From The Baby

The Toddlers’ Alternative Facts

Having previously supported Brexit (twice), it is with alarm that I note The Toddlers are now cheerfully embracing the Trump regime’s ‘alternative facts’.

 
 
In no particular order, I present The Toddlers’ Top Ten Alternative Facts of the week:

 
1. This is not dinner, it is ‘alternative lunch’

In which The Artist Formerly Known as The Baby refused to have dinner. That is, she was happy to eat the food, but only if we would concede that she was eating lunch, despite it being 6pm, and lunch already having been eaten that day.

 
2. This is not naughty, this is ‘alternative good’

In which The Toddlers promised to behave for a brief trip to the supermarket, wreaked havoc, ran away, The Artist Formerly Known as Standing Up became The Artist Now Known as on Her Back in the Middle of the Aisle, and they subsequently adamantly claimed that they had indeed behaved.

 
3. This is not cheese, this is Babybel

In which The Artist Always Known as The Toddler claimed she does not like cheese (anymore) but likes Babybel.

 
4. I did not want this

In which the Artist Always Known as The Toddler pulled off a double and refused to eat the previously requested Babybel, claiming never to have wanted it.

 
5. This is not Ring a Ring o Roses, this is ‘Alternative The Hokey Cokey’

In which The Artist Always Known as The Toddler became enraged at Mummy singing The Hokey Cokey wrong by missing out many lyrics that have always been there before. Namely: ‘A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down.’ These lyrics have emphatically never been part of Ring a Ring o Roses, which is not a different song.

 
6. This is not an entire box of tissues on the floor

In which The Artist Formerly Known as The Baby, standing in a tissuey pile of evidence to the contrary, maintained that she had followed instructions to take just ONE tissue.

 
7. This is not a meerkat, it is an ‘alternative tiger’

In which the previously cool reputation of tigers took something of a battering at the hands of The Artist Formerly Known as The Baby, who was looking at a pack of meerkats that were definitely tigers.

 
8. This is not hers, it is ‘alternative mine’

The favoured alternative fact of both toddlers, at all times. Quickly followed by…

 
9. It was not a push, it was an ‘alternative hug’

The Artist Always Known as The Toddler’s ‘alternative hugs’ tend to be followed by The Artist Formerly Known as The Baby’s ‘alternative haircuts’ (ie, pulling out a handful of hair).

 
10. This is not disobedience, this is ‘alternative doing exactly what you asked, Mummy’

In which The Toddlers helpfully assisted in a number of activities by doing exactly as they were asked…in a manner that in no way resembled what they were asked to do.

Say Hello to My Little Friend: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

gift-1306852_1280It’s time for the Ten Funniest Things feature, where The Toddler is Al Pacino, The Baby is Kevin Costner, and everyone else is ‘Grandad’.

Presenting The Toddler:

1. On ‘say hello to my little friend’

The Toddler is waving her cutlery around and talking to it: ‘They can be friends. Hello, friends.’
Silly Mummy giggles, and starts quoting The Inbetweeners to Silly Daddy: ‘Ooh, friends, cutlery friends!’
The Toddler, meanwhile, has her own quote, suddenly yelling: ‘Say hello to my little…’
Silly Mummy and Silly Daddy stare at each other. She surely can’t be about to entirely inadvertently quote Scarface?
‘…Dominoes!’
Silly Mummy and Silly Daddy collapse in hysterics. So near, and yet so…dominoes.

2. On the purple one

The Toddler has a question: ‘Can you tell me about the purple one?’
Silly Mummy is not entirely sure what The Toddler is talking about, and asks for some simple clarification: ‘What’s the purple one? What does it look like?’
The Toddler has got this: ‘It’s green. And it looks a bit like red.’ Oh. That purple one.

3. On mixed emotions

The Toddler is feeling a bit conflicted: ‘I really like this, but I really don’t like it so much.’

4. On presents

The Toddler is counting tea cups from her tea set with Silly Daddy. She is deliberately doing it wrongly. Silly Daddy informs her that she can have a present if she does it properly. The Toddler counts the cups properly. She awaits her present. Silly Daddy presents her with…the tea cups. The Toddler sighs and rolls her eyes: ‘You tricked me!’ She approaches Silly Daddy, holding out the tea cups. Presumably, she is returning the trick gift? Apparently not: ‘Can you wrap them?’

5. On The Baby, Kevin Costner

The Toddler likes to keep The Baby gainfully employed. Today, The Baby is apparently The Toddler’s bodyguard: ‘You have to stay with me, The Baby. It’s very dangerous out there, so you’ll have to keep an eye on me.’

6. On playing with Silly Daddy

Silly Daddy is tidying away toys. The Toddler and The Baby are ‘helping’. The Toddler comes to report to Silly Mummy in the kitchen: ‘Mummy, we are playing something with Daddy!’
‘Really? What are you playing?’
The Toddler considers: ‘Well…we’ve got no toys…’ When you put it like that, this sounds like the worst game ever.

