In 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.
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