My daughter is one of the sweetest and most reasonable toddlers I know, but she's still a toddler, and sometimes, talking with her feels like being put on trial. I can't be the only parent who feels this way, and it occurred to me that it might be less stressful for everybody if we just went ahead and let toddlers set up their own legal system.
**** BEGIN COURT TRANSCRIPT, UNITED STATES TODDLER COURT****
BAILIFF: Toddler Court is now in session. All rise for the Honorable Judge Ava, Age 3 and 6 months and 4 days.
THE COURT: Good morning. Bailiff will please swear in the defendant and the plaintiff.
BAILIFF: Do you pinky swear to tell the truth, so help you god plus stick a needle in your eye?
ABBY'S FATHER (AGE 36): I do.
ABBY (AGE 2 YEARS, 4 MONTHS, 1 WEEK, 5 DAYS): I do.
THE COURT: Will the plaintiff please state the complaint?
ABBY: I asked for milk and he gave me juice.
THE COURT: Is this true?
ABBY'S FATHER: Yes, but--
THE COURT: Defendant will explain why he gave her juice when she wanted milk.
ABBY'S FATHER: I'm trying to. She asked--
THE COURT: SHE WANTED MILK!
ABBY: I WANTED MILK!
THE COURT: WHY did you give HER JUICE when SHE ASKED FOR MILK?
ABBY'S FATHER: Because I asked her what she wanted, and she said "Juice milk juice milk juice milk juice juice juice milk," and I thought, OK, that's six juices and only four milks, so I gave her juice.
ABBY: But I ended on milk.
THE COURT: As was clearly established in Tyler vs. Mum, 1984, it's what you
end on that counts.
ABBY: I ENDED ON MILK!
THE COURT: SHE ENDED ON MILK! WHY did you BRING HER JUICE when she CLEARLY ENDED ON MILK!!!!!!!!
ABBY'S FATHER: Well, after she dumped her juice on the floor, I ran to the kitchen and got her milk.
THE COURT: And was the plaintiff satisfied?
ABBY'S FATHER: No, she said she wanted her juice back.
THE COURT: And did you comply?
ABBY'S FATHER: I got her new juice--
ABBY: I wanted my OLD juice BACK!
THE COURT: She WANTED her OLD JUICE back!
ABBY'S FATHER: But it was all over the floor--
THE COURT: SHE wanted HER old JUICE back!
ABBY: I WANTED MY OLD JUICE BACK!
ABBY'S FATHER: But I--
THE COURT: I find you guilty innocent innocent guilty innocent innocent innocent guilty guilty.
ABBY'S FATHER: So that's guilty?
THE COURT: No yes no, that's guilty innocent guilty guilty innocent guilty.
ABBY'S FATHER: Wait, you ended on "no" but then you ended on "guilty," so does that mean--
THE COURT: WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE? Go AWAY! GO AWAY! Bailiff, seize the defendant and MAKE HIM GO AWAY!
[Bailiff grabs Abby's Father and drags him away.]
THE COURT: I will now hear the Case of the Toast That Was Cut Diagonally. Bailiff, please prepare the branding iron.