From The Lists

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.

Toddler Rules of Grammar (Toddler Lessons: Part Eight)

51551bc6f8ec618e2d4a16f583e4019fIt is Toddler Lessons: Part Eight, and we are learning the toddler rules of grammar.

 
1. Interjections

Interjections are good. Toddlers use them as much as possible. In order to add that element of intrigue and suspense, toddlers like to use certain interjections – ‘oh dear’ and ‘oops’, mostly – with no further clarification, leaving nearby adults desperately trying to work out what the toddler has done/broken.

 
2. Pronouns

Pronouns are an all or nothing deal in toddler grammar. Initially, they should not be used at all. However, once introduced into the vocabulary, it is entirely acceptable to construct entire sentences out of just pronouns: ‘Hello, Mummy. The Baby thought you were you, but you’re not you, you’re you.’ Anyone who tells you this is a risky and confusing strategy should be ignored.

 
3. Superlative Adjectives

In toddler grammar, all adjectives are superlative. Preferably, the superlative adjectives used should be words that are not entirely correct, at least in formal English, like ‘bestest’ and ‘favouritest’. In order to make the superlative even more superlative, it is good practice to also add ‘most’. It is a matter of personal choice, of course, but this is the most bestest way to do it.

 
4. Double Negatives

There is nothing wrong with a double negative. Indeed, if possible, negatives should be triple or even quadruple: ‘I don’t never want to not never take it back.’

 
5. Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is seldom reached in toddler grammar. In fact, as with all areas of toddler life, there is a fair amount of disagreement between subjects and verbs. The subject and the verb are probably having a fight about who was playing with the adjective first.

 
6. Dependent Clauses

Dependent clauses can absolutely stand alone in toddler grammar: ‘Because of marmalade.’ There is really no need to bother with the part of the sentence that the clause was dependent on: people will work it out.

 
7. Conjunctions

It is, of course, a myth that a sentence cannot start with a conjunction. However, the toddler assertion that a sentence can end with a conjunction is more controversial: ‘Mummy, I was going to play with my bus, but.’ It is also perfectly permissible in toddler grammar to use conjunctions to join other conjunctions: ‘Mummy, when but but and and then so!’

 
8. Relative Clauses

In toddler grammar, defining relative clauses are avoided, as it just does not do to go around giving people essential information that they need in order to understand what is going on. Non-defining relative clauses, on the other hand, those providing information we just did not actually need, can go on for three years.

 
 

(Please Note: I apologise for any grammatical errors that may have appeared in this post about grammar. It was written by a toddler.)

 
 
You can see other posts in my Toddler Lessons series here

 
 

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

Toddler Herding: A Practical Guide

children-402166_1920Owners of toddlers will inevitably find themselves engaged in the difficult and noble art of toddler herding. Toddler herding is not for the faint-hearted, and should only be undertaken by trained professionals. The following rules must be heeded at all times.

 
1. The aim of toddler herding is to get one or more toddlers to the correct location and, preferably, trap them there.

 
2. Like cattle, toddler herds will stampede if herded wrongly, spooked, or just because they feel like it.

 
3. Unlike sheep, toddlers are not followers. Toddler herds will typically scatter in multiple directions.

 
4. The use of dogs to herd toddlers is not recommended. Dogs are not up to the task, and will usually find themselves herded, cornered and poked by the toddlers instead. Alternatively, the dogs will join in the toddler stampede.

 
5. Whistles tend to excite the toddler herd. Typically, the toddlers will briefly return in order to attempt to snatch the whistle. Having either seized the whistle or accepted failure in obtaining the whistle, the toddler herd will immediately scatter again.

 
6. The first method of toddler herding is to tell the toddlers where you want them to go. This will not be successful.

 
7. From this point, gentle guidance should be attempted, in the form of hand holding. This has a maximum success period of 30 seconds before a break for freedom will be made. In the case of two toddlers, one toddler will hold hands as instructed. The other toddler will run in the most unsuitable direction possible. The toddler who was holding hands will break free during the attempt to retrieve the other one. She will run in the opposite direction to that taken by the first toddler. In fact, it is not usually possible to be in possession of more than one toddler at a time. This is a major problem with toddler herding.

 
8. If a successful method of temporarily rounding up the toddler herd is found, such as by using a whistle, there is an opportunity to use a difficult, advanced technique, known as the grab. The grab can only be implemented on one toddler. If you are herding multiple toddlers, you will need to pick one, and let the others go. Some people may suggest picking your favourite but, for the reasons that follow, it is best to pick the smallest. The grab is a risky and dangerous manoeuvre. Toddler herds are slippery and wriggly. Upon initial grabbing, the toddler is likely to scream and yell as though being tortured. Should you hold on despite fears of the imminent arrival of Social Services, the grabbed toddler will turn to violence and writhing. Ultimately, the captive toddler will resort to The Plank.

