Emerson is getting pretty tough to corral these days. Little by little we've baby-proofed or removed (many) items from every room of our house. But, our efforts always end up feeling like a failed attempt to make things safer for Emerson while minimizing the exhausting, frustrating, perpetual battle of keeping things away from her mitts o' destruction. That girl still finds a way to hurt herself, and destroy or damage several items a day.
This is best illustrated by taking a snapshot—one room, fifteen minutes. So, here we go...
It's mid-morning, the dreaded time of day when I
have to would like to attend to some of my needs for just fifteen minutes. I've been holding my pee (and possibly other things, as well) for hours. My breath is rank with tea and decaying bacteria, and far too many hours without brushing. I need to wash up. I'd like to run a comb through my unwashed hair. Meanwhile, this is the time of day when Emerson is raring to go. She wants nothing to do with being restrained or stuck in the smallest room of the house, which is part of why I've waited so long to attempt this. Fifty percent of the time, I'm lucky to get Emerson buckled into her bouncy seat while I do my thing. But, this is not one of those times.
My only option is to let the creature roam free while I try to attend to my declining personal hygiene.
I start to brush my teeth, and Emerson finds the garbage can, which is lined with an enticing plastic bag. She grabs a fistful of bag and immediately lights up when she hears the sweet crinkle of plastic in her hands, one of her most beloved of illicit substances. She stuffs it in her mouth, while I try to pry it out of the insane grip she's got on it with those four sharp teeth of hers. But, as soon as I get her to release her jaw using the technique I learned when I took my dog to obedience school as a child, she discovers the huge pile of pretty awesome items inside the garbage can that us adults were silly enough to deem unusable. She's pulling things out, one after the other, faster than I can retrieve them from her mouth. Oh my god, that q-tip in her mouth has so much ear wax on it!! Really, the tissue I just blew my nose into?! Come on, not the dirty diaper, puhleeeeeaaase! F*&%#K@, that one touched Alex's ass! How am I going to kiss that mouth of yours ever again, little girl?!!
Meanwhile, I was trying to hold my electric toothbrush (still on) clenched between my teeth while attending to the disaster before me, but it buzzed itself right out of my mouth splattering toothpaste all over my face and Emerson's head.
The garbage can now lives in the bathroom closet.
While I try to clean up the toothpaste explosion, Emerson discovers her next obsession. The removal of the garbage can revealed the hole in the floor that the garbage can was previously hiding. This hole was the displeasing side effect of removing our ancient radiators when we installed a new heating system. It also happens to be the right size to get a small hand stuck, and possibly cut with questionable metal and jagged sub-flooring from the 1940's. I really need to use the toilet, which is going to make it more difficult to head off Emerson's next move, which I'm fairly certain will be that hole. So, I grab Emerson, run to the office, dig around until I find some packing tape, then head back to the bathroom and cover the hole with a few layers of said tape. Ahhhh. Better.
I attack the mess on my head that used to resemble hair with a brush, while Emerson gets down on her belly and proceeds to lick the tape on the floor while intermittently smacking it. She's absolutely tickled by this. Lick, smack, lick, smack. This goes on for a few minutes. Then she gets bored and heads over to the sink where I'm doing my hair. She pushes her way between my legs and tries to open the cabinet underneath the sink (I'm assuming so she can consume all of its contents). She immediately finds nine million items housed in or made of plastic so I throw a hair band around the knobs on the cabinet doors to keep her out (I keep putting off the 45 minute drive to Babies R' Us to purchase a baby lock for the one and only cabinet in our house). Emerson quickly voices her opinion on my makeshift lock, holding on to the knobs while violently pulling the doors back and forth, like an inmate loudly protesting her imprisonment. This inevitably leads to one of her fingers getting crushed in the crack of the door.
Shhhhh. Shhhhh. You're okay, baby. I know it hurt. Awwww. Shhhh.
Back on the floor.
I finish up at the sink while Emerson discovers the toilet paper. I was hoping I'd somehow bypass the toilet paper craze with my child, but that was just silly thinking on my part. Emerson sits down and begins to unroll the entire jumbo 3-ply roll while simultaneously stuffing it in her mouth. She has a genuine taste for paper-related materials, so I'm not altogether surprised by this. But, I'm a little puzzled when she starts to shove the toilet paper into her mouth with greater intensity than usual. She has a look of guilt on her face that seems to be saying I-must-have-this-or-I'll-die-oh-please-don't-let-mama-find-meeee! I try to teach Emerson that eating toilet paper is icky….it's a losing battle. I once more use the dog-jaw technique and relegate the toilet paper roll to the back of the toilet tank. Awesome. One more thing that takes this place one step closer to resembling a frat house rather than a family home. Of course, this strategy will only work until Emerson grows another inch and can reach the top of the tank. Then what? Suspend the TP from the ceiling on a dangling hook? Actually….that isn't a bad idea. I've got to check Pinterest for something like this.
Okay, I've got to use the bathroom or I'm going to need a diaper. Things look pretty secure. What else is there? I sit down very tentatively. Emerson is sitting on the floor chewing on actual teething toys. Clean ones. Oh, wait. She chucks them at the wall and stares at them with disgust. She moves on to the bathtub. First she finds a couple of dirty, wet wash cloths to suck on….the ones I used yesterday to scrub her bum. After tossing them in the tub and not being able to retrieve them, she attempts to eat the shower liner. She quickly tires of this, though, and I think thank goodness, that's literally everything she could possibly attack in this room. But, she's bored now that she's attacked everything in the room. What is left to entertain her? Mama, of course.
Emerson crawls over and lurks beneath my feet while I'm sitting on the toilet. What the hell is she going to do?! She caresses the now empty toilet paper holder, looking at me scornfully. She then shimmies her way into the small crevice between the wall and the toilet and proceeds to smack the toilet seat. She then attempts to stick her hands in the bowl while my ass is mere millimeters away from her face. I scream. This cannot happen. This is not okay. Emersonnnnn!!! I pull her out and put her back on the ground beneath me.
I guess I better wrap this up, ready or not. Emerson decides to pull herself up by holding onto the drawstring of my pants while I do some sort of crazy back bend in an attempt to stabilize her and grab the toilet paper off the back of the the toilet tank simultaneously. I hurriedly try to get some TP off the roll before it is ripped from my hands and ingested. I pull my pants up.
This is our life.