What are little boys made of? Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails...and nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble! A couple weeks back, I awoke to use the bathroom, only to find that someone had drawn all over the bathroom wall. I'm not talking about a simple line or two. I'm talking preparing-a-canvas-to-be-displayed-in-an-art-museum type of scribbling. This took a serious amount of time and effort. I could tell by the circular patterns just who the culprit was...until Spencer noticed the word, "hi" written as well. I was shocked. There is no way Jacob would have done that...and yet, the pencil autographs all over his bedroom wall from months earlier said that he did.
It was time for a little talk. Jacob denied the graffiti. I showed the word "hi" to him, and told him that no one else knew how to spell. He was utterly shocked. "But I don't know how to write 'hi'! I only know how to write the words they teach us in school!" Surprised, I took Gabe into the bathroom. After much pushing, he finally admitted. Then, it was Jacob's turn to be surprised...and ashamed. "That's not fair! He's smarter than me! No...I'm just joking. I've got more brains than him because I go to school." It's hard to be mad at one kid when you're doing everything you can to stop from laughing.
After a while, I was able to lecture Gabe on why we don't draw on the walls. I was just dumbfounded that at age 5, he decided to do it suddenly. He may have used a bit of crayon on the doors at age 2, but that was just one or two times. Why the sudden regression? After a lot of soapy water, I was able to scrub the wall clean, and all was forgotten...until YESTERDAY happened.
I thought I had been going slightly crazy when I suddenly caught a whiff of paint in our house. Odd, since it's not a common smell, but it wasn't logical either, since we hadn't been painting. I pushed the thought aside, and just assumed that something in our house smelled bad, like a dish rag or something. Since it was a nice day outside, I talked to Spencer about bringing Gabriel upstairs to go play outside instead of taking his nap. We decided that since he had been up the night before with a bad cough, we should just let him sleep, and hopefully get better. About an hour later, I left the house to pick up Jacob from school. When we returned, as soon as I walked in the door, I was blasted with paint fumes. Before I could say anything, Spencer asked, "Does our house smell like paint still?"
"Yes, and it's really bad now." As Spencer headed towards the stairs, I suddenly knew what had happened. "Oh, no...what's Gabe been doing?!" I shouted. We rushed downstairs, and found that instead of sleeping, Gabriel had been busy at work...redecorating. His feet were painted gold up to his ankles, as were his hands. I glanced at the walls, and red paint streaked across one wall. The kitty litter box was improved with a generous helping of my expensive laundry detergent, seasoned with a bit of red spray paint. Okay. Not too bad. But then Spencer walked into Jacob's room. I quickly followed when he mentioned some of the things that were painted. How he stayed so calm, I'll never know, because when I entered, I began hyperventilating. In the doorway was piles of detergent powder. His mauve carpet was covered in gold paint from where Gabriel stood, painting his feet. Papers from the floor and dresser had been painted, as well as Jacob's alarm clock, ceramic lion statue, and treasure chest he had gotten from his birthday. His magic set box was all gold, as was a huge ugly spot on his favorite stuffed animal. His enormous leopard had been painted red, as was his sword, pillow case, and sheet. His bedspread was painted gold in spots, his red journal was now gold, and his walls were streaked with both red and gold. Clothes that had been left on the floor were forced to participate in Gabe's madness, as were a few stray afghans from Jacob's bed. It was terrible. It was awful. But...Gabe's work didn't end there.
As we ventured into the other rooms, we discovered their play kitchen that was going to be sold at our summer yard sale now had a big red spot on it (as well as piles of laundry detergent inside). My microfiber recliner that was going to be sold was covered in sparkly silver paint. Our huge swivel computer chair, also for the upcoming sale, now had a red spot on it, as did our computer speakers and printer. Somehow, the computer moniter had been spared.
When we entered Gabe's room...nothing had been altered. The little stinker destroyed all but his own room. At lease we know he's not all crazy. :)
I was so mad, I forgot to yell. I sternly scolded him, but I was in such great shock that real anger never really came. As part of his punishment, I ordered him upstairs and into the bath, where his job was to scrub all the paint off himself. That was when he realized with great distress just how permanent paint actually is. When it came time for bed, he was the new owner of a freshly painted Spiderman comforter, and Jacob got his clean one. Again, he felt the impact of his actions. I felt hopeless, wondering what on earth had happened to make him do all of this.
With all of the chaos that our little boys bring, Spencer and I decided that it's pointless for all of us to try to suffer through Sacrament meeting together. Our new plan was to trade weeks with one staying home the first hour with the younger boys while the other goes and takes the sacrament with the older two. Last week was my turn to go to church. I was confident with the set-up, and had each boy sit on either side of me. I had packed a bag full of activities to keep them quiet and entertained...but Gabriel had other things on his mind. He's going through a defiant stage right now where he doesn't like being told what he can and can't do. Especially by an adult. Needless to say, sacrament meeting was a total disaster. Between him crying, whining and shouting out that I was making him touch my private part as I hugged him near to whisper to him to quiet down, I finally had had enough. We left in complete humiliation, with the entire church echoing out with Gabe's cries.
If Fate had any mercy, this would be the extent of our problems. But with so many little boys, that's just not possible. Last week, Jacob and Gabriel decided to aerate our grass with Spencer's shovel. Jarod has decided against napping, and instead, takes off all of his clothes and screams at the top of his lungs while lunging clothes and toys across the room into Caleb's crib, who, by the way, is now at the age where he likes joining in on the chaos. Caleb's mischief comes not only from spilling his sippie cup drink all over the house, but pulling out diapers from his garbage can, and flinging them around his room, which open while airborne.
It's funny how life has a way of changing happily ever afters into what-have-I-dones. And while I'm being buried alive in all of this insane chaos, somehow, a mother's love overcomes all obstacles. I guess with the little things in life, such as Jarod asking me for lettuce for the first time in his life and not only eating it but asking for MORE, it gives me the strength to face another day. Life, no matter how challenging or painful, will always provide some small, tender mercies. It's just a matter of being willing to look for them.