces is not an outcome you will see. Meanwhile, you should be observing the littlest toddler attempting to ram the strip of chocolate into her mouth. Remove the chocolate from both toddlers.

2. Clean both toddlers’ hands.

3. Clean the littlest toddler’s mouth.

4. Give the biggest toddler a piece of the chocolate because she has just realised that the littlest toddler was eating it, not breaking it, and she feels she has missed out.

5. Break the chocolate into pieces yourself.

6. Explain that the chocolate needs to be melted by Mummy now.

7. Remember how long it takes to melt chocolate (without burning it).

8. Remember how little patience toddlers have.

9. Answer three million questions about whether the chocolate is melted yet. These should all be from the biggest toddler. You should by now have lost the littlest toddler. She is no longer interested. She wants a yoghurt.

10. Give littlest toddler a yoghurt. The biggest toddler should demand a yoghurt too. At this point, you should find that the chocolate is finally nearly melted. Explain to the biggest toddler that the Rice Krispies will need to be stirred into the chocolate as soon as it is ready, before it sets again, and therefore she needs to wait and have a yoghurt afterwards (because the chocolate is nearly ready). Answer further questions about when the chocolate will be ready (it’s nearly ready). Answer bonus questions about why the little one gets to have a yoghurt (she is no longer playing the baking game).

11. Bring out the bowl of now melted chocolate. At this point, the littlest toddler should remember that this activity is edible and decide that she is playing again.

12. Allow the biggest toddler to pour some Rice Krispies into the bowl. Realise that this was a bad idea.

13. Stop the littlest toddler from sticking the spoon from her now abandoned yoghurt into the bowl.

14. Give the biggest toddler the wooden spoon and tell her to stir in the Rice Krispies.

15. Explain to the biggest toddler that ‘stirring’ does not mean whacking the mixture, splattering Rice Krispies and melted chocolate far and wide.

16. Give the littlest toddler a turn at stirring.

17. Explain to the littlest toddler that ‘stirring’ does not mean whacking the mixture, splattering Rice Krispies and melted chocolate far and wide, even if that’s what her sister did.

18. Do some stirring yourself so that Rice Krispies actually get covered in chocolate.

19. Let the biggest toddler pour some more Rice Krispies into the mix. Realise that this is not becoming a better idea.

20. Remove the littlest toddler’s hands from the mixture.

21. Tell the littlest toddler not to touch anything, thus ensuring she touches everything in sight.

22. Tell the littlest toddler not to move, thus ensuring she runs through the splattered chocolate from earlier, covering the bottom of her tights.

23. Tell the biggest toddler to put down the Rice Krispies and wait.

24. Tell the littlest toddler not to step off the mat.

25. The littlest toddler should decide that this challenge is accepted.

26. Chase the littlest toddler across the floor. Wrestle her out of her tights and forcibly wipe her hands.

27. Tell the biggest toddler to put down the Rice Krispies and wait.

28. Clean chocolate off the floor.

29. Tell the biggest toddler that she can now pour more Rice Krispies. Regret this decision.

30. Give up all attempts to get the toddlers to stir. Stir the mixture yourself, whilst trying to prevent the biggest toddler from adding more Rice Krispies, and the littlest toddler from eating the mixture.

31. Tip the finished mixture onto a plate, explaining that it needs to be shaped into a nest.

32. Encourage the biggest toddler to help shape the mixture with the spoon. Explain that this does not mean whack the mixture with the spoon.

33. Encourage the littlest toddler not to help shape the mixture with her hands. Or her mouth.

34. Encourage the biggest toddler not to follow her little sister in trying to shape the nest/shovel the nest into her mouth with her hands.

35. Shape the nest as quickly as possible yourself, whilst yelling at two chocolate coated toddlers not to move at all, and under no circumstances to leave the mat.

