Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thing 1 and Thing 2

My husband is a huge fan of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. Geisel was a fellow Dartmouth alum and a member of my husband’s fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. So when Geisel visited Dartmouth while my husband was a student, he made sure to introduce himself and even get a photograph, which his father later sent to Geisel to have it autographed.
Geisel’s inscription reads, “It’s very flattering to have my picture wanted…especially with my mouth stupidly open like that. – Ted Geisel”. It is one of my husband’s prize possessions. So naturally, the last time we were up at Dartmouth, he bought the kids bright red T-shirts reading “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”.
For those of you may not remember Thing 1 and Thing 2, they were the fluffy blue-haired cohorts of the Cat in the Hat, always making messes and getting into trouble. Other than the mops of blue hair, my children are very similar to the Things. They specialize in making messes and getting into trouble.
My daughter, at 9 months, is on the verge of walking, but even without that skill, she has become a master of climbing. A few days ago I left her in the playroom for literally 90 seconds while I used the bathroom. When I came out, she had climbed all the way upstairs into the kitchen and was happily opening and closing the cabinet doors. Another time, I left the room to answer the phone, and in the 30 seconds I was gone she had climbed up onto the seat of the couch, then pulled herself up onto the back of the couch, and was standing on the back of the couch, hanging onto the stair railing behind it and grinning at me. If there is a door within her reach, she will open it. If there is a button nearby, she will push it. If there is any kind of small object on the floor, she will pick it up and eat it. If there is any kind of large object on the floor, she will pick it up and bonk herself with it.
And speaking of bonking, her big brother, at age 2-1/2, can give Thing 1 and Thing 2 a run for their money in the world of bonking. Sometimes he bonks himself, sometimes his sister, sometimes another toy or the wall or the television set. But if he can lift it up, he needs to try bonking something with it.
He’s also at an age where he needs to test his will against his parents’ at every opportunity. If I tell him to put down something that he’s holding, he’ll look at me and hang onto it for a few moments, until I raise my voice or warn him about a spanking, before he puts it down. Or he stares at me blankly as I pry it from his hand. I’ll tell him to do something (sit in his chair, get into the car, take off his shoes) and he’ll calmly say, “No, thank you.” (At least he’s often polite about his defiance.) He is mischief personified.
Thing 1 and Thing 2, in the Cat in the Hat books, are often infuriating, and yet the reader is still always delighted when they make their appearance. Likewise, my children are often infuriating, and yet I am still always delighted with them. It is one of the mysteries of life that children can drive you absolutely bonkers but at the same time you’d still throw yourself in front of a bus for them.
It reminds me of a comment Jeff Foxworthy once made: He said he never understood God’s relationship with the human race until he had children. And then he understood how it’s possible for God to love us even when we drive Him absolutely crazy with our disobedience and our mischief.
Yes, I sure do love my Thing 1 and my Thing 2, even when they’re destroyed my house and getting on my nerves and just generally driving me nuts. Because they’re still MY Thing 1 and Thing 2.

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