7. On eating dinner

Silly Daddy is trying to get The Toddler to finish her dinner: ‘You have to eat your vegetables.’
The Toddler has a better idea: ‘Okay, you can eat the rest of it and I’ll watch.’

8. On the Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe

Silly Mummy is reading the Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe nursery rhyme to The Toddler. The Toddler is scandalised at the old lady’s actions: ‘Sent them to bed?! Outrageous!’

9. On noise

The Toddler is yelling at Silly Mummy: ‘THIS IS NOT ACTUAL NOISY! THIS IS PRETENDING NOISY!’ We need to work on the definition of ‘pretend’. And ‘noise’.

10. On playing nicely

The Toddler and The Baby are busy. The Toddler informs Silly Mummy: ‘I’m playing a game with The Baby, Mummy.’
‘Well, that’s nice. What game are you playing?’
‘Throwing things at her.’
Well, that’s not nice.

 
The Baby’s Corner

The Silly Family are visiting Grandma. So are Auntie and Baby Cousin. The Baby sometimes doesn’t know people’s names, but she has a ‘fit all’ name that she knows will always get her out of trouble. Auntie is leaving the room. The Baby watches her go: ‘Where’s Grandad gone?’ Yep, social etiquette 101: if you forget someone’s name, you can’t go wrong with ‘Grandad’.

 
 

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

 
 
Nominations for the Mumsnet Blogging Awards 2016 are open until 31st July. If you find me at all amusing, I would love nominations in the Best Comic Writer category. Nominating is very simple by following the link above. Thank you for reading my shameless begging.

 
 

ethannevelyn

‘Mummy, There’s Something Wrong With The Baby!’

The (Alleged) Incident

Silly Mummy has popped upstairs with some laundry that has come out of the dryer, leaving The Toddler and The Baby playing in the living room.

The Toddler is standing at the stairgate at the bottom of the stairs, yelling, ‘Mummy, there’s something wrong with The Baby! She needs help!’ Nothing can be heard from The Baby.

 
The Possibilities

1. The Baby is choking
Against: The Baby does not have any food.
For: Not everything The Baby chooses to ‘eat’ is food.
Likelihood: 30%

2. The Baby has fallen off something
Against: Completely silently, without so much as a bang on impact.
Likelihood: 5%

3. The Baby has got stuck
For: The Baby does like to get into everything. There is a chance she is in a drawer. Or upside down behind the sofa.
Against: And has lost her voice so that she can’t mention this herself?
Likelihood: 70%

4. The Baby is unconscious
For: She has been ill. Perhaps she’s had a sudden attack.
Against: She only has a bad cold. Can you have a sudden attack of a cold?
Likelihood: 10%

5. The Toddler has trapped The Baby’s fingers in something
For: The Toddler does do this often.
Against: The Baby usually mentions it herself. Quite vocally.
Likelihood: 15%

6. The Baby has had a nappy related incident
For: Always a possibility.
Against: The Baby is usually more concerned about nappy incidents than The Toddler. In this event, The Baby would probably be at the bottom of the stairs herself, hollering, ‘Mummy, poo!’
Likelihood: 50%

7. The Toddler has sat on The Baby, and The Baby is dazed and confused
For: This hasn’t happened yet (that is to say, The Toddler has sat on The Baby, but has yet to daze her), but it seems like something that could happen.
Likelihood: 80%

8. The Baby is fine
Likelihood: 98%

 
The Action

Silly Mummy runs downstairs.

 
The Discovery

The Baby is sitting on the sofa, holding a teddy bear. She looks bemused, but does not appear to be in need of assistance.

 
Potential Conclusions

1. The Toddler is a drama queen/fibber.

2. The Toddler thought Silly Mummy could use some exercise, and knows stair running is very good for bums and thighs.

3. If this is The Toddler’s reaction to The Baby having a sit down with a teddy bear, it is probably safe to assume that she is not going to keep it together come the zombie apocalypse.

 
 
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.

These Are a Few of MY Favourite Things (Mine, All Mine)

four_dwarvesToday we’re getting musical, in the loosest possible sense of the word, with The Toddler and The Baby, and their top five hits of the year so far, as featured in the Silly Chart Show.

 
5. A new entry from The Toddler, with Don’t Pick Your Nose Up Off the Floor

There is a song on The Toddler’s Sing and Sign DVD that goes:
‘Don’t wipe your nose on the sofa
Don’t trap your fingers in the door
You shouldn’t, you mustn’t, you can’t do that
And don’t eat that biscuit off the floor’

The Toddler is in the back of the car, performing her own special rendition of this song: ‘…Don’t pick your nose up off the floor…’

 
4. An old favourite staying steady at Number 4 (though we may have forgotten it): The Toddler, with Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

The Toddler would like it to be known that she still knows Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: ‘I remember that Califragilistic song!’ Indeed. Not the name. Or any of the lyrics. But, in all other respects, perfect recollection.

