Monday, September 30, 2013

The Dynamic Duo of Destruction

Everybody knows that kids can be a handful. Even just one kid can have enough entropy-loaded oomph to make a mama weep . . . or want to rip her hair out . . . or both. But every so often, God puts together a rather adorable, yet lethal, combination of little darlings and you can be left to pick up the pieces and, much like after a nuclear blast, never quite know exactly what hit you.

We called them Thing One and Thing Two. Partners in Crime. The Dynamic Duo of Destruction.

Thing One was a destroyer from the start. His first word was "apart" because, yes, he had indeed taken apart whatever he had gotten his hands on. It was quite fascinating, actually, and I wondered if this was a marketable skill. I considered hiring him out to Consumer Reports for durability testing, but decided that there were likely child labor laws against such things.

Thing One was a week shy of 21 months old when Thing Two crashed onto the scene. When she was only 6 months old she managed to eat enough of the text of one page of a really, REALLY nice library book that the Powers That Be declared it a total loss. (Did you know that at our library in 1996 you never had to pay more than $50 for a damaged library book, no matter what the actual cost?)

I will never forget the first time I knew that, together, they were trouble. Thing One was at the bottom of the back steps. Three steps up was a dead plant still in its pot of dirt (I'm not good with living things). Thing Two, at that time rather new at locomotion, crawled up the stairs, grabbed a handful of the dirt and slung it at Thing One. Fits of laughter followed—and more dirt slinging. I knew from that day that I was indeed doomed.

There wasn't anything that they wouldn't tackle together. And they were quite creative, really. I never knew where any given household item was because, more than likely, it had been put to some new and unusual use. Nothing was sacred. Some of you may cluck your tongues and shake your heads and say that I clearly did not have control over my household and, truth is, you are probably right. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I must have been on potty break when God was handing out managerial skills. I got none.

Most memorable though, of all their antics, was The Plump. They loved to make The Plump and they did so quite often. To make The Plump they would empty the entire contents of the linen closet and, if need be, strip down all the beds. Then pile the whole mess together in one big lump. Then they'd play King of the Plump or bury each other deep inside the bowels of The Plump (much to the horror of this highly claustrophobic mother). Sometimes they would use The Plump as a landing pad after sledding headfirst down the stairs inside a pillowcase or sleeping bag. It was all great fun until bedtime when someone—that would be me—had to sort through mounds of bedding to find her favorite pillow.

Eventually the Dynamic Duo of Destruction morphed into what I called the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, as, thanks to raging hormones, they transitioned from destroying the house to destroying each other. I used to ask other moms, while desperately seeking camaraderie, if their kids fought. My question would often be met with a quizzical look and a, "Why no. Not at all." Sometimes it was worse and Perfect Mother Of Non-Warring Children would use uber sweet and syrupy language like "cherish" and "adore" in reference to sibling relations. (Seriously? Just shoot me now.)

Thing One and Thing Two are older now and, amazingly enough, only fight on occasion, usually over the condition of the bathroom they share or the volume of the music. Strangely enough, I actually miss the little terrors they used to be. But time passes on and my granddaughter who, according to developmental psychology is in the Little Scientist phase (as in "Let's experiment with gravity!", Let's experiment with liquids!", "Let's see what happens when we put gravity and liquids together!"), is wreaking her own havoc on the household. It won't be long before Thing One and Thing Two can teach her how to make The Plump. I can't wait.

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