Tagged Tantrums

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.)

Toddler the Mummy Slayer*

(Sorry to anyone who never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer: this will make no sense, please do feel free to skip the post!)

 
 
Into every generation a mummy slayer is born: one toddler in all the world, a chosen one**. She alone will wield the really-quite-unusual-for-a-two-year-old-armed-only-with-a-plastic-broomstick strength, and tantrum throwing skill to fight the mummies, siblings, broccoli, coat that needs to go on because it is November and cold, films that are not Nanny McPhee, getting into the pushchair, getting dressed, not getting dressed, and the forces of nap time; to stop the spread of quiet time and the swell of common sense. She is the mummy slayer.

*’Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the slayer.’ (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

**Actually, there are quite a lot of them. Toddler slayers are Buffy season 7 slayers: chosen ones everywhere. Mostly quite irritating. There’s that one you quite like (yours in the case of toddlers, that one who went to school with Dawn in the case of Buffy), but you secretly kind of hope Spike will slap the others (Buffy only, of course: no one wants a vampire with a terrifying British accent to slap toddlers, we’re not sadists).

Toddler Towers: Are All Toddlers Basil Fawlty?

Following the slightly disturbing realisation that toddlers behave a lot like the children in Lord of the Flies, I give you the somewhat less disturbing suggestion that living with toddlers is also a lot like an episode of Fawlty Towers. (If you don’t know Fawlty Towers, it’s one of those programmes people used to watch in the days before there was only Peppa Pig. You may have heard rumours about those days. Everything you heard was true.)

You recall the basic tenets of Fawlty Towers: extreme tantrums, silly walks, bossiness, grumpiness, unreasonable behaviour, ridiculous misunderstandings, unintelligible English, and hitting things with sticks. Now, if you would just like to consider the last half an hour or so with your toddler…

Or allow me to present the evidence.

 
1. Public Relations

Much like Basil Fawlty, your average toddler will occasionally decide a random person is the most important* person ever. This person will be fawned over. Everybody else will be ignored. However, this will not last. By the end of the day, both Basil and the toddler will be found screaming at, and probably trying to kick, the previously beloved person.**

*Meaning rich and influential in Basil’s case, and probably in possession of raisins in the toddler’s case.
**Because they turn out to be a conman (Basil), or because they turn out to be a poohead (toddler).

 
2. Taking instruction

Basil and toddlers are prone to ignoring instructions (from their bossy wives/mummies); relentlessly repeating the same bad behaviour (hiring unreliable builders who put doors in the wrong place/knocking over baby siblings); and denying all knowledge (of how the door ended up in the wrong place/the baby sibling ended up in tears).

3. Ducks

There is an episode of Fawlty Towers in which the new chef only works with duck, all the dishes are duck based, and a significant amount of time is spent searching for duck. By some fluke in the space-time continuum, I believe this episode is actually based on my one year old, who talks almost exclusively about ‘duck’. The pursuit of duck is her main purpose in life. At this very moment, and though she can say ‘cat’, she is following the cat around yelling, ‘Duck!’ It is unclear whether she has decided to assign the cat to the role of duck, or expects the cat to locate a duck for her.

4. Food

The Toddler approach to food is modelled almost exactly on Fawlty Towers: complain that you don’t like what you are given only after happily eating half of it; and offer other people bizarre, made up combinations of food. (Ritz salad a la Basil, anyone? It’s like a Waldorf salad, but not. No? My two year old can offer you egg tea, if you prefer?) Toddlers further admire Basil’s willingness to shout at a chef who is not in fact there, though they see no reason to limit such shouting to imaginary chefs: the world is literally full of imaginary people at whom you could be yelling.

5. Questions

Que? This one is quite self explanatory. In fact, I believe Manuel’s record for the most prolific use of the word ‘what’ in a 30 minute period was recently broken by two year old Roland from Weston Super Mare.

6. Misunderstandings

Now, I don’t recommend turning to toddlers for your hammer supply needs. However, if you do, you will find yourself discussing ham sandwiches and hamsters, with someone who doesn’t fully grasp the English language. It happened to Basil, it will happen to you.

7. Stuffed Animals

The Major may have been somewhat surprised to discover a stuffed moose that was both talking and naughty, but for a toddler, of course, this is just another day at the office. Indeed, up to 70% of a toddler’s time can be spent informing stuffed animals (who may or may not be talking back) that they have been naughty.

8. Causing Offence

Like Basil, toddlers are inclined to say absolutely anything that you would really prefer they do not say. Never mind Basil’s inadvertent mentions of the war to the Germans, Toddler Basil would have unashamedly informed them: ‘You did do the war, didn’t you? You are a naughty wolf!’

 
So: conclusive proof (‘ooh I know’) that toddlers are living out Fawlty Towers on a daily basis. (Now, just don’t mention Peppa Pig. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it…)