I still have toddlers in the house, but no toddler has been so exuberant or unremitting as my oldest son. He was in a league of his own. He was the all-star of destruction. Thinking back to his terrible toddler years many stories flood the memory, but there was one week that really should have stopped me from wanting to procreate anymore.
There was a small bottle of baby oil on our bathroom counter. I kept it there to remove eye make-up. My son was very interested in it. He always wanted to touch it, grab it, and carry it around. I kept telling him no. He was highly ingenious, as most toddlers are, and would drag a stool to the bathroom in order to climb on the counter. I more than once found him sitting there holding the bottle trying to figure out how to remove the lid. Now a smart mother would have done a much better job of moving or hiding this bottle. I was then of the mindset that he should just learn not to touch my stuff. After all one of his favorite words was: Mine!! He surely could understand the concept in reverse: Mine! Mommy’s! Don’t touch! (Looking back I love how naive I was.)
One morning I hear my son whining Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! I follow the voice into the bathroom. It doesn’t take much time to notice he finally succeeded in removing the lid from the baby oil. He has poured it everywhere! Floor, sink, toilet, and himself! It was a wonder I didn’t slip and slide into the bathroom. I grab a towel and start cleaning it all up. I can’t find the bottle. I ask him where it is and he answers-potty. I look in the potty and it isn’t there. I look in the garbage can, under the sink, behind the potty, in the shower but there is no bottle. I ask again. Again he says, potty. Well, it seems there is only one option here, I stick my hand in the potty. I can’t feel it. I stick my hand further in. Still can’t feel it. I flush the toilet to see what happens. The water slowly rises all the way to the brim, and before it can spill over it slowly recedes back down. Hmm… This doesn’t look good. At this time we lived in a small apartment, so I grab my toddler, and walk to the office head hung low, and tell them what has happened. They send a guy over and after flushing the toilet on his own, snaking it, and feeling around on his own, he tells us there is nothing in the toilet the flapper just needed to be replaced. That still doesn’t explain the mysterious disappearance of the small baby oil bottle. However, for the rest of the night the toilet works fine.
The next morning is a different story. I use it, flush it, and water just pours out of the toilet. I grab the plunger and instead of helping it appears I made it worse. Now there is a waterfall coming out of our toilet. Water is EVERYWHERE!! I am already up to my ankles. It takes a minute, but I finally remember to turn the water to the toilet off. I call the office and they decide to send two guys over this time. After snaking it again they tell me that it appears there is actually something in there.They can’t get to it though, and the only way to remove the object is to remove the toilet. As these are just apartment handymen they can’t do this, they have call in the experts. Later that afternoon a new pair of men come in and try an industrial grade snake. Then they seem to acquiesce and take the toilet off. They take it outside to the front of the apartment complex, and I watch from our small balcony as they snake it, flip the toilet this way and that, stick their hands in, shake it, and who knows what else before they carry it away.
A few minutes later there is a knock on my door. When I open it there are the two men, and one of them is holding the bottle of baby oil. Guess my son was right when he said: potty. I should mention that it was just the bottle they carried-not the toilet. The next thing they tell me is that in order to remove this bottle they had to smash the toilet into small pieces.
This was just the first part of my week. Can you believe that? Later that week, my son decided to one up himself. My husband and I were in bed. My son walks in and wakes me up. This isn’t odd. He sleeps on a mattress on the floor in his own room. He usually walks in to tell us he is ready for breakfast. I roll over, get out of bed, and follow him to the kitchen. Just like normal. Only, it isn’t just like normal because my apartment is now brown. I am on autopilot and continue to follow him into the kitchen. The refrigerator is open, there is milk, eggs, orange juice, cheesecake, and pretzels all over the floor, in the dog bowl, on the wall, covering the counters, kitchen table, all of the chairs, and the walls. The picture is starting to form. I am beginning to realize what is going on. The carpet had once been a lovely shade of off-white, you know basic apartment colored carpet with matching wall paint, now it was brown. Sorta spotty, but mostly brown. The walls had brown hand prints and streaks. The coffee table had a plate with some random assortment of food and a cup filled to the top with milk. It was also covered in an eggs, milk, and oatmeal paste. There is a cheesecake trail leading from the kitchen to near our balcony where I find the rest of the cheesecake and the cause of the brown. A once completely full bottle of chocolate syrup is now completely empty. I have also discovered that not only is the carpet and wall brown, but our green couch is now green and brown. Since it is a small apartment, most of our toys are in the living room, and all of them are covered in, I don’t know what to call it, chocolate food goop. I mean like all of them, the crevices, the cracks, and the insides of toy trucks.
It only took about 5 minutes for it all to sink in. The moment it did I yell my husband’s name as loudly as I can. He comes running out and then just stops the second he sees what I see. We are both just standing there. Staring. Mouths open wide. Eyes even wider. Wondering how in the world one tiny child could cause so much destruction. How will we ever clean it, where do you even start? What do we do with the child? He is just staring at us wondering why we aren’t really moving. He is not at all phased by the ruination.
In the end I think I summed it up like one of those old Visa commercials.
2.5 hours on hands and knees scrubbing every single inch of carpet in main part of apartment and don’t forget every single piece of furniture we own!!! *still not quite finished need some heavy duty resolve to re-clean most furniture since cleaners we have did not do the trick.
1.5 hours Pete spent steam cleaning every single inch of carpet in apartment
1 hour spent cleaning toys, clothes, dishes, counters, food, and etc.
45 minutes spent cleaning son, mother, and father
1 gallon of milk, half a container of pretzels, leftover cheesecake, and 1 bottle of chocolate sauce-gone.
Realizing you need to be a better parent-priceless
My son is now a preteen, and he has heard these stories many times. He loves them. He laughs so hard every single time saying: I destroyed a toilet. I ruined the apartment. I was so bad. He loves to regale the lunchroom crowd, especially the girls, with his tales of destruction. At least something good came from it.