Tagged Parenting

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.

Friday Frolics – 26th August 2016

Welcome to Friday Frolics, the linky with the giggles. Friday Frolics is hosted by myself, Claire at Life, Love and Dirty Dishes, and Emma at Island Living 365. It’s the place to link up your funny posts and snort your tea whilst enjoying some others.

Thank you so much to everyone who linked up last week – an hilarious selection of posts, as always. This week, Emma is on holiday, so the linky is hosted by Claire and me.

 
Friday Favourites

My favourite post from last week: A Life Just Ordinary – In The Night Garden Actually Complete Arse Admits Toddler. This hilarious post is probably the most plausible explanation yet found for the inexplicable appeal of In the Night Garden. See if you agree!

Claire’s favourite post: ‘The Confusing Diary of a Puzzled Mummy – A Hairy Situation. I’m not sure what to say about Louise’s post, other than I couldn’t breathe when reading it from laughing so much. Sorry Louise!’

 
Most Read Post

The Frenchie Mummy Blog – 12 Stereotypes (or Not?) About Frenchie Women

 
If you missed these posts last week, do check them out – guaranteed a laugh.

Friday Favourites writers: Please feel free to grab the Featured Blogger badge below.

 

R is for Hoppit

 
 
I am looking forward to all the fun and frolics, but first for a couple of serious bits.

The Rules:

1. Make us laugh! Friday Frolics is all about the funny, so please no reviews, or how to make a finger puppet (unless, of course, they are hilarious).

2. Include the Friday Frolics badge in the post that you are linking. If you do not include the badge, you will not be eligible to feature as a Friday Favourite.

3. Comment on one of each of the hosts’ posts, and at least one other post for every post you link up. Share the fun people! Use #FridayFrolics when you comment on posts so people can see where you are linking from.

4. You can link up to 2 posts, old or new.

 
Other Stuff:

By joining this linky, you consent to receiving e-mails from me about Friday Frolics.

Follow us on twitter and tweet your links to @lifeloveanddd @sillymummy88 using #FridayFrolics for a RT.

The Linky will open at 8pm on Thursday evening, and close at 11pm on Sunday.

 
Now, on with the linky…

 

R is for Hoppit

 
 

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Hand in the Toilet (A ‘Hand in My Pocket’ Parody)

wc-265278_1920It is toddler parody time again – sorry about that. This time it is Alanis Morissette’s Hand in My Pocket.

I am crediting Gemma at Life Is Knutts with the inspiration for this one, as the idea to do this song came when I saw her parody of Ironic. Yes, Alanis, that’s right I’m crediting Gemma for the inspiration from your song, not you. Isn’t that ironic? Well, let’s face it, you don’t know, do you, Alanis? You have no idea if that’s ironic. (Ah, the ironic jokes never grow old. What’s that? They do? Shh!)

 
 

Hand in the Toilet

(By Toddler Morissette)

 
I’m crying but I’m happy
I’m sharing but it’s mine
I’m short but I’m climbing, yeah
I’m too high but I’m jumping off
I’m hungry but not eating that
I’m lost but still running, Mummy

And what it all comes down to
Is that everything’s going to be cleaned, cleaned, cleaned
Cause I’ve got one hand in the toilet
And the other one is pulling the cat’s tail

I’m violent but I’m cuddly
I’m young and I’m bossy
I’m tired but not sleeping, yeah
I care but I’m sulking
I’m hiding but I’m standing here
I’m wrong and not sorry, Mummy

And what it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be quite a mess
Cause I’ve got one hand in the toilet
And the other one is flicking my sister

And what it all comes down to
Is that Mummy hasn’t got it all figured out just yet
Cause I’ve got one hand in the toilet
And the other one is throwing a cereal bowl

I’m drawing but it’s on the wall
I’m full but want choccy
I bite but I’m friendly, Mummy
I’m cold but I’m stripping off
I’m brave but there’s a monster
I’m sick but I’ll kiss you, Mummy

And what it all boils down to
Is that no mummy’s really got it figured out just yet
Cause I’ve got one hand in the toilet
And the other one is picking my nose

And what it all comes down to, my friends
Is that everything is just fine, fine, fine
Cause I’ve got one hand in the toilet
And the other one is hiding Mummy’s shoes

Friday Frolics – 19th August 2016

Welcome to Friday Frolics, the linky with the giggles. Friday Frolics is hosted by myself, Claire at Life, Love and Dirty Dishes, and Emma at Island Living 365. It’s the place to link up your funny posts and snort your tea whilst enjoying some others.

