The Universal Toddler Code

We have this cool playground area–four slides, climbing toys, a clubhouse with an honest-to-goodness working doorbell, etc. All padded underfoot with a recycled rubber tire mulch–soft to fall on, and it doesn't rot or give slivers.

Here's the weird thing: When the rubber bark reaches a certain concentration on the surrounding cement, and I sweep it back into the "pit" as we call the play area, the children go into a sort of subliminal panic. Must. Throw. Bark.  Within hours–no matter what lengths I go to–the cement reverts to its previous concentration of bark–and then it stays there. They stop throwing bark. I can leave that bark all over my front porch for weeks, and they won't throw it, but sweep it up? Instant bark explosion. Proven fact. Every single kid that walks through will pick up two fistfuls of bark, wander over, sprinkle it on the cement while they talk to their friends, and then go back for more. I don't even think they know they are doing it.
It's one of those rules, you know? Like tasting the glue. Every kid does it–even if they have never seen anybody else do it.  I'm developing a list, and these are just the things that every kid does–not the strange little quirks they develop individually. It's like, some kind of universal toddler code. 
Every Preschooler is guaranteed to:
  1. Discard the wand and dump the entire bottle of bubble solution out after blowing a maximum of four times. 
  2. Immediately ask for more bubbles.
  3. Mix all available colors of playdough.
  4. Complain that somebody mixed the playdough.
  5. Peel the crayons. 
  6. Sit at the top or bottom of the slide and refuse to move.
  7. Hammer with the butt of their utensils on the table.
  8. Find a way to shake milk out of any spill proof beverage container you buy. If they can't do that,they'll suck it out and watch it dribble out of their open mouths onto the floor.
  9. Press the water button on the fridge repeatedly in short staccato bursts until the cup is full to the brim. They will then take a sip, dump the rest in the sink, and repeat the process–endlessly. 
  10. Rub their hands in the water puddle under the water dispenser, and then rub it a) in their hair, and b) all over the window.
  11. Lick the window. Several times a day.
  12. Attempt to steal the food off their neighbor's plate. No matter what's on their own.
  13. Try to ride the baby that just learned to crawl.
  14. Get stuck in the baby's carseat/swing/exersaucer and shriek frantically until they are rescued. Repeat dozens of times, daily.
  15. Dump the toys and play in the plastic tub.
  16. Turn the tub over and use it to reach forbidden things.
  17. Dump two tubs and turn them over and use them, one under each foot, as skis. 
  18. Wear someone else's shoes as a mode of revenge.
  19. Push any furniture that isn't bolted down, out of its place. If they're strong enough, they will push it around the room until someone stops them. I honestly think they'd do this all day, permission granted.
  20. Play in whatever debris I sweep into a pile.
  21. Try to eat something out of that pile.
  22. Throw everything that isn't nailed down over the fence–this one seems to have a lifetime limit though: they all go through the phase for a couple of months before growing out of it. Someone is always going through the phase,  but it's never the same person. 
  23. Open the door and stand there, neither in, nor out, and refuse to let anyone else go by, pretending to look off into the distance, like they cannot tell they are in the way. 
  24. Open the door if it's closed and close it if it's open, but by no means leave it alone.
  25. Stand next to the cupboard door and bang it repeatedly, open/shut, open/shut….ad infinitum.
  26. Push the red button.

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13 responses to “The Universal Toddler Code

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