Famous Children

3-year-olds have always been simultaneously amazing and terrible, right? The invention of electricity, socks, chicken sausage, and antiperspirant have changed adults, but not toddlers. No matter what we do, a little human’s most valuable trait—that which has kept him from being tried and convicted for crimes against humanity—has always been his innate ability to be irresistibly lovable. I’m sure even the toddler Gandhi was a ridiculous pain in the ass; knocking baskets of coriander from his mother’s nightstand, and feeding the mules rotten cherries to give them diarrhea (hilarious, Gandhi..seriously). On more than one occasion, Gandhi Sr. threw his hands up in frustration and yelled, “I’m going to the bar.” But he always came back, apologized, hugged “Lil’ G” and tenderly stroked Mrs. Gandhi’s leg as they sang songs about bountiful feasts and fell asleep together on the yak fur rug where Gandhi promptly peed himself and ruined everyone’s sweet vibe.

Einstein, FDR, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Jesse Owens, JFK, you name it — they all barfed on their moms. Look, I don’t actually know any historical details, but it’s fun for me to imagine all of these powerful and influential men and women as 3-year-olds. I excavated the library that exists only inside my own imagination and uncovered these interesting facts.

  1. Bill Clinton: For 6 months between the ages of 2 and 3, the only thing he would eat was gravy.
  2. Christina Aguilara: Instead of using words, Chrissy meowed everything.
  3. Newt Gingrich: Grabbed his wiener anytime he saw a squirrel.
  4. Abraham Lincoln: Took an obnoxiously long time to get in the family’s covered wagon.
  5. Adam Levine: Licked mirrors and it was really weird for everyone.
  6. Leonardo da Vinci: Was ambidextrous at picking his nose.
  7. David Blaine: When upset, David would frequently refuse to blink for hours (terrifying).
  8. Beethoven: Burst into hysterical crying anytime he farted.
  9. Socrates: Had a full beard by the age of 3-and-a-half.
  10. Bill Gates: Was taken to pediatrician after giving himself a dozen hickies on his arm. *

So next time you’re intimidated by someone, imagine them as a toddler.

* Actually, that was me and I was 9.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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