Your toddler is young, wild and free. They are also free of inhibitions and have a knack for saying or doing utterly embarrassing things at the most inconvenient of times ― usually in the midst of strangers in public, or worse, among friends and family!
While most of us wish the floor would open up and swallow us right there and then, we usually don’t have much choice but to laugh it off on the spot. It also helps to share your story with other parents who are going through the same experiences.
If you’re still recovering from your latest child-fuelled fiasco, these real-life examples might bring back “fond” memories for you, or even better, a few chuckles. Here are 10 situations in which toddlers have mortified their mums and dads.
1. By mispronouncing words
Remember when junior first started talking and had his own version of everyday words? “Carry me” was “kale-yoo” and “strawberry” was “stla-le-ly”. Super adorable, you just wanted to hear it over the over again. But uh-oh when the words get more sophisticated. “One day, while having dinner with my parents and brother’s family, my 2-year-old Liam said, ‘Mummy I want fack,’” recalls Trudy Chieng. “Everyone went quiet and I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to say. Then, I realised he wanted a fork and spoon like everyone else at the table!”
2. By misrepresenting the memo
Kids are always enthusiastic about helping to relay messages between adults. Some even take “notes” with a paper and pencil. However, there’s always a chance that the message will get lost in translation. When her son Arvind was 3, Lakshmi and her hubby moved back with her parents while their flat was being renovated. One day, while she was looking for a frying pan in the kitchen and found a pair of scissors in it, she figured her mother must have absent-mindedly left it there. “Arvind was in the kitchen with me and heard me say, ‘Granny is so silly, she left the scissors in a pan,” Lakshmi says. “Next thing I knew, he’d walked out to the living room and told his grandmother, ‘Mummy called you stupid’… How mortifying!”
“Next thing I knew, he’d walked out to the living room and told his grandmother, ‘Mummy called you stupid’… How mortifying!”
3. By offending strangers
Toddlers have no filter, nor do they have any tact. So, they call it as they see it. “Hello, fat man!” junior will call out to the uncle in the grocery store, or yell “That lady just farted”, pointing to the woman who is hurriedly walking away. At some point, you’ll realise that you’ll spend a good amount of your tyke’s childhood apologising to complete strangers for the gems that fly out of his mouth. Or maybe you could be like Jessica and Cato Gullichsen, who pretended they didn’t know their son Joshua when their toddler pointed to a woman with really short hair at the store and asked, very loudly, “What is that man doing?’”… Yikes!
4. By playing fashion police
So, there you were thinking you were rocking your “yummy mummy” looks and giving Victoria Beckham a run for her money. But reality really bit when a few honest, albeit scathing words ― à la Joan Rivers ― brought you back to Earth with a resounding thump. On a zoo outing once with her kids, Zoe Tan, 33, felt good in her chic mini-skirt and spaghetti top ensemble. After touching something dirty, her 4-year-old son, Zach, was looking for somewhere to wipe his hands. “I know, I’ll wipe it on your shorts,” he joked. Tan replied, “I’m wearing a skirt, lah!”. Without missing a beat, Zach retorted, “But they are so short!”… Ouch!
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5. By throwing a tantrum
Experts say tantrums are a healthy part of toddler development, but how do you explain their epic timing? Just when someone compliments your gorgeous child, he decides to kick their shin and run away screaming bloody murder. Or when you have 20 items on your grocery list that you need to speed shop for, but junior insists you stand at the frozen fish section, so he can chit chat with dead produce. Make one wrong move and you’ll risk a complete meltdown. At a birthday party, Shazeen Tyebally’s son Kyle, 3, slapped her in front of all the guests when she reprimanded him for doing something mischievous. “After doing that, he also told me to go away. Everyone just waited for my next move,” adds Shazeen.
6. By invading your privacy
Forget alone-time once the kids arrive. In fact, you should count yourself lucky if you manage to shampoo and condition your hair without the little one coming in to invade your space at least 10 times. Stay-at-home-mum Jessie Lim, 36, is only all too pleased when her in-laws visit. It means she’ll get to enjoy a long soothing shower while the grandparents entertain her 2-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. However, little Elizabeth has a knack for opening the door to the common bathroom since it doesn’t have a lock, especially when someone is in there. During one such visit from her in-laws, Jessie didn’t realise Elizabeth had left the door to the shower open as her back was to the door. The moment she turned around, her father-in-law, who was passing by, glanced into the bathroom. Shocked, he quickly slammed the door shut. “I was so humiliated,” Jessie laments. “I couldn’t look him in the eye for months!”
7. By outraging your modesty
They may be tiny and weigh as much as a poodle, but these mini-menaces have a gift for undressing you with the simple lift of a finger. You’re busy picking fruit at the grocery shop and before you know it, your tot has managed to unzip your skirt. Worse, he’ll start squeezing your private parts while making a loud “honk honk” sound. Mum Kumari Revi, 35, has experienced her fair share of such groping gaffes, “The other day when I was waiting in a long queue, my 21-month-old son Dhilan lifted my skirt and flashed me to everyone at the store,” she sighs.
“When I was waiting in a long queue, my 21-month-old son Dhilan lifted my skirt and flashed me to everyone at the store.”
8. By outing you to everyone
A toddler’s favourite pastime is to share nuggets of family info with anyone who would listen. “We had to rush to NTUC yesterday because mummy had no more wine”, or “Daddy plays Pokémon Go all night long,” are just several choice tot titbits from their treasure trove that will somehow emerge during weekend dinners at the grandparent’s house. Just ask mum Michelle Tan, 31. “One Sunday, my husband wasn’t able to join us at church because he was playing at a tennis tournament. My 5-year-old Evan went around announcing to all the church members that daddy is not here today because he ‘has to play tennis’.” Face palm moment indeed!
9. By hijacking your online persona
Ever left your Facebook app open on your mobile phone because you had to rush to the loo? Well, that’s all the time your tech-savvy sweetie needs to share a pointless post on your wall, take blur pics of his feet and upload it together with the status ‘e2geuihrt*’ ― or even more horrifying if he manages to spell poop correctly! “Sienna likes to fiddle with my phone sometimes,” says Ivy Lee about her 3-year-old. “One day, she managed to upload a picture from my gallery to Instagram ― don’t ask me how. It was a snap of me posing in front of a mirror trying on a new dress. I got plenty of thumbs up, but it was still super embarrassing.”
10. By exposing themselves
What is it about boys and their penises? Once they discover it, there’s no letting go, literally. They tug, pull and play with it every chance they get. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen behind closed doors. “When Christopher was 2 he walked up to my mum, pulled down his shorts, plus diapers pointed to his penis and said ‘wee wee’,” recalls Rebecca Tan. “Next thing I hear is my mum screaming ‘put it back in!’”.
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