 
9. Stragglers are common in toddler herding. In fact, it is not unusual for all toddlers present to be stragglers, and none to actually be in the herd.

 
10. Following the abject failure of all herding techniques attempted, only two options will remain. The first is to simply leave the toddlers behind and see whether they have any homing skills. The second, and more acceptable and widely used, method is to lure the toddlers into pushchair/house/cage with a trail of chocolate/raisins. Those with some experience of toddler herding tend to employ this technique from the outset.

 
 
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.

Toddler Photography (Toddler Lessons: Part Seven)

fotagrafin-263381_1280Welcome to Part Seven of the Toddler Lessons series, where we will be looking at toddler photographic techniques.

 
1. Subject Matter

When you find a subject that works, such as a knee, stick with it. Take three million identical photos of the knee. Do not mess with a winning formula. The aim should be to create a series of photographs that would work as a flick book. A really dull one. A flick book of a day in the life of a knee.

Controversy sells, and it therefore pays to be as inappropriate as possible with your subject matter. Extreme close ups of family members’ breasts and crotches are ideal.

 
2. Composition

It is important to have an interesting and unusual viewpoint, as these add intrigue to a photograph. Photographs taken whilst face down on the carpet are perfect examples of this.

Correct placement of the main subject of the photograph is important. Achieving the right balance between different elements can be tricky. The simplest method, as advocated by toddler photographers, is to miss the subject of the photograph out altogether, thus negating the need for balance.

Plain and unobtrusive backgrounds are very important in photography, in order to avoid detracting from the main subject matter. So important are such backgrounds that, should a nice plain piece of wall be located, it should probably be photographed alone. Avoid detracting from the plain and unobtrusive background with any subject matter.

 
3. Motion

Capturing motion in photographs is a difficult skill. Toddler photographers recommend approaching it with the utmost zeal and commitment to the idea of motion: ensure that the subject, photographer and camera are all moving as much as possible.

 
4. Flash

The use of flash should be as startling as possible, particularly to the photographer.

 
5. Focus

This should be either entirely lacking or completely bizarre. Think out of focus family with crystal clear raisin box on coffee table.

 
6. Filters

Filters placed in front of the camera lens to modify and subtly alter the image are frequently used by toddler photographers. The most popular toddler photographic filter is known as ‘the finger’. ‘The finger’ subtly modifies images so that they display a subtle hint of finger.

 
7. Special Effects

These should be applied completely randomly, with no thought for aesthetics. A sepia toned radiator gives a vintage look to modern central heating. A bin with artfully blurred edges is always a winning composition.

 
8. Exhibitions

Every good photographer needs an exhibit. ‘Study in Patch of Beige Carpet’ should do it.

 
9. Panoramic Photography

Panoramic photography is so last year. Toddler photographers in the know now practice twirloramic photography. Twirloramic photography is a technique involving the spinning of a camera in a circle in order to capture a 360 degree image. The effect is widely admired as ‘dizzying’, ‘vomit-inducing’ and ‘blurry’.

 
10. Water Drop Photography

Some absurdly clueless adult photographers believe this is taking photographs of drops of water. Toddler photographers smugly mock this ignorance, whilst following the correct technique of dropping the camera in water.

 
 

(Please Note: As always, neither I nor toddlers know much about this subject. Please do not drop a camera in water.)

 
 
You can see other posts in my Toddler Lessons series 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.

The Toddlers: STILL Supporting Brexit?

eu-1473958_1920Following the utter disaster, sorry, outcome of the EU Referendum, I’m sure many of you are wondering if The Toddlers are still Brexit supporters, and how they are dealing with the fallout.

Unfortunately, the signs continue to point to The Toddlers being firmly in the Brexit camp.

 
1. Having cried, shouted and stamped their feet because they wanted their toy dinosaurs, they are both now refusing to touch or do anything with said dinosaurs. God help anyone who suggests that maybe we should accept that we don’t really want the dinosaurs and just put them away, though. They wanted those dinosaurs, damn it. It is their right to have those dinosaurs. It is not relevant that the dinosaurs no longer seem like a good idea, and they aren’t quite sure what to do with them.

 
2. The toddlers look pleased with themselves. This is usually a fairly accurate sign of impending doom.

 
3. The Toddlers have made a few decisions based on dodgy information supplied by a not very trustworthy stuffed crocodile. These decisions have turned out to be a little questionable. The Toddlers are not admitting this.

 
4. The Toddlers had claimed that Mummy was giving £350 million biscuits a week to Daddy. They wanted these biscuits redirecting to their bellies. It has since transpired that The Toddlers may have miscalculated slightly. There may not have been £350 million biscuits. The Toddlers have since denied making the claim altogether. They are currently denying ever having heard of biscuits.

 
5. The Toddlers like to tell Mummy that they want to be in charge, they know what they are doing, and Mummy should go away. Upon getting their way, The Toddlers tend to ask Mummy to come back and take charge again.

