Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Kids: Expect the Unexpected

"Have kids," they say. "They'll be great," they say. "They'll complete you," they say. "They'll enrich your life in ways you never thought possible," they say. "They'll leave teeth marks in your toilet paper like some kind of unhinged vampire," they say.

Wait. No one ever says that last thing. Until now. I say that last thing. But I wish I didn't.

Maybe this is the work of those creepy, toilet paper obsessed bears from the television commercials?

I went to use the bathroom and discovered that the roll of toilet paper was slightly wet, and it looked like someone had tried to take a bite out of it. I immediately assumed this was done by our youngest son, because he is frequently sent to our bathroom in the ongoing (and seemingly never-ending) attempt to potty train him. When I confronted him about it, he denied it. I asked him two more times if he had done it, and his denials became more vocal. But, I noticed something. Each time I asked him if he had mangled the roll of toilet paper, his sister hid a little bit more of her face behind a book. I had a new suspect, and when I directed my questions at her, she admitted her responsibility fairly quickly.

When I asked her why she did it, she said, "because I thought it would be fun." Children are always looking for new and different ways to have fun, from pouring out an entire bottle of shampoo into the tub, to recovering every inch of carpet in the house with blankets, to moistening and mangling the toilet paper. (While she admitted her guilt, she denied having bitten the toilet paper. She said she just tore at it with her fingers. I'm choosing to take her at her word, because I'd rather not be dealing with someone who chews on toilet paper.) I sent her to the corner and gave her a stern lecture on why we don't play with the toilet paper. It hasn't happened again. (Yet.)

The bottom line: all those things they say about kids are true. They are great. They will complete you. They will enrich your lives. But, they'll also drive you crazy. They'll do things you won't understand. They'll make you question your sanity. They'll do things that surprise you--for good and for bad. And there's no way to prepare for it. (Just be sure you have plenty of toilet paper.)

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