What the Spice Girls Taught Me About Parenting Toddlers

What the Spice Girls Taught Me About Parenting Toddlers

Inside: The real meaning behind the lyrics “tell me what you want, what you really really want.”


This morning at 4:30 am I finally realized what the Spice Girls song “Wannabe” is really all about.

And this epiphany, along with the fact that I was up with my 1 year old who had lost ALL of her chill and was flailing about like a fish out of water, just about blew my mind.

“Wannabe” wasn’t about a gentleman caller wanting to court one of the ladies Spice. Nor was it about friendship. Those parts were just filler.

The song was totally about interacting with a toddler.

Posh, Baby, Scary, Sporty, and Ginger weren’t just providing catchy lyrics and middle school lip sync competition gold in the 1990s. No, the Spice Girls were preparing the youth of the world to be parents and it was downright brilliant. Let’s break this one down.


Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want

Says the toddler without giving any indication of what it is that she really, really wants. But she really REALLY wants it and that should be enough for you to understand how to meet her needs.


So tell me what you want, what you really, really want

Says the parent. I hear you. You are pointing up at the counter with fervor and your toddler babble is VERY loud but everything I seem to be handing you is wrong. Goldfish Crackers? Juice? This toy car? My keys? My sanity? Please tell me what you want, what you really, really want. And maybe use an inside voice.


I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want

Says the toddler. She doesn’t know how much more clear she could be. THAT is what she wants and she doesn’t only want it right now, she wanted it ten minutes ago and you should have read her mind to know that. Pull it together, you’re the adult. “Why don’t you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? I WANT THAT!”


So tell me what you want, what you really, really want

Says the parent. I see that you’re upset. I have literally handed you everything that is on this counter beside the knife block and that’s going to be a hard no. Plus when I pointed it at it you threw your head back and let out a rage-filled war cry so I honestly don’t think that’s what it is. Please tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

Look, Mommy will start so you can mirror the behavior I am requesting from you #ProTip. I really, really want world peace, more companies to adopt family-friendly work policies, and a margarita. See how I used my words?


I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha)

Says the toddler now hyperventilating from disappointment, frustration, and a little bit of shangry (sleepy, hungry, angry.) The internal toddler monologue must be “You are just the worst. Why are you ruining my life? I thought I was your sunshine, joy, and reason for existence. FOR THE LOVE OF ELMO, PROVE IT!!!!”


I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah

Says the toddler, finally. “I want a ZIGAZIG AH. SEE, NOW I AM BEING PERFECTLY CLEAR! Hand it over, please.”

Leaving the parent to say:

“But honey, that’s not a thing. It’s a made up word. I don’t know how to give you a zigazig ah. So please…”

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.


See? That song finally make sense.



Read More on Parenting Toddlers:

The Funniest Toddler Memes for Parents

Two Under Two is Not Joke, But It’s Hilarious

The Magic Words that Will Help Your Toddler Fall Asleep


27 thoughts on “What the Spice Girls Taught Me About Parenting Toddlers”

  1. Oh man. It really does make sense now. I have definitely had this same conversation with my “shangry” 1 year old (great word btw). Sometimes it’s about nothing, but sometimes he actually wants straight up sugar out of the sugar bowl. Lol. Did you try that? πŸ˜‚ In moments of desperation I have conceded and given my lil guy whatever amount of pure sugar will stick to the tip of a wet spoon. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Pure ridiculousness!

  2. My son is actually really good at telling me Exactly what he really really wants, very clearly. And then throws himself on the floor crying and flailing because, no, he actually didn’t want that…

    1. So glad to bring a little funny to a tough day!! Come back whenever you need a little ridiculous in your day. πŸ™‚

  3. I’m dying because this is so relatable! This is 10,000% my toddler! She has a significant speech delay so my life is one big guessing game. Thanks for bringing some humor to the situation!

    1. So many challenging situations in this crazy parenting journey! The more we can laugh, the easier it gets. Thanks so much for reading and I’m glad I could bring some humor to your day!! πŸ™‚

  4. savvystepmommy

    Oh my gosh, so true! Now I’m going to have this song in my head whenever my 4 year old step daughter is having a moment, haha. I love your posts!

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