How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

5 Alternate Uses for Toddlers!

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Toddlers can take a huge toll on your patience, resources and time. The list of tough lessons and experiences is endless: possessiveness, tantrums, food pickiness, lack of vocabulary, etc. And, you might even get to a point of asking the rough questions, “What good is a toddler having around? What is the exact purpose of toddlerhood?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that quite aside from the half-hearted ‘thank-you’s’ and sloppy kisses that toddlers dole out, they can also be of great help to adults.


1. Torture Device

Forget waterboarding. Nevermind kneecapping. Put away the Barbara Streisand and Yoko Ono duets. You’ve got a tiny “enhanced interrogation technique” of your own who rivals the Spanish Inquisition. Think about it. They can or do employ the following forms of torture: intimidation, shaming, shunning, idle threats, sleep deprivation, disfigurement, hair-pulling, beatings, and much more. And yes, that is a photo of me and my brother.


2. Thuglife!

I know what you’re thinking. How could a toddler possibly act like a mafia heavy? Well, you’re wrong. I’ve seen a toddler bring a man to his knees with one punch. Hell, I’ve been that man. I’ve also seen a little girl run a playground like her own personal mafia organization. Toddlers will stop at nothing to get what they want and what better job for them than learning the “family business.” For the record, Scarface would shit his pants taking care of a toddler.


3. Lawyering Up

Me: “Do you like that blue train?”
Finn: “Das not bluuue das reddd.”
Me: “Actually, Finn, that’s blue.”
Finn: “No, Dada. Das red. Finney is big boy.”
That’s an actual conversation and sounds like 95% of those I have with him. Forget cross examinations, they rely on the diplomatic immunity of “claiming” they’re just a toddler. And NO ONE can match their repetitive lines of questioning or statements.


4. A Personal Trainer

If only we could harness the energy of these tiny calorie-burners. Running, leaping, lifting, lunging, and twisting are daily routines in our household. If only I slept and ate better… Then I would be rippedest dude evar. If you’re into that sort of thing. Who stole my donut?


5. Demolition Team

Dear Immovable Object,
Meet Unstoppable Force.
Love, All Parents Everywhere

Yeah, kids know how to take things apart, rip stuff to shreds, blow things up, bend stuff the wrong way, chew on the unchewable and generally wreak havoc on your “nice things.” Need a kitchen remodeled? Start with a toddler wrecking crew.



Do you guys have any more uses for these tots? Post yours in the comments below!

Even though a horrible pun was used, oblige us and look at our Male-Friendly Pinterest page.

Remember that post?
Where Charlie realized he was an a-hole? Yeah, me neither. He probably deleted it.

Photo credits:
Thuglife Toddler, Lawyer, Demo Team & Trainer



63 Responses to “5 Alternate Uses for Toddlers!”

  1. Louise says:

    I would add master thief. My baby has an insatiable hunger for smart phones and today learnt how to escape through the cat flap. She is completely silent when she moves as well. If she ever decided she wanted to chew on the Mona Lisa…

    • charlie says:

      Thief is a good one. I think we’ve written about that one several times… little kleptos!

      • Angel says:

        My little ninja stole my smartphone ran in the kitchen and threw it in the microwave. I only knew she was doing something because I heard it turn on. By the time I made the 3 second walk into the kitchen, it was too late. Did you know microwaving a cell phone wrapped in a baby wipe for 3-5 seconds results in a small fire (and the workers at Best Buy laughing at you when you bring it in for replacement)?

  2. Dan says:

    Alarm Clock? At 3am, its a warning call. At 6am its time to wake up!

  3. Canadian Dad says:

    I will add The Human Vacuum Cleaner to the list. There is never a crumb left on our floor, and if there is, it quickly gets sucked up by my 2 year old daughter. This applies to all food and “non food but look like food to a two year old” items.

  4. maya says:

    More importantly how did you get your toddler access to what looks like the front of a train. My son must never find out! Uses for babies… well I find dragging the baby around on her mat sweeps the floor quite well. She also holds open doors effectively. My three year showed me very confiednetly the other day how I could add an app to my iPad…just click here mum… then here…. I think dad may have had some thing to do with this knowledge… but he is now my IT help desk.

