1 They call your bluff.
At the park, when you threaten to leave (‘Come ON, it's time to go, I will go without you. BYE THEN’) they shoot you a look which says, 'You do that then' as they potter off back towards the slide. The little bastards. You then have to face the indignity of re-tracing your steps back through the gate and resorting to the Lift And Drag technique. All while parents of well-behaved children pretend not to look.
2 They overhear and repeat only the bad stuff.
Ask them to copy your recital of the alphabet, or numbers 1-10, and they become selectively deaf. But accidentally let the swear guard down due to some cockwomble's bad driving and be faced with ‘FUCK'S SAKE man’ clear as day for all to hear. Come on in, Social Services.
3 They lie down on the floor.
In public. Usually prompted by the earlier disagreement in the park, this little trick means they always have one up on you because they don't care what people think. They will go completely stiff and refuse to stand so you have to pick them up and carry them out of the Post Office by their coat hood. Later you will realise you forgot to post the letter.
4 They refuse to eat the food you give them.
You offer one last chance to start eating it properly before it goes in the bin.
They don't want it.
It goes in the bin.
They do want it.
*Scratches own eyes out*
5 They give away your lazy parenting secrets.
When asked, 'What did you do today?' they ignore any of the activities where you actually tried to be a good parent (have a break from CBeebies), and instead reply, 'Watched Frozen,' 'Ate chips!' or 'Watched Frozen eating chips!'
6) They poo at inconvenient times.
Regardless of whether they are still in nappies or need your help to use the toilet, they save any poo action for other people's houses. Or B&Q.
7 They manipulate bribes like a hostage-taker.
Many deals are agreed with my toddler on the sole basis that he will get a biscuit. 'Never reward a tantrum' they say. Of course we all agree in principle. But after zero sleep, a stressful trip to the shops and a potentially explosive toddler-tantrum bomb about to detonate on the bus, I have been known to whisper, 'Stop whinging and you can have a biscuit.'
8 They cry because they are tired. But won't nap.
9 They reserve all bad behaviour for you, and are positively angelic for everybody else.
This means that to the outside world, it seems you are fabricating the horrific account of your trip to town. 'But he's always so well behaved for us!' SHUT UP.
10 After all of this, they look so cute when they are sleeping, or when they give you a cuddle, you forgive the bad bits and accept they will be the cause of headaches for the next twenty years.
Tossers they may be, but they are your tossers.