It happened again last night: my two-year-old fell asleep with a gargantuan holiday pinecone slayed across his lap, drool seeping down the side of his face, prostrate across the hardwood floor of the dining room.
“Oh, love,” I said to my husband, “our little drunk adult strikes again.”
“My turn?” He asked, as he tiptoed across the room to our boy.
I nodded. Toddlers are like little drunk adults in so many ways – and lest you need a reminder of that truth, keep reading:
They talk… so… slowly. There must be a little something in the sippy cup, because we can’t get them to spit out their words any faster. Each syllable is enunciated in a painstakingly slow manner, with vowels the highlight of their sentence: Iiiiiiiii waaaaaaant aaaaaaa baaaaa-naaaaaa-naaaaaa. Spit it out, man! Stop slurring! Are you trying to say you want a banana? Faster, faster!
They bang their heads on inanimate objects. We all knew that friend in college for whom alcohol acted as a stimulant, not a depressant. Welcome to the world of my toddler, when he’s apparently been taking sips of mama’s Chianti: he becomes a professional head-banger. He bangs his head on the couch. He bangs his head on the Thomas the Train set, while simultaneously attempting to sing the theme song.
They slay the dance floor. I see your Michael Jackson moonwalk, the one that’s the highlight of every holiday party once you’ve adequately warmed your insides with hot buttered rum, and I give you my toddler’s spinning, rolling, tumbling, gyrating and pelvic thrusting skills. Who’s the winner now, huh?
They know when it’s time to hit the sack. While it doesn’t happen all the time, my son will occasionally grab his sleep sack and his pacifier (no judgment, please), and declare it’s time for a nap. I weep tears of joy – he’s sleeping! He’s sleeping! Just like that old roommate who excelled at the fine art of napping after a lunchtime cup of “milk,” your little one does the same.
They mix up their words. Two days ago, another toddler on the playground named Landon handed my son a green and blue Hot Wheels car to have and to hold forever. “Lantern gave me a car! Lantern gave me a car!” No matter how many times I try and tell him that his name is Lan-don, he’s bound and determined to call the kid by his sparkly new name.
They can’t help but put everything in their mouths. For some of us, the more we drink, the more we eat. We pair our Chardonnay with a block of Tillamook Cheese and a box of Triscuits. We channel our inner Olivia Pope and pair a bottle of red with two bowls of popcorn. Our toddlers do the same, eating us out of peanut butter and jelly house and home, and sticking anything that remotely resembles a candy-colored treat! treat! treat! into their mouths.
They only sing the words to songs they know. You’re at Uncle Eddie’s annual Christmas party, and he cranks the record player when “Any Way You Want It” comes on. You nod your head, because it’s Journey after all, but you only sing on the chorus – because that’s the only part of the song you actually know. Toddlers are the same way, complete with drunken exclamation points at the end of every line: Jingle BELLS! Jingle BELLS! Jingle all THE WAY!
They write letters to their unrequited loves. You drunk-dialed John Doe your freshman year of college; your little drunk adult decides its his turn to pour out his heart to the heartbreaker he met today at the park. In Sharpie. On the wall of your rental house. At least he doesn’t bottle up his emotions.
They pass out anywhere and everywhere. Your little drunk adult may not have passed out in the alley behind your building or in the bushes that line the front walk of your neighbor’s yard, but let’s not put boundaries around what she can or can’t do! So, as the holidays commence, let’s all play our own game of my favorite new game: Where Shall My Toddler Pass Out Today BINGO. You in?
They take off their clothes and show you the goods. Belly buttons. Underwear. Legs. Arms. Necks. Chests. Toddlers do not discriminate when it comes to showing you every part of their body. And the good news? It doesn’t take an ounce of alcohol to bring out the free spirits of these pint-sized humans. It’s a gift they give, all on their own accord.
So, to all the parents and caregivers of little drunk adults, hang in there – and then, when not a creature is stirring, not even a toddling two-year-old mouse, have yourself the happiest of holiday seasons.