Preschoolers can cause an amazing amount of mayhem without really trying very hard! Just doing what they do…just being themselves…just being me!
And sometimes it seems all the nurturing and guidance I’ve been giving them doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact…
Yes, it’s been quite a Saturday around our house and I want to tell you about it (actually, I want to whine about it to somebody, I suppose).
But before I started writing this post, I went back and read a post I wrote a little over a year ago about the kids both spilling milkshakes in the store. It seems so trivial now, but I find myself longing for the days when they were toddlers just spilling milkshakes!
So, I’m sitting here in the middle of the night with the garage door of our house wide open so it can dry out inside. But I’ll come back to that because that’s the end of the story, not the main event!
And, I’m trying to muster a little levity as I write this post because we usually try to keep it on the light side as we travel this new adventure. Maybe I’ll begin to see the humor in this story as I write…
To do your household chores and yard work when you’re one parent with two small children, you have to find some way to divert the children’s attention to another activity while you work or else let them participate in what you are doing.
I needed to mow and trim the yard this weekend and it’s not something that I can let them participate in. There’s about an acre to mow and it takes a little time.
Last summer I purchased a new mower (zero-radius) that allows me to get the job done considerably faster. The upgrade in mower capacity was expensive, so I’ve tried to take very good care of it by keeping it clean and maintained. I loved that mower! (yes, past tense!)
I set up the children’s little swimming pool and slide today so they could play in the water while I did the yard work. Although they like to sit and play on the the lawnmower when it is parked in the garage, I don’t allow them to ride on it with me while I am mowing. But I can keep an eye on them playing in the pool while I mow.
After I finished mowing I parked my lovely mower in the driveway so they could wash all the grass off of it. It’s a routine we’ve followed several times this spring and summer.
They went up to the driveway and got the hose and turned the water on to rinse the mower off and I remained behind at their pool to make some adjustments to it. After a few minutes I thought I better go check on them and make sure that Kaleb was letting Kenzie have a turn with the water hose.
As it turns out, Kaleb did share…
I came around the corner of the house and Kenzie had the cap off the gas tank of the mower and was spraying water into the gas tank, presumably to fill it up! As you might imagine, I began running towards my precious mower and screaming for her to stop spraying water in the gas tank!
I might add that it’s no easy task to get the gas cap off the mower. I had filled it up with gas earlier and had trouble getting it off myself because it’s difficult to remove for safety purposes (but apparently not safe enough to prevent a four-year-old from opening it).
There was nothing I could do for the mower at that point except live under the delusion that she didn’t really get all that much water in the gas tank (even though she did). So, I took them in the house and fed them lunch and put them down for a nap.
Now you might think that tearing up the lawnmower was enough havoc for Kenzie to cause in one day…
On weekends we all take a nap together in my bed if they can get settled down. They kept fighting with each other so I made them go upstairs to their own bedrooms. I didn’t accompany them upstairs to their rooms, but they were both very tired and went up to their rooms without much argument and seemed to have gone to bed because it got quiet up there.
I dozed off after a few minutes, but every once in awhile I would awake and hear Kenzie stirring about in her room upstairs. So I knew she wasn’t taking a nap, but at least she was staying in her room.
After a couple of hours it was time to get up and I went upstairs to wake them. I could see Kaleb sound asleep on his bed. But the door to Kenzie’s room was closed and locked!
I knew it was locked because the locks to their bedroom doors are on the outside of the door, not the inside. Yes, I can lock them in but they can’t lock me out! (I changed the locks to the outside of the door when they were younger to keep them from locking themselves in their rooms on accident or on purpose so that I couldn’t get in.)
She must have turned the lock on the door knob and closed the door when she went upstairs to her room. It certainly explains why she remained in her room for those two hours that she didn’t take a nap!
But, when I unlocked and opened the door to her room it was stinky in there. Poop stinky! Evidently, she had needed to poop and because she had closed and locked the door, she couldn’t get out to go to the bathroom and pooped her pants!
So, she had removed her underwear and put them in the trash can and put a new pair on. And she had used up a whole box of tissues to clean herself off. Unfortunately, in the process of cleaning herself, she got poop on her hands and there was poop on everything in the room that she touched afterwards!
Consequently, I put her in the bathtub and then started cleaning up poop spots and streaks around her room. I got her out of her bath, put her pajamas on her, fed her supper, and put her to bed since she never had taken a nap. She laid down and went to sleep without any complaint, so she was definitely tired.
Meanwhile, I’m still sniffing out and trying to find poop smears around her room. And I’m sure there will be more smears of poop to be discovered in the days to come.
So back to the end of this story and the end of a frustrating day.
I let Kaleb stay up because he had taken a nap. He went out and worked in the yard with me until dark. I was watering some plants and asked Kaleb to take the water hose for a few minutes and wash off a large, sticky spot on the driveway. (BTW: The spot is where the lawnmower was sitting when Kenzie put the water in the gas tank, so we may not know yet what all is in that gas tank!)
I walked around to the other side of the house and by the time I came back, Kaleb was running the water hose inside the garage! Just like before, I shrieked and went running to grab the water hose away from a child!
The whole floor of the garage was covered in water and the vehicles and all the shelving and everything else we keep in the garage was standing in water. I asked Kaleb why he was running the water in the garage and he said he had seen another spot inside the garage and was trying to wash it off.
So here I am sitting here at my desk in the middle of the night with the garage door wide open writing this post and waiting for the garage floor to dry out.
It’s the perfect ending to a perfectly frustrating day!
So, have I learned anything from all of this? Don’t trust four- and five-year-olds with the water hose? Don’t send the the children to their rooms without going to the bathroom first? How about this: Don’t let the children out of their rooms on weekends!
From the size of the catastrophe, it seems like there should be a big, profound lesson for me to learn, but I don’t know what it is because right now…I JUST NEED SOMEBODY TO REASSURE ME THAT THEY WILL GROW OUT OF THIS BEFORE THEY BURN THE HO– USE DOWN!