Little Miss Sunshine turned 14 months old the other day (TeethWatch 2008: still at zero). It’s been a while since I had a 14-month-old. I have forgotten what an incredibly physical job it is to take care of a toddler — you’re running around all day and by dinnertime, you’re physically exhausted, like you just ran a marathon. (Well, how I imagine one would feel after running a marathon. It’s not like I would ever do such a crazy thing.)
The Little Miss is much more…shall we say, explorative?…than her older siblings, too. We’ve nicknamed her “Captain Destructo” because anything in the house is fair game for her to touch, pull apart, and attempt to eat. You know, little girl, when we used to joke that you were growing up so big that you were ready to stomp Tokyo…we were ONLY KIDDING.
Yesterday she opened by emptying our snack cabinet — granola bars and fruit snacks and pretzels all over the floor. While I was cleaning that up, she took all the Tupperware out of the the Tupperware drawer, and for good measure, took the tin foil box out of the next drawer up and unrolled it all over the kitchen. While I was putting elastic bands on the drawer handles to lock them shut, she emptied out our DVD cabinet, pulling out all the movies and even opening several containers and pulling out the DVD itself. And while I was putting all that back together, she opened the other cabinet in the TV room and dumped out all the chemicals for cleaning the fish tank.
And while I cleaned up that mess, she toddled down the hall and unrolled half the toilet paper. And while I wound that back up, she came back to the TV room and found a brand new box of baby wipes and pulled them out one at a time until she was surrounded by a sea of wipes. And while I was putting those back in, she took my favourite cookbook off the shelf and ripped out all of the pages.
As I write this, she is opening the DVD player, pulling out the DVD, and throwing it on the ground. One moment please.
She’s obsessed with turning our Nintendo on and off, on and off. She likes to go in the mud room and dump out the bins where we keep mittens and hats. She likes to open the drawer under the stove and put toys inside it. She enjoys taking the pieces of my mixer out of the island cupboard and using them as musical instruments, leaving them strewn behind her in a path of destruction.
I’m spending all day, every day, just trying to keep up with her. By the end of the day, I’m ready to collapse. Worse yet, I’m finding it very hard to steal a few minutes to myself each day. I really count on being able to squeeze some “me” time into my day — maybe replying to an email while the kids are watching TV, or reading a few pages of a book while I’m stirring the spaghetti, or talking on the phone while folding some laundry. But I can’t even do these little things — hell, I can’t even fold the laundry — because while I’m grabbing a few minutes to blog, Little Miss Sunshine is removing her socks and hiding them under the couch cushions, and then emptying the bag of shredded paper for recycling in the office.
One moment please.
Anyway, by the end of the day I’m not only tired, I’m tired of the job, so the dishes go undone and no tidying happens and I don’t do any banking or other chores, I just flake on the couch and read blogs and try to get my head together. Then I get ready for the nighttime, which has been really fun these past few days due to teething (WE HOPE, OR ELSE), school-stress-related nightmares by Gal Smiley, and a terrible chest cold by Captain Jelly Belly.
Little Miss Sunshine! PUT THE REMOTE DOWN!
I think, though, that this is really the worst of it. In a few more months, the Little Miss will be better at quieter things like colouring (which right now, lasts about three minutes and ends when she tries to eat a crayon), watching TV (which currently holds no interest for her), or reading books (which she likes, but is a little too rough with them right now to be trusted). And the next thing I know, she’ll be sitting primly at the table explaining why my glitter glue techniques are not up to snuff.
Until then, though, you can find me flaked out on the couch, attempting to recover from the daily marathon.