From The Lists

Brexit Fortunes (A Game Show Parody)

Hello and welcome to our Brexit and Election Special episode of Family Fortunes (Family Feud for our American audience). The game in which two families compete to provide answers to questions about Brexit and the upcoming election. All of the questions have been put to members of the public, Parliament, the Cabinet or Theresa May before the show. Our contestants are looking to get the top answer, the one given by most of our surveyed group. If contestants give an answer which none of our surveyed group provided, they will hear ‘Eh-uhh’. Ready? Then let’s begin.

 
 
Round One

We asked the Cabinet to name ten things needed for Brexit to not be a complete disaster. You said, ‘Expert guidance and opinions.’ Our Cabinet said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ Next, you said, ‘Good trade deals.’ Surely this must be a high answer. Let’s see. No! Our Cabinet said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ Finally, you said, ‘A can do attitude and no f**king clue what’s going on.’ This is your last chance, you need a good score. Yes! It’s the top answer.

 
Round Two

We asked whose fault this was. You said, ‘David Cameron.’ It was, of course, the top answer. Next, you said, ‘Theresa May.’ It was the third best answer. A good answer. But the other team can steal if their answer ‘Vladimir Putin’ beat Theresa May. So was ‘Vladimir Putin’ the second answer? It was. I think you knew that really, and they steal the point.

 
Round Three

We asked you what answer Theresa May gave to the question: ‘Will you be calling a snap election?’ You answered, ‘I’m not going to be calling a snap election. I’ve been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability, to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing, and have that election in 2020.’ It’s the wrong answer. Very bad luck on this one – the answer you gave was right five minutes ago. However, the updated answer Mrs May has just given, which we were looking for, is: ‘I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.’

 
Round Four

We asked Theresa May why she decided to hold a snap general election. You said, ‘To gain the majority needed to sideline Parliament and destroy the country.’ Theresa May said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ (Though, interestingly, our lie detector said this was actually the top answer.) The correct top answer, according to Theresa May, was ‘strength and stability’.

 
Round Five

We asked Tory MPs what they think of the current Government. Neither team guessed the top answer, intoned monotonously and in unison: ‘Mrs May is a wonderful Prime Minister, and this is the best Government we’ve ever had.’ The other answer we would have accepted, given by Ken Clarke, was: ‘Oh for f**k’s sake!’

 
Round Six

We asked 100 people to name one job Theresa May had before becoming Prime Minister. You said, ‘Nurse Ratched.’ It was a good answer. 31 of our hundred people said ‘Nurse Ratched’. But the top answer we were looking for, given by 53 people, was ‘Death eater’. Other correct answers included ‘Margaret Thatcher’ and ‘Cruella de Vil’. One exceptionally dull person answered ‘Home Secretary’, but we disqualified him.

 
Round Seven

We asked the current Government what they will do to solve the NHS crisis. You answered, ‘Provide proper funding for universal healthcare.’ The Government said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ The top answer we were looking for was ‘sell it to Donald Trump’.

 
Round Eight

We asked the Department for Exiting the European Union to name countries they hoped to secure trade deals with following Brexit. You were a little optimistic here. Your answers of the United States, China and South Korea were all incorrect. The top answer was Liechtenstein.

 
Round Nine

We asked 100 people to name an EU law that has actually caused a problem in their daily lives. It really doesn’t matter what you say here, as I can tell you that 52 of our 100 people said that they will have to get back to us on this, and wandered off muttering something about ‘sovereignty’. While the other 48 people said they actually quite like the EU, and appreciate having employment rights and an economy.

 
Round Ten

We asked 100 people how they intend to vote in the snap General Election. I can tell you, the top answer was…provided by the Russians.

 
 
And the winner of Brexit Fortunes is, of course, absolutely no one! Except maybe Theresa May, and a couple of billionaires, but certainly no one here. Not to worry: we don’t let anyone go home empty handed on this show! You all get to take home a crushing sense of impending doom, less money than you have ever had before, and this stylish blue passport!

Nonsense Parenting Advice

We all know there is a lot of parenting advice out there. A lot. Good advice. Bad advice. But what of that special category of parenting advice? The advice that sounds sensible, but is actually nonsense?

 
Here are my top ten pieces of advice that appear perfectly reasonable at first glance, but are nonsense. Nonsense, I tell you.

 
1. Don’t make threats about consequences you aren’t willing to follow through on.

Yes, this sounds very sensible. However, it rather assumes that your children care about the threat, remember the threat, and were even listening to you in the first place. They weren’t. Make as many empty threats as you like, it really doesn’t matter. (Presumably, people whose kids actually listen to them don’t even need to make threats in the first place.)

 
2. They will eat it if you don’t give them an alternative. They won’t starve themselves.

They will, actually. They will starve themselves.

 
3. If they hurt themselves, they’ll learn not to do it again.

They won’t, actually.

