Yesterday Herb and I violated one of the cardinal rules of parenting: NEVER assume a quiet child is a sleeping child–especially at naptime. Before I elaborate on the mayhem that occurred, let me introduce you to my children.
Samantha is 11 years-old going on 5 or 45 depending on her mood. She is our extreme, no exceptions rule-follower. She is highly creative and introspective. If her face is not buried in a book, she is tracing and coloring pictures…by the dozen. She is also very silly and loves to make others laugh. Because she is the oldest by almost 7 years, she frequently tries to enforce rules or instructions we’ve given to “The Littles” (as we’ve affectionately named her much younger siblings, Izabella and Devin). We don’t want her thinking that it is her job to parent them, and I frequently tell her so.
Next is Izabella (Bella). She is 5 years-old and petite for her age. Her strawberry-blonde hair, stunning blue eyes, and just a sprinkling of freckles on her porcelain skin give her an angelic look. Ah, but looks are often deceiving and this is no exception. She is wickedly smart and spends most of her time looking for loopholes in the rules. She’s our “evil genius”. One of her favorite pastimes is to manipulate her brother to get him in trouble. I picture Izzy as the “shoulder devil” that whispers in his ear. If the boy has a “shoulder angel”, Bella probably has it hogtied and gagged somewhere in the attic.
Last, but certainly not least, is Devin. He is literally our “little guy”. He is 4 years-old and due to developmental delays, he is about the size of a 2 year-old and is not yet potty-trained. He is about as cute as can be and knows it. Because of his speech delays, he can pretty much get his way just by flirting. On the other hand, he is also all boy which means he loves to torture his sisters by wrecking their tea parties, throwing things at them, and just being a pain-in-the-neck. He is especially close to Bella because they are only 14 months apart in age and are biological siblings (they were adopted just over 2 years ago).
So now, let me set the scene…
It is our first autumn living in Tennessee after moving from Tucson, Arizona in March. I was born and raised in Tucson, so this move was especially exciting because I had never lived anywhere “green” before. We bought a house that is at the end of a cul-de-sac and our half-acre property backs up to lush, undeveloped woods. Our house is surrounded by towering deciduous and evergreen trees. As the weather turned colder, the forest became alit with explosions of orange, yellow and red. A truly magical time–like living in a postcard. But wait, there’s more.
As the weeks passed and the days got shorter, this desert girl discovered the true meaning of the word “fall”…leaves…tons of leaves…EVERYWHERE! At first it was novel and exciting. I bought a cordless leaf blower and I felt the confidence that can only be experienced by the truly naïve. The blower couldn’t keep up and it spent more time on the charger than actually in my hand. So, I did what any self-respecting newbie would do–I ignored it.
Yesterday as I stood on the back deck, looking at a sea of brown, I decided enough was enough. After a quick trip to Home Depot and I had a much more powerful blower and a renewed sense of purpose. Herb and I were determined to get both yards blown clean and the leaves burned in our back yard fire pit.
My goodness woman! When are you going to get to the point of the story?!
Don’t get your knickers in a knot, I’m there.
As Herb and I tag-teamed the yard, the kids ran and played. A quick break for lunch, and it was “rest time” for The Littles. I dutifully tucked them in their beds and went back outside. Samantha stayed inside to continue working on her drawings.
After about 15 minutes, I poked my head in the front door and listened for any sounds coming from upstairs. Silence. My kiddos are not the quiet type, so I assumed they were asleep. And besides Samantha wasn’t complaining, so all had to be well (insert head-smack here).
Back outside, we had the leaf blower going full blast, a raging fire that needed to be tended and our kids were inside unsupervised. What could possibly go wrong?
I’m not sure how much time passed but Samantha eventually came outside to say that Bella and Devin were “messing around” upstairs and something about Devin’s diaper being off. I could literally hear the train wrecking.
Herb headed toward the house as I continued to shovel leaves onto the fire (I had changed the last poopy diaper, so I figured it was an equal trade). He was gone a really long time for just a diaper change. After about 30 minutes I started to wonder if Herb had decided to stay inside to watch the kids. Finally he came out and told the harrowing story of what he encountered inside…
As he opened the door, he heard the tell-tale sound of Bella running back to her room and diving into her bed. Her 5 year-old way of saying, “I have no idea how that happened. See? I’m in my bed.” Devin was left at the scene of the crime.
Climbing the stairs, Herb was greeted by little piles of poop leading from his room to our bedroom. More poop on the floor of the master bedroom (carpet, of course) and in the midst of it was our precious son, buck naked, poo squishing up between his toes like Playdoh.
Herb scooped up the doo-covered dude and hosed him off in the hall bathtub. A clean diaper, a change of clothes, and back to bed for the boy. Herb went back to our room to fully assess the damage.
Hearing an ominous, gurgling sound he entered our small bathroom. Ah, what a sight to behold! All three rolls of toilet paper were missing, which explained the wet, mushy substance sticking to the walls, floor, and most of the shower. Glug. The toilet was desperately trying to accomplish its most important function, but was unsuccessful because it too, was full of toilet paper. And among the matted mess on the floor were our bath towels–soaking wet. Apparently they too had a turn being dunked in the toilet.
It was obvious that this caper was too advanced for Devin to come up with on his own, so Herb paid a visit to Izabella in her room. Amazingly, she claimed to have no knowledge of Devin’s shenanigans even though her pants were wet and she looked like she just lost a spit-ball fight.
I think it is safe to say that Herb was really upset at this point. I admire the fact that he had the presence of mind to have the kids clean up the mess themselves.
I’m pretty sure that I’m supposed to wrap up this story with a life lesson of how we should know better, it’s not the kids fault, or how it could have been so much worse—I mean, what if they had eaten the shampoo or jumped off the bed and broken a leg?
Yes, we have full awareness of all these things. The main take-away is this…
It was damn funny and I owe Herb a steak.