May 7, 2009 at 3:32 am (pieces of me, whimsically silly)

“Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.”

– John Maynard Keynes

The word ‘toddler ’vexes me. Not the word itself, but the accepted definition. According to my trusty Merriam-Webster, the definition is as follows:

“a person who toddles, esp. a young child learning to walk.”

This is not the definition that I take issue with. Actually, I am inclined to agree with the above. Which is why I must inquire as to who the moron was that came up with the brilliant idea to slap the label ‘toddler’ on all moppets who fall between the ages of 1-3. I wish to understand the thought processes that brought him to such an absurd determination. I am also curious to learn out how it happened that the entire universe agreed with him.

From the very limited evidence I have been able to gather, my hypothesis is that said moron must have been a childless male, who happened to grow up as an only child, and so had no experience with babies or children whatsoever. I must also assume that he is a member of some sort of elite committee, because one can not implement changes of such a grandiose nature alone. The Committee must also have been comprised of childless males, who happened to grow up as only children, because anyone else would have known better. My final questions on the matter? Why said Committee of childless males who happened to grow up as only children are allowed to rule the universe at large, and is said Committee of childless males actually one and the same as the mysterious and mythological ‘THEY’ that control the universe? But those last questions are neither here nor there. . .

Let us ponder on this for a moment, shall we? I suspect that the sheer horror of this transgression has not hit home for you yet. And it should. The rampant use of this word, and its obtuse re-definition, can be found on talk-shows, baby-books, instructional videos, the list goes on and on. . .nearly everything written or spoken on the subject at this point in history uses the term ‘toddler,’ with the assumption that it is a child between the ages of 1 and 3. I strongly feel that this has given parents the world over a false sense of security, and that is why I’m so appalled.

There you are, delirious with exultation as you watch your baby take her first step. You get grandma on the horn double-quick, and while gushing the big news, scurry for the video camera to ensure a capture of Darling setting off on her peregrination to toddler hood . . . but something goes terribly awry. Before your grasping fingertips are able to fumble the bloody camera on, BANG! She’s tearing around the house like Mighty Mouse with his tail on fire, leaving nothing but destruction and desolation in her wake. And you just sit there; stunned and confused, waiting for the dust to settle, thinking to yourself, “Its only been 30 seconds since she took her first step. I thought she was going to toddle until she turned 3…” And the worst part? The house hadn’t even been child-proofed yet. True story.

T is a toddler. She will continue to be one for at least another 2 years. Perhaps someone forgot to let her in on the meaning of the word, but toddle she does NOT. She sprints. She leaps. She climbs. She twirls. She jitterbugs. She bounds. She may even fly when I’m not looking, I wouldn’t put it past her, as she can be very naughty at times. . .But I haven’t seen her toddle for nearly a year. . .

You might think I’m over-reacting about this. Its just a word, right? No big deal. But the crux of the issue is that words are ALL WE HAVE to communicate with – unless you happen to be an infant, in which case screaming at the top of your lungs until someone figures out what you want is the likely scenario. But imagine if every adult the world over employed this practice in order to make themselves understood (Now that I think on it, that happens more often than I’d like to admit).When people randomly decide that words mean things that they don’t, the poor overextended words lose any semblance of meaning they once owned. If this trend continues, the very fabric of the cosmos is in danger of unraveling! Imagine walking into a store and requesting a can of red paint, only to be handed a beef-and-bean burrito! A nightmare, I tell you! Once The Committee gets heady with power, there will be no stopping them. They will destroy the universe. They must be found and stopped. . . But, of course, I digress. Back to toddlers. . .

One might ask, what exactly is a toddler who has finished with toddling – since they obviously aren’t actually toddlers anymore? My definition, as mother, is simple:

“A toddler is a very small, incredibly insane and dangerously cute person with a huge head that has absolutely no inhibitions or common sense whatsoever and comes dangerously close to certain death a minimum of 387 times daily.”

Toddlers are great, honest. I’ve had more heart-attacks in the year or so that I’ve had one then there stars in the sky. Loads of fun. Everybody should get one – you’ll love it! I promise.

coming soon on Huginn, Muninn, and Me:
why IS rubber ducky the one?
the truth about naptime
interior design by Crayola 

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