Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm Sure This Will Be Less Funny the Older She Gets

Well, I missed a day, didn't I? I'll just have to post twice in one day to make up for it.

We had a lovely 4-day visit on the other side of the state, but I'm not sure if I'll be doing the Grand Tour like that again. Piper sort of freaked out about all the new places and lack of home comforts. Spending four days repeating every possible variation of "No," "Stop that," "Be quiet," "Stop touching that," or "Be quiet" wore me out. I'd never particularly thought of our house as kid-proofed, but after spending four days in places with crowds, quiet rooms, breakable items, tons of knick-knacks, steep stairs, sharp things sitting on the edges of counters, and zero toys, I truly appreciate how nice it is to be able to turn my kid loose somewhere and not worry.

Even here at my parents' house it's difficult - although my mom claims not to like clutter, there are magazines and yarn and crochet hooks and scissors and stacks of books and reams of paper and electronics sitting all over every surface. My brother is staying at the house while he prepares to buy a house of his own, so all his electronics and art supplies and leather-working tools and welding stuff and four cats are crammed in here too. They have an entertainment center whose glass door seems to exert a magnetic pull on my two-year-old and behind its magnetic spring closure exists a tower of things with intriguing buttons and knobs.

Piper stuffed a scarf into the VCR on our second night here. She came up to me and repeated "Is it stuck? Did you get it stuck? Is it stuck in there?" and pointed at the stereo cabinet. My dad and I both realized what had happened and looked at each other. My mom had crocheted her a kid-sized scarf complete with fringe, and she'd stuffed it into the tape slot on their VCR. I was concerned, but not enough to prevent me from hooting with laughter as my dad struggled to remove it. He was laughing too, as a worried-looking Piper repeated "Is it stuck? Grandpa get it not stuck?" while he gingerly extracted the threads.

Fortunately, my parents adore Piper and think that pretty much anything she does is amazing. She rarely manages to irreparably damage anything, and after raising three of the most destructive and devious children known to mankind, one semi-well-behaved toddler is a breeze.

For example: when we were 13 and 16, a disagreement between my brother and myself turned into an all-out brawl, during which he slammed me bodily into a wall. Drywall wasn't really meant to withstand the force of teenage fisticuffs, so there was a pretty big hole. We managed to hide it from them for about six months, and even then they only found out because that wall covered an old chimney and bats started getting inside the house.

Then there were the mad-scientist experiments conducted by my brother involving frogs and electricity; the time I drove one of our cars into the ditch and got back out without mentioning it to anyone; and my sister, the human spider monkey, climbing to the top of the cupboards and throwing dishes down.

We broke things, we experimented, we made applejack (fermented cider) in the basement. We nailed things to the floor and pilfered tools and drank from their open wine bottles and replaced it with water (like they wouldn't notice). Sometimes, as exasperated as I get with my own kid now, I have to laugh, because when I ask her why she did something she gives me the classic "I don't know, it just seemed like the thing to do" look. I remember giving my parents that look many, many times, and having absolutely no explanation for the incredibly dumb or dangerous thing I had just done. Now I find myself on the other side of that look, the beginning of a lifetime's-worth of asking "Why did you do that?! What is wrong with you?!"

Of course, I'm sure my parents are just cackling with glee at all this. They've been using the "I hope you grow up and have a kid JUST LIKE YOU" threat for years.

No comments: