As you may have guessed, Thornado is quite the energetic child. He is full of gusto and mischief. He's sly and cunning. He can throw the world's largest tantrum, but be as sweet as a triple chocolate cake when he says things with his big eyes, his head cocked and with a soft, high pitched tone.
If we don't do things fast enough for him, he'll do it himself. If we leave him by himself we will find him stuck in a chair, on top of the furniture or locked in a room somewhere. He's so smart and so determined that he's always surprising me with his newest trick.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The kid never wanted to be a baby and since he was born he's been adamant about doing everything his brother did. From walking sooner, to speaking in sentences faster, he's blown me away in every aspect of his life.
Theodor learned two very important things over the holiday weekend:
1. How to climb the baby gate.
2. How to aim a Super Soaker.
The latter isn't as detrimental as the former, but still it's an indicator that our life is about to become even more chaotic than it already is.
When I heard stomping up the stairs I knew that at least Henrik was up there, he's tall enough to hop the gate and has on occasion. But when I saw that Theo was next to him and the gate was still intact, I was shocked and unsure how it happened. Later that day I caught Theo in action. He looked back at me the whole time and smiled. I wanted to see how he was doing it so I didn't say anything during his three second process. Probably I should have, but if I'm going to beat the beast I've got to know his tricks!
When he got his footing on the other side, his smile grew. He and I both knew that there was no holy space left in the house. (Seriously, there isn't, the boys team up to break down the baby-safe door handle locks. Thornado does some karate chop on the device and Hank-o-Saurus turns the knob) Despite his smile, and my secret pride that he's getting bigger, my heart sank a bit and my stomach turned into knots. I felt helpless and defeated. These boys are going to be the end of me.
What happens when you have an almost 18 month old child who works with his older brother to get into things their not supposed to? What do you do when your almost 18 month old child can climb out of his bed, and even cross over the baby gate? Do you open up the house and throw a toddler bed at him and say, "Here, welcome to freedom" (while I die a slow, painful and stressful death while picking up after you and searching for you? Or do you buy a taller gate? I know I'm not able to keep them locked in one part of the house forever, but seriously, NOW at three and ALMOST 18 FREEKING MONTHS my life has become this? I'm already herding yaks and wrestling dragons. I already have hours of cleaning to do once they've left a room. (And yes, I do make them help). And I'm already talking down Dinosaurs and Pirates, now I need to chase them from floor to floor and room to room while they terrorize bedrooms, dressers and bathrooms? Where is my personal space? I don't remember signing a waiver when they were born!
I have a friend with a baby that just started sitting up. She said she was SO excited for them to start moving because he could start to do things with them. I just laughed. Right in her face. ARE YOU SERIOUS? YOU WANT YOUR SON TO START MOVING? Idiot. I remind her that once they start to move, they start falling, getting into things, and disappearing when you turn away for one second. They start to ignore your calls to "Come" and instead run away laughing (fortunately, mine still run into corners so I can catch them easier). With this freedom of movement and free-will comes a lot of absolutely wonderful things, but if I could just keep mine in that phase where they fall back down after sitting for several minutes then I would.
Let's assume that I have to accept that my boys are growing up and they of course can climb out of cribs and over baby gates. But do I have to accept that my ALMOST 18 MONTH old can AIM a Super Soaker? Shoot it, sure, but aiming it is just plain impressive. I don't mind being soaked, as long as it doesn't get my hair, I have a wet hair thing, but the fact that Thornado can now pick up a Super Soaker, re-load it (you'd better believe it) and then shoot you right in the face is just beyond me.
So what? Abbey, it's just Summer fun! Who doesn't like water fights? Well, I do, who doesn't like to squirt their kids and spouse? But not when I'm in a battle against my boys. You see, again, they team up. They get me from both sides and when the fun is over or the water runs out, Hank will put the soaker down and find something else to do. Theo on the other hand, figures that it would be more fun to keep playing, so he fills it up again and flashes a quick and adorable smile at you and then shoots his brother right in the face. Henrik then yells, "I don't have a Super Soaker! You can't squirt me!" and Theo replies, "quirt you!" and laughs as he does it again. I'll be the first to admit that Theo has bully tendencies, but he's also the world's largest instigator. He'll do anything to get a rise out of me or his brother. He'll poke and poke and poke until Henrik explodes and gets in trouble.
I know when I was a kid, my sister and I used to be like that, though we may disagree on who was the biggest poker, we did things all the time to get one another in trouble. It wasn't this physical or this active. Mostly we'd just set the other person up, my boys on the other hand push and poke and steal and use force to get the other one riled up. This new ability to aim has me worried, he can not only do something he's not supposed to, but he can do it with purpose.
Say I surrender and just accept that the mischief will run my household for the next 18 years. Where does that put me? Looking frazzled and frumpy as I struggle to keep track of them? How does one effectively encourage their imagination and curiosity while curbing the chaos? If you've got ideas, let me know. Otherwise, I'll be staying up late at night souring the Internet for meditation techniques, "Mommy Needs A Drink" blogs, and natural calming remedies that I can slip my children during mealtime.
Seriously though, Theodor is a good boy. He's just one of those kids you can't ever, EVER take your eye off of. Now that he's pretty much free, I've got to watch everything I do. From opening boxes of fruit snacks (he can open those btw), to opening baby cabinet locks (he can't do those yet), to opening the garage door (he can open the door to the garage, Hank can open the garage door) to where I put the keys (I'm so afraid my boys will go for a joy ride in about a year) I've got to make sure that if I don't want Theo doing it, he'd better not be around when I do them.