Instructions As Written By Children

Some people hate following instructions. Not me. I love them! In fact, unpacking something irritatingly complex and then smoothing out the instruction booklet gives me more than a reasonable amount of pleasure.


Yes, I know. I have issues.

Sometimes I get the feeling that my children have rewritten the instructions for various household tasks and items. How else can I explain their uncanny ability to fuck things up in exactly the same way?

Hmmm… Maybe, ooh maybe there’s a secret manual hidden somewhere, which all of the world’s toddlers get to read as part of an elaborate initiation process.

Well, there probably isn’t. But if there was, it would almost definitely be called ‘The Casual Home Destruction Handbook.’

I’ve taken the liberty of recreating a few imaginary excerpts. No doubt, these ones would have to make their way in!

1. Stickers

Stickers are awesome.

Stick them to your face!

Stick them to the couch!

Stick them on your butt!

Stick them to the cat!

Stick your little brother’s eyelids shut!

Stick the STICKERS!

Sticker mila

2. Washing Hands

Ensure a lack of adult presence.

Turn both taps on as far as they will go.

Shove hands under water.

Observe impressive arc of spray as it cascades onto every available surface.

Pour liquid soap directly down the drain.

Turn taps in opposite direction until both are dripping.

Wipe hands on towel in lackadaisical manner.

Drop towel on floor.

Feign ignorance when asked why the bathroom looks like a scene from Titanic.

Engaging distraction sequence...

Engaging distraction sequence…

3. Chairs

Move chair (if possible) to an area of the room containing an optimal level of breakable objects.

Stand on chair.

Ignore admonishments to apply buttocks to said chair.


Recall halfway down that you haven’t exactly learned how to jump yet.


4. Dog Food

Eat it.

5. Pens

Remove cap.

Drop cap behind extremely heavy piece of furniture.

Apply pen liberally to skin.

Draw a penis on the wall.

Cover artwork with paper.

Do not, I repeat to do not draw on the paper.

Abandon pen on absorbent and/or expensive piece of material.


6. Reading Books

Select time to request a book when your parent is in the middle of an involved and/or messy task.

Clamber into his/her lap, applying a knee to the crotch or an elbow to the breast, as appropriate.

Waiting until your parent is halfway through the first line, then turn the page.

Turn it again.

And again.

Insist that you can do it yourself. Loudly.

Wait until your parent has moved a few steps away.

Rip page in half.

7. Muddy Puddles

Locate largest and most revolting puddle in local area.

Trip just as you reach the deepest part.

Fall on your face.

Pretend to go swimming.

Eat some mud.

Insist on removing welly boots to walk home.

Complain about stones.

muddy zora

8. Toothpaste

Eat it.

9. Getting Dressed

Apply knickers to your body sideways.

Tell no one until you reach a suitably public venue.

Put both legs into one leg hole in your trousers.

Yell, “I’m a mermaid!”

Fall on your face.

Express distaste at scratchy label despite it having been removed three months ago.

Put top on backwards.

Insist that you like it better that way.

Put your shoes on the wrong feet.

Argue that they’re not on the wrong feet until lateness has been achieved.

Put your sister’s coat on.

10. Stairs

Begin stair descent routine approximately six feet away from the first step.

Slide laboriously along carpet on your stomach.

Bump slowly down each step.

Change your mind three steps from the bottom.

Turn around.

Jump. Just jump.

Someone will catch you.


11. Cats

Get cat in your sights.

Scream excitedly at the top of your lungs.

Run towards cat at top speed.

Fall over.

Get up.

Run more.

Stroke cat’s fur the wrong way.

Gaze forlornly at window from which cat made a hasty exit.

12. Potty

Stand in it.

Use it as a boat for your toys.

Wear it on your head.

Use it as a bowling ball.

Trip over it.

Pee on the carpet directly in front of it.

(Caution: not to be used for urination or defecation.)


13. Unidentified Object You Dropped Behind The Couch Three Weeks Ago

Eat it.

14. Brushing Hair

Repeatedly request permission to brush your parent’s hair.

Roll eyes at reminder for you to do it ‘gently.’

Apply brush firmly to the top of the parent’s head. From a height.

Repeat as many times as is tolerated.

Apply regretful expression to your own face.

Kiss your parent’s head better.

Lick brush with the utmost discretion.

Brush hair ‘gently.’

15. Going To Sleep

Take fifteen minutes to select an appropriate before bed storybook.

Kick bed with your heel throughout entire story.

Also, hum.

Acquire urgent need for a drink.

Acquire urgent need for the toilet.

Express fear over non-existent monsters under the bed.

Insist on a minimum of eleventy million kisses.

Transform shadows into ogres and ghouls.


Close your eyes for three seconds.

Pick your nose until it bleeds.

Go to sleep.



Ok, I may have recreated slightly more than a few. But what can I say? I get carried away easily!

Reading back, I’m starting to think I might have a point about this ‘imaginary’ instruction book. I mean, otherwise kids are just doing bizarre, unhelpful and downright irksome things for no discernible reason whatsoever!

Now that? That’s crazy.

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