Fantastic Friday: Flash Fiction–Toddler’s New Friend

This post comes when some parents will be glad that school is back in session–and teachers will remember just how hard their jobs are.

Earlier this year, I attended a writing workshop, and we were asked to respond to several prompts in a compressed amount of time—around five minutes.

One of the prompts was a picture, featuring a toddler freaked out by a bird sitting on her head:

http://twentytwowords.com/toddler-freaked-out-by-a-bird-on-her-head/

Photo from: http://twentytwowords.com/toddler-freaked-out-by-a-bird-on-her-head/

http://twentytwowords.com/toddler-freaked-out-by-a-bird-on-her-head/. We had five minutes to write.

Naturally, my mind turned to my own toddler. In trying to describe what it’s like to watch a toddler all day, I often compare it to watching a drunk person: They are often entertaining. Indeed, I find myself laughing out loud at her sometimes. They make bad decisions and don’t think through consequences. They leave a lot of messes, including losing control of bodily functions. After a while, they get annoying and need a bit of a sleep.

I’ve read many articles insisting that none of the toddler behavior is intentional—that toddler brains are simply still developing, and what we see as belligerence is just their way of interacting with the world and learning/understanding rules and boundaries. But when my toddler holds a shovelful of sand up to her mouth and looks me in the eye—and then shoves it in her mouth when I say “no”—I can’t help but think there’s at least a bit of intentionality about it.

To entertain myself, I often think about the voice that would emerge if toddlers were articulate. Sort of like Stewie Griffin (but less evil). So here, as part of that entertainment, is the voice that emerged from the picture.

It was bad enough when Mommy took away the cheese grater I snatched from the dishwasher. So shiny and textured. Why would she put it in there if she didn’t want me to have it?

Why would she have anything that she didn’t want me to have?

Then came lunch. Baked beans. Baked beans? What was she thinking? Three boxes of fruit punch Go-Gurt, and she tries to give me baked beans! You know those were headed straight for the floor. She might have saved time by flinging them there herself.

I won’t even get into the indignities of naptime that followed. What does she think, she runs this place? And this phrase “You need sleep, I need a break,” what is that?

Meh, naptime just gives me time to plot.

I’d seen the birdie for a while now. It kept coming to the back door and pecking at the piece of doggie food I stuck in the doggie door. Mommy said not to touch it, that it had to stay lockie-locked. And that birdies are dirty and dangerous.

Well, I’ll show her. The lockie-lock is easy to unhook. Even a baby could do it.

Mommy, mommy, look at my new friend!