Boys are a path of non-stop destruction… even when they are toddlers…
My oldest daughter’s playpen was in pristine condition when she got done with it. My next child, a son, never sat in that playpen, except occasionally he would sit a few minutes with little plastic books, look at them a minute, then try to tear them apart with his teeth. Most of his time in the playpen, he would run from one side to the other and throw himself against it. He did that over and over until he tipped the playpen over and crawled away. For his next escape tactic, he pushed his face against where the mesh met the netting and CHEWED A HOLE THROUGH NYLON THREAD….. trying to escape. Finally he stomped in the middle, where the hand holes, for folding up the playpen were, while holding onto the side of the playpen. He stomped a hole in the bottom of that playpen, by the hand holes.
My mother had come to visit, because I was due to have my third child, another boy. My mother, who had seven children, said she had never seen anything like this.
First, my mother was appalled that I no longer had the nice cushioned playpen pad in the bottom of the playpen. I had tossed in a small baby blanket. I told her that he would demolish it, but she insisted on going to the store and buying a replacement playpen pad. I think that pad lasted a few hours, until he had it torn into pieces and was gleefully throwing the pieces over the sides of the playpen, onto the floor .
My very chubby son, wearing the infamous brown, high-top baby shoes.
Next my mother, never one to accept defeat easily, went and bought a very nice wooden playpen and proudly told me, “He won’t be able to break that!” He couldn’t tip it or escape, but he found other paths to destruction. My mother told me that babies should have shoes and socks on. So, off we went to the mall, so she could purchase some Stride Rite, brown leather, high top baby shoes. We went to another store to purchase new socks and my mother even insisted on buying those little bells that attach to the shoelaces.
My mother proudly dressed Andrew and she was so happy with those expensive brown leather baby shoes, that she said looked so nice with the new outfit she had put on him. My mother sat him in the wooden playpen and within minutes he had his leg up to his mouth. He began chewing and within minutes, he had the socks unraveled down to the tops of his lovely expensive high top baby shoes. My mother was so frustrated.
I got sick of those brown leather high top baby shoes, which my mother proudly boasted had nice thick soles. Whenever I held my son on my lap, all he did was kick the heck out of my legs with those amazing soles on those, oh so wonderful, brown leather high top baby shoes.
When we moved to my husband’s next duty station, I found out what life was like with two toddler boys running amok in my home. You’d think pulling himself up and standing at the side of the playpen would be a child development benchmark for my second son. Nope, you would be wrong. He stood there holding on to the side of the playpen, having just learned to do that and immediately worked his leg up to the top on the playpen rail. He hooked his toes over the railing and pulled himself up, so that he was perched on top of the playpen railing. Then he shifted his weight and dropped to the floor and crawled away. He did that maneuver in his crib too except his crib rail was pretty high and a scary drop to the floor – didn’t stop him.
My husband put a lock on the gate at the chain link fence in our backyard. Many times my elderly next door neighbor called me to tell me that my sons had escaped again. She told me her husband had them so, they couldn’t get any further. My husband and I walked around the backyard pondering solutions and I remember one time muttering, ” I don’t think it’s legal to use concertina wire on a residential fence.” My husband did smile at that idea.
One time I walked into my kitchen and there was my second son sitting on top of our side-by-side refrigerator, gleefully waving his arms. We figured that he had climbed up to the counter using the drawer handles on the section of four-drawers, as toeholds. How he made it to the top of the side-by-side refrigerator, I have no earthly idea.
Another day, I was in the kitchen washing dishes and I had noticed my sons making several trips from our backyard into the small bathroom on that side of the house. I decided that I had better see what they were up to. They had taken our oldest daughter’s play kitchen pots and filled them with sand from outside. In the sink of that little bathroom, they poured in potfuls of sand and mashed in nilla wafers, from their snack, then turned on the water.
It was like cement in that drain. I made three trips to the Shoppette for various drain cleaners and nothing made a dent. I called my elderly neighbors for suggestions, because that elderly man seemed to have a solution for every home dilemma and maintained a beautiful home and yard. Within a few minutes, he was at my door and he came in and told me he would snake it.
When my husband came home, he said, “How was your day?”
Oh, it was just an ordinary day dealing with my husband’s sons…
One time I didn’t hear them get up and I woke up when I heard the vacuum cleaner start. I rushed into the living room and there was my oldest daughter, trying to vacuum, as my sons, each with a box of cereal in hand, gleefully waving them around – throwing cereal everywhere. My daughter looked at me apologetically and said. “Mom, I tried, but I couldn’t get them to stop.”
Boys are definitely different…
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