Toddler talk Metroplus

You can’t count on me

Children have a way of letting you down spectacularly.

Toddlers are notoriously unpredictable. The saying goes “you can’t count on the weather”; I think it ought to be “you can’t count on a toddler”. If that seems harsh, well, you’ve clearly not been let down by a toddler recently.

It’s like they delight in proving you wrong. One such annoying example is their fickleness when it comes to food. Every mom is acquainted with this. You’re at a friend or relative’s house, and you’ve just explained how your little one never eats rice or how she hates certain veggies. They look disbelieving and say, “Well, have you tried doing so-and-so?” You bristle and inform them that you’ve tried everything. Five seconds later, your toddler will demand to eat both the veggies and rice. Surprised, you give it to her, confidently expecting her to spit it out. But no, she scarfs it down (adding chirps of “Yummy!” as salt on your wound). The relative looks smug, and you gather the tatters of your pride, and say, “Well, I guess she changed her mind!” The worst part is when you make the exact same dish, the exact same way at home two days later, and your toddler refuses to let even a morsel pass between her lips. Nice work, kid! Way to make mom feel foolish and inadequate at one go.

Once your child is talking well enough to hold conversations, be prepared to be thrown under the bus by her. For no fathomable reason, she’ll decide to paint a bleak picture of her life, and cast you in the role of unfeeling villain. You’ll stand there, sputtering in disbelief, as your toddler calmly informs people that she “did nothing” during her summer holidays (apparently painstakingly planned play-dates, kid-centric outings and elaborate crafts don’t count) and that nobody plays with her at home. Any attempt to ask her why she said those things or to try and jog her memory will be met with little response.

But these are minor irritants compared to the way they can let you down at school. This is why the idea of pre-KG and LKG admission interviews gives parents sleepless nights and painful ulcers. No matter how much you prep your toddler beforehand, you know there’s no way to predict what will finally come out of her mouth when she’s seated before the principal. Or if anything will emerge at all. It’s entirely possible that your toddler will freeze, even as you prod and prompt with mounting hysteria. It’s equally possible that she’ll ‘forget’ her own name or that of her playschool, shrug nonchalantly and say, “I don’t know.” Even though, she was giving you answers to the same questions the previous night. And forget about her identifying colours, shapes or animals (mine looked at a lion and said, “Giraffe!”) or singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ correctly. You’ll be standing there, tears of frustration in your eyes, going, “But… but she’s been singing that song since she was one and a half!” but no one cares. Least of all your toddler, who apparently believes in hiding her light under a bush.

So, I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight: My name is Divya Kumar and I’m a good(ish) mom and decent human being. Honest. I feed my child well, keep her entertained, and teach her all the arbitrary things we believe toddlers must know. I really do. Please don’t believe what my toddler says and judge me. Pretty please.


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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 7:55:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/you-cant-count-on-me/article7318161.ece

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