It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Who says it’s wrong

…to say “I told you so”?

“That doesn’t look like a safe game to me. Someone is going to get hurt.”
Wait for it…
“Mary! Timmy hurted me!”

“If you keep jumping over Timmy, someone is going to miss, and he will get squashed.”
Wait for it…
“Mary! Emily SQUASHED me!”

“Can you guys not come up with a game that doesn’t involve mooshing heads?”
Wait for it…
“Mary! He bonked me onna head!”

“If you throw those up in the air, sooner or later one will land on your head.”
Wait for it…
“Mary! I gots a bo-bo on my head!”

My policy is to warn toddlers of the possible consequences, and then, if they persist anyway, let them experience those consequences. (Within reason, of course. They are not allowed to ‘experience’ hot burners or playing in traffic.)

Sometimes they heed the caution, but often that old toddler stubbornness/impulsiveness/living-in-the-moment-ness drives them to ignore it. And sometimes I’m wrong, and the bad consequences don’t happen. Mostly, however, I’m right.

You’d think they’d have noticed that by now.

“Emily, if you stand on top of that pile of books, they will probably slide out from under you and you will…”
“OW! Mary! I fell down!”

Sometimes you don’t even have to wait for it.

I don’t say “I told you so”. Not exactly, anyway.

“If you stand on those books, you will probably fall down. If you decide to do it anyway, I will not kiss it better. Understand?”

…wait for it…

“OW! Mary! I fell down!”

“Oh, dear. Well, that’s what happens when you play that sort of game. Do you want to play some more, or shall we put the books away?”

“I wanna put them away.”

“All right. Let’s do that.”

(“TOLD you so, you little monkey.”)

April 22, 2009 - Posted by | health and safety, socializing | ,


  1. My nearly 12 year old still doesn’t get it sometimes… one of her favorite games is lying on the floor and encouraging her 4 year old brother to jump on her… and then when she really does get hurt, she gets very upset when we point out that she was asking for it!

    Comment by Anita Reimann | April 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. In my version of Little Monkies Jumping on the Bed the tag line is “That’s What You Get for Jumping on the Bed”. So there.

    Comment by jwg | April 26, 2009 | Reply

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