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.”