Want to know if a guy is a parent?
Take a look at his face, his car, or his home. All will have sustained some degree of damage in the process of fatherhood. Worry lines, spray stains on the ceiling of his car, and a host of tell-tales in his place of residence.
Busted furniture, chipped wall paint, crayon marks on … everything. Markers, too, and stray bits of strawberry, Goldfish crackers, and even beef jerky, in a man’s car, behind a man’s couch, and stuck in a man’s hair. That’s just the beginning, as any of you who parent know.
Katherine writes a blog called Welcome to the Nursery.
She’s an engaging writer who takes on weekly posts on Toddler Talk, tackles mommy topics like rocking the whole mom thing, and reminds me of the beautiful life I left behind as a father to small children. (It’s still pretty, it’s just evolved.)
Katherine’s here today to talk about how her kids are destroying her house. Please give her a warm CD welcome.
Do us a favor? Send photos and a brief description of havoc your kids have wreaked on your homes. We’ll feature it in a future post right here (and link to your blog.) Send pictures to: email@example.com.
How My Kids Are Slowly Destroying Our House
Did any of you catch my post last week about creating a “fake” house from 3 feet on down? That was my humorous take on baby proofing our once adult-only abode. A lot of my readers had a laugh with me about my methods, and some even supplied similar ideas, such as having a remote control holder containing only old, battery-free remotes – but keeping the real ones safely tucked away out of the littles’ reach.
Jokes aside, as much as I love my children – especially since they’re quite calm children – sometimes I half-wish for a house untouched by the rascals. We can take that 3-foot off-limits level a bit further: can’t we just have a whole fake house, at least until our children are old enough to be responsible and careful with our – and their – stuff?
Because how is it possible that such small muscles can manage to wreak such damage in such short times? The same baby hands that can’t open their plastic container of snacks can somehow rip apart furniture. My 3-year-old can’t (read: won’t) carry her own backpack but can wield enough force with a toy to bust a bathtub.
So let’s survey the damage, shall we?
That bathtub. This isn’t a porcelain bathtub, I know. But you’re telling me it can’t withstand a plastic bath boat bonking the side? My kid must have been training for shot put. There’s a dime-sized hole under that patch!
My sister and I used a little table and chairs when we were kids, and now my two girls are (aww….). My sister started a painting on it 20 years ago and nearly finished it – so I planned on completing it soon after we brought it up. In the meantime, we covered it with craft paper so Toddler could draw on it. It didn’t take her more than a week to get her crayons a-scribblin’ under the paper. No point in finishing the painting now!
My dirty car! I should know better than to think my car would stay pristine with two kids living in the backseat. But is it too much to hope for slightly clean? Let’s just say leather seats, crayons, and summer heat don’t mix. Nor do windows, crayons, and bored toddlers. Or muddy shoes and the back of the passenger seat. Where’s my Magic Eraser?
I love my reindeer pelt / ersatz hearth rug. I thought the fur would be nice and soft for them, and couldn’t be hurt. Think again! It turns out pelts are somewhat delicate, especially when sweaty little feet with gripping toes plod over the fur. Whoops. Thank God for a dustbuster, but for now, the rug is off-limits. (You can guess how well that rule is being currently observed….)
Do these plants this look like the backyard? The park? I know, I know – it does, doesn’t it? It’s all plants to you, Baby. But when I say leave the plants alone, I mean these plants. Please stop digging into the dirt, ripping off leaves, and yanking the stems.
I tell my kids it’s nearly a cardinal sin to deface books. Do they listen? Not yet. My husband and I are huge bibliophiles, so it physically hurts to see our kids nibble their books, get their crayons even within a foot of their pages, or (heaven forbid) rip a page. So far just the library books have been victim to ripped pages – which is worse. Bust out the clear tape!
Our poor ottoman. Those same wee arms that can’t carry much can apparently push a hinged ottoman (now a toy box, naturally) waaay past its fully open point such that the hinges actually bend backward. And then they try to close the lid and manage to get it down only by bending the hinge and pulling the screws out. I really had no words when I saw the damage; thankfully with my magic pliers, I repaired it not only the first time it happened but the second as well!
Let’s not even go into potty training accidents. My poor rugs and couch cushions … I think at times like this it’s best to have a poor memory.
When my husband and I were budgeting before our first child, we accounted for normal costs such as diapers and clothes. Who knew we’d have to add things like “bathtub repair kits” and “professional rug cleaning” (a no-brainer, in hindsight)?
I guess there’s no way to fully kid-proof your house. And let’s face it: even with a few stains and broken items along the way, our kids are definitely worth it. The mere stuff we can fix …
… once we get done silently swearing and mentally calculating how much the repair will cost!
So I can dream about having a perfect house since there is really no way to build a “fake house” my kids can’t destroy/break/draw on/pee on. In the meantime, I’ll just put up with it and get my fix-it tools and patching paint ready!
