Tagged toddler

Toddler Amnesia: The Facts

kids-1728351_1920In a rare move away from my usual light-hearted silliness, today I want to raise awareness of a serious* issue.

Toddler Amnesia is a devastating condition. It affects one in every one toddler, yet very little is understood about this debilitating disorder.

You probably know a sufferer, your own toddler may even be one. However, far too many Toddler Amnesiacs remain undiagnosed, suffering in, well, not silence so much as extreme noisiness.

Awareness of the symptoms of this condition is woefully low. Below are ten of the most common. Please learn how to identify Toddler Amnesia, and share the information. Together we can ensure this illness does not go unrecognised.

 
 
1. Sufferers of Toddler Amnesia are typically unable to retain the word ‘no’. All memory of Mummy having said no to sofa base jumping is immediately erased. Memories of whatever ill-advised bribe Mummy used today to get them to behave in the shops will, however, be retained for days/months/years – essentially until they receive what was promised to them. Doctors are unable to explain this strange discrepancy.

 
2. Toddler amnesiacs find themselves unwittingly asking the same question over and over again. Sometimes up to fifty times in five seconds.

 
3. Toddler Amnesia presents sufferers with particular difficulties surrounding issues of possession and ownership. Affected toddlers will find themselves completely unable to remember that a particular object is not theirs, often leading to repeated snatching incidents. Mysteriously, they are able to remember extremely accurately when objects actually are theirs (interestingly, this also often leads to snatching incidents). A related complication to this particular aspect of the illness is frequent forgetting of what was being played with seconds before, combined with the belief that the item the toddler is now playing with is what they have always been playing with. This issue appears to be exacerbated when any other child begins playing with a toy previously being entirely ignored by the toddler. The toddler will immediately experience a ‘false memory’ that they were, in fact, playing with that toy, in conjunction with complete memory loss over what they were actually playing with. Episodes such as these are nearly always accompanied by additional memory loss surrounding the question of it being wrong to hit other children.

 
4. A particularly concerning aspect of this dreadful illness is seen when the afflicted toddler forgets why they needed help or how they were hurt. The toddler will scream: ‘Mummy! Mummy, HELP! HELP!’ However, upon arriving at the scene, Mummy will find a happily playing toddler, who is completely unable to recall what the emergency was, or indeed to supply any response whatsoever to Mummy’s repeated: ‘What is it? What’s the matter? Why were you screaming?’

 
5. Toddler amnesiacs are unable to remember where they have put anything. They often become convinced – frequently aggressively so – that these memories have in fact been transferred to Mummy, who MUST know where the missing item is.

 
6. Sufferers, rather conveniently, tend to forget their own bad behaviour and transgressions instantly, often whilst they are still committing them. In contrast, and despite the memory damage, any infraction committed by a sibling appears to be inexplicably retained for eternity.

 
7. As a result of this debilitating illness, affected toddlers will often dispute statements made by Mummy, before correcting Mummy with a statement identical to the disputed one: ‘No we didn’t have cheese sandwiches for lunch! We had cheese sandwiches!’

 
8. A very unfortunate side effect of Toddler Amnesia is the inability to recall which foods were loved mere moments before. Sometimes sufferers will even forget that the food now being so angrily rejected was requested by the toddler themselves just five minutes previously. Tragically, sufferers miss out on many of their once favourite foods because they are simply unable to remember that they did like it last week/ yesterday/ two mouthfuls ago. It is simply heartbreaking to hear their screams of: ‘NO! I don’t like it! No! It’s not my favourite! I didn’t ask for it! NOOOOO!’

 
9. Toddler amnesiacs are frequently observed to have an unusual number of cuts and bruises. These result from the inability to recall that performing a somersault into the sideboard actually hurt last time as well.

 
10. Even in sleep there is no rest from this terrible condition. Sufferers become confused, forgetting on a nightly basis what time they go to bed, that they just read that book and, all too often, which bed is theirs.

 
 
These poor, forgetful toddlers are everywhere, their plight disgracefully ignored by society and the medical profession (largely because they’re a bit annoying and everyone tuned them out). They wander, confused, searching for missing toys, refusing food they like and forgetting every instruction they are given. Not even the most hard-hearted among us can fail to be moved by the forlorn sight of an affected toddler obliviously watching the same episode of Peppa Pig for the fifty millionth time.

