Silly Mummy did not plan to write this post, due to concerns that it was not quite appropriate. Well, it probably is not quite appropriate; being, as it is, a tale of awfully (albeit entirely inadvertently) inappropriate behaviour from The Toddler. But then Silly Mummy thought: who doesn’t like to hear that a child who is not theirs has been showing up a parent who is not them?
So, The Toddler has a bad habit. Throwing food, you ask? No. (Waste food? What crazy talk is this?) Biting? No. (We have yet to reach that milestone.) Picking her nose, you say? No. (Well, yes actually, but that’s not what this is about. No, this is much worse). The Toddler has a habit of accidentally, entirely unwittingly, appearing a little bit, well, how shall we say this? Politically incorrect.
Yes, that’s right: we have a problem with being accidentally terribly un-pc. Silly Mummy is led to believe that other people’s toddlers embarrass them with public discussions about poo. Questions about the exact location from whence baby siblings came. A firm belief that they have located some amazing strawberry flavoured balloons next to the pregnancy testing kits in Boots. That sort of thing. The Toddler does none of these things. She simply comes out with perfectly innocent phrases and behaviours that sound, rather unfortunately, like racist slurs.
So, The Toddler likes In the Night Garden. (Of course. A creature of indeterminate origin – apparently lost at sea for reasons that are never explained – turns up in a garden populated by a girl who likes to lift her skirt up, some other equally indeterminate creatures whose trousers inexplicably match their bums, and some very tiny wooden people with rather shady neighbours. What’s not to love? But this is beside the point.) Initially, The Toddler would talk about ‘Piggle’ and ‘Daisy’, but soon her interests progressed to Makka Pakka. Her speech, however, did not progress quite so rapidly to Makka Pakka. The actual word The Toddler used for Makka Pakka will not be written here. Suffice it to say, she ignored the ‘Makka’ element entirely, whilst for ‘Pakka’ employing the common toddler device of turning the end of all words into an ‘ee’ sound. This unfortunate version of Makka Pakka’s name would be loudly shouted whenever The Toddler saw anything to do with In the Night Garden. Cue avoidance of all shops selling In the Night Garden merchandise. It would also be shouted loudly whenever The Toddler thought about In the Night Garden. This could occur at any time. Cue avoidance of leaving the house. After a while, The Toddler progressed to saying the ‘Makka’ part. This did not vastly improve the situation. However, Silly Mummy is pleased to report that she did eventually learn to say ‘Pakka’. With an ‘a’. (Possibly due to Silly Mummy’s repeated sobbing of, ‘It’s Pakka! WITH AN A!’)
The hospital and the beard
This one goes back a bit further. (Yes, this has been a concerted and long running campaign by The Toddler to make Silly Mummy look really, really bad.) When Silly Mummy was towards the end of her pregnancy with The Baby, and The Toddler was about 13 or 14 months old (a new toddler, in fact), much time was spent waiting in the hospital for extra scans and Consultant appointments. On one particular occasion, the appointments were running very behind, and The Toddler and Silly Mummy had been in the Maternity Outpatients waiting room for many hours. The Toddler had spent most of that time running around the room meeting and greeting total strangers. She had smiled, waved, delivered random toys to random people, tried to eat someone else’s food…all the usual social niceties. She had appointed herself hostess of the waiting room, and she was mingling. Now, it should be noted that, at this time, The Toddler was going through a phase of being deeply upset by men with beards. This was particularly strange as Silly Daddy often had a beard, which she was fine with. However, any man with a beard who was not Daddy was unacceptable. Perhaps The Toddler felt beards were Daddy’s thing. It should also be noted that in the entire time that The Toddler and Silly Mummy were in that waiting room there was only one man with a beard present. Furthermore, in the entire time that The Toddler and Silly Mummy were in that waiting room, there was only one person who was not white present. Yes, they were the same person. Yes, the poor, unsuspecting man saw the friendly, smiley toddler tearing round the room, waving at everyone. Yes, he smiled and waved at her. Yes, she hid behind Silly Mummy and cried. Yes, every time. Slightly awkward. It was the beard. Silly Mummy knew it was the beard. It is unlikely anyone thought it was anything else. Nonetheless, the unfortunate coincidence did sow just a tiny bit of doubt as to what people might think. What is the appropriate protocol in such circumstances? Can one assume that everyone present will obviously conclude that The Toddler is simply upset by beards? Or is it polite to confirm, just for the avoidance of any doubt, that she is not being raised in the KKK?
John Brown’s Baby
Now, The Toddler really likes this song. You may know it: ‘John Brown’s baby has a cold upon his chest. John Brown’s baby has a cold upon his chest. John Brown’s baby has a cold upon his chest. So they rubbed it with camphorated oil.’ The Toddler can now sing most of this song. However, when she first became familiar with (read: Silly Mummy innocently – but ill-advisedly – taught her) the song, she remembered two specific words: ‘brown’ and ‘baby’. She would use these two words to ‘sing’ the song. She would also use them to make demands that the song be sung by Silly Mummy. Just to improve matters, The Toddler’s demands that anything be done were often phrased as, ‘Mummy, get me…’ And this is how Silly Mummy came to be walking through a crowded shopping mall, pushing a double buggy with a toddler in the front yelling, ‘Brown baby! Brown baby! Mummy, brown baby! MUMMY, GET ME BROWN BABY!’ It wasn’t ideal. There were looks.
So there you have it. Anyone can show up Mummy but, with a little extra effort, you can really make her look bad. Why stick with the cliched loud description of how stinky one’s bottom is, when you could be screaming a really offensive racial slur at a supermarket display of toys from a beloved children’s programme? Dare to be different, that’s The Toddler’s motto.
(So, should you ever come across a rather panicked looking lady with two small girls, apparently engaged in an extremely un-pc conversation/absolutely unacceptable discriminatory behaviour, we are terribly sorry! It is not how it looks/sounds.)