We all know a silent toddler is up to no good. But if you ever want to get any cooking or washing up done you probably do a lot more parenting-by-sound than you realise. Here is a short tutorial for beginners:
Good Sounds – Leave well enough alone
* Buttons being pressed on noisy toys
* Wheels of toy vehicles spinning along the floor
* Singing along to the TV
* Happyland people chatting to each other about daily life, shopping or public transport
* Conversations with cuddly toys about a picnic/tea party. CAVEAT: This is UNLESS you know there to be actual food or drink present in the room where the Toddler is. In which case, go and investigate right away.
* Pencils scratching on paper
* Thick pages being turned
Sounds that need investigation
* “Mmmmmm!” You may find your toddler tucking into a huge chocolate bar you had stashed away somewhere for yourself.
* Pencils scratching when you know there is no paper.
* Raucous laughter, esp if teamed with hissing/meowing from the cat
* Rhythmical thuds
* The receiver-off-hook whine coming from the telephone
* Book-thuds or DVD-rattles. You may need to put a halt to a young librarian implementing a new filing system involving piles rather than shelves.
* “Helping Mummy!” Sadly, helping Mummy is rarely a safe activity for toddlers to engage in unsupervised.
Drop Everything And Run
* The front door opening
* “Ah, Mummy cuppa tea!”
* Mountaineering-type sounds
* A loud crash
* Any sound that is followed by high pitched screams/crying
Feel free to share your own classic examples in the comments!
NOTE: The Health and Safety-conscious among you might have spotted that most sounds in the last category could be prevented: lock the front door, don’t leave hot tea where your toddler can reach, fix absolutely everything to the walls, don’t stack or balance heavy things etc etc. I believe there are now professionals who will come to your house for free to tell you where you are going wrong with child-proofing. What an excellent profession! But sadly, in my life – as in yours, I imagine? – risk assessment sometimes takes a back seat to interruptions, nappy emergencies and bad nights’ sleep.