Bad Mum

Book Club

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Day the Crayons Quit (10 life lessons I learned from my toddler)

The Day the Crayons Quit. Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers.

I absolutely love this book. It’s brilliant. My two year old, Brodie, is still a bit young for the story, he mostly just wants to look at the pictures of dinosaurs that the Green crayon drew, but I don’t really care because I read it through to myself after he has gone to bed anyway.

Essentially the book tells the story of all the gripes, insecurities, frustrations and petty squabbles of a box of crayons. Yellow and Orange have fallen out because they both want to be the colour of the sun, Pink is pissed off about being gender stereotyped and Red is tired and overworked. If I was in a ‘guilty mum’ place it might tip me over the edge for neglecting the feelings of the crayons – I already feel bad enough about the cuddly toys that never make the cut for the crib.

There are a lot of books around that teach kids about emotions and they are all very lovely (although this is my favourite because it’s funny not twee). However, unless I am missing something, these would be better aimed at adults…toddlers have emotions nailed. Angry – let it out. Overjoyed – shout about it. Upset – hurl yourself to the ground. Why are there no books explaining to adults how best to deal with the passive aggressive work colleague who keeps taking credit for your ideas (throw a sippy cup at them?), or your mum when she tells you for the eleventybillionth time you should start potty training your toddler (scream “ME DON’T WANT TO” in her face?)?
Personally, I feel I have learned some valuable life lessons from my toddler. Here are my top 10.
1. Love yourself – Brodie looks in the mirror and feels gooooood. Doesn’t matter if his belly is too big for his t-shirt, he has toast in his hair, eczema, baby acne, weird rashes. Whatevs. He is feeling himself and it is awesome to watch.

2. Making friends is not that hard. You’re at the park, you meet someone who likes the swings as much as you do, you become their friend. Don’t try to figure out if they only feed their children organic fruit as snacks, whether they voted for or against Brexit or if they would be up for a lunchtime gin on a Sunday. Just be nice and all of that stuff will come. If they aren’t into gin you can always ditch them at a later date. Toddlers are fickle.
3. Dancing is a good idea any time, anywhere. Music is optional.

4. Use hand gestures to emphasis your key points. If you are trying to talk to someone who isn’t giving you their full focus, get louder and louder until they have to stop fannying around on Instagram and give you the attention you damn well deserve.

5.  If you don’t want to do something, make it clear instantly. If you HAVE to do something you don’t want to then insist on a sweetener. In toddler world chocolate buttons suffice, for Mums may I suggest not being the designated driver at the next family event. Remember, family gatherings go quicker with liquor. I didn’t write that, I just live by it.

6.  Don’t feel guilty about anything. And if you do just say sorry and then instantly forget about it. Toddlers don’t spend ages agonising over whether your friends choice of sign off emoji was passive aggressive and meant that she really DID mind that you’re cancelling a planned night out because your baby has a sniffle (aka you want to watch Orange is the New Black in your pyjamas with a pizza). Or if it’s one of those friends you don’t really like that much but still feel you have a social obligation to, don’t make the plan in the first place. I refer you to point 5.

7. Never refuse pudding. You never know when the next cake is coming. Applies equally to wine.

8.  You definitely miss out on fun if you go to bed early. Or even on time. Cool people stay up late.

9. Don’t dress appropriately for the occasion. If you want to wear a tutu, pyjamas or your pants over your jeans then damn well do it. Or at least the grown up equivalent which is probably not caring about whether sports luxe is still a thing, or if you own too much animal print (you don’t).

10. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Be so completely absorbed in your own stuff that there is no room for that shit. Toddlers do not give a toss if their friend got promoted and has their own office / took up that hardcore type of yoga and got all toned and glowy / bought a new pad that looks like your secret dream house Pinterest board. They put all their energy into being the centre of their own world. And yours.

Written by Holly from @hollypmilne

To Buy the book click here.


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