Toddlers are nature’s birth control. There’s no doubt about it. The terrible twos is nothing compared to the “oh my god, is that wine bottle empty already” threes. It’s a testament to parental love that most of us made it to the age of four without our parents selling us, trading us or locking us in a cupboard for eighteen months.
So, here’s an idea: instead of lecturing teenagers on the perils of unprotected sex, let’s just lob them with a toddler for a weekend. Let them experience the ultimate consequence of unprotected sex; it’s not just a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases and a wet patch they have to deal with. Try living with a bellowing, tantruming, three year old whose vocabulary consists of three words: no, mine and AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH! After that, a lifetime of herpes won’t seem so bad. (We just won’t tell them that the great parts of parenting far outweigh the bad days!)
So far this year, my three year old has accidentally head butted me and chipped three teeth, refused to comply with the ‘sitting on our bottoms on the couch’ policy as he bounces along like Captain Kangaroo, and takes an open buffet style approach to the locked pantry and fridge and then isn’t hungry for dinner. In fact, he picks his nose and eat his own boogies more frequently than he eats my cooking.
For a good six months he made his presence felt with a series of ‘surprise poohs’ left in various parts of the house and garden. There’s really nothing more confronting than finding half a turd and not having a clue where the other half is lurking. There have been surprise poohs left on the outdoor dining setting, on top of both the dog kennels, mushed into the carpet with my favourite baking spatula (RIP baking spatula, I miss you), and smeared across mirrors and walls like a mural with various household items stuck to it for texture. He’s even shat in an upturned bessa brick in the backyard.
He has increased his fine motor skills by tracing the grout between our tiles with various coloured textas, drawn on his brother’s homework and spilt so much food and drink on the couch that it resembles a ten seater petrie dish. In public as he licks shop windows and menu boards and leaves great cascades of saliva in his wake, (not often, but how many times does it have to happen to be embarassing?)
Yet despite all this we still love him. Why? Because he’s intolerably cute, that’s why. He has cheeks that flop and bounce with each step he takes, eyes like endless wells of dark chocolate, chunky thighs that would make a good meal, flat feet that splat on the ground when he walks and the most gorgeous little bum with the perfect amount of wobble. His smile is a mile wide and his eyes close so hard when he grins that it looks as though his eyeballs are being forced backwards into the cavity of his head. He laughs like a squeaky toy and still has that little child voice: soft, sweet and chirpy. He smells better than any home baking and my favourite part of the day is snuggling up with him at bed time and inhaling his delicious scent. But most of all, he’s cuddly, snugly, smiley and manages to erase my memory of all the toddler-esque things he does with four little words, ‘I wub you mum.’