“You’re fired!” my toddler suddenly declared the other day.
Admittedly it was his older siblings – all fans of the current series of ‘The Apprentice’ – who taught him the phrase, but he still had a point. We’re always moaning about how challenging and demanding our toddlers are. But in their eyes us grown-ups must seem horribly annoying and unreasonable sometimes as well – not to mention pretty confusing in what we tell them, too.
If my own little man is anything to go by, I’m guessing that the following would be a toddler’s top ten grievances in the baby boardroom.
Mummy you’re fired because:
1. You never seem pleased to see me in the morning
I wake up all cheery, full of beans and ready to start the day by jumping on your bed. You – on the other hand – look at the clock, moan to daddy ‘Why did we ever have kids?’ and put a pillow over your head. There’s nothing like feeling wanted.
2. You always manage to distract me when I’m having a full-scale tantrum
It’s so annoying. Something has really made me mad, I’m lying on the floor kicking and screaming (and actually quite enjoying it, especially as I am attracting lots of attention) and you have to go and distract me by promising me a treat when we get home if I stop crying. Doesn’t everyone have the right to be badly behaved once in a while?
3. You dress me in hand-me-downs
Not only do you make me wear hand-me-down clothes with logos that are clearly dated – or outfits you have picked up from the charity shop – but then you go and brag to your friends, in front of me, about how much money you’re saving. Bang goes my street cred.
4. You give me mixed messages on potty training
To wee or not to wee? I just don’t get this toilet business. When we’re at home you’re delighted when I say I need to do a wee or poo. But when we’re in a long queue at the supermarket checkout, or we’re in the car on the motorway, and I need to go to the toilet right then, you get really flustered and irritated with me. I can’t work you out.
5. You always think of excuses when I want to do messy play
You always think of an excuse when I want to get out the paint pots or do other messy activities at home. But when you drop me off at pre-school and the teachers says we are going to be painting, playing with sand or water, or gluing glitter, you always say ‘that’s fantastic!’
6. Whenever I say ‘now’ you say ‘a bit later’
I want to go to the park NOW, eat a biscuit NOW and buy that new toy NOW. Why do you always reply with ‘a bit later’, or ‘tomorrow’, or ‘another day’. Mummy, life would be so much more exciting if you let your hair down and started living life in the present. Trust me.
7. You try and shut me up when I’m only telling the truth
That woman on the train WAS old. And that man at the swimming pool DID have a really hairy back. Why, when I’m just telling the truth do you start talking very loudly, suddenly have a coughing fit, or surreptitiously cover my mouth with your hand?
8. You like saying the word ‘no’
No, you can’t have that bottle of bleach, No, don’t put your fingers in the plug socket. No, you can’t let go of my hand to cross the road. Everything is NO, NO, NO! Why can’t you be a bit more laid back, say ‘yes’ a bit more often and let me work out this ‘big bad world’ thing for myself.
9. You’re useless at helping me build things
We’ve got train tracks, marble runs, K’nex and Lego galore. But it’s always a disaster when you try and help me build anything. Quite frankly I’m fed up of waiting for big brother or dad to come home to help me put them together properly…
10. You always rush through my story at bedtime
You’re always saying to your friends how you wished your children read more books. But when it comes to my bedtime you choose a book with hardly any text, skip pages in the middle in the hope I won’t notice, and read it so quickly I don’t even get the chance to look at the pictures. Oh, and you yawn the whole way through. It’s me who is meant to be shattered, not you…