Thursday, July 12, 2007

There's One in Every Family

I’m told, ”there’s one in every family.” Well, my one is lovingly called "Spaz". It will be nothing less than a miracle if this kid makes it to his tenth birthday. Heck, it’ll be cause for celebration if he makes it to his fourth birthday! If he doesn’t break his own neck by jumping off the roof, I’m sure to wring his neck for any of the numerous deeds he does on a daily basis. This is what he did a few months ago.

The day started much like any other. While I made lunches and got my other five kids up and ready for school, Spaz used one of his favorite mediums, maple syrup, to paint a lovely fresco on the dining room wall. In an effort to redirect his energy, I gave him the job of getting me a diaper and some wipes so I could change the baby’s diaper. That’s a simple enough task, right? After several minutes, I came to the conclusion that Spaz had gotten distracted and it could be days before he remembered to bring me a diaper so I went to get it myself. As I opened the door to the baby‘s room, the stench of diaper cream permeated the air. I saw Spaz literally covered in white goo. His hair was white, his cheeks were white, his arms were white, the changing table, floor, and walls were slathered in the thick, white cream. Wonderful! I learned, after washing his hair four times, that you never, ever, never, ever leave diaper cream within a toddler’s reach. It must be kept locked up in the garage with the cleaning supplies, rat poison, and weed killer. I also learned that diaper cream will never come out of clothing. Ever.

I spent the better part of an hour scrubbing the walls in the baby’s room. Meanwhile, Spaz had moved on to bigger and better things. He went into the bathroom and for reasons, known only to him, poured a full bottle of shampoo into the bathtub. How nice. After cleaning up the diaper cream, I went into the bathroom to do damage control there. When my five year old walked in to use the bathroom, she discovered that Spaz had also generously coated the toilet seat with shampoo and put a whole roll of toilet paper in the bowl.

After cleaning up the bathroom, I made the kids some cinnamon toast. Stupidly, I left the tub of butter on the kitchen counter. I paid for that mistake when I heard my five year old call, “Mooom! Spaz put butter on my floor!” Yes, the carpet in the girls’ room was covered in butter. Do you know how to get butter out of carpet? I don’t. If you have any ideas, please give me a call!




In the time it took me to clean up (actually, “smear around” is a better term) the butter, Spaz had dumped out the toy box and taken apart the girls’ dollhouse. Spaz just loves to take things apart. He not only likes to take things apart, but he also likes to pour things. He climbs onto the kitchen counters, grabs cups out of the cabinets and fills them with water from the dispenser on the freezer door. (It’s also great fun to simply depress the button and let the water run out of the freezer door and down onto the floor.) He not only fills cups, but toys, plastic sandwich bags, the baby’s car seat, cases from video tapes, and his older brother’s cup (and I’m not talking about the kind of cup you drink from.) And it’s not just water he uses. Oh no. He uses lotion, shampoo, jelly, heck, he once even grabbed a tank of gasoline used to fill our lawnmower and proceeded to water the plants with it thinking it was a watering can.

After lunch, I sent my youngest three off to play and sat down to do my taxes, which is not exactly my idea of fun. Personally, I’d rather have a root canal than do my taxes because doing one’s taxes involves math and I recently learned from my fifth grader, that I’m completely incompetent at math. But really, how often, in your adult life, have you had to know the answer to “if a train leaves Boston at 7:30 in the morning and travels 60 miles an hour…”



I checked on the kids after a few minutes only to find that Spaz had scribbled on the baby’s head with a pen. So, I washed the poor baby’s forehead and thanked God that it was only pen and not permanent marker this time. I set the kids up with a movie and went back to my taxes. Everyone was occupied with an activity, no one was fighting, nothing was being broken, and the planets were all aligned in harmony, then it hit me. Playing quietly is almost never a good thing. Where there's quiet, there's mischief. I cannot stress this enough. You really shouldn't ever sit back, relax and revel in the silence. You will later regret this when you discover that the silence you were just enjoying was a product of the kids' attention being focused on their latest science experiment, or the stacking of furniture, cartoon style, to see how high they can climb, or the testing of the vacuum’s suction power on the dog. In any case, it's not a good idea to enjoy the silence.

