I had one of those weekends with Mini. You know the ones, where everything you try and do gets exponentially more difficult the less time you have to do it?
Well, when I was struggling to get her trousers on and she was trying to launch herself over my left shoulder (of course it was my left because that is my weakest side) it occurred to me that small children are like drunks.
Teeny, tiny drunks.
How can I say that?
Well, lets consider the evidence (in no particular order)…
Prone to falling and often over nothing… check. You spend time worrying whether it’s because their shoes are the wrong size, the soles aren’t flexible enough or they’re turning their feet in when they walk. In reality, it’s just as likely that their brains aren’t quick enough to warn them about all the hazards in the way (tables, chairs, steps, thin air) in time, or more likely, it’s too busy thinking of something else altogether much more interesting.
Prone to making a mess when eating… check. In fact, you’re lucky if it’s confined to their person. Retrieving peas that have rolled under tables can be tricky (not to mention bruising if you don’t watch your head) and as for dried ketchup that managed to get in the one place you didn’t look…
Prone to sudden vomiting… check. Who hasn’t had the pleasure of walking round with baby sick down your back, whether you know about it at the time or not? Calling it posset doesn’t make it any more attractive when you’re wearing it, and as for giving it the same name as a medieval dessert, well, I’m not even going to go there. Still, when else would you get to develop the parental (or it may just be mothers who do this) of catching vomit with your bare hands. (We’re saving the bedding, saving on washing and supporting the environment. Doesn’t make it any more pleasant? Oh well. I tried.)
Prone to delivering sloppy, badly aimed kisses… check. On reflection, this one isn’t so bad. You can get used to a big wet kiss that may or may not end up somewhere on your face, or even head. It is slightly more problematic when they’re in full snot production mode, which, uncannily, seems to improve their aim no end, well, enough that their nose ends up somewhere round your mouth.
Prone to making loud noises… check. This includes singing out of tune and, in common with drunks, at full volume and during unsocial hours. The concept of quiet and the fact that others might be trying to sleep totally eludes them. Still, despite this we try. Isn’t that one of the definitions of insanity, trying the same thing again and again expecting a different result? Hmm…
Prone to spontaneous outbursts of emotion… check. This usually amounts to crying. Loudly and often with sign language, just in case you can’t hear them. The cause and duration can rarely be predicted and may or may not involve interaction with siblings, real or imagined. Or even imaginary friends. Why can it never be the giggles? Why? Just once? Please???
Prone to erratic motion… check. It’s cute when you see them wobbling towards you, until they fall over… well, let’s face it, cruel as it might be, we sometimes find that amusing as well. Not that we would ever admit it to anyone. We hope it gets better before they get too mobile. In the meantime, we just move objects out of the way before they can be trampled. You know the usual things, toys, newspapers, pets, siblings… and back to the spontaneous outbursts of emotion.
Prone to falling asleep without warning… check. Usually in the car about 2 minutes from home or in the most uncomfortable position – half in half out of bed, in their high chair, anywhere really. You have to admit that the chubby cheeked drunken snooze look is cute when they’re that age. And as for the tiny little snores!
So there you have it. We appear to be raising a nation of teeny tiny drunks.