In this week’s column I speak with Bunmi (BOO-me) Laditan, the Montreal mother of two behind The Honest Toddler. (It might even be three now: she was 39 weeks pregnant when I interviewed her last week.)
As a parent of four, I get a big laugh out of the Honest Toddler. And I have to admit I was proud to discover she’s from Canada. My conversation with Bunmi was one of the funniest interviews I’ve done in a long time. She sounds like she’d be a lot of fun to hang out with, though if we ever got together in person our toddlers would probably join forces and destroy everything in sight.
I wound up with more good material than I could use in 600 words, so here are some bonus Q&As that weren’t covered in the column.
Q. What’s the your toddler’s biggest masterpiece of destruction so far?
A. She wrote with permanent marker on the wooden dining room table, that was pretty bad. I did a Google search and realized she’s not the first kid ever to do that, so I found a way to get it off. She used to really love drawing on walls, though that has stopped lately. Destroying makeup… there’s so many things.
They’re always so quiet and so quick about it, like little ninjas. You realize, “Uh-oh, I haven’t heard her in 15 minutes.”
Q. Toddlers freak out over some weird things–mine once cried because he couldn’t see his own eyebrows, and I wouldn’t let him get out of bed to look in the mirror. What’s the strangest meltdown you’ve dealt with?
A. Once she got really upset because her shadow was following her. She found it really irritating and disturbing. I didn’t know what to say to that.
Or she’ll get mad because her sister is looking out her window in the car. I didn’t realize we had assigned windows.
She’d like a despot and I’m her foot soldier sometimes. I’ll find myself saying things like, “Everyone breathe your air. We don’t breathe each other’s air.” It’s rubbing off on me.
Q. How does your older daughter cope?
A. She’s 7 and she gets exasperated. I try to tell her, “You were 3 once too,” but I don’t think she believes me. It is hard for her at times. Her sister loves the power of irritating her. She wants to interact but doesn’t always know how.
Q. You’re expecting. How do you think your toddler will cope with the onset of “Infant Sibling Disease?”
A. I don’t know. Sometimes she seems excited, but I think she might think that we’re lying. Part of me thinks she believes it’s a game and we’re making this up when we’re bored. I’ve seen how she looks at me when I pick up other kids, and she’s never amused by that at all. She’s a sweetheart but she’s territorial.
Best of luck to Bunmi as the little one arrives — sounds like she’ll have her hands full. Her book, The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting, is outrageously funny — though the chapter on potty training hit a little close to home. Someday I will be free…