What springs to mind when I utter the word danger?
Cage diving with Great White Sharks?
Black runs on the slopes of Val D’Isere?
Sprinting the streets of Pamplona, Spain during the bull run?
All suggest adrenaline highs, disregard for injury (or worse) and a steely resolve. I’m imagining a high-octane soundtrack with lots of whooping and chest bumps.
I say imagining. I’ve not participated in any of these precarious pastimes.
That’s not to say I am alien to the addictive kick from a little danger. Far from it. For I indulge daily in the most extreme sport of all. I am mum to a toddler.
Strap yourself in. Get ready for the ride. Here’s the rundown on life on the edge – toddler style. The top ten dangers of owning a toddler.
Toddler is spelt – D.A.N.G.E.R
- CUTLERY. We’ve all got to start somewhere when it comes to feeding oneself but toddlers in charge of sharp implements is one to approach with extreme caution. With more speed and agility than a circus knife-thrower but a shoddy aim, you’ll be lucky to get through chicken safari animals and potato faces without losing an eye. As for modelling knife action to them – make sure they’ve downed tools if you value ten digits.
- PELVIC FLOOR. Toddlers can take your breath and your dignity away in a matter of seconds when they have you sprinting after them. Whether it’s a mad dash from you on foot or an Olympic dash after their scooter, be prepared to hold on to those bladder muscles like it’s a tug of war. Know that if you’re not packing a Tena, they’ve pulled you piddling in to the danger zone of a mummy puddle without remorse or any signs of slowing. The shame!
- DROP KICK. Know that you will have many uses as a parent. Feeding. Clothing. Bathing. Pah! None of these is as important as human climbing frame. Soft play is for losers. If you can scale a daddy whilst simultaneously gouging an eye socket and drop kicking your foot to his temple you are winning. Whatever you do parent-folk, don’t cry out! This is a sign of engagement which only encourages fingers to be rammed in ear canals and heavy nappies to secure the victory as they conquer your heights and smother your head in a Pampers clad clamp.
- UNDERFOOT HAZARDS. It’s a time-honoured tradition; a rite of passage in to toddler parenthood, that you will lacerate your feet on some form of toy torture. Wait until it’s really quiet, till you’ve just got them settled for a nap and then… then you will step on that particularly spiky, plastic stegosaurus from that game of dino-destruction earlier. And although we haven’t yet graduated to Lego, don’t be fooled by the more friendly looking Duplo bricks. Those suckers are enough to teach your young-un the A-Z in expletives when you trample on one barefoot.
- WATER BEADS. These slippery little suckers look fairly tame. A rainbow of squishy, bouncy joy. They are however a danger in disguise; don’t be fooled by their bubble-like innocence. Bubbles don’t lurk in the recesses of your skirting boards, avoiding the vacuum. Bubbles don’t escape at any opportunity, bouncing across your kitchen and causing you to slip and slide like Bambi on ice. Bubbles don’t wait till your flip-flops are off to squish between your toes like slimy slugs. A true wolf in sheep’s clothing on the toddler danger scale.
- HEAD BUTT. You can guarantee that the witching hour before bedtime with a toddler will involve high-pitched squeals that have the neighbourhood dogs come woofing. It’s basically the polar opposite of the calm time that CBeebies bedtime hour is supposed to induce. It’s at this point, probably buried under the duvet on your bed, hiding from monsters, that you can guarantee your spawn will launch their head back giving you a head butt to rival that of a 1980’s football hooligan. Whilst they seem to have the capacity to bounce back, believe me, you will be seeing stars!
- BATH TIME. Many of the dangers of toddlers involve limbs. And at bath time they are fully unleashed and ready to do some damage. In our house, bath time is still often a shared affair and all the fun is had with marble runs, bath crayons and squirty cars. Be very cognisant of the fact that you have shed that protective layer of clothing. You will find on many an occasion that a stray foot will end up splashing out and launching itself at your delicate bits. Either bathe in a sumo suit or be prepared to have your manhood/womanhood unintentionally karate chopped.
- TORCH-URE. Toddlers are fascinated by shadows. When they establish the shapes that they can make and the movement of these identical twins, hours of fun is to be had. A torch is a way to enhance the enjoyment and begin to develop the inquisitive skills of science as they explore the changes distance from the object makes to length of the shadow. Torches are also a way to get you to talk – or give in and hand over the all the snacks, not dissimilar to tactics administered by the mafia or Mi6 I’m sure. I’ve not yet experienced torch fun where I haven’t had the darned thing shone directly into my retina, causing untold damage but certainly temporary blindness. Take the snacks! Take all of them! Just stop the light!
- PRAM ANKLES. In their drive for independence you will find your little person insisting on walking more. Know that at the farthest point possible from your origin, they will decide their little legs can take no more and will demand to be carried. For safety, I always take the buggy to save my back. But your independent toddler will of course demand to take over the pushing. Be prepared to have the buggy or pram rammed in to your ankles at speed. I actually think toddlers would be more effective in a police chase than a taser – they can floor you in seconds.
- NAILS. Do you remember. When they were tiny and their little nails grew fast but they were soft and malleable. It was scary trimming such delicate fingers but it could be done as they slept in your arms. With a toddler. No chance. Their finger and toe nails resemble Wolverine overnight no matter how short you trimmed them. They go to hug you and you require facial restructuring to hide the claw marks. Hold them down and trim regularly is my only advice – or put them in gloves 24/7.
So next time on holiday when someone suggests bungee jumping off a building or bare-back camel racing across the desert, I’m in! There’s nothing in the world that’ll give you an adrenaline kick bigger than getting through a day relatively unscathed with a toddler.
Chest bumping all those parents who know where I’m coming from!