Doctors hope that, in the future, with advancements in medical science, we will achieve the seemingly impossible, and these toddlers may be able to remember that they were told no. It will take years of dedicated research, but wouldn’t it be amazing if one day just one toddler was able to recall that yesterday he liked pasta? Please, help me to raise awareness of this condition: together we can make that day happen.

 
 
 

*This is not a serious post. If you are inclined to take everything seriously, this might not be for you. If you are terminally gullible, this might not be for you either (do NOT donate to this cause).*

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.

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 Photography (Toddler Lessons: Part Seven)

fotagrafin-263381_1280Welcome to Part Seven of the Toddler Lessons series, where we will be looking at toddler photographic techniques.

 
1. Subject Matter

When you find a subject that works, such as a knee, stick with it. Take three million identical photos of the knee. Do not mess with a winning formula. The aim should be to create a series of photographs that would work as a flick book. A really dull one. A flick book of a day in the life of a knee.

Controversy sells, and it therefore pays to be as inappropriate as possible with your subject matter. Extreme close ups of family members’ breasts and crotches are ideal.

 
2. Composition

It is important to have an interesting and unusual viewpoint, as these add intrigue to a photograph. Photographs taken whilst face down on the carpet are perfect examples of this.

Correct placement of the main subject of the photograph is important. Achieving the right balance between different elements can be tricky. The simplest method, as advocated by toddler photographers, is to miss the subject of the photograph out altogether, thus negating the need for balance.

Plain and unobtrusive backgrounds are very important in photography, in order to avoid detracting from the main subject matter. So important are such backgrounds that, should a nice plain piece of wall be located, it should probably be photographed alone. Avoid detracting from the plain and unobtrusive background with any subject matter.

 
3. Motion

Capturing motion in photographs is a difficult skill. Toddler photographers recommend approaching it with the utmost zeal and commitment to the idea of motion: ensure that the subject, photographer and camera are all moving as much as possible.

 
4. Flash

The use of flash should be as startling as possible, particularly to the photographer.

 
5. Focus

This should be either entirely lacking or completely bizarre. Think out of focus family with crystal clear raisin box on coffee table.

 
6. Filters

Filters placed in front of the camera lens to modify and subtly alter the image are frequently used by toddler photographers. The most popular toddler photographic filter is known as ‘the finger’. ‘The finger’ subtly modifies images so that they display a subtle hint of finger.

 
7. Special Effects

These should be applied completely randomly, with no thought for aesthetics. A sepia toned radiator gives a vintage look to modern central heating. A bin with artfully blurred edges is always a winning composition.

 
8. Exhibitions

Every good photographer needs an exhibit. ‘Study in Patch of Beige Carpet’ should do it.

 
9. Panoramic Photography

Panoramic photography is so last year. Toddler photographers in the know now practice twirloramic photography. Twirloramic photography is a technique involving the spinning of a camera in a circle in order to capture a 360 degree image. The effect is widely admired as ‘dizzying’, ‘vomit-inducing’ and ‘blurry’.

 
10. Water Drop Photography

Some absurdly clueless adult photographers believe this is taking photographs of drops of water. Toddler photographers smugly mock this ignorance, whilst following the correct technique of dropping the camera in water.

 
 

(Please Note: As always, neither I nor toddlers know much about this subject. Please do not drop a camera in water.)

 
 
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.

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

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

A Quick Guide to the Blog

blog-headerDespite knowing it was The Toddler’s birthday (and receiving due thanks), I managed to miss my birthday. Well, not my birthday, but the blog’s birthday. It was last month. Just before The Toddler’s, in fact. As discussed, I knew it was The Toddler’s birthday, so probably should have been able to remember the blog’s birthday. But I didn’t. Too late now. Let it Go, as we DO NOT sing in this house.

Having entirely failed to write a first birthday post for the blog, I have decided to write an introductory/guide post for the blog instead. This is it, by the way. It’s an inauspicious start to such a post, admittedly. It may get better. It may not. There’s only one way to find out.