I got up to check on the little ones and I noticed that the baby’s hands didn’t look quite right. On further inspection, I saw that all the fingers on both hands were in fact, glued together. They weren’t glued with good ole Elmer’s washable school glue either. They were super glued together! How on earth my three year old managed to not only find the super glue, but open it, and slather it all over the baby’s hands in a matter of minutes, is beyond me. We’ll skip the details of the next hour, but sufficed to say, about fifty cotton balls and one whole bottle of nail polish remover later, her hands were unstuck.

This folks, is my life. Every minute of every day. And I'm not even mentioning the time he stole a golf cart and drove it into our camper! Now I know what most of you are thinking - ‘This is the most neglectful mother on the planet. Does she ever watch her kids?’ Let me tell you, Spaz by himself would be a handful and a half, but with five other kids to watch, it’s impossible to keep my eye on this one 24/7. For those of you out there who have a child like Spaz -you know, a child that everyone else likes to call “busy” (and I say this with as much sarcasm as I can muster) just know that you are not alone. Believe me, you’re definitely not alone. My only advice is - hang in there. And perhaps buy stock in Bacardi and Ritalin. And when your husbands come home and upon seeing the house, ask, “What did you do all day?” just tell them “Damage control.”

34 comments:

Serial Mommy said...

thank you SO much for sharing your day with me!!!! i'm laughing so hard right now because, well, because i LIVE it!! after reading your blog, i started one of my own. i don't know if i'll have the exploits of a child like spaz (of which i have one myself) to share, however, you never know. again, thank you for sharing, and hey, in a few years, you'll laugh too.

Michelle said...

I just loved this post in particular - my *one* in every family is Lily, also 3 - she and Spaz would make a good pair except they'd probably conspire and steal the car keys from one of us, or worse (yes I can conceive of worse!).

I keep telling myself that as exasperating as they are now, we should enjoy the lighter side of it while we can, just in case they turn into sullen, non-speaking teenagers one day...then we'll really miss the days we have now when they keep reminding us we're ALIVE ;o)

Remember that movie "Parenthood" with Steve Martin? He had a kid like ours, I am always comparing Lily to him (there's a scene where he just sits banging his bucket-covered head against a wall, I can so relate to that!).

:o) mg said...

Yep. Got one. Surely they must turn into something bright and shiny and wonderful when they are grown. Wonder if Pope John Paul II was like this as a kid? It'd sure make me feel better.

Kami said...

yes it is me again and I am still reading your blog (have been for about 2 hours now)with tears of laughter down my face. I have got to send your link to my Grams...with 5 kids (4 boys 1 Girl) and the stories I have heard about my father and his siblings..she could totally relate to everything you write about..just change the setting to North Michigan, in the late 50s-70s when there was no such thing a car seats, seat belts, and baby proofing the house let alone the barn, cellar, numerous farm vehicles...you get the picture...My now 6 yr old has done some funny stuff, but he doesn't hold a candle to any of your kids! Especially Spaz, who I am sure even though he is "busy" ( :P) is the light of your heart!

Anonymous said...

OHHH can I relate to your Spaz. I have a son very like him. I'm not completely sure how he's still alive at age five. He was recently kicked out of all day Kindergarten. Yes, on the fourth day of school the teacher called and said "I just don't think he's ready." (Meaning: HELP!!!) Yeah, just when I think he might be getting safer and not on the verge of death, he came in just THREE nights ago (yes, he's five) because he was choking on a ring he swallowed. A RING!!!! So we had to do the old, "watch the poop" thing. Luckily, we've already been through this with pennies so we were somewhat experienced. I have four boys and one girl and I've gotten such a kick out of your blog. Go on and write a book. We need another Erma Bombeck (sp?) to represent today's SHE.