 
6. The Toddlers have been very angry and indignant about perceived injustices. The Toddlers perceive many injustices: everyone is out to get them. In the cold light of day, it turns out that The Toddlers may have misunderstood the situation slightly. This may have been the result of not listening.

 
7. The Toddlers like someone to blame. They are not particularly concerned with whether they are blaming the right person. So far today Mummy has been to blame for the weather, something Peppa Pig did, and blue. As such, The Toddlers have voted to leave Mummy.

 
8. The Toddlers’ currency is raisins. The value of their currency took a steep decline this morning after they ate it on a whim.

 
9. The Big Toddler feels that, though her decision to swing a wooden crocodile through the air has smacked the Little Toddler in the face and hurt her, that isn’t really her problem. She doesn’t feel that she should be accountable. She doesn’t accept that she had any responsibility to consider the potential consequences of swinging a wooden crocodile through the air before doing it. It was her right to swing a wooden crocodile through the air, and she believes it was in her best interests to do so. She believes that the Little Toddler should stop whining about being smacked in the face by a wooden crocodile, accept that she lost, and get over it.

 
10. The Toddlers are currently denying the existence of their ELC Toy Box Musical Adventure Bus. Photographic evidence of them with the bus notwithstanding, they both claim never to have seen it.

 
 
(Once again, these may, in fact, all be signs that certain grown adults are behaving like toddlers, rather than that The Toddlers are supporting Brexit.)

 
 
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.

How Parents of Babies and Toddlers Are Bad for the Environment

smoke-258786_1920It has come to my attention that parents of babies and toddlers are perhaps just a little bit bad for the environment. Or maybe it’s just me. Either way, here are my ten reasons why.

 
1. Disposable nappies

I think this one speaks for itself. There are nappies. So many nappies. Admittedly cloth nappies are available. Environmentally responsible people use these. For the rest of us, there are just two issues with that idea: (1) see point 4; and (2) no, just no.

 
2. Everything is plastic

Everything. Everything in the whole house. The endless toys, obviously. But it’s worse than that. It’s the cups, the plates, the bowls, the cutlery, the coasters, the place mats. Things that used to exist in non-plastic varients are now non-breakable plastic. Of course, as well as non-breakable, it’s non-biodegradable.

 
3. Paper napkins

Well, who hasn’t ever entertained the children by giving them paper napkins to play with in cafes and restaurants? Children are easily entertained. Yes, the rainforests are a worry. It’s just that, well, being glared at for having badly behaved children is also a worry. There is a variation on this activity involving the provision of straws (or ‘wands’ as the children believe them to be). This is no better: see number 2.

 
4. Washing machines

The washing. The washing is endless. Particularly when you forget to dry it and have to wash it again.

 
5. Boiling the kettle

Apparently, one should avoid repeatedly boiling the kettle, as that is bad for energy consumption and the environment. Yes, sorry about that. The correct number of boils to time to cups of tea made ratio for parents of babies and toddlers is: boiled ten times in four hours, no tea made. Before you conclude parents are solely responsible for climate change, it should be noted that, on at least three of the occasions the kettle is ‘boiled’, they will have forgotten to plug it in. Every little helps.

 
6. Wipes

Baby wipes are not good for the environment. We’re so terribly sorry. But did you know how bloody amazing they are? You can use them for pretty much anything. And we do.

 
7. Drawing

Back to the rainforests here. This time all the drawing paper that received one tiny crayon mark before being declared ‘finished’. It’s not always quite as bad as it sounds: sometimes there is a tiny crayon mark on the other side too. Parents can try to mitigate the impact of this one by presenting the barely marked paper as ‘fresh’ paper at the next drawing session. Sadly, toddlers are experts at detecting tiny crayon marks on a piece of paper: ‘It’s dirty!’
‘Turn it over then.’
‘This side’s dirty too!’ Bugger.

 
8. Food waste

They just don’t eat it. But it really isn’t considered acceptable to stop serving your children food because they won’t eat it (despite eating this exact meal three days ago/asking for it 20 minutes ago). Parents’ hands are really tied on this one. Sometimes the issue is compounded by the making of further food that does not get eaten in a futile attempt to get the children to eat something. Again, I really must reiterate in our defence that feeding your children is considered to be the done thing, and not an optional element of parenting.

 
9. Noise pollution

No, sorry, we can’t make it stop. Yes, it is annoying. Yes, and loud. No, we don’t know why they’re making that noise. We think they like it. Yes, we know you don’t like it.

 
10. Excessive battery consumption

This is really VTech’s fault.

Are The Toddlers (*Gasp*) Brexit Supporters?

europe-253311_1280As a firm EU ‘Remain’ supporter, I am becoming increasingly concerned that The Toddlers may, in fact, be Brexit sympathisers. There are clear signs to support this theory.