 
4. If they don’t want to go to sleep, just put them in bed and leave them to it. They can’t scream forever.

Well, maybe not. But they can scream long enough for the police to be notified.

 
5. Let them make their own clothing decisions and express who they are.

Who they are is someone willing to die of hypothermia. Specifically, a pyjama-clad gruffa-fairy, who is willing to die of hypothermia.

 
6. Make sure they’re really tired, they’ll sleep better.

No one has ever had as much energy or been as awake as a tired toddler. Tigger has less energy than an over-tired child.

 
7. They don’t need to be eating snacks between meals.

They do if you want to achieve anything with any day ever. In the battle between childhood obesity and being able to do the shopping without a tantrum, raisins win every time.

 
8. They’ll be perfectly safe. They’re not stupid. They’re not going to fling themselves down the stairs/out of the window/over that cliff.

They have no survival instinct. None. Zero.

 
9. I’m sure they don’t need a bib/apron/hazmat suit – that will wash right out anyway.

It won’t. Don’t even need to know what it is. It won’t wash out.

 
10. It’s okay, they won’t even remember that thing you definitely don’t want to do/buy/feed them was even mentioned.*

They will remember it until the end of time. This is not like empty threats. Children hear empty promises. Like mini Liam Neesons, when a child hears an empty promise, they will look for you, they will find you, and they will make you give them the damn ice cream.

 

(* This one is generally said by the utter fool who mentioned the thing in the first place.)

They Have Returned: Protect Yourselves

*THIS IS AN URGENT PUBLIC SERVICE BULLETIN*
 
 
They have returned. They are rising. The invasion is underway. Some are speaking of the apocalypse, though there has been no official statement on this yet.

 
What we are being told officially, however, is this:

 
1. Stay in your homes. Do not attempt to travel. Do not attempt to reach loved ones. The public are advised to avoid all contact with the assailants.

 
2. Gather essential supplies, in case of a siege situation. Stockpile water and canned goods. They often gather in doorways and windows, and you may be unable to get out.

 
3. Avoid corners. DO NOT GO TO HIGHER GROUND.

 
4. Stay in a group, if possible. Keep a lookout at all times. Remember, you do not need to outrun them, you just need to outrun your friends. Sacrificing slow members of the group is entirely acceptable. This is about survival.

 
5. Know your enemy. They move strangely, but they are surprisingly fast. They are relentless. They are absolutely evil. Do not feel compassion for them. Compassion will be your undoing. And never, ever hesitate. Do what has to be done. They must die.

 
6. Collect weapons and keep them with you at all times. A large trainer and a vacuum cleaner are essential. Do not use a cat. Cats are a useless weapon against this threat. They are always full of confidence, but they never fail to f**k it up. They will play with the enemy and then lose it – do not make the mistake of joining forces with the cat.

 
7. The assailants can only be stopped by removing the head or destroying the brain. Nothing else will work. They cannot be drowned or stabbed. It is tempting to run for your life and burn your house to the ground, but you can be sure that they will rise from the wreckage. The only way is to smash their heads to smithereens with a trainer and vacuum up the pieces.

 
8. Stay vigilant. Stay safe. And always remember, under NO circumstances, ever, ever lift up that mug on the floor.

 
 
*THIS IS NOT A DRILL. THE SPIDERS HAVE RETURNED. PROTECT YOUR HOMES. PROTECT YOUR FAMILIES. REMOVE THE HEAD OR DESTROY THE BRAIN. DO NOT LET THE CAT HAVE A GO. DO NOT LIFT UP THE MUG. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.*

 
 

What If We Taught Our Children to Behave Like Brexit?

According to the Brexit brigade, Theresa May has this week done a ‘good’ thing for our country. The ‘right’ thing. This is the right thing to do. So I thought, that being correct, it would be okay to teach your kids to behave like the Brexiteers, right? You know, because they’re not doing anything wrong, are they? It’s the right thing for the country, so it must be the right way to raise the younger generation.

With that in mind, I have considered ten lessons we should be teaching our children if we want to raise them according to the lessons of Brexit.

 
 
1. Mistakes

If you make a mistake, whatever you do, don’t admit it was a mistake and fix it. Just plough on with the mistake. After all, once you do something stupid, you have no choice but to commit to the stupid, right?

 
2. Intolerance

Racism and xenophobia are bad…but, when confronted with racists, the thing to do is bend over backwards trying to mollify them and give them exactly what they want. In fact, it is a great idea to start spouting racism yourself. You know, so they’ll like you.

 
3. Bullies and Principles

Don’t stand up to bullies. Don’t stand up for what you believe in. Don’t stand up for vulnerable people. Don’t stand up for anything. Standing up for things is ‘whiny’.

 
4. Experts

Never listen to experts. We’re sick of experts.

 
5. Information

In fact, we are sick of education, information and facts. Be ignorant and proud of it.

