Dear Mumma and Dadda,
Firstly thank you for my 2nd birthday party, the unicorn theme was the most awesome. I should say however, I don't appreciate other children playing with my toys; but you're forgiven for inviting them as you gave me cool presents.
Now I am 2 I felt I should write you a little letter to explain why my behaviour has changed; you know as a get out when I'm next in trouble.
Elders, it’s me, your anxious little (v cute) toddler. I know I don’t normally have the words to explain my behaviour and at times it probably really, really frustrates you. Mumma, I've heard you air your emotions! Anyway, I am sorry. I frustrate myself too. Truly, I do!
I am not trying to be difficult and I am not a bad kid really, but sometimes things just get overwhelming.
Like in the mornings when you ask me if I want marmite on toast or pancakes. Toast sounds good, but when I see it I know I definitely made the wrong choice and I cry and say I wanted pancakes. Decisions are hard for me and I am afraid I might make the wrong choice — and I often do. Sometimes I might go back and fourth with what I want and confuse us both.
But you see to us toddlers food is scary. You sometimes put things on my plate that look and smell weird. I get upset when I think the food is nice and smooth and then my tongue finds lumps. Sometimes this makes me want to throw up. I might spit my food out or gag. I am not trying to waste food. Sometimes food has a strong taste and I get overwhelmed. To be safe, I try to stick with foods that I have already seen and I already know how they taste in my mouth. Nanna may call me “picky” — I don’t know what that means, but if it means not gagging or tasting yucky food — then yes, I am! And proud to be. She probably eats anything put in front of her I don't know, but I do not!
I like to know where you are. I follow you everywhere. When you leave the room I get scared because I don’t feel 100% safe still. I know when you are with me, you’ll keep me safe. I trust you. Sometimes I don’t play because I want to make sure I know where you are going. I hate it when you go to the bathroom and don’t let me in. Only my little fingers can get under the door. I wish I could squish my whole self under but I'm guessing that would hurt. I stay very close now so you don’t have time to disappear.
The potty is not my friend. We have not been formally introduced but if we were I would not add her to my Christmas card list. I don’t know why you want me to sit on that scary thing with a huge hole anyway. I mean what if I fall and am lost FOREVER!. What if it swallows me. What if bugs come out of it. What if I have to wipe and can’t get clean. I am okay with peeing really fast, but I don’t like to sit there and poop.
Sometimes it hurts my bottom to poop, so I just hold it in. Sometimes I hold it in for so long, small little poop balls fall out of my pants. I know you think that is gross - but I can’t help it. Sometimes I hold my pee and poop and it starts to hurt. I bounce around and hold my bottom and you tell me to go - but I tell you I don’t have to go. There is no way I am sitting on that scary potty. Nappies are brilliant inventions so why rock my boat.
Night time is the scariest time of day. Everything gets dark and you put me in a room all by myself. I worry there might be bugs in my room. Scary things are in the corners, but you tell me they are “shadows” - whatever that means. You tell me you will keep me safe, but then you leave. Am I safe if you are not with me? Are there scary things that you need to protect me from?
I don’t like shutting my eyes — what if something pops out or tries to get me. Sometimes you will lie down with me, but I can’t relax because I know if I close my eyes you will leave! I listen and feel for the bed to move so I can catch you before you leave. Sometimes I see you trying to sneak out, but I cry and get you back in bed! Stop trying to out wit me and leave. You never can.
I know dressing me is a hassle too. Trust me — it is a hassle for me also. Whose idea was it that we should all wear clothes? I love to just run around naked. You tell me I have to at least wear underwear. Whatever! Socks are the worst. Why should I wear these things that make my feet hot and have big bumps on my toes. I can feel these bumps in my shoes.
Speaking of shoes! Ugh — don’t get me started on that crazy invention! I hate shoes. Okay not totally true. They do look lovely in all their different colours but I don't need to wear them. Sometimes they feel too loose, sometimes they are too tight. I want my feet to breath — so I'll stick to wearing my new flip flops please. I wish I could wear those all year.
The things you mumma call “tags” are another huge problem. Who thought it would be a good idea to have an itchy piece of fabric attached to all my clothes. I can feel it scratching my back as I walk. I try to rip at it and finally just rip off the whole t-shirt. You yell at me to put my clothes back on. I hate clothes. I hate your yelling.
I don’t deal well with change. I have been meaning to talk to you about this. Don’t tell me we are going to the park and then tell me we “ran out of time.” Where did time run off to?
Sometimes I am just getting into something and you tell me to clean up. I can’t leave my square half done. My square still needs that pink feather glued to it and I wanted to add the sparkles too. There is no way I am leaving my square! We battle a lot. I win sometimes.
