The ability of toddlers and small children to create complete mayhem in the one minute you turn your back, defies any adult logic. It’s better not too think too deeply about the mess, just find your inner three year old and join in.
Here are ten facts you only learn when you become a parent:
1) It takes one hour for a two year old to put on their shoes but less than a minute to cover a whole wooden floor in face cream.
2) Cutlery is great for scraping designs into furniture and stirring petal potions but fingers are best for eating stew, jelly and ice cream.
3) Wet talcum powder sets like concrete within seconds. Two toddlers working together are capable of extreme talc decorating at remarkable speeds.
4) Fusion cooking is actually about dipping sausages in yogurt. Weetabix also sets like concrete on walls.
5) Husbands should not be left in charge of freshly washed toddlers in their Sunday best five minutes before going out to lunch. Sharpie beards are not the best look when visiting the in-laws.
6) Nothing is out of reach to a determined toddler especially when they work in packs. The combined ingenuity of three rascals seeking chocolate should be a model for special forces operations.
7) Two and three year olds keep a secret stash of forbidden objects ready for the one moment you turn your back. They may not have the dexterity for accuracy but are able to use a whole lipstick in one application.
8) Children’s pockets have Tardis-like capacity when it comes to collecting random objects on a walk. They are able to carry their own body weight in pebbles for miles but are unable carry their own shoes to the shoebox. However carefully you check, there will always be a few stray stones that make it into the washing machine.
9) You must be specific with instructions.
“Don’t draw on your hand with felt tip.” does not mean it’s OK to draw on your sister’s legs in biro. And, “Let’s walk through the fountains.” actually meant on the path down the middle!
10) Walking on Lego with bare feet is a rare pain second only to childbirth. Children have the ability to distribute Lego around the house, camouflaging it with the décor for maximum surprise attacks. Of course by this point you’ve learnt to endure sudden pain in silence, as any expletives WILL be remembered and reused in public.
I could go on and on. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as well and discovered skills I didn’t know I had. I can whip up a World Book Day costume out of scraps of felt and create meals to satisfy the fussiest eaters whose preferences change on a daily basis. I have developed a range of voices to suit the fairy tales of Grimm and Donaldson alike, though I’ve been banned from doing them in public. I stock a variety of glitters and sequins and even have a favourite play dough recipe. I have also learnt that I don’t have to be supermum all the time. It’s OK to have a house cluttered with books and toys and have children’s artwork tacked to every cupboard door. It’s OK for my children to be grubby, muddy, sticky and glittered because it shows they’re enjoying their childhood.