Before I had kids, wait…let’s pause there. Are you all imaging me frolicking through a field of daisies without a care in the world, skinny, with perfect hair and make up? Me too. I’m also picturing myself sleeping in until 10am and eating a meal while sitting down, two more things that have been mysteriously absent in my life since the birth of my precious blessings.
::finger snap:: Are we all back to the noisy and sleep deprived reality? Good. Before I had kids, some friends commented that their kids had ruined all their nice furniture. I distinctly remember thinking, so naive, childless, and carefree, “why did you LET them ruin it?!” To my credit, I never said this out loud. But I definitely thought it. I had no idea that the answer to that question was “Because your kids will ruin all your things, regardless of precautionary measures taken on your part.”
I was convinced that the behavior of children was completely based on the parenting; If you don’t let your kids run wild, set boundaries, and discipline, then they won’t destroy all your earthly belongings. You can have kids, but also nice leather furniture, beautiful shoes and expensive jewelry! I know, I’m an idiot.
Apart from obviously having zero knowledge of actually living with clumsy little people, my assumption was based on more than a few false premises. The first falsehood was that the destruction of your property by children is the direct result of bad behavior that should be reigned in (by perfect parents capable of mind control, apparently).
You brought these children into the world, you cheered when they learned to crawl, said their first word, and took their first step because these are remarkable feats for an itty bitty human. Then you get angry, when in an understandable display of poor coordination, they trip over their own feet and slam into your very full cup of coffee precariously placed on the arm of the sofa. Sure, it’s inconvenient that they had to trip right into the coffee, when tripping literally anywhere else would have been markedly less messy. But this is also a human that learned to walk less than a year ago and had never existed in the world less than two years ago. I walk into doorways all the time, trip over my own feet and drop things on the regular with 30 years of experience. The real miracle here is that with the combination of my poorly coordinated DNA and their sheer lack of experience, that none of my kids have cracked skulls and still possess all their limbs.
So your sofa is saturated with an aromatic combination of coffee and milk, which is sure to transition to putrid without some type of rigorous deep cleaning. It’s just what kids do; they’re not bad or naughty, they just aren’t good at things like walking straight, wiping their own butts, or avoiding life’s hazards.
The second falsehood that my childless self was too blind to see, is that you can watch your kids at all times and prevent mishaps that threaten your precious valuables. Maybe this is true when you have one child in your charge, but even then, you still have to use the bathroom, take a shower, prepare meals and secretly eat the candy you’ve hidden in the closet. Kids are sneaky little critters, especially once they’re mobile, and sometimes in the midst of enjoying a rare moment of quiet, you forget to panic because quiet is terrifying.
As desperate as you find yourself for quiet, it’s always a red flag. Quiet means your toddler has emptied your bag of Epsom salts and is making snow angels on the bathroom floor. Quiet means the baby found your lipstick and is creating some abstract art on your beautiful leather boots. Quiet means there are probably stickers with remarkable adhesive qualities now permanently affixed to your television. All it takes is letting your guard down for a second, and suddenly you no longer possess anything of value.
So if you find anything in my house that’s nice, unscathed, or in mint condition, keep it secret; keep it safe, or my kids will add it to their to-do list.