My oldest son was very mischievous when he was a toddler. At 12 months he climbed out of his crib, got ahold of an entire Costco sized tub of Vaseline and preceded to rub the entirety of it all over his body, the walls, his hair, etc. When I recounted the stories of his adventurous antics to my friends they would fall down laughing. I had no idea when I brought my sweet preemies home from the hospital that the things that they would do would outshine even their brother.
My twin boys learned early on that they could accomplish much more with cooperation and teamwork. Twin A likes to take large toys and arranges them so he can stand on them in order to grab off-limit, out of reach items. This way he is able to get stuff off the kitchen counters, turn the lights on and off, unlock the front door, and make the retractable patio awning open and close on an infinite repeat. This kind of problem solving is always at the center of any disaster. B is obsessed with cords, plugs and electronics. Frequently I will find that A has stacked toys and gotten phone and charging cords that are out of reach for B; which B then turns around and plugs them into outlets (of which he has a workaround for every single baby lock on the market). I have gotten to the point where I cannot let them out of my sight for fear of what I will find.
The other day I found B eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, which had been well out of reach. I still don’t know how he got it. There was peanut butter hand prints everywhere, not to mention in his hair and on his clothes. There is nothing a little boy likes more than the damage he could do to a freshly mopped floor. Needless to say he was very upset that I had to take his snack away. This is where buying at warehouse stores can be both a blessing and a curse. A curse because it was of course a giant jar of peanut butter; and a blessing because it was a two-pack and we had one left over for sandwiches for lunch.
My twins share a room and around when they turned two I got fed up and bought a web cam for their room. Oh the things that I have seen. They will be perfectly quiet until some disaster and then they are both crying. I am able to look at the camera and see how fast I need to walk or run. Walk if it is a fight over a blanket, run if there is danger. A few months ago I heard A crying, checked the camera and was shocked at what I found. He had balanced on the footboard of his bed and was reaching across his dresser (which is bolted into the wall) to open the one drawer that I hadn’t put a baby lock on. By the time I got upstairs he was hanging from the top of the dresser; unsure of how to get down. Another time I ran upstairs to find that they had taken the mattress off of B’s bed and were pulling up all of the mattress support slats. Eventually B had gotten stuck between the slats and couldn’t get out.
Up until a few months after they turned two I thought that it was all manageable; if not entertaining. Then the Naked Twos set in. This is the one where they take off all of their clothes during naptime, after you tuck them in at bedtime, or just when you turn your back for a few minutes. With my oldest we were able to just put him in footie pajamas with a strip of duct tape all around the chest to keep his clothes on. My twins however were a different story. When we tried what worked for their brother they would un-tape each other and still have a naked party. Our next step was cutting off the feet; putting the pajamas on backwards and then adding the tape. They figured their way out of that one too. We found that the only thing that worked was a strip of duct tape all the way around the diaper. Nakedness always leads to finger “painting” or puddles, which leads to way more carpet shampooing and wall scrubbing than you have time for.
At the end of the day they will of course do something adorable that will make you instantly forget all the mischief filled events of the day. I constantly tell myself that I must be raising future engineers, masters of critical thinking, and future problem solvers. All the messes I clean up and disasters that I avert are just evidence that I must have some smarties on my hands.
Destiny Effertz is a stay at home mom to 3 boys under 5. Prior to having children she worked as a paralegal in a large civil litigation firm. Now she uses those research and organizational skills formulating new pie recipes and planning family vacations.