 
6. Language

Use words that you like regardless of whether or not you understand them. Like ‘sovereignty’.

 
7. Friends

It’s usually a good idea to impulsively fall out with all of your friends. Tell them you hate them and you’re leaving. Never ever reflect on this at a later point. Instead, find the school maniac (he’ll be the one torturing local cats), and hold his hand.

 
8. Telling the Truth

Lie.

 
9. Sharing

Don’t share. Never share. Sharing is bad. There is NOT enough for everyone. Everything should be yours. You are more important than anyone else.

 
10. Self Preservation

Shoot yourself in the foot. Maintain that you have done the right thing, even whilst hopping in circles.

 
 
I’m sure they’ll turn out great. What could go wrong?

Toddler Proverbs Part Two

Toddlers, as we all know, are very wise. As such, I present further well-known toddler proverbs.

 
 
1. Fortune favours the bold enough to throw a tantrum in public

 
2. Hope for the best, but prepare for the screaming

 
3. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…and bite them both

 
4. Practice makes a perfect mess

 
5. Don’t bite the hand…that is all – don’t bite

 
6. If you can’t beat ’em, throw things at ’em

 
7. A penny saved is a penny swallowed

 
8. You can’t lead a cat to water…stop trying to lead the cat

 
9. If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall…so both of you open your eyes and get down from the table

 
10. All good things must come to an end…even chocolate buttons

A Public Service Guide to Household Appliance Espionage

Now, I know many of you are deeply concerned by the revelation* that our microwaves are spying on us. The machines are rising up. Big Blender is watching you.

As you all know, I am nothing if not helpful, and I love a good public service guide. So, here’s my guide to your household appliances and their espionage links. Be informed. Know what you can trust.

 
 
The Risks

 
1. Microwaves

Microwaves, of course, cannot be trusted. Assuming that you know absolutely nothing about how microwaves work, lack all common sense, and have some form of paranoid delusional disorder, you will be aware that microwaves can sometimes turn into cameras and spy on you. Of course, there are some tips you can use to reduce the risks. Always microwave your food on under 50% power. The power setting is also the camera focus. When it’s cooking on 30% power, all pictures are blurry. No intelligence agency in the world can do anything with blurry footage of you singing I’m Too Sexy into a wooden spoon, while your soup cooks (slowly, because 30% power).

 
2. Vacuum Cleaners

Do you even need to ask. They literally have access to every corner of your life: as if there was ever any doubt that they are spies. Vacuum cleaners are particularly dangerous. They turn into teleporters. They collect your DNA from around your house and teleport it to Secret Service agents who, using cutting edge technology, are then able to ascertain that you are in fact living in your own house. Though, of course, that information will be classified.

 
3. Fryers

The fryer is a double agent. It really works for the treadmill.

 
4. Televisions

This one is very technical, so try to keep up. You know the little person who lives in your TV and writes the subtitles? Right, well, he or she also transcribes everything you say and sends it to shadowy persons unknown. Of course, if you’ve ever watched subtitles, this probably won’t concern you too much. Shadowy persons unknown will be receiving words only vaguely resembling actual words spoken, and only approximately a third of every sentence at that. Good luck with that, shadowy persons unknown (maybe look into anyone with an apparent interest in building bums).

 
5. Fridges

Just playing with you. You can trust your fridge.

 
6. Alarm Clocks

The alarm clock specialises in mind control and subversive techniques. Think about it. Did you want to get up? No. You just find yourself mindlessly obeying. Meanwhile, the snooze function literally creates sleeper agents.

 
7. Toasters

Don’t worry, your toaster isn’t spying on you. It’s just trying to kill you. Sleep well.

 
8. Showers

Well, really, I think if you need to be told never to get naked in front of any of your appliances, you are beyond help.

 
9. Hairdryers

Don’t be so paranoid. The hairdryer just wants you to look your best. You know, because there’s always someone watching.

 
10. Dishwashers

The dishwasher is the big spy boss. The M of the household appliance espionage operation. Be careful around it. Try developing a secret code or sign language if you need to communicate in the presence of the dishwasher (though make sure you are not in view of the microwave, obviously). Every so often, approach the dishwasher and whisper, ‘I’m on to you.’ Just to psyche it out.

 
 
What Next?

So, now we’ve identified the threats, what should you do? First of all, don’t panic. Survival is all about remaining calm under pressure. You will never make it in the cut-throat world of household espionage and intrigue if you fall apart at the first sign of being interrogated by the kettle.

Be safe and prepared. Wear a colander on your head at all times.

Have a strong disguise. Camoflage is key. Dress yourself as the curtains, or a banana, and your appliances will never realise you are actually in the house.

Don’t be surprised if you begin to receive secret communications from the radiators. There is an underground resistance. If you need to escape fast, speak to the dishes and the spoons: they can help you.

