5 Minute Misconduct

5 Minute Misconduct

Oh, so sweet. Look at that little toddler sitting there. Adorable.

Do not be deceived.

Sure, he looks so innocent with his chubby little hands in his lap. But behind those wide eyes lies a cunning little mind hatching all kinds of plans for mayhem.

Don’t be silly, I know he isn’t saying full sentences yet, but I know. Trust me.

In less than two years, he has learned the “I’m not touching you” manoeuvre. A recent addition to his repertoire is the tried and true “I didn’t actually knock your block tower down, but the block I am holding might have been involved” technique.

What has that got to do with this picture, you ask?

On this particular morning, he was irritated with his 5 year old brother’s redirection and threw his plastic bridge across the room.

“No throwing,” I said.

“No,” he replied and promptly put himself on the step for a penalty. Misbehaved AND removed sibling’s chance at retribution all in one move. That kid is an evil genius.

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The Manual

There are many well-meaning parenting books to be found. I thought I might try my hand at a book that really helps new parents know what to expect in the toddler and preschool years. Here’s my rough outline so far.

Kids: The Owner’s Manual

Chapter 1 – Favourite Preschooler Games

  • Are the Lights On or Off?
  • I’m done on the toilet. Wait, no, I’m not
  • Guess What I’d Like On My Sandwich?

Chapter 2 – Clothing Issues

  • Zip my Coat, But Not Too High
  • My Sock Feels Weird
  • If It’s Not Blue I’m Not Wearing It
  • Snow Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Wear Crocs

Chapter 3 – Psychological Warfare

  • I Know I Ate that Yesterday, So What?
  • It’s Your Fault You Can’t Understand What I’m Saying

Chapter 4 – The Hidden Enemy

  • Marker Lids
  • Stickers
  • Juice Boxes – I’ll Squeeze Them If I Like

Chapter 5 – Personal Space: Why You Don’t Need It

What other chapters would you recommend?

Dr. Google

Self-diagnosis can save you a lot of unnecessary time in medical offices and those bothersome things like “medical diagnosis” and “prescription medication”. But it doesn’t always work in your favour. Trust me.

I am a big believer in googling any and all medical issues.

Wake up and can’t raise my left arm comfortably? Google it.

Suspicious my eyebrows are not symmetrical? Google it – there must be a serious medical condition causing that. Recent attempt at self-grooming is irrelevant.

Baby suddenly does not like bananas? We must check Google should it be a rare tropical disease he picked up at the park.

But even I draw the line at self-diagnosing broken bones. My bearded husband, however, does not.

“You know, I worked in a clinic for years. I think I’d know if it was broken.” Yes, I would think that. And I’d be wrong.

Last summer, in a fit of rage at the former owners of our house and their questionable gardening choices, he ripped up a metal rail (it also goes by some more colourful names). In disgust, he tossed it on the patio and did some other outdoor maintenance. A short while later, he jogged through the yard to get a tool and tripped over the cursed rail, landed face first with his left index finger taking the most impact.

Concerned about the swelling and immobility, I gently suggested he see the doctor, a real one.

“Nope, just gonna ice it, I’ll be fine.”

A few days later, I suggested it again, since this injury was seriously limiting his diaper-changing abilities. And dishwashing.

“It’s fine. See I can bend it a bit.”

The finger inspired imitations by the boys. “Look, I’m Daddy opening the jam.” “Look, I’m Daddy changing the radio station.” All this was done with the offending finger extended gingerly. It was top notch material that was lost on Bearded Husband.

A few months passed and finally he agreed that a visit to the doctor might be necessary. One x-ray later it was revealed that the finger was broken. Shocking.

That diagnosis was life-changing. Now we needed to schedule in time for Finger Physiotherapy. It’s a real thing. A “one hour, twice a week” kind of real thing.

Until they come up with google.com/bodyscan, trust me, go see the doctor.

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Code Brown

If I had known 8 years ago what I know now….I’d still have four boys, but I’d be much more prepared.

When you’re expecting a baby you hear the stories from friends and sisters of spit-ups, leaks, and explosions. You think you are prepared. YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

A brand new baby poops and it’s cause for celebration. You call your husband into the nursery to usher in the highly anticipated “grainy, yellowish stool.” Oh, joyous day! Get the camera!

When a newborn burps and a bit extra comes along with it, you smile and think it’s cute. “Oops! Did you have a little too much there, sweetie? There, there.”