I know some of these things can get very annoying. I am new to this weird world and I am just learning how to adapt and get around. Sometimes the sounds, smells and noises of life scare me. New experiences can be overwhelming and worry me.
I see so many things that can hurt me. Things you may not think are scary but are scary to me. Like the ducks at the farm or the loud truck. I know you tell me it is “just this” or “just that” — but I don’t know that — I am just learning. Give me a little break please. I will grow out of this phase. Before you know it I'll be 3 and all grown up...
So be patient with me mumma and dadda. Pick your battles please. Talk in a calming voice — even when I am screaming at the top of my lungs. You are my anchor in my crazy little world — actually you are my world!; and one day I will really really appreciate what you are doing for me I promise!
monday's lesson has begun...
Things we need to teach our parents
1. Time is actually not linear. God knows why a great many of them haven't sussed this yet. But it's a well known fact with us little ones. When mummy is trying to get me to just put my shoes and socks on, seconds turn into loooong minutes. How long does she realistically want me to sit for! We will be late.
Just except this big people and you'll feel less anxious.
But on the other hand know that our our naps fly by in the blink of an eye. Mums will have evidently no time to tidy up. which is most definitely what my mum should be doing in naptime. And don’t even get me started on the hours between 5pm and 7pm. It is an actual mathematical fact that they are the longest hours of the day and yet big people all across the world have not understood this yet. A trick here is to reiterate this lesson by behaving like total maniacs at this time. Just in case mummy didn’t notice the eternal hours stretched out in front of her before the universally recognised bedtime of 730pm. Don't feel guilty, it's our job to teach...
2. You can actually tell what someone has had to eat by their poo; which is why ours gets collected up in nappies. I’ll leave it at that but it sort of leads into point 3…
3. We can eat a great deal more than couscous and yoghurts. I personally enjoy mud and flowers with an appetiser of a dog biscuit. I have a friend who enjoys his own poop. not my cup of tea but what ever floats your boat babies!
4. The order parents maintain in their life is not as important as they think it may be. Nothing falls apart if they don’t get the washing done. No one dies if the dishwasher is not unloaded (unless, of course, someone has been loaded into the dishwasher, then that may lead to injury and possibly death; albeit it would be a very funny way to go!).
5. Most things adults say to a two year old are fundamentally WRONG. The number of times my mummy has said something totally insane...my god!
Mummy-‘ Do you want your pink plate or the purple plate?’
Mummy gives me the pink plate
Me- ‘No want that one’ - a girl's entitled to change her mind!
Points at purple plate.
Mummy- ‘That’s the pink one’
Me- ‘No t’isn’t, it’s urple’.
Far be it for me to point out the blindingly obvious fact that after 40 plus (how old is my mummy anyway?) additional years on this planet she has a real disadvantage on the old colour recognition game front because her eyes are OOOOLLLLDDDD. But seriously it's our responsibility to teach even the stupid...
To us big people are annoying sidekicks following us round and telling us stuff they believe to be true but we know is completely inaccurate and fundamentally wrong.
6. To a 2 year old any kind of agreement, made by virtue of a grunt, nod, or a verbal we’ll remember, RIGHT, and is legally binding. Parents agree to stuff and hope we forget but despite the fact that sometimes we can’t remember where they left our favourite toy we WILL remember that we were promised a treat 6 weeks ago when mummy was trying to pack the shopping away while simultaneously chatting with me and cooking dinner.
Be ready to show that we know when to strike with requests and we will remember anything in the affirmative. Sadly a great many mums know not to be tricked into agreeing to anything at any cost. Move on to the weaker parent who doesn't know as much: Daddy.
7. There is nothing heavier and more awkward to manoeuvre than a hyperactic cocker spaniel and a toddler having a tantrum; the prime time to get what you want babies is when mummy is otherwise engaged and probably at her melting point. Ask mummy and you shall receive. Teach her that it's important to share.
9. How to be observant. Parents don't spend enough time looking for minuscule ‘ouchies’ on our tiny hands and knobbly knees, I think. When I say minuscule, these things are harder to locate than a wireless network signal in North Korea. BUT it is their job to seek and find, how else do our little tummies get treats?
10. Some people are indeed worth melting for (a quote from Frozen for the readers not indoctrinated by Disney YET!). All little people are worth the endless days, sleepless nights, backbreaking carrying and mind numbing boredom. Our biggies wouldn’t do this gig for anyone else. (Except maybe Tom Hardy. My mummy would probably do it for him, although I would question why he needed carrying; bit weird.)
This is just a snapshot of what we children need to teach adults... they need to take on some of our toddlerness and learn to chill.