I once had a patient in my care who often referred to his three children as "the Taliban." Now before you go all crazy, cut the guy some slack, he really was one of the funniest individuals that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was merely drawing the similarities between his three kids and the fundamentalist terrorist group and believe me, there were plenty.
The reason I'm sharing this story with you today is because I never really understood what he meant until I had two little boys of my own.
Back when I was a wet-nosed newlywed, childless, fifteen pounds skinnier and fresh off the plane from our most recent DINK-y (Dual Income No Kids) vacation, I would sit in the chemo infusion bay with him and laugh until my sides hurt at the stories he would tell regarding his kids' antics.
"Surely, nobody's kids are that crazy," I would think to myself. I was certain he was embellishing on more than one account just to garner an extra laugh or two. "Who was watching those poor kids every day and where was there mother?" I couldn't help but ask myself.
I was so naive.
With two little boys of my own, I can say without a doubt, from his lips to God's ears, he was simply sharing his life. The day to day shenanigans that occur between the early morning wake-ups and the much-anticipated evening bath time. And to answer my own question, the kids had one of the most attentive mothers you could ever imagine. Supervision was always there.
Let me be the first to tell you, you can have all the supervision in all the land and your kids will still sneak out the back door and run down into the yard without their pants on. What was lacking was heightened security. Video monitors. Heat-seeking, night vision goggles.
Living with two little boys under the age of 4 is like living with two little life hacks. If only I could stop scrubbing Sharpie from the walls or hiding all of the toilet paper in the house long enough to really witness and embrace their ingenuity. Undoubtedly I could learn a thing or two from them.
Like how to reach forbidden objects on the kitchen counter simply by scaling the drawer pulls in my bare feet.
Or how to use your brother as a level in order to pry open the childproof cabinets or to carefully extricate the cookies from the cookie jar without making a single sound.
Thanks to my youngest child, we've had to put a lock on virtually every door, cabinet and closet on the first floor. For instance, there's a lock bar on our sliding glass door that prevents the door from being slid open. Why? Because on more than one occasion, I've caught him pants-less and barefoot making a run for it, only after he's unlocked the door and used his body weight to push it open.
I can only imagine what our neighbors must think.
Our pantry has a lock on it as well, not because we have to limit food intake but because if forced to pick up another canned good or spice jar scattered throughout the house, I would surely lose my mind. And don't go telling me, "just teach him "no!" or "Buy one of those doorknob locks!" It's an accordion door, so there, and at 18 months old, he's not exactly fluent in "No."
Our entryway coat closet is also under wraps because... shoes! Oh my god, the shoes.
Once again, it's my youngest who has an obsession with putting not only his shoes on his feet, but my shoes, his brother's shoes and his father's shoes on his feet as well, and traipsing throughout the entire house with them, often leaving a discarded pair or two in his wake.
The solution? Lock all of the things. Ever. That is, until I can figure out how to clone myself and be in two or three places at once.
Brushing the dog's hair with his brother's toothbrush. Working as a brotherly team to dismantle the baby gate (one holds the gate steady, the other pushes open it of course), dipping the freshly hanged dish towels in the dog's water bowl, hanging from the handle of the dishwasher so as to use one's body weight to pry it open.
Waiting until your brother is (finally!) sitting and playing quietly by himself on the couch, only to then charge up to him, smack him across the face and jump on his head. Thus starting World War 472.