    • charlie says:

      We have connections, Maya. Deep railroad connections… πŸ™‚

      • andreia says:

        what about a “coffee machine” my oldest 4y goes to the kitchen after diner or lunch turns on the machine puts the caps on takes the coffee puts the sugar 2 small spoons stirs and bring us the coffee πŸ˜›

  5. I have one for almost toddlers- leather conditioners. My cousin’s son was teething badly and quite enjoyed chewing on the leather chairs in the living room. My hub was the one to come up with it, hey let’s get them into factories conditioning leather! Good for the environment too! Imagine the conditioning and sanitizing properties of toddler saliva!!

  6. Or if we want to be sincere and sweet, we could say that they are the very essence of what it means to be human- instinctive, open, free-spirited, etc. They get excited by things we take for granted. That’s definitely a big one in this day and age.

  7. MikeinDC says:

    Bath Monitor; stay too long and you’ll be met with pounding on the door.

    Botanist/Plant Excavator; garden plants, house plants, just dirt are all objects asking for more investigation.

    Surprisingly-good Maid Service; Taught her “Throw it away,” and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Downside: she’ll even toss things you’d like to keep.

    • Mel says:

      I need to change my kids’ setting for too long in the bath from ‘one toe in the water’ to ‘prune fingers’

  8. Russ says:

    “Social Escape Assistant”
    I’m sorry, we have to go, my kid needs to go down for his nap, or he’s getting hungry and he’ll only eat at home, or he’s starting to get cranky, or we had an “accident” (even if he didn’t), or we forgot his life saving medicine at home, gotta run!

  9. Drew says:

    Our toddler is ridiculously cute and is good for scoring all sorts of freebies at the bakery, or the deli counter.

    • Jenn says:

      I hate to bust your bubble Drew, but I work in a grocery store, in both the Deli and Bakery departments. Your cute toddler doesn’t make us give you free samples, the fear that you are a secret shopper and we would be violating company policy if we didn’t offer it does. Doesn’t matter if you have the most adorable baby in the world with you, or you’re a cantankerous old fart, we’ll still offer you a cookie or a slice of whatever you ask us to get for you.

      • Carla says:

        Hey, this is good to know. If I want a free sample of something – just ask.

      • Mel says:

        Where I work, the fruit and veg department will cut open any fruit you like so you can sample, and the deli will let you sample anything, except raw chicken, you just need to ask

  10. Jen Knight says:

    Dog exerciser: the pooch has nothing better to do all day except run unless he wants to be sat upon, hit with a fire truck (fly swatter, lego, car, nearest object) have his tail pulled or be ridden!

  11. Kaeli says:

    Birth control–yours and other peoples. Not only do they make it nearly impossible for any romance, they are constant reminders to make sure to take that little pill every day. They also serve as a warning to others.

  12. Hah! Love that article! Great job. I’d have to add “alarm clock” to the list. Nobody wakes you up faster and earlier than kids.

  13. Katie says:

    Lol…Informant: Nobody can get away with anything around our 2 year old “Daddy let me eat ice cream for breakfast” or “Mommy let me take a nap in her bed”

    Dietician: Just the memory of the havoc giving her sugar caused, leaves us with not having sugary things in the house for fear of her somehow getting into it.

    Item Finder: If you can’t find it, ask her, it will be produced with an attitude normally along the lines of “here it is DUH”

    Dog Trainer: My dog has never gotten so much instruction in his life “Sit, Lay Down, Don’t put your paws on me, eat your food, that’s my food” and the list goes on

    I’m in agreement with the maid service: She throws things away and even picks up clothing that was dropped outside the hamper…of course she always says “bad daddy, that doesn’t go on the floor” πŸ™‚

    Interior Decorator: Do you like how your house looked before she woke up? Too bad, she didn’t and now it has been accessorized.

    • Connie says:

      My tyrant makes me tattle on myself. Accidentally scratch him? “Go and tell Daddy that you hurt me. Right. Now.” *bats eyes* “Okay?”


  14. Charli says:

    I love the commenters almost as much as the post! I love reading about the funny things everyone’s kids do, especially when it reminds me that my toddler isn’t the only one!