 
3. A first entry to the Chart for The Baby, with Heigh Ho

The Baby likes to join in with the dwarfs in Snow White as they head off to work singing Heigh Ho. She only really knows one word in the song, but she makes it work. Despite not being quite sure where exactly they are going, she is game to join in with the going itself. She marches around the coffee table, singing : ‘Go! Go! Go! Go!’ The moments when the dwarfs are also singing ‘go’ are very exciting for her. There is a special dance.

 
2. Not a new entry, but a remix in at Number 2 for The Toddler, with Silent Night
The Toddler has expanded on her early version of Silent Night (‘All is calm/All is calm/All is calm/All is calm’). There are now more lyrics. Not the usual lyrics, granted, but lyrics nonetheless.
‘Silent night
All is calm down
Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty is come
That’s the end’

Ah, yes, a classic musical rendition of the traditional Nativity story: Sleeping Beauty went to sleep in a manger and nothing else happened.

 
1. Straight in at Number 1, it’s The Toddler feat. Silly Mummy, with My Favourite Things

The Toddler currently likes My Favourite Things. She requires Silly Mummy to sing it at bedtime. However, she likes to interject with a few amendments. Just to make it clear whose things these actually are.

Silly Mummy (singing): ‘Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels…’
The Toddler (yelling): ‘It’s MY apple!’
Silly Mummy (singing): ‘…These are a few of my favourite things…’
The Toddler (yelling): ‘They’re MY things!’

We’re All Mad Here

alice-in-wonderland-276452_1280The Toddler and The Baby are playing house. Theirs is a rather unconventional household. Silly Mummy suspects it is located down a rabbit hole. All ways here are The Toddler’s way (though The Baby is more likely than The Toddler to try to take someone’s head off, probably with a toy bus). The Toddler is usually rushing somewhere for no particular reason. The Baby is often hiding, revealing just a cheeky grin. Care given to baby dolls has probably been learnt from the Duchess: fling it around a bit, shout, and then throw it at someone else. There is usually a tea party. It may have been going on for some days. The chances of anyone receiving any actual tea are slim. There is at least one person wearing a silly hat at any given time. Everyone will be asked obscure, unsolvable riddles. And, if there ever were any jam tarts, they have definitely been stolen and eaten by The Toddler (while The Baby runs behind yelling ‘bit’ in a hopeful voice). Certainly everyone is mad here.

Morning in the Toddler-Baby house has started in a traditional manner. The Baby has offered The Toddler a cup of tea. Well, she hasn’t exactly offered a cup of tea, so much as sat by the stairgate minding her own business. Nonetheless, The Toddler has informed her: ‘I won’t have a cup of tea, thank you, The Baby. I think I’ll have a cup of coffee instead. And a biccy.’ Despite The Baby’s complete inactivity on the coffee making front, The Toddler surprisingly receives her coffee and biscuits from the confused Baby Servant, and thanks her accordingly.

Coffee consumed, The Toddler sets about her chores for the day. These mostly seem to involve moving around her ‘demidifier’ (dehumidifier). That would be a toy hammer from her tool belt to everyone else.

Meanwhile, according to The Toddler, The Baby is now doing her work. The Baby obediently wanders off to stand by the door, where her work is apparently located. Being an International Baby of Mystery, The exact nature of The Baby’s work remains unknown. Though it does seem to involve a lot of asking, ‘Where’s cat gone?’

During a raisin break for The Baby, The Toddler engages in some shoe fitting, which does not go down too well. Frankly, The Baby does not want to try on pretend glass slippers to see if they fit while she is trying to eat raisins. She is even less impressed when The Toddler starts trying to get pretend ‘glass wellies’ to fit her. The Baby is not sure what kind of a prince sends a toddler with a glass welly around the maidens of the kingdom, but she is not marrying him.

Having dealt with the humidity, and the glass slippers/wellies, The Toddler has some writing to do. She sets about her correspondence with a toy chisel. Perhaps The Toddler and The Baby are cavemen. That might explain The Baby’s job. She’s hunting a sabre toothed tiger for their tea – ‘where’s cat gone’ was actually a reasonable description.

Unfortunately, the harmony of the Toddler-Baby household is shattered when they both attempt to sit on the same seat, and fall on the floor. The Baby declares that she will no longer not make The Toddler coffee. The Toddler threatens to ‘demidify’ The Baby.* They retire to different corners to fling themselves on the floor. Off with their heads!

(*These were not their actual words, but were implied in the glaring, shoving and howling.)

How (Not) to Make Christmas (or Other Occasion) Cards With a Toddler and a Baby*

child-1016955_1280This simple tutorial (*this is not a tutorial*) contains all the instructions you need to create beautiful (*ahem*) handmade Christmas (or any other occasion) cards (*there will be no cards*) with very young children. Unlike most guides, I have included detailed instructions showing exactly what the children should be doing at each stage. This will ensure that there is no confusion as to when the crayons should be chewed, or the pictures torn up, thus allowing you to achieve a perfect result every time.