36. Leave the finished nest and fetch wipes.

37. Notice both toddlers lunging for the nest.

38. Rescue nest and take it to the fridge, whilst repeating shouted instructions to the toddlers not to move at all.

39. Return to the toddlers, and attack the littlest toddler with wipes.

40. Having cleaned the littlest toddler, start on the biggest toddler.

41. Once the biggest toddler is clean, remember that the littlest toddler had earlier abandoned a half eaten pot of yoghurt. Approach the now yoghurt covered littlest toddler with more wipes.

42. Explain that the nest needs to set in the fridge for a few hours before the toddlers can fill it with mini eggs and chicks.

43. Clean everything in the vicinity, whilst answering repeated questions about whether the nest is set yet.

44. There should now follow several hours of questions about whether the nest has set yet, after which the nest will be ready for decorating. This should cause great excitement among the toddlers, who believe that ‘decorating’ is another word for ‘eating’.

45. Take the mini eggs, and give some to each toddler to put into the nest. Tell the biggest toddler to put the eggs into the nest, not her mouth. Tell the littlest toddler to put the eggs into the nest, not her mouth.

46. Once all the eggs are in the nest, give the little chicks to the toddlers to sit among the eggs.

47. Rearrange the upside down, thrown and face-planted chicks so that they are sitting among the eggs.

48. As you all survey the finished nest, resplendent with eggs and Easter chicks, realise that the toddlers are not very clear on what a nest is. Or what Easter is. Or what chicks are (though they are experts on ‘bird’, ‘duck’ and ‘penguin’).

49. Note that the toddlers are clear on what ‘made of chocolate’ is, and that their excitement is therefore not remotely diminished by the fact that they have no clue what they just made or why.

50. Take a picture of the nest to prove it existed. (Not for Pinterest, obviously: these instructions are not for people who can Pinterest. These are for people who can Buzzfeed. In the ‘Pinterest Fails’ section.)

 
 

Life, Love and Dirty Dishes

BiB and MAD Blog Awards

Sorry for being that annoying person, but…if you enjoy my blog, have a bit of time, and are feeling very generous, I would love it if you would nominate me in the BiB and/or the MAD blog awards.

BiB Awards

The BiB awards are run by BritMums. Nominations close on 13th April 2016, and information about the awards and how the process works can be found here.

I would love to be nominated in the Writer category, but would alternatively be thrilled with nomination in any of the other categories my blog fits (Family, Fresh Voice, Writer, Readers’ Choice).

You can nominate your favourite blogs using the nomination form.

(If you do feel like nominating me, for ease, the details they require on me and the blog are here:
Blog Name – R is for Hoppit
Blog url – http://risforhoppit.uk
Blogger’s Twitter ID – @sillymummy88
Blogger’s email – sillymummy88@gmail.com)

 
MAD Awards

The MAD awards are run by Tots100. Nominations close on 8th April 2016, and information about the awards and how the process works can be found here.

The MAD nomination form has two parts. Firstly, you fill in your favourite blog for ‘Blog of the Year’. Obviously, I am not trying to submit myself for that – please nominate your favourite outstanding blog! However, on the next page there are ‘other categories’, and I would love to be nominated in the Pre-school category (alternatively my blog does also fit New Blog and Writer, and I would of course appreciate any nomination in any category).

You can nominate using the nomination form.

 
 

Thank you for reading this shameless piece of annoying self promotion. Of course, please feel free to completely ignore me – I’m just providing the information in case anyone does feel inclined to nominate me.

And, if you do…thank you so much!

Off With My Head: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

Time again for the Ten Funniest Things feature. This week, The Toddler is a strict disciplinarian with a boring cough. Meanwhile, over in The Baby’s corner, she has certainly not been shopping for dinner.

Over to The Toddler:

1. On discovering and doing

The Toddler is listening to the Cbeebies Discover and Do song, and she objects.
Cbeebies presenter (singing): ‘Discover and do, discover and do, all the day through…’
The Toddler: ‘No, I don’t want to do that!’

2. On discipline

The Toddler is attempting to discipline The Baby again. The Baby is being escorted towards the naughty step: ‘You stay there for 100 years!’ That seems a little excessive. Silly Mummy thinks that The Toddler is now taking her disciplinary procedures from Maleficent.

