Upon becoming a parent, I was amazed at all of the things that no one ever tells you about. Don’t even get me started on the things that they never tell you about pregnancy and the post-pardum things that your body goes through. That’s a story for another time. What I mean is, I’m surprised at all of the things that all my boys consistently did that I never read about in any of the 800 books on parenting and child rearing that I read during my first pregnancy and through the first year of my oldest son’s life.
Fair warning: I’ve got a “big” birthday coming up in a few weeks, and I’m feeling a bit contemplative. Annoying really, because birthdays don’t usually have that affect on me, but apparently this one does. Bear with me…
For instance, no one bothers to mention the fact that at some point in toddler-hood, the child will become enamored with water, and will take every opportunity to play in it. Water sources could include, but are not limited to: mud puddles, public restroom toilets (Eww!), drinking fountains,
and the most popular: kitchen sink. At about 18 months, all of my boys developed the skill of pushing a chair up to the kitchen counter in order to climb into the sink and play with the water. Usually while I was in the shower or getting the mail.
Son #3 did this most often. The kid just wasn’t happy unless he was fully clothed and soaking wet. Once, while I was in the basement switching a load of laundry around, I heard a few seconds of running water, followed by fits of giggles. Over and over again. I ran upstairs to find that he had gotten a glass, pushed a chair up to the refrigerator, and was filling the cup with water, then dumping it on himself. He thought it was hilarious. I did too, and I would have photographed it if not for my urgency to clean up the large (3 x 3 foot) “pond” that he had created on the kitchen floor. The kid is fast and industrious.
Several years prior, also a time when I was in the shower, son #1 climbed out of his exersaucer that held him captive, and started to play with the water line connected to the toilet. As soon as I heard his little footsteps across the bathroom, I peeked through the shower curtain, and told him a very firm “no!” I guess I startled him, because he jumped when he heard my voice, and lost his balance.
As he was falling, he grabbed the nearest object–the water line–to try to break his fall. The water line sheared off the toilet, and was spraying icy water wildly in every direction from the little hose. Son #1 was cold and soaked almost instantly. I scrambled out of the shower and threw on a bathrobe so that I could put my shrieking son in his crib and attend to the disaster. The shut-off valve on the line in the bathroom was rusted in position (!!) so I had to run down 2 flights of stairs to the basement to the main shut-off. The whole ordeal was over in less than 10 minutes, but by then it was raining in my kitchen, from all of the water that pooled in the bathroom above it. It’s really funny to think about, now.
The Baby just figured out the whole moving-a-chair-to-climb-on-the-counter-and-play-in-the-sink trick, this week. Luckily, I was cooking, so I was able to watch his progress. However, when I turned to put some produce into the refrigerator, he decided to hop in a large pot that I had soaking in the sink.
Then he said “Bath!” He had a ball playing with the soapy water. He did take it a step further by learning to grab a paper towel in order to dry himself off. Because he’s my Baby, and he’s a genius.
Since Son #2 is my future engineer, he took water play to a whole new level at the age of 3 1/2. Of course, this was another time that I was in the shower. He was in the other upstairs bathroom , and was flushing the toilet over and over again while squealing with delight. I quickly got out of the shower to see what he was up to. Son #2 had figured out that if he took the end of the toilet paper and put it into the bowl of the toilet and flushed, the suction generated by the flush would rapidly pull more toilet paper off the roll. Hilarity ensued. I couldn’t even be upset about that one because I was so impressed. We went through a lot of toilet paper during the next few months, because he had to show his discovery to everyone that came into our home.
Hi there, Friends! Want to see a cool trick that my son can do with the toilet?
It was awesome. (You know that you’re going to try it…)
Two things I have learned from these instances:
1. There is no room for silly things like pride or vanity when you are a parent.
2. Never take a shower with an awake toddler in the house.