Toddler Owner's Manual: Father's Edition

Toddler Owner's Manual: Father's Edition

by Steve Bedwell


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Toddler Owner's Manual: Father's Edition by Steve Bedwell

A humorous operating guide for fathers, the Toddler Owner's Manual is sure to bring a smile to any dad's face. Written by a man for men, this book likens a toddler to the other love in a man's life, not his wife his car. This companion piece to the successful Baby Owner's Manual is also packaged in the form of a retro car manual.

This essential handbook covers the difficult ownership period of your Mother Nature Heavy Industry child from 18 months to three years. This out of warranty period can be difficult and the manual will help fathers navigate such vexing stages as solid food consumption, child self waste disposal training, tentative first steps as well as long term servicing and immunization issues and maximizing the usefulness of your toddler. This is a must have book for any father facing the challenges of a rapidly developing 'little human'.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781925017199
Publisher: Rockpool Publishing
Publication date: 05/01/2015
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 5.25(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Written by Steve Bedwell, a man who loves his cars. Steve Bedwell is a comedy writer, television host, a radio personality, author, producer, ARIA nominated recording artist and comedian. Currently a regular panelist on Australian talkback radio, Steve is also a regular opinion panelist on Australian national TV. He is the author of Suburban Icons: A Celebration of the Everyday (1992), Vizard Uncut (2007) Baby Owner's Manual (2011). Steve has recently completed a successful tour of the Los Angeles comedy circuit.

Read an Excerpt

Toddler Owner's Manual

Father's Edition

By Steve Bedwell, Glenda Downing

Rockpool Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Steve Bedwell
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-925017-69-4


Section A:

The Road to Toddling

The First Anniversary

The first year of ownership of your child has been a tough one with many compromises to you and the co-owner's lifestyle and habits, not to mention sleep deprivation. Let's face it, babies and their nocturnal habits can be a nightmare. MNHI deliberately engineers its babies this way to prepare you for the rigors of toddler ownership.

Successfully raising a baby and getting to the end of the warranty period and to the commencement of the toddler phase of your child's life is an event to be celebrated, and MNHI has several recommendations on how to mark this momentous occasion. This occasion and the ensuing event will be henceforth be referred to as 'the party'.

The end of warranty party is a time of great rejoicing for the owner and co-owner. Suddenly your baby is not a baby any more and the security of the MNHI warranty protection plan has passed. What better time to celebrate ... or perhaps not? For the sake of the party and the enjoyment of the invitees, MNHI suggests that you concentrate on the birthday and less on the warranty running out.

MNHI would like to address several of the more common questions that its consultants get asked in relation to the one-year birthday party.

Who should I invite? MNHI advises it is important that this milestone be shared with as many of your living relatives as possible, even though you might not have seen most of them since you first took delivery of the baby. This is so you don't have to see the annoying ones for at least another year, and also to increase the present haul.

An array of adult friends should also be invited to the party. These are those friends who have been there for you with advice and assistance, whether wanted or not – let's face it, everyone's an expert – during the hiccups of the first year of ownership. This, too, will also help to increase the present haul.

It is important to point out that one of the prime reasons for hosting a first birthday party is the presents ... it's not like the child is going to remember it. Those adult friends you invite may also have children of a similar age, so you will be able compare the progress of your child with theirs. When comparing children and their progress, it is important to exaggerate and paint your child as being far more advanced than he is, because if you don't, the other parents will beat you to it.

Feel free to also invite acquaintances you have met during the course of your first year of baby ownership. You may have met these people through parent support groups or at a MNHI service centre while your babies were being attended to. Once again, these guests will bring presents for your child, and this is primarily what the party is about.

Remember, this is a baby party in name alone. This event is actually an excuse to get adults together to socialise and compare notes on toddler ownership. It should be noted that at least half of the advice given by friends and relatives on toddler-raising should be discarded as inaccurate or out-and-out lies. The correct and most up-to-date guide to owning, operating and maintaining a toddler is contained within this manual.