Know your rights. The hoovers have gone rogue, but most appliances do still recognise the Geneva Conventions. In the event of a breach of human rights, your electric whisk will represent you before the Tribunal, which will be presided over by the toasted sandwich maker.

As you sit dressed in your curtains and colander, eyeing your toaster suspiciously, muttering veiled threats in the direction of your dishwasher, taking legal advice from the whisk, and silently plotting your escape with the dish and spoon, whilst communicating only through blinks, you may begin to suspect you have actually gone mad. This is what they want you to think. Stay strong.

 
 
****AND FINALLY, REMEMBER: Careless talk…is of absolutely no interest to your microwave because it’s a f*?!*ing microwave.****

 
 

(*For ‘revelation’, read ‘bat shit crazy piece of nonsense from Kellyanne Conway’)

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.

Songs That Should Come With a Parental Advisory

child-1884904_1920Now, I know everyone tends to think they should probably avoid playing Eminem around their toddlers, maybe give the uncensored version of Lloyd’s Dedication to My Ex a miss. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are a whole host of seemingly innocuous songs out there with completely inappropriate lyrics for children. These songs are a terrible influence on any impressionable toddler, yet the censors do nothing.

Here is my list of 15 songs that should come with a parental advisory, but do not. Consider yourself warned.

 
 
1. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

No. Don’t go your own way. COME BACK HERE.

 
2. Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Please do. Please fear the reaper. And stop climbing that.

 
3. Set Fire to the Rain – Adele

No, you can’t set fire to the rain. Do not try to set fire to the rain.

 
4. Don’t Stop Moving – S Club 7

Please, stop moving. I’m trying to put your shoes on.

 
5. Defying Gravity – Wicked soundtrack

You cannot defy gravity. DO NOT JUMP FROM THERE.

 
6. Everybody Hurts – REM

This does not mean that when you bang your head on the table you should whack your sister so her head hurts too.

 
7. Here I Go Again (on My Own) – Whitesnake

The supermarket is not the appropriate place for going it alone if you are two.

 
8. Don’t Let Go – En Vogue

Except for hair. Do let go of my hair.

 
9. Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran

Even if you are hungry like the wolf, it is not okay to stick your head in the bowl and lick it.

 
10. I Want it All – Queen

No.

 
11. Jump/Jump for my Love/Jump Around – Van Halen/The Pointer Sisters/House of Pain

Stop **#?!@* jumping!

 
12. Paint it Black – The Rolling Stones

Don’t you dare.

 
13. Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

I don’t care if everybody was doing it.

 
14. Hot n Cold – Katy Perry

Yes, I know: ‘you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re in then you’re out, you’re up then you’re down, you’re wrong when it’s right, it’s black and it’s white…’ But, for the love of god, DO YOU LIKE CHEESE OR NOT?!

 
15. (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party) – The Beastie Boys

No, you do not ‘gotta’. Especially when you are fighting with your sister for the right to hold an imaginary tea party on the cat.

Malevolent Goblin on the Shelf: An Alternative Guide for Those Scared of the Elf

23-elf-shelf-w1200-h630December is here again. The count down to Christmas. The magic, the wonder, the anticipation, the cold sweats, the paranoia, the mind-numbing terror… Yes, IT’S BACK. The sweet Christmas tradition/horror story apparition that is the Elf on the Shelf.

Whilst the brave out there happily place the nefarious imp in cute toilet fishing poses, and share ever more ambitious fun activities for the malevolent goblin to engage in, I am presenting an alternative list of Elf on the Shelf suggestions. So, here it is: my line up of daily Elf on the Shelf activities for those among us who are outright terrified of the evil, creepy little critter.

*Keep this list well hidden. We meet in secret, under cover of darkness. Do not use real names. HE’S WATCHING US. And I think he possesses powers of mind control: keep your mind blank. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT HIM.*

 
 
Day 1

Position Elf in a cute pose with Elsa. Tell Elsa if Elf makes any sudden moves, freeze him.

 
Day 2

Put Elf in a drawer. If the drawer starts calling your name in the night, do not open it.

 
Day 3

Hide knives.

 
Day 4

Put Elf and Barbie in a toy car at the ‘drive in’ (i.e. in front of the TV). Give Barbie some mace.

 
Day 5

Send Elf to see a forensic psychiatrist (Donald Pleasence from Halloween, preferably) – he may be redeemable.

 
Day 6

Put Elf in a strait jacket after forensic psychiatrist says he’s dead behind the eyes.

 
Day 7

Position Elf anywhere in the house. Move house.

 
Day 8

Pose Elf as though he is having a bath. Fill bath with holy water.

 
Day 9

Find a corner to sit in. Rock backwards and forwards, muttering, ‘Please don’t hurt me. Oh god, please don’t hurt me!’

 
Day 10

Put Elf outside. Change locks.

