have a saying around the Gosselink household, “If it ain’t broken, let the four
year old get ahold of it. It’ll be broken, pert near destroyed, in three minutes.
Four if it’s childproofed.”
Okay, it’s pretty much just my saying. The
wife doesn’t really care for it. In fact, she finds it’s negative tone detrimental,
and the poor grammar atrocious seeing that we’re both English teachers. I argue
it’s colloquial for effect, but she claims it’s hyperbolic self-parody - “pert
near?” - thus negating its effect by being too over the top…..
just had a huge epiphany – we’re the most boring couple on the planet! I feel
sadder, but wiser, knowing this. This may explain why our kids find the need to
destroy things for entertainment.
of the cause, I’m really getting tired of the 4-year-old tearing up her stuff,
my stuff, the occasional random stranger’s stuff, and even the stuff of the Lord.
I had to throw away most of our little offering envelopes at church after she
“decorated” them for me when the liturgist droned on a little too long. Boring
This destruction seems to be caused by a series of things.
The natural curiosity of a growing brain, the congenital uncoordination of our
people, the sheer fun of taking a functional useful item and making it useless.
This is going to be a hard habit to break. Whoa, “break,” get it? That’s rich.
If there was any doubt about my boringness, my affinity for bad puns should
clear that up.
To further illustrate my point, the 4 year old has just
handed me the antenna from the little transistor radio I listen to as I write.
I would say this was an interesting twist of fate that the very moment I’m writing
about her breaking stuff that she breaks some of my stuff, except for the fact
that if she is awake, she’s breaking stuff.
the average day, we have this conversation about three times. I walk into her
room and there is a 1) a Barbie with all her hair cut-off. 2) a pop-up book with
all of its pop-ups ripped out. 3) an unused book of checks, that I had thought
was in a secure place, covered in crayon “T-E-S-S”. 4) Her older sister’s best-friend’s
friend bracelet unraveled into the different colored cords.
you doing?!!! Why have you destroyed Barbie/pop-up book/checkbook/friendship bracelet?”
“I forgot.” “You forgot? What do you mean you forgot? One can’t forget not to
destroy something. One must make a conscious effort to destroy, not forget not
to. Do you understand what I’m saying?” “Yeah, you’re saying something boring.”
sigh, close door, and go lock down what’s left of my possessions. It’s like have
my own little personal looter.
The wife says this is just a stage, that
the older kid broke all my stuff and I complained about it then also, but I don’t
remember losing the majority of my earthly possessions to the fruit of my loins.
Now that I think about it, “fruit of my loins” is kind of a disturbing phrase,
especially if one takes it literally and visualizes it. Taking phrases literally
and visualizing them is how boring people spend their time.
what to do? The child rearing books say to change this behavior, the child must
understand cause and effect, consequences, and impact on others. Sadly, I don’t
understand cause and effect, consequences, and impact on others, so instead of
feeling frustrated, I just had a nice bag of chips and tossed the book to the
4 year old to tear up.
I enlisted the wife to help save some of my stuff,
and after a real long, boring conversation, her cunning plan was to redirect the
kid’s efforts to more constructive ends. The wife, noticing I wasn’t fully comprehending
her cunning plan by the distracted, “I wish I had a nice bag of chips,” look in
my eye, decided we should role-play the scenario. Hooray, role playing! This should
spice up our boring lives.
Great, we even make role-playing boring. First,
the wife wouldn’t let me be Alan Greenspan (“Interest rates will go up 4 points!
Ha, feel my power”), secondly, she said I couldn’t be the 4 year old and at least
have the fun of wrecking something, and then the kicker was that I had to be myself.
I was supposed to walk in and practice redirecting the kid’s destruction. What
kind of role-playing is being yourself? The one concession she made is I got to
wear a sombrero as I played the role of “Me wearing a sombrero.”
the wife is the kid tearing up stuff and I walk in a react appropriately. First,
what’s my motivation, my back story? Let’s see, I’m wearing a sombrero, so let’s
say I just returned from gun running with the Gulf Coast cartel and a bit weary
from the firefight with the federales. And hungry, yep definitely hungry. So I’m
weary, hungry and speak with a bit of an accent, and who are you again? Alan Greenspan?
That’s when the wife decided she was just going to let the kid tear up my stuff.
So that’s where we’re at the Gosselink household. Everything’s torn up, it’s real
boring, and the wife refuses to role-play with me. I just have to figure out a
way to keep the kid away from my sombrero.