 
 
What you need:

White cardboard for pictures
Additional white cardboard for mistakes
Coloured cardboard for cards
Crayons in appropriate colours for pictures
Pencil
Pens for writing messages
Scissors
Double sided tape (of course)
Shoes
Coats
Pushchair

 
Note: This project does not require any sanity, so please do not worry if you don’t have any in the house.

 
 
What to do:

1. Draw some Christmas (or other occasion) pictures (such as, Christmas trees, Father Christmas, snowmen, or reindeer) on to pieces of white card. The children will colour these, and you will then cut them out and attach them to your cards to make Christmas scenes, decorated by the children, for your loved ones to treasure.

2. Give the children the pictures with appropriately coloured crayons. At this point, The Toddler should have a tantrum because she wants the crayons she has not been given. Specifically, she wants to colour Father Christmas purple.

3. The Toddler will quickly stop her tantrum upon realising that she can still colour everything inappropriate colours using the crayon choices she has been given. She will set about colouring her tree with the yellow crayon that was intended for the star on top. She doesn’t need it for the star. The star is brown. Because the tree trunk is pink.

4. The Baby should at this point start eating a crayon.

5. By now, The Toddler will have produced a beautiful piece of colouring. On the wrong side of the card. On the side that has the actual picture, there will be approximately two lines of colour.

6. The Baby should be colouring the table cloth red, having thrown her picture on the floor.

7. Resort to holding The Baby’s hand and ‘helping’ her crayon.

8. Take the above step to its logical conclusion by putting The Baby down with some toys away from the art, before returning to ‘helping’ her crayon on your own.

9. Reach a new low as you scribble some blue on to Father Christmas’ jacket and nose, having realised the one year old who has (not) coloured this picture probably wouldn’t neatly colour Father Christmas’ outfit in red.

10. The Toddler will have spent ten minutes carefully colouring her whole picture on white card using a white crayon. She will notice this has not been overly effective, and declare that the crayon is not working.

11. Attempt to hold The Toddler’s hand and ‘help’ her crayon. The Toddler should at this juncture have a meltdown, throw the crayons, and tear up the picture.

12. Draw a new picture on a fresh piece of card.

13. Agree that The Toddler can colour only the wrong side. In white crayon.

14. Relent and allow The Baby to resume participation in the colouring.

15. The Baby should be very excited by her return, and demonstrate this by scrunching up her picture.

16. Return The Baby to the toys.

17. You should by now have one partially coloured yellow and pink Christmas tree; one reindeer coloured entirely in white; one snowman not coloured at all, but with a Jackson Pollock-esque masterpiece on the reverse; and one quite well coloured Father Christmas, scrunched into a little ball. It has gone very well.

18. Fold your pieces of coloured card in half to make your cards.

19. You will now need to cut out your pictures to start making the Christmas scenes.

20. The Toddler should refuse to relinquish the pictures. She has not finished. She is just colouring all of the pictures, top to bottom, in black crayon.

21. At this point, you will all need to put on shoes and coats. Put the children into their pushchair, and walk to your nearest card shop. Buy Christmas cards.

 

(*Well, a two and a half year old toddler, and a one and a third year old toddler, to be more accurate)

Where’s The Baby’s Duck?

The Baby now has several words*, and excellent parroting (in the traditional sense of the word, not her previous attempt at ‘parroting‘, which was rather literal). She still favours ‘duck’, though. She is not giving up on ‘duck‘.

The Baby has gathered from The Toddler that it is extremely important to insistently say ‘mummy’ repeatedly before making any other statement, in order to ensure that Silly Mummy is very clear that she is being spoken to. The Baby will therefore present (hit) Silly Mummy with a book thusly: ‘Mummy, Mummy, book!’ The Baby also likes to comment on the time of day. At about 4:30pm, she will point at the window and declare: ‘Mummy, Mummy, dark!’ Of course, impressive though The Baby’s vocabulary may be, she often finds that following ‘Mummy, Mummy’ she does not know the word she intended to say. This is obviously embarrassing for The Baby, and may be behind her habit of plonking herself on the naughty step for no apparent reason.

Speaking of the naughty step, during one naughty step episode for The Toddler, The Baby took up a position standing right in front of her and just silently pointed at her. Probably she wanted to know what was going on, possibly she thought she had located The Toddler in hide and seek, amusingly it looked as though she had appointed herself to the role of Chief Naughty Step Shamer.

The Baby is a prolific nodder and head shaker. She will answer any question this way, as well as indicating her position on matters being discussed (not being discussed with her, of course, just discussions she feels like she should get involved in). Her answers to questions are usually quite accurate, actually. Though she does, on occasion, get a little bit over confident. ‘Love you, The Baby. Can you say “love you”?’ The Baby nods emphatically: ‘Bah boo!’ Nearly.

