Teaching Toddler L My Bad Habits

You know how they say kids learn by watching and mimicking your actions? Well, I’ve been finding this happening more and more recently. It’s obviously fantastic to see Toddler L picking stuff up quickly – actions, songs, activities, words etc – but the slightly worrying thing is that it always seems to be the bad habits I wouldn’t necessarily want to pass down.

I know this revelation will come as a surprise, but I’m by no means perfect. I’m not being humble, it’s true – just ask the missus if you don’t believe me. That means there is A LOT of bad things that I do which the sprog is able to pick from and add to her repertoire of skills.

As a stay-at-home dad, the fact that she spends the majority of her time with me was always going to result in her sinking to my level. It was inevitable – much like the dreaded meconium which introduces you to parenthood with a tar-like welcome.

As such, below are four of the bad habits which I think can directly be attributed to me. I expect this list to grow exponentially over the next few years.

A Love For Ketchup

Ever since she first had her taste of “dip dip”, the sprog has been hooked on red sauce. It’s asked for with every meal and there’s been some pretty interesting food items dipped into it – the strangest being banana and chocolate. I’m a little – OK, huge – Ketchup fiend myself and tend to have it with all meals. It’s therefore hardly surprising that the little one has followed suit.

I’m sure there’ll be some people thinking that this is irresponsible. The extra sugar and salt she’s getting from meal after meal of dipping. Addicted to the red stuff like some kind of condiment junkie. I don’t really give a crap though – I’ve been doing it for 31 years now and I’m (relatively) normal and healthy.

In my view, there’s worse things she could be hooked on. Plus, sometimes, as parents we’ve just got to do whatever it takes to get our little cherubs to eat. If that means a splodge of Ketchup so that she dips and eats her sandwich, then I’m OK with that.

Toddler L enjoying her first picnic of the year as the dog stalks from afar.

A photo posted by The DADventurer (Dave) (@the_dadventurer) on

Not Listening

On asking the missus what some of my worst habits are, she mentioned something about something, but I didn’t really register what she was banging on about. So, instead, I’ll suggest that one of my worst habits is not listening. I don’t do it on purpose, I just think that I’m so mentally drained from being with Toddler L all day that I just zone out. 

I lose the ability to concentrate – speaking and listening becomes difficult and I find myself sucked into mindless TV, social media or trying to catch up on blogging as an escape. I fear that Toddler L is the same when it comes to her (not) listening skills. Maybe it’s just her age or maybe she’s just ignorant – I’ve not decided yet.

I have to ask her to do something – or not to do something – repeatedly before she carries out my request. It’s like talking to a brick wall, only this brick wall is mobile and destructive. I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s doing as she looks over to get a reaction or runs off with a wry smile. Maybe it’s karma and I should listen to the missus more?

Getting Naked

I have no problem walking around the house in my birthday suit with the curtains open – although the neighbours and Postman might. Similarly, I’m comfortable being around Toddler L when my bits are out, such as if we’re in the shower together, if I’m going to the toilet or when we’re getting changed after swimming. I’ve just learnt to be careful about her grabbing my stuff.

For me, it’s important for her to grow up not worrying about things like body image or to feel like she can’t talk about the difference between men and women. I don’t get naked for this reason, I guess I’m just too lazy to get dressed sometimes. Plus, let’s be honest, clothes can sometimes be a bit restrictive.

It would appear that my relaxed attitude to clothing has been passed down to Toddler L. For the last few months, it seems like her favourite activity is taking off, then putting on, then taking off her clothes. She’s so chuffed with herself when she manages to pull down her trousers or unzip her sleep suit that she often parades around half-dressed. I just hope she grows out of this before she hits puberty.

Her current outfit choices are best described as ‘interesting’. I think this one is for ease when going to the bog at Glastonbury.

A photo posted by The DADventurer (Dave) (@the_dadventurer) on


Like all good posts, let’s end with some toilet humour. I’m going to put it out there, I love a good fart. There’s just something so satisfying about letting rip. Be it loud and proud or silent and deadly, I’d suggest that it’s up there in my list of top 10 hobbies.

It appears that I’m not alone as Toddler L has inherited this windy trait. She’s not that farty during the day, but once we hit about 6pm, there’s no stopping her. For someone so small, I’m pretty sure her rectal tremors disturb the neighbours – they’ve certainly woken the dog up from his slumber before.

As you’d probably expect, we often bond over a good bottom burp. If she farts, we both laugh. If I let rip, she’ll look at me, say the word “bum” and then we laugh. One of my proudest moments as a dad was when we both did an unrehearsed simultaneous belch from behind. Magical.

So those are four of the bad habits that it appears that I’ve accidentally taught Toddler L. I fully expect swearing will be added to the list in the not too distant future. What bad habits has your kid got from your or your partner? Have you tried to ‘wean’ them off your bad habits, or does that make it worse? Let me know below!

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