Toddlers. When they’re not trying to kill themselves, this is what they like doing. It pretty much amounts to the same thing.
1. Playing with anything that isn’t a toy. Cake tins, dried beans and other choking hazards, your ATM card thingy—it doesn’t really matter. The only thing you need to know here is that traditional toys suck. Toddlers have no interest in anything safe or age-appropriate that’s brightly colored, plastic and has flashing lights. Quite frankly, you’re insulting their intelligence by even getting these out. Save your money and spend it on gin instead. Oh, and don’t get all clever and go and buy a toy ATM card thingy just because they like yours so much. Toddlers can smell a fake a mile off.
2. Opening the cupboard door under the sink, repeatedly. No one has ever shown them this chasm. Yet from the moment they can move, somehow they know it exists. Yes, your toddler who won’t so much as touch a floret of organic broccoli will have an overwhelming penchant for Mr. Clean.
3. Grabbing your phone. Phones are always a hit, literally (when they happen to drop it on the bridge of your nose, with its heavy, bomb-proof case that you have to have because, well, your toddler is always dropping it).
4. Going up and down the stairs, all day. Buy a safety gate. Don’t buy a safety gate. Use a chair. It’s irrelevant, because at some point, they are going to discover stairs. At some point, you are going to spend your entire day discovering the stairs with them, for about a year. Putting a barrier up just makes them more desirable. It’s probably best to just suck it up and get it over and done with (like most things in parenting).
5. Playing with their willies (boys). Forget soft play toys. Toddler boys love their willies. This is a pastime in itself.
6. Innovating with socks. Anywhere but on the feet—that’s the motto here. They will turn up in random places, like the dishwasher and never together, obviously.
7. Playing with anything remotely dangerous. This excludes pretty much nothing. Because if it isn’t already dangerous, toddlers will find a way to make it dangerous. It’s an actual miracle they make it to preschool-age. Eventually you will have to pile everything you own up high where you can never reach it again. You might as well just chuck it all away now.
8. Doing anything completely nonsensical. Putting stuff on their heads. Putting stuff in their mouths. Putting stuff in the cat’s mouth. Don’t be fooled. Toddlers might look like bumbling idiots, but beneath that facade is a calculating mind. They just want you to think they’re stupid so they can get away with more.
9. Wanting the only thing you won’t let them have. You could have a room full of everything they usually like. But if there is one thing in that room that you don’t want them to have? Not only will they find it, but when you say no, they will lose the will to live. And so will you.
10. Following you around. Toddlers aren’t great at keeping their own company, so they want yours, for every waking minute of every single day. So you can do fun stuff together, like going up the stairs and back down again.
But enjoy it people! Because what comes next in this parenting journey is just as bad. They’ll know what they can really get away with and they’ll be1 even braver.