The blog started when The Toddler was about to turn two, and The Baby was eight months old, It began its life as a series of humorous posts about things The Toddler said and did. Occasionally The Baby was involved. The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week series was quickly born, and is fairly self explanatory. Recently, the series has gained a ‘Baby’s Corner’ section for the now chatty Baby.

Of course, over the year, the blog has evolved somewhat. The Baby is now also a toddler. A change of names for them is therefore long overdue, and was even planned (there was a vote and everything), but it turns out I’m quite attached to the original names. The central tenets of humour and toddlers remain. The Ten Funniest Things feature continues, as do some posts documenting The Toddler’s exploits. They frequently seem to involve her slightly concerning adventures as a doctor-hairdresser (she does think that’s a thing). Her efforts trick or treating at Halloween were a particular highlight for me.

However, you will now also find my attempts at witty observations on life with toddlers, lessons from physics to art via mathematics as brought to you by toddlers, tips on crafts and baking with toddlers for those failing at Pinterest (and motherhood), and the occasional parody (these may not be my strong point). Oh, and Christmas. So excited was the blog about Christmas, it really should have its own category (the parodies may have gone into overdrive). There is even the very occasional serious post tucked in there.

You can select categories of posts from the drop down menus along the top of the blog. These are separated into funny and serious posts, and then further subcategories (lists, The Toddler, The Baby, Randoms…). The Toddler Lessons and Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said series can both be found under funny posts. If you would like to follow me on social media, the links can also be found along the top.

 
 
So, that is a summary of what you can find on the blog. If you decide to stick around, I hope you enjoy the surreal ramblings and eccentric toddlers on offer.

 
 
If you want a selection of favourite/popular posts from a completely biased source (me), you could take a look at a few from the list below.

 
Toddler Lessons Series

My favourites are probably Toddler Art or Toddler Literature, the most viewed is Toddler Laws of Physics.

 
Favourite Funnies

Game Show Skills Acquired by Parents of Toddlers

The Toddler West

Toddler Proverbs

Slogans for World War Terrible Twos

Toddler Interior Design Tips

No one Expects The Toddler Inquisition: Toddler Torture Methods

How (Not) to Make an Easter Nest With Toddlers

The Toddler Riddle

The Toddler Highway Code

The Sheriff of Downing Street: Have We Regressed to the Middle Ages?

 
Favourite Serious Posts

Only the Weak Are Cruel

Why Breast v Formula Should Not Be a Debate

Game Show Skills Acquired by Parents of Toddlers

Richard-OBrien-Crystal-MazeParents of toddlers: without realising it, you have been receiving crack training to compete in, and win, a variety of game and panel shows.

Here are your newly acquired game show strengths. Go forth and make your fortunes/win a fridge freezer.

 
 
1. The Generation Game

You may not be aware that tidying up toddlers’ toys provides perfect training for The Generation Game‘s conveyor belt. Every night is essentially the conveyor belt, as you desperately try to recall what toys there should be in order to hunt them down and return them to their proper place: ‘Ball…Peppa Pig figures…Four tea cups…A spatula…Four spoons…A frying pan…A kettle…CUDDLY TOY…A stethoscope…A thermometer…A reflex hammer….Six dinosaurs…A bus…CUDDLY TOY…Baby doll…Lego, so much Lego…Two wands…Dominoes…Princess Holly…Nanny Plum…Gaston the ladybird…WHERE’S GASTON THE LADYBIRD??’ Your prize for remembering all the toys on the conveyor belt of mess is not getting a George Pig figure up your arse when you sit on your sofa.

 
2. The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze poses no challenge to you, the parents of toddlers. Why, just this morning, you negotiated an obstacle course of Lego, walked the balance beam of the back of the sofa, and stood precariously on one foot on a shelf in order to reach a small plastic pig that was somehow on top of the DVD tower. Throughout this challenge, you were receiving massively unhelpful ‘assistance’ screamed at you by your teammates/toddlers. Essentially, this is The Crystal Maze: completing ridiculous physical challenges to obtain a pointless object, while people you hold fully responsible for your ordeal yell ‘help’ at you.

 
3. Call My Bluff

This is most of your day when dealing with toddlers: only one thing in every three you tell them is actually true, and the question is whether they can work out which it is.

