Welcome fellow toddlers. After spending the entire two and a half years of my life committing myself to extensive research, experimentation and play group interviews, I have put together this guide that will ensure a New World Order in your own home. Follow these step by step instructions, and along with me, you will finally plant the flag in the center of your universe.
Step 1: Destroy the Existing Infrastructure
As any supreme dictator or alien invasion force will tell you, the easiest way to take over an existing civilization is by crumbling the very foundations the society is built on. A toddler’s weapons of mass destruction may seem innocent – we’re just tiny humans, after all – but don’t be fooled. When used properly, these small hands and feet are capable of huge amounts of damage.
As soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning, the world is your oyster. Pull dishes out of cabinets. Color on the walls. Dump every single color-coordinated basket of toys out in the middle of the floor, mix them all up, and stand back and laugh while the mom tries to reorganize. Occasionally pick up one of the toys and throw it across the room. You get extra points if you hit a pet.
When laundry is being put away, walk behind and take all of the clothes out of the drawers. Laugh and make it a game, carrying armfuls of previously-folded clothing down the hall and into the kitchen while the mom chases you.
Throw balls at light fixtures, flush random objects down the toilet, and hide the dad’s watch underneath the kitchen sink. When he asks you where the watch is, act like you’re going to lead him to it as you revisit every room in the house.
Find the water dispenser on the refrigerator and push it, often – using a cup beneath it is optional. Throw food at the wall, on the dog and across the table. (Pro tip: be sure to smile often as to avoid annoying time-outs).
This may seem like it would get tiring after a while, but you’ll be surprised at how much energy you have for demolition after even the longest of days.
Step 2: Establish Dominance
Once you have the mom and dad running from place to place just trying to clean up from the destruction you have caused, it’s time to show them who is boss.
Be aware that it’s helpful to let them think they are still in charge for as long as possible before you pull the rug out from under them. There is generally less resistance that way.
My advice is to start small. When getting rocked to sleep at night, start by asking for your favorite stuffed animal. Once that is part of the routine, add a blanket. Continue in this manner until the only way you can be “successfully put to bed” is if you are rocked for 15 minutes with a stuffed animal, blanket, hug THEN kiss (in that order or no deal) and with your feet pointing a certain way. Get creative! Feel free to add particular prayers, nightlights and lullabies to the hoops that must be jumped through.
Meal time is another wonderful opportunity to show the parents that you’re running things. Ask for macaroni and cheese one day. Eat it all and request more. The next time it’s served, refuse to eat it. Act incredibly offended that it would be placed on your plate. Demand chicken instead. When the chicken is served, eat two bites and then push the rest away.
Only drink milk. From a red cup. At night. Water must be given in the green cup, unless you’re at the park, and then only the blue cup will do. Throw yourself on the ground in tears if your demands aren’t met.
Step 3: Eat a Snack
What? Snacks are important. You have to keep your energy up for world domination.
Step 4: Exhaust the Masses
When taking over the world, it’s important to not underestimate the intelligence of your future subjects. They’re smart. They’ve been around the block a few times, they have developed an impressive radar for lies, and they possess mysterious eyes in the backs of their heads. In order to make completely sure they won’t realize you have taken over until it’s too late, it’s best to think strategically.
What is the best tactic to get past their canny adult brains? Exhaust them. Make them so sleep deprived, worn-out and dependent on coffee, that they just don’t have the energy to do much more than survive the day-to-day. In the world domination business, this state is called the “sleepwalking zombie.”
One excellent way to accomplish this phase of the plan is to build on your already established, drawn-out bedtime routine. After the parents finally do everything correct to get you to sleep, take a nice power nap and then call for them right as you hear them heading to bed themselves. You don’t even need a reason to be awake. In fact, it can be fun to make them guess why you’re awake and try different things to get you to go back to bed. Repeat throughout the night as often as possible.
Another useful tactic will be the endless amounts of energy you enjoy. You will find that the parents don’t have nearly as much stamina as you do. Run everywhere. Climb all the time. Twirl, jump, dance, play, and ask that they join you. When they take you to an outdoor activity in order to tire you out (the parents can be sneaky that way), it’s a good idea to fall asleep once you get in the car for the trip home. Wake up as soon as you arrive, and laugh at the idea that you can be transferred into your bed for a nap.
Step 5: Make Your Subjects Love You
This is the most important step in your quest to take over the world. After all, what fun is it to rule if your subjects don’t like you? Luckily, this last step is also the easiest.
The parents in your life already love you more than you can imagine. They think the sun rises and sets on your precious face. When you were a baby, they gazed at you in awe that someone so beautiful and perfect could ever come from them. They know the curves of your cheeks and the dimples in your hands. They think your belly laughs are more adorable than kitten and puppy videos, and they will do the most ridiculous things to make you chuckle.
Even in the midst of their exhaustion, stress and shock over the state of their new reality, they will love you unconditionally and without exception.
They actually want to care for you. They want to make sure you’re healthy, fed, well-rested and taught the right things about life. They want the absolute best for you.
When you call, they will answer. When you smile, they will smile back.
When you learn something new they will rejoice with you, praising you for how smart and strong you are.
When you curl up in their laps with tears streaming down your face, they will hold you gently, murmuring quiet words to make you feel better.
When you kiss their cheeks and wrap your sturdy arms around their necks, they will want to hold you forever and protect you from the world.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.