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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?