Monday, September 20, 2010

Why Kids Mess With Your Stuff

One of my friends wants me to write about why children are compelled to mess with everything you don't want them to mess with.  In her case, her three-year-old son is drawn to toiletry articles.  He is particularly driven to utilize her supply of tampons as elements in his latest arts and crafts project.  I'm about ready to put a child-proof lock on the cabinet where my tampons are, because I can totally see Little Dude employing them as part of some incredibly inappropriate Lincoln Log construction.

Small children are scavengers, like Tasmanian Devils, or like me when I'm rifling through the $1 section at Target.  Cookie and the Pork Lo Maniac have always been on the hunt for anything to use in an art project.  Just when I thought they were old enough to play upstairs by themselves, I found them doodling on my wallpaper with ballpoint pens they had stolen from found in my purse.  That was the day Mr. Clean became their new BFF, because he has those wondrous Magic Erasers.  (Not to be all housewifey, but what the hell is in those fabulous things?  Pixie dust?  Tiny little trolls?  Love them.)

The doodling incident was actually preferable to the time the girls decided to use approximately 3.8 million teeny-tiny beads as play food in an elaborate Polly Pocket creation.  My vacuum cleaner now sounds like one of those Fisher Price popper push toys.

The Peanut Butter Kid was also one to mess with stuff that didn't need messing with, but her target was always the refrigerator.  Her favorite activity as a toddler was to get a carton of eggs from the fridge and drop them, one by one, onto the kitchen floor.  We got a lock for the refrigerator, and by the time she outsmarted it, she had moved on to damaging other things.  Things made out of wood.  With her teeth, like a hamster.  She gnawed on  the banister, the dining room table, and her sisters' bunkbeds.   Apparently the teething rings and frozen bagels were insufficiently sharpening her incisors.

Along a similar vein, I've been wondering why she still can't take a bath or shower without an insane amount of drama.  There is always either soap in her eyes or shampoo in her mouth.  I don't know how she gets shampoo in her mouth, but she does, and then there's crying and flailing and foam at the mouth like a panicky, rabid raccoon.


Are you seeing a pattern here?  They're wild animals.

Seriously.  This is probably not the most politically correct take on things, but my children are like wild critters, except they mature much more slowly than other animals.  In order to make them into functional members of society, I have to tame them. So basically my husband and I are Siegfried & Roy, but without the spray tan and hair products.  At any moment now, I expect a camera crew from Animal Planet will show up to document my attempts to housebreak potty-train my youngest child.

Don't tell me you haven't noticed the similarities between potty-training a child and housebreaking a puppy.  When they pee where you want them to, you give them a treat: a Skittle or a Milk Bone, your choice.  You pet them and praise them and call them "good boy."  When they pee somewhere else, like on the rug, you don't hit either a puppy or a child with a rolled up newspaper, contrary to what your grandmother told you.  You redirect them to the correct peeing spot and then break out the carpet cleaner.

Like many couples, before we had kids, we had a dog.  A dog is kind of like a Starter Baby.  Our dog was a miniature dachshund.  She was adorable.  She was also super-excitable and had the tiniest bladder in the whole history of dogs.  When she would see me, she would literally be so excited she would pee.  And she was still quicker to housebreak than any of my kids.

Maybe Siegfried & Roy could offer me some pointers.

23 comments:

  1. OMG! Tampon art! What will they think of next?!

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  2. That tampon art is too funny!

    I don't think you want to get tips on training animals from Siegfried and Roy. Unless you want your children to turn on you. Just saying!

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  3. My oldest daughter loved to watch "Trading Spaces" with me when she was little. So much, that one day she decided she wanted to be just like Frank. She took some VERY dark maroon nail polish to the wall behind my bedroom door. THANK GOODNESS it was behind to door. Sigh.... no more home improvement shows for her.

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  4. You spoke to my own problems again this morning!! My daughter created a "birthday cake" out of toothpaste and tampons once, and she (at almost 5) still hasn't learned to leave things alone!! Thanks for the laugh, I needed it!

