8.25.2006

Waterloo

I have had at least one little boy in the house long enough to understand that elegance is merely an aggravation, and safety hazards are cleverly disguised as innocently useful items. Toddlers think aesthetics are for eating. And side tables are for climbing. Lamps are for pulling or twirling. Bookshelves are for emptying. Brooms are for wielding as weapons.

My personal experience is this: Electrical outlets cannot be childproofed. No matter how I try there will always be one Sharpie marker or a tube of Desitin that will mysteriously turn up in a little fist. It is nearly impossible to store cleaning supplies high enough or locked up enough and that the words, “No! Danger! Not a toy!” may as well be a foreign language.

And just like a foreign language, even if you yell the words louder or say them over and over again to the person who does not understand them, they are still not comprehended. And they may even become patently disregarded, after too much repetition and even when (or because) you begin sign language and “tone” to convey the message.

It is really not that my children are willfully destructive. They don’t touch, explore, eat, throw, or open and shut things loudly and repeatedly because they want to get under my skin or terrify everyone present. No children do. They do it because they are kids and their job is to explore and learn things – like that glass things break when they drop them. Every single time. That juice spills when you tip it or hold it upside down. Every single time. That pushing buttons on the remote or TV or DVD will make something happen. Every single time. That the milk carton will come off the top shelf faster and heavier than you can handle it. Every single time.

I believe that little boys are particularly tenacious in their explorations and experiments. But I am beginning to know pretty much exactly what they will go for when I’m not watching. I almost know intuitively (which is not as simple as you would think - many people have no idea, I assure you) the type of knick knack or unsuspecting tool will immediately be challenged from its rightful decorative niche or useful purpose. I have become so clever and conscious of every possible temptation to my budding engineer/artist and technophile/explorer that I am almost to the point where I can take a shower in peace, knowing that whatever it is that is not a toy is out of sight, out of mind, or locked in the bathroom with me.

Call me lazy or a cynic, but three years into this little boy thing, I have decided to accept the fact that even though it should be OK to leave certain things in view or reach, it just isn’t. I have now cried all the “never-going-to-have-anything-nice-ever-again” tears that I’m going to and resigned myself to reduced beautification and constant vigilance on their “destroy-by-means-of-natural-curiosity-and-common-household-accoutrements” front.

And yet with my remarkable adaptation to the battle at hand and surrender by minimalism, I still have lapses in judgment. Like when our filter pitcher cracked recently and needed replaced, I thought it would be a good idea to buy this:

Yeah, that’s a spigot with sixteen 8 oz. glasses of H2O (my reason for the purchase) behind it. Within detectable reach of any two-year-old recon mission. Inexplicable, really. Who’s side am I on, anyway?

12 comments:

Tess said...

sounds like you needed my handy dandy conversion chart post, huh? :)

Angela said...

Apparently whatever side you are on, I'm on. I want that dispenser.
You are such a good writer. What i find most amusing is, this great post, so well written, was most likely inspired by 128 oz of water spilled all over your refrigerator and/or kitchen floor. Tell me blogging isn't therapuetic...

Amanda said...

ROFL! Oh my goodness! What a day you must have had today. Rest assured though that this behavior is not limited to just boys. My twin girls when they were 2 and 3 I really didn't know if we were all going to survive from one day to the next. They were the biggest trouble makers. I had to put EVERY single chair/stool/climbing apparatus up on the counter or table before I could leave them alone to go shower. One day they emptied an entire brand new box of Cascade into the dishwasher because they were "trying to be like mommy".

Your post reminded me of an email I got from my brother. It included a picture of two boys, not my brother's boys, that found themselves in a world of trouble. I'll post it on my blog.

Morning Glory said...

Oh this was such a good post and you really are a clever writer. Sorry about the water......

GranolaGirl12 said...

You've got a book in the making. I love reading about the antics of your boys! I'm sure we could start a blog just about the trouble our boys get into... (or is that what mine is really about, anyway?)

Maybe you could have a skating party? Tie towels to their feet and skate around the kitchen to clean up the flood...

Code Yellow Mom said...

OK...I jsut HAVE to get this pitiful one-liner out of my head where it's been since the wee hours of this morning....

"Ah, well...it's all just water under the fridge at this point."

Whew. I feel better now.

And FYI - It's amazing how much more than 128 oz. it seems like when it's divided between the cheese drawer, two produce drawers, on every condiment bottle and the kitchen floor...

Dawn said...

This is hilarious. I love it. I finally got to the point where I could have my pretties out, when I took on the joy of having my grandkids around half time! When I got this baby blue carpet, I must have really thought the child rearing days were over!

Thanks for your comment on my engagement story. I just found it this morning. We framed the idea of getting a less expensive stone in a romantic way. It's just a beautiful.

EmilyRoseJewel said...

How funny and so true about the childproofing, is there really such a thing. I think the only full proof thing is supervision, I just have to stay with Justice. Speaking of nice things, I go to these Southern Living parties and do think to myself, "Wouldn't last long with kids in the house."

Barb said...

Oh my sweet goodness, I cried those I'm never going to have anything nice tears a million times when mine were little. Just when I thought I was past all that my daughter presents me with a grandchild and guess what? It's a boy!

So here we go again. Favorite thing to play with is electrical cords. Crawls into such tight places I have to move furniture to extricate him. And my once perfect living room now looks a little weird with everything breakable pushed to the dead center of all the tables. Never ever ends.

Morning Glory said...

Water under the fridge???? As if the story wasn't funny and clever enough, you now have my sides splitting in laughter.

ShelahBooksIt said...

I wish I could tell you it gets better as they get older. I have a six year-old who thinks he can pour his own milk and juice and believes the berries on the living room wreath were put there to pelt at his little sister.

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

I have an almost 14-year-old who concocts unimaginable mixtures in the kitchen, leaving wrappers, empty bottles, spilled crud on the counters and mounds of dirty dishes in his wake.

Yeah, "little" boys. What a pain. ;)