Gayle said...

I nearly wet my pants from laughing so hard! I don't have one like Spaz, but my sister had one. (She was not unlike Spaz herself, as a kid.) I remember. Once my nephew had sneaked some matches into his bedroom and hid them until the middle of the night. He woke up in the wee hours, and tried them out, setting his mattress on fire. Somehow, my sister and bil woke up. She grabbed the toddler, and the baby from his crib in the same room, and raced them out of the room. My bil grabbed the mattress and dragged it though the house to the sliding doors of the family room, and out into the backyard. The snow outside extinguished the fire. That was years ago. Babysitting for my sister's brood was always an adventure, and her 3rd provided the most excitement. My nephew continued with his antics for quite some time, but evenually calmed down. Don't give up... it will get better!

Anonymous said...

Did you know it was possible to lose your breath while laughing??? Yes I was laughing that much! I couldnt stop laughing! Luckily too the bathroom is close by!! I nearly wet my pants! I could imagine the headlines ... lady who nearly lost consciousness finds herself in the hospital from tripping over the cat while trying to make it to the toilet in time. Good news it the fall helped her catch her breath, the cat is fine and she made it just in time!!

I love your stories and would buy your books for myself and for every member of my family!

May God continue to bless you and your family! May you always find the strength to make it through each day. Never forget to tell them you love them and always kiss them goodnight! Kathy

Angela said...

However hilarious, if you haven't done so already, I suggest getting him checked for ADHD or checking his sugar intake. He reminds me so much of my brother when he was younger, and he had ADHD. ADHD Children (and people) on medication, they are so much calmer.

Marie's complaints said...

oh my goodness, he is exactly like my son zachary!! The picture of him on the counter... my son does that all the time, and he climbs on the washer, to reach the bubbles, so he can spill them all over! I really thought i was alone lol!

Anonymous said...

I liked to dress up my younger brother when we were kids too...so there are also pics of him in dresses and tiaras as a 3-yr-old. Oh...and one of my other younger brothers used a Sharpie to turn the youngest brother into a tiger...they were under 3 at the time! The same brother who used the Sharpie, also used a tub of margarine as a finger paint and the kitchen sink sprayer as a water gun. He's much calmer now... And yes, silence is always bad for a group of kids...that's when my siblings and I were doing the worst of our exploits! LOL

Beth aka Ringo said...

Wow, I hate for my first comment to be a negative one, but it's going to be. However, it's not going to be toward you. (I have a nearly 28 month old son who, with a total of five parents watching five kids, nearly walked off with a stranger because he's fast and he's friendly. Oy. He also thought lead-Momma-on-a-chase-through-Walgreen's was the best game ever. Did you know that the second largest testosterone surge of a male's life is when they turn three? Aren't boy moms LUCKY? :)

My negative is to the poster earlier, angela, who is suggesting drugging your active preschooler to calm him down. While I realize and accept that ADHD is a real illness (I've known children who, once medicated properly, were totally different kids), at three, they're supposed to be insane. At least if they're wired that way. It keeps Mom a lot busier, but I don't think anything you posted described abnormal or medication-worthy for three years old. If he's still behaving like that at six, and doesn't know how to stop, then maybe. I personally think way too damn many kids are drugged for behaving like active, normal children.

I love your blog, and I love that you post the real side of parenting (which a parent of one can relate to, as well as those with larger families) and that you're not afraid to admit to you or your kids having bad days. I've got a new read! (Blogs and forums are easier to read than books. You can easily leave a blog when someone gets up from a nap, or starts making a huge mess, or whatever, whereas you tend to lose the thread of a book. Since I've only got one, my book reading has slowed down a lot--one at a time instead of my normal 4-5, but hey.) Thanks for posting. It will get easier...they have to move out someday, right? :)

Anonymous said...