The baby component of the party should be kept to a minimum, apart from the prerequisite handing the baby around from excited person to excited person, like some human pass the parcel. Although you may not enjoy relinquishing your baby to all and sundry, MNHI has carefully designed its babies to absorb this kind of treatment. From sloppy kisses to an accidental extension of the neck, rest assured your baby is hardy and resilient to all that excited adults can subject it to.

It is the adults that make the one-year birthday party fun, so choose your guests wisely. Avoid heavy drinkers, smokers and especially the clumsy as there will be lots of little hands and feet to be trodden on if not careful.

Where and when should I hold the party? The ideal setting for a one-year party is the home. A familiar environment is essential for the comfort and convenience of the pre-toddler and their owners. The birthday boy or girl will be blissfully unaware they are the centre of attention and will still need to stick to their prescribed eating and sleeping regime. Also, should the father and co-owner decide to have a celebratory drink, having the party at home negates the need to make alternative transportation arrangements.

Try to plan the timing of the party around the sleep cycle of the child to ensure the majority of the party takes place during the child's waking hours. Nobody wants to come and celebrate with a sleeping guest of honour, unless of course the party is for a 90 year old, in which case the preferable time to celebrate is while they are sleeping.

What presents can I expect? It is the experience of MNHI that the majority of presents for a one year old will be inappropriate or unusable in the short term. Books seem to be popular gifts, for some reason. The child has yet to develop the fine motor skills to hold a book much less be able to read, rendering books useless. Shoes are also a popular if nonsensical gift. Although the child will soon be toddling, at this stage he tends to do a lot of lying around, for which shoes are not really necessary. MNHI suggests, and there is a gift register facility at all of our service centres, that toys which increase hand–eye coordination and have a relaxing musical component are ideal presents. The gift registry is the suggested route to take as history tells us that people really don't think about the gifts they buy a one year old and often give things that represent a choking hazard.

What about food and cake? Once again it is important to remember that this is a child's party in name alone, and the food on offer should reflect this. Bearing in mind that most of the guest of honour's contemporaries are either still on formula or eating mush, a barbecue is the perfect catering solution, with steak and sausages covering all the needs of both the adults and the older children. A cursory nod can be given to the more youthful party attendees by placing bowls of mixed sweets around the house.

A wide selection of alcoholic beverages should be available for the adults, both for general consump-tion and toasting the birthday child. Keep in mind this will be your last chance to cater a birthday party to suit yourself. By the time your toddler hits the second birthday, the party will suddenly be all about him and what he wants to eat and drink ... and that's even before you get into the sketchy world of children's entertainment.

The end-of-warranty or first birthday celebrations are traditionally capped off with a cake. As with all facets of the party, the cake should be approached primarily with the adults in mind. It should be adult in flavour – black forest or carrot, for example – but child-like in design, say a cartoon character. The cartoon character is there for the photographic record of the day and candle blowing purposes, whereas the flavour is purely for the enjoyment of the adult attendees. MNHI suggests that all cakes be nut free. Although all MNHI babies are produced with a high allergenic tolerance, these tolerances can reduce with age.

MNHI congratulates you on reaching this milestone and wishes you well with your first birthday/end-of-warranty party and looks forward to being of assistance in the next phase of toddler ownership.

First Steps

Now that your baby has reached one year of age, some remarkable things begin to happen. These changes may occur anytime between 12 and 18 months and will involve the child slowly gaining independent mobility, or toddling. At the end of the first year your baby will have mastered crawling, but it is important to note that MNHI programs its babies to develop at different rates when it comes to the major motor skills (walking, running, climbing etc.). It is also important to note that when it comes to walking, late developers tend to catch up very quickly, so that by 24 months all MNHI babies are at approximately the same stage of walking development and mobility. They will all be at the same stage of developing their destructive powers as well.