The Baby can identify body parts, but does not generally say them. She decided to make an exception for her belly button because it’s so funny: ‘Belly beeyupta! Belly beeyupta!’ Fits of giggles ensue. The Baby amuses herself.

The Baby also sings. She sits in her high chair repeating ‘boo bu boo bu, boo bu boo bu’ in a high pitched voice. Following initial concerns that she is broken, Silly Mummy realises she is singing Bibidi Babadi Bu (following The Toddler’s viewing of Cinderella that morning).

The Baby has quickly picked up key phrases: ‘Bic snack!’ (She can also say The Toddler’s name, which is important when she needs to identify the culprit in the inevitable theft of her requested biscuit snack.) The Baby is additionally able to request her ‘slunch’. Why she decided this was a significant word to learn early on remains a mystery, as slunch is rarely eaten. In fact, it is usually fed to the imaginary ducks, as The Baby launches it over the edge of the high chair, screaming, ‘Duck!’

Other important skills and words The Baby has learnt (from The Toddler) include making television demands. Impressively, she has picked up both the appropriate tone and the fact that you should always ask for exactly the same thing (Sarah and Duck in her case). She points at the television and says: ‘Muuum, duck!’ She has recently become very excited about Peppa Pig. This does not appear to be based on any particular love of the programme, but on the fact that she has just realised she can say ‘pig’. She will now watch entire episodes jabbing towards the screen and yelling (and signing), ‘Pig!’ Should she see Grandpa Dog, she will yell, ‘Dog!’ To be honest, when any of the other animals appear, she looks a bit confused and waits until she can yell ‘pig’ or ‘dog’ again. (A ‘dog’ is not to be confused with a ‘dog??’, which is a rocking horse.)

The Baby can say ‘where’. She can also sign it. However, she seems to feel that, no matter what she is looking for, the phrase is: ‘Where’s duck?’ The Toddler is hiding (hiding = standing in the middle of the room pretending she is inconspicuous). The Baby is looking for her, though this would not be obvious from her commentary: ‘Where’s duck?’ Silly Mummy asks The Baby where the apple is, The Baby nods and obediently totters off in search of the apple: ‘Where’s duck?’ Silly Daddy has left the room and The Baby is looking for him: ‘Daddy! Daddy!’
Silly Mummy says, ‘Where’s Daddy?’
The Baby yells, ‘Daddy! Where’s duck?’ In all fairness to The Baby, it is possible she is simply from the Midlands (or Sheffield), where referring to everything as ‘duck’ is acceptable.

(*Some examples of The Baby’s favourite words, as you (didn’t) ask. She says ‘Mummy’, ‘Daddy’ and ‘The Toddler’. Not actually ‘The Toddler’, of course: that would be weird. She says The Toddler’s name. She says ‘bath’ and ‘splash’ (usually together). ‘Ball’, and sometimes ‘throw’ and ‘catch’ (usually just before some kind of small missile hits Silly Mummy in the head). ‘Cat’, ‘dog’, ‘pig’, ‘duck’, ‘quack’, and ‘moo’. ‘Grapes’, ‘cheese’, ‘bic’, ‘snack’, and ‘lunch’ (well, ‘slunch’). ‘Ba boo’ (‘peekaboo’). ‘Dark’. ‘Book’. ‘Belly’.)

The Baby’s Snack

Silly Mummy is giving The Toddler and The Baby a snack. They are both waiting on the other side of the child gate at the kitchen doorway. Feeding time at the zoo.

Silly Mummy gets out a snack. The Toddler claims it. Well, first she tries to claim a different snack: ‘I have gingers? You getting me gingers, Mummy? Having biscuits?’ Once she has accepted she is not having ginger biscuits, she claims the first offered snack: ‘Oh thank you, Mummy! Thank you so much!’ The Toddler does not believe in waiting for the second offered snack. That snack has not yet been proven to exist. The Toddler does not risk snacks that may turn out not to exist. Always take the snack that is definitely real.

The Baby has been waiting hopefully next to The Toddler. The Baby is not as food obsessed as The Toddler. She is also used to having her food taken by The Toddler. Silly Mummy is trying to get out a second snack for The Baby. The Baby, however, evidently believes she missed her chance when the first snack was seized by The Toddler. With a sad little look, she toddles off, dejected. This happens frequently. If anyone remembers the old Incredible Hulk series or film, Silly Mummy is thinking that The Baby needs the closing theme music to accompany her on her sad little way. Or The Littlest Hobo music. A fugitive from snacks, always moving on before she gets her raisins.

The Toddler, who already has food, does not leave. There may be more food. Silly Mummy calls The Baby back to get her snack. The Baby does not return. The Toddler leaps into action: ‘I take it? I take it to The Baby?’ Silly Mummy is suspicious of her motives.

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!

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.

Name the Children: Your Chance to Get Involved!

It has come to my attention (through keen powers of observing that The Baby had a birthday), that The Baby is no longer really a baby. As such, renaming of The Toddler and The Baby would appear to be due.

