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Wow. I’ve been mute. For a while.


·         Charlotte seems to want to potty train. So we’re practicing.
·         Two cords of wood have been delivered, and the woodstove is running for the year. Hurray for warm floors.
·         Work is completely insane, as are my coworkers.
·         The office move finally happened.

I think that’s all the really high points.

This weekend was a series of disasters. I was *supposed* to do my holiday baking, and while I did purchase twenty pounds of flour and twenty pounds of butter, no baking actually occurred. See, Bob came home on Friday and announced that he had to work on Saturday. Not merely go in to work, but go in to work EARLY. Sadly, Charlotte decided that she was not wired for “weekend,” so she got me up just about the same time as I usually get up to go to work. I spent most of the day mainlining caffeine trying to stay awake. I was literally falling asleep on my feet. To add a complication, practically overnight Charlotte has turned from a child who would play quietly in the living room to one who is into anything and everything, and whom you can’t really turn your back on. Not something I could handle while doing high-volume baking. So instead I cleaned. On Friday, I mucked out the alcove off the side of the fridge, and scrubbed everything scrubbable. If it wasn’t scrubbable, I dusted it. Got rid of a bunch of crap, reorganized the rest, and cleaned everything.

There were paw prints on top of the refrigerator.

Saturday, as I mentioned, dawned early, so I went back into the kitchen and tackled a different section. I can’t rightly remember exactly what I was cleaning on Saturday, but I do recall that I spent a LOT of time on the coffee pot. A lot of time. I’ve reluctantly had to admit that the coffee stains in the plastic aren’t coming out – not for love, nor money. I mean, it WAS a wedding gift eleven and a half years ago, so I suppose some coffee stains are okay. I ran a vinegar cycle. Then I soaked some pieces and scrubbed others. Ran a rinse cycle. More vinegar. More water for rinse. Etc.  That is one clean coffee pot, boys and girls. Ironic, since I don’t drink the stuff. I also spent a lot of time pulling Charlotte out of things I didn’t want her doing – like taking ornaments off the tree and coloring on the table. Sans paper. By the way – those Crayola washable crayons? They really are. Charlotte didn’t nap and refused to eat anything *I* offered, so by the time himself got home I was on the verge of falling asleep standing up. I think I passed out on the couch for a couple of hours. Then Bob announced that he had to go back in on Sunday. He also brought up the table that I’d asked for Friday night, finally put my snow tires on my car so that I can get up the driveway, and built the wood box we talked about LAST winter. Then he filled it. It’s very nice. It holds more wood than Ziggy does, and more to the point, frees up Ziggy for an actual fire.

So on Sunday, Bob was out the door about 7ish, and herself was bouncing up to start the day about fifteen minutes afterwards. Sleep in on the day off and the weekend? Apparently not. Then, just to put icing on the cake Charlotte, apparently possessed by the devil, turned into a child that you could not take your eyes off for a moment. She took ornaments off of the tree. She colored on the table. She colored on her toys. She scattered the entire contents of her toy basket across the living room. Where the hell did this come from? At the point where even if she wasn’t tired, she should have been, I took her upstairs for a nap and left her playing with her doll. Seems safe, doesn’t it? I paid no attention to the silence from upstairs. Napping = silence, right? Except there’s another option. Sometimes, silence = trouble. And there was indeed trouble in River City. I went back to kitchen cleaning. Some time later when I heard her stirring about, I went up to get her. Let me paint you a picture, boys and girls.

I opened the door, and my grinning, naked child is, well, naked. Which means that she is not wearing a diaper. Which means that puddle she’s standing in – yep, it’s what you think. She has removed her clothes, put her (wet) diaper onto the stack of clean cloth diapers under the changing table, and her diaper cover on the next shelf up with the rest. At least she knows where they go. She has peed on the floor. She has rummaged through the drawers in the end table and found a black, permanent Sharpie, and has indeed even managed to get the cap off. Once the cap was off, she colored:

·         Her white shirt;

·         The wood floor – extensively;

·         The end table, on the outside;

·         The end table inside all of the drawers;

·         The humidifier – all the parts she could reach (knob, fan, and reservoir);

·         The desk clock – all six surfaces;

·         Every inch of herself that she could reach. She looked like a Maori warrior. Including her, um, girl bits.