 
1. The Toddlers are always very upset when other toddlers, toddlers who are not them, come over here and take their toys. Even if they didn’t want the toy and were playing with something else. Even if the toy was not, in fact, theirs.

 
2. The Toddlers are not happy about Mummy taking away their sovereignty. They feel that Mummy is constantly telling them what they can and can’t do. They believe that they should be in charge of their own decision making. Toddler rule for toddler people!

The Toddlers feel this way despite all the benefits and assistance they receive from Mummy.

The Toddlers also feel this way despite the lack of any realistic plan for how they would manage on their own.

 
3. The Toddlers object to anyone who wishes to impose regulations, however sensible, upon them. They are sick of all these directives about wearing two shoes, not playing in the traffic, not chewing on the cat… It’s just endless, ridiculous restrictions and red tape.

 
4. The Toddlers have a slight tendency to make up ‘facts’. The entirely fabricated nature of what they are saying in no way undermines the passion with which they are saying it.

 
5. The Toddlers are opposed to being told that they can not discriminate against people on unreasonable grounds. The Toddlers enjoy discriminating against people for no good reason. The Toddlers consider it their prerogative to refuse to speak to people, and indeed to ban them from the premises, on grounds including, but not limited to: having a beard, not having a beard, not liking their shoes, not liking their buttons, not liking their elbow, disapproving of their orientation (i.e. they’re standing in the wrong place), race issues (i.e. they outran the toddlers), smelliness, and just simply ‘NO’.

 
6. Despite The Toddlers’ desire to restrict the movement of other people into their territory (because they are not willing to share their toys), The Toddlers themselves intend to continue to move freely into others’ territories. The Toddlers do not see anything wrong with this policy. (Upon arrival in someone else’s territory, The Toddlers like to speak loudly to the ‘natives’, demand to be provided with their favourite foods, and recreate an environment that looks exactly like the one they just left.)

 
7. The Toddlers rarely care if no one agrees with them, and the actual evidence is not exactly in their favour: they are still right, and they are going to stamp their feet.

 
8. The Toddlers sometimes feel very suspicious of random people. They are not sure why, but they are very sure those people are suspicious and should be made to leave. The Toddlers will change who they are suspicious of on a whim.

 
9. The Toddlers have a vague sense that the world should be revolving around them because they are very important. They are not entirely able to justify this opinion, but are prepared to shout very loudly about it.

 
10. Frankly, The Toddlers won’t stand for anyone wanting to mess with their bananas. Even though no one is actually trying to mess with their bananas, the toddlers remain wary and indignant.

 
 
Or perhaps these are simply signs that Boris Johnson is behaving like a toddler? That could be it.

 
 
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.

 
 

Cuddle Fairy

Parenting Never Have I Ever

tea-1105113_1920Who knows the drinking game Never Have I Ever? Each person states something they have never ever done, and anyone playing who has done that takes a drink.

Who wants to play parenting Never Have I Ever? Below are twenty never have I ever statements. For each one you have done as a parent, you should take a drink. This is the parenting version, remember, so that drink should be a sip of cold tea. Everyone ready?

 
1. Never have I ever… Sniffed a bum in public.

2. Never have I ever… Sucked snot from a nose.

3. Never have I ever… Pretended to be a cabbage in Costa coffee because my toddler was putting ‘magic spells’ on me (with a straw).

4. Never have I ever… Cleaned sick off an entire outfit with a baby wipe instead of changing it.

5. Never have I ever… Done the above with my own outfit.

6. Never have I ever… Read every other page of a book on the tenth reading of it that day in order to finish it faster, since they’re not listening anyway (despite demanding it must be read).

7. Never have I ever… Said, ‘You are to come here by the time I count to three. One…two…two and a half…three…Right, I’m going to count to three again. If you don’t come here by THIS count of three, you’ll be going on the naughty step. One…two…two and one sixteenth…two and two sixteenths…’

8. Never have I ever… Called a top and leggings a dress and ‘special tights’ to get a dress-obsessed toddler to wear it.

9. Never have I ever… Pretended to have lost all copies of Cinderella and Peppa Pig, and to have never heard of Topsy and Tim at all.

10. Never have I ever… Hidden the Lego.

11. Never have I ever… Been sent to the naughty step by my toddler.

12. Never have I ever… Answered queries about getting the play doh out with, ‘Que? No hablo ingles.’

13. Never have I ever… Upgraded the status of raisins from ‘dried grapes’ to ‘magical bribes’.

14. Never have I ever… Answered the phone with, ‘Hello? Yes…(No, it’s not Grandad – shh!)…Sorry, could you repeat that…(Shh!)…Sorry, what…(NO YOU CAN’T SPEAK TO GRANDAD! IT’S NOT GRANDAD – IT’S THE OPTICIAN!)’