3. On her head, off with it

The Toddler is also taking quite an extreme approach to disciplining herself (and entirely misunderstanding the methods of the Queen of Hearts), as she marches around the living room, yelling: ‘Off with MY head!’
(Henry VIII would not have got through nearly so many wives if he’d taken that approach…)

4. On being busy

The Baby is trying to show The Toddler something, but The Toddler is very busy: ‘I have no time for this, The Baby, at moment. I have important work to do.’

5. On coughs, boring

The Toddler is coughing, but is under no illusions as to how interesting this is: ‘My cough is bit boring.’

6. On lollipops, licey

The Toddler is offering tasty treats to the household today: ‘Do you want some lice lollipop? You lick it.’

7. On Silly Mummy, what she wants

A very generous The Toddler is offering Silly Mummy items of her choice. Anything Silly Mummy wants, apparently. The Toddler is not taking no for an answer. She’s quite insistent.
The Toddler: ‘What do you want?’
Silly Mummy: ‘Nothing, thank you.’
The Toddler: ‘Do you want something else?’
Silly Mummy: ‘No, thank you, I don’t need anything.’
The Toddler: ‘What do you want?’
Silly Mummy: ‘Nothing, thank you very much, sweetheart.’
The Toddler (after a pause): ‘…What do you want then?’

8. On biscuits v pirate ships

The Toddler is attempting to comfort a crying The Baby. With a frankly bizarre range of choices: ‘Do you want biccy or pirate ship?’

9. On The Baby, very rude

The Baby is running around with the roof from The Toddler’s wooden train, and The Toddler is scandalised: ‘I think The Baby took it away from my train. Cos The Baby was very rude to me!’

10. On books, too froggy

The Toddler and The Baby have a bath book featuring a duck and a frog. The Toddler has it and The Baby wants to take a look. The Toddler feels this is not a good idea. She has some concerns about unsuitable frog-related content: ‘It’s not good for you, The Baby: it’s too froggy.’

 
The Baby’s Corner

The Baby has been to the supermarket with Silly Daddy, and now she is waiting in her highchair for dinner. Silly Mummy is chatting with her: ‘Did you go shopping with Daddy? What did you get?’
The Toddler interjects: ‘The Baby got all the recipes for the din dins.’
The Baby does not agree, she shakes her head vigorously and waves her hands about: ‘No! No!’
Silly Mummy asks for confirmation: ‘Did you? Did you get all the bits for din din?’
The Baby is irate, there is more head shaking and arm waving: ‘No. NO DIN DINS!’
(This is disappointing news, as Silly Mummy and The Toddler are waiting for that dinner The Baby definitely did not get with Daddy.)

 
 

If you’d like to see further posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature, they can be found here.

No One Expects the Toddler Inquisition: Toddler Torture Methods

historical-945928_1920I have come to the dawning realisation that I am being tortured.

It’s being done entirely inadvertently and very lovingly, of course, but these are twenty bona fide methods of torture my toddlers have actually used on me.

 
1. Chinese Water Torture

(A method by which water is slowly dripped onto a person’s forehead, allegedly driving them insane.)

 
Okay, so they don’t drip water onto Mummy’s forehead (that has not occurred to them). They surreptitiously drip it onto the sofa until the seat is entirely saturated. The end result of insanity is the same.

 
2. Starvation and Force Feeding

Impressively, the toddlers are able to carry out these methods of torture simultaneously. All food belonging to Mummy is immediately commandeered by the toddlers. Mummy is not allowed to eat. Except when attempts are being made to force feed her pieces of her own food, which may or may not have now been chewed (that may be a whole new method of torture).

 
3. Sensory Deprivation

(Deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. For example, by using blindfolds.)

 
Mummy spends quite a lot of the day trying to free her head from various blankets, boxes and items of clothing. Peekaboo is not a voluntary activity around here: Mummy hides when the toddlers say so. Mummy is deemed to be hiding when the toddlers have covered her head.

