This is to all toddlers world-wide. I am six-years-old. It is tough being a toddler. Some days are really hard. Having your every need met does not allow for much downtime. With this in mind, how can you even find space to take care of you? It starts with small things such as cutting nails. Why does my mom cut them once a week and does not give me permission to make sure my nails are sharp enough to draw blood and claw others when I want to be a werewolf or a bat? Grown-ups are strange. She also forgets that I am small and see things from a different angle. The air is different down here. I see the sign with a red, huge bug on it and she just walks by. Why? And, how come I cannot eat chocolate only and survive let’s say on Kinder Chocolate Bons, Coca Cola and plain baguette? Mom says I need to eat vegetables and fruit because of the vitamins and that if I don’t eat it, my teeth will all get a cavity and I have to go to the dentist who straps me down on a chair and pulls those teeth out. She told me the story of Karius and Baktus! Wow, this is so scary. But chocolate has vitamins, no? I am a busy toddler, and sometimes I have the feeling that my self-care gets pushed in the corner underneath my bunk bed. You may be in the same boat so I want to share a couple of tips on how to survive as a toddler.
Don’t feel bad about saying no. It was one of my first words and all toddlers learn it for a reason I think. Use it wisely though. Become super comfortable with saying no by saying it as loud as possible, over and over again to every question grown-ups ask you. Especially questions such as “Do you need a nap?, “Do you want more zucchini? Do you want to go to bed? Don’t you want to clean up your room?” Oh, one more thing. The next time you want to say yes, just say no. Then cry because you meant yes, and that should have been obvious. My mom does that sometimes. Whenever it comes to food, enjoy a healthy snack. Grown-ups are right. As fresh as possible. Ants on a log is a great option. Or flies from the windowsill. Just indulge in whatever snack you feel nourishes you. Proteins are important, my mom says.
Demand that grown-up reads books to you. Preferably the same books. Over and over. Until you know it by heart. I love detective stories. Also, make sure to bring the book back to grown-up continually to show them something until you see all the light drain from their eyes. When I was younger, I loved the book Doggies by Sandra Boynton and make my mom bark like all ten dogs. She loooooved it. I really think my mom loves to make an abundance of non-human noises. Like all days long.
Bathtime. Obviously, make it as fun as possible. Mom says that her bathtime is her wellness and time-out. What does this even mean? Splash around and make the entire bathroom your ocean. Grown-ups don’t understand how awesome this is. You can also enjoy your nightly Sunday evening bath with a warm cup of bathwater and then get sick. Must be all the soap I guess. If you are thirsty, wrap your mouth around the entire faucet to ingest as much water as possible. If grown-up gave you a washcloth, use it to clean the entire tiles of the bathroom, then wash yourself. If nobody is looking refill bathtub with as much warm water as possible. Take your scuba mask, snorkel, goggles, whatever you can find to dive. Call you Mom and then scare her by playing dead and lay in the bathtub without moving. She will get super scared, I swear.
Running in crowded places. Mom and I love to go to museums. I love to take a quick, breezy stroll through a crowded public space. Like, I just run around. Fast. I am super fast. This is best accomplished when grown-up is not looking, when they are talking to someone or helping another child. As soon as you get the chance, head toward any visible thing that screams fun: water fountain (anything water), staircases, things to climb up, things to climb down, things to open and close. See how far you can get before your name is yelled, then obviously ignore it because you are having a blast. If grown-up caught you, make sure to scream and thrash about wildly to fully complete the exercise. It is exhilarating.
Sleep. Make sure to sleep as much as possible and get up super early on the weekend to watch cartoons. Saturday/Sunday, let’s say get up between 6.30 am to 7 am. Be cranky when you have to get up during the week at that time though. Make sure to sleep ten minutes in the car/train/subway on the ride home from wherever because just ten minutes will keep you refreshed for the next ten hours. Grown-up loves it.
Rearrange your space. I mean, I have to live here and want to be comfortable. Take all the vases and sponges out from under the sink and rearrange them artfully in the bathroom. Bananas are so yummy. Squeeze them out of the peel and decorate them nicely on the kitchen floor. Eat some of it. I love blueberries. Do you know what is cool? To roll them under the fridge and behind the counter. Like little marbles. The other day I thought I will mix and squeeze some blueberries from the freezer with coconut milk to see what happens and how this tastes. Mom makes awesome smoothies but I was not able to turn on the blender for some reason. Then I dropped the bowl with everything in it. The colors were awesome! Mom had this weird look in her face when she saw the mess. She cleaned everything up, had this weird twitch in her left eye and hummed the Sesame Street Theme Song. Again, grown-ups are weird.
Skin Care. Mom says that using most of the beauty products is bad for the skin. She has all this natural stuff. I don’t want my skin to be bad, so I mixed a bit of the rest of the coconut milk with her cream. I only took a bit because Mom said it was rather expensive because it is naaaatural. Whatever that means. So I squeezed some into the coconut milk. I added some of her perfume. It is called Cloé; like the fat cat from Pets- The movie. The perfume has the same name which is funny. Then I rubbed it all over my body. No wrinkles, ever.
Hug people you love. Grown-ups love that. Tell them you love them. These things can help and save you if you decide to make your own “cream” again or play “mermaid” in the bathtub. Mom always says: Don’t negotiate with (little) terrorists. I don’t know what that means.
Help whenever you can. Grown-ups can always use help. When your mom is tired, this is when you can assist. Remove all the canned goods from the shelf or the pantry. Save energy by unplugging all the cords you can reach. Especially the internet. Remove folded clothes from the laundry basket and put everything in the washing machine. Turn washing machine on. Make sure you provide your service at the right time. This is usually, when grown-up cooks, talks on the phone, cleans, or deals with paperwork. Make sure you get the appreciation you deserve.
Hey, I am not supposed to be on Mom’s computer and she is coming back. So I am signing off. I hope you will put one of my tips into practice soon. Always remember, we need to make sure our own cups are full of apple juice before we can pour the content into the fridge to see what will happen, right? It is a busy world out there. You deserve some time to yourself, happily alone with a black marker and a white wall.