Sunday, January 16, 2011

Just Around the Bend

You know it’s bad when the plumber says, “I’ve never seen that before.” This was The Magnificent Billy’s second trip to our home. His first trip, last week, happened because our charming little Jewel had flushed her sister’s cradle cap brush down the toilet. We were all shocked it ever went down in the first place. Now, when we asked Jewel if she had put anything else down there, she said yes. She said, “I put my toothbrush in.” Hmm... okay, we can handle that. Then she said, “And I put the book light in.” She used the same nonchalant tone in which she might have said, “Mom, there’s a monster in the hallway, and he needs a pair of socks too. Can he have the yellow ones?” Or perhaps, “I want green applesauce with orange polka dots.” I attributed it to her well-developed imagination.

Still, I dutifully reported this finding to my nearest and dearest, who said, “She didn’t put the whole house down there!” I stayed silent, but secretly I agreed. Surely she hadn’t put the book light down the toilet. How would it ever get past the bowl? As it turns out, this was one of those very painful times when, as parents, we were sure our child was making up the whole thing. She wasn’t. After an additional week of toilet dysfunction, Billy the Great pulled out, lo and behold, the book light.

I really am happy to have an inquisitive child. She is so very bright, and so very curious about the world around her, and I love that. However, I do wish that all of her little “science experiments,” as I like to call them, were not so destructive. She has pulled down the curtains in her room, ripped pages out of books, unscrewed the switch from her lamp, and climbed the furniture to get to the diaper bag so she could pour out Lane’s formula powder onto the floor and make designs in it. And she’s so fast! You’d think, upon hearing these things, that I just don’t supervise her at all, but not so. She can destroy property in record time.

And as many activities as I plan to occupy her mind and energy, the second we’re done with one, she’s off into trouble. I wish I could say she did it just to be a royal toot, but she doesn’t. I can tell when she’s just being difficult, and she’s good at that too, but when she destroys things she is simply investigating cause and effect. I can only hope and pray that very soon she learns the cause and effect of misbehavior and punishment. And please, please, please pray that we all survive that long.

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