I asked my three-year-old recently how he would do things if he ruled the world. Because he can’t fully articulate this just yet, I observed him in everyday life and wrote it down for him – I think this is pretty much what he’d decree if he was in charge:
- Playtime at 5am is permitted seven days a week, and singing loudly is actively encouraged.
- Putting bits of dinner into your drink is a scientific experiment and is therefore educational.
- Pouring your drink into your dinner is artistic and therefore educational.
- Having a crayon in your hand is license to draw on the floor. Obviously.
- Wearing pyjamas outdoors and walking on wet grass in bare feet is perfectly fine – getting dressed is no longer mandatory.
- The request for a sandwich at bedtime in spite of leaving dinner uneaten must be honoured (after all, the dinner is wet – you poured your drink in it)
- Eating other people’s dinners is totally fine, and putting your hands into those dinners is a great idea – no, don’t feel you need to ask permission, just dig in.
- Using your hands instead of a paintbrush is a means of nurturing creativity, as is wiping them on the wall afterwards.
- Possession is nine-tenths of the law: all toys grabbed from siblings are now yours.
- In any adjudication of a fight with siblings, the defendant (you) will always be found not guilty. Because you’re small and cute and a little bit scary.
- Shouting is sanctioned under freedom of expression.
- If asked who put the toddler-sized painted hand-prints on the wall, plead the fifth.
- Grabbing sharp knives is legal, because “me need cut mine beans”
- Strapping yourself into your car-seat without help, no matter how long it takes, or how late your mum is, falls within your civil liberties.
- If grown-ups cut your toast when you don’t want them to cut your toast, you can punish them in any way you see fit. Make it tough – otherwise they will never learn.
- You have a licence to remain in the bath for as long as you like, even if a parent has emptied all the water and pleaded with you for twenty minutes.
- Keeping an illicit stash of soothers by your bedside is within your rights, no matter how often they try to wean you off them. Hold strong on this.
- Absconding at bedtime is just part of the routine – don’t let them pen you in before you’re good and ready.
- You have the right to remain silent. But really, why would you do that?
For some things to do with your baby before he or she becomes a marauding toddler, check out these ideas I put together for Mothers and Babies magazine with the Independent: Home Truths