I have decided to open up the options I have been considering for public discussion/voting. *

(*I reserve the right to entirely ignore the publicly favoured option, if it is the one I do not want to use.)

 
 
Without further ado, I give you the shortlist of new names for my now pair of toddlers (oh, yes, I am fully committed to overplaying the excitement level of this post – prepare to be underwhelmed and totally disinterested).

1. The Toddler and The Artist Formerly Known as The Baby
Not really. Just kidding.

2. Toddler the First and Toddler the Second
I like the Lemony Snicketness of this, but wonder if it would fail to be a significant enough distinction, and thus be confusing.

3. The Littlun and The Bigun
A Lord of the Flies reference, so there would be a link to a favourite post of mine. (I know, right, how clever. Perhaps Silly Mummy should also be renamed? Clever Mummy. No? No. It wasn’t even my idea. Thanks, Dad!)

4. Toddler the Elder and Toddler the Younger (to be shortened to The Elder and The Younger)
As in the Pitts (William, not Brad and Angelina). A highbrow political reference. We are very highbrow around here (what is that laughing, stop that right now).

5. The Toddler and The Baby
For those who just don’t like change.

 
 
Which do you prefer? Or do you have suggestions of your own? (Yes, there is a small risk of this leading to further votes to deal with additional suggestions, and the eventual decision to just call them Toddler One and Toddler Two taken on the eve of The Artist Formerly Known as The Baby’s first day in secondary school…)

The Baby’s Five Most Important Words and Phrases (and How to Use Them)

The Baby has been chatty of late. She has identified the key words and phrases of the English language, and has been using them with gusto. Now, many of you may be surprised to learn what the most significant words and phrases in the English language, as set out below, actually are (particularly as one of them would appear to be French). Please do not be embarrassed: few are able to attain the lofty heights of The Baby’s grasp on linguistics. The correct frequency and proper usage for the word ‘duck’, for example, is understood by woefully few people. In an effort to re-educate, therefore, here are the words you need to know, and how you should be using them.

1. Cat
The Baby’s unrequited love affair with the cat continues. ‘Cat’ was probably her first clear word, after the usual ‘mama’ and ‘dada’. The Baby likes to make sure everyone is aware of the cat’s location at all times. She will jab her finger insistently in the cat’s direction and yell, ‘Cat! Cat!’ Should The Baby’s cat location services ever be specifically called upon with an actual query about where the cat is, The Baby is beside herself with glee: ‘Cat! Cat!’ The cat tries her best to be inconspicuous. Sorry, cat, like a tiny Liam Neeson: The Baby will look for you, she will find you, and she will point at you.

2. The Toddler
Of course, The Baby isn’t actually saying ‘The Toddler’. That would be weird. But she has started to say The Toddler’s real name. She first did this on an outing to the common, whilst The Toddler was running around and hiding behind trees. The Baby pointed at her: ‘The Toddler! The Toddler!’ It had come to The Baby’s attention that, like the cat, The Toddler was trying to hide. As with the cat, The Baby wasn’t having any of it. Never attempt to go incognito around The Baby. She will identify you. Loudly and repeatedly.

The Baby also likes to use her new word to request that The Toddler partake in her favourite game: peekaboo. She shouts, ‘The Toddler!’ The Toddler looks up. The Baby covers her eyes and giggles. The Baby repeats the process. Just a few times. The Toddler obligingly plays peekaboo. She was personally requested, after all.

3. Duck and quack
Presumably these words came from Sarah and Duck (the recent addition of ‘sayer duck’ to The Baby’s repertoire would seem to support this). Ducks occur to The Baby at random times, following which she will spend a pleasant fifteen or so minutes happily hollering, ‘Duck! Duck! Duck! Quack! Duck! Duck!’ As The Toddler has recently discovered the cupboard where the juggling balls are kept, and has taken to using them as missiles, The Baby’s love of chatting about ducks doubles as good safety advice.

4. Frere Jacques
The Toddler has been singing Frere Jacques a lot lately. Being a good, doting little sister, The Baby has therefore decided this is her favourite song. She bursts into ‘rehreh jacka’ at regular intervals, and is delighted when people join in. If people don’t join in, The baby offers light encouragement. Which is to say she relentlessly screeches, ‘Rehreh jacka! Rehreh jacka!’

5. Catch
When throwing and catching are taking place, The Baby likes to be involved. She likes to ensure that it is clear that she is involved by shouting ‘catch’ whenever anyone else says ‘catch’. It should be noted that, for all the shouting of ‘catch’, very little catching actually occurs. Though Baby can claim a better catching record than The Toddler – she has occasionally caught balls with her face, at least. The Baby’s reaction to being hit in the face with a ball? ‘Catch!’