It’s one of those things that my co-workers find to be hysterical, and I’m sure that when I get some distance (and a floor sander) I will too. At the time, I was just LIVID. She lost the grin really, really fast. As I think about it, I’m not sure she’s ever seen Mommy that angry with her before. She dropped that marker at the speed of light, I can tell you that much. I parked her on the toilet to warehouse her, and started scrubbing.

The Comet Bathroom Cleaner took it off of the plastic stuff – the clock, most of the humidifier (it didn’t get it off the dial), and the exterior of the end table. The inside of the drawers are raw wood – they’ll have to be sanded if I decide I care. The floor was much more involved. The Comet did a good job of cleaning up the puddle, and took off some of the Sharpie, but not all. The Magic Eraser took some of the rest out, and the Murphy’s Wood Oil Soap took off a little more. Because our floors are in such crappy shape, they’re basically unfinished at this point, so I think to get it all out they’re going to have to be sanded. I’m telling myself they need replacing anyway… So far nothing has even touched the stains on the shirt. I’ve tried the OxyClean stick (which is a fabulous thing, by the way), Goof Off, rubbing alcohol, and Dawn. Next I’m going to try WD-40. Also, Dad has always had good luck with brake fluid.

While all of this was going on, my recalcitrant daughter tried a number of strategies. It was apparent to her as I came through the door that charm was going to be utterly ineffectual. I think she probably knew she was doing something wrong because of the way she dropped that marker as I came in the room. Either that, or I looked like retribution on the move. When charm failed, she tried pouting. Then she screwed up her face and cried. After that she alternated between pouting, crying, and begging for Daddy. Who called in the middle of this mess to say he was coming home. He got home as we were back downstairs and I was Googling “how to remove sharpie.” He took the kid up to the tub, because I was in a mood to suggest sandpaper. What the internet suggested, and apparently actually worked, was shaving cream. I don’t know why, but it did, and he got it all off of her.

I was too angry to think to take a picture, and frankly it would probably have been positive reinforcement. I will, however, tell some boyfriend or another ALL about it at some point.

Now, all I wanted at that point was a nap. Actually, “wanted” is an insufficient word. “Needed” conveys more of the sense of short-of-sleep urgency. Except the bed was covered with laundry, and there was more in progress. So I had to process three loads of laundry before I could lay myself down at 4:30 for a nap. I probably would have turned that into going to bed for the evening except at some point I overheated and woke up. Dinner, more laundry, more laundry, more laundry, huge row with my husband, shower, finis.  Alarm clock.

This morning I ate up my lunch hour by taking my demon child over to the pediatrician. The clear runny nose had turned into a yellowy-green runny nose had turned into a bit of a croupy cough had turned into a deep wet cough that she was gagging on. I was pretty sure it’s just a nasty cold, but figured if I let it go it was guaranteed to go to a crisis on either Christmas Eve when the office is closed and I’m halfway across the state, or on the following Monday when she’s with Grandma and Grandpa while I’m in NYC. Neither option sounded attractive. She’s got a “sinusy thing” going on that the doctor didn’t like the looks of, so she’s got a short course of antibiotics to kill whatever is brewing up there. 

I’d rather pill the cat.  The cat has a scruff for leverage, and a muzzle that can be clamped shut. 

Coming soon: another entertaining episode of “Co-Workers Behaving Badly.”

EDIT: Turns out it wasn't shaving cream, it was baby oil.  Hopefully we'll never get a chance to test out the shaving cream...


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
I think you've reached the Terrible Twos.


On the one hand: They only last a year or so at best

On the other hand: It'll be the longest year or so of your life

On the gripping hand: She'll do it again in her teens. Because that's what the Terrible Twos are -- practice for being an adolescent.

Good luck!
Dec. 21st, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
I think you're right. This is my reward for thinking "okay, isn't too bad..."

If the worst thing I have to deal with in her teens is her drawing on herself with a Sharpie, I win.
Dec. 21st, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
I hope so. I'd hate for you (and her) to go through the BS I'm dealing with.
Dec. 21st, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'd like to say that I won't, but they're their own people and there's only so much we can do. I'm sure that I broke my mother's heart with some of the choices and mistakes I made. I guess all we can hope for is that they come out the other side okay.
Dec. 20th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry. It sounds like an absolutely awful weekend. Hopefully the week ahead brings some peace and improvement.