 
Day 11

Set up CCTV, just in case.

 
Day 12

Obtain a sample of DNA from Elf. Familial testing might prove a link to Chucky.

 
Day 13

Serve Elf with a restraining order.

 
Day 14

Write to Father Christmas about Elf. Threaten a diplomatic incident with the North Pole if he doesn’t stop sending spies.

 
Day 15

Take up witchcraft. Position Elf in chalk circle on the floor to bind the evil spirit.

 
Day 16

Call the Ghostbusters. Worth a try.

 
Day 17

Find Elf grinning maniacally with his head stuck through an axe hole in a door. Call an exorcist when you realise that you did not put him there.

 
Day 18

Sleep with the light on. Do this every night, in fact.

 
Day 19

Give Elf a haircut. So that you can look for the Mark of the Beast on his scalp.

 
Day 20

Obtain a Batman on the Shelf to watch the Elf on the Shelf.

 
Day 21

Ask Father Christmas for a panic room.

 
Day 22

Put a stake through Elf’s heart.

 
Day 23

Decapitate Elf.

 
Day 24

Burn Elf and bury ashes in multiple different locations.

 
 
Finally, delete all social media accounts before Girl from the Ring on the Shelf becomes a Christmas trend.

Toddler Amnesia: The Facts

kids-1728351_1920In a rare move away from my usual light-hearted silliness, today I want to raise awareness of a serious* issue.

Toddler Amnesia is a devastating condition. It affects one in every one toddler, yet very little is understood about this debilitating disorder.

You probably know a sufferer, your own toddler may even be one. However, far too many Toddler Amnesiacs remain undiagnosed, suffering in, well, not silence so much as extreme noisiness.

Awareness of the symptoms of this condition is woefully low. Below are ten of the most common. Please learn how to identify Toddler Amnesia, and share the information. Together we can ensure this illness does not go unrecognised.

 
 
1. Sufferers of Toddler Amnesia are typically unable to retain the word ‘no’. All memory of Mummy having said no to sofa base jumping is immediately erased. Memories of whatever ill-advised bribe Mummy used today to get them to behave in the shops will, however, be retained for days/months/years – essentially until they receive what was promised to them. Doctors are unable to explain this strange discrepancy.

 
2. Toddler amnesiacs find themselves unwittingly asking the same question over and over again. Sometimes up to fifty times in five seconds.

 
3. Toddler Amnesia presents sufferers with particular difficulties surrounding issues of possession and ownership. Affected toddlers will find themselves completely unable to remember that a particular object is not theirs, often leading to repeated snatching incidents. Mysteriously, they are able to remember extremely accurately when objects actually are theirs (interestingly, this also often leads to snatching incidents). A related complication to this particular aspect of the illness is frequent forgetting of what was being played with seconds before, combined with the belief that the item the toddler is now playing with is what they have always been playing with. This issue appears to be exacerbated when any other child begins playing with a toy previously being entirely ignored by the toddler. The toddler will immediately experience a ‘false memory’ that they were, in fact, playing with that toy, in conjunction with complete memory loss over what they were actually playing with. Episodes such as these are nearly always accompanied by additional memory loss surrounding the question of it being wrong to hit other children.

 
4. A particularly concerning aspect of this dreadful illness is seen when the afflicted toddler forgets why they needed help or how they were hurt. The toddler will scream: ‘Mummy! Mummy, HELP! HELP!’ However, upon arriving at the scene, Mummy will find a happily playing toddler, who is completely unable to recall what the emergency was, or indeed to supply any response whatsoever to Mummy’s repeated: ‘What is it? What’s the matter? Why were you screaming?’

 
5. Toddler amnesiacs are unable to remember where they have put anything. They often become convinced – frequently aggressively so – that these memories have in fact been transferred to Mummy, who MUST know where the missing item is.

 
6. Sufferers, rather conveniently, tend to forget their own bad behaviour and transgressions instantly, often whilst they are still committing them. In contrast, and despite the memory damage, any infraction committed by a sibling appears to be inexplicably retained for eternity.

 
7. As a result of this debilitating illness, affected toddlers will often dispute statements made by Mummy, before correcting Mummy with a statement identical to the disputed one: ‘No we didn’t have cheese sandwiches for lunch! We had cheese sandwiches!’

 
8. A very unfortunate side effect of Toddler Amnesia is the inability to recall which foods were loved mere moments before. Sometimes sufferers will even forget that the food now being so angrily rejected was requested by the toddler themselves just five minutes previously. Tragically, sufferers miss out on many of their once favourite foods because they are simply unable to remember that they did like it last week/ yesterday/ two mouthfuls ago. It is simply heartbreaking to hear their screams of: ‘NO! I don’t like it! No! It’s not my favourite! I didn’t ask for it! NOOOOO!’

