By KATE HUNTER
Thankfully, my toddler-rearing days are behind me.
When I see clusters of mums in parks on sunny mornings, clutching takeaway coffees and opening Tupperware boxes of watermelon chunks I don’t think, ‘those were the days.’
No, I think, thank God that’s over.
At the time I enjoyed it. I thought my kids were the most beautiful, funny, intriguing little people ever put on the planet. And I was right, even though others were sometimes blind to their magnificence.
Of course, they weren’t perfect. Sometimes they would completely lose it. But when they did, it was never OVER NOTHING! Sometimes a truck wouldn’t move satisfactorily through a sandpit or I’d refuse to serve sauce with their peas. The trick was how to manage such crises. For a long time I managed very badly, because I was following the wrong advice – that of parenting experts who took the wussy approach of calming them down, and speaking quietly of ‘choices’ and ‘angry feelings,’ and gently diverting their attention in more positive ways.
The advice I ended up following came not from child psychologists or early childhood teachers, but from world leaders. Specifically, George W Bush, Tony Blair and our own John Howard. Stay with me.
It was 2005, and my daughter was two-and-a-bit and at the peak of her toddler powers. She was refusing a bath and had gone limp in a deadweight manoeuvre much loved by political protesters and I was debating whether it was worth a back injury trying to move her.
I was about to attempt to bribe her with the offer of a Range Rover for her 18th when I heard Tony Blair’s defiant voice come from the television:
‘It is untrue that terrorists have no demands. They do. It is just that no sane person would negotiate on them.’
Do you see where I’m going with this? Replace the word, ‘terrorist’ with ‘toddler’ and you have parenting advice from the highest offices in the world. Check it out –