Becky's Bottom Line
By Becky Brownstein
"Walls are just mass expanses of mural space."
FUN OR DESTRUCTION?
Kids break things. Kids ruin things. Kids touch what they shouldn't. Kids use their imaginations and turn diaper changing table pads into stair sleds. They also create forts out of every single blanket that’s folded neatly in the linen closet. Panty liners are money. Toilet paper is used for a new age Hansel and Gretel game. Books are for practicing scissor skills. Pencils are meant to be broken and then sharpened over and over again. Walls are just mass expanses of mural space.
As a parent, I get angry. These are the things that I have bought with my own money (that my husband worked so hard to make) and took the time to make nice. All my hard work and planning can get ruined in exactly three seconds. I want to make rule after rule after rule to get the kids to stop touching what they shoudn’t, but it would only make the planning that much greater. They want to discover. I want them to discover, but I also don’t want my things ruined.
It’s a tug of war I have in my head all the time.
My greatest memories as a kid were going through things that I was not supposed too. Putting on my moms makeup, wearing her heels or even attempting to shave my legs and cutting open my shin. I would also find old contact lens cases and dissect the remaining lenses soaking inside. Doing what you’re not supposed to makes for great interesting fun. Of course I got into trouble, but I don’t remember my punishment. I clearly remember the feeling of discovery.
These are the memories I treasure. These are the memories that link me with my siblings. Who am I to destroy my kids’ memories? I love listening to my friends who grew up in large families talk about all the fun they had. The pillow fights, the trekking down the steps in plastic bags, the breaking into the parents bedroom with a paper clip to sneak in some television time. I don’t want to rob my kids of fun memories of destruction. But then again, I don’t want my house destroyed. Sometimes when they ask permission to do something, I feel like saying “why are you asking and putting me in this position? Just do it and don’t tell me.” I haven’t said it, but I know they are starting to realize it.
I know I can’t have it both ways. My kids are not old enough yet for me to have passed a certain threshold of secretive destruction. I know it’s coming, I don’t know when. But in a way I am kind of excited. Planning destruction is a team effort. That means they will be collaborating together and not fighting. They are linking to each other. My girls will learn how to trust and depend on each other. I know it’s a learning experience at my and my husband’s expense (wallet) but its a learning experience nontheless. It’s also something my husband and I can share together. Here are our children conspiring and thinking we don’t know whats going on when in fact we do. We can collaborate and make our own plans, together.
Bottom line is: I have no idea how to plan accordingly. Kids scheming and destroying things is a plan-as-it-goes kind of thing. I have no way to prepare for battle. But then again, is it something that I want to battle?