There is something about babies that brings out that squishy part of all people.
A little gumsy smile, big bright eyes and a little gurgle or giggle and even the toughest of men can be reduced to a doe-eyed cooing wreck. I remembered it well with my first, being stopped on the street by complete strangers, mesmerised by new-born features and wincing at the 8lb 15oz beast that lay peacefully in her pram. Some people placed coins in next to her (called Silvering the Baby) and often, offered babysitting services, none of which were ever redeemed.
When my son was born, he made me appreciate the things that his three-year-old sister does so much more. The frustrating and embarrassing things less so than the fun ones, but who wants to hear about the fun ones?
Here are my top ten toddler tales from my daughter.
- Toddlers love to talk. And once they develop that particular skill, they will imitate everything. My 3 year old can recite, word for word, the Sky: Believe in Better advert. Also be warned, that if you use a few choice swear words, it WILL make it into their vocabular (and good luck with the not laughing at it when it happens!)
- Toddlers have no common sense; stranger danger is NOT a thing. So it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, that miniature version of you will talk to anyone. And I mean ANYONE. Police officer? Sure, why not. Let’s say hello. Shop assistant? Of course. Random Glasgow arsehole that is shitfaced on buckfast, stoating about the main street with the bottle in his hand? Oh yes, they ESPECIALLY love those.
- Toddlers have no shame. At all. If your 3 year old daughter goes to the potty, she will shout for everyone and their granny to come look. And the thing is…you HAVE to be enthusiastic or they get upset with you. Yes, that’s right. You have to fake being happy about this. “Wow Abby! Look at the size of that poopoo! You’re such a clever girl!” or “Yes Mason! That IS smelly!” In addition, if your child goes to the potty and then chooses to run butt naked through their grandparent’s house? Don’t laugh. Grandad will not find it amusing at all.
- Toddlers are so innocent. Nothing seems to faze them at all, and they will tell you things quite matter of factly. My daughter used to watch me breastfeed her little brother. It never bothered her, she understood what it was, but I had to explain that mummy’s “tummies” were boobs. Well. Cue her pointing out her boobs. My mum’s boobs. My dad’s boobs. Oh yes…I was mortified and yet…none of us could stop laughing. Of course, what followed was the question “Why did grandad laugh at that, but the naked toddler covered in poop was a big deal?”
- Toddlers love repetition. If you have NEVER watched a Disney film before, believe me you will. On repeat. Until the disc burns out. Don’t know the words to Let It Go? You will. I promise you. And I also promise you that the little things that you used to enjoy will be forever spoiled by this. If you are, like my husband, an avid watcher of something like SpongeBob, and you show this to your kid please listen to me when I tell you that they will choose to watch all seven seasons available to you on Netflix on repeat for several months. You will NEVER enjoy SpongeBob again.
- Toddlers love mess. Painting. Baking. Drawing. Playing with water or with sand. Even if you don’t have sand. They’ll find it. I found a half a pound of sand in my toddlers backpack once while cleaning her room. I don’t know where it came from; I don’t know how she got it. When I asked her, the reply was “I don’t know mummy”. That’s great kid. Stop doing weird shit.
- Toddlers love to clean. In complete contradiction to the previous point, toddlers love to feel helpful. They will help you clean. Whether you want them to or not. Even if you are neck deep in removal boxes with three overflowing bins, your kid will climb through that obstacle course to get the broom to sweep the quinoa that is, quite literally, at your foot. And she will do this before she will sit and eat breakfast/brush her teeth/play with her brother. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
- Toddlers never forget. If your child falls and scrapes her knee while running across a road after you told her not to because it’s dangerous, she will wail like a banshee and re-tell her tale of woe for approximately six months. Yes, this actually happened. Of course, she doesn’t run across the road anymore.
- Toddlers will eat the same thing every day forever. At age three, my daughter has refused any sensible food in favour of chicken and waffles. Consistently. Every day. I have tried to make our own chicken nuggets. I have tried to make our own waffles. But unless the chicken is a perfectly circular, breaded piece of perfection SHE WILL NOT TOUCH THEM. Unless the waffles are perfect little four windowed structures of architectural genius, SHE WILL NOT TOUCH THEM.
- Toddlers are ridiculously techno savvy. You think you’re so smart because you can work a tablet or do a basic website then your three year old takes your best friend’s encryption protected mobile phone and unlocks it. Then immediately after your friend tells you “It’s ok, it’s on flight mode, she can’t do anything with it”, your child manages to turn off flight mode to play you tube. It will both impress and terrify you. Cue feeling just like your parents.
This is the business we have chosen.