I visited my family over the weekend and one of the first things my brother asked was, “Is Zack any better?” My youngest child, Zack, has not been sick. But my brother wasn’t referring to his health; my brother was referring to his, uhm, behavioral issues.
Zack, I’m told, is a typical 2 and a half year old, although the people who tell me this are somewhat consolatory. They say it like an apology, shaking their heads and clicking their tongues. Poor, poor woman, they’re thinking. She’s got a monster on her hands.
Okay, so Zack’s not a monster. In fact, I see him as an advanced child, somewhat of a prodigy. The boy has superhuman destructive capabilities. We call him DestructoBoy (costume with cape forthcoming).
Most of the destruction takes place while one of us is in the bathroom. Once, in the middle of cleaning out the fridge, I took a break for less than three minutes, leaving Tupperware containers filled with spoiled food on the kitchen counter. I returned to find Zack standing tall on the countertop, throwing Tupperware to the floor with zeal. It took two moppings and one roll of paper towel to clean up the leftover Thanksgiving gravy, lil smokies in barbeque sauce, and moldy broccoli.
Whenever I turn the shower on I can hear a wooden chair scrape across the kitchen floor.
“Zack,” I yell from behind the shower curtain. “Put that chair back!”
I rush through my showers to find him stuffing cake, cookies, or stale Halloween candy into his mouth. He’s found all my hiding places, twice over. The last time I made hot cocoa I couldn’t even find the marshmallows.
And then there are Zack’s quiet moments in the bathroom. In two bath’s time he emptied one 40-count box of panty-liners, sticking them to the shower wall like spitballs to a ceiling. And if Guiness had a record for quickest toilet paper unrolling, that kid would be a contender; he’s gone through 5 rolls in the last two weeks.
It wouldn’t be so discouraging if I didn’t think that Zack was calculating, stealthy, and strategic in his raids. While I’m rerolling the toilet paper, he makes a break for the kitchen where he taste-tests all the yogurts, dropping spoonfuls of chocolate and strawberry whips onto the floor. While I’m mopping up yogurt he runs downstairs where he pulls folded laundry from their baskets and peppers the stairs with detergent.
Recently I’ve considered contacting the Office of Homeland Security. I think Zack would work well as a consultant. As my own little weapon of mass destruction I think he might be able to help our nation establish world peace. Nevermind peace at home. I’m guessing, however, that the government might pay him for his time. At least then I could be reimbursed for all that toilet paper.