Knock knock! Who’s there?
Oh hello terrible twos, what’s that? You’ve officially entered my house, well, I’d like you to go please. No, it’s definitely not rude if you leave early, it would honestly be very welcome indeed and no need to call back. That’s it, just shut the door behind you on the way out. Lovely. That’s those dealt with then, what’s next, cup of tea anyone?
I’m now officially the cruellest person alive, according to my 23 month old, because I wouldn’t let him play with barbed wire. I said the n-o word and reinforced it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I did try to explain first, I used serious words such as “ouchy” and “Ow ow ow” as I pointed and cajoled in the middle of a field. I mimed injury, to Oscar winning standards I might add, whilst witnessing a tantrum of truly epic proportions, which only ended when a cow came along and created the most amazing distraction by crapping right in front of us. Note to self, take a cow with me wherever I go.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew they were coming. I’d been pre-warned. I was expecting them. But, at the same time, I was also kind of hoping that because I think my child is just. too. darn. cute. they’d probably avoid us completely and I’d sail, smugly, through the next year with my angel child at the helm. Hmmm, yep, that’s definitely not happening.
The Danish book of parenting suggests referring to this time, not as the terrible twos, but reframing it more as the “Discovery years” and whilst I do get it, and like the idea to boot, I also think this can only really mean the discovering “just how darn good life as a toddler actually is” years. Because seriously, what on earth have you got to be terrible about two year old? I’ve even gone so far as to decide, that in our home, this next “phase” we’re entering in to will henceforth be known as “The Life of Riley”.
Let’s think about it…
These toddlers have seriously got it made. I’m starting to think that it should actually be me entering the “terrible” stage because life is definitely not as good for me as it is for Sam right now. I’ve been quietly contemplating industrial action, striking to negotiate better working conditions and less hours. However, we all know this would fail because the first rule of the Life of Riley club (aside from there is no Life of Riley club, of course) is never negotiate with a toddler.
Once I started thinking about this club, in detail, I decided that life is indeed grossly unfair for all us adult folk out there.
I’ve often heard it described that play is the work of children. What kind of half-arsed job is that? Can someone please find me an employer who is prepared to pay for such an endeavour. But hang on, what’s that? Oh, yes, toddlers don’t actually need employment because they don’t need money. Everything is free. Say what? How can I get me membership to this Life of Riley club? It sounds great!
What else is included?
Baths! My house has no bath yet my toddler gets to sit back and relax in a lovely, warm bubble baby bath every single night. Now, let’s take a moment to compare this to the rushed, two minute shower, I’m treated to of a morning, complete with door hammering and repeated requests to come out and play “Toot toot”. Who gets the better deal? Oh how I dream of escaping, for just a few hours, to wallow, read and drink wine in a steaming, hot, bubbly tub. But let’s face it, in reality we all know I’d end up with a visitor (child not husband!) using my “bumps” as a mountain range for Thomas & Friends and who knows what I’d actually be bathing in. But we can all dream right?
And another thing about this club, it gives a free pass for pudding every day, twice a day! And carbs and Pom bears and other really good stuff I’m not allowed to eat because I’m permanently on a diet after growing a member for this exclusive association. So not only do they get to enjoy this daily indulgence, twice over, but they often get it without even having to eat all their main. I ask you, in what life form does that actually happen? We all know the rules; greens have got to come before the good stuff. Yet Life of Riley club membership includes refusal of veg and the right to demand fruit and yoghurt, which of course I’m happy to dish up willingly because, oh joy, it means some sort of food substance has actually been consumed today.
Members get naps, they get the park, they get trippy tv, toys and attention. They get carried, or pushed, when they can’t be bothered to walk. They get to run around naked and don’t even have to stop having fun to go and pee. The list goes on. They basically get to have constant fun all whilst shirking any kind of responsibility, taking advantage of the free meals, unpaid cleaner and threatening tantrum mode when the service just ain’t tip top. See what I mean? Life. Of. Riley.
Now I would say I’m jealous, well I am really, but there is one saving grace:
Toddlers can’t drink wine.
I feel I’m, sometimes quite literally, scraping the barrel here, but it’s the only thing I can really come up with that makes me feel less envious of a small child. And, let’s be honest, I like to think I’m amongst friends, I have to say it’s pretty much a leveller. I mean, it’s perfectly normal to end up being carried home, eat a lot of pudding and run around naked after a few
glasses bottles of wine isn’t it…?
So I do get to join the Life of Riley club after all, I just get to pay for it heavily the next day!
For those, like me, interested in just where on earth this life of Riley phrase actually came from, I found a rather good answer here!