- Writer Bunmi Laditan is the woman behind The Honest Toddler feed on Twitter
- Nearly 200,000 Twitter users follow the dry observations Laditan's alter ego
- Her experiences with an ornery 2-year-old inspired The Honest Toddler
- Laditan will release a book based on the Twitter account in May
Ever wonder what your toddler would say about your homemade baby food if she had an acid tongue and a Twitter account?
Bunmi Laditan thinks she knows.
Laditan's tweeting alter ego, the Honest Toddler, has been making followers guffaw at the wry observations of a semi-fictional baby pundit for about a year now.
Laditan, a social media and online marketing manager based in Montreal, works from home so she can be with her children. She is set to release "The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting" in May.
Inspired by her spunky daughter, Tali, Laditan began a Twitter account that expressed what might really be going through her toddler's mind during a particularly tantrumy week.
"She had the ability to speak, but if she could fully articulate, what would she say?" Laditan wondered. Clearly, many of her nearly 200,000 Twitter followers would like to know the same thing and get a kick out of Laditan's interpretation.
CNN reached out to Laditan to find out why toddlers are so sassy, how Twitter fits into modern motherhood and what makes it all worthwhile.
An edited transcript of the talk is below:
CNN: What gave you the idea to do Honest Toddler?
Laditan: My 3-year old, who was 2 at the time, we were having a really hard time. I have an older child, I've been through the toddler stage before, but I think I blocked it out of my memory.
She was being defiant and I was busy with work, and literally it was the worst week we'd ever had. I just started (The Honest Toddler) for fun.
I was so surprised by the response. Not in a million years did I think a bunch of people would read it.
CNN: Working moms wear a lot of hats. What did you do before "supervising," as your book cover says, The Honest Toddler?
Laditan: I began in social media ... nowadays the first place you go, in terms of a really quick sense of community, is online. Just because it can be really hard to get in the car and find the mom group. It was difficult for me to navigate (being a mother). Wanting to read about motherhood, work-at-home moms, writer moms. Can I still have a career? How do I do it? How are other people managing?
So I began taking a real interest in the parents online, and since my background is in marketing, I really wanted to incorporate that in how I would earn an income from home. So I began doing social media for companies. One was "Tasty Baby," who made online organic baby food, and from there, I kept working and expanding and taking classes and working with other PR firms, learning how to do my job better.
I've always loved writing, but "I can love it, it's just not going to be my bread and butter," is how I always felt. But I wanted to keep writing, so I wrote for sites like "Mothering," "iVillage," "Huffington Post," and really just enjoyed it.
CNN: There seems to be a lot of very seriously toned parenting media on the Internet these days, and The Honest Toddler is anything but. Why do you think that is?
Laditan: I get that there has to be an authority source. I've been in that mode, too, when writing. I think it's about trying to regain control and trying to help people feel as if there is a how-to.
Even though at this point we all know there really isn't any one way. At one point or another you realize, there is no one way to do it, it's going to be messy, we can pretend all we want with our Instagrams and Facebook photos that it's all going great. But it's a struggle, so we do have to support each other and give each other a little bit of slack.
CNN: Honest Toddler is pretty unique with regards to the content on Twitter, too.
Laditan: I've seen Sarcastic Rover or when people tweet from the perspective of an inanimate object or animal, and I think they probably match up much closer to Honest Toddler than most parenting tweets. I think it's that different perspective.
One of the reasons I believe it's popular -- and I don't think it has anything to do with me or my writing ability or anything like that -- is it has to do with parents who have already wondered what their kids are trying to say. Who have already thought, I know, if my child had the ability to articulate, they would say something like that.
They have the opinions of people long before they have control of their bowels. They really believe we are on the same level. They believe we are peers. They see their mother and father as the ones who take care of them and where they go for comfort, but they really believe they have an equal vote.
CNN: That's a lot of sass for such a tiny human. Are toddlers sassy?
Laditan: Toddlers are ... people without filters. They're exactly like us but they don't have all the etiquette and social norms. So they say things that we would say if we didn't fear the social consequences.
CNN: How much of The Honest Toddler is rooted in the real life experiences of your children that you observe?
Laditan: Much of it is. I'm scared to say how much because I know that -- one of the reasons I love being anonymous is because that didn't feel like I would be judged. Not for my lack of parenting but just the situations are so crazy. And I know those situations happen to other people, too.
On Friday, I was tweeting about Tali's ear infection and going to the pediatrician's office. She told me right away, "I don't like the doctor." And I knew it was going to be a struggle.
CNN: At the end of the day, what makes a parent's struggle worth it?
Laditan: The number one thing that really makes it all OK is knowing that it won't last forever. When you contextualize any difficult experience, that's what makes it bearable.
With my first child, I had no idea what a contraction would feel like. Only what I'd seen on TV, like TLC, all these women screaming, 'I'm going to rip in half, this is going to be terrible!' But one woman (in a prenatal class), who had six kids said, 'You can handle 10 seconds of anything.' And she said the worst part of a contraction will probably last around 10 seconds.
And when I was actually in labor, I thought of that. Knowing that made it bearable.
It's the same thing when both my kids are still in their pajamas, crying, we're late for school, I'm thinking, "Great, now we're going to have to go to the secretary's office and she's going to see that they're late again and that I'm not dressed, and I have weird stuff in my eyes from sleeping so I obviously didn't wash my face or brush my teeth before I drove them there."
I'm thinking all those terrible things and then I think, "They're going to grow up and I'm not going to be doing any of this and I know I'm going to miss it, and they're going to want to be with their friends and not with me." So that's what makes it doable. That's what makes me able to appreciate it and be able to laugh about it.