Things were coming along swimmingly today, when I made the mistake of turning my back for approximately one minute. When I turned back around, Rosemary's Baby had gotten up onto my sewing table and grabbed my box of paper scraps, sending the contents floating all over the room. The box was in the highest possible place and, I thought, out of his reach. Let's just say this wasn't the first time he'd shown interest. I growled, dragged him screeching to his room and told him he was getting a time-out until I'd cleaned up the mess. It took ten minutes. And when I opened his bedroom door to let him out, there he was, grinning from ear to ear and covered in his art medium of choice, his own poop. So were the walls.
This has happened enough times now that I know no good can come of yelling, but I was not happy. First, I plopped him into the bathtub, where I let him sit in lukewarm water until most of it had soaked off. Then, I got to work on the walls.
Cleaning poop off the walls is one of those jobs where, even if you get to it right away, it's still a bit tricky. That stuff dries fast, and it always requires a scrub brush. So, I knelt on his floor scrubbing away at the walls, all the while getting madder and madder at him. He was enjoying hanging around behind me looking longingly at my bucket of brown water and waiting for an opening so he could stick his hands in it. I was not about to give him that opening. When I wiped away the last of the mess, I was so annoyed, I turned around to say one more thing to him in my angry voice, only to find him sitting there quietly reading his little book and looking for all the world like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.
This softened me a little and I proceeded up the stairs, where I had a pile of poopy board books and some lego to tackle next. Have you ever tried cleaning poop out of lego?! From now on, I will hang on to those old toothbrushes. At some point in this process, things got a little too quiet and as I realized this, I noticed something else. The plate of raw sausages I had thawing on the counter had disappeared. With a sick feeling in my stomach, I turned around to find my little horror at the table squeezing the meat out of the casings and allowing himself the occasional taste. I snatched them out of his hands, cleaned him up and went back to the poopy books and lego.
And there I was at the sink, simmering in my crankiness, when I heard a familiar thumping sound behind me. Once again, I turned around to catch Rosemary's Baby dumping the last of my cookbooks on the shelf in the dining room onto the floor and then heading to the living room with a positively manic look in his eye. I knew exactly what this one meant. After making a mess of the basement, his bedroom and the dining room, he had one more task to complete in his quest for complete house-destruction. The Captain's record collection.
I managed to grab him before he pulled down all the records, but by this point, I was glad there were no adults here to see me. I looked like a crazy person, hair everywhere, teeth clenched, and smelling of the delightful combination of poop and bleach. I sat him down in front of the TV, sans guilt, finished the cleaning job and then proceeded to make myself a little more presentable.
I came back to the living room with a renewed feeling of irritation. Fully prepared to launch into a lecture he'd barely understand about the importance of not driving me to the mental asylum, all I could do was shake my head and laugh when I saw him. Rosemary's Baby, cuddling his blankie, exhausted from his afternoon of evil, was fast asleep on the big comfy recliner.
Before I had kids, I used to see people at the grocery store swatting their toddlers in frustration and I have to admit I was a little judgemental about it in the privacy of my own head. At this point, I am at a loss to explain how I have not only managed to stick to my own no-spanking rule, but also how I have not abandoned that little monkey at a public park. But I suppose one of the most important things you can learn as a parent is patience.
That, and how to clean up poop.