September 18, 2012


You can't trash the house if you're in a fort, right?
I have been aware since my twins were only a few weeks old that I had been blessed with very easy children.

As infants, the twins slept through the night starting at about twelve weeks.  RH started sleeping through the night at seven weeks.  On an average night, my kids are all asleep and in bed by 10:30, and nobody (except M) wakes up again until about 7am.  Yes, I'm bragging.

Nobody was colicy.  Nobody got chronic ear infections, teeth grew in straight, they eat happily, they entertain each other.  I haven't had to purchase grubling glasses, DD's minor underbite self corrected, injuries have all been minor enough to treat at home.  They're polite, they play well together, the big girls love the baby and the baby is enamored of the big girls.

I have phenomenally easy children.

Or at least... I used to.

Look at those angels, reading to their baby sister.
You'd never know that whole room was about to be
destroyed by "baseball."
I don't know about you, but I've heard over and over and over again that the "terrible twos" are not the thing to fear.  It's really the threes.  And although the birthday itself is yet to come, I can tell you right now...

They're right.

The threes are undoing all my good will towards my children.  Well, not really, but probably by the time they're four I'll be ready to sell them to the circus.

You see, I didn't toddler-proof my home.  I never needed to.

You got that right, I never needed to.

We put up gates and fences around things that were dangerous, just in case, and that was that.

And as we got tired of having them around and the girls responded well to reminders about dangers, we took them down again.

I remember a moment at the girls' 2nd birthday party.  One of the other moms there, who I knew from a playgroup but had never been to my home, looked around in awe.  And she said to me, "Did you baby proof?  Can they just get to your computer?"

And it occurred to me that, yeah, they could.  Of course they could.  But they knew it was off limits, so that was okay.

She looked at me like I was crazy.  Or like I was from another planet.

And so I came to realize that my children were abnormal.  They were the sort of children that one can give instructions to, and expect them to be followed.

Note the crayon on the cabinets

About a month ago, my children made a terrible discovery.

Just because they're not allowed to do something, that doesn't mean they can't.

And so they wait.  They wait until I'm sitting down, nursing the baby... or in the bathroom... or cooking.  They wait until my attention is diverted, and then they STRIKE.

Suddenly, if it occurs to me that I haven't heard my children in thirty seconds, they are doing something awful.

They are playing with an electrical outlet.  That's a whole blog post in of itself.  For real- we had to talk about parents hitting their children over this one.

Or they're climbing onto the bathroom sink to empty the medicine cabinet.  I screamed myself hoarse, but I just wasn't ready to get into the conversation about how dangerous medicine can be.  Not with flu season around the corner.

Or they're emptying every spare roll of toilet paper into the toilet at the same time.  You'd be amazed how hard it can actually be to explain plumbing to somebody who doesn't quite get the concept of pipes.  With water in them no less.  This is beyond the realm of human comprehension, based on the way I explain it.

Or they're using every single wet wipe in the house to "play Cinderella," which means to wipe the floor for a few seconds.  This has previously been a totally acceptable game- where I give them a wet washcloth after a meal, and they clean up themselves.  They don't seem to understand at all that there's a difference between one wet washcloth and one thousand wet wipes.

Grandmommy and I gave the girls their first haircuts.
Sorry I forgot to blog about that.
Did you know that baby soap can actually remove varnish from antique furniture?  It can!  Just empty a Sam's Club size jug of it onto your circa 1920 coffee table and let it sit for three hours!

Even my meager attempts at childproofing have been totally undone.  I've caught them stacking chairs to reach scissors.  No clue what they were going to do with the scissors, but it can't have been good.  They did recently have their first hair cuts.

Their toy kitchen is covered in crayon.

I can't leave a room without it being instantly trashed behind me.  That includes' RH's room too- if i'm busy with the baby, the girls will go into her room and play "baseball."  "Baseball" is a game where they grab one of RH's toys, scream, "BASEBALL!" at the top of their lungs, and then throw the toy as hard as they can across the room.

I'd be very proud if I wasn't so overwhelmed with frustration over this sort of thing.

I can't open a trash can without discovering something that is NOT garbage.

I can't go to the bathroom without first checking to see if it looks like a preschooler attempted to flush her underpants down the toilet.  Again.

Our house is never going to be the same.

I keep coming up with plans to keep them from trashing the joint.  I orchestrate our cleaning/dance parties, I build blanket forts that cleverly obstruct their access to all of their toys, I force them to come from room to room, "helping" me put away laundry or dishes.

This pillow fort only helped for a little while.
But not a long while.
And then I sit down to nurse the baby, or go to change a total blowout diaper, and it's as though bottling up that destructive energy just strengthened it.

The grilled cheese they were enjoying in their blanket fort gets ground into the pillows, the cheese permanently staining the lovely linen blend fabric.

The newly cleaned floors are a perfect place to simply dump every single toy onto, apparently just to enjoy the sound it makes.  Alphabet magnets slide under every piece of furniture.  Somehow the girls know which furniture is hiding pieces, and have meltdowns until they are retrieved.

And every time I walk into a room and discover that somebody has "cooked" by dumping a package of graham crackers on top of an afghan and then had a dance party on top of it, I lose my mind a little bit.

And then there's the fighting, oh Lord the fighting...

"She hit me!"
"She pushed me!"
"She kicked me!"
"She scratched me!"
"She poked me!"
"She pulled my hair!"

But not just that, the crazy fighting.  The sort of things that are unfathomable in their viciousness.

They are fighting over who gets to be the baby.
Hence the boppy.
"She's running away from her slipper!"
"She's singing!"
"She drank my milk!"
"She ate my goldfish!"
"She said I can't do THIS!" (flails arms wildly)
"She not wearing her socks!"
"She won't brush my hair!"
"She stole RH's shoes!"
"She doesn't WANT to watch Aurora!"
"She yelled!"
"She went like THIS!" (flails arms wildly)
"She took my book!"
"She making a funny face like THIS!"
And my personal favorite...
"She won't hug me!"

I now understand the stories of changelings, creatures who have replaced your perfect children in the night.

My children have become monsters.

It's made the transition to preschool oh so much easier.  I am utterly relieved to have the destruction machines out of the house for ten and a half hours a week.

My children turn three in just under two weeks.

Four cannot come fast enough.


  1. OMG, too true. Before I became a Mom, I had a rather impressive collection of beads from the local craft store. Then the kids wanted to see what they looked like - all mixed together....

  2. uh oh. you are scaring me. my two year olds are so well behaved right now . . . haha. good luck to you!

  3. I agree TOTALLY! My oldest was great until three. Then he morphed into a tantruming,backtalking, head shaking picky eater with potty training issues. It takes 55 years to get him to do ANYTHING and I feel like all I do is repeat myself and yell at him. I wish I could tell you that 4 is better, but so far, its not. In fact, my guy will be 5 soon and no "return to innocence" is in sight. At this point, I'm just waiting for 18...



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