So, needless to say, I am slightly more sympathetic to The Toddler's plight at the moment. But not at all times. I, for example, do not feel the need to throw myself around on the floor in a strop when it is time to wash my face, nor scream in indignation when someone suggests I might like to put my shoes on. So I suspect that these instances of grumpiness are not down to teeth, but are more likely symptoms of the disorder known as "being 20 months old". Other symptoms include the urge to climb onto everything that is more than 2 inches off the floor, a renewed enthusiasm for chewing on things, a refusal to sit down in one place and eat a meal, a desire to survive on nothing but bananas and cheese, a fascination with cupboards and drawers (particularly if they hold fragile, dangerous or expensive things) and a complete lack of inclination to listen to anything I say. Well, not anything. She's perfectly capable of hearing offers of food, television or visits to Grandma's house, but totally deaf to the words "don't", "no", "off", "down", or "out". It is like talking to a very cute and particularly drooly brick wall.
I don't know why I bother. No, wait, yes I do. It's another one of those things I feel I SHOULD do. I don't feel like it's making the slightest bit of difference, but I feel like I need to show the world "Look, I am a GOOD MOTHER. Watch me be firm. See my DISCIPLINE. I can and will control my child. She will not end up one of these tearaways who do disgraceful things like WEAR HOODIES, because I am a GOOD MOTHER". Never mind that she doesn't actually listen. Never mind that, if by some miracle she did listen, she won't remember not to do it next time. Never mind that what she's doing isn't actually that bad, or disruptive, or destructive. Never mind if the only person who will get at all hurt is herself. Never mind that she's just being a toddler. Never mind that I've never met a single 20-month-old that does as they're told all the time, or even most of the time. Never mind that I am actually wasting my breath. I do it anyway, because I worry that everyone will think I'm crap if I don't. And then I worry that I'm worrying too much about what other people think. And then I realise my tooth still hurts. And then I get really grumpy. And then I have to go and get another biscuit. Shame.