Do NOT Turn Your Back on Them

>> Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Everyone who takes care of children has at least one story that starts out, "I was out of the room" or "I turned my back for just one moment" or "It was awfully quiet in the next room when ...."

I thought I would share a few of our more notable See-What-Happened-When-I-Wasn't-Looking stories.

Just the other day I was cooking dinner, and Toddler was "helping." I should have been suspicious, because he was helping somewhat less than usual. I had stripped his highchair to clean it, and I had set up his booster chair at the table. Toddler was going back and forth between worrying about his highchair (I can't tell you how many times that evening he insistently told Darling Husband and me about the highchair pad being OUTSIDE and not on his HIGHCHAIR where it was SUPPOSED to be) and trying to climb into his booster chair "by self." I figured the chances of him falling were slim, so I let him examine the chairs as much as he wanted. It was a whole lot nicer than playing, "Don't Touch The Oven" while I was chopping onions -- I find that a somewhat stressful and annoying game.

So, there is Toddler, playing with his chairs, while I'm cooking dinner. I honestly didn't think I looked away all that long. I was relishing the 30 seconds with no fly-by-night toddler hugs and rehashing of the whiney scene I-got-up-on-this-stepstool-and-can't-figure-out-how-to-get-down-again-Mom. Before I even finished chopping the onions, I heard a funny noise and turned around. There is Toddler, standing on a chair, with the salt shaker in his hand. Oh, no. This can't be good. I put down the knife (always important), and went to rescue my salt shaker. Sadly (for me), I was too late. The salt in the shaker had already been sacrified to the table, the chair, the floor, the booster seat, all of which I had just scrubbed less than 30 minutes before.

Now there are few things more difficult to clean up than salt. Sugar is worse, but not by much. Honestly, I didn't think there was that much salt in the big Morton's container from the store much less in my little table salt shaker. Fooled me. I've been damp toweling it and sweeping it for several days now, and I keep finding more. I doubt this will end anytime soon.

I'm not sure which is worse, though -- the recent salt fiasco, or the day Toddler got his little fingers on the giant hand sanitizer bottle. I think you can picture that one well eough. I'll just say this: giant bottle, couch, carpet, table, t-shirt, shorts, sneakers .... And what is the best way to clean up sanitizer anyway?

I have to say, though, that Toddler failed to take advantage of what was perhaps the finest opportunity to destroy the house, although he did seem to think about it. We had been playing in the mid to late afternoon. It was Wednesday, so we'd had a busy morning with friends and therapy and were chilling out with a little bit of addictive Disney Channel tv programming. I changed a nasty diaper, bagged it, and decided to run it to the outside trashcan to spare our noses. Like so many days in my life, it was raining. I dodged the drops, ran to the can, and returned. For some reason the door wouldn't open. Huh? I tried again. Nope. One of the morning friends must have locked the door on the way out. (Maybe they were from New York. Have you ever noticed how obsessive New York City dwellers are about locking doors the minute you step through them? Hey, wait! I was coming in too!!!!!)

So there I am, standing outside, barefoot, in the rain, with no key and with Toddler locked inside. Of course, the cellphone is in the car ... which is also locked. Plus one for having just pushed "play" on an episode of Bunnytown. Minus 10 for being locked out of my own house in the rain, which at that moment chose to fall harder. Okay ... run to the house next door to use the phone. Nope, they aren't home. Honestly, there is no point in running to the house on the other side because they are a little bit wacked and would probably slam the door in my face. Hmm. After thinking who might be home, I picked a house about 3 doors up and across the street. Thankfully, they were there, loaned me the phone, and I called DH to come home and let us in. Then I ran back to wait outside the door. At about that time, Toddler figured out I wasn't in the kitchen or anywhere he could see me, so he came to find me. He saw me through the window, grinned happily, waived, and ran back to the TV. Whew, I'm thinking. No tantrums, no tears. Good. Thank goodness for Bunnytown.

But no! Of course not! The next thing I know, he runs back with a tube of diaper cream in his hands, and it is OPEN! OH NO!!!!!!! Sanitizer has NOTHING on DIAPER CREAM IN THE HANDS OF A TWO YEAR OLD!!!!!! I mean, that stuff doesn't even come off your hands with soap and water. What on earth will make it come out of the carpet and the sofa! Then, for some strange reason I will bless but never fully understand, Toddler laid the tube down and went back to the TV. By the time DH came home, there was no cream spread from room to room, and no giant mess to clean. I count my lucky stars every diaper change for that one.

I wonder when he'll get me back, though?


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