Monday, December 3, 2012

Suffer the Little Children


No, this blog is not about the suffering OF little children. It’s about the suffering CAUSED by little children. No, not human suffering. Yeah, yeah, I suffered a little during childbirth (and a LOT during pregnancy), but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how much your STUFF suffers when you have little children.

We don’t call my son Destructo-Boy for nothing. He has broken more toy trucks than you can shake a stick at. He has ruined book after book. He's broken several window frame inserts. He’s written on the walls and the TV with crayons. He’s spilled nail polish on my desk. He’s poured lemon oil and WD-40 on the carpet. He’s gotten into Sharpies and scissors and straight pins and Desitin. He pretty much leaves a wake of destruction wherever he goes.

Because of him, my couch will never be the same. The list of fluids with which it has been doused could go on for pages, not even including bodily fluids. Among the things he has spilled or wiped on it are milk, chicken soup, toothpaste, suntan lotion, cranberry juice, gravy, chocolate, and frosting. He’s drawn on it with DryErase markers, washable and non-washable crayons, pencils, and ballpoint pens. There are a number of stains on it that I have no idea what they are and I probably don’t want to know. He’s stuck his fingers inside the ½-inch hole in the back and pulled out enough wads of stuffing to add half a dozen extra sheep to our manger scene. I won’t dare replace that couch until he’s about 12, and even then I’ll probably hang onto it because it’s likely to need to make a reappearance when he’s about 16 and starts having friends over to hang out in the basement.

And the couch isn’t the only piece of furniture at risk. He’s pulled knobs off of several drawers, and managed to wrench an entire cabinet door off the entertainment center. Lamps have come crashing down with various levels of resultant damage.

Appliances are vulnerable, too. We had to replace a VCR because he shoved a DVD into the slot. The DVD player in my car barely survived having him stick a bunch of pennies into it (I brace myself every time I go up a steep hill, lest the pennies reposition themselves out of the harmless corners into which they’ve apparently settled).

With Christmas coming in a few weeks and many breakable – even for the average human, never mind Destructo-Boy’s powers – decorations within arm’s reach, I keep my teeth gritted for the inevitable crash. So far, the only casualties have been the sword hilt of the giant nutcracker (repairable) and one of the figurines from our Christmas village (not repairable), but I’m sure they will not be alone before the end of the season. There are too many glass icicles, delicate train conductor figurines, and ceramic Nativity characters around for that not to happen.

But when it comes right down to it, it’s just stuff. He doesn’t break it to be destructive; he’s just curious. What would it feel like to stick my hand into a jar of diaper cream? Does crayon look different when you write on the table or the wall than it does when you write on paper? What happens if I stick this into that? What will I find if I stand on top of that thing? What kind of noise does this make when I drop it on the floor/hit it with this other thing/throw it against the wall? I’d rather have a curious child than a clean couch.

I’m sorry for your suffering, though, couch. Next movie night, I promise I’ll share some of my popcorn with you.
 

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