Awaken the toddler within: Motivational secrets of a 2-year-old Chicago diva

This week’s blog post is by Viva Rocco, 2. Her father is Matt Rocco, co-host of the White Dad Problems Comedy Podcast, and her mother is Professor Foster, who has Brown Mom Problems. They live in Edgewater. Viva does not know who moved her cheese, but if she finds them, she will bite them and break the skin.

As a toddler, I don’t know the meaning of the word “Can’t.” Or the meaning of the word “Quit.”

Or the word “No” or the word “Listen” or the words, “Don’t touch that, it has germs.”

I don’t know the meaning of most words. And I don’t care to know.

I may only be 2, but I have a loving family, a beautiful home, two tutus, several tiaras, “Frozen” on DVD, and an iPad that pretty much belongs to me.

And I do NOT have a poopy diaper, so quit saying I do.

It’s not an accident that I have all this embarrassment of riches. You don’t get the life I have through randomly careening through life, singing half understood lyrics to Pharrell songs and plugging the toilet with Sandra Boynton books. Well, not only through doing that.

You do it by through focus, perseverance, and a disregard for the limits society would put upon you. Oh, and Cheddar Bunnies. An unending supply of Cheddar Bunnies toted around for your use.

I’m going to share my secrets with you. Secrets everyone is born knowing but which leave your head as “civilization” breaks you – puts you in a cage bed, makes you pee in a bucket, tells you to share, tells you not to hit, tells you not to put an entire cupcake in your face-hole at once, and makes you sit in little chairs strapped to big chairs. (A complete waste of chairs.) The secrets you knew before you become the sad, broken shell of a person you are now, spending your day in a cubical, checking your Facebook every 10 seconds and taking quizzes that tell you which character from “Goonies” you are or whatever the hell you do all day.

I’m going to give you the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Toddlers. Sometimes I get confused about numbers unless I just count from one to 10 really fast so bear with me.

1 Never Give Up. Ever. NEVER.

Does Steve give up when he sits in his thinking chair with his Blues Clues? No.

Does Tickle-Me Cookie Monster give up when he wants to terrify me and force me to demand he be hidden in my parent’s closet? No, he does not.

Did Princess Anna of Arendelle give up when her sister Elsa ran away and pretty much sang the Act I Closer to “Wicked”? No way.

So, don’t you give up, either. If they ask you nicely, tell them, “No.” If they try to pick you up, go limp. If they do pick you up, go for the eyes. If they put you in your room, scream until they fear the neighbors will think they’re burning you with cigarettes. If they give you a time out – WAIT THEM OUT. You’ve got all the time in the world.

2 The World is your Play-Doh. Manipulate it into a shape which pleases you.

In his 16th-century treatise “Il Principe,” Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, “Ask for another sung rendition of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and Mommy will let you stay up later.” Let this be your mantra, because like beets placed on your dinner plate that need to be thrown on the floor, the things life throws your way don’t always need to be accepted just because some do-gooder said they “make you grow up healthy and strong.”

3 Use any means to get to your desired end.

Your parents had you to give their lives meaning. They need your love at least as much as you need theirs. Their love for you is a weakness. Exploit it.

Did you wet your big-girl panties? Cry like you’re embarrassed.

Did you get caught with your cheeks stuffed with Godiva? Ask for kisses and hugs.

And if you throw away the TV remote on recycling day, a simple, “Daddy, you’re my best fwend” will get you out of jail free ever time.

They have no idea your speech impediment is a put-on.

And, finally:

Here’s the real secret: Visualize what you want. Then demand it. It doesn’t matter how impossible the desire, or how non-sequiter, or how unhealthy. Picture it. Scream bloody murder for it, and it will manifest itself unto you.

Popcorn for breakfast! A new doll the day after Christmas! Everyone in the house doing the Mickey Mouse Hot Dog Dance even though they are late for work! No nap! No nap because you don’t like naps and you don’t want a nap and you aren’t tired and just one more minute!

Think of it. Freak out. Get it. It’s the Law of Insistence. That is how the Universe works.

So, there you have it, friends. Think like a Toddler, Behave like a Toddler, and you, too, can live the rich life of a Toddler.

Now, the first person who rushes up to this stage and takes a copy of this book out of my hand gets to keep it!

Just kidding, I changed my mind – I want to keep the book now, and if you try to take it from me I will cry until I get the hiccups. Way to make a toddler cry, you selfish jerk!

See, what I did there? Now you go and do that, too.

And don’t forget the Cheddar Bunnies.

If you enjoyed this essay, subscribe to the WDP podcast for free on iTunes!

You can also listen at (Do note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17 Only.)

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