Children’s brains are incredible. They are like little sponges walking around in their own worlds seemingly not paying attention to you, all the while absorbing every single thing you say… good and bad, don’t forget it. And copying everything you do. You have to be so careful. I see my son babbling on pretend phones which encompass anything he can hold to his ear – a remote control, toy phone, real phone, a biscuit, a coaster – and performing hand gestures just like my mother and I. He starts hysterically fake laughing at various points in between his conversation and I wonder with genuine concern if thats how I look or sound. He’s so funny though, you can’t help but laugh. All of a sudden he’s this little fella…talking, singing, dancing, giving attitude, sweet eye, cut eye, doing this new shy mouth thing when he meets new aunties. Who is this little human man and how did he learn all of these things, and where on earth did he learn to be so naughty? It must be innate. That’s scary.
His ability to focus on performing a task amazes me every time. The precision, the determination of getting the correct blocks into their slots, to color within the pages, to scoop sand into the bucket, to find and collect bottle caps. But nothing, no amount of focus, lasts more than five minutes and before you know it, the coloring book, crayons, 1000 blocks, cars, puzzles, golf clubs…just EVERYTHING…is EVERYWHERE. And as “hurricane C” passes through the house he picks up the picture frames to name each person he sees then tries to put it back but it falls down and the glass shatters. Then he runs to Skye’s food bowl and pours the food out everywhere then he splashes in Skye’s water bowl, leaving water everywhere then grabs a handful of cat food, shoves it in his mouth and gobbles it down before I can get to him. Because I’m still in his wake, cleaning up the blocks and glass.
I sit on the floor feeling defeated and wonder – how did this happen so fast and why is he this destructive?
Why are my clothes in the bin?
Why is the comforter on the roof?
Why is there a diaper in the toilet?
So I kindly ask him to put the toys back, which he calls “Puddaba” and sometimes he helps but most times he doesn’t help and I have to force him and bribe him and he throws tantrums and screams and lays on the floor or jumps out his seat then bumps his head on the edge of the table. And I wonder why this had to happen in the middle of me trying to be a disciplinarian because now I have to comfort him and rub his head so he’s not going to understand that he’s actually in trouble. Then I wonder if he hit his head on purpose. Hmm, probably.
Then I get lost in a daydream as usual, wondering when the destruction will end. Will it ever end? Will he ever want to sit down and read a book or do his homework? Will he ever not want to break everything around him? I try to remember what it was like to be a child – not that far back obviously but from what I do remember, I really was a rude little terror – but didn’t break things. Besides dad’s windshield once with a stone by accident, but I blamed it on my brother so that doesn’t really truly count. And when I drove mum’s car into a wall. But I didn’t do that on purpose either. Okay maybe we all break things when are little. I do remember though, sitting down and making word searches with my friend in primary school haha we were about 10 years old. Christ, do I have to wait 8 more years for him to sit quietly? Please, no. We made so many word searches and mind puzzles and then sold them in St. Andrews to make money to buy food for the animals in the TTSPCA. We probably only made like $50 and the food was probably just donated anyway lol but we felt accomplished and the bags were as big as us so it seemed like a tonne. We were so proud! If your kids are old enough and enjoy word searches, and you need a minute (or an hour if you have a focused child with a good attention span) to sit down and breathe between the tantrums, chaos, exhaustion and total madness of life with a child/children (ohmyGod, props to you if you have more than one and if you have more than 2, you cray), then check out this website, print some of these out and somehow force them to sit and use their brains instead of breaking things lol. Or bribe them with ice cream, whatever works. Check below. Seeing as there’s no such thing as winter in Trinidad, they can learn winter words – so if they go to school abroad to a country with four seasons one day, they won’t mix up Spring and Autumn like I did for so many years haha.
Anyway, the daydream is usually interrupted either by screaming, something breaking or extreme quiet. Because if it’s quiet enough for you to be able to daydream, something is seriously up. The broom for example will be up in the air, while the child tries to knock Grandma’s clay ornament from hanging in her potted plant. Your cell phone will be up in the air for a few seconds before it hits the floor, Skyler’s food never lagging too far behind – crumbs landing all over everything – and you see it happening in slow motion as you let out a sad, long sigh. You also see your child’s reaction in slow motion – that look of pure bliss for being so naughty, hoping that they will get away with it somehow.
Big, bright eyes with that all too familiar wicked little smirk, as he glances at me excitedly to see my reaction. And he thinks he’s won by getting my attention which he certainly now has, but sometimes maniac mummy comes out (kind of often) and puts him in his place which he hates and then the screaming fit begins again. And you wonder how much more of it you can take before all of your hair turns gray and falls out and your face gets all wrinkly from stress.
But you know your kid. You know how to distract them. Mine loves switches and fart sounds. So if he’s hysterical and I take him to a light switch, he is automatically healed. And if I make a fart noise he will guaranteed burst into fits of laughter. So you do these things, anything, to make the screaming stop so that you don’t totally lose your mind, and thankfully it does at some point. And then they are cute again and you love them so much even though they’ve just made a massive mess and tested your patience and given you so much extra work with cleaning up. I never thought in a billion years that fart sounds and light switches would be my saving grace, but there you go. I’ve never felt so thankful for the existence of farts.
You really just never know what life has in store for you.