Once toddling has commenced (and it will happen in the blink of an eye) you will find that your life as an owner will be very different. A mobile toddler is a busy and inquisitive toddler, and he will be into everything before you notice it. You must never take your eye off a toddler because he will be out of the house and halfway down the street before you realise it. One minute it is those first tentative steps, the next it is climbing stairs and running. If you have a dog or cat, your pet can expect a whole new world of tail-pulling and general interference with its daily routine from your now mobile toddler. From 12 months on, MNHI suggests that you have a video camera or smartphone on hand at all times in anticipation of the all-important walking milestone. Always be prepared. Should you as the owner miss recording those precious first steps you will never hear the end of it from the co-owner.

It will take plenty of practice for your toddler to reach full confidence in movement, and MNHI urges you to encourage him at every step to accelerate this development, even though your instincts may tell you to keep him immobile for as long as possible. There will be tumbles, falls and tears, but MNHI assures owners that this is normal and serious injuries requiring a trip to the service centre are rare. What follows is the MNHI guide to toddler development and what you can expect.

12 to 15 Months Some 12 month olds are already walking by themselves, and some may have already been at it for a while. Others are just beginning to pull themselves up to standing, and still others may have been standing for a while but are yet to take those first tentative unassisted steps. By the time they reach 15 months the vast majority of toddlers who haven't begun to walk by themselves will be engaging in what is known as cruising. Cruising is the stage of development whereby the toddler is taking a few cautious steps while holding onto furniture, your hands or a MNHI-approved walking frame or push toy. Cruising is also known in parenting circles as the calm before the storm.

15 to 18 Months By 15 months the early walkers are probably already highly skilled in the art of toddling. Their stance and gait will be wide legged and look more clumsy than graceful. This is why they are called toddlers. Their walk will resemble a stumbling drunk, and their speech will make the same amount of sense. The fact that they are encumbered by a nappy contributes to this unusual style, particularly if it is full. New walkers who are just getting used to balancing on two feet will be a little unstable and wobbly. However MNHI designs babies legs to become more muscular in time and as this happens their walk will become stable and sure-footed.

18 to 24 Months By the second half of their second year, even the latest of walkers will have caught up with the early developers and have graduated to climbing up and down stairs like Sir Edmund Hillary, or outlasting the competition like Steven Bradbury. The common progress is out of their highchair, onto the dining table and into the bin. MNHI warns that there is virtually nothing a toddler won't attempt to climb, as the fear and commonsense portion of the brain is still under-developed.

After climbing comes running, and for the first time as an owner you will be dealing with a fully mobile, and surprisingly fast, toddler. The days when you could sit your child down and trust that he would stay there are now officially over. Full parental attention is required from this point on! And remember, your toddler is out of warranty so any accidental injuries caused through parental inattention could be costly.

Once your toddler learns to run he has only two settings: 'on' and 'off'. The 'on' setting is a full-on, no-holds-barred fast track to misery for the average parent, while the 'off' setting can only be described as an oasis of calm before the next storm – a calm that occurs all to infrequently, and should be accompanied by a glass of wine wherever possible.

Now your toddler is walking and running he will want to find alternative methods for getting around and keeping you on your toes, and MNHI encourages this for your child's development, if not your sanity. It's as if now that your toddler has mastered walking alone, he needs to move faster and more efficiently from calamity to calamity. For this reason MNHI suggests that a tricycle makes the ideal second birthday gift. It will give your toddler a sense of freedom while still being balanced and somewhat safe. Having said that, MNHI warns that accidents will occur, and you should be prepared. You should never let your toddler ride a tricycle, scooter or motorised car without adequate head protection in the form of a helmet. The more over-protective owners may also opt for the added protection of knee and elbow guards, although not using this protection will not void any warranty coverage you may have in the event of scrapes and bruises. Another consequence of your toddler's new-found mobility will be his desire to stamp his independence by not wanting to travel in the pram or stroller any more, or at least only when it suits him. Up until he could walk your toddler's only way of getting around was to be strapped into a pram and pushed everywhere, but all that changes when he becomes mobile; now all he will want to do is walk and run everywhere. That is not to say you should put the stroller in storage as toddlers get tired very quickly and very noisily, as their endurance mode is not yet fully developed, and that fierce independence can quickly turn into a barrage of whining about sore legs and tired feet. MNHI can advise owners that this tiredness will hit toddlers when least convenient for the owner and, as such, MNHI recommends that a stroller accompany any excursion outside the house (particularly to a shopping centre, the natural environment of the complaining child), until the toddler is at least four years of age.

