Tagged toddler behaviour

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.

 
 
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Are The Toddlers (*Gasp*) Brexit Supporters?

europe-253311_1280As a firm EU ‘Remain’ supporter, I am becoming increasingly concerned that The Toddlers may, in fact, be Brexit sympathisers. There are clear signs to support this theory.

 
1. The Toddlers are always very upset when other toddlers, toddlers who are not them, come over here and take their toys. Even if they didn’t want the toy and were playing with something else. Even if the toy was not, in fact, theirs.

 
2. The Toddlers are not happy about Mummy taking away their sovereignty. They feel that Mummy is constantly telling them what they can and can’t do. They believe that they should be in charge of their own decision making. Toddler rule for toddler people!

The Toddlers feel this way despite all the benefits and assistance they receive from Mummy.

The Toddlers also feel this way despite the lack of any realistic plan for how they would manage on their own.

 
3. The Toddlers object to anyone who wishes to impose regulations, however sensible, upon them. They are sick of all these directives about wearing two shoes, not playing in the traffic, not chewing on the cat… It’s just endless, ridiculous restrictions and red tape.

 
4. The Toddlers have a slight tendency to make up ‘facts’. The entirely fabricated nature of what they are saying in no way undermines the passion with which they are saying it.

 
5. The Toddlers are opposed to being told that they can not discriminate against people on unreasonable grounds. The Toddlers enjoy discriminating against people for no good reason. The Toddlers consider it their prerogative to refuse to speak to people, and indeed to ban them from the premises, on grounds including, but not limited to: having a beard, not having a beard, not liking their shoes, not liking their buttons, not liking their elbow, disapproving of their orientation (i.e. they’re standing in the wrong place), race issues (i.e. they outran the toddlers), smelliness, and just simply ‘NO’.

 
6. Despite The Toddlers’ desire to restrict the movement of other people into their territory (because they are not willing to share their toys), The Toddlers themselves intend to continue to move freely into others’ territories. The Toddlers do not see anything wrong with this policy. (Upon arrival in someone else’s territory, The Toddlers like to speak loudly to the ‘natives’, demand to be provided with their favourite foods, and recreate an environment that looks exactly like the one they just left.)

 
7. The Toddlers rarely care if no one agrees with them, and the actual evidence is not exactly in their favour: they are still right, and they are going to stamp their feet.

 
8. The Toddlers sometimes feel very suspicious of random people. They are not sure why, but they are very sure those people are suspicious and should be made to leave. The Toddlers will change who they are suspicious of on a whim.

 
9. The Toddlers have a vague sense that the world should be revolving around them because they are very important. They are not entirely able to justify this opinion, but are prepared to shout very loudly about it.

 
10. Frankly, The Toddlers won’t stand for anyone wanting to mess with their bananas. Even though no one is actually trying to mess with their bananas, the toddlers remain wary and indignant.

 
 
Or perhaps these are simply signs that Boris Johnson is behaving like a toddler? That could be it.

 
 
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Cuddle Fairy

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 History (Toddler Lessons: Part Four)

Queen_Victoria_18873In Part Four of the Toddler Lessons series, we are studying History.

 
Toddlers understand that there is much we can learn from studying history. Here are five historical periods that have had a great influence on toddlers.

 
1. The Roman Empire

Like the Romans, Toddlers like to take the straightest possible route, carving their roads directly through the middle of toys, furniture and other people. All Roman roads led to Rome. All toddler roads lead to trouble.

Toddlers share with Romans a talent for leaving a permanent mark on the world. Some Roman structures have impressively stood for more than 2000 years. This is approximately how long toddler handprints will remain, irremovable, on the wall of your house.

Like Caligula (allegedly), toddlers are extremely likely to appoint a horse (or the cat, Iggle Piggle, or a very important piece of Lego) as their chief adviser.

In language similarities, no one really understands how either Latin or toddler verbs are conjugated.

 
2. The Dark Ages

Much like the Dark Ages, very little is actually understood about toddlers. Most of what is believed to be known about toddlers is, in fact, wrong.

Records of the Toddler Ages are mostly limited to blurred photographs of the ever moving subject, which tell us very little, and self-taken portraits of knees. Historians have bitterly debated the significance of knees to toddlers, with no agreement yet reached. Most written records of the Toddler Ages have been eaten, shredded or dipped in porridge.

There is known to be much crying and yelling during the Toddler Ages, but the causes of this remain a mystery to scholars and parents.

 
3. Tudors and Stuarts

Toddlers typically take quite a lot of their day-to-day lives from the reign of the Tudors and Stuarts. Like fickle affections. Yesterday’s favourite person is today liable to be divorced/beheaded/prodded with a tiny but lethal finger/called a naughty wolf (delete as applicable, depending on whether you are dealing with a toddler or Henry VIII). Following the teachings of their Tudor mentors, toddler ideologies are also subject to abrupt change. Everyone will be required to follow the toddler’s firmly held beliefs (it is 9am and therefore time for lunch), or be subjected to interrogation (‘Why?’) and torture (beatings with a plastic teapot). The beliefs themselves, however, will be abandoned and replaced with different beliefs quicker than you can say ‘Reformation’. ‘No, Mummy, we hate Mr Tumble.’ But…you cried for two hours this morning because you wanted to watch him.

If you have a toddler, just like the Stuarts, they have probably brought the Great Plague home from nursery (put chamomile lotion on it).

Neither toddlers nor the people of the Stuart period can be trusted with baking. (Though, in all fairness, The Great Fire of London might have been responsible for ending the Great Plague of London (see above). Of course, toddler baking is likely to only succeed in ending the cupcake tray. And Mummy’s eyebrow.)

Punch and Judy was introduced to England during the Stuart reign. It is introduced to most toddler households on a daily basis. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a Tuesday with a toddler unless the baby has been mishandled, someone has been yelled at, everyone has been hit repeatedly with some kind of stick-like implement, and a toy crocodile has turned up for no apparent reason. ‘That’s the way to do it!’

 
4. The Victorian Era

Toddlers have a great deal in common with the Victorians. They like to play with trains. They are very excited by telephones. They enjoy child labour. (Toddlers would willingly march off to the workhouse or scale a chimney. As long as they thought adults were doing it and they were not allowed, of course.) Any item of clothing that it is virtually impossible to walk in, and completely impossible to sit down in, is favoured as the most practical thing to wear by toddlers, just as it was for the Victorians before them. Bonus points if it trails on the floor and trips them up.

 
5. First World War

Toddlers seem to follow the model of the First World War for most of their conflicts. As such, toddler wars appear to involve pretty much anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity. They largely revolve around vicious, but ultimately futile, battles, which don’t actually result in any kind of movement on either side. Following great blood shed, occupation of the disputed area of sofa remains unchanged. No one has the faintest idea how the war actually started or why they are fighting in it.

 
 

(Please Note: These eras are listed in correct chronological order. That is about as far as I guarantee the historical accuracy of this post.)

 
 

You can see other posts in my Toddler Lessons series 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.