 
4. Knightmare

Parents of toddlers spend much of their time receiving incomprehensible instructions from excitable children, the following of which tends to achieve very little except for a likely collision with some kind of obstacle. This is basically the format of Knightmare. Parents of toddlers: you are ready.

 
5. Mastermind

Extensive knowledge of an obscure and ridiculous topic? Yes, toddler parents, you have that covered. Not by your own free will, mind you, but covered nonetheless.
‘What is your specialist subject?’
‘Ahem……(*mumbles*)’
‘Speak up, please.’
‘Nanny Plum’s various magic spells for creating far too much jelly, custard, ice cream and other squidgy desserts.’
You will, however, be confused by ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’. The concept of finishing a sentence (or task, or cup of tea) will not be one you are able to grasp.

 
6. Give Us a Clue

Deciphering the meaning of some frantic hand gestures and a bit of foot stamping, unaccompanied by any actual words? An average Tuesday for the toddler parent, and preparation for a Give Us a Clue winning streak.

 
7. Gladiators

Nobody is better than a parent of toddlers at successfully crossing a space while avoiding missiles being pelted at their head. Furthermore, running the gauntlet is actually the accepted method for parents to successfully make it from the living room to the kitchen. Wolf and Jet would have been eating the dust of toddler parents.

 
8. Scrapheap Challenge

As a toddler parent, you complete a miniature version of this contest daily, being expected to build a working toy from the gathered scraps of toy presented by your toddler.

 
9. I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue

Essentially, this game involves performing a variety of silly tasks for the amusement of the gathered audience, while frankly not having a clue what’s going on. Toddler parents, you are so adept at this game, you can probably not have a clue in your sleep.

 
10. University Challenge

Strangely, spending time with toddlers is not unlike competing on University Challenge. You will be incessantly asked questions you don’t know the answer to, mostly put to you in a rude and mocking tone. These will be followed by additional bonus questions you also don’t know the answers to, delivered even more rudely than before. Admittedly, you have probably not been equipped to actually win University Challenge, but you would certainly be able to withstand Jeremy Paxman without crying.

Thank You For Knowing It’s My Birthday: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

birthday-874783_1920It’s time for the Ten Funniest Things Feature. The Toddler is pleased Silly Mummy knew it was her birthday, while The Baby won’t be tricked into admitting anything.

Here’s The Toddler:

1. On her birthday, remembered

It’s The Toddler’s third birthday. She has just had her breakfast, and is about to start opening presents, when she turns to Silly Mummy and politely declares: ‘Thank you for knowing it’s my birthday.’ (A further sweet thank you for knowing it was her birthday has been repeated most days since.)

2. On drawing, mandatory

The Silly Family are out for dinner. The Toddler is doing some colouring while she waits for her food. The waiter brings over the food and apologises: ‘Sorry for the wait.’
The Toddler looks at him and gestures at her paper: ‘I had to draw a lovely picture.’ Yes, look what The Toddler was driven to. Are you happy now, Waiter? She was forced to draw a lovely picture here. Because of you.

3. On Grandma, allowed to read

Grandma is visiting and it is The Toddler’s bedtime. The Toddler is objecting to going to bed while Grandma is downstairs. Silly Mummy asks: ‘Do you want Grandma to read you a book?’
The Toddler is in full sulky mode: ‘No!’ She stomps up the stairs. Halfway up she relents, grudgingly: ‘Oh, alright. If I must, Grandma can read a book.’

4. On abandoning ships

The Toddler has found a way to add some much needed drama to the simple act of getting off the sofa. She clambers down, yelling, ‘Abandon ship!’

5. On becoming a doctor

The Toddler is going to be seeing Grandad later. Silly Mummy has been explaining that Grandad might not play The Toddler’s chasing game because he has a bad knee. A short time later, The Toddler is on her toy phone: ‘Hello, is that Doctor Brown Bear?…Okay…Yes…Bye.’ The Toddler approaches Silly Mummy: ‘I called Doctor Brown Bear, and he has made me the doctor so I can look after Grandad’s leg.’

6. On her recorder

The Toddler has got a recorder. She is pleased with it: ‘I love my recorder so much. I ever don’t want to take it back to Tescos!’ (The recorder didn’t actually come from Tesco – The Toddler thinks all shops are Tesco.)

