Saturday, March 28, 2009

You'd Think I'd Know These Things By Now...

I've got four children under the age of five. You'd think I'd of learned a lot of things about pre-school kids by now. You'd think that I'd be one of those moms who is well-qualified to give advice to other young mothers knee-deep in the trenches of child rearing. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. Apparently, I was not aware of the following:

1. Hard to believe it, but young children and scissors don't mix.

Ella is a smart, athletic little girl. She's just not very good at cutting with scissors. I learned this last year when she came home from pre-school with her first report card. Next to "Cuts with scissors" was a big, red "NI" and a note scrawled out by her teacher: "Please be sure to work on this skill with Ella at home."

Of course, I was mortified. I'd just assumed that my talented little three-year old would come home with a report card full of "S's". I dashed to the store that afternoon, and purchased a pair of red-handled, blunt-tipped scissors for my little dunce to practice with. And I was relieved when, days later, she'd covered the play room floor with confetti. Eventually, she even learned how to cut along a straight, jagged line. Since then, cutting up paper has remained a part of her daily routine; it never occurred to me to keep those dull little scissors anyplace other than her room.

Until this morning.

When Ella's imagination blossomed.

And she imagined herself as a stylist in her own hair salon.

You know where this is going...

I could have dealt with the two scalped Barbie dolls lying face-down on the floor. I probably could have even dealt with the bangs Ella cut for herself. But the giant chunks of hair sliced from Evie's scalp was more than I could bear. And the pony tail severed from Emily's finally-full head of hair? Well, that just sent me right over the edge. Especially since my mom and I just taught ourselves how to make hair-bows, and have invested a hefty bit of capital into clips, wire, ribbons, and glue.

What am I going to do with 200 yards of pink grosgrain ribbon?

2. Toddlers can access child-proofed cabinets. But their job is so much easier when mom forgets to attach those annoying little plastic latches.

Latching my cabinets has been on my list of things to do since...well, since before Ty was born. But a few weeks ago, he took advantage of my negligence when he found the only two cabinets in my kitchen that aren't currently "baby-proofed". (Which, by the way, is a misnomer if ever there was one!) The first place he discovered was my Pyrex cabinet. He managed to break 3 of my 4 blue glass mixing bowls. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but he didn't break all three on the same day. Shame on me, I suppose, for thinking a 14-month old can learn from his mistakes. And praise God for saving my baby's precious little mouth, from which I pried one very large piece of broken Pyrex.

For some reason it didn't occur to me that I'd left a second cabinet unprotected, but Ty discovered the kitchen garbage can only a few days later. Luckily, it wasn't glass I had to pry from his mouth this time. It was a stale, week-old brownie. Gag.

This, by the way, from a child who won't eat table food. Go figure.

3. Home decor stores are not conducive to groups of young children.

Last month the winter blahs kicked in, and I took it out on the house. I tried to change things around myself, but I eventually gave up and dragged my talented neighbor/decorator over for a "designer remix" session. She had some awesome ideas, but as we rearranged my stuff, it soon became clear than I needed more... well, stuff. I was really in the groove and didn't want to stop short on my little home makeover, so I suggested we toss my four kids and her one baby into the mini-van for my bi-weekly Hobby Lobby pilgrimage.

I can't even claim that it seemed like a good idea at the time. It didn't. I was just really determined.

Actually, things weren't too bad at first. We walked into the store with two fully-loaded carts, and handed each kid a butterfly wand from a handy display to look at - which they enjoyed until Ella figured out it could be used as a weapon. The butterflies were quietly confiscated, and things improved for a few minutes... until I pulled an urn down from a high shelf and flipped it over to check the price. The top of the urn went flying and shattered on the tile floor right next to the check-out line.

Who puts a price tag on the bottom of a two-piece ceramic urn?

The sound of breaking pottery rang out like the shot of a starting pistol. Within moments, it was pure chaos. The twins started bickering over a box of colored tape measures, while Ella took off with her little basket to collect items from the candy shelf. While we were breaking up the fight and chasing Ella, one of the babies dumped his container of Veggie Puffs on the floor. We put the twins to work picking up the puffy snack just as Ella ripped open a bag of M&M's. The candy went flying. Emily and Evie abandoned their clean-up duty and started wrestling each other for the chocolate treats, while Ella cried and shouted, "Those are miiiiiiiinnne!" Jackie and I looked at the shards of broken pottery, the strewn Veggie Puffs, the colored candy, and the crying kids, and decided it was time to abort. I quickly paid for the few items I'd gathered, including an urn, and ran to the car. I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure I heard a few people say, "Thank God!" as we headed out.


Why can't people be more patient with me? It's not like I know better. I'm too busy making hairbows.