By Guest Blogger Ginny Olson, author of the blog MothersRest.com
“You failed to tell me how destructive little boys can be. Especially to Christmas ornaments.”
That was the message of distress dear Sarah sent me, as she shewed away her male youngins from the holiday decor. (By the way, spell check is telling me “youngins” is not a word. Anti-Southern spell check can bite me.)
This brought back memories of when my own boys were little destructo-bots.
Here’s how this played out in my house.
The Wood Stove
We have a wood stove. We don’t use it. Because: boys + fire.
Actually, I think we don’t use it because of ME. The last time we fired that baby up, which was pre-children, I was hosting some lady-friends. I decorated the mantle all pretty and set a candle “just so” on top of the stove. Everything burned bright and lovely. Until it didn’t.
The fire alarm started going off right in the midst of girly drinks and Parmesan cheese bowls filled with dainty shrimp salad. Y’all, there was a foot of smoke covering the ceiling. The candle had morphed into a puddle of goop and the top of the stove was completely on fire – OMG!
Lesson learned: do not place waxy or burny things on top of other, more powerful burny things. Kinda like how I tell my kiddos not to put silverware in the microwave. It doesn’t end well.
Little Boys Verses Christmas Ornaments
For the first couple holidays with the boys, I employed a “non-breakable ornaments-only” policy.
I hung plastic snowflakes and metal stars on the tree. And gave the boys their own little tree to decorate with the paper creations they brought home from preschool. They were on joy-overload playing out their interior designer fantasies with their tree.
I was on cautious joy-overload that worse-case-scenario with the big tree, they’d get a concussion if they pulled the entire thing down on themselves. Though, I failed to consider that metal stars resemble Chinese throwing stars.
Nerf Gun Battles
We have a couch that my children view as their personal jungle gym. They jump on it. Wrestle on it. Deconstruct it and reconfigure all the pillows into forts. Needless to say, our house is pretty kid-friendly. Which means running through halls with Nerf guns.
Even I enjoy a good battle with foam bullets every once in a while. Until someone shoots the glass display case in the family room.
The glass did not disappoint. It definitely shattered into a million little pieces. The chaos that ensued quickly turned to glee when we discovered the small children weren’t responsible for this. Nope, me neither. Enter: Rockstar dad.
It was a night of learning for everyone. Things like, “Let’s not shoot antiques.” And, “Even daddies make mistakes.” Also, “Things are just things. Life goes on.”
Sharpie Markers Are the Devil
One Valentine’s Day I found THE PERFECT RED LEATHER SOFA at a consignment store. It wasn’t actually perfect, thus the low price of $300: there were green and white paint splotches in random places. But nothing a purposefully-tossed lap blanket or hipster throw pillow couldn’t hide from the general public. So I bought it. And we dragged the 50-year-old hand-me-down sleeper sofa out to the curb.
Fast forward to when we get a crazy dog. Who liked to pee on the leather couch. Then the youngest child got the flu and vomited on the couch. This was soon followed by the weekend I went out of town and left husband in charge of small boys, who managed to find a black sharpie marker.
They started in the kitchen, drawing lines on the cabinets. Then, they moved into the living room and drew on each other. Lastly, they migrated to the family room – with the couch. Yes, they decorated the couch. The weekend will forever be known as “the last weekend momma went out of town without inviting grandma to babysit.”
Needless to say, consignment sofa + dog pee + kid vomit + black sharpie marker does not a good combo make. We got another couch.
Extreme Joy of Destructive Little Boys
I can go on for a while about how my littles are good deconstructionists…
There was the incident with the lamp shade, where I made them both give me $10 to buy a new one. And that time one of them threw a dart at me and said, “Sorry! I was trying to hit the dog!” As if that was better.
The thing is all these acts of destruction are somehow joy manifested to the extreme.
Take Christmas ornaments. Who wouldn’t want to indulge completely and inspect every physical attribute of the holiday season? Like, why are balls on trees? To a small kiddo, a Christmas tree is basically a display stand at the grocery store.
Here you go! Pick any ball you want! You don’t even have to rummage through a bin! They are right here in front of you, enticing you at eye level! Surrounded by blinking lights that flash, PICK ME! PICK ME!
So, who can blame them? Momma, buckle up and find some joy in the process. Because that’s pretty much what the little guys are doing.
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