They might look like butter wouldn’t melt, but they know how to ruin your day…
It’s fair to say that being the parent to a toddler can be a rollercoaster. There’s the highs (when they tell you you’re their best friend and they love you more than trains #truelove) and the lows (like a tantrum because you put the Weetabix and then the Cheerios into the bowl, not the other way round. Idiot). But there are also many, many times that can only be defined as ‘please-floor-open-up-and-swallow-me-whole-with-a-burp-afterwards moments’ which toddlers seem to specialise in. Yep – parenting can be FUN sometimes…
1. TOILET TERROR
Anyone with newly toilet trained children will know that levels of hygiene dip when you’re sharing your loo with a 2 year old. Without wanting to be too graphic about it there must be a physiological angle-ing issue that means toddler poo hits every surface of the toilet with the single exception of the water. And however acquainted you get with the toilet brush, you can guarantee that the one time you don’t instantly follow a visit with a scrub, someone will come round unannounced, they’ll definitely want to use the toilet and then for the rest of time you’ll be unable to look that person in the eye without wanting to shout “IT WASN’T MINE!!!!”
2. SOFT PLAY SCREAMER
You’re in soft play, when a screaming child (not yours) emerges and your child is inside. You can visibly see every parent in the whole place flinch and hold their breath, waiting for the crying to subside and the victim to point accusingly at the perpetrator. The relief you feel when it’s not yours is immense… and the shame you feel when it IS yours is terrible, as you enter into the highly complex political process of “disciplining-your-child-when-they’ve-(accidentally-or-otherwise)-hurt-another-child-and-their-parent-is-there-judging-you-on-how-you-act” (there’s a whole blog post in there for another day…)
3. GIFT GAFF
Can somebody please write a book that subtly teaches toddlers the concept of tact, specifically when opening birthday / Christmas present that you’ve already got? Its a sure-fire bestseller. How often you have to jump in with “no darling, you’re thinking of a different one” or ‘ohhh but didn’t we lose that one?” then somehow subtly trying to prevent them from ripping all the packaging off so you can return it / add it to the present cupboard (which, admit it, everyone’s got…)
4. LIE CRY
Never tell a small white lie in earshot of a talking toddler. I did it recently – he was 3 years + 1 day and we were going somewhere where it was free for under-3s and £4.50 for over 3s. I said he was 2. I’m not proud. He instantly corrected me, loudly, and then actually unzipped his hoodie to reveal his brand new ‘3’ t shirt (wardrobe fail by me). Cue frantic justifcation: “Silly mummy, I forgot what a big boy you are now!”. The ticket seller saw straight through me though – my cards are officially marked.
5. IT’S NOT OVER TIL THE FAT LADY GETS ON THE BUS
Question – why does this only ever happen when the bus is so freakishly quiet you could hear a pin drop? We’ve all been there – you’re having a lovely trip out,then the bus stops, someone of a ‘larger build’ gets on, and you see the toddler stop, stare, then open their mouth, and however fast you reach into your bag for snacks / toys / your phone / anything to distract them, it’s not fast enough to prevent the “MUMMYYYYYY, WHY IS THAT PERSON SOOOOO BIG?” which lands like a huge klaxon, followed by an even more silent bus while you frantically explain AGAIN that everyone is different blah blah blah…
6. WEES & WILLIES
I’m sure there’s a girl equivalent here, but boys and their willies are a one way ticket to Cringedom. Whether they’re announcing to total strangers that their willy is ‘hard and tickley’, walking round town casually but (unbeknownst to you) with their willy hooked over the top of their trousers, or whacking their pants down in the middle of the playpark because they need a wee wee THAT SECOND despite you asking them if they did the previous second and being met with a resolute ‘no’ , boys and their willies are a force to reckon with. I’m on a steep learning curve here, please tell me I’m not alone!
7. “SHIP, I SAID SHIP”
It seems to me that to teach a child a word you need to tell them it about 27 times and it finally sticks. The exception to this rule is swear words, which you only need to mutter under your breath once and yet your toddler is not only guaranteed to hear you, but will immediately understand its meaning and the context in which to use it. For ultimate mum-shaming they won’t let you know they heard you straight away, instead waiting for the most opportune moment in front of ALL the nursery staff, your elderly granny and the vicar at which time they’ll drop it in casually for ultimate effect. Whatever you do, don’t over-react and ask your precious charge where on earth they heard that dreadful word, because they WILL say it was you. Cheers, son.
Fun times people, fun times…