Give the kid a knife and ask him who's special! (okay folks, dont take this litterally.....PLEASE) At this point, what else can surpise Spaz's mom.... but we all have one.....10 yrs from now, it will be the BEST of times to reminise and laugh your pants off.... "remember when..."

Chrystal said...

You blog is just too funny! I know this is an extremely old post- But I found your blog through one of my homeschooling email groups and I keep finding myself back here, trying to catch up on all that I've missed. I myself have four kids (g-6, b-4, g-2, g-7m) and know all to well the "trouble" that they get into. It has been soo amusing to read your blog!!

I will definitely be back - You have a spot on my desktop favorites!

God's Blessings to you and your little "angels" :).


(BTW- Please do not medicate that precious boy as was suggested above)

Taylor said...

Thank you Thank you thank you!! I have one! One of those imaginative children. I needed this post today. Thank you so much. I love my "busy" daughter. I often hear,"Is she always this busy?" YES!! YES!! She's covered in bruises, marker, pen, and she recently dumped the entire salt shaker on her dinner; loves to "dip" her dinner in her milk; and just the other day she dumped the whole bottle of shampoo out in the bathtub after i had just washed the hair "wax" out of her long hair. Thank you so much for this blog. You make me feel so much better about being a stay at home mom.

Dawn said...

LOL! Your comments all cracked me up! I totally remember the head banging bucket thing in Parenthood! ROFL!
Spaz doesn't take any meds now, but my 9 year old has ADHD and does take Concerta. I imagine it's just a matter of time until Spaz joins him. I'd rather not give him meds, but no one can handle him without them. He'd be in trouble at school all day. He really can't seem to control himself at all with the meds. As much as I don't love the idea of medication, I dislike even more the idea of him getting yelled at, sent to his room, going to the principal's office and having all his friends want to get away from him. :(

Rachel said...

i just have to say that i'm a 21 year old. i'm in college, i have my own apartment. i'd consider myself well adjusted. i love my mom. and i was spaz. but not only was i spaz, both my younger brothers were spaz. i spent years as the glorious ringleader, teaching them such useful things as "vaseline feels great on closet walls" and "where dad keeps his screwdriver so that we can take all our toys apart and leave the screws for mom to step on," "the best way to clean the basement is to just pile everything in the closet" and the all-important "if you don't ask they can't say no." i was a mess-monger, a troublemaker, a dirtball. mom used to tell me when i couldn't find something, "look for it as if you were looking for candy." and through it all, my mom ran interference, or "damage control," as you so eloquently put it. and i love her for it.

he'll turn out great.

Sunny said...

Oh yes, we call ours "The Factor" because he is the factor in everything we do. We cannot go anywhere he cannot be tethered to us or something heavier than a small truck. I cannot shower, leave the room, step outside, etc., without running the risk of parmesan cheese in the carpet (This happens once a week. We hide the parmesan behind the extra milk. When we run out of milk, The Factor finds the parmesan,leaving my house and vacuum smelling like old feet), marker (how does he find these?) on the walls, baby locked in a room, The Factor in the kitchen sink spraying down the kitchen, or any number of fantastic surprises. We have decided to enroll him in extreme sports. He will either find an outlet for the energy or sustain enough injuries to slow him down considerably. And, yes, he's three.

Kristy said...

My mother's 'Spaz' is mid twenties now... my favorite story? When they were driving home from my house (three states away) once... he got bored and put a "Help I've been kidnapped" sign in the window. My mother told the officer that while the child had in fact *not* been kidnapped it might still be advisable to take him into custody for his own safety.

Patrick, Alison, Nicholas & Addison said...

My son, I guess in response to me depriving him of his pacifier, decided that he needed to suck on something, ANYTHING. SO during nap one day, he took a tube of A&D ointment and proceeded to suck the hell out of it! Poison Control had a field day with that one...luckily they never got my last name!
Then about 6 months ago I came home from church and I was immediately presented with photographic proof, via my husband, of my son lotioning himself up with balmex. COVERED in head to toe! Balmex out of the carpet is pretty tough to get out of the carpet too!

