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Coping With Parents - A Guide For Children

Bring me my slippers!Despite being an Angelman child, I have to confess that my biggest disability, and one I suspect I share with a lot of 2 year olds, is my parents. From what I can gather about child rearing (from both the internet and personal experience with my teddy), all that they need to do is read my mind and then do everything I want them to do, quick time. How hard can that be?

As a pretty typical example, only this morning, I was lounging around playing with my toys, when it occurred to me that the doll my sister was playing with looked simply delicious. Now you would think that the doll would be instantly presented on a silver platter for me to chew its lovely head, but no!...it was not to be. I was forced to manoeuvre myself over there, make a grab for the thing, only to be thwarted by an uncooperative sister. Why were my parents not intervening to sort this out? Surely getting that dolly into my hands is top of everyone’s priorities?

If I take a frank and honest look at what goes on around this house I can’t help but wonder why my parents are not standing behind me with palm trees keeping me cool 24 x 7. Some of the supposed “activities” that lay claim to their time are:

Work: I have yet to figure out exactly what “work” is, but from keen observation of my father, work is a mix of eating chocolate, looking out the window, sighing and trying to look thoughtful, which just comes off as looking dumb in his case (he “works” from home). My mother also claims to be working on occasion, which seems to involve long periods reading the internet, cleaning things (something I will never see the point of) and swanning about the shops with me in tow.

Sleep: These people apparently have a capacity to sleep up to 8 hours a day. In case you have fallen off your chair, I will repeat that – EIGHT HOURS! Holy Moly……how anyone needs more than 3 or 4 hours is beyond me…certainly if I am awake then everyone else should not be so rude as to try to sleep at the same time. Alpha male types are always going on about how sleep is for losers and although they are not a breed I normally agree with, in this case I have to concur.

Chores: Chores fall into that gap between official work and servicing my most trivial requirements. A chore can take several hours if it’s complicated (e.g. getting my sister to wear something that is not pink) or a few minutes if it’s a minor chore (e.g. grumbling about the state of the place).

Eating: While I am eating I expect the world to stop revolving and all activity to cease (globally) to ensure that I am provided with a constant flow of food and milk. However my parents seem to think it appropriate to eat at the same time as me. How they can hope this arrangement will work is a mystery to me, and yet they persevere (I must confess I admire their tenacity with this!).

As is obvious my parents do nothing of value for most of the time, and the least they could do is cut out work and sleep to make more time for me (I will leave them their “chores”, as when something is labelled a “chore” it takes on a sort of mystic significance). In order to improve the amount of attention and time you get with your parents I suggest the following “7 successful habits of Highly Effective Toddlers”:

  • Crying/Screaming: I hesitated to include this in the list as it’s so obvious and a bit of a blunt tool, but the fact of the matter is that to be successful as a baby or toddler you need to be able to cry and scream. Use this one with caution thought as overuse can lead to desensitizing of the parents. I would recommend a maximum of 6 to 8 hours a day in 3 hours bursts. Anything more than that and you will have trouble with the neighbours.
  • Whining: This annoys the hell out of anyone who hears it. Make a sort of wheaaaaaa sound in the back of your throat and threaten to bring it to a crescendo (but don’t actually take it this far…the threat is more effective than that act). Whining is like one of those dog repellent alarms, only for parents. They will mostly do anything to get it to stop. If your parents are unresponsive at first, one good trick is to stop whining for 6 to 8 seconds. This is just the right amount of time for parents to think you might have stopped for good, and equally their sensitivity increases, so when you do start again it’s all that more effective.
  • Looking Cute: Angelman kids have this one down, and for good reason, as this trick can melt the hardest of hearts and bend them to your will. One obvious flaw of course is that your parents may not realise that you actually need something. You need to combine looking cute with some type of pointing or communication about a requirement, otherwise it’s just a big waste. If you actually don’t need anything you can look cute in order to store up good will with your parents, so when the time comes they are ready to do your bidding.
  • Eliminate the Competition: This is one of the more difficult tactics for a toddler to pull off, but can reap huge rewards if done right. To my mind there are three main competitors, being animals, teddies and siblings. Animals can be encouraged to leave the family home through an orchestrated campaign of tail pulling, coating in jam/cheese and general annoyance. Teddies can simply be chewed into submission, so no problem there. Siblings are a harder nut to crack. Not wanting to cause them any actual harm, the best option is often to just wait them out. Eventually they will go to school and you will have unfettered access to your parents. I can’t really condone any other actions to eliminate siblings, but you must do whatever works for you.
  • Achieving Things: This tactic is very much a short term one, but can be very effective none the less. If you tick one of the boxes on your parents’ endless list of “things to achieve” you will receive a large dose of attention. However parents quickly get bored with any new skills and within weeks the act of crawling, or standing becomes merely common place, and we are yet again forced to move onto the next thing. As a quick fix though it can be useful.
  • Doing a Large Poo: Quite why this garners the attention it does is beyond comprehension, but apparently if you do a large poo you are king for a day. Its almost as if we had some control over this and created something wonderful and beautiful, but really we are just letting nature take its course. Personally I think its gross, but parents response to it, so I will keep doing it!
  • Mayhem: This is slightly counterintuitive, but bear with me. Taking my cue from the Joker in the Batman movie, causing unbridled chaos and mayhem does have its rewards. Initially frowned upon, an act of destruction can be perceived by your parents as a cry for attention, and throwing any and all objects in sight will result in lavished attention (although probably not attention of the kind you were hoping for!). A continual campaign of low-level annoyance also works well. Note that although you will be making some waves, they may not be appreciated. This is balanced by the fact that its damn good fun!!

So there you have it…some tips and tricks to manipulate your parents and become the ultimate toddler! (Use with caution!).