Max is 14 months old this week…
… and I think the easiest way for me to paint you a picture of what he’s like at this age is by sharing a quick snapshot of our Sunday – or The Day of Destruction, as I think of it.
The D.O.D (Yup, already regretting that one…) started at 7:30am, with a poop so explosive that it managed to escape both his nappy and vest, and make it all the way up his back and onto his pyjamas – both top and bottom. Max seemed quite pleased with himself. I was already wondering how soon I could reasonably expect to go back to bed.
Well, there was nothing for it but to strip him and wash him down… and then take him with me to the bathroom, so I could rinse out the clothes he’d been wearing, before putting them in the machine. While I carried out this grim task, I placed Max on the bathroom floor beside me, and within seconds – SECONDS, people – he’d toddled over and ripped the rubber seal off the bottom of the shower screen, before reaching in and turning on the bath taps. All while I was still up to my elbows in poop.
It wasn’t exactly the lazy Sunday morning we used to have, to be honest, but thankfully by the time we exited the bathroom, Terry was up, so he took over Max, and gave him breakfast, while I hunted out the stain remover for his PJs, and then scrubbed down the bathroom sink. Finally, I sat down at the kitchen table to drink my now cold (OBVIOUSLY) coffee… just in time to see Max pick up the floor mop that was leaning against the wall (Yeah, our house is still basically a building site right now – there’s stuff EVERYWHERE), and, swinging it wildly round his head, succeed in knocking down, not one, but two – TWO – of the canvases on the kitchen wall. ‘California’ wobbled dramatically on its hook, before giving up and dropping down onto the radiator below it. ‘Marilyn’ meanwhile, just straight-up fell off the wall, taking the fuse box underneath with her. So THAT was awesome.
I scooped Max out of the way, while Terry came over to inspect the damage. “Well, this is going to have to be replaced,” he said, pointing at the fuse box (I have no idea how to describe this, but it’s basically an electrical outlet on the wall. Marilyn’s canvas is cunningly placed over it, to hide it, but when she’d fallen, she’d somehow managed to knock the protective cover off the thing, exposing all of the wires underneath…). I didn’t have time to answer him, though, because, in the few seconds it had taken for me to glance round to see what he was talking about, Max had once again picked up the mop, and then dropped it on his own foot. He wasn’t hurt… but he was OUTRAGED, and the resulting cacophony went on for a good few minutes, during which Terry and I both lost the will to live, and I for one was seriously tempted to just give up, and join Marilyn under the kitchen table.
AND IT WASN’T EVEN 9AM YET.
“That’s it,” I said, picking Max back up. “We’re going out for the day. We need to be somewhere he can’t break things.”
And this, my friends, is why I spend so much time in soft play centres and play cafes right now: purely so I can spend just a little bit of time in a place I don’t have to tidy up afterwards, and where I don’t basically just walk around all the time shouting, “NO! DON’T TOUCH THAT!” and “BATTERIES AREN’T FOOD, MAX, HOW MANY TIMES MUST I TELL YOU?”
At 14 months, Max is very much a toddler. He’s now walking confidently, and climbing even MORE confidently:
If there’s somewhere it isn’t safe for him to be, that’s where we’ll find him. If there’s something we don’t want him to have, it will be the only thing he can think of. He very much knows his own mind, is interested in everything, and knows where each and every spare battery and pair of scissors is hidden.
He’s completely awesome, basically.
He’s also a HANDFUL. On the Sunday I was telling you about, for instance, we came back from our day out with gran and grandad, and I took him into the office to play with the toys – by which I mean “the fully fitted kitchen” – we keep there for them. I was kneeling on the floor, watching him happily toddle over to the giant teddy (“Big Ted”. Well, what else would you call a giant teddy bear?) who sits on the chair in this room, and Max was literally within arm’s reach of me at all times. “Aww, is Max going to give Big Ted a hug?” I asked. “That’s nice: go and give Big Ted a lovely big…” And before I could even finish my sentence, Max had abruptly changed course, bypassed Big Ted and his chair, and reached instead for the little side table which sits next to the chair. The sidetable which he has never once shown the slightest bit of interest in, but which he now grabbed hold of and cheerfully shoved over, breaking one of its legs in the process.
He then completed his reign of terror by doing this:
And, honestly, my first thought was, “I should stop him doing that,” but my second thought was, “Oooor, I could just let him, and at least I’ll get a few minutes peace.” Such is life when you’re parenting a toddler, though: as I said in my last post, you have to choose your battles, don’t you?
(Also, I can sense the Internet getting ready to pass judgement and tell me we should be keeping a closer eye on him or something, but, seriously, guys, he does this stuff while you’re RIGHT THERE WATCHING HIM. I mean, he broke that table when I was sitting right next to him – he just moves so fast sometimes that it takes your breath away. And your table away, come to think of it.)
Unlike the fuse box and canvases, the table could not be fixed, sadly, so, the next day, Terry dropped it off at the council tip, along with the last shreds of our sanity. We’re officially toddler parents, folks: the ones who can’t move without tripping over discarded toys, and whose home is slowly being destroyed from the ground up – to the point where, last time I took Max to soft play, I found myself looking around at the padded floor and walls and thinking, “I wonder how much it would cost to do something like this to the house?” If I thought the baby stage was hard – and honestly, I thought the baby stage was REALLY freaking hard – it was absolutely nothing compared to this, let me tell you.
Would we have it any other way, though?
Well, yeah, we would: because I am seriously going to have a heart attack if this boy keeps trying to climb on top off things, and then throw himself back off them again. But also, no, I wouldn’t, because every day we get to see a little bit more of his personality. Every single day he makes us roar with laughter, or almost weep over how totally adorable he is. And, this month, along with the mischief and the confidence, there’s also been a little bit of stranger danger creeping in, which means that, while he’s generally as happy as the day is long (And the days are very, very long), when he’s in a new situation, or around people he doesn’t know very well, he just wants his mum and dad. It reminds me that, as far as this little boy is concerned, we’re still his whole world – and God knows, that won’t last forever, so what the hell: I think I might just let him unravel another toilet roll. Only the very best for my boy, after all…