15. Never have I ever… Sung any song from Mary Poppins in a public place. Whilst marching.

16. Never have I ever… Informed my toddler that he can’t cuddle a pigeon.

17. Never have I ever… Informed a pigeon that it can’t cuddle my toddler.

18. Never have I ever… Occupied my child by giving her a baby wipe/receipt/empty wrapper to play with.

19. Never have I ever… Wondered why I ever bothered to buy any toys, when my child loves her baby wipe/receipt/empty wrapper the most.

20. Never have I ever… Presented my children with a clearly possessed, evil-looking doll that moves during the night, and told them, ‘It’s a fun family Christmas game: please stop screaming.’

 
Right, everyone managed to drink an entire cup of cold tea? You’re welcome.

 
 

(If anyone is wondering, I have done some of these, not all. I’ll let you guess which ones.)

The Dear God of Why Won’t You *#?!!**#! Go to Sleep: Mythological Toddlers

256px-Mårten_Eskil_Winge_-_Tor's_Fight_with_the_Giants_-_Google_Art_ProjectWe all know the stories of some of the most famous figures in mythology, but have you ever wondered what they were like in their early years? Of course you haven’t. You’re a sane person with a busy life. You haven’t wondered. You didn’t ask. Nevertheless, I present a probably (*ahem*) accurate account of the toddler years of some mythological greats.

 
 
1. Narcissus

Narcissus was ultimately lured to a pool by Nemesis, where he fell in love with his own reflection. Unable to tear himself away, he stared at his beauty in the water until he died.

As a toddler, Narcissus could be found in TK Maxx, kissing his reflection in all the mirrors. Attempts to extract him were unsuccessful until bribery with biscuits was mentioned.

 
2. Odysseus

Odysseus was best known for his ten year journey to return to Ithaca following the Trojan War.

However, Odysseus was already no stranger to epic journeys. As a toddler, it would often take him two days to journey from the sofa to the front door, in order to comply with his mother’s wishes that he put his bloody shoes on so that they could leave the bloody house.

 
3. Pandora

Pandora, the first mortal woman, opened a jar out of curiosity and released all the evils of mankind upon the world.

The young Pandora trained for her eventual fate by opening a jar of sudocrem, releasing the evils of irremovable white gunk upon the carpet, sofas, baby and cat.

 
4. Orpheus

When Orpheus’ wife, Eurydices, died, he travelled to the Underworld to retrieve her. Hades and Persephone agreed to allow Eurydices to return, on condition that Orpheus walk in front of her and not look back until they both reached the upper world. Upon reaching the upper world himself, Orpheus forgot that he must not look back and looked at Eurydices, causing her to vanish back to the Underworld forever.

Orpheus had, in fact, struggled with the concept of not looking since early childhood. As a toddler, he was rubbish at hide and seek, telling Mummy where to hide and then looking before she even had a chance to reach her pre-agreed hiding place. Fortunately, Mummy never vanished into the Underworld, though she did on occasion hide in the bathroom to avoid further games of hide and seek.

 
5. Minos

As an adult, Minos made sacrifices to a Minotaur he had contained within a labyrinth.

As a toddler, early trials were conducted, consisting of attempts to contain the cat with Lego, before sending a baby sibling to investigate.

 
6. Sisyphus

Destined as an adult to spend eternity repeatedly rolling a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down again, toddler Sisyphus could be found pursuing the futile task of trying to pick up ten balls at once, repeatedly dropping a ball already in his arms in each attempt to pick up another ball.

 
7. Demeter

Searching relentlessly for her abducted daughter Persephone, Demeter plunged the world into an eternal winter, in which all living things began to die, and the threat of the extinction of all life on Earth loomed.

The incident had its roots in the famous ‘Where’s Peppa, I Want Peppa NOW Tantrum’ of Demeter’s toddlerhood. Following the misplacement of her favourite Peppa Pig figurine, toddler Demeter plunged the living room into an eternal tantrum, in which Mummy’s patience began to die, and the threat of Baby Sister receiving a smack round the head with a toy stethoscope loomed.

 
8. Thor

Thor was a hammer-wielding god, associated with thunder, lightening and the protection of mankind.

In his early years, he was a hammer-wielding toddler, associated with tantrums, banging and the destruction of the living room.

 
9. Midas

As an adult, everything Midas touched turned to gold.

Midas possessed a version of this power even as a toddler, when everything he touched turned to broken pieces (or became inexplicably sticky).

 
10. Hypnos

Hypnos was, of course, the God of Sleep.

However, this was a position he obtained later in life. In his toddler years, Hypnos was actually the Dear God of Why Won’t You *#?!!**#! Go to Sleep?!

 
 

Life, Love and Dirty Dishes

Freudian Psychology (Toddler Lessons: Part Six)

sigmund-freud-1153858_1280Welcome to Part Six of the Toddler Lessons series. Today we are studying Freudian Psychology.

 
Even if we ignore the Freudian slips (head in hands anyone whose toddler doesn’t say ‘clock’ when they mean to – that ‘l’ is awol every time), toddlers really nail the basics of Freudian psychology.

