Toddler Trouble – Karen Sidell

1 minute unattended is like 10 minutes to a toddler, how do they achieve so much destruction in such little time?!

Even though I am a childcare practitioner with over 10 years’ experience and have looked after 100’s of children, nothing prepared me as a mum for the destruction a toddler can do in a few unattended minutes! 

Of course, it is impossible for us to have eyes on them 24/7, so these little mishaps are bound to happen but the dread you have when you realise your toddler is very quiet and unattended is definitely for good reason as you never know what you will find when you go back to check on them.

Over the past 3 years I have walked back into countless scenes of chaos from my little girl’s actions. Sometimes it isn’t too bad, she may just have completely emptied a new pack of baby wipes everywhere or quite funny like when she unwrapped numerous sanitary towels sticking them on the windows, her dolls heads and even one between her legs (this still makes me smile when I think about it).

But other times were a lot worse and resulted in a major mess taking way too long to clear up for my liking! The most common occurrence is for her to cover herself in pen/paint or glitter, one time after a session of painting in the garden last summer she was covered head to toe in blue paint and looked like a Smurf! I had to stand her in a bucket and hose her down before even allowing her to go through the house to have a bath – she was tinged blue for days! 

A few months ago, she decided she was going to empty a whole box of craft feathers on my bed to have in her own words “a dance party”. Now I always have music & movement equipment and arts & crafts supplies stored in the house as I run Bop Tots children’s activity classes in Hingham. Of course, I am happy for her to play with these as it keeps her amused and most of the time it will be my instruments or puppets, that she pulls out of the cupboard but this time, by the time I had discovered what she was doing the feathers had been jumped on and thrown everywhere around my bedroom and I was still finding them days after we had tidied them up.

But out of everything she has done the all-time worst incident is when she managed to open the tub of vapour rub and smother it in her hair. The moment I walked back into her room the smell hit me and I could hardly get near her without my eyes watering so I have no idea how she could cope with the fumes! Her whole head was covered, and that stuff is so sticky that 3 hair washes later and it still hadn’t come out. In the end I had to resort to covering her head with baby powder in the hope that it soaked it up, she walked around with white powdery hair for a couple of days, but it did the trick!

Now let’s face it we have all had moments walking back into the havoc your toddler has wreaked in the little time you did leave them, so I do take comfort in the fact that every toddler is the same. They are curious and inquisitive and, in these moments, while they are alone, they are exploring their own personality, emotions and skills which will help them grow into happy adults (well this is what I tell myself anyway!).  

If my stories haven’t put you off and you would like to attend a friendly and relaxed class with the opportunity to share your experience/stories as a parent in our social time, please visit to find out more.

Story written by Karen Sidell – mummy to a 3 year-old, independent and strong-willed little girl with another one on the way, while trying to juggle being a small business owner.

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