Thank you so much to everyone who linked up last week. There was a regular cornucopia of witty, giggle-worthy posts. This week, Emma is on holiday, so the linky is hosted by Claire and me.

 
Friday Favourites

My favourite post from last week: Mess, Stress and Fancy Dress – Code Brown, Code Brown!!!!! Helen’s hilarious account of the horrors of potty training. Following a Code Brown situation in Matalan, she issues a stark warning to all to respect Poo o’ Clock.

Claire’s favourite post: ‘Five Little Doves – Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Sea…Part Two. I am a big fan of Laura’s blog. Her writing makes me laugh and makes me cry and often in the same post. I could completely relate to Laura’s holiday post. Holidays with kids never quite go to plan and are full to the brim with the complete spectrum of human emotion. I have yet to holiday with the kids where I haven’t shed both tears of frustration and complete happiness.’

Emma’s favourite post: ‘Turning Up In Devon – Village Survival, a Colourful (Parental) Visit. This terrifically clever tale had me in stitches. The tale is brilliantly linked together by Farrow and Ball paint (yes really), and recounts what happened when her parents came to stay. I am convinced that we share parents, I too have a dad obsessed with pruning bushes! I need to see these tales in book form. Give her a book deal! ‘

 
Most Read Post

This Little Sprogblog – Beware the Domestic Bomb of Shittiness

 
If you missed these posts last week, do check them out – guaranteed a laugh.

Friday Favourites writers: Please feel free to grab the Featured Blogger badge below.

 

R is for Hoppit

 
 
I am looking forward to all the fun and frolics, but first for a couple of serious bits.

The Rules:

1. Make us laugh! Friday Frolics is all about the funny, so please no reviews, or how to make a finger puppet (unless, of course, they are hilarious).

2. Include the Friday Frolics badge in the post that you are linking. If you do not include the badge, you will not be eligible to feature as a Friday Favourite.

3. Comment on one of each of the hosts’ posts, and at least one other post for every post you link up. Share the fun people! Use #FridayFrolics when you comment on posts so people can see where you are linking from.

4. You can link up to 2 posts, old or new.

 
Other Stuff:

By joining this linky, you consent to receiving e-mails from me about Friday Frolics.

Follow us on twitter and tweet your links to @lifeloveanddd @sillymummy88 using #FridayFrolics for a RT.

The Linky will open at 8pm on Thursday evening, and close at 11pm on Sunday.

 
Now, on with the linky…

 

R is for Hoppit

 
 

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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

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.

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.

The Toddler: Feminist, Artist, Tin Enthusiast

256px-Emmeline_Pankhurst_Arrested_1914The Toddler spent a couple of hours at Daddy’s work, and she has a story to tell. A gripping tale, full of twists and intrigue. It has something for everyone: DIY, confusion, mundanity, feminism.

The Toddler is off to a good start, beginning in classic narrative fashion.

‘I’m going to tell you the story about what I did at Daddy’s work.’

We’re all sitting comfortably. The Toddler will begin.

‘I drawed and drawed and drawed and drawed, and then I got Daddy’s screwdriver.’

No explanation relating to the screwdriver is forthcoming. It will remain a mystery – left to the audience’s imagination. Meanwhile, the story continues with further exploration of the drawing part of the excursion.

‘I drawed a curtain and some tins.’

A curtain? And some tins? Is this the most mundane toddler artist ever?

‘Yes, they were in the tin and there was another tin, but Daddy said that was just a stormtrooper.’

Ah, this is starting to make more sense. Well, if you remove stormtrooper references, that is. The drawing pencils were in a tin? The Toddler didn’t draw tins?

‘Yes. They were in a tin.’

So, what did The Toddler draw?

‘I drew a panker.’

Erm…a panker?

‘Yes, panker. Sister suffragette. From Kensington to Billingsgate…’

The Toddler breaks into a very good rendition of Sister Suffragette from Mary Poppins. Not the most mundane toddler artist ever, after all. A genius. And a feminist. Emmeline Pankhurst? The Toddler drew Mrs Pankhurst?