Mummy is also unable to hear anything besides the screeching. All other sounds are but distant memories.

 
4. Kneecapping

Due to a serious misunderstanding, this is what the toddlers believe the reflex hammer in the toy doctor’s kit is for. Due to an even more serious misunderstanding, the toddlers believe any hard (preferably wooden) object is a reasonable replacement for the toy reflex hammer in an emergency. The toddlers believe that the reflex hammer being temporarily misplaced under the sofa when there is a parental leg in need of whacking is an emergency.

 
5. The Rack

Two (or more) toddlers are a rack: they’re both pulling Mummy, they’re going in opposite directions, neither is letting go. The toddler who dislocates a shoulder first wins.

 
6. Crushing

Also known as ‘sitting on Mummy’ and ‘bouncing on Mummy’.

 
7. Hamstringing

(Crippling a person by severing the hamstring tendons in the thigh.)

 
The toddlers attempt this, with gravity as their accomplice, by attaching themselves to Mummy’s thigh as she tries to walk.

 
8. Music Torture

Have you heard the Peppa Pig theme tune? No more needs to be said.

 
9. Blackmailing

The toddlers use the threat of noisy public meltdowns to great effect to extort extra raisins from Mummy.

 
10. Sound Torture

(Very loud/high pitched noise intended to interfere with rest, cognition and concentration.)

 
It really isn’t their fault: loud and high pitched is their only setting.

 
11. Sleep Deprivation

In all fairness, neither toddler currently uses this method. However, it was favoured by both for well over a year, and combined to great effect with sound torture (the high pitched sound in question being that of a child who has not agreed to this cot thing and certainly will not be remaining in it).

 
12. Stress Position

(Placement of the human body in such a way that a large amount of weight is placed on one or two muscles.)

 
The large amount of weight is one or two climbing toddlers. They firmly believe that anyone who has crouched into a squatting position will really benefit from a child standing on each thigh.

 
13. Thumbscrew

This means something slightly different to toddler torturers. Attempting to screw your thumbs into Mummy’s eyes, mostly. It is not enough to simply know what eyes are when asked, it is necessary to further demonstrate that understanding by poking them. Of course, in fairness, the toddlers don’t always target Mummy – sometimes they poke themselves in the eyes. Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes has a lot to answer for.

 
14. Tickle Torture

Daddy taught them this one, and he must pay.

 
15. Tooth Extraction

This is attempted by frequent (accidental) headbutting of Mummy’s mouth.

 
16. Flogging

Somewhat unconventionally, this usually involves yelling ‘bibidi babadi bu’ whilst whacking Mummy with whatever implement is the pretend wand of the day. Fairy Godmothers in this house very much resemble the Ghost of Christmas Present from Scrooged.

 
17. Tarring and Feathering

The toddlers’ version of this is ‘yoghurting and raisining’. It happens most lunch times. To Mummy and the toddlers.

 
18. The Iron Maiden

Improvised toddler iron maidens are composed of a sofa covered in pieces of lego.

 
19. Scalping

The toddlers call this ‘hairdressing’. Or: ‘Mummy, can I comb your hair, please?’

 
20. The Spanish Inquisition

Whether you want everyone to be Catholic or Mummy to give you a biscuit, both The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and the toddlers know that incessant questioning (‘Why?’, ‘Is the Pope a Catholic?’, ‘What’s this?’ ‘Are you a catholic?’ ‘Where has daddy gone?’, ‘Where has your rosary gone?’) gets results/biscuits/Catholics.

 
 
(Please note: the toddlers are very lovely and affectionate inadvertent torturers, and Mummy does not actually mind the odd knee capping at their hands.)

Toddler Literature (Toddler Lessons: Part Five)

stack-of-books-1001655_1920In Part Five of the Toddler Lessons series, we are studying English Literature.

 
Toddlers are typically accomplished storytellers, and enthusiastic poets. Here are toddler takes on six literary mediums, styles and devices.