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  5. Tampon art...LOL!! There is an upside to fine motor delays...at 5 he still can't get past the cabinet and drawer locks. And even an upside to his rigidity...as he hasn't attempted to draw/paint/color on anything but paper. Of course now that I've said that he'll probably change...LOL

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  6. Want me to tell you about the time my younger son found a certain silicone vibrating adult toy? He was about two. He is drawn to brightly colored, vibrating things, it turns out. I'm soooooo glad sometimes that he is autistic.

    But it's better than the time he found dog poo in the yard and handed it to me.

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  7. Oh, and the dog training/kid potty training similiarities? TOTALLY. Dog training is based on ABA (Skinner, Pavolv) and Classical Conditioning. So is some autism therapy. Go figure.

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  8. My Darling Husband used tampons to make a Batman utility belt when he was a child. His mom still tells the story while laughing so hard she can barely talk. Of course, he debuted his creation to a room full of family and friends. LOVE IT!

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  9. My kids are convinced that my tampons are candy of some kind that I'm hiding so I don't have to share it. This is actually a logical conclusion because they are wrapped in beautiful candy wrappers and I continually hide candy that I don't want to share. Let's just say it's a miracle that I haven't died of a vag infection, given how reluctant I am to throw those suckers away after finding ten of them half-unwrapped on the floor. Tampons are farking expensive in my income bracket!

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  10. Hey Ms. B.J. you rock the blog, kickin' it mama-style.

    giggle frenzy ovah hay-ar. thanks for accommodating my special request. that tazmanian devil image is PERFECT. I really have seen that look in my kids' eyes.

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  11. Yes, the tazmanian devil image is really great! Thank you for sharing your hilarious household with us. You almost make my family seem normal. Remind your readers that they can vote for you EVERY day. You only need like 15 votes to be number 11.

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  12. Oh yes... my kids love playing with tampons, shampoo, anything food (mostly chocolate syrup, honey and peanut butter), dog toys (yuk!) and they do tend to saturate their bedrooms with MY good perfume.

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  13. LOL That tampon ghost was, sadly, kind of cute! Though I don't see preschools breaking out a box of Tampax to make them any time soon!

    On a side note - I had to stop reading this post three times to stop my dear, sweet 1 1/2 year old from getting into things he shouldn't...

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  14. What makes it all worse is that they now package tampons and pantyliners in brightly colored cute wrappers. The last time we had our teenage sitters over, my 4 yr old came out of the bathroom with a used applicator that was put back in the bright wrapper, saying "mommy, what's this?" I just told her it was for big girls and to put it back in the trash and WASH HER HANDS!

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  15. LOL I totally hear you on the kids getting into everything. If it's quiet in my house, I know my son is somewhere he shouldn't be; which is usually my bedroom playing with my undies. What is it about underwear on the head that kids LOVE???
    And I just liked you into #10 spot!

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  16. Bwaaaa ha ha haaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  17. HAHAHA!! I am having to hide my tampons and my son is only 21 months!!

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  18. Just an FYI The active ingredient in the magic erasers is formaldehyde, you have to beg them for there WHIMS information but that's what it is. I love those things, there are places in my house that would not get clean without them but gloves are a must.

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  19. Too funny that your two favorite things...diet Coke and Magic Erasers...both include formaldehyde.
    Both my boys went through a tampon phase. I remember the looks on both my son and husband when he looked at the tampon he happened to have swiped from the bathroom, then looked at my husband's corona, and tried to fit round peg to round bottle. A bit too graphic for my husband, but I almost peed myself in that overtired sort of way.

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  20. Oh, and how could I forget...my Jedi wandered into the kitchen with a full box of "pick up sticks" with all my family gathered around the Thanksgiving table. I say "how could I forget" b/c I was actually videotaping at the time!

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  21. I must must must say that I thoroughly intensley and intimately enjoy and digest your blog. you are so straight foward and candid, and hilarios. there have been posts that have made me laugh till i cry or cry till i laugh. i am a single mom survivor of an abusive relationship. My eldest daughter is 10 and has aspberger's syndrome. my youngest is 8 and struggles with was once PDDNOS but now seems as if she may be more ADHD. life of course has been the most amazing adventure. i often find myself feeling as if no one understands. your blog has been a God send of a discovery thank you thank you thank you!

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  22. how do you stop my kid?

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