No One Expects the Toddler Inquisition: Toddler Torture Methods

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

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

1. Chinese Water Torture

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

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

2. Starvation and Force Feeding

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

3. Sensory Deprivation

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

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

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

4. Kneecapping

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

5. The Rack

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

6. Crushing

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

7. Hamstringing

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

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

8. Music Torture

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

9. Blackmailing

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

10. Sound Torture

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

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

11. Sleep Deprivation

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

12. Stress Position

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

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

13. Thumbscrew

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

14. Tickle Torture

Daddy taught them this one, and he must pay.

15. Tooth Extraction

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

16. Flogging

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

17. Tarring and Feathering

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

18. The Iron Maiden

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

19. Scalping

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

20. The Spanish Inquisition

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

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


  1. The Grumbling Gargoyle says:

    Hahaha! Forgive me for laughing at your expense but having been the victim of such torture myself in the distant past, 4 times over…*shudder*…it’s refreshing to watch someone else’s temple throb! 😉 Great post…really made me laugh! 🙂

  2. I love your pots, always so witty! 🙂 You can also add “aiming for mummy’s chest”… When my little girl was a toddler and loved rough games, I used to say careful with mum’s chest, when you’re older, you’ll find out why 😉 x

  3. Alice says:

    Brilliant analysis of the punishments they dole out – mine also like to balance on my thighs as I crouch. I can just about bear Stella’s weight, but Jet is the size of a small elephant. When they both climb aboard, it almost always results in me collapsing to the floor.
    x Alice

  4. This is brilliant!! I love the analogy! And it sums up my life on a daily basis!! I especially identify with the kneecapping-we’ve got 2 of those Drs sets (one for each child, to avoid inevitable fights,) but whenever it’s out, they do spend the whole time trying to shatter my knees! A brilliant summary of favoured toddler torture methods! Thanks so much for sharing with #bigpinklink!

  5. Oh my god I cracked up at this, I had never quite thought of toddlers in that way but come to think of it they are rascals aren’t they? I especially enjoyed the Chinese water torture!

  6. Lucy says:

    Ha! Brilliant. Enforced tooth removal is another one my toddler is working on – he’s not there yet but has to make sure he gets plenty of practice by poking my gums with his nails. Must cut those bad boys. #Marvmondays

  7. Haha, brilliant! It’s been a while since I was the owner of toddlers but I’m nodding along to each of them! The peppa pig theme tune (or just the show in general) was the ultimate form of torture for me.

  8. ShoeboxofM says:

    I never realised hair brushing could be a torture technique until my son brushed my hair (and face and eyes) with a comb.

    Toddlers are so good at torture that their questioning approach (Why is Thursday? When is purple? What time is cat?) Is used in real life interrogations.

    I love your blog. Funny and informative. Also disturbing levels of detailed knowledgeof torture.


  9. MMT says:

    I’m impressed at the number of different torture methods you could use in this post! And yes, I think I have been subjected to them all over the last 4 years, willingly of course. Except maybe the sleep deprivation…

  10. Kirsty says:

    Toddlers are hilarious. I don’t even mind toddler tantrums too much as I find them really funny to watch when my little boy has a meltdown because a poster falls off the wall.. little monkeys! #twinklytuesday

  11. Kaye says:

    Haha, yep I’ve experienced most of these but thankfully just with the one toddler, not two! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays! Kaye xo

  12. Mrs Tubbs says:

    The water one’s horrible as the first time the Tubblet did it, I sat in it and thought I’d done something unfortunate. I was actually quite relieved when I realised and the sofa cushions dried eventually

  13. lol naughty daddy teaching them tickle torture! I had to laugh at the public tantrums to blackmail some rasins. Oh kids are too funny. Drips on the couch are not! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #bloggerclubuk x

  14. susankmann says:

    Oh yes I can agree with many of these. Toddlers are ruthless and I have been back headbutted in the nose many a time. Great list. Love this Thanks for linking #abitofeverything xx

  15. Nikki says:

    ARG! I’m not sure which one of these I detested more. But seriously, the baby can’t put his fingers into anything correctly, or find his thumb to suck, but he can stick his fingers into my eyeballs at any point in time? Seriously. Or up my nose in public. But I think that the worst one was the scalping, a baby or toddler with a brush is a scary, scary thing. At this point they check your reflexes, all over your body by whacking you with the brush. And then they brush up and down creating tangles that they will then get the brush stuck in and pull and pull. It’s a good thing you never go anywhere when you have a baby, because of the meltdowns, you have no hair left to fix in order to look presentable. LOL

  16. Maria says:

    Another brilliant post! Who knew that toddlers have their own form of torture? I especially like the number 5 “the rack”

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on 2nd April when the linky opens again xx

  17. Pat the Mum says:

    This is a great analogy – the inadvertent torturers.

    I feel like a jailer at times: never more than when our little lad decided to stage inadvertent ‘dirty protests’ each morning, expressing himself all over the webbing of his travel cot. Never did I spring faster from bed when I heard him stir.

  18. Clare Bailey says:

    Yes, my knees are still sore. (Can toddler knee-whacking cause permanent damage? Mine aren’t looking too clever.)
    Brilliantly funny post – it has really set me up for the day. #FridayFrolics

  19. Harriet says:

    Hamstringing – my new favourite verb! There’s no end to their ingenuity in thinking of new ways to torture us. I can’t wait until I’m senile and can get my own back! #fridayfrolics

  20. I’ve definitely been subjected to many scalpings, knee cappings and even now with tweenagers sleep deprivations! Loved the water torture, I have that these days in the form of drinks bottle shoved into my handbag on trips out only to find drips and pools of water on my best ‘purse’ gaaaahhhh. As always a brilliant observations :)#fridayfrolics

  21. Love love love this! I frequently undergo many of these, in particular the knee capping, flogging and sleep deprivation. They are very cute torturers! This made me lol on a sleepy Sunday evening, thank you! #fridayfrolics

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