Monday, December 13, 2010

A New Reign of Terror

A new reign of terror has begun. In the week and a half since I installed baby gates, Gus has had to turn to his creative side to wreak havoc on this house...and my sanity. I'm trying really hard not to stifle his creativity and independence but I refuse to let him trash the house as a recreational activity.

He really is an agreeable baby..."You locked me out of all the fun places so I will adapt!" In the last week and a half he has learned to increase his reach. Since all the fun stuff is up high, he has learned to climb a little. He can now reach about eight inches of our dining room table by simultaneously doing a pull up and swing his feet over to catch a dining room chair to free up one hand for grabbing. Practical implications of this are...he can pull the high chair off the table onto his head, he can get to a beverage left on the table...or food...or coins...or paperclips...or mail...or books...or candles (luckily it wasn't lit!).

He has learned that walking has a lot of potential for increasing his speed and is diligently practicing that. He can now successfully string together about eight steps at a time.

He has learned to operate the radio in his room. He turns it on, blasts the volume and sits in front of it and wails along with the music.

He has learned the joys of smashing smashable foods with his sippy cup, mostly cheerios and animal crackers into little specks of edible powder. Once he has powdered his food he then has the option of licking his fingers and picking up the powder with his spit or sprinkling the carpet with the powder. The ants and cats are a big fan of this activity and we now get to vacuum a couple times a day.

He has earned the love of the cats who suffer so much abuse (I mean love!) at his hands by playing the you lick it, then I lick it, then you lick it, then I lick it game with his food. Gross.

He has figured out how to get around the babyproofing on the entertainment center. He also likes to chew on DVD's.

I had him in the office BRIEFLY with me and he managed to bite a glass ball Christmas ornament in two and lick all the paint off. No he didn't cut himself, yes I am glad I put the Christmas tree behind a gate.

He can open the front closet and dig your salt covered boots out and chew on the soles.

He likes to fold the pages of his books. This is a welcome change from the ripping the pages out and eating them phase but it is a little weird.

And of course, there is the very fun pull all the wipes out of the box one by one game, but again, compared to other things he could be doing, that is relatively easy to deal with so I just make sure there aren't more than an inch or so of wipes in the box in the living room.

The joy he gets from destruction is so real and infectious that it's hard to be mad. My current schedule goes something like this:

Wake up
Change a dirty diaper while setting boundaries about when it's okay to stick your hands in your diaper (wait till after I wipe).
Set boundaries about tooth brush etiquette (no, you can't put my toothbrush in your mouth, or the kitty's mouth).
Set boundaries about food behavior (taking food out of your mouth and throwing it at the cats is bad, especially when it is cereal).
Put him in the kitchen with me while I eat, clean the kitchen, do dishes and start dinner.
Empty the washer of all the recycling that he has transferred from the recycling bin to the washer.
Put him in the living room to play while I work for an hour.
Come survey the destruction.
That puts us up to about morning nap time. I would continue, but considering my morning, I think I will get too depressed if I think about the rest of the day in too much detail.

This is for those of you who have children who are a little older, who talk back, have attitudes and all the other fun stuff that is in store for us down the road. I hope you enjoy hearing about Gus's antics and remembering when your kids were this age and you would seriously pay a babysitter just so you could have a cup of coffee in peace without him trying to grab it and dump it on his head, or burn himself by sticking his hand in it and sloshing it all over the both of you. I hope you enjoy it when I tell you this morning, I put on my coat, hat and boots, took a dining room chair out on my porch that has six inches of snow on it so that I could enjoy my coffee in peace. I hope you remember, I hope that you laugh, and I hope that you take pity on me and volunteer to take him somewhere, anywhere, away from here. Should that ever happen, I have big plans...I'm gonna take a nap!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Just as an afterthought, as soon as he woke up from his nap, I went and bought baby gates.

One of Those Mornings

I had this really deep blog planned that has been on my heart all week, then we had one of those mornings.

While pulling beef roast from the crock pot to put in freezer bags, I notice that Gus is too quiet. I go to investigate and find him happily unspooling an entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet with the cat's supervision. He looks up at me and squeals with glee. "Look mommy what I did! For you!" He throws his hands in the air in a very TA DA! fashion.

I sit him in my room and go back to the bathroom to scoop the toilet paper out of the toilet. Our bathroom is a construction zone and I don't really want to deal with an overflow today. I finish cleaning up that mess and go back to the kitchen where Gus is engaging in his new hobby, abstract trash montages which mostly involves removing every piece of trash from the trash can and connecting the themes with anything that has sufficient smearing properties. After the 3-D exhibit is complete he adds a performance art aspect to the show, which lately has involved holding a pop can with just a finger through the opening or some sort of garbage can urban beat scenario. Today was the pop can feat. I give him a pot to play with while I clean up that mess, finish up dealing with the contents of the crock pot, and banish him to the living room to play while I drink a Pepsi.

While I am sitting on the couch drinking my soda, I glance over and he is studiously pouring salt into every crevice of his piano entertainer and his little papasan chair. Where did he find that? I sit down my pop to go rescue the salt shaker and pull out the vacuum. I'm cleaning up that mess when it occurs to me that he isn't interfering with the vacuum. He loves vacuum cleaners. Loves chasing them and hitting them when he catches them. Loves unplugging them. Loves swinging the cord around. I look around and find him sitting on the floor drinking Pepsi by upending the can four inches above his upturned face and open mouth. He looks like he took a shower in Pepsi. He sees me, gives me that "What?" face and gives me the "Watch this cool trick face" as he holds the can off to the side upside down and watches it pour into the carpet. Seeing me coming, he pulls the can to his mouth sticks his tongue in the opening and cuts himself.

I strip down a still screaming bucking baby, wash him off, cuddle him for about 30 seconds, put him in his crib, shut the door and return to the living room. I vacuum and clean carpets with the sweet melody of childish outrage in the background. And that, is why there are no profound thoughts in this head today.

Thank you God for this child who has cured me of my laziness.
Thank you God for this house which shelters us from the cold despite the mess.
Thank you God for the salt that seasons our food.
Thank you God for the toilet paper to wipe our bums.
Thank you God for our garbage, because it means we have more than we need.
Thank you God for being here alone, because it means my husband has a job and I can be here with our baby, our blessing.