The spirit of Margaret Thatcher is alive and well in Eeh Bah Daughter. She is currently stomping round my kitchen waving her handbag, snatching her brother’s milk and refusing to back down until her wildly unpopular demands are met.
I fully expect her to have deregulated snack time and closed down the naughty step by the time she’s three.
At 2.5 years old she is currently mastering the English language – this week the difference between want and need. So far she’s grasped that need indicates a more urgent demand than wanting. For example:
I want porridge!
Porridge is lovingly prepared and presented.
I don’t want porridge!
I neeeed toast!
Most of her demands are either infuriating or contradictory.
I want to go to dancing!
I don’t want to get dressed! (I have yet to find a naked dance class that teaches moves suitable for a 2 year old).
This week she has neeeeeded: to go to bed, to not go to bed, to watch Octonauts, to not have her brother watch Octonauts with her, to play picnics with plastic animals and real food, to dip her chips in hot pepper sauce, to throw limes at her brothers head and to push her toy pram to the supermarket.
Sometimes her demands are so ridiculous I give in just to make the day more interesting.
As Oscar Wilde said “ There are only two tragedies in life: One is getting what one wants and the other is seeing a 40 year old woman chase a 2 year old pushing a pineapple in a pram round the supermarket.” ( I may have paraphrased, sorry Oscar.)
To help my daughter better understand the difference between wanting and needing I have drawn up with a few useful examples:
I want Damian Lewis to take his shirt off next time he reads a CBeebies bedtime story. I need to get out more.
I want an Alexander McQueen jersey butterfly dress. I need to stop wiping dubious stains of my jeans with baby wipes and do some actual washing.
I want my daughter to stop using nappies. I need to accept that the potty training fairy does not exist and do something about this sorry state of affairs.
I want my children to behave nicely in public. I need to stop swearing every time I get the pram wedged in a shop doorway. ( I genuinely cannot remember the last time I walked into a shop without announcing my arrival with banging and swearing first.)
It would be too easy to moan about how infuriating life with a toddler is. I love my children and think they are both wonderful, I just wish they could be wonderful in a quieter, tidier, less irritating fashion.