(As an added bonus with this lesson, I think we can all agree no one need actually read Romeo and Juliet ever again. You are welcome.)

 
1. Poetry

Early toddler poetry is characterised by the seminal work ‘Duck’:

‘Duck!
Duck!
Duck!
Quack!
Duck!
Mummy: duck!
DUUUUUCK!’

Bizarrely, this piece of poetry, word for word, is attributable to every young toddler ever.

As toddlers progress, their poetry moves on – often to the style of the epic poem. The epic poem ‘Mummy I Have A Complaint About Everything That Has Happened Today’ is approximately two years long. (Of course, that’s just ‘Part One: The Toddler Years’. ‘Part Two: The Teenage Years’ resumes at the age of thirteen, and is roughly five years long.) Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Homer. Twenty-four books for the Odyssey? Is that the best you could manage?

 
2. Plays

If anyone is ever in need of a quick summary of Romeo and Juliet, they could do worse than watch toddlers interacting for a few minutes. In ‘Todleo and Todliet’, two toddlers meet at a playgroup. Despite not knowing each other at all, they instantly love each other. If one of them had previously been in love with another toddler (let’s call her Rosaline, that way, if anyone actually is foolish enough to attempt to use this as a Romeo and Juliet study guide, they will at least get one mark), this is immediately forgotten. Rosaline now smells. Somehow, with no real explanation as to exactly why everyone has decided to so epically overreact, war breaks out among all of the toddlers in the room, resulting in great bloodshed on all sides. Todliet decides to play dead, though no one can quite work out why she thinks this is helpful. Todleo runs away, before deciding that he also wants to play dead because Todliet is. The entire relationship lasts about five minutes, and ends in chaos, panic and disorder for everyone in the room.

 
3. Literary Quotes

Toddlers are fans of a good literary quote, and have found each of these popular examples to be frequently applicable to their own lives.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Anyone who is foolhardy enough to give a toddler a free flow cup will be aware that toddlers are Coleridge fans:
‘Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.’
(‘Yoghurt, yoghurt everywhere, and not so much as a bloody spoonful in a mouth’ is also a popular toddler variation on the quote.)

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ pretty much sums up the toddler age. It is usually a fairly accurate description of the elation, heartbreak, giggling and sobbing that formed the emotional rollercoaster that was the preceding five minutes in a toddler’s life.

The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by…’
…And that is why I got lost. And covered in mud. And Mummy shouted.

King Lear, William Shakespeare

When they have been told off, toddlers often like to adopt King Lear’s self-pitying stance: ‘I am a [toddler] more sinned against than sinning.’ This is illustrated by anguished sobbing about how awful Mummy was to suggest that a banana was not to be inserted into the DVD player, no matter how convinced one may be that said banana is the blu-ray edition of Tangled.

 
4. Symbolism, Suggestion, Themes and Motifs

Toddler words are laden with symbolism and deeper meaning. In the famous soliloquy ‘I want raisins NOW’, for example, the evaporation of the water from the grape to make the raisin symbolises the evaporation of the toddler’s dreams of getting chocolate instead of raisins. Of course, there are those who believe the soliloquy is not symbolic of anything, and simply demonstrates that toddlers like raisins. Such disagreements, however, merely serve to confirm that toddlers are worthy of their places in the world of literature, which is rife with this type of debate. Hamlet: a tragic hero whose struggles and actions represent the mystery of death, the state of the nation, incestuous desire, and the nature of revenge…or just a bit of an arse? (If you are due to sit an exam on Hamlet any time soon, I would say that the former option is the one traditionally preferred by the exam boards. You can believe the latter on your own time, like the rest of us.)

 
5. Structure

Toddler storytellers laugh in the face of the traditional idea that a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Middles, in the opinion of toddlers, take rather a lot of effort – all that formulating of plots – and waste everyone’s time. This is why the complete and unabridged version of many famous toddler works is: ‘Once upon a time…The End!’ Furthermore, many toddlers view the middles certain authors insist on putting into their books with disdain, and will refuse to allow anyone to see any pages other than the first or last. These two pages contain all the information a toddler needs, and they will not have well meaning parents assaulting their ears with an actual story.

