N is for no. Of course it is, we’re dealing with toddlers here. Once they have struck upon ‘no’, it seems to open a golden door of exerting control that proves too tempting for a toddler to resist and must be repeated as often as possible. Preferably with an ever-increasing volume. And sometimes with a foot-stamp thrown in for extra drama and emphasis. Guaranteed to set your teeth a-grinding and your fists a-clenching.
O is for one. As in “Just one more mummy.” Pertains to bed time stories, chocolate or Octonauts episodes. Particularly effective as a strategy when mummy is too exhausted to argue.
P is for poo. Or more accurately, poo-poo, as it is rarely uttered in the singular, or without being accompanied by much laughter. “Mummy, you smell of poo-poo,” is a real favourite. Which is ironic coming from a boy whose own excrement odour can strip woodchip from plaster walls from ten paces. Or P is for Please. A word never spoken without a prompt or a raised eyebrow, unless the toddler really, really wants something, at which point it is repeated twenty-nine times without pausing to take breath.
Q is for quiet. Often mis-translated by a toddler. Example: “Please be quiet,” at 6am when you are desperate for just another ten minutes kip is translated as “please shout directly in my ear right now, preferably whilst sticking your finger up my nose.”
R is for raisin. I had never bought a single raisin pre-parenthood. Now my cupboards are full of those little cardboard packets. As are the pockets of every jacket I own. And every handbag. And the carpet of my car is mainly held together by half masticated raisins too.
S is for silly. As in “Mummy, you are silly.” Usually said in loud voice in the middle of Tescos. Or S for sharing. As in “Share that toy right with me now or I will cry.”
To be continued…