Toddler–proofing Your Home

A toddler on the go is an accident waiting to happen. To a mobile toddler your home is a new playground full of things to touch, climb on, pull down, eat and destroy. It needn't be the nightmare it seems, and MNHI is happy to offer the following recommendations on toddler–proofing your home.

An active toddler is a time bomb waiting to go off – at any moment it could break something or hurt itself. As a responsible owner, you can prevent these accidents from occurring. In fact MNHI has found that most accidents, and accidental injuries, are entirely preventable. With a little thought, a few MNHI–approved toddler–proofing gadgets around the house, some common sense and a lot of vigilance you can significantly reduce the risk of expensive out of warranty repairs or servicing on your toddler due to misadventure. If you do not adequately toddler–proof your home, your life will become one of constant worry, work and misery, with you on the never–ending parental treadmill of following your toddler around in anticipation of intercepting the inevitable disaster. Once you have a toddler, your home becomes a place of constant tension with you trying to anticipate every move that your tiny self–destructive wrecking ball will make.

How high is high enough? When putting things out of reach of an increasingly inquisitive toddler, the answer to this question is 'too high is never high enough'. (Climbing is one of the first instincts to become activated in toddlers.) Any household cleaners that are kept under the sink must now be locked in high cupboards to prevent access to those prying toddler hands and eager toddler mouths. This is especially important as many of the common household cleaners have cartoon characters on their packaging, which make them extremely attractive to toddler eyes. What two year old wouldn't be attracted to the smiling faces of Mr Sheen and Mr Muscle, and want to put them in their mouth? Should the worst–case scenario occur and your toddler does gain access to any poisonous cleaning products, please do not hesitate to call the MNHI Poisons Advice Line.

The big things Apart from the myriad small things that need to be toddler–proofed, some of which will be covered later in this manual, it is the big things that are most likely to lead to accidents with your toddler. Sometimes the only way to keep your toddler away from harm is to make it totally inaccessible; this does not mean locking your toddler in his room, as attractive an option though this might be. This is where safety gates come in. They can be used to keep a toddler either in or out of a room and also prevent him from climbing stairs.

Toddlers are master Houdinis and doors present an exciting new world of possibilities. MNHI recommends that you keep all exterior doors, sliding doors and screen doors locked at all times. As a closed glass sliding door can look like an open glass sliding door to an adventurous toddler, it is recommended that some form of sticker or decal be placed at eye–level to prevent your toddler walking into, or at worst, through a closed glass door. This also prevents an owner who has had a little too much to drink from doing the same thing. Also there are rooms within the house that are high hazard, and high interest, for a toddler. (Toddlers have a built–in radar that attracts them to hazards.) MNHI recommends that these rooms should be sealed off at all times. Rooms such as the laundry with its chemicals and washing powders, and the bathroom with the combination of water and electrical appliances such as hairdryers, are best kept locked. The kitchen is another area of potential disaster – an accidental frying pan to the face can be the source of considerable pain and misery.


Excerpted from Toddler Owner's Manual by Steve Bedwell, Glenda Downing. Copyright © 2014 Steve Bedwell. Excerpted by permission of Rockpool Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


A word of introduction from Mother Nature Heavy Industries Pty Ltd,
Section A: The Road to Toddling,
Section B: The Terrible Twos,
Section C: Eating, Sleeping and Toilet Training,
Section D: Correcting Bad Habits and Unwanted Behaviour,
Section E: Entertainment and Beyond the Home,
Further reading and resources,
Appendix: Service history,

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