  15. Snick says:

    C0@K-Blocker extraordinaire. Also babysitter repellent. For men, woman bait. For women, man deterrent. Need some old purse candy? They are perfect blue-hair magnets.

  16. There’s also as your personal Yoda.

    So you’re typically in a foul-smelling place trying to do the bidding of this little person who keeps putting you through seemingly impossible tasks that push you to the brink.

    You’re cocky and think your maturity and skills at other things are enough to get you by. You find you have no patience and your efforts are rewarded with disproving looks and even greater tests when all you want is their respect and acceptance.

    You become frustrated, you want to quit, you black out and occasionallly have random visions of fighting your own father.

    So yeah, Yoda.

  17. April says:

    MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: After my 2nd child, my toddler(who is 7 now) placed her tiny hands on my belly and gave it a loving shake. Then looking up at me with those big blue eyes and sweetly said, “you tum tum is big.” Then walked away. Thanks for the motivation kiddo!

  18. DadOfTwoBoys says:

    I’d say Spy.

    They always seem so unassuming like they are focusing on something else but they snehow can hear the word “cookie” being said two rooms away in a whisper. No way to keep State Secrets away from them.

  19. Amy H. says:

    I agree with toddlers being torture devices. My daughter happens to be skilled in administering Chinese Water Torture. While you’re laying on your back, she will sit on your chest and slowly drool over your face. *cringes*

  20. Evonne says:

    Just need a treadmill connected to the electricity grid and I reckon we could power the house easily enough…

    Who needs TV when you’ve got all the things that come out of their mouths to keep you entertained?…

    oh and don’t forget your own personal cheer squad – you know, you’re trying to have a quiet moment all to yourself in the smallest room of the house, but instead there’s a little person by the door announcing every plop and piddle they hear in a super-excited voice loud enough that half the street can hear!

  21. jeff c says:

    Tired of all that teething torrent going to waste? Hate the taste of envelope glue? Act now and your toddler can moisten all of your mailing needs! But wait that’s not all, if you have one in the next 2-3 years your handy-dandy envelope moistener will come fully equipped with a built in Eco-friendly power saving device. “How?” you ask, it’s simple while you are playing x-box your little tyke will efficiently push the little glowing button on the front of the box to keep you from wasting precious energy resources!
    Supplies are limited, act now!

    • Angela says:

      I know the xbox one too well. Had to fashion a tiny box to duct tape over the button and turn it on and off with the controller. Still can’t keep the TV remote from him, though. He’s a ninja.

    • Kira says:

      Ours has the opposite effect. Likes to turn ON the xbox. Huge energy drain.

      Oh, have one! EMP! Our kiddo is adept at taking down ANY technology you have. Want to invade a nearby country and take out their communications first? Not a problem! Do you have a TV? Computer? Tablet? Phone? Not anymore! Let our little one within 5 feet and give them 30 seconds and they will have you on the blue screen of death in no time! (Seriously, didn’t know a TV could do that…)

  22. What about escape artist?

    “Sorry I can’t come help you move… Little A has been up sick all night. Its literally coming out quicker than its going in!”

  23. Tina Reher says:

    fashion consultant – ranging from “Oh mommy you look so pretty in that dress” to “no way in Hellmouth am I wearing this! see my socks do not even reach the leg of these pants!” (yeah… that’s what I get for raising a child in place where shorts are something you can wear 3 months out of the year if you are lucky and thus is viewed as something seriously weird by the layers-loving Toddler!)

  24. Brian says:

    Step 1: wait for a telemarketer to call.
    Step 2: Turn on Speaker phone.
    Step 3: hand phone to toddler.

  25. Jean Marc Lavoie says:

    I have to say I think most little girls tend to be better at interrogation and talking people up than most boys of the same age.

    • Tracy says:

      I totally agree with you Jean! My now almost 8 year old niece, since she was about 2 or so, could/can interrogate me like nobody’s business. Plus, she excellent at extortion too!

  26. Brandi says:

    How about Moral Equalizer and Pragmatics Enforcer

    My son, just 4 now, tells me what I can and cannot say. He will tell me if he thinks I have said a bad word (butt, for example, is a bad word and no one can tell him otherwise).

