Bunmi Laditan was so exasperated by her toddler’s shall-we-say-spirited behavior that she started the satirical “Honest Toddler” Twitter handle in May 2012 as a way to vent, but also to try to see things from her then 2-year-old daughter’s point of view. She quickly amassed hundreds of thousands of followers, and Laditan has now written a book called “The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting.”
Laditan was first driven to tweeting after a standoff with Tali. “The eighth of the day,” Laditan says. “She’s staring at me with these intense eyes ready to defy me. In some ways I admire her, being so brave and fearless, in terms of just the way she holds herself. It’s this ‘shoulders back, I’m ready world.’ I’m inspired and terrified by her at all times.
“I was shocked that it resonated with so many parents. It made me feel so normal that other parents are going through the same thing, arguments and disagreements about socks – sock seams, sock color, sock texture.”
The book, like her Twitter posts, is written in first-person as if by a toddler, and is filled with a child’s advice from on how a parent should appropriately behave. Chapters include:“Toddler-Approved Recipes” “Sleep: Weaning Yourself Off of It” and “Potty Training Simplified/Eliminated.”
“Don’t be tempted by the latest parenting book from an expert who is not a toddler, and please don’t listen to your lying friends,” The Honest Toddler writes in the book. “When it comes to being a good parent, the most important resources are the words that come out of your child’s amazing mouth.”
Tweeting had limited Laditan to 140 words per post --“If cats don’t want to be relaxed on, why are they made out of blanket material. Mixed messages”; “You never really leave time out. Most toddlers are just out on parole”; and “The truth will set you free. But so will taking off your pants”— but the book allows Laditan to expand.
It includes, for instance, Honest Toddler’s advice about visiting the pediatrician: “Despite what they say, DO NOT ease up on the milk, and DO NOT introduce a reasonable bedtime. If your pediatrician tells you that your toddler needs to eat something other than bread, run out of the room. On your way out, yell, ‘YOU DON’T KNOW OUR LIFE!’ and try your best to break something.”
Laditan had Tweeted anonymously, but to have her name on the book she had to out herself as the writer behind the toddler’s voice. She is 30 and lives in Canada, but is a native Californian of Nigerian descent. In addition to her daughter Tali, now 3, she also has an older daughter, Maya, 7, and just gave birth this month to Felix. Her husband, Etienne, is a crane operator.
What was The Honest Toddler Tali’s response to the book? “She took it and ripped a lot of pages out,” Laditan says. “Wrote in a few of them.”