Friday, December 22, 2006

Amnesty

In recent weeks, Nicholas has gone from bad to worse to downright dangerous. He is a living and moving hazard to all persons and property. Just this week he ate half a jar of peanut butter he had pilfered from the lazy susan and when his stomach couldn't take it, he turned it out on the carpet. He pulled a similar stunt with a jar of Nutella later, but at least the Nutella agreed with him.

He pushes chairs to counter tops so he can climb up into the kitchen sink or rummage foods stored out of reach. He powders himself with pancake mix, candies himself in sugar, and... dumps... dumps... dumps... whatever he can open. I have found myself on the floor far too often this week picking up infinite numbers of discrete food items... pasta pieces, pistachios, cheerios, one-by-one-by maddening one...When I'm on that floor picking up those tiny pieces of food, I sometimes imagine that I can feel my vocabulary diminishing on account of the mind-numbing futility of my labor.

His adventures aren't limited to the kitchen, either, he disorganizes everything from bedroom to bathroom. The phrase "out of reach" doesn't have much meaning around here anymore. He doused himself with half a bottle of hand soap on Monday and Wednesday he came to me in the kitchen looking as though he had soaped himself again. A little sleuthing, and I learned that sticky glop in his hair was not soap but hair gel. He had schlicked the upstairs bathroom with it as well. Yes, the whole bathroom.

When I try to prevent him from getting into trouble, or try to take him out of trouble, or clean him up from having been in trouble, he acts as though I am the offending party. He fights me with all his strength and becomes incensed. If he is awake and not cuddling with me in my arms, we are at war. That is, until I declared amnesty...

Regular readers will remember that someone in this house had accidentally packed some overdue library books a few weeks back. They were considerably overdue to start with, so by the time I unpacked them I had received a fair number of notices from the fine public facility we had borrowed them from. In my shame and unwillingness to face the music, I had simply been collecting these notices--unopened--on my desk. I told myself I would call the library and explain my situation, maybe bargain to have my fines cut in half, but I never called. So the fines and the stack of notices grew with each passing day.

Yesterday, Nicholas discovered these notices. I suppose he thought someone needed to open them and he was the man for the job. He opened every one and spread the papers and envelopes all over the floor. Of all the things!

As I was picking up the mess, I tried not to look at the notices. I didn't want to see the return address and the name of that fine library that had been so good to us, but where we had lost favor. I didn't want to see the fines...(Ooup, there they are...wow.) I did not want to look at what I had been avoiding, thank you, Nicholas.

I couldn't help but see, though, that there was a highlighted sentence on each notice. Was it a threat of some sort? I couldn't help but read...what's this?

DECEMBER IS FINE FREE MONTH FOR ALL ITEMS RETURNED BETWEEN DEC 1, AND DEC 31.
Rejoice! I never would have read that if it weren't for Nicholas. I would have persisted in my state of denial well into the new year! And so I've decided to forgive Nicholas, as I will be forgiven, for repeated acts of irresponsible and unreasonable behavior.

When I told my dear husband about what had happened he asked, "So, are you going to return those books today?"

"What?" I replied, "Why? I have until the 31st."

* * *

11 comments:

Jennifer said...

He sounds exactly like my two year old. I get so tired every day of pulling him out of whatever sink he has climbed into (and even the washing machine). Yay for fine free month! I was so bad about fines as a child I still can't go to the library.

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Blessings in all things!

I just paid more than I care to mention in late fees...but like I just said,

"Blessings in all things!"

btw, you look beautiful with your cup of tea!

Enjoy!

Love2Learn Mom said...

That is SO perfect! I firmly believe that these trouble-making tots have some of the great potential to go out and transform the world for good some day.

Kenneth said...

Just started reading blogs and found yours. Reading your comments is really uplifting to me. I am glad to hear after reading about your wonderful children that they are sometimes like my 8, 5 and 1.5 year old boys.

Anonymous said...

I know you already know this since you have several boys, but this stage won't last forever. Before you know it this stage of toddlerhood will be over & forgotten and you'll think of these as the "good old days"! Or at least you'll have some very good stories to tell when he's all grown up!!!!

Michelle said...

We're almost at this point at my house. Ever notice that just as one begins to outgrow this stage, there's another one right there stepping up to the plate?

Michelle said...

P.S. Merry Christmas!

Jamie said...

What a great story!!! Thanks for the laugh!

Suzanne Temple said...

jennifer, you know it!

I agree, love2learn. Let's put this energy to good use!

Thanks for visiting, kenneth. Boys are boys all over the world.

What you say is true, anon.

And you, too, michelle. In fact, Nicholas is just picking up where Zachary is just starting to leave off!

Thanks, jamie!

Jeff said...

Suzanne just know that Mom caught Jeremy in the sugar jar when he was about 3.5. What a great laugh I had though I think Mom was a little more upset then I. That being because I did not have to clean up after Jeremy. But he turned out just fine even with the
sugar "overdose".

Jeff

MaryM said...

Very funny post - did you get the books back yet? I am very understanding of that as I am a very last-minute returner of books to the library!