Emily said...

Hah! Great picture. We definitely have one of my younger brother (by 2 years) in my tutu from ballet. I was 5, he was 3. It would be great blackmail, except that I think he found the picture and hid it.

Anonymous said...

There is hope. Pray a lot. God gave you this child, and He will give you the grace/wisdom/energy to raise him.

Mine is called Josh. He is now 17 and still alive. And he's very good company. He's my third child. I have five.

Just reading your post gave me shudders. I remember getting so tired and stressed out by Josh's constant mini-emergencies, and a few real ones. Like the time he decided to mop the middle of a dangerous street at 18 mo. Or when set his bed on fire, age 2-1/2. And the time he climbed to the top of our very pointy roof (3 story drop), age 10. I can't remember it all... I've blocked it out... But I thank God that I was only 23 when I had him, and therefore had a lot of energy. Still, I just cried sometimes.

My husband enjoyed a Tolkien book, Silmarinian(sp?), in his youth. In this tale was an elf named Feanor, who was an amazing being - strong, fast, highly intelligent and capable. He got these traits from his mother. She had been this way in her youth, but after giving birth to Feanor, she was "lessened." This is how my husband views Josh and me. I'm flattered, as I was never as intelligent as Josh is. Still, I was daring and scary-curious. I wore my mom out. So, really, I had Josh coming...

Be encouraged. He will be a success someday. These kind usually are.

~Jill

Kimmi said...

Dawn, I cannot begin to tell you how much joy your blog has brought me this morning! I've been reading since 8:00 a.m. and don't plan on stopping until I'm finished! I too have a Spaz ... he's 7 and his name is Jonathan. I am SO thankful to know that I'm not the only one with a little busybody to run around behind who terrorizes everything under the sun that doesn't move, and even that which does!

Carolyn said...

OMG Dawn, this one just had me racing for the "Coffee disposal unit" before finishing reading!! It reminded me vividly of the day my then 2 year old twins got into a family sized box of powdered laundry detergent and it was EVERYWHERE!!! Talk about sneezy! For at least a week!

Then the morning I got up to find my then 4 year old twins and 1 year old "making ingredients". What is making ingredients you ask? Making ingredients is the process of pouring anything and everything remotely pourable from the fridge, into a pail. Ketchup, milk, yogurt, mustard, honey (I buy the more solid kind now), juice boxes that have been cut open and the little points all over the kitchen, ALL my coffee cream dangit...etc etc...That was the day we put a chain around the fridge with a padlock on it. Seriously! It stayed there for about 6 years.

The worst I think, was the bag of spaghetti they demolished across the living room floor. 73 bazillion tiny dried spaghetti fragments. We're still finding the odd piece. That was about 10 years ago, and was followed by a lock on the cupboard.

And the fingerpainting with diaper contents will remain mostly unmentioned. Where's that cork?

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. Let me tell you, I think I've read this one particular post at least 4 times! If you didn't have the pictures to prove it, I might not believe that much can happen in one day (I only have 1 child so far!)

Reading your blog makes me think of my aunt and uncle who have 7 adopted children. Growing up, they always had foster children living with them as well. While I admire them for this, as a teenager, I often got "volunteered" to baby-sit. Oh boy...you know, if more teenage girls had the opportunity to baby-sit 7-9 children on a regular basis, there'd probably be a much lower teen pregnancy rate!

carrie & troy keiser said...

I love to read these experiences.... My twins and the one thier accomplice (my daily charge), found a box of those Costco chocolate muffins and proceeded to "eat" them in the living room.... our carpet is a light sculpted burber and at the time we only had a shop-vac... oh the joys of motherhood!
I was SO glad to see that a few people mentioned NOT putting your child on meds. While a realize that there are some cases of people who truley do need meds to help them function properly, i believe there are FAR too many kids medicated. I have some "busy" active children and you work it out you learn to deal and you teach them how to gain control over themselves!
Enjoy life. Laugh Smile and cry when the time call for it.

