Today’s Parenting Perspectives column, from the SheSays section of The Forum …
I joked on Facebook that my husband and I had decided to capitalize on our toddler son’s destructive capabilities. We’d market him as a weapon of mass destruction.
Enemy forces would never see him coming.
My status update was soon commented on by a chorus of moms offering up their little male offspring for an army. They’d be unstoppable in their cuteness and tornado-like abilities.
My friend Tammy said she was glad to know she wasn’t the only one with a “Baby Destructo.”
I’d been warned that baby boys aren’t like baby girls. I noticed early on how much more physical and adventurous Owen was compared to big sister Eve. Last spring, as Owen learned to crawl and stand, I braced myself for the bonks and bruises of boyhood.
But I wasn’t prepared for how quickly he could level a room, tear apart a book, upend a cup of coffee, crush a glass Christmas ornament in his bare hands or climb up on a kitchen counter and start gnawing my Scentsy wax.
Craig, my husband, calls him Hurricane Owen. I call him TornadOwen.
Every day feels a bit like cat herding, trying to contain the destruction. Trips out of the house are exhausting. Craig and I have vowed not to go on any family vacations until Owen the WMD has been dismantled.
But within this daily battle is a blessing – a healthy little boy whose strong arms and legs and growing curiosity let him cause so much trouble.
And so we adjust, baby-proofing in ways that weren’t necessary when Eve was his age.
Very quickly after putting up our Christmas tree did the ornaments move up, up, up until the bottom third was bare. I hadn’t been able to reach the top of the tree, giving it a heavy-around-the-middle appearance.
I’ve also grown far less attached to things, knowing that at any moment any one of my possessions could be shattered, tattered or torn.
It’s harder for Eve, though, when Owen’s chaos reigns upon her things. Moments after we gave her a souvenir snow globe from Las Vegas, Owen smashed it to pieces on a restaurant table. With no future trip to Vegas planned, we scoured the mall for a bigger, better glass orb.
We’re careful to keep her precious things out of reach. When that doesn’t work, our rote explanation isn’t of much comfort. “He’s just a baby. He doesn’t know any better,” we tell her.
I think we all wonder when he will know better.
When dishes and computers and snow globes and Scentsy wax will be safe.
When we can retire the Band of Baby Destructos.
Sherri Richards is an employee of The Forum and mom to 4-year-old Eve and 18-month-old Owen.