If you look at the news, you would easily think that teenagers are second only to Al-Qaeda as a threat to society. They riot, shoot, and steal. They hold schools to ransom. They play horrible aggressive music through their phones and if you turn it down, they will most certainly try to kill you. Their clothes are too tight or too loose. They are, in short simply awful and should do National Service and aren’t you glad you were never like that? You were so much cooler and your music was much better. So were movies and television. In reality, you weren’t. (Music and movies were waaay better though. I can remember that brief moment when Adam Sandler was actually funny and not a massive cock. The less said about Rihanna and that Nicki Minaj creature, the better.)
Teenagers, with all of their weirdness, have nothing on toddlers. Give me a surly, hormonal, acne-ridden little punk any day over a two-year old.
I know that you are reading this and thinking that I am either drunk or have finally lost my mind. I’m not and I haven’t. Just keep reading sweet angels, and I will explain why.
I totally get teenagers. I can remember being one. Older people have shit attitudes toward them and even though teenagers kind of look like adults many adults treat them like a total joke. It sucks big time to have your clothes, musical tastes, dreams and thoughts shat upon from a great height. Then when a teenager tries to assert some control over their lives, they are told they are too young. When they get rightfully pissed off about something, they are told to stop acting like children. I have so much sympathy for teenagers, even though I mock their hairdos.
I can’t remember being a toddler, so it’s a bit more difficult to relate to someone who thinks the game “Got Your Nose” is real and terrifying. Unlike a teenager, you cannot reason with a toddler. It can’t be done–ever. Even if you think you’ve cracked it, you haven’t. They have the upper hand and the dirty-faced little sods know it.
Firstly, they are disarmingly cute. Honestly, toddlers have the best faces in the world. If they had kitten ears, they’d be perfect. With their big eyes, tiny noses, small mouths and itty bitty teeth, they look like anime figures come to life. They have little podgy bodies and meaty little hands. They speak using a Yoda-like syntax and when they mess up their words, they sound adorable. (My nearly three year old said to me “look Mummy, I jumping in cuddles!,” as he played in the rain.) All of this cuteness is a smokescreen for the teeny little pyschos they are.
My husband and I spend our days trying not to piss off The Toddler. One would think that is easy, but because toddlers are so fucking unpredictable, the things that piss them off change almost up to the minute. For instance, The Toddler loved this dinosaur tee-shirt I bought him. As soon as I showed it to him, he was beside himself with glee, put it on over his pajama top, slept in it and wore it the next day. He wanted to wear that shirt daily. Roll on a week or so later and he screamed when I tried to put it on him. “I DON’T LIKE IT DINOSAURS!,” he screamed as he sat in a bed with dinosaur sheets, in a room with toy dinosaurs and whilst wearing George Pig and Mr Dinosaur pajamas. He once pitched a bitch because he said hello to the one of the cats and she didn’t say hello to him. The more I tried to explain that cats can’t talk, the more pissed off he got. It ended with him in tears and me wishing I was under the influence of some drug.
This brings me to my second point about toddlers– they are highly irrational, but they are far from stupid. They somehow know when you are fobbing them off, and woe betide you. Ignore a toddler for too long and you can guarantee they are going to fuck your shit up. It may not be that instant, but they’ll do it. The reason your iPhone is swimming in the dog’s water dish is payback for you not wanting to eat a pretend Play Doh sandwich or not listening when your toddler told you a story about Peppa Pig going for a trip to Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom by riding Thomas The Tank Engine.
I find the irrationality most difficult to deal with because it goes against my entire reason for living. I can out-Vulcan Spock when it comes to being logical, rational and pragmatic. My toddler can destroy that part of my personality by simply waking up in a bad mood.
I said earlier that you cannot reason with a toddler and their irrationality is the core reason why. The thing is, it’s not like it’s their fault they are irrational. They simply haven’t lived long enough to know how to bullshit people, how to downplay what they are feeling and how to stew with resentment. They live in the moment and now means now. They simply do not care about anything you have to do and you can’t even explain why what you are doing is important. They are completely self-centred is because they have to be in order to survive. That information is fine when you are reading a book on evolutionary biology; it’s not great when your child is trying to yank you off the toilet because she wants to do some colouring in.
Thirdly, they are violent. We do not condone nor use violence in our house. We do not believe in hitting children because we feel it sends out the wrong message. This does not stop The Toddler from behaving like mob enforcer. My husband and I watched in utter shock when we saw The Toddler wake up out of a deep sleep, slap the shit out of his brother, then fall right back to a deep sleep. We then decided the two could never share a bed in a hotel room again. He once used a half-chewed sausage as a weapon when he got into a fight with another child over a toy. The kid took the toy; my son took the sausage he was eating out of his mouth and threw it at the kid. I wanted to disappear.
Despite what I’ve said about the micro-menaces, it must kind of suck to be a toddler. Try to imagine what it must feel like to have a bunch of people quite literally talking down to you. They tell you when to eat, what to eat, make you wear clothes you may not want to wear. They make you rush along when you are trying to take in all the new things you are seeing today. You may take the same walk to the park every day, but that bee wasn’t on that flower yesterday and you need to look at it. You also need to say hello to every dog that you see because it’s only polite. You absolutely need to sing at the top of your voice in the Post Office because “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” is a cracking tune and everyone needs to hear it.
Imagine being strapped in a chair and being pushed around all day, seeing nothing but people’s asses and legs. Imagine wanting to do nothing but run around and being told you can’t. Imagine being told when you are tired, and when you try to tell them you aren’t, they ignore you and make you go to bed. No wonder they go into a meltdown. If there were a group of 8-foot tall people doing all that shit to me, I might decide to strip naked in Marks and Spencers too.
Despite their ASBO warranting behaviour, toddlers are a delight. They are natural comedians, are hugely loving, and can be extremely kind and thoughtful. There’s nothing like having a chubby little arm to pat you on the back when you are visibly upset about something, or the kind offer of bath toys when you are lowering yourself into steaming, Radox scented tub. I don’t even need to mentioned all of the kisses and cuddles from the sticky little tyrants that make you forget that they ate your good lipstick.
All of the crazy shit they do is nature. All of the kind and loving things they do is solely down to you. Apparently, you long for the toddler days after they get older. Though it’s hard to imagine you ever will when a 3-year-old hands one of his turds, you will certainly miss those days.