 
9. Toddler amnesiacs are frequently observed to have an unusual number of cuts and bruises. These result from the inability to recall that performing a somersault into the sideboard actually hurt last time as well.

 
10. Even in sleep there is no rest from this terrible condition. Sufferers become confused, forgetting on a nightly basis what time they go to bed, that they just read that book and, all too often, which bed is theirs.

 
 
These poor, forgetful toddlers are everywhere, their plight disgracefully ignored by society and the medical profession (largely because they’re a bit annoying and everyone tuned them out). They wander, confused, searching for missing toys, refusing food they like and forgetting every instruction they are given. Not even the most hard-hearted among us can fail to be moved by the forlorn sight of an affected toddler obliviously watching the same episode of Peppa Pig for the fifty millionth time.

Doctors hope that, in the future, with advancements in medical science, we will achieve the seemingly impossible, and these toddlers may be able to remember that they were told no. It will take years of dedicated research, but wouldn’t it be amazing if one day just one toddler was able to recall that yesterday he liked pasta? Please, help me to raise awareness of this condition: together we can make that day happen.

 
 
 

*This is not a serious post. If you are inclined to take everything seriously, this might not be for you. If you are terminally gullible, this might not be for you either (do NOT donate to this cause).*

Toddler Hobbies: Birdwatching

seagull-1607224_1920Taking a look at popular toddler leisure activities, starting with birdwatching.

Toddlers are avid birdwatchers, and pursue the hobby in a manner almost entirely unlike traditional birdwatching.

 
1. Species

Like any good birdwatcher, toddler amateur ornithologists take great pleasure in identifying different species of birds. Below are a few of the most popular species for toddler birdwatchers.

Pigeons: ‘Duck!’

Sparrows: ‘Duck is flying!’

Swans: Actually, no toddler birdwatcher has ever seen a swan. Toddler birdwatchers have a strange selective blindness when it comes to seeing swans directly in front of them, finding themselves completely unable to look in the direction being pointed out as containing the majestic and beautiful birds. Still, it does not really matter. Where there are swans, there are probably the far more interesting…

Ducks: ‘Quack!’

Seagulls: ‘Don’t like duck! Shoo!’

Penguins: ‘Penguin! Honk!’

Peacocks: ‘Big duck!’

Robins: ‘Christmas duck!’

 
2. Methodology

Eschewing the classic quiet, still and watchful approach, toddler birdwatchers like to employ a method known as The Banshee. This involves running at the birds shrieking and wailing, an act that the birds superstitiously believe heralds their impending death.

 
3. Equipment

Usual birdwatching equipment includes binoculars, a bird guide and a camera. Toddler birdwatchers prefer a straw, a balloon and one sock.

 
4. Feeding Birds

Traditional methods of feeding birds of course involve bird feeders and bird seed. Or giving bread to the ducks (yes, I know this is bad for them). Not ones for tradition, toddler birdwatchers like to stand in the vicinity of birds and eat the bread (or, let’s face it, the bird seed) themselves.

 
5. A Special Note About Seagulls

In the great losses of childhood innocence, finding out the truth about seagulls is up there with finding out the truth about Father Christmas. The naive, innocent toddler, the one who exists before the first seagull encounter, reacts with great excitement as the ‘duck’ approaches. The ‘duck’ wants to be friends. The toddler wants to be friends. The toddler knows this is how Sarah and Duck started. The seagull comes closer. The toddler begins to feel the first misgivings. Why is the ‘duck’ staring like that? This doesn’t happen to Sarah. Slowly, the horrifying realisation will dawn on the toddler: that beady eyed bastard wants to steal the food. There will be no friendship here, this is war: ‘Mummy, duck wants my food! Make duck go away! Mummy, I no like duck! Shoo!’

 
 
(*Please Note: No birds have been harmed in the pursuit of this toddler hobby. A number of pigeons have been chased for a kiss. A few penguins have been engaged in an in depth conversation. One seagull has been sent to the naughty step. But no actual harm has been caused.*)

How (Not) to Read With a Toddler

reading-1156865_1920Today we will be discussing reading with your toddlers. An activity vitally important to their development, and precious time spent with your darling children. We all look forward to the time when our babies will start to enjoy books, right? Spending quiet, peaceful time together, sharing the books we loved as children, and fostering a lifelong love of reading in our offspring. Everyone agree? Right, let’s talk about the realities then, shall we.

First off, it should be noted that toddlers do enjoy books. They have a very special way of enjoying books. Here is a guide to participating in that enjoyment. This is how to read a bedtime story (or fifty) with a toddler. Please note that, unlike many of my toddler how to guides, this is not how to read a bedtime story with two toddlers. NEVER do that.

 
 
1. Behold the presented pile of fifty ‘favourite’ books, all of which have been read at least thirty thousand times. Since this morning. Remember nostalgically when you used to actually like some of these books. Ah, those innocent days when you had to open the book to know what the words were. You know, before they were burned into your memory and your retinas. Before they haunted your dreams.

