It's no secret that President Donald Trump has made some unusual moves just a few months into his presidency. Controversial decisions may well be the hallmark of what is being described as the "Trump Era," combined with a lot of Twitter tirades, all of which has many people comparing him to a toddler. However, that comparison is unfair. Toddlers are logical at least some of the time. In fact, there have been plenty of times my toddler made more sense than President Trump.
Raising a toddler is hard work. You never know what they are going to say next, especially when you're out in public. They don't really have much of a filter and sometimes their behavior can be nothing short of embarrassing, even if it's understandable for a 2 or 3 year old. They are still only learning to regulate their emotions and grapple with their place in the world, so when they encounter a setback, a frustration, or they simply don't get what they want and when they want it, they're quick to throw a tantrum or blame someone else. Starting to sound a tad familiar, right?
Whether you voted for him or against him, agree with him or definitely don't, there's no denying that Trump has created many teachable moments for our kids. As parents, we can use his reactions to numerous events as a starting point in which to discuss appropriate behavior with our children. His actions allow us to bridge big issues like consent, discrimination, access to education and healthcare, and how to appropriately deal with our emotions. He's also showing us parents that, at the end of the day, maybe a toddler tantrum isn't all that bad.
When My Kid Didn't Discriminate
Toddler: "Mummy, everyone poops?"
Toddler: "Mummy, even the Queen?"
Toddler: "Yeah, that's what I thought. Everyone poops."
If my toddler can understand that as human beings we share more things in common than things that divide and separate us, you would think the commander and chief could too. However, President Trump's travel restrictions (both of which have been ruled against by federal judges) have many people questioning if he is committed to non-discrimination policies. Certainly, anyone negatively affected by a travel ban has every right to feel singled out and targeted.
When My Kid Managed Their Anger
Toddler: "I am so mad and 'fuss-a-tated' today!"
Me: "Oh dear, what can we do about that?"
Toddler: "I just go do some big breaths, OK, Mummy?"
Me: "Sounds like a plan."
Toddler: (In an elated voice) "I am calming right down!"
Taking a cursory glance over the President's twitter feed, you could be forgiven for thinking that he spends the majority of his time being mad. Perhaps, like my toddler, he needs to count to 10 before he hits "send."
When My Kid Advocated For Universal Healthcare
We were playing "doctors" and, after my toddler took my temperature and wrapped my arm up in bandages, I tried to give him a shiny coin.
My toddler responded by saying, "Don't be silly, Mummy. You don't give dollars to the doctor!"
Trump ran on a promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act. His failed attempt at healthcare reform would have seen 24 million people lose their health insurance.
Even a pre-schooler can see that's not a good plan.
When My Kid Didn't See Limitations
My toddler's dad has one arm. He thinks he is the strongest, most capable man on the planet (and I happen to agree).
President Trump maintains that he didn't mock a disabled reporter, despite video evidence to the contrary. Our toddler's golden rule is, "Kind words, gentle hands." A guideline we should all follow.
When My Kid Could Apologize
Toddler: "Why you have that mad face on?"
Me: "Because you are shouting at me and throwing your toys."
Toddler: "OK, well, I am sorry about that. I won't do it again."
President Trump famously stated to Jimmy Fallon that he doesn't have a problem with apologizing, it's just that he is never wrong. Now if that doesn't sound like some toddler logic, I don't know what does.
When My Kid Understood Consent
Toddler: "Let's hug! If you want. Do you want?"
Me: "Yes, please."
Simple. Consent isn't actually a difficult concept to understand.
The leaked video from Access Hollywood had many people concerned that President Trump didn't have even a toddler-level understanding of bodily autonomy, as he seemed to brag about not having to gain consent in order to become physical with a woman. In the tape, originally released by The Washington Post, Trump infamously says, "I just start kissing them, it's like a magnet. Just kiss, I don't even wait."
When My Kid Could Take A Joke
President Trump has an ongoing feud with Saturday Night Live, or so it seems. On numerous occasions, he's tweeted about their "failed ratings" (Saturday Night Live reported a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets, which cover 70 percent of U.S. TV households, according to Variety), and Alec Baldwin's parody of Trump.
By contrast, my toddler can easily understand and accept lighthearted ribbing and gentle teasing. One of his favorite games is when I pretend his feet smell and I fall on the floor in a dead faint from sniffing them.
When My Kid Wasn't Arrogant
Toddler: "I am really good at painting."
Me: "Yes, you are. That's a nice picture."
Toddler: "I am not the bestest in the whole world, but I am very, very, very good."
Toddlers are notoriously arrogant, so if my little one can admit he's not the best at everything, you would expect a fully grown adult to be able to do the same. Yet President Trump has a grandiose sense of self, as Marie Claire reported with this cringe-worthy statement:
"My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body."
Whether or not you voted for Trump or agree or disagree with his policies, it is unfortunate that, in many ways, he has said and done things that seem infantile. Here's hoping he matures quickly.