7. On seeing friends, on the side

The Toddler is going to an interactive play centre with her Little Friend. However, suspicions are raised that The Toddler may actually be cheating on another toddler friend, when she announces: ‘Today we’re going to see Little Friend on the side!’

8. On hair brushing

The Toddler is stalking Silly Mummy, ominously brandishing a hairbrush: ‘Now, do you want your hair brushed?’ No, not really. The Toddler proceeds regardless. It appears she has noticed that her clients are not always happy with the hair brushing service they receive: ‘And no shouting while I’m brushing your hair.’

9. On Silly Mummy, a bother

The Toddler is on her toy phone, as usual calling ‘Grandma’: ‘Hello, Grandma? Mummy’s a bit of a bother.’ The Toddler turns to Silly Mummy: ‘Aren’t you, Mummy?’ Rude, frankly.

10. On The Baby, her little face

The Toddler has formulated a cunning plan for situations in which she has been asked to stop doing something: exploit The Baby. Silly Mummy has asked The Toddler not to do any more forward flips. The Toddler implores: ‘But look at The Baby’s little face. She so wants to do some more!’ (The Baby is not at all interested – she wasn’t doing flips in the first place. Her little face is ambivalent/bemused.)

 
The Baby’s Corner

The Baby is cuddling her bear, Wilberforce. She approaches Silly Mummy and Grandad, clutching Wilberforce happily. Grandad asks: ‘Have you got Wilberforce?’
The Baby is concerned. This is probably a trick. She should not admit to anything. She sneakily flings Wilberforce across the room and answers the question: ‘No!’

 
 

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

 
 

Diary of an imperfect mum

Toddler Interior Design Tips

Toddler Interior Design ImageIn the first article of our new lifestyle section*, we are telling you how you too can achieve that quintessential ‘small children live here’ home, with 15 tried and tested toddler interior design tips.

(*We don’t have a new lifestyle section.)

 
 
The Style

1. The key look is chaotic chic. No, not chic…what’s that other word? Mess.

2. Clean, uncluttered spaces are not what we are going for. In a properly designed room, occupants should stub their toes twice and trip over five times for every square metre of floor space.

 
Feng Shui

3. Feng shui is very important. The idea is that the location and arrangement of items affects the feel and energy of the room. The arrangement to aim for here is everything you can find piled on top of each other in one tiny space. The feel this should give to the room is ‘precarious’.

 
Decorating

4. Mismatched walls are very in. This should be achieved by crayoning on random areas with random colours. Mismatched sofas are not, however, in. They should therefore be crayoned too, in order to blend with the walls.

5. Inject some texture and pattern into the room by leaving greasy fingerprints and crushed raisins everywhere.

6. Stickers (preferably of Peppa pig) are a great way to rejuvenate any room. Liberal application of mostly torn stickers on every single surface will give the place a completely new look.

 
Furniture

7. Throw cushions are a vital addition to the quota of soft furnishings. These are primarily to be used to surround oneself entirely, thus forming a ‘house’ (it is important to design multiple impromptu ‘houses’ within your actual house). Alternatively, they may be placed on the floor as padding for various furniture jumping pursuits. Which leads us on to…

8. Furniture should be as dangerous as possible. However, it should not be obviously so. The key here is to find ways of making perfectly innocuous furniture highly dangerous. Be inventive.

 
Features

9. It is important to have a strong feature in a room. An artfully arranged younger sibling squished into a corner is ideal. The sibling display should be kept in place by sitting on it.

10. A water feature is a nice touch, and can be cheaply & effectively achieved by overturning a free flow cup on the edge of a coffee table.

 
Storage and Organisation

11. The ideal place to keep everything is blocking the doors.

12. A great space saving tip is that beds and bookcases do not need to be separate items. Simply pile all of your books into your bed and then sleep on them.

13. Cupboards and drawers are design features only: they are not to be used. The contents of cupboards and drawers are best placed on the floor.

 
The Little Touches

14. It is good to have Lego sprinkled about liberally. This adds colour, texture and a generous dash of pain to your environment.

