This morning started off slow. I didn’t get much sleep, and scrolling aimlessly on Twitter and Facebook while I poured coffee down my throat just left me feeling empty. Too many sad stories, horrible memes and bad news everywhere. Still, I powered on, thinking about how it’s Friday and that in itself is a beacon of hope for so many people! For me, not so much, but you gotta have hope for something right? As I wandered through my day, tripping over carpeted stairs that must have just been put in today and spilling coffee, ice water, dish soap and sunflower seeds (don’t ask, it’s complicated) in every room I entered, I thought to myself: “Can’t I just make a fort on my couch with my duvet and pillows and crawl under ’em for the day?” Boom. The epiphany came like a bad joke at a funeral.
My days of raising toddlers are long over, but I’ve come to realize those pint-sized balls of snot and energy are brilliant. It really made me stop and think about how life as a munchkin full of mayhem really has its perks! Now, before you go and tell me this is not an original post and it’s basically like the “What I learned in Life I Learned in Kindergarten” concept, I say forget those elementary schoolkids! They’re so pretentious with their “I can read” attitude and their fully scheduled regimen. I mean, who needs a recess anyways? Okay….maybe recess is good, but you get my drift.
Here is my Somewhat-Make-Believe Inspirational List of Life Hacks From the Smartest People On the Planet. Edition #1. If only we would stop and pay attention to them.
The Toddlers’ Manual on Successful Adulting
Cry. Yep, cry. Sometimes wail and scream. Those cute little devils figured out real quick that if you do this, you usually get what you need. Sometimes you even get what you want. Who knew? (Actually, Trump did. This kind of freaks me out a bit.)
Go naked. Clothes not fitting properly anymore? Sick of those boyfriend jeans that are sooo 2016? Don’t worry about it. Go au naturel. For added cuteness, dance while doing it. Nothing says body confidence like a toddler running around naked with a diaper on his head. And think of all the money saved!
Hungry? Eat. It’s that simple. Don’t worry about when and where and what. Eat when you’re hungry, silly! Also, eat with your hands if you want. It adds to the sensory experience; simpler is better. Spaghetti is usually a great choice. Also, chocolate pudding, just to give others a quick fright. Especially if you’re eating naked.
Stop and touch everything. Life is so much better when you can feel the grass on your feet and the cat’s tail in your hands. Pet the dog, put your hands in the water, roll in the mud, twirl Grandma’s crystal goblets. Pure enjoyment! Just don’t drop Grandma’s goblet.
Explore! Whether it’s a the back country, the backyard or even the closet. Run through the local park or hike a mountain. Or even just get your hands dirty in the garden. Nothing grounds us more than feeling the earth in our hands. This goes hand in hand with “touch everything” rule. Of course, try not to touch the dog shit.
Make noise. Make music if you’re inclined (and maybe even talented, but that’s for those somewhat educated Kindergarteners). Pots and pans are not obsolete yet, so grab them. Or play an instrument if you really want to get technical. Sing. Out loud. In the car, or the shower, hell, even at work if necessary. Music opens our minds and hearts and releases so many good things out in to the universe! Note: if at work, choose your anthem wisely. N.W.A’s “Fuck The Police” is a catchy karaoke song, and one of my all-time faves, but the boss might not approve. Especially if you work for the police department.
Drink. Okay, I sort of stretched this one a bit. Since we aren’t drinking breast milk anymore (that could be weird), I do think vodka is a suitable substitute. Wine for many of you. Of course, moderation is key. Again, I’m stretching here since toddlers aren’t really known for their moderation. But I am attempting to adult too. Life is hard.
Learn. And learn some more. Toddlers don’t have a choice but to learn; it’s the only way they figure out how to use the toilet and get their way to Kindergarten. Open your mind. Engage the brain. Let yourself be a sponge and see the world through different views. Don’t understand your new neighbours? Ask them to teach you a few words in their native language. Can’t relate to someone’s side of a debate? Research their points of view and listen with empathy. Always wanted to make the pot of borscht or dig up fossils? Take a class. Worried that all of the texting and social media abbreviations will turn your brain into a cringe-worthy meme? Read a book. Check out the library (can be part of the ‘Explore’ rule, look at me changing up the game to suit everyone!), or better yet, read some of the amazing blogs floating around the internet. Or read the shitty, ones too. Why not? No judgement here!
Laugh. I know, this seems obvious and redundant. It’s not. We just don’t do it enough. I’m talking about the laughter that hurts the diaphragm and causes you to have to, on occasion, change your underwear. That laughter that takes over and causes you to look like a maniac and makes you feel delirious! Usually happens when with others. I don’t think I need to spell out how to achieve such laughter. Everyone has different funny bones, so go out and indulge ’em. Whatever suits your sense of humour– I won’t judge.
Stick close to your loved ones. And reach out to strangers, even. Hug them, squeeze them, make human contact when possible. Give them kisses. Of course, make sure they want them; it’s cute when a two-year old swaps his spit and slobber, but the cute stranger on the subway might not appreciate you doing it. If you’re allowed and still able to, climb in their laps. Just don’t make it weird when in public, okay? Life is so much better when we surround ourselves with people who love us, and when we give love back. Even when it’s not always easy.
Say No. Seriously. This is a big one. I think we go almost our entire lives trying to master this life lesson and some of us never even get a passing grade. Toddlers (and Kanye) do it all the time! It’s basically the first word that comes out of their cute, sassy little mouths and it’s basically their favourite word until elementary school, where they graduate to better words, like ‘poopy-pants’ and ‘fuck’. It’s liberating and all it will cost you is, more time to do things you actually want to do. So the next time someone volunteers you for the Neighbourhood Douche Party Potluck that has you stuck in a room full of people you’d rather set on fire, just say no…or yes if you really can’t get out of it. Just leave the lighter fluid and matches at home and try again next time.
Make forts. Wreck said forts. Repeat the process. It’s like meditation and exercise and a healthy release of frustration all at the same time! Doing it with friends could even be better. Add wine if needed. Also, naps in the forts are perfectly acceptable.
This leaves me to my last Brilliant Toddler Rule To Live By:
Naps. That four-letter word –3 but I made it plural, so sue me –that no one seemed to like until we were lured (and trapped) into adulthood. These things are amazing! It takes some getting used to at first, and sometimes you might wake up feeling like a lost Godzilla full of road rage, but it gets better. Practice makes perfect! How did we function without them for so long? And why did we kick and scream when Mom made us go for one everyday? This fact might tarnish my “toddlers are the smartest people on the planet theory” just a tad. Alternative facts, I say! Also, I can’t write anymore because I’m hungry and my fort needs me. And I think I missed recess.