I have come to the dawning realisation that I am being tortured.
It’s being done entirely inadvertently and very lovingly, of course, but these are twenty bona fide methods of torture my toddlers have actually used on me.
1. Chinese Water Torture
Okay, so they don’t drip water onto Mummy’s forehead (that has not occurred to them). They surreptitiously drip it onto the sofa until the seat is entirely saturated. The end result of insanity is the same.
2. Starvation and Force Feeding
Impressively, the toddlers are able to carry out these methods of torture simultaneously. All food belonging to Mummy is immediately commandeered by the toddlers. Mummy is not allowed to eat. Except when attempts are being made to force feed her pieces of her own food, which may or may not have now been chewed (that may be a whole new method of torture).
3. Sensory Deprivation
Mummy spends quite a lot of the day trying to free her head from various blankets, boxes and items of clothing. Peekaboo is not a voluntary activity around here: Mummy hides when the toddlers say so. Mummy is deemed to be hiding when the toddlers have covered her head.
Mummy is also unable to hear anything besides the screeching. All other sounds are but distant memories.
Due to a serious misunderstanding, this is what the toddlers believe the reflex hammer in the toy doctor’s kit is for. Due to an even more serious misunderstanding, the toddlers believe any hard (preferably wooden) object is a reasonable replacement for the toy reflex hammer in an emergency. The toddlers believe that the reflex hammer being temporarily misplaced under the sofa when there is a parental leg in need of whacking is an emergency.
5. The Rack
Two (or more) toddlers are a rack: they’re both pulling Mummy, they’re going in opposite directions, neither is letting go. The toddler who dislocates a shoulder first wins.
Also known as ‘sitting on Mummy’ and ‘bouncing on Mummy’.
The toddlers attempt this, with gravity as their accomplice, by attaching themselves to Mummy’s thigh as she tries to walk.
8. Music Torture
Have you heard the Peppa Pig theme tune? No more needs to be said.
The toddlers use the threat of noisy public meltdowns to great effect to extort extra raisins from Mummy.
10. Sound Torture
It really isn’t their fault: loud and high pitched is their only setting.
11. Sleep Deprivation
In all fairness, neither toddler currently uses this method. However, it was favoured by both for well over a year, and combined to great effect with sound torture (the high pitched sound in question being that of a child who has not agreed to this cot thing and certainly will not be remaining in it).
12. Stress Position
The large amount of weight is one or two climbing toddlers. They firmly believe that anyone who has crouched into a squatting position will really benefit from a child standing on each thigh.
This means something slightly different to toddler torturers. Attempting to screw your thumbs into Mummy’s eyes, mostly. It is not enough to simply know what eyes are when asked, it is necessary to further demonstrate that understanding by poking them. Of course, in fairness, the toddlers don’t always target Mummy – sometimes they poke themselves in the eyes. Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes has a lot to answer for.
14. Tickle Torture
Daddy taught them this one, and he must pay.
15. Tooth Extraction
This is attempted by frequent (accidental) headbutting of Mummy’s mouth.
Somewhat unconventionally, this usually involves yelling ‘bibidi babadi bu’ whilst whacking Mummy with whatever implement is the pretend wand of the day. Fairy Godmothers in this house very much resemble the Ghost of Christmas Present from Scrooged.
17. Tarring and Feathering
The toddlers’ version of this is ‘yoghurting and raisining’. It happens most lunch times. To Mummy and the toddlers.
18. The Iron Maiden
Improvised toddler iron maidens are composed of a sofa covered in pieces of lego.
The toddlers call this ‘hairdressing’. Or: ‘Mummy, can I comb your hair, please?’
20. The Spanish Inquisition
Whether you want everyone to be Catholic or Mummy to give you a biscuit, both The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and the toddlers know that incessant questioning (‘Why?’, ‘Is the Pope a Catholic?’, ‘What’s this?’ ‘Are you a catholic?’ ‘Where has daddy gone?’, ‘Where has your rosary gone?’) gets results/biscuits/Catholics.
(Please note: the toddlers are very lovely and affectionate inadvertent torturers, and Mummy does not actually mind the odd knee capping at their hands.)