What happens when a kid is excited - and why I love it
When kids are excited, they are REALLY excited.
When I pick my 3-year-old up from nursery, he is so pleased to see me he takes the straightest line to get to me. He runs at full tilt, knocking over little chairs and the farm animals laid out on the astroturf, cannoning off other small people, who ricochet around the room with a domino effect. He leaves a trail of destruction in his wake. Broken wooden toys, bruised toddlers (sorry guys), scuffed lines on the floor. There are practically scorch marks on the lino from his acceleration. Never, ever in my life has anyone ever been so pleased to see me. And it happens every day. Apart from the collateral damage to innocent bystanders, I love it.
There’s a difference between our adult excitement and theirs. I no longer wake at 4am on Christmas morning, but they do. The thrill of a present sends them loopy. As does the box it came in – because a cardboard box is AMAZING when you are a toddler. With this in mind, here are 6 ways kids show they are really, REALLY excited.
1. The obvious one. Occasionally, they shit themselves. They are so besides themselves, so unbelievably overexcited to have a box of raisins / a birthday present / a slice of cake. Come to think about it, it’s food that gets my two the most excited. They get that from me. Pass the biscuits. And the baby wipes.
2. They go bright red. The heat coming off their cheeks may be the cause of global warming. It’s like teething, but worse. Their cheeks clash with their t-shirts, the flush spreads to their ears, they get very over excited and redder with each breath. Occasionally the redness leads to point 1.
3. Nothing gets between them, and the thing they want. If the cardboard box / Play-Doh / Lego is on the far side of a crocodile infested swamp, they’ll get to it via the most direct route, and ignore the consequences. Not many crocs in East London, but plenty of busy roads that hold no fear for a toddler who knows he can get an ice-cream the other side. Cue heart attacks for the exhausted parents, but at least we can now justify a Magnum in February.
4. The flailing arms of an over-excited toddler having an tantrum can bring down the gentlest of parents trying to calm them. I’ve turned up to work with a black eye because the 3-year-old was trying to get a beloved but grubby teddy out of the washing machine (note to self, in future do this wash under cover of darkness, and buy a ridiculously expensive no-longer-in-store duplicate on eBay). Arnica is your friend.
5. If he has the right answer in class, that fat little hand shoots up so fast to show it off that he flies off his chair. The chair shoots one way, into his classmate. The kid flies the other, and lands on his face. He doesn’t care. He feels no pain. He knows the answer! That tubby hand is still reaching skywards, even though he is prostate on the ground, his head wedged under the radiator. No matter that his mouth is muffled by the coat rack. If we could bottle this passion, we’d have the most productive work force in the world. Enjoy it before it turns into the don’t-give-a-toss teenage years.
6. They can’t sit still. They don’t know patience. They are like flailing octopuses on an acid trip, limbs everywhere. Putting a coat on a toddler is like dressing an angry baby elephant. Nothing fits because they are constantly on the move. I’d rather dress a python. And if you do dress them, and turn to their sibling, as soon as you set eyes on them again, they’ve taken the coat off.
Don’t worry. Those fiery cheeks will keep them warm.