    He tells us to say thank you, please and you’re welcome.

    And if he is unsatisfied with the way we have said something, he will tell us not to say what we had said. For instance, he was playing catch with a friend of mine and every time he would miss, the friend would say “so close.”

    Eventually, Luc (my son), told him not to say “so close.” So Matt would tell him he needed to better and that his focus was a little off every time he missed thereafter.

    When he finally did catch the ball, Matt applauded him by exclaiming “Great job, Buddy!”

    Of course, Luc looked at him with that look of confused disapproval and said. “Don’t say great job, that’s not a great job.” A pause. “It was perfect!”

  27. Andrea says:

    Toddlers are excellent for helping to remember conversations and promises you swear you never had or

  28. Ashley says:

    What about escape artist? and it works both ways. Sneaking in or out.
    Dog whisperer as it seems my son is the only person who can truly piss the dog off the way he does, however they both work together to double team me and steal all my food.
    I also like to think of my son as a mini bomb tech in two parts. 1 because he plants his toys in the correct spots to cause me to step on the most painful toys that he owns. Part 2 is that while he is still in diapers when he goes poo he makes his diaper explode and then laughs at me when I am trying to get the poo off his back.
    He is also very skilled in the art of whining/ making the world believe that I am killing him with his screams after I say “no”.
    He is also learning to be a tape recorder and repeating what we say.

    My son is just skilled.

  29. Kristin says:

    LAUNDRY UN-DOER (verb)
    I fold the laundry, my 19 month old takes each piece out, throws it on the floor & uses the basket as a luge board to ski around the living room. Bonus points when he throws the laundry over the railing.

  30. Ninja Mom says:

    Personal Space Bouncers. The only person allowed to be near you is your toddler. That’s not your rule, but it is his. When someone not already on the guest-list-of-one attempts to come near Club Mommy and Daddy, toddler bouncer scrambles to block all access.

  31. Cassie says:

    Metal Detector

    I can search for hours for that missing earring back, dropped dime, or safety pin. Put my daughter in the room and it is found in seconds!!!

  32. Rachael says:

    Life coach. My son (4) reminds me to always use moisturizer (“Mommy, your face looks dry and old.”), to exercise (“Mommy, you are having another baby.”), to drive safely (“Mommy, remember when you crashed the car because you weren’t watching where you were going?), and to floss (“Mommy, you didn’t floss your teeth. You are going to get goblin teeth.) He is a font of helpful advice.

    For the record, I am only 35, but I could pass for 33; and while my stomach is not as flat as it used to be, my husband wouldn’t kick me out of bed for eating crackers.

    P.S. Is Finn posing in front of the “Do Not Hump” train at Travel Town?

  33. Rafie says:

    The baby could be the interviewer for the maid πŸ™‚

    Make a mess and then handle me cry kind of thing.

  34. kenya says: if i could just set my lil alarm clock (only 5.5 mos)to 2 hrs later to coincide with my schedule! Speaking of schedules, she automatically wakes up from her nap about the time i get home from work! also, i thinks she’s a lil psychoanalyst because she studies your face and actions before reacting!

  35. Erik says:

    I’m not sure, as there’s a massive list, but how about interior stylist? Give a kid a crayon or felt-tip permanent marker (why in the world would you do that? I did) and see your walls, furniture, doors, potted plants, pet cat covered in the same beautiful curves and lines all at the same height.

    • Kira says:

      Or personal stylist. I totally rock that crooked pink plastic barrette, dinosaur, and whatever other bauble happens to be nearby that looks great in an hairdo that’s only a little over saturated from the spray bottle.

  36. Annette says:

    We used our toddlers as grabbers to reach things on high shelves. Just hold them up and they grab whatever is in front of them.

  37. Trisha says:

    The “why?” Stage is also a refresher of life’s tough questions that leaves us parents speechless at times and pondering about the little things that we have never questioned before.. I find myself repeating the answer multiple times then finally resorting to “because it just is ok” (Google has become my go-to however still typically doesn’t suffice her question) my 3yr old has successfully made me cringe at that word.

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