‘Yes, panker! Sister suffragette. Shoulder to shoulder into the fray…’

Daddy interjects: ‘Didn’t you draw Daddy?’

‘Oh, yes, it was Daddy, actually.’

So near and yet so far. The patriarchy crushes feminism once again. Emmeline Pankhurst and the rest of the suffragettes fought tirelessly for equal rights with daddies to appear in toddlers’ drawings. Yet, here we are, in 2016…

 
 
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.

Say Hello to My Little Friend: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

gift-1306852_1280It’s time for the Ten Funniest Things feature, where The Toddler is Al Pacino, The Baby is Kevin Costner, and everyone else is ‘Grandad’.

Presenting The Toddler:

1. On ‘say hello to my little friend’

The Toddler is waving her cutlery around and talking to it: ‘They can be friends. Hello, friends.’
Silly Mummy giggles, and starts quoting The Inbetweeners to Silly Daddy: ‘Ooh, friends, cutlery friends!’
The Toddler, meanwhile, has her own quote, suddenly yelling: ‘Say hello to my little…’
Silly Mummy and Silly Daddy stare at each other. She surely can’t be about to entirely inadvertently quote Scarface?
‘…Dominoes!’
Silly Mummy and Silly Daddy collapse in hysterics. So near, and yet so…dominoes.

2. On the purple one

The Toddler has a question: ‘Can you tell me about the purple one?’
Silly Mummy is not entirely sure what The Toddler is talking about, and asks for some simple clarification: ‘What’s the purple one? What does it look like?’
The Toddler has got this: ‘It’s green. And it looks a bit like red.’ Oh. That purple one.

3. On mixed emotions

The Toddler is feeling a bit conflicted: ‘I really like this, but I really don’t like it so much.’

4. On presents

The Toddler is counting tea cups from her tea set with Silly Daddy. She is deliberately doing it wrongly. Silly Daddy informs her that she can have a present if she does it properly. The Toddler counts the cups properly. She awaits her present. Silly Daddy presents her with…the tea cups. The Toddler sighs and rolls her eyes: ‘You tricked me!’ She approaches Silly Daddy, holding out the tea cups. Presumably, she is returning the trick gift? Apparently not: ‘Can you wrap them?’

5. On The Baby, Kevin Costner

The Toddler likes to keep The Baby gainfully employed. Today, The Baby is apparently The Toddler’s bodyguard: ‘You have to stay with me, The Baby. It’s very dangerous out there, so you’ll have to keep an eye on me.’

6. On playing with Silly Daddy

Silly Daddy is tidying away toys. The Toddler and The Baby are ‘helping’. The Toddler comes to report to Silly Mummy in the kitchen: ‘Mummy, we are playing something with Daddy!’
‘Really? What are you playing?’
The Toddler considers: ‘Well…we’ve got no toys…’ When you put it like that, this sounds like the worst game ever.

7. On eating dinner

Silly Daddy is trying to get The Toddler to finish her dinner: ‘You have to eat your vegetables.’
The Toddler has a better idea: ‘Okay, you can eat the rest of it and I’ll watch.’

8. On the Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe

Silly Mummy is reading the Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe nursery rhyme to The Toddler. The Toddler is scandalised at the old lady’s actions: ‘Sent them to bed?! Outrageous!’

9. On noise

The Toddler is yelling at Silly Mummy: ‘THIS IS NOT ACTUAL NOISY! THIS IS PRETENDING NOISY!’ We need to work on the definition of ‘pretend’. And ‘noise’.

10. On playing nicely

The Toddler and The Baby are busy. The Toddler informs Silly Mummy: ‘I’m playing a game with The Baby, Mummy.’
‘Well, that’s nice. What game are you playing?’
‘Throwing things at her.’
Well, that’s not nice.

 
The Baby’s Corner

The Silly Family are visiting Grandma. So are Auntie and Baby Cousin. The Baby sometimes doesn’t know people’s names, but she has a ‘fit all’ name that she knows will always get her out of trouble. Auntie is leaving the room. The Baby watches her go: ‘Where’s Grandad gone?’ Yep, social etiquette 101: if you forget someone’s name, you can’t go wrong with ‘Grandad’.

 
 

If you’d like to see further posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature, they can be found 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.

 
 

ethannevelyn

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

We 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