 
1. Psychoanalysis

(A therapy technique founded by Freud, involving the patient talking freely to describe exactly what is in his mind.)

 
Toddlers are fans of psychoanalysis. Mothers and fathers are forced daily into the role of psychotherapist by toddlers intent on telling the unfortunate parents absolutely every thought they have, as it happens.

 
2. Repression

(The process by which, according to Freud, unpleasant and traumatic events were often locked away in the unconscious mind.)

 
Repression is a common theme of toddler households. Parents of toddlers have typically repressed quite a lot. Every meal time. The current state of the living room. The time they received a bogey as a ‘gift’. What happened in M&S last Wednesday.

Toddlers, meanwhile, have repressed every instruction or request ever spoken by their parents. Being told ‘no’ is very traumatic, it must be relegated immediately to the unconscious mind.

 
3. Hysteria

(A condition used to describe patients displaying physical symptoms without physical cause.)

 
Toddlers are frequently found to be exhibiting symptoms of hysteria. Like, for example, throwing themselves on the floor, kicking and screaming, for no apparent reason.

 
4. Free Association

(A therapeutic technique encouraging patients to relate whatever comes into their minds, without too much concentration or any idea of where the conversation may go.)

 
Toddlers are excellent at free association. It enables them to get from ‘where’s my wand’ to ‘Grandma likes custard’ in no moves.

 
5. Your Mother

In Freudian psychology everything is, of course, famously about your mother.

For toddlers? Well: ‘Mummy…Mummy…Mummy…Mum…Mummy…Mummy…Mum…Mummy…MUUUUMMMMY!’
Moving on.

 
6. The Human Psyche

According to Freudian psychology, the human psyche is divided into the id (basic impulses, unconscious, pleasure driven), the super-ego (moral compass), and the ego (the balance between the id and the super-ego, the rational element). In a conflict between the id and the super-ego, the ego serves as the referee.

For toddlers, in a conflict between the id and the super-ego, the id beats the super-ego repeatedly with a stick, whilst the ego takes a nap. The result is the toddler’s decision to continue doing whatever he wants, regardless of consequences or social niceties. (This makes sense, of course, The id is, after all, the childlike element of the psyche. Toddlers are inexplicably childlike.)

 
7. Dreams

Freud believed dreams were about wish fulfilment.

Toddlers do not agree that dreams are about wish fulfilment. Toddlers have parents for that. Mummy will fulfill the wish of more biscuits if Mummy doesn’t want toddler shrieking to haunt her dreams.

 
8. Transference

(Unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another.)

 
Toddlers display transference quite a lot, though it usually relates to requests more than feelings, and it’s entirely conscious. Typically, a request that has been denied by Mummy in transferred to Daddy. If denied by Daddy, the request may be transferred to grandparents, baby siblings, or random strangers on the street.

 
 

(Please Note: You may have analysed me carefully throughout this post and concluded I do not know much about Freudian psychology. You would be right. I blame my mother.)

 
 
You can see other posts in my Toddler Lessons series here

 
 

My Random Musings

Game Show Skills Acquired by Parents of Toddlers

Richard-OBrien-Crystal-MazeParents of toddlers: without realising it, you have been receiving crack training to compete in, and win, a variety of game and panel shows.

Here are your newly acquired game show strengths. Go forth and make your fortunes/win a fridge freezer.

 
 
1. The Generation Game

You may not be aware that tidying up toddlers’ toys provides perfect training for The Generation Game‘s conveyor belt. Every night is essentially the conveyor belt, as you desperately try to recall what toys there should be in order to hunt them down and return them to their proper place: ‘Ball…Peppa Pig figures…Four tea cups…A spatula…Four spoons…A frying pan…A kettle…CUDDLY TOY…A stethoscope…A thermometer…A reflex hammer….Six dinosaurs…A bus…CUDDLY TOY…Baby doll…Lego, so much Lego…Two wands…Dominoes…Princess Holly…Nanny Plum…Gaston the ladybird…WHERE’S GASTON THE LADYBIRD??’ Your prize for remembering all the toys on the conveyor belt of mess is not getting a George Pig figure up your arse when you sit on your sofa.

 
2. The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze poses no challenge to you, the parents of toddlers. Why, just this morning, you negotiated an obstacle course of Lego, walked the balance beam of the back of the sofa, and stood precariously on one foot on a shelf in order to reach a small plastic pig that was somehow on top of the DVD tower. Throughout this challenge, you were receiving massively unhelpful ‘assistance’ screamed at you by your teammates/toddlers. Essentially, this is The Crystal Maze: completing ridiculous physical challenges to obtain a pointless object, while people you hold fully responsible for your ordeal yell ‘help’ at you.

 
3. Call My Bluff

This is most of your day when dealing with toddlers: only one thing in every three you tell them is actually true, and the question is whether they can work out which it is.

