Welcome to the elite force of destruction and frustration known as toddlerhood! You may be wondering what the next year has in store for you. Delayed bedtimes, cookies from the counter that you’re not allowed to climb on, and your parents eating their own hair in a dark closet are just a few of the exciting milestones that await you. However, instead of going on and on (and on and on) about all of the things you can do, I will keep this short and sweet, and just clue you in on the things you should never do. Good luck and godspeed in your journey though this new frontier…
1. Acknowledgement. If your parents haven’t taken you for a hearing test at least once during your second year, you’re doing it wrong. Answer to no one. Don’t even look up. Make them come to you. If you start doing dumb things like answering to your own name, they’re going to expect you to start doing dumber things like listening to them.
2. Cleanliness. Mom has made the foolish decision to trust you with crayons. She had the gall to take a phone call on spaghetti night. She left her purse within arm’s reach, and now nothing is standing between you and a shiny tube of mascara. You have a moral obligation to fuck. Shit. Up. Walls, floors, furniture, your person. Leave no surface unmessed. Mr. Clean and an army of magic erasers will cower in your presence.
3. Quiet. Look around you! The world is full of percussion instruments! Bang on pots and pans. Affix your slimy fingers to the UP volume button during a car dealership commercial. And don’t forget to use those beautiful lungs that you spent all that time developing in utero. Don’t have much of a vocabulary yet? Have no fear — a bloodcurdling scream is a noise fit for all occasions.
4. Logic. If any sucker for punishment tries to reason with you, let that genius really feel the pain of his or her poor life choice. It’s negative twenty-balls degrees outside, everyone is running late for all the things, and you don’t want to wear your coat. So your mom tries her stupid Honey, it’s cold outside bit. No shit, Sherlock. Still don’t wanna wear a coat, and guess what? Now I’m only wearing my diaper and snow boots. Go sit in the corner and think about what you did, lady.
5. Dinner. Mom slaved in a hot kitchen to fill your belly? Nope. Nope. Nope. Bonus points if you ask for something specifically and then refuse it. Be sure to adjust your rage at being expected to eat, so that it is proportional to the amount of effort, thought and love your parents put into preparing the food that you are definitely not eating. Leftover pizza reheated in the microwave? Shove it across the table while maintaining eye contact. Grilled cheese with the crusts cut off? Feed it to the dog, then cry that the dog ate it. Meatballs made from grass fed beef with Nana’s special sauce recipe from the old country? Stuff it all into your mom’s shoes, light them on fire and pee on the flames.
6. “Yours.” That toy car? “Mine.” That cookie? “Mine.” Dad’s iPhone? “Mine.” The remote? “Mine.” The deed to the house? “Mine.” Mommy’s youth? “Mine.” What’s yours is yours, and what’s theirs is yours, too. Everyone around you who wants to keep their heads will obey the laws of Mine. Take no prisoners, leave no spoils. Everything the light touches belongs to you, Simba.
7. Defeat. You are a toddler. Your job is to exist and grow and wreak havoc. If some idiot scolds you or puts you in a (sorry to curse) timeout, make that unfortunate soul rue the hell out of the day they were born. Scream. Kick. Throw things. Destroy. Never admit defeat. Continue on for hours if you must, because it’s not like you’re busy. You don’t have shit else to do; you’re two. Show your parents that if they mess with the bull, they get the horns. And the hooves. And poop smeared on the walls.
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