Once a toddler adds speaking freely, thinking freely and acting freely to his repertoire of toddler conduct, life gets much more interesting. It's become clear that more codes of conduct have been hardwired into their DNA than previously thought...
Without further ado, I present the latest installment in The Toddler Code Of Conduct:
Part II -- The Age Of Independence
1. When your parent(s) appear to be having a deep conversation with another adult, announce that you have to poop. If you are still in diapers, extra credit awarded for grunting and straining to make it appear like you are trying to pass a brick.
2. When being served a banana, if it breaks during the peeling process, REFUSE to eat it. Actually, make that the rule for anything that breaks before being served. Yes, even cookies.
3. When out to eat, stand up in the booth, then turn around and stare at the person eating behind you for so long it becomes creepy.
4. If someone tries to take something from you, make them sorry. Hold tight while flailing and screaming. If they manage to pry it out of your hands, channel the Incredible Hulk and explode on them.
5. Potty Training (a.k.a The Great Chocolate Caper)... should NOT be easy for anyone involved. Well, unless chocolate and sweet treats are not your thing. The harder you make it, the longer you will get rewarded for crapping in the potty.
6. MAKE A MESS! That is your mantra. Make the most of every opportunity to wreck the joint. Get creative. Go nuts. Think: Filthy Wild Mess. Make sure it's clear where you have been... Store your toys in the hall, in shoes, in the cat's/dog's bed, in the refrigerator, in the toilet, bathtub, front yard... anywhere but where your parents want them.
7. When you pass gas, laugh hysterically and then in your loudest voice announce, "HA HA I JUST FARTED." Legend status achieved if four or more people are present.
8. Before you touch anything on your plate, demand the food off everyone else's first.
9. Shoes, clothes and vegetables are stupid. Avoid them.
10. DO NOT sleep in on the weekends. If the sun rises before you, then you have failed. If you do not see the tears in your parents' eyes when waking them up before dawn, then you have failed.
11. Life is one big game of tag. Everyone is "It." RUN FROM THEM! Use tables to play epic games of You Can't Catch Me by crawling under them and running around them.
12. When no one is looking, try something really naughty. Something like climbing on furniture, jumping on the bed, pulling a chair over to the counter to grab a knife, chasing the cat or dog. Something you are sure you will get yelled at for if caught. Live a little.
13. While out for walks, stop every six inches to poke, pick up, drop or kick something. Every dog in the neighborhood should be lapping you on walks. Even the German shepherd that stops every foot to mark its territory.
14. Repeat EVERY word you hear. Every. Single. One.
15. This is the only time of your life when you can say bad words in public and not get in trouble. Remember, they think you are trying to say truck, duck, chip, bridge and ship. GO WITH IT! Drop "truck" bombs all over the place!
16. Phones and tablets were put on this Earth for you. Seek them out. Always.
17. Act like a perfect little angel while in the care of others. Think all smiles through Pleases and Thank Yous and well-timed trips to the potty. It will keep your parents guessing and slightly annoyed.
18. The backseat of the car is your domain. Mark it by creating a sea of Goldfish crackers. Feed the Goldfish juice and crumbs whenever possible.
19. Before you play with your toys, play with everything else. Including, but not limited to, everything in the house that is repeatedly referred to as "not for you."
20. Last, and most important, to keep Toddler Legend Perfect Little Angel status... at least once a week, WOW your parents with your undeniable wit and charm. One week, bust out the ABCs or The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Then, the next week, count to 10. In between, announce observations about your surroundings using words they have never heard you say before. Also, give kisses, hugs and cheeky grins and/or say "I WUV you" -- the latter if you think they are on to you.