Confession time: 8 things I let my toddler do so I could get stuff done

Posted in Behaviour and Discipline.

Life with toddlers is madness. Sometimes you just need 15 uninterrupted minutes to do something: make dinner, write an email for work, finish eating your breakfast even though it’s already 2pm. Fifteen minutes doesn’t seem that much to ask, but tell that to the tiny human who’s sitting on your foot, arms clamped around your leg, on the brink of a tantrum.

To get what you need, sometimes the trade-off is to give the toddler whatever she wants, even if it makes you a terrible parent. It’s only for 15 minutes, right?

Here’s what I’ve let my toddler do so that I can do stuff like finish writing this post:

1. Dig up all the pot plants on the balcony

A happy little boy child is smiling as he runs and plays outside on a summer day, while covered in mud and dirt.

In the spirit of full disclosure, he probably ate some of the dirt too. A bit of dirt is probably OK, and the pot plants have survived being dug up before.

2. Eat old sultanas he finds in the couch

Sometimes it’s all about picking your battles, and a battle over dried grapes that are more dry than usual is not one I’m willing to fight.

3. Watch ABC iView for waaay longer than 15 minutes

Toddler girl watching cartoons on her tablet computer

My youngest has deftly navigated the iPad for a while now. When he’s five he’ll probably secure $10 million in seed funding for an industry-disrupting app. Either that or his eyes will turn square.

4. Skip meals

Little girl toddler picking her food, making faces. Childhood problems, picky eater, eating habits, terrible two concept.

In case you’ve never encountered a two-year-old before, it is very hard to make them do anything. Try to pick them up, and they’ll go limp like a protester being arrested. Try to make them eat when they don’t want to eat, and you’ll end up with yogurt in your hair. My kid eats a balanced diet most of the time. If he doesn’t feel like eating, maybe he’s sick, or not hungry, and I have to respect that.

5. Stand naked on the balcony and call out to neighbours walking below

Naked babies are cute, especially when they’re yelling “Hello” to you when you’re on your way to work.

6. Be naked all the time

Actually he never seems to wear clothes anymore. I tell myself it’s because he’s potty training, but really I think he’s tricked me into letting him live like a nudist. There’s that pick your battles thing again.

7. Cover every square inch of his body in stickers

Max - Covered in Stickers

You know the easiest way to painlessly get stickers off? Pour yourself a glass of wine and stick the kid in the bath.

8. Run around an outdoor market eating tomato sauce with his finger

I got to eat in peace, so I was happy, and he sure looked happy. At least he was eating something.


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