2. Wonder briefly if the toddler could be persuaded to let you read something different for a change. Brideshead Revisited, perhaps? Catch 22? War and Peace? Consider having to read War and Peace thirty thousand times a morning to meet the demands of a Tolstoy crazed toddler. Scrap that idea.

3. Pick up a book. ‘No, not that one!’ The books must be read in a specific order. You cannot know what that order is (clue: it is not the order they are piled in). You will most definitely know which order is not correct. By the screams. You will still not be permitted to know the correct order. You will have to guess by picking up books at random and assessing the volume of the accompanying screaming and crying. This will go on for some time.

4. Finally start reading a book (it will be the last book you picked up). Note that reading, contrary to popular belief, is not a quiet and sedate activity. This is Extreme Reading. The toddler will be engaging in bedroom parkour throughout bedtime story time. Discover a small hand blocking your view of the words. Then a small head. On a particularly bad day, a small bum. Yes, you don’t actually need to see the words to read this book anymore. They are, after all, burned on your retinas. Nonetheless, this is quite irritating.

5. Continue reading the book. Do so at increasing volume, as the toddler picks up a different book and starts ‘reading’ that, shouting over you. Put down the book. ‘No! Mummy, read the book! I was listening to that!’ Have a discussion with a once again screaming toddler about how there is no point reading a book to someone who is reading their own book over you.

6. Return to reading, now with the toddler’s full attention. Discover the downsides to having a toddler’s full attention, as said toddler interrupts every other word to point at something in the picture and ask, ‘What’s that?’ Suspend all questions until the end of the book. Suspend all questions that consist of ‘what’s that’ until the end of the millennium.

7. Try to claw back some time (there are still forty-nine books to go) by skipping some non-essential bits/every other page. Find that the toddler is still paying attention: ‘You missed a bit! Go back!’ The book is also burned into the toddler’s memory. The toddler can recite it word for word. This being the case, wonder why you are being forced to read the sodding thing yet again.

8. The toddler will insist on turning the pages. This would be okay if the toddler turned the pages when you had finished reading them. Or if the toddler turned the pages in the right direction: ‘Hang on, just go back. I just want to look at…What’s that?’ Progress, which previously was merely excruciatingly slow, has now stalled altogether. In fact, you are going backwards.

9. When the end of the book is upon you at last (at least, you think it is – there is a head, a hand and a foot obscuring your view), answer questions about what happened in the book. So many questions that answering them amounts to telling the entire story again.

10. Repeat process with the other forty-nine books. Upon finally reaching the end of the pile, the toddler will bolt out of bed: ‘I just want to read one more book! I’ll just get it. Just one more book!’ The toddler will return with ten books. Realise that working on the toddler’s counting might be more useful than working on reading.

Toddler Latin for Beginners

mosaic-551307_1280Fancy learning a classical, dead, utterly ridiculous, and largely fake language? Look no further than Toddler Latin. Here, I introduce the key phrases of Toddler Latin for beginners in my Latin to Toddler Latin dictionary.

 
 
1.
(Latin) Carpe diem – Seize the day

(Toddler Latin) Carpe hairem – Seize the hair (and don’t let go)

 
2.
(Latin) Omnes viae Romam ducunt – All roads lead to Rome

(Toddler Latin) Omnes viae Peppa Pig ducunt – All roads lead to Peppa Pig

 
3.
(Latin) Veni, vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered

(Toddler Latin) Veni, vidi, shouti – I came, I saw, I yelled

 
4.
(Latin) Mea Culpa – My fault

(Toddler Latin) Mea soror culpa – My sister’s fault

 
5.
(Latin) Habeas corpus – (We command that) you bring forth the body

(Toddler Latin) Habeas biscuitus – (We command that) you bring forth the biscuits

 
6.
(Latin) Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware

(Toddler Latin) Caveat mater – Let the mother beware

 
7.
(Latin) Amor vincit omnia – Love conquers all things

(Toddler Latin) screamum vincit omnia – High pitched screaming conquers all things

 
8.
(Latin) Non ducor, duco – I am not led, I lead

(Toddler Latin) Non ducor, runo – I am not led, I am running away

 
9.
(Latin) Carpe noctem – Seize the night

(Toddler Latin) Carpe noctem – Seize the night (no one needs sleep)

 
10.
(Latin) Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am

(Toddler Latin) Cogito ergo sum tantrumum – I think, therefore I am having a tantrum

 
 

My Random Musings

History Explained for Toddlers

native-american-391108_1920Do you ever feel like you would like to impart some historical knowledge upon your toddlers, but struggle to explain significant events in history in terms they would understand? Fret no more: I present the definitive Guide to History for Toddlers.

 
1. Native Americans

You know when someone else has something you want, so you snatch it from them? And then you break it.