 
4. Knightmare

Parents of toddlers spend much of their time receiving incomprehensible instructions from excitable children, the following of which tends to achieve very little except for a likely collision with some kind of obstacle. This is basically the format of Knightmare. Parents of toddlers: you are ready.

 
5. Mastermind

Extensive knowledge of an obscure and ridiculous topic? Yes, toddler parents, you have that covered. Not by your own free will, mind you, but covered nonetheless.
‘What is your specialist subject?’
‘Ahem……(*mumbles*)’
‘Speak up, please.’
‘Nanny Plum’s various magic spells for creating far too much jelly, custard, ice cream and other squidgy desserts.’
You will, however, be confused by ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’. The concept of finishing a sentence (or task, or cup of tea) will not be one you are able to grasp.

 
6. Give Us a Clue

Deciphering the meaning of some frantic hand gestures and a bit of foot stamping, unaccompanied by any actual words? An average Tuesday for the toddler parent, and preparation for a Give Us a Clue winning streak.

 
7. Gladiators

Nobody is better than a parent of toddlers at successfully crossing a space while avoiding missiles being pelted at their head. Furthermore, running the gauntlet is actually the accepted method for parents to successfully make it from the living room to the kitchen. Wolf and Jet would have been eating the dust of toddler parents.

 
8. Scrapheap Challenge

As a toddler parent, you complete a miniature version of this contest daily, being expected to build a working toy from the gathered scraps of toy presented by your toddler.

 
9. I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue

Essentially, this game involves performing a variety of silly tasks for the amusement of the gathered audience, while frankly not having a clue what’s going on. Toddler parents, you are so adept at this game, you can probably not have a clue in your sleep.

 
10. University Challenge

Strangely, spending time with toddlers is not unlike competing on University Challenge. You will be incessantly asked questions you don’t know the answer to, mostly put to you in a rude and mocking tone. These will be followed by additional bonus questions you also don’t know the answers to, delivered even more rudely than before. Admittedly, you have probably not been equipped to actually win University Challenge, but you would certainly be able to withstand Jeremy Paxman without crying.

Fairy Tales – I Demand Answers

hempsted1-1I have made an error. I have started to try to apply logic to fairy tales, and now I have a few questions. Not least, why did I not think there was anything odd about these stories as a child?

Cinderella

1. What size are Cinderella’s feet that, of all the maidens in the land, the glass slipper only fits her foot? My shoes would probably fit twenty other women just on my street. (Funny story: Prince William meant to marry Sharon, who he met down the Student Union one night. Sharon sadly passed out in the toilet and got taken home by her mate Denise before Wills could get her name. However, he did find one of her Louboutins, kicked off for whatever reason drunk people feel the need to remove their shoes, and set about tracking down the fair maiden/drunk student to whom it belonged. Unfortunately, Sharon had a very common shoe size and there was a terrible misunderstanding. I digress.)

2. In any case, why didn’t the glass slipper vanish at midnight like everything else the fairy godmother magicked up?

Snow White

3. If the wicked step mother wanted proof that Snow White had been killed, why didn’t she ask for her head, not her heart? A head is a much more identifying feature. If only she’d asked for the head, she would have instantly suspected the huntsman had, in fact, killed a deer.

The Princess and the Pea

4. Why does identifying a pea under fifty mattresses prove someone is a princess? Moreover, if that ‘skill’ is indeed evidence of being a real princess, why did no one think to stick a pea under all those women claiming to be Anastasia Nikolaevna?

Rapunzel

5. Why was the prince bringing Rapunzel a small piece of silk each night with which to weave a ladder, thus ensuring her escape was so slow Dame Gothel found out? Why didn’t he bring a large piece of rope the first night and get on with it? Admittedly, he may not have expected Rapunzel to be so foolish as to tell Dame Gothel. However, it’s a fairy tale – surely he could have banked on everyone being a complete idiot, and taken precautions? (Perhaps he was hindered by being a character in a fairy tale, and thus a complete idiot.)

Hansel and Gretel

6. Hansel and Gretel overheard their parents discussing leaving them in the woods, so Hansel devised a cunning plan to allow them…to return to their parents. The ones who had worked really hard to lose them. How did they think that was going to work out?

7. Furthermore, why, when Hansel’s first plan led to the predictable outcome of them being abandoned in the woods again, did Hansel proceed to come up with the same plan, but stupider?

8. Most importantly, their father apparently loved the children and did not want to go along with the stepmother’s plan (twice, he went along with it twice). The stepmother’s plan, you may recall, was formulated due to the fact that they could not afford to feed all of the family. No one, least of all Hansel and Gretel, ever appears to have questioned why, given the key facts that he couldn’t afford to feed all of the family, he loved his children, and his wife was a callous old bat, the father didn’t dump the wife instead of the kids. That would also have reduced the mouths to feed.

