Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mischief Managed

Amelia met me at the door with her baby blanket, the one she carries around like the Peanuts' character Linus, except this one is patterned with girlish pastel hearts and was made by her Grand Mama when infant girl refused to sleep if not tightly swaddled.

With both hands, she held the crumpled blob of cloth out to me. "Wyatt put my blanket in the fish tank. Can you wash it?"

The fish tank!?

Eyes struggling to adjust to inside light, I saw the blanket wasn't just a little wet. Tiny rivulets of water streamed onto the tile beneath, a puddle growing between us with my every passing second of indecision.

Beyond her lay a path of similar puddles that dripped straight across the full length of the house to the thirty gallon fish tank in the living room.

Emerson and I had only been outside fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, weeding a rose bed, getting eaten by ants, and chopping dead limbs off a tree that fell in last month's wind storm. It was like I had an 18-month old again with the creative intellect of a 4-year-old, unable to be left alone for a second because of what he might dream up to do.

"Wyatt!!!!!" I screamed, grabbing towels and hurriedly starting the cleanup before the water damaged the floor. "Where are you!?"

Silence. Then, guilty little boy peeked his head out of the sun room, his down-cast face a mixture of pleased-with-himself mischief and penitence over the mess, too much the former for this mother already on soaked towel number three.

"What happened? What in the world were you thinking, son!?"

He squirmed, twisting around the door frame. "I was trying to catch a fish."


Speechless. What does a mother say in the face of such a statement? I surely didn't know. So, I sent him to his room.

As I cleaned on hands and knees, sounds of the twins murmuring came from the sun room. Every few mumbled words, I'd catch the word "Wyatt." Then, each came towards me with chubby fingers carrying apples, red delicious still cold from their home in the bottom refrigerator drawer.

One apple, two, three...they grinned at the gift-giving and Wyatt-tattling, bringing me two at a time until there were twelve sitting amidst the crayons scattered on the dining room table. Only one had two bites taken out of its side.

First deep sea fishing and now hoarding apples?

Once upstairs, I sat cross-legged on Emerson's bed and looked across at boy hiding under John Deere blanket, eyes peeking out at me as he waited to see how mommy would react to finding an ocean on her floor.

As the story unfolded, it was obvious he thought his actions quite logical. After all, mommy never said he couldn't catch a fish. I listened, biting my lip at times to keep from grinning at the crazy logic that resulted in such a mess.

Apparently, Wyatt put the apples in the sun room so he would have food to eat during rest time. Amelia caught him in the act and said she was hungry.

So....he did what any good brother would do, said no.

He was pretty earnest in defending the fishing expedition. "But she was hungry. So, I was trying to catch her a fish."

A goldfish. With a baby blanket net.

I'm still shaking my head. And laughing.

Last week, Amelia sneaked into my bathroom to shave her legs like she has seen mommy do. It's obviously not as easy as it looks. Hopefully, she won't have a scar. My daddy suggested writing in her baby book, "Age 2: Started shaving."

Children. They can make us parents feel like we are losing our minds! There's no way I can predict what the children will do next. But the creativity of the mischief astounds me, shows me they're spreading their wings in a kind of exploring, a satisfying of curiosity, an application of critical thinking skills, which is something I've taught them to do.

Perhaps they've taken to heart all too well their favorite Miss Frizzle and her mantra: "Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy." Perhaps we need to put away the VeggieTales Jonah movie for awhile.

Rudeness, defiance, impatience, disrespect--it can drive me crazy. But this? It just makes me shake my head and laugh.

Tuesday was crazy.

Today was laughter. Such a good way to end a week.

Photo: Late afternoon running to get out some of that pent-up energy.

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