Tagged Catch 22

Toddler Catch 22

Possibly supporting the theory that they have received some kind of crack military training*, toddlers are all masters of Catch 22. Toddler Catch 22 works on the same principles as the original Catch 22**, but the volume is much louder. If you consider carefully, you will probably find that 70% of what your toddler says consists of Catch 22 style paradoxes. (In case you are wondering, a further 20% is non-sequiturs: ‘Look, Mummy, it’s raining; I want cheese!’ The final 10% is ‘raisins’. My groundbreaking book on the development of language in toddlers will be out really no time soon.)

Here are just a few classic toddler manifestations of Catch 22. (Admittedly, some may not technically be Catch 22s, but I think we can all agree that they retain the key component of ridiculousness.)

1. Too tired for bed
Toddlers may not be put to bed when tired. Any attempt will be met with a meltdown. Why? Because they are tired and they do not want to go to bed. Because they are tired.

2. The category known as: ‘I like cheese. I like toast. What the hell is this cheese doing on my toast?’
According to Catch 22, a toddler may declare that a meal is not to his or her liking. When questioned about the individual ingredients of the meal, the toddler will confirm enjoyment of them all. The toddler will also acknowledge having wolfed down the same meal the previous week. Taking account of these pieces of evidence, would the toddler like to finish the meal?
‘No, don’t like this! Take it away!’
(Additional note: should the toddler subsequently observe a younger sibling eating the exact same meal, the toddler will demand to eat that meal. The toddler will continue to refuse to eat his/her own identical meal. Should the bowls be swapped to accommodate this request, the toddler will need the bowl baby sibling now has. The bowl that was the toddler’s bowl seconds before. The toddler’s bowl filled with the food the toddler would not eat. The toddler wants that one.)

3. Circular reasoning
Daddy is not on the naughty step and must therefore go to the naughty step. Because it is naughty to not be on the naughty step.

4. Shrodinger’s temperature
Shrodinger’s temperature is, of course, a temperature that exists in two states – both hot and cold – simultaneously, until such time as a toddler becomes old enough to make sense. It is this:
‘I’m going to be taking my trowies off.’
‘I’m a bit hot.’
‘Are you? Mummy thinks it’s a bit cold.’
‘Yes, it is a bit cold.’

5. This
Holding out arm and toy compass on a watch strap: ‘Mummy, put my clock on, please.’ The ‘clock’ goes on. ‘Aargh, Mummy! Mummy! Aargh! I don’t like to have my clock on.’

6. The Mobius strip of naughty
All productivity grinds to a halt when a toddler gets onto the Mobius strip of naughty. Such as this inability to get dressed: ‘No! Am doing something! Am doing naughty!’ Getting dressed is, you see, quite impossible. We are too busy. We are doing something. We are being naughty. We are being naughty because we won’t get dressed. We are, in essence, too busy not getting dressed to be able to get dressed.

7. Broccoli
‘ I don’t like to eat broccoli.’
‘Don’t eat it then.’
‘Yes I can eat broccoli. Want to eat.’ Broccoli goes into the mouth.
‘I don’t like to eat broccoli.’

8. Grandma
Thinking of touching something that is yours? Think again: Toddler Catch 22 forbids it. Grandma, for example, must not, under any circumstances, touch her own camera. ‘Grandma don’t touch that: that’s Grandma’s.’

Incidentally, if crazy toddler logic has driven you insane, you are entitled to a free spa break. Of course, being driven insane is an entirely rational response to crazy toddler logic. Therefore you are not insane, and cannot have your spa break. Sorry: Catch 22.


*What do you mean that’s not a theory? It should be a theory. I have evidence.

** The various crazy and paradoxical military rules, from which the pilots are unable to escape, encompassed within ‘Catch-22’ in Joseph Heller’s novel of the same name (worth a read, if you never have). First seen in the rule that any pilot who is insane does not have to fly any more missions, and merely has to ask to be grounded. However, wanting to be grounded in the face of danger is a sane desire, thus proving the pilot is not insane and must fly more combat missions.

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

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

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

Silly Mummy gives you The Toddler:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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