15. It is important that there is a lived in feel to the home, to avoid a cold, sterile atmosphere. This is best achieved by breaking as many ornaments and pieces of furniture as possible.

That’s Bonkers: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

baby-215867_1280It’s time for the Ten Funniest Things feature, and we’re a little bonkers (but all the best people are). This week, The Toddler would like you to stop fussing, while The Baby would like it to be known that this post is hers, not yours.

Here’s The Toddler:

1. On Silly Mummy, too fussy

The Toddler has decided to pour her water onto her toast to ‘cool it down’. Silly Mummy objects to this plan of action. The Toddler thinks Silly Mummy is overreacting: ‘Oh Mummy, stop fussing, Mummy! I always pour water.’ (She does not in fact always pour water on her toast. This idea has not been trialed before.)

2. On Silly Mummy’s suggestions, bonkers

Silly Mummy has made a suggestion that The Toddler has some doubts about. Doubts that she subtly voices: ‘That’s bonkers!’

3. On cleaning the bathroom

The Toddler likes Silly Mummy to do cleaning and tidying in the bathroom while she has a bath. She is in her bath: ‘Mummy, can you do the cleaning?’
Silly Mummy knows her place: ‘Yes, I’ll get right on to it.’
The Toddler nods, and picks up her duck: ‘And I’ll get right on to toys.’
Silly Mummy can’t help but feel that she has drawn the short straw here in the division of labour. Nonetheless, the cleaning and tidying is started. A short while later, Silly Mummy declares: ‘Right, I’ve finished the cleaning.’
The Toddler looks around: ‘You need to do it again.’

4. On being angry

Silly Mummy has told The Toddler she can’t do something, and The Toddler is not happy: ‘I’m very, very angry, and I’m going to throw Mummy away!’

5. On changing her mind

The Toddler has been asked to come to the bathroom. Halfway there, she changes her mind and suddenly stops, announcing: ‘I think not.’ With that, The Toddler marches back to the living room.

6. On making tea

The Toddler has made Silly Mummy a nice (*ahem*) cup of tea: ‘Mummy, I’ve just made you a cup of tea…and there’s a scrambled egg in it. But it’s a bit dirty.’

7. On being informed

Silly Mummy has asked The Toddler to see if The Baby wants to eat her dinner. The Toddler reports back: ‘She’s been formed into me, no.’ (Silly Mummy thinks that’s ‘informed me’.)

8. On her day, not good

The Toddler has received some bad news. She is not allowed to pour bath water all over the bathroom. She admonishes Silly Mummy, the bearer of this news: ‘I’m not having a good day with you, Mummy.’

9. On dealing with estate agents

The Toddler is ‘helping’ the estate agent who is at the house. By talking to him incessantly while he tries to get on with his job. Silly Mummy attempts to intervene: ‘The Toddler, can you go and watch Ben and Holly, please?’
The Toddler turns to Silly Mummy: ‘No, I’m just dealing with something. You watch Ben and Holly.’

10. On Abney and Teal, bonking

Silly Mummy enters the living room, to be confronted by The Toddler shouting, ‘Mummy, are they bonking? Are they bonking?’ Erm, what?! Hasty investigation from Silly Mummy establishes that The Toddler is talking about Abney and Teal on CBeebies. Who are bouncing. Bouncing.

 
The Baby’s Corner

The Baby has learnt the phrase ‘mine, not yours’ (Silly Mummy can’t imagine who she might have learnt that from). She is now in the toy aisle at the supermarket, chatting with other children. Okay, not chatting, exactly. More waiting until they touch a toy, and then pointing her finger at them and yelling: ‘Mine, not yours!’

 
 

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

 
 

My Random Musings

The Toddler Highway Code

girl-358301_1280Toddlers, of course, spend a lot of time on the move. As such, they have needed to formulate a set of rules for navigating the busy toddler thoroughfares of the living room, bedroom, garden, park or softplay.

 

The Toddler Highway Code

(Applicable to all toddler roads and pathways. I.e. anywhere a toddler is choosing to toddle at any given moment.)

 
1. Right of Way

Under toddler road rules, a toddler has right of way at all times. As does everybody else. This rule has been criticised for causing chaos and numerous small child pile ups. However, the toddlers refuse to consider any amendment: they’re too busy all running at once.