Sleeping Beauty

9. Having put everyone to sleep, the good fairy summons a forest of thorns and brambles to shield the castle and prevent anyone from disturbing the princess. What? Why would she do that? Someone was meant to disturb the princess. The whole point of the counter-curse to make her sleep instead of die was so that the prince could disturb her: why are we making this difficult? Anyone?

Rumpelstiltskin

10. Apparently, following the final night of gold spinning, the girl was married to the king the next day and a year later gave birth to a baby, but had forgotten her promise to Rumpelstiltskin. Of course. A year is a long time. Who hasn’t forgotten when their idiot mother/father (depends on the version) offered them to a sadistic king to perform the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, a task which was actually achieved by a small, magical man for the bargain price of their first born child. Could easily slip your mind. Nine months of pregnancy, no little niggle in the back of her mind: ‘Something about babies…my baby…giving someone my baby? No, it’s no use – it’s gone.’ Completely plausible.

Toddler Proverbs

cat-20688_1920Not many people know, but toddlers love a good proverb. Obviously, I am aware that many of you turn to R is for Hoppit for our aspirational lifestyle guidance. As such, I felt it was my duty to compile this list of ten pieces of proverbial wisdom toddlers in the know swear by.

 
1. Two wrongs…are just the start.

 
2. Cleanliness is next to impossible.

 
3. Fortune favours the downright cheeky

 
4. Never look an angry cat in the mouth.

 
5. A watched mummy will eventually provide biscuits. Really stare.

 
6. If it ain’t broke, try harder.

 
7. Too many toddlers spoil the sofa.

 
8. Good things come to those who demand them. NOW.

 
9. If you play with fire, you’ll get burned. Like the last time. And the time before that.

 
10. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (i.e. slap each other).

The Toddler West

Gird_block_tombstoneIf toddler settlers have arrived at your house, you are probably experiencing frontier expansion. Like the frontiersmen of the Wild West, Toddler settlers believe in Manifest Destiny. Everything is theirs, just waiting for them to stake their claim. As such, toddler frontiersmen push forward, seizing rooms and property from the native parents of the house. Welcome to the Toddler West.

 
1. Cat Drives

In a similar, though not entirely identical, endeavour to that of the settlers of the Wild West, toddler frontiersmen frequently engage in cat driving (no, that isn’t written wrongly). Toddler cowboys (catboys), riding broomsticks, make valiant attempts to herd the cat into the frontier lands. Cat herding, however, is a difficult job. The cats, taking refuge behind the sofa, often have to be left behind as the quest for new settlements continues.

Some extremely foolish toddler settlers set themselves up as cat rustlers. Attempts to rustle cats who have already been subjected to toddler herding are not advisable.

 
2. The Gold Rush

The gold rush is as popular with toddler settlers as it was with the settlers of the West. Transient communities of toddlers spring up around shiny items. These communities are greed driven and prone to violence. Once the shiny items reserves have been depleted (eaten/lost under the sofa), the settlements are deserted. The toddlers move on to the next room, leaving a ghost town – littered with the remnants of toddler life (Lego, mostly) – in the living room.

 
3. Tending the Land

In the early days of the West, frontiersmen tended to farm their land poorly, abandoning settlements once the land was ruined. Toddler settlers employ similar methods, destroying rooms and moving on.

 
4. Law and Order

Toddler frontier settlements, like those of the Wild West, are often lawless. Parental sheriffs frequently lack authority in the face of toddlers armed with an abundance of weapons (Lego, mostly).

All toddlers settlers are, of course, outlaws. Toddlers have never heard a rule they can’t ignore. Seriously, they never heard a rule. They were shouting at the time.

The frequency of duelling and brawling in the Wild West is often suggested to have been exaggerated. The frequency of duelling and brawling in toddler frontier settlements has not been exaggerated.

Toddler highwaymen are a constant threat to baby siblings carrying treasure (Lego, mostly).

The bandits of the Wild West frequently robbed banks and trains. Toddler bandits take train robbery very literally, making off with the whole train (bonus points if a sibling was playing with it at the time).

 
5. Disease

Much like the settlers of the American West, toddler frontiersmen have an unfortunate habit of transmitting disease to the native occupants (parents) of their settled lands.

 
6. Squatters

As in the Wild West, Squatters are rife on the toddler frontier. Toddler squatters are commonly found in parents’ bedrooms, on the living room floor at bedtime, and in bathrooms other people are trying to use.

 
7. Gunslinging

The gunslingers of the Wild West have their parallels in the dangerous raisinslingers of the Toddler West. Raisinslingers stalk the toddler streets, brandishing boxes of raisins. With their quick draw and keen aim, raisinslingers are able riddle entire rooms with their small, squishy bullets.

 
8. Wand Fight at the O.K. Corral

The settlement of Toddlerstone is, of course, known for the notorious Wand Fight at the O.K. Corral. The famed toddler stand off left multiple toddlers pretending to have been turned into frogs.

 
 

Mumzilla