There are certain inalienable truths in life. First, all people are created equal. Second, toddlers will never understand the following five concepts and you just have to accept it, get over it and move on: Sharing, Overtiredness, Food is Life, Dirt & Germs, No.
This is a biggie but it’s got a simple solution: let’s just all accept that toddlers are shit at sharing and that this is not a reflection on our ability to parent and raise non-sociopathic people. The pressure we feel as parents to make sure our Smalls share everything they own selflessly is our problem and not theirs. Let’s be clear, it’s no surprise that our Smalls lose their shit when it comes to sharing. Imagine if we had friends over who ran into our room, our house, went through our drawers, played with all our make-up, tried on all our clothes and didn’t even ask. Despite our anxiety about it, imagine people much bigger than us just kept telling us: “If you can’t share it, then no one gets it.” See? Sharing can suck. Doesn’t mean we can’t try – just means we could chill out about it.
Just don’t even bother telling a Small they’re overtired and they need to sleep. It’s not worth it. It’s like trying to talk logically about guns to the head of the NRA. You’re never going to get anywhere. Best to leave them to it. Throw food at the problem. And TV. Sleep is a sneaky little bitch and while she may not come when you want her to, she will always, eventually come.
FOOD IS LIFE
As far as toddlers are concerned, food is just something they’re made to sit down in front of three times a day. They don’t even really get the hunger/food link so trying to explain to them that their hunger-strike is life threatening is so far beyond their teeny-tiny brains that you may as well be asking Russell Brand to just, for the love of god, shut up for one minute. They do know, however, that food is for picking up and putting in their mouth if they feel like it. They know what they’re supposed to do with it so if they don’t want to do that, chances are they have their reasons. As my best friend (who’s also a GP said), “I’ve never, ever heard of a baby or toddler starving themselves to death.” Wise words.
DIRT & GERMS
They don’t care that mud/sand is not generally accepted amongst the more-advanced versions of humans as suitable sustenance. They also don’t really care that the buggy wheels have literally been dragged through shit – they feel really nice on their gums and, look at that, they are at the perfect height for Smalls. They’re not massively bothered about the fact that the litter tray, the potty and the toilet are designed as specific receptacles for piss and shit – they’re just drawn to them by some sort of sadistic witchery. Time to bust out the Dettol and move on.
I think there’s about fifteen minutes somewhere between eighteen months and a year where toddlers do, genuinely, respond to ‘No’. Then they get wise and from that moment on, until death, they are aware that they can choose to listen to No or choose to not hear it at all. My Small makes useless attempts to hide her cocky smile while she happily continues hitting the TV screen with drumsticks while I clearly and quite closely to her eardrum say, “No”. Apparently it’s a good thing to have a wilful child – it shows they’ll be creative or moral or imaginative or something – but I think that was just something made up by mums who’s kids never listen to them to make them feel better about themselves. I don’t have a problem with that. Just sayin’.