2. Give Way

Under no circumstances should you ever give way. The presence of other toddler road users, cats, baby siblings or tables in no way negates this rule.

3. Lane control

Weaving is favoured. Lanes should be changed as erratically as possible. As should direction. Ploughing into oncoming traffic (i.e. baby siblings) is encouraged.

4. Checks before manoeuvring

It is very important that you do not, under any circumstances, check behind you before performing a manoeuvre. Do not check in front of you either. If you are able, perform the manoeuvre with your eyes actually closed.

5. Crossings

Crossings are neither acknowledged nor respected in the Toddler Highway Code. All persons attempting to cross the path of a toddler do so at their peril.

6. Parking

The basic toddler parking manoeuvre of sitting on your bottom should be performed suddenly and in the middle of the thoroughfare.

7. Acceleration

Acceleration towards all walls and other hard objects is encouraged.

8. Braking

Should be sudden and for no apparent reason.

9. Overtaking

The aim here is to overtake in the most dangerous, impractical manner possible. Close overtaking of wobbly baby siblings is approved. Overtaking in doorways, narrow spaces and on corners is ideal. Elbows should be used wherever possible.

10. Distractions

Proper toddler passage should be accompanied by as many distractions as possible. Phone use, wand waving, talking and having a basket on your head are all encouraged. Under no circumstances should you be looking where you are going.

 
 
It should be noted that it is usual practice to be screaming at all times during toddler transit. The toddlers would like it to be known that this is in no way a reflection upon the reasonableness or safety of the Toddler Highway Code.

The Egg Hunt

easter-nest-1162973_1920Girls, would you like to do an egg hunt? You would? Okay, Mummy will hide these eggs around the living room, and then you can come and look for them. You go out into the corridor with Daddy while Mummy hides eggs. No, don’t look at what Mummy’s doing, stay out there with Daddy. No, The Baby, Mummy’s hiding things – go back to Daddy. No, put that down, The Baby. Go back to Daddy. Good girl. No looking, either of you.

Okay, Mummy has hidden the eggs, you can come back into the living room now, and…No, wait a minute, Mummy is still talking. Come here. Here are your bags – put your eggs in here when you find them…No, wait a minute. There are five eggs each. Okay, go and look. See if you can find them.

Well done, The Toddler. Put that in your bag. The Baby, The Toddler has found an egg over here. Do you think there’s one for you too? Come and look. No, The Toddler, let The Baby look. Come on, The Baby, what’s over here? The Toddler, let The Baby look! Well done, The Baby. Put that in your bag.

Okay, let’s see if The Baby can find where some eggs are hidden. No, The Toddler, let The Baby look first this time. The Baby, where would you like to look? Perhaps you would like to look here, The Baby? No, here. Lie down here and look under there. Not you, The Toddler. Lie down, The Baby. Look under here. No, here. No, look this way. Oh, well done, The Baby. Put that in your bag. Can you see one too, The Toddler? Well done.

Okay, The Toddler’s turn to look for where the eggs are hiding. Where could they be? You already looked there, didn’t you? Shall we look somewhere you haven’t looked? No, that’s the same place. Let’s try somewhere completely different. How about here? Yes, just here. Oh, you found an egg – imagine that! Can you find an egg too, The Baby? Yes, that’s Peppa Pig. Can you see an egg? The Baby? Put down Peppa. Here, look: here’s your egg. Put it in your bag.

Where would you like to look for an egg now, The Baby? The Baby, where are you going? Come back: we’re looking for eggs! Not you, The Toddler, it’s the baby’s turn. Oh, you found one. Okay. Let’s see if The Baby can find the other one, then. No, let her look. No, let The Ba…Never mind. Put that in The Baby’s bag for her.

Okay, girls, let’s find the last pair of eggs. Where could they be? You already looked there, The Toddler. Try somewhere else. Yes, The Baby, those are eggs. But they’re in your bag – you already found those ones. Shall we look over here? Just here. Right here. Shall we look in this teapot? This teapot here. Shall we look at these eggs right here? These eggs. The ones I’m holding out. These might be the eggs. I’ll put them in your bags. Well done, you found all the eggs. Wasn’t that fun?