Katherine, the mom behind Welcome to the Nursery, can be found keeping domestic peace, writing fiction, and penning humor-tinged parenting anecdotes in rural New Jersey. Her two young girls enjoy tutus, wagon rides, and competing for who can yell “Mine!” the loudest. She blogs at Welcome to the Nursery and tweets at @KDBenfante.
How is your house holding up post-kids? Do you have any tips for damage limitation?
My youngest is now 11. I still stand in the kitchen dept. at Home Hardware and pretend that the beautiful kitchen display is my own…
By this stage, Jenn, so much damage has been levied, hasn’t it? You might even find old, faded photographs of new furniture, fresh paint, carpet not decorated with paint, blood, juice, and 233 unidentifiable substances.
Snorts and rolls with piggy laughter. Trust me. My mom says it’s not any better with a pig running through the house… and she’s not talking about daddy this time. HA! XOXO – Bacon
I’d venture to say it’s impossible to know whether the damage comes from kids or pigs without significant forensic investigation!
I like the way you think my friend!! XOXO – Bacon
Oh I remember those days all too well. Jake took a crayon to his play room. AND your car is my car exactly!! Funny
I love when a kid writes her name on the back of the couch and when you confront her, she says, “I didn’t do it!”
I discovered the hard way the a Magic Eraser (“Please give that inventor a million bucks,” said every parent) removes crayons from walls! I’ve yet to try it on my car’s seats. I’m kind of waiting until it gets critical so I just do it all at once. In tears.
Oh man do I relate. I will say while I love my son and I would never take back anything about being his mom, I miss my once immaculate house every once and awhile! Although to be fair his furry cat sisters had plenty to do with the destruction as well!
One has claws (maybe), one has crayons … equally destructive capabilities….
Whenever my daughter’s room gets messy enough and I can’t stand it anymore and tell her to clean up, she asks me to help her because she “just loves spending time with me.” A true sucker for her batting eyelashes, I always end up helping her. But it’s probably for the best, because one time I found her art supplies in her sock drawer and her socks in the fridge. **facepalm**
Playing your mama in the cutest way possible. That’s expert level play right there, Corey! But you end up winning too, don’t you?
Socks in the fridge tops socks in the microwave every day of the week!
Ahhh, facepalm indeed!! I regularly find my oldest’s (nearly 4yo) toys in random locations after “clean up.” Why is it any surprise they’re constantly asking us if we know where their favorite XYZ toy is?!
Ive been pretty lucky with my boys in our house. Only a few scribbles on the wall and nothing to big has been broken. There was a “everything goes in the toilet” phase. Now that they are older, they are responsible for their rooms and their bathroom. I will let them know I need to vacuum and if anything is on the floor its going to get sucked up and lost forever. They take after their father and are pretty quick to clean up their messes. The dogs however…
You’re lucky! And here I thought boys were crazier than girls…. I love the vacuum rules – if it’s out, it’s gone! I bet your firm hand (kudos, seriously) helps keep them in line!
We should have a debate as to who is crazier – boys or girls.
OBVIOUSLY the boys are crazier…..! 😉
I beg to differ! You should keep my girls for an hour or two …
Ha! Something tells me the age difference is the thing! I’ve heard many times that girls are easier when they’re young but (much) more difficult when they’re older…
I told my girls about your post and they rattled off a list of things they’ve destroyed and the stories behind them that i lost track and also there were many I didn’t even know about.
Ha!!! Things you didn’t want to know about, I’m sure. I sometimes can’t believe the damage kids can manage to do – and then cover up!
It comes with the territory, Katherine! I’m ready for anything now. I got one photo from our request, and I think I’ll get that in on Thursday. Hopefully, people will send more! (It’s a good one, though, and I will do a walk-through to see what damage I can find.)
Excellent! Looking forward to seeing that!
i totally love and get this )
My child has OCD however he LOVES Legos – so it’s a blessing and a curse all rolled into one. My feet have never been the same. Ever.
Oh he once discovered my costco sized box of tampons and that you can submerge them in water and well…you get the rest.
Ahh, Legos! I’m both excited and fearful for my girls to be old enough to play with those. I’ll need to invest in rubber-soled slippers, is that what you’re saying?
Erika at Dorkymomdoodles.com has a great doodle from this spring in which her 2yo daughter saw her box of tampons and asked if she could have a popsicle, too…. *facepalm*
Have you seen the meme of the shark who stepped on the lego?
My nephew (3 at the time) was using a rock to “draw a picture for daddy” by scratching it into the paint of daddy’s car! While it might be possible to baby proof your house. Once they’re not babies your house is no longer proofed.
That’s awesome – you should get Crash to do that on your car, Eric.
Can I let him practice on Gabi first?
Why not? She’s been through the ringer. I’ll put a Rockies bumper sticker over it.