At first glance, my toddler does not seem to have any utility. This is a real downer because she costs a lot and she is extremely hard to take care of.
With an eye on getting some return on my investment, which included 10 months gestation, 12 hours of labor, opportunity cost of maternity leave and part-time work, as well as expensive hair appointments (okay fine, boxes of color bought at Rite Aid) to cover the gray hairs she has caused me, I have come up with some uses for my toddler -- or anyone's -- I have discovered just hanging around my house (read: wreaking havoc and devastation).
1. Interior design
Your toddler can easily help you envision a creative new look for any room in your house. Pillows on the couch? How boring and jejune. How about in the toilet for a whimsical spoof on cottage chic? Now we're talking. And a vase on the bookcase? Yawn. What about the same vase in pieces strewn oh-so-casually around the kitchen floor! Now nobody can accuse you of being derivative.
2. Food testing
Do you think your food may be bad, sour, rancid? Here is a good way to test. Ask your toddler to taste it. Make sure to say it's new food that she has never had or liked before. She somehow will be able to assess, even without tasting it, that your food is poisonous. Having divined this with her magical toddler powers, she will attempt to destroy the food entirely by throwing it on the floor or making Play-Doh-like balls with it. Her desire to protect you from harm will move you to tears. Now, thankfully, you have sidestepped what would have been a definite case of poisoning.
3. White noise machine
Do you have trouble concentrating or sleeping? Ask your toddler to be quiet. He will immediately begin issuing a range of noises from his vocal cords that mimic the most expensive, top of the line white noise machine, on "jungle" setting. Feel free to put on your sleep mask and recline on your sofa, especially if you have fire insurance on your house and have been considering moving to a bigger one.
Forget me and my ilk, for absolutely no money at all, you can have your very own therapist. Here is a sampling of the gems of wisdom that will sally forth from your multipurpose toddler in Therapist Mode.
- "You are a good mommy." (Validation, upon feeding her chocolate ice cream.)
- "Why you asleep?" (Skillfully and humorously making you aware that you appear fatigued; you can now seek answers as to why.)
- "Wake up wake up wake up!" (Life is ephemeral! Fail not to live in the moment, for when all is said and done, we are here for but a nanosecond.)
- "Bad mommy." (Stop and take a deep and meaningful look at yourself. Was it necessary to make me eat my lunch before I get my cookie? Does this matter in the long run? What in your upbringing makes you value sandwiches over cookies?)
She really liked this caterpillar. But she killed it within 10 minutes. Imagine what she could do to a bug she didn't like.
6. Personal training
"Go faster! Why you not running? GO GO GO!"
Look at this state of the art care of this baby. Although she had to leave for preschool, she did not let that stop her from attending to baby's need to nurse.
8. Personal styling
Your toddler is very definitive about what she does and does not like. No need to pay for honest feedback about your wardrobe when you have a toddler handy. For example, she will gently and succinctly point out, "Your shirt is green. Green not pretty." True, it does not do much for my complexion. Or, "Mommy's dress beautiful." Why thank you, I guess I will wear it to work after all.
9. Social connection
All you have to do in order to bond with a likely mom-friend candidate is utilize your toddler. Wait until she starts melting down because you brought water to the playground instead of juice, and then roll your eyes at your friend prospect and laugh. You will be exchanging horror stories over coffee in no time.
10. Heart melting
Are you in need of cheering up? For absolutely free, your useful toddler can brighten your spirits with one look or hug. Cheaper than mind-altering substances and more effective by far.