Hard time(s).

Why did these babies get thrown into the hoosegow, you ask? The charges are numerous, the crimes heinous. There’s the shattered iPad, of course, for which Emme may never be forgiven; but Jack is far from blameless. Justin came into the room on Saturday and found him carefully poking at my Nikon D700 camera, which was cradled in his lap. He had somehow gotten it down from the computer armoire. I do not like to think about my poor camera’s journey from armoire to floor, for I feel certain it was neither gentle nor without crashing incident; so far, it’s still taking pictures, so I’m trying to forget that this ever happened. It will be 6-10 of hard labor before little Jack forgets, however.

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, babies.

It’s so cliche to moan about the destructiveness of toddlers, ranking right up there with “Whew! Changing dirty diapers sure does STINK!” I can’t help it, though. Their crafty little paws are always grasping for something they can take apart or throw to the ground. They no sooner get their greedy hands on something before they’re dismantling it, piece by piece. It’s all part of the process of learning, I know, that desire to see how things work and to see what’s inside something, and then what’s inside that, and so on and so on. But it doesn’t make it any easier when you realize that, oh holy mother of God, now they can reach the THIRD shelf on the bookshelf. Pile those priceless artifacts on the fourth shelf, along with the priceless artifacts from the first, second, and third shelves.

Ugh. Our house is just so JANKY right now, with piles of random stuff huddled in corners that house electrical outlets in an attempt to keep these stupid babies who are intent on electrocuting themselves away.

That the whole babyproofing process has been difficult for me is a result of 41 years of living by no one else’s decorating rules but my own combined with the fact that I have a deep love of collecting a variety of objects. Thrift stores, estate sales, and garage sales are my passion (as evidenced on my other blog, which badly needs to be updated), and over the past 15 years of living in Chicago I’ve collected so many amazing objects that I’ve delighted in being able to display. These items aren’t just things to me. The things I bring home from estate sales and thrift stores all have a history, a life prior to coming to my apartment — sometimes, 50, 60, or 70 years of a life, lived in someone else’s possession, and now mine to take care of. These objects were once meaningful to someone else, and now they’re meaningful to me.

Except now they’re packed away or stacked on a shelf in a closet.

First I had to clear out the craft room, which really was more of a room for all of the random stuff I bought on Saturday mornings than anything else, to make room for Destructo 1 and 2 to sleep in; next to go was my vintage hat collection in the living room, as we just didn’t have enough room to display them once all the baby stuff started to pile up. Then we had to get rid of the cool coffee table for which I had searched for years before finding the exact right one — a round, solid wood dining room table cut down to coffee table size — and all of the nifty items that were previously displayed on top of it, like my pottery that housed my collection of vintage cat-eye glasses and vintage Bakelite game pieces. As the toys and baby accouterments continued to swell in the living room, my precious collections continued to dwindle, banished to the storeroom where I guess I’ll unpack them sometime when the babies are, oh, I don’t know, twenty.

Visiting hours are over, Jack. See you next Saturday. 

This is one of those things that I feel supremely guilty for complaining about, and selfish for even thinking. Would I rather have babies or things? (Hmm. Good thing no one asked me that on the day Jack was caught with my camera. I mean. It’s MY CAMERA.) But it’s still hard. When I came home on a Saturday and discovered that Justin had moved everything around in the bathroom in an attempt to get all cleaning products and medication out of the babies’ hands, I went ballistic. He had switched things around with no regard to organization! Or aesthetics! OH MY GOD I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING AND THE TOWELS DO NOT LOOK GOOD THERE. (Let us leave aside the issue that most women would think they’d died and gone to heaven if they had a husband who would do such a thing. I can be ridiculously ungrateful at times.) Once I calmed down I realized what the problem was: losing my collections, moving things around, always feeling like something in the room is posing a danger to one of the babies is yet another loss of control. I’m used to having everything just so. I used to be able to clean the apartment and it would look nice until at least Wednesday. Now I clean the apartment at 2:36 pm on Sunday and it looks nice until…2:38 pm on Sunday.

Just another reminder that I am utterly bereft of any control when it comes to raising these kids.

But I will be gol-darned if either of those terrors ever ends up with my camera on their laps again. That, my friends, I have control over.

BTW: Justin installed the gate in the kitchen over the weekend and it has already changed our lives. I can take them in there when I’m cooking or preparing their meal and they busy themselves disassembling the kitchen, pot by pan. It’s quite pleasant having the two of them at my feet while cooking. 


Patrick T. Lynch - March 1, 2012 - 9:37 pm

They look so much like Janie and Bob I think it is useless trying to raise them. Now comes payback time. But the parents were probably perfect?

Katie - March 1, 2012 - 10:15 pm

Brutal. Honest, but brutal. LOVE IT!

This city living is killing you – come to the ‘burbs – we have 4 bedroom houses with basement playrooms!!!

Lara Jo - March 2, 2012 - 6:54 pm

Ahhhh…I think I am most jealous of the basement…

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