Trust Me, I’m Still a Toddler

The Baby is in trouble for harassing (throwing toys at) the cat again. She is crying hysterically (The Baby, not the cat – the cat looks a little smug, actually). Silly Daddy said ‘no’ to The Baby. He said, ‘No! Don’t do it!’ The Baby understands ‘no’. She has formulated two responses to ‘no’. The first is for any ‘no’ The Baby has deemed lacks sufficient conviction to be taken seriously. The Baby has concluded that the appropriate reaction to such a ‘no’ is to giggle and carry on as you were. The second response is for your serious, actually in trouble, shouty ‘no’. In these cases, The Baby feels that the only course of action is to weep hysterically and inconsolably. It is currently unclear whether The Baby is absolutely distraught to discover she has been naughty, or has simply decided, once and for all, that she is putting a stop to this ridiculous belief that people can go around telling her ‘no’.

So, The Baby is sobbing her little heart out. The Toddler is at the scene: ‘Me give The Baby a cuddle.’ The Baby does not want a cuddle; she cries harder. As a trained medical professional, The Toddler is unfazed: ‘Me get doctor’s kit!’ The Toddler rushes off and returns with her doctor’s kit.

The Toddler pulls out her stethoscope and listens to The Baby’s chest. The Baby keeps crying. The Toddler rams a thermometer into The Baby’s mouth: ‘Do tentup!’ The Baby’s ‘tentup’ is fine but, if anything, she is now more upset. Out comes the otoscope. The Toddler inspects The Baby’s ear. The Baby does, in fact, have something wrong with her ear: Silly Daddy told her off right in her ear and it was unacceptable. Despite coming so close to a medical breakthrough, The Toddler abandons the otoscope. She has decided that The Baby could do with a hair cut. Fortunately, there are scissors in the doctor’s kit. The Toddler grabs these and starts chopping at sections of The Baby’s hair. The Baby is not happy about this at all.

Hair cut completed, The Toddler frankly forgets about her investigation into The Baby altogether. She has a syringe. She brandishes it at the room in general and yells, ‘Roar!’ A roaring syringe. Interesting. That must be the controversial Measles Mumps and Roar vaccine.

The results of the extensive medical tests on The Baby have revealed two things. Firstly, The Baby is crying. Secondly, The Baby does not appreciate being the subject of extensive medical tests when she is crying.

Speaking for The Baby

This is a blog about children’s language. Specifically, my children’s language. Mostly The Toddler’s language, The Baby’s vocabulary currently consisting of ‘cat’. I have noticed something about The Toddler’s language (hey, it’s only taken forty odd blog posts about The Toddler’s language for me to notice something about it.) What I have noticed is this: the times when The Toddler chooses to speak for The Baby are quite interesting.

Mostly, you see, The Toddler does not speak for The Baby. Much of the time, she leaves The Baby to her own babbling, shouting or fussing devices. She appears to accept that this is what The Baby does, and does not intervene. Sometimes, The Toddler is interested in what The Baby is saying, and will join in with baby talk. Very occasionally, she will try to translate (which is to say, she will make it up). Other times, she pays no attention at all.

However, when The Baby’s noises show an emotion, particularly a negative one, The Toddler will usually get involved. She will report The Baby’s feelings to Mummy: ‘The Baby is sad.’ She will offer reassurance to The Baby: ‘Don’t worry, the Baby!’ She will be on hand to assist The Baby: ‘I’m coming, The Baby!’ She will try to cuddle and kiss The Baby. She will offer dummies, water and toys.

Most notably, when something is being done to The Baby that The Baby does not like (nasal aspiration, when needed, has never been popular), The Toddler will speak for her. She will be outspoken and very insistent: ‘No! Don’t do that! Stop doing that! The Baby doesn’t like that! Don’t do it!’

Likewise, when The Toddler believes The Baby wants or needs something, she will voice the need on The Baby’s behalf: ‘The Baby want more food. Get her more food, please.’

It appears that The Toddler recognises that The Baby does not have the words to tell people how she feels or what she needs (‘cat’, as it turns out, is not the most useful of words). The Toddler uses her words on The Baby’s behalf when she believes The Baby needs help.

What does this behaviour demonstrate? It suggests that The Toddler has some understanding of how important words can be as a means of expression. Certainly, it shows that The Toddler is able to recognise emotions in others, and has learnt some appropriate responses. Perhaps there is also empathy there. Maybe The Toddler is already showing an ability to empathise with her little sister. Probably a little. She has an innate human ability for empathy, and she is starting to learn to develop it. However, at her age, it seems unlikely her understanding of others has developed to the level of true empathy yet, not empathy as adults would understand or display it. One thing I believe The Toddler’s behaviour is absolutely indicative of, is how completely she has accepted The Baby. The Baby is hers, a part of the world The Toddler views as hers. The Toddler looks after what is hers, simply because it is hers. Perhaps, then, she is protecting her sister more than understanding her, at present. Or maybe it is a little of both.

Whatever the motivation, The Toddler instinctively speaks up for one who cannot speak for herself. Adults often develop inhibitions that prevent them from speaking out, even when they feel that they should; for a toddler, nothing stands in the way.