 
2. William Wallace

You know when you’re running half naked through the house, with something smeared all over your face, screaming, ‘You can take Peppa Pig away, but you’ll never take me up to bed!’

 
3. French Revolution

You know when you are surrounded by chaos, panic and disorder, but you’re just talking about eating cake?*

(*Yes, I know Marie Antoinette almost certainly never actually said ‘let them eat cake’.)

 
4. War of Independence

You know when you win a surprising victory against Mummy over something you want to do, but in hindsight it seems likely she was distracted by another battle going on with your sibling, and she wasn’t that motivated to stop you anyway?

 
5. Ancient Egyptians

You know when you worship the cat; one of your major methods of communication is drawing on the wall; and you like to construct massive and impressive structures in the living room, but no one is quite sure what they are for or why they have to be so big?

 
6. Gunpowder Plot

You know when you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing and you get caught? And actually someone else told you to do it, but they’re not there? Well, that, but the punishment was a bit more gruesome than the naughty step.

 
7. Great Fire of London

You know how you aren’t allowed to help with cooking? This is why.

 
8. Cold War

You know when you have your sister’s favourite toy and she has yours, and you are both threatening to break the respective toys if either of you makes a wrong move? Mutually assured destruction, baby.

 
9. First World War

You know when you’re engaged in a battle and you have absolutely no idea why, but nonetheless feel very strongly that you must fight and the destruction must be immense?

 
10. The Crusades

You know when you think everyone else should worship Peppa Pig as much as you do, so you start trying to force other people (who were happy worshipping Game of Thrones) to observe Peppa Pig? And you torture them with high pitched wailing if they resist.

How (Not) to Do the Supermarket With Toddlers

retail-1424043_1920Planning on navigating the supermarket with multiple toddlers? Read this handy guide first to ensure that you do not do it wrong. It would be embarrassing to do it wrong.

1. Be on foot with the pushchair, ensuring a trolley cannot be obtained. Pick up a basket.

2. Both toddlers will want to come out of the pushchair. This is not viable. Choose between two crying toddlers in the pushchair, or one crying toddler in the pushchair and one running free in the supermarket. In the latter case, there will still be two people crying, but the other one will be you.

3. If you have allowed one toddler to walk, spend a considerable amount of time explaining that she cannot carry a basket that is only marginally smaller than she is. She will be unable to grasp this concept. Hand her the basket in order to let her learn for herself. She will still be unable to grasp the concept. Pick up toddler from floor and untangle her from basket.

4. Realise that the pushchair containing the remaining toddler has been left within reach of the shelves. Remove five packets of fish food from toddler’s lap. Explain to now screaming toddler that the fish food was not biccys. Additionally explain – to even louder screams – that, no, she can’t get out of the pushchair.

5. Tell the free toddler to put down what she has picked up from the shelves whilst fish food was being removed from the captive toddler. Tell her that this instruction was not to enable her to have her hands free to pick something up from the next shelf.

6. Attempt to begin the actual shopping. Abandon it when the free toddler makes a break down the aisle. Attempt to catch the runaway toddler despite being hindered by running with a pushchair. Briefly consider whether leaving the pushchair in order to chase the now vanished running toddler would be acceptable. How likely is it that anyone would take the toddler in the chair? Appraise her. She is howling and trying to eat fish food. Conclude that it is probably not very likely, but that, having already misplaced one toddler, the correct protocol is certainly to keep hold of the one you still have. To misquote Oscar Wilde: ‘To lose one toddler may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.’

7. Catch errant toddler and threaten her with pushchair if she tries to run off again. The toddler will be unable to hear this threat as she is too busy running off again.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7. At this point, there are two options. The first is to force the runaway toddler into the pushchair, where she will join her sibling in howling. This will cause you to consider abandoning the shopping. But you really do need milk. The second is to create a ‘fun’ (and time consuming) game, involving the toddler searching for the shopping items and putting them in the basket. This will cause you to consider abandoning the shopping. But you really do need milk.

9. Juggling an increasingly heavy basket, a pushchair and an out of control toddler, contemplate how far away the milk, situated at the far end of the shop, is. Realise that, having made it to the milk, the entire length of the shop has to be navigated again to reach the tills. Decide that you do not really need milk. Head for the tills. Realise that nothing in your basket is as important as the milk you have decided not to bother to get, and therefore the whole shop could have been skipped. Nonetheless, having come this far, you are now buying the damn shopping. Except milk. Nothing is worth going to the other end of the shop.

10. Begin scanning items at the self service checkout. There will be a delay caused by an unexpected toddler in the bagging area. You will wonder why this is unexpected to the bagging area. It is quite predictable. It happens every time. The bagging area has a short memory. Wrestle toddler from bagging area into pushchair. Assure other toddler that she is not now getting out instead. Placate both for this injustice with promises of biccys/fish food as soon as the shopping is paid for.