Family dinner time is always such a calming, rewarding and frankly beautiful experience... SAID NO EXHAUSTED PARENT OF A TODDLER EVER. Perhaps, all we need is for a pre-schooler to break it down in an easy step-by-step guide for other toddlers looking to get the most from mealtimes while their mums and dads cry... (Or drink wine. Or something...)
Here's 'The Unwritten Rules of Dinner Time' from a toddler's perspective:
1. If any part of your meal (inclusive of accompanying refreshments) is in a container not first chosen and approved by you, you are well within your rights to lose your shit. And refuse to eat until your chicken dippers are put in the Ninky-Nonk like YOU BASTARD WELL ASKED.
2. Yes. You did love bananas. YESTERDAY. But then they went and ruined that by buying a shit loads of bananas... Which is a shame because you f@*king hate bananas.
3. Your identical dinner looks way better than mine, let's swap. Actually... no. I miss mine. And I hate you. In fact. F@*k you. Also, I kinda fancy a banana now... got any of those?!?
4. Always. ALWAYS. Decide you need a poo just as Mummy starts eating.
5. Vegetable-negotiations are your time to shine... just one slice of cucumber could earn you a yoghurt, two and you're on track for chocolate buttons, three and you've bagged a Peppa-Pig-World annual pass and Daddy will be ordering you a pony by the end of the week.
6. Once a week or so, start crying hysterically before you've even got to the dinner table. Just to shit things up.
7. Just hold out. They'll break first... they're desperate for wine and you're quite full just sitting here feasting on their misery...
8. At some point they all go a bit 'Annabel Karmel' on your arse, and try replacing your fish-fingers with some home made shit they thought you wouldn't notice... They're not even perfectly rectangular or anything?! My advice - go cold turkey on them. But. Whatever you do. Don't ever. EVER. Actually eat cold turkey. That would be in-twatting-sane.
9. Can I use your fork? Oh, now I kind of want my fork back. Except I just remembered your fork makes me sad. OK now I'm too sad to eat. Just gonna sit here and cry now. With all the forks... While you eat with just your face... And your tears... NOW GO FLAMBÉ ME A KITKAT YOU SLUT.
10. If for some strange reason there appears to be peas on your plate where your chips normally go.... Deal with this maturely by running into the lounge to kick the shit out of the sofa with your face, screaming until you're sick and eventually getting so worked up you need to have an anti-trauma shit in the cupboard under the stairs. They did this to you. YES - THEY. DID. THIS.