Dear me! Did junior start to pee right when you took his diaper off? No problem, it’s really just water after all, isn’t it?

Ha! This is just the beginning. It’s easy to laugh off these mishaps when they are little.

How about having a poo explode on you as you reach for a clean diaper at 3am? EXPLODE – you read that right.

Just wait for toddlerhood. We were two-thirds through a 2 hour drive to my parents’ house. The squawky baby finally nodded off when all signs point to the toddler having done some serious business in his diaper. There is no way we are stopping and risk waking the baby. We open the window a crack and carry on. Upon arrival the toddler thoughtfully shakes out a huge deposit from his pant leg onto the driveway. My dad really cares about the condition of his driveway. It did not end well. For me.

Apparently, if you run out of toilet paper, the logical choice is to use the hand towel. No, don’t call for help, wouldn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

You’re in the tub and have to go? Don’t bother saying anything, just do it there. What parent doesn’t enjoy a rousing game of Bobbing for Poo Pellets?

Oh, dear, did you get something on your hand? By all means, smear it on the wall. Wouldn’t want your hands to be dirty.

If you happen to plop something on the floor, don’t say anything, just go back to bed and let it be a surprise.

If I’d known this 8 years ago, forget bibs and sleepers, I would have registered for a HazMat suit.

A Little to the Left

Hanging pictures takes forever. It wasn’t always this way. As a student I moved into a new place and BAM! Pictures, posters, bulletin boards – hung within hours of setting up my futon. Oops! A little too far to the right? No problem!  Just hammer in a new one a smidge further over (using my deodorant dispenser as a hammer). Oh, no! My Anne Geddes poster is coming loose at the top? Nothing a little extra sticky tac or masking tape can’t fix.

Did I worry about the paint peeling off? Nope. Did I worry about excessive nail holes? Not me – that’s the next tenant’s job to cover up.

But now. Now hanging pictures has become a bigger deal than buying a house.

First, which frames? Do we match them to the couch? What size? A whole bunch of small ones? A smattering of large? Don’t even get me started on matting. CAN WE MIX AND MATCH?!?

Then we need to decide which pictures to put in the frames. We have 4 boys, so clearly we have 716 of the firstborn and about 4 or 5 of the following 3 kids. How can we convince them we love them all the same when obviously there has been photo-taking discrimination over the past 8 years?

Ok, we got some frames, pretty sure we know which rooms and which pictures. But, are we really sure? Really, really sure? Yes? Great! Let’s get to it!

No, no, not when the boys are around. Too chaotic, we need to focus. Well, maybe if they are watching TV we can hang a couple. Put on a DVD and let’s see what we can accomplish!

Now comes the debate about height. I stake my claim in the “lower” camp, while my darling, bearded husband prefers “higher”. We dance around this potentially volatile issue for a few minutes. I raise it a millimeter, he feels it’s a win and on we go.

Level? Check.

Pencil? Check.

Nails? Check.

Hammer? Not sure. (I did not use it last, contrary to popular opinion).

We’ve averaged 2 pictures hung per year.

Not too shabby.

The Origin

A monumental day arrived recently. I knew it was coming, but not so soon. A day that confirmed my long-standing suspicions.

I am, indeed, turning into my mom.

Now, this is not a complete transformation. I look eerily similar to my dad and have some striking personality traits in common with him. However, I am most definitely taking on many things “Mom”. 

Unbeknownst to me, this transformation has been underway for years. It wasn’t sudden or obvious, like when we brought our firstborn home. Nope. It snuck up on me gradually as the toddler years hit.

Perhaps it was the day I realized just how many times I had swept the kitchen floor and I heard her whispering from my teen years, “You think helping me clean on Saturday is rough? When you were young I had to vacuum every other day to keep up with the mess!”  “Chin over your plate” took on a whole new meaning that day. 

As we began toilet training our second born, I couldn’t really recall what we did with the firstborn and her words from two years earlier came rushing back, “Toilet training? I don’t know, you just learned.” Oh, so true.

I snap my fingers for the boys to be quiet when I’m on the phone. Mom

I tell them to make their beds because “we take pride in our home”. Mom

I threaten to keep all the unclaimed stuff lying around the house. Mom

Several months ago, one of the boys was complaining about some injustice or injury and felt he was quite hard done by. Without missing a beat, I ushered in my most Mom-inspired moment to date when I uttered these two words:

“Tough Bananas”.

Thanks, Mom.