Pamela said...

As a mother of four, plus three step-kids, I can relate. One of my twins(he was 10 or 11)was for some stupid reason, swinging an open bottle of super glue around and glued his younger brother's eye shut. Gotta love the super glue.

Anonymous said...

I have a Spaz too. His name is Jake and he's 4. He specializes in torturing his two sisters and humiliating me in public places. I recently explained to the doctor that either Jake needed some ADHD meds or I was going to need a lot of Xanax. The doctor assured me that he was just a normal, "busy" boy and eventually he will outgrow this. And this was supposed to make me feel better!

I used to always wonder why the woman with the screaming kids that were running wild through the store, bank, restaurant, etc didn't control her children. I had absolutely no patience or sympathy. God must have heard my thoughts and decided to teach me a little lesson. I've certainly learned humility, and I now really understand why the other women couldn't control their kids, now if I could just learn a little patience...

Anonymous said...

I used to paint the walls with Vaseline...I think dish detergent gets it out. :)

Anonymous said...

my spaz is 2 and a half...so i can totally relate. had she been anything other than the last...there might not have been anymore lol

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you still read comments left so much later but I noticed someone suggested having Spaz tested for ADHD and someone else basically said don't you dare. I have a 6 yr old step son who has ADHD- and yes, he is on medication. Because he asked us to help him- we never even mentioned it to him but after he started kindergarten he came to us and said "I want to be good, I don't want to be bad any more." ADHD kids KNOW the way they behave is not the way other kids behave.
Oh and to the don't you dare person, my own little story. At 4 years old my sson decided to get up while everyone was sleeping, going outside in the 20 degree weather to play in the snow- in his underwear. Luckily a neighbor was driving by and saw him. Yes, we medicate him and I truly think it has saved his life.

Erin said...

Like everyone else, I'm laughing so hard I can barely cry!! I love your refreshing honestly and wit, although, I have to admit, your stories are a LITTLE scary, because I can already tell my 9 month old will be a Spaz!! I just came across your blog- what was I missing?!?!?!?- after someone sent me your eBay listing! I've sent the link to all of my friends, and have been reading in between dinner, bath, and bedtime. I keep calling my mom to read her your stories, but she's frustrated with me because I'm laughing so hard I can't read!!! I'm a dedicated fan from here on out! God bless you as you TRULY experience motherhood!!!

Becky said...

Just One in every family? I have 2!! Curtis is 6 and Sam is 2. Both of them are like your spaz!! I kid you not my friend!! Then I have Gregory who is 4 and follows both of them around! Whenever its quiet and its not bedtime or nap time I know I must go and find the boys. Cause they are up to something!! I really like this post and really enjoying this blog!!

Dancing Girl said...

Where do you find the time to keep a blog while looking after your kids? I don't know how you do it. Although I'm not a mum yet I do voluntary work with kids and I'm wrecked after a few hours and I can hand them back...fair play to you...

on the permanent marker thing I accidentally discovered one day that sunscreen is great for taking it off skin...apply and wipe off, it might take a few goes but much better than scrubbing and if your kids have sensitive skin like me, then sunscreen is much better on the skin than soap.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the adventures of your family. I just hope that your husband or someone else can take the kids for a day every now and then so that you can have some "me" time

Aoife (efa) in Ireland

nutralady2001 said...

I know this is an old post but am only just now catching up with your wonderful blog

I am here to tell you I had one too he is now 31 years old and a responsible member of the community he even found a woman game enough to marry him.They say wmone marry their "fathers", d-in-l says son reminds her of her Dad ......so it must be true!

Spaz will turn out fine,he has you for a mother after all

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