Soon, of course, The Baby will have her own words. She will speak for herself. However, I have no doubt that there will still be times when she will need her sister to speak up for her. Just as there will be times when she is needed to speak up for The Toddler. I hope that, no matter how old they are, my girls will always understand when the other needs them. I hope they will each always have the words to fight for their sister when she can’t do it for herself.

 
 
What do you think? Are two year olds capable of showing empathy? How do your children relate to each other? Do they protect each other?

Calm Down: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

PandaRoll up, roll up!* It’s time for the Ten Funniest Things feature.

(*When you reach number 10, you are going to be really impressed with the tie in. Well, maybe not really impressed. Mildly impressed. Mildly might still be overstating it. You’re going to think, ‘Oh. Yeah.’)

Silly Mummy gives you The Toddler:

1. On safety
The Toddler and The Baby are playing. The Toddler has decided to ensure that all the appropriate regulations are being followed. She makes The Baby aware of the priorities: ‘Safety first, The Baby.’ The Baby looks at her soft, squishy ball in confusion, and flings it in a safety conscious manner at The Toddler’s head.

2. On baby pandas, not cute
Silly Mummy is showing The Toddler a video of a baby panda playing with a ball. The Toddler is amused. The baby panda is very cute. He loves his ball. It’s all very cute. Doesn’t everyone find baby pandas cute? Silly Mummy says to The Toddler, ‘Is he cute?’
‘No, not cute.’ Okay, not everyone.

3. On Mummy’s hair
The Toddler is stroking Mummy’s hair: ‘This nice. Like it…Cut it off now?’ Well, that escalated quickly.

4. On herself, thinking…maybe
The Toddler has climbed onto Silly Mummy’s bed. Silly Mummy says, ‘What are you doing up there?’
The Toddler knows the answer to this, thus she is able to provide an assured and decisive response: ‘I’m thinking…No…Yes. Am thinking. Doing thinking now.’ Nothing like having to think about whether you’re thinking.

5. On Grandma, writing it
The Toddler is looking at a book of nursery rhymes. She is pointing at part of the inscription Grandma wrote for her inside the front cover: ‘What’s that say?’
Silly Mummy tells her, ‘That’s the date when Grandma wrote it.’
The Toddler is astounded: ‘Grandma wrote it? Grandma WROTE IT??’ The Toddler is either really impressed by anyone being able to write, or she now thinks Grandma wrote the whole book.

6. On Mummy, not saying that
The Toddler marches over to Silly Mummy with her hand extended, and demands, ‘Do nice to meet you.’
Silly Mummy holds out her own hand, and obediently says, ‘Nice to meet you.’
‘No, don’t say that, Mummy.’

7. On Daddy, being naughty
Silly Daddy has said something to The Toddler that she doesn’t like. She is now looking mutinous and muttering away under her breath: ‘Daddy, go away. Go away, being naughty.’

8. On calming down
The Toddler is lying on the bathmat after her bath. She suddenly says, ‘Calm down.’ Then: ‘Calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down, CALM DOWN!’ She is panting, giggling and rolling around. Silly Mummy doesn’t think The Toddler quite grasps the concept of calming down. Based on a comparison of The Toddler’s demeanour before and after calming herself down, Silly Mummy concludes that The Toddler has confused ‘calm’ and ‘rabid’.

9. On catch 22
The Toddler is getting up. Silly Mummy therefore inexplicably suggests getting dressed: ‘Let’s get The Toddler into some clothes.’
‘No, Mummy, stop being naughty! Am doing something! Am doing naughty!’ Well, quite. The Toddler cannot get dressed because she is busy. She is doing something. The something she is doing is being naughty. Why is she being naughty? Because she won’t get dressed. It’s toddler catch 22. Toddler catch 22 is very like any catch 22, but louder and more hysterical.

10. On the circus, flashbacks to
The Toddler is eating her dinner. She suddenly stops. She stares into the distance. She announces, ‘Went circus…With Grandma…And Daddy…Went clap, clap.’ She claps her hands. The Toddler returns to her dinner. The Toddler did go to the circus. With Grandma and Daddy. It was about a month ago. The Toddler is having circus flashbacks. You weren’t there, man! You don’t know!

(The Baby is funny too
The Baby is on a mission. She pulls herself up on her little lion walker, and marches over to Silly Mummy at quite a pace. The Baby looks at Silly Mummy, she bangs her little hand down on the handle of her walker for emphasis, and declares, ‘A raah rah! A raah rah! A yeah yeah yeah!’ Having made that quite clear, she nods with satisfaction, and marches off again.)

 
 
Other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 1: Come On, Guys
Week 2: I’ll Tell You What, Mummy
Week 3: Think So, Mummy
Week 4: Your Emus
Week 5: Don’t Do It
Week 6: Get On It
Week 8: Perfick
Week 9: That’s Not Fair
Week 10: Silly Me