This evening, Blake and I were walking from my friend's house to my car. He was looking after my keys and I was holding his hand and chatting merrily about seeing Daddy soon, when suddenly Blake stopped. He put my keyring into his mouth, making him look like an elaborate door knocker, and refused to take another step. Blake is eighteen months old; this behaviour did not surprise me in the slightest. However, it did get me to thinking how weird it would look if I had done the same thing. If, at the age of thirty, I had stuffed my keys into my mouth and stood stock still on the pavement, completely refusing to move.
Toddlers do some strange things. After all, they're still discovering the world and everything is new and exciting. Plus, and this bit is crucial, they get away with it. Somehow I don't think it would be quite as cute if I were to stroll down the road, trying to open every gate that I came across. I think it would be less cute still if I were to tackle Morrisons by shouting at the top of my voice the entire way round.
Dinner time would also be interesting. If I were to suddenly start copying the way that my son ate, I would fill a spoon with peas, lift them carefully to my face, only to the tip them directly into my lap the millisecond before they reached my lips. I would fill my fork with food, then pick it off and shove it into my mouth along with my entire fist and, once I had had my fill, I would inexplicably pick up my plate and tip whatever was left onto the floor.
I would gurn for no apparent reason and stare at strangers until they acknowledged my existence. I would then smile coyly and look away. When my son does it, it's adorable; if I were to do it, my husband might see it as me flirting ineffectively with others.
Sleeping would be altogether less restful. I'm of the opinion that Blake might never be ready to come out of his cot and go into a bed; he would fall out within minutes. I have never met a more active sleeper. If I suddenly began to imitate his sleeping pattern, I would cover every inch of the bed within the first hour of being in it. I would repeatedly try and crawl in my sleep until my head hit the headboard, only to turn around and try to go the other way. I would never keep a blanket on me and I would intermittently cry out for no reason at all, soundly asleep again within seconds. I would need bed guards and there almost certainly wouldn't be any room for Mr Meaney.
I would walk around the house, bumping into furniture, forehead first and I would fall onto my bottom without warning, apparently thwarted by my own centre of gravity. I occasionally do these things now admittedly, but there has generally been wine involved. To my knowledge, Blake has never once had drunkenness to blame for his incessant falling.
I would laugh loudly any time I witnessed someone hurt themselves. Then I would attempt to climb the bookcase, hurt myself and shout incoherent obscenities at anyone that tried to point out the rough justice of the situation.
I would hide under the kitchen table if anyone mentioned the words 'get' and 'dressed' together in a sentence.
Toddlers are strange creatures indeed; part small, angry goblin - part hilarious, drunken hobo. They are that brilliant mix of snuggly baby smells and genuine comedy genius that mean they can get away with almost anything. As their personalities grow and blossom, their behaviour is puzzling and utterly fascinating. It's just a shame that we can't get away with replicating it, because toddlers really do look like they're having the most fun of all.