Today, my solution to this was to put the TV on. And leave it on. For about a billion hours. And I don't mean it was on in the background while we did some nice playing, I mean she stared at so transfixedly (I don't think that's a word) that I had to put my head directly in front of hers in order to ask her if she wanted a drink. She did. But she didn't want it in the cup I gave her. So I put it in another cup. Then she decided she wanted the first cup. Which I refused to give her, so she threw herself on the floor in a paddy. She's getting quite good at those now.
So, back to more TV. I read once that TV kills neurons in under-3s' brains. I hope that's not true. I don't want to make her thick. But I don't turn the TV off, I just let her keep watching, all the while having visions of trying to teach her maths in a Blackadder-and-Baldrick, "some beans" kind-of way.
Finally, teatime rolls around, where I plan to regain some Good Mammy ground by serving up a nutritious portion of home-made chicken casserole. The Toddler scuppers this plan by launching into a hysterical screaming fit at the sight of it, scrambling down from her chair, trying to throw her bowl in the bin, and shrieking "Cheese". I give up, and let her go back to the TV, where she immediately forgets her woes and joins in with her spirited interpretation of Mickey Mouse's Hot Dog Dance.
One tantrum later, and she is in bed. Phew. I'm quite glad to be at work tomorrow. I don't feel like quite such an incompetent idiot there. Excel usually does what I tell it to, and only falls down in a paddy once a day.