 
6. Literary/Narrative Devices

Toddlers employ a number of important narrative devices to great effect in both their storytelling and their lives.

MacGuffin

(A plot device formed of a goal, object, etc that the protagonist pursues, with little or no explanation provided as to why it is considered to be important.)

 
Toddlers actually devote much of their lives to MacGuffins, dedicating themselves to the pursuit of some goal (getting their feet into two small plastic cups) or object (anything belonging to Mummy and unsuitable for a toddler) for reasons that are entirely inexplicable even to themselves.

Hyperbole

This is the main style of toddler storytelling. Toddlers don’t like understatement, it’s just so boring. Extensive use of hyperbole as a narrative style is how, after an uneventful day featuring a simple trip to the shops, Daddy, upon his return to from work, will come to believe the day was spent meeting Grandma. And Peppa Pig. In Austria. To go swimming. At the circus. Where we got milk (we did get milk – there has to be a little bit of truth). Whilst dressed as Snow White (everyone, including imaginary Grandma).

Plot Twist

Toddlers are unrivaled among storytellers for their ability to create a plot twist no one could see coming. Indeed, many toddler stories take such a twist that they actually become an entirely different story, bearing little (no) relation to the original: ‘We went to the shops, and I wore my shoes, and I had some raisins, and then…can you show me tiger? Cos my bedroom is an apple.’

Backstory

Toddlers like a backstory. Particularly if it is rambling, apparently interminable, and utterly irrelevant to what they are actually talking about.

Cliffhanger

The use of cliffhangers is a popular feature in toddler storytelling, usually occurring when the toddler in question gets distracted by something shiny and wanders off, leaving their audience forever mystified as to the ending of the tale.

Stream of Consciousness

Like James Joyce, toddlers are fans of the stream of consciousness, narrating exactly what is in their heads, with little editing, censorship or logic. Many critics have suggested the toddler stream of consciousness to be infinitely more entertaining and mildly more coherent than Ulysses, though this makes hardcore Joyce fans very angry.

 
 

(Please Note: Do NOT use this post as a study guide for Romeo and Juliet. Or anything else.)

 
 
You can see other posts in my Toddler Lessons series here

The Pig Must Go Off (A ‘The Show Must Go On’ Parody)

Peppa 1I’m doing song parodies again (sorry about that). I still can’t rhyme (sorry about that).

This time I have chosen one of my favourite Queen songs (sorry about that, Queen). So here is my Peppa Pig parody (not sorry, Peppa) of The Show Must Go On.

(If you want to see the original lyrics of The Show Must Go On, and hear the song, you can find it here.)

 
 
The Pig Must Go Off

 
Annoying piggy, what are they watching for
She’s rather bratty, we know that for sure
On and on, does anybody know what toddlers watch it for
Another creature, another alliterative name
Peppa’s the worst one, but they’re all to blame
Be honest now, does anybody want to slap her in the face
The pig must go off
The pig must go off
The toddler says her heart is breaking
Yes, now she’s started wailing
But that pig cannot stay on

Whatever happens, no more pig today
Another tantrum, resolve starts to sway
On and on, does anybody know what toddlers watch it for
I guess we’re jumping
In muddy puddles now
We’ll soon be soaking
Thanks to that bossy sow
‘More pig,’ the toddler’s calling
But of that bloody pig mummy’s aching to be free
The pig must go off
The pig must go off
The toddler says her heart is breaking
Yes, now she’s started wailing
But that pig cannot stay on

Their eyes are both on the same side of their face
Surely one eye must be completely out of place
Peppa must go, my friends
The pig must go off
The pig must go off
I’ll face the tantrum with a grin
This time Peppa will not win
Off with the show

Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig
Even George is going off
Off with the
Off with the pig
The pig must go off