And now I know how to get sharpie out of plastic surfaces, which I expect will come in handy in very short order!
Dec. 21st, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
I've had better. :-)

Just keep the Sharpie away from her! The washable crayons really ARE, by the way.
Dec. 20th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Okay, you can smack me for it later, but I couldn't help laughing...which I seriously needed, given that I've been on an unintentional crash diet since Friday--no calories have stayed in my system long enough to process.

Sorry it was such a disaster, but thanks for the entertaining description.
Dec. 21st, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
No need to smack you - if it's not YOUR kid/house/floor, it's damn funny. Everyone at work thought it was the best thing they've heard for a while.
Dec. 20th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
Oh wow....

I don't think I have the words.
Dec. 21st, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
No worries - I had LOTS of them.
Dec. 20th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
Oh wow...I'm sorry but it IS a bit hilarious. ^___^ The Sharpie Incident will make a great blackmail story for the rest of her life. A picture for added impact (trotted out at weddings and family parties and graduation...stuff like that) would have been great, but I totally understand your desire to not make her think she'd done something picture-worthy.

Compared to the crap they do to you as teenagers, this is a mild nuisance. But yes, that certainly does not sound like a fun clean up!
Dec. 21st, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
Oh no - it's a lot hilarious. Telling the story has been a lot more fun than dealing with it. At least I've gotten some enjoyment in my own way.
Dec. 21st, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
Good God, I'd be stunned to speechlessness.

I am glad it was something safe she got into, despite the awful damage to the floors and furniture. Stains comes out, eventually. But, nothing broken, and she's at the phase of testing her boundaries, which will pass. I hope.
Dec. 21st, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
Sadly, I was not stunned to speechlessness. I think I may have exposed her to the out reaches of my vocabulary.

On the bright side, no serious damage was done, and it's not bad for her to know that she does NOT want mommy mad at her.
Dec. 21st, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
When Carrie was a baby she covered her hair and her doll's hair with vaseline. It wasn't funny at the time, but I can laugh about it now. Give it 27 years and you will be laughing about it too! Nothing like a little extra stress during the holidays. Hope the rest of your holidays are smooth.
Dec. 21st, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness. I can't fathom how you got the doll clean.
Dec. 21st, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
Thank the gods Rhiannon hasn't found a sharpie yet (maybe next week), but I will share that the TV, the table, and the desk are a lot more colorful these days. We also have opted to wait until this stage passes to clean said items--that way, it only has to be done once.

Pills? Not liquid? Gads--why didn't the pediatrician just prescribe hypodermic needles and make it perfectly horrid? Best of luck--please let us know how it turns out!
Dec. 21st, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
No, they gave us liquid. She'll scream, drool, and it will all run out the corners of her mouth. I kinda think I'd *rather* pill her. My mom had this neat trick of grinding up aspirin fine and mixing it into a teaspoon full of grape jam...
Dec. 21st, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
We still have the doll - and never did get it all out. It took about 5 shampooing to get Carrie's hair clean.
Dec. 21st, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
>it wasn't shaving cream, it was baby oil
Thank you...that bit of knowledge might save us a lot of future aggravation. So far Sharpie's only been once or twice because we're religious about hanging them up on the fridge pocket... but V's found that pocket and has figured out how to move chairs to get there.

Last marker incident was her art project outlining her hands. At school. Not on paper mind you. Just putting an outline on her hands. Your Maori warrior-woman still wins over the cartoon child...except that we didn't know about the baby oil so we just lived with it for a week.

Sounds to me like if she doesn't want the liquid, grape jam might be worth a try. I wonder if it's the med itself or the flavoring. After a few appalling tantrums with Victoria, we switched her tylenol from cherry to bubblegum and magic happened. Of course it wore off but in the meantime things were calmer.
Dec. 23rd, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
Dear Lord, and I thought mine had some amazing terrible twos and dreadful threes. (I've always thought that whoever came up with the phrase "terrible twos" simply had a child so awful they weren't allowed to reach the threes, which were much worse with mine.)

Though when Katy was five and Annie three they got into a box of grout powder and spread it over the computer room, their bedroom, and the upstairs hall. While their father was on the computer. How he missed it when it must have taken them at least 10 minutes to do what they did in just that room.... I seem to recall that I had to ask my mother to come over with her Kirby and all it's attachments to finish getting it all up. Because of course that bit of Navy housing had wall to wall carpeting in all the upstairs rooms. And I was still finding powder months later.

You could always leave the floors till she's old enough to help with the refinishing.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )