Toddlers the world over are chastised for showcasing their tenacious athletic prowess, punished for their ability to defy their parents' expectations at every opportunity. It seems like everything they want to do is either too loud, too dangerous, too disgusting, or too illegal. No wonder they're always cranky.
This year, during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, we should take a moment to celebrate toddlers in all their tenacious glory with these eight special events perfectly tailored to the world's tiniest Olympians.
1. 100-Yard Naked Dash
This event requires stamina from both toddler and parent, and is a time-honored tradition in most households. All toddlers know that the moment Mom or Dad removes their diaper, it's time run. Speed is key in this event, especially if it means avoiding bedtime or getting their hair washed. Additional points are awarded for children who do so while also slick with bubbles from the bath, covered in their own feces, or at someone else's house.
2. Synchronized Pooping
This is a more artistic event, similar in aesthetic elegance to rhythmic gymnastics or synchronized swimming, and usually takes place while their parent is attempting to leave the house. Anyone who has more than one child in diapers at a time knows that toddlers have a unique instinct for when another child is pooping and will naturally fall into rhythm with the other child's efforts. Points are awarded for consistency of size and smell, especially if they can both blow out of their diapers at the same time. Add a sparkling suit or some fancy ribbons and it would be quite a show.
3. Sunscreen Wrestling
A classic event dating back to the very first toddler athletic competitions, parents of these toddlers will enjoy covering their own clothes and hair in greasy sunscreen while attempting to hold down their pool-obsessed child and slather them in slimy cream. It is a lot like those events at the county fair where drunk people chase the greased pig. Most of the time both events end with someone face down in the mud.
4. The Curtain Climb
This event requires speed and agility, as the toddler must not only dodge their parent's attempt to dislodge them from the drapes, but also scale them as quickly as possible. Points are awarded for speed as well as climbing technique. Bonus points are awarded if the toddler can end up dangling upside down from the curtain rod, panic, and then force their parent to fetch a ladder to get them down.
While this event takes its name from the traditional Olympic sport of sword fighting, the only similarity between them is the ongoing risk of being impaled. In this event, toddlers beg and plead to be let out into the back yard to play in the boiling heat, demand ice water because they are too hot, and then as soon as their parent's back is turned, climb the picket fence and escape. Points are deducted for scrapes and splinters on the child, but awarded based on how many are suffered by the parent who follows after them. Most toddlers find that they can compete in the Fencing and 100-Yard Naked Dash events back to back.
6. Mud-Pie Eating Contest
Summer is the perfect time for baking and decorating mud pies, and this event requires a distinguished palate and a keen eye for detail. Points are awarded for size, sloppiness, and creative use of foraged items such as dandelions, sticks, grass, spiders, and dog poop. Bonus points if they can hide the leftover mud-pies under their beds without their parents realizing until the smell becomes noticeable.
7. Furniture Gymnastics
With events like sofa bed flipping, sofa hurdling, and counter jumping, the furniture gymnastics is a fan favorite during the Toddler Olympics. Each death-defying stunt requires strength and poise, as well as the right amount of maniacal disregard for one's own personal safety. In other words, the perfect combination of toddler skills. Bonus points are awarded if these events are performed in sequence as well as while the parent is either asleep, watching television, or cooking dinner.
8. Hose Shooting
Target sports are some of the less popular events at the Summer Olympics, but the same is not true during the Toddler Olympic Games. This event requires accuracy and mobility as it begins on the back deck, but usually requires the toddler to chase the dog, cat, or bumblebee target into the house. Points are awarded for the number of people doused along with the intended target, especially if they are wearing their "nice clothes."
During a tumultuous time in our history, when words like national pride and patriotism have become associated with hate and politics, global events like the Olympic Games become even more important. It can be healthy for our children (and apparently our politicians) to find a constructive outlet for their homegrown devotion, and maybe even foster a sense of community among our partisan country. And what better place to start than by honoring everyone's favorite group of tiny, misanthropic, adorable lunatics known as toddlers.
Of course, since they're toddlers, everyone wins, or else they go home crying! So, not much different from the actual Olympic Games.