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Mission Little Monster


Our English housemate had already written it down in his calendar as ‘the German invasion’ (you can say a lot about the English but they do like a war joke), whereas I saw it more as an experiment. Approaching the big three-oh, there comes a point in most women’s lives when it seems the best idea ever to say goodbye to your sleep, your figure and your sanity. Not sure why, apparently hormones take over.

Now that point hasn’t come yet, but you never know, it might. And what better way to convince the hormones that traveling to unknown countries, snowboarding and drinking exotic cocktails is more pleasant than being covered in pee, poo and Pampers, than by having a child in house for a while? Since they don’t have a Rent-a-kid facility in England, Kai’s sister and her 2.5 year old visiting us for a weekend was a great opportunity for ‘mission Little Monster’.

In preparation I bought a fire engine toy. The yellow and red plastic thing gave me a near heart attack when picking it up from the shelf – how could the alarm have gone off when I was a good five metres away from the shop’s door? “The batteries have just been renewed,” the lady behind the counter said in a way of explanation. Her confused look told me that, “Thanks for the warning, I’ll make sure to swap them for nearly empty ones as soon as I get home,” wasn’t the answer she was expecting. I bought a puzzle as well to up educational level a bit; it had cute little dogs, English writing, touchy-feely bits and more important: it was silent.

Next on the shopping list was booze. I explained to Kai that since I sleep better after a few glasses, it might also work for Junior. However, we still had to stall it away above midget-level. Just as the knives, glasses, books, food, and all other items of either material or emotional value. Three hours later we were prepared.

The advantage of having a toddler was clear within minutes: seeing Monsters Inc. which is, let’s be honest, the greatest movie ever (after James Bond, Eurotrip and anything with Jason Statham in it of course). The best bit: you get to watch it 14 times!

There are also disadvantages. I wouldn’t mind hearing the screaming ‘mama I want cacao’, but maybe not at 5.36am. Ok, scrap that, I would mind hearing screaming whatever time of day. Just turn the volume down kiddo. (Note to self: if ever feeling like a glass of chocolate but too lazy to get up, it might be worth a try to up the whining and communicate in a high pitch dog whistle sound that is impossible for human ears to ignore).

The funny bit about children though is that you start to see things from a different perspective.
Trips to the zoo gets way more interesting if at least one member of your group chases the helmeted guineafowl walking outside its enclosure down the lane – screaming with flapping arms (both kid and bird) – instead of just avoiding it. I bet he just wanted to give the birdie some exercise. Besides, I totally share his point of view regarding cages: it’s so massively unfair that all these bars are up, preventing us from stroking the big lion. Especially when you’ve just seen a movie in which a scary looking big blue monster is being called ‘Kitty’ by a little girl and turns out to be really sweet and fluffy.

Three more discoveries I wouldn’t know if I didn’t have a toddler for a weekend:

-          Bedtime sucks. But if it’s really time to say goodnight then insist on taking all your favourite cars into the bedroom and sleep next to them (I bet Kai silently agrees – I caught him measuring up both our room and the garage…)

-          Educational puzzles also suck. Big time. The best toy is an empty egg box. With a bit of imagination and a participating adult it turns into a dragon that eats everything, even the mashed potatoes that should have actually gone in your mouth.

-          The way hide and seek is usually played doesn’t just suck, it’s also wrong. Forget about quietly sitting in a corner waiting to be found – it’s all about running around the house while making as much noise as you possibly can, regardless of if there are any other players involved or not. Also, if something’s fun, why stop doing it? Repeat the action for even more fun. And again, maximum volume. And again. And one more time. And again, this time with extra screaming for some variation. And again. And…well, you get the picture.

When the noise levels progressed from just torturing to ear destroying torturing I knew it: ‘Mission: accomplished’.  Hormones, you’ve been taught a lesson. Easy.

But when the little boy was tired of screaming and running, he discovered yet another toy: the necklace I was wearing. His chubby little fingers moved the blue glass charm around until it slid behind my back, out of view.  Mesmerised by the disappearance of the bangle, he kept himself happy (and silent!) by turning the charm around 7552 times, only occasionally pulling out some hair. Every single recurrence of the necklace was met by an adorable gurgling sound not much different from the ones they use in those too-good-to-be-true cute Pampers commercials. Help, the little monster turned out to be as sweet as Sulley in the movie.

You know what, MAYBE in a year or ten I wouldn’t mind having a little tyke myself.  (As long as it comes with a remote control which has an ‘off’, a ‘standby’ and, most importantly, a ‘mute’ button.)

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