Saturday, July 15, 2017


As parents, we are pleased that Humblet has started this journey of speech. How she strings little sentences together or points at things she doesn't know and asks 'what it is' with an upward inflection. We are most grateful that she can express her needs and wants in words as she begins school next month. But there are several words/phrases that have become exceedingly annoying and I'm sure if you're fully aware of if you have a toddler in your family. 


It's a dad's best reason / excuse for shirking their fatherly duties - a child's desperate sounding cry for 'MUMMY!' 

Father in question quickly hands child over with a guilty look, 'She asked for you dear'. Of course the child will ask for their mothers, they do so because they spend most of their time with their mums. That's who they are closest too, but it's precisely the reason why these mummies need a break. 

So what should a dad do when a kid cries for mummy?

Why, be a Dad of course. Be silly. Be fun. Be amusing. In short, distract distract and distract. Before Humblet could walk, her dad would walk her for an hour in the stroller every evening the moment he got home from work. This was essential so I could transform from 'cow' to human again, enjoy a hot shower and maybe evening a bit of leisure reading. 

Now that she's mobile, they do heaps together. At home, they feast on fruits, play 'I spy' at the window or do funny stretching exercises together. Outside, they might cycle, run amok at the various playgrounds or hunt for special birds downstairs. 

They enjoy their time together so I can have some time alone.

Enough said. 

And yes, you may show this above paragraph to your husbands.

4. TRY

Humblet gets me all nervous and even anxious when she says 'try'. What she means is she wants to do a task on her own. This could be as simple as flicking her water bottle cap open, but it could be super tricky such as using chopsticks to eat her noodles. It's times like these I wish she preferred to eat with her hands. But noooooooooooo...

She wants to hold the shower head, wants to pour to out the cupcake mix, wants to pour milk out from a carton. The list is just endless. 

Thankfully, on most days I am all for learning, especially self-initiated learning. So I give in most of the time she says 'try'. Many a times she fails and I have a annoyed expression as I do the clean up. A milk + cereal tsunami, soap suds in my living room, soil tracks all the way to my bedroom (I'll leave you to guess what happened there) 

But lately, I've observed that she's had more successes than failures! Now, if I could get to wear her own diapers. 


'If she makes me sing Happy Birthday one more time, I might explode'. After thinking that in my head, I go on to sing it maybe another fifteen times or so. Maybe because she looks really cute dancing and clapping along, but mostly because I'm a pushover. 

Toddlers love to say 'again'. 

To blow out the candles on the birthday cake. 
To see their father's neat finger trick. 
To go down the twirly slide times infinity. 

The solution we find is to make our 'last time' count. How often do we catch ourselves saying, 'one last time' and that might lead to five or six last times. We realised making our words count made her less likely to throw a tantrum surprisingly, she somehow learnt that the last time meant it would be the last time! 


Closely linked to the word above is the word 'please'. We make it worse for ourselves as parents by calling it 'the magic word'. So they learn that it is indeed magical as our initial 'no's' become 'yes' as they beg and plead with the cute 'please'. 

This is called emotional manipulation dear friends, whether we like it or not. If you're going to want them to accept your 'no' at age twelve, then you and I had better get started now at age two. 

1. NO 

Why does 'no' always have to be the answer? Makes me wonder if I always give her a 'no' as my answer. After all she must have learnt that stern, slant eyed, firm 'no' from someone. 

'No' is hands down the most annoying word used by a toddler. 

Do you want to bathe?
Do you want you lunch?
Can you walk on your own? 

No, no and no.

Now I speak to her only imperatives, never asking, always informing.

It's bath time.
Here's your lunch.
You will walk now. 

Much more effective, I find, than asking. Forget about agency and independence, they learn that intuitively and it bubbles to the surface without them being taught. 

How she plucks of the leaves and only eat the stems of the vegetables I put in her soup or how she wears her pull-up diapers on her head when I tell her to wear them after a bath. They don't need to be taught, all you have to do is observe and you'll see your child is making choices all the time. 

There are however exceptions, we teach her that she must say no when strangers offer to carry her. Also, she must say no when people offer her food, this as you'd imagine is extremely hard for our foodie toddler. But she does with much effort, her whole face would turn red with restraint. It's hilarious to witness, but also reassuring to know.


What are your least favourite toddler words / phrases?


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