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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Living With the Blaming Tasmanian Devil...

Kinfolk?
I’m convinced that apart from the voracious appetite for rabbit, my three-year-old son may be a distant relative of "Taz," the Tasmanian Devil of Looney Tunes fame. Not in looks, of course, my son is a lot cuter, but in energy level and propensity for disruption.

When my son goes into a room, you know he has been there.

The guy is chaos waiting to happen. In a matter of turning your head, every single miniature car, pirate ship and superhero action figure is spread all over the floor, jig-saw puzzles (at least three at a time because he can’t just work on one) and books are scattered everywhere, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals flung in the closet, toy boxes that go under the bed and his costume trunk are emptied; in other words, a disaster zone worthy of a visit from FEMA. It really looks as though the Tasmanian Devil, who swirls around like a small hurricane, went by.

And, he loves to share his passion for disarray. Not satisfied with keeping the mess contained to his room, he exports it to the living room, dining room and our bedroom.

Moreover, ask him what just happened and Taz's cousin, twice removed, points the finger at one of his sisters quicker than Barak Obama blames George W. Usually, it's our six-year-old daughter, his partner in crime, who takes the lion's share of the blame. However, our boy doesn’t discriminate.

Last weekend, while my wife was away at a retreat and our younger daughter was sleeping at my mother-in-law’s house, to go to a birthday party in the morning, he was at it again.

While I was busy on the computer, I heard my son playing in the living room (Let's keep this between us. My wife says I spend way too much time on the computer or in front of the TV and neglecting our kids when she's not home. In my defense, I don’t like micromanaging).

All is calm on the outside
When I went to check on him, it was as though dozens of kids had been playing at the Sunnyside Daycare all day with Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear, Big Baby, Buzz and the rest of Andy's toys, and had just gone home (fortunately missing from the disorder were Dreamhouse Ken and/or Barbie).

"Oh my goodness," is all I could utter.

Before I asked him about the mess, he blamed his older sister, sort of like when Adam threw Eve under a bus in the Garden of Eden after God asked if they ate from the Tree of Good and Evil (Someone had to take the fall!). My son knew that aside from him and me, there was no one else to blame.

“I wasn’t even there!” I hear my daughter quickly screaming from her bedroom.

Now, we have a house rule. We call it The Three Musketeers rule; all-for-one-and-one-for-all, meaning, it doesn’t matter who makes the mess, they’re all responsible for picking it up (Unfair? Maybe, but we want them used to being their brother’s keeper; figuratively and literally since the little brother is usually the most responsible culprit).

However, this mess by Taz’s kin, aka my son, went beyond what would fall within the boundaries of our usual house rule. I couldn’t do that to my daughter, especially considering that our younger daughter was missing. So, I ended up spending part of the early evening picking up the havoc (I'm sure my wife would say it serves me well for not keeping a closer eye on my children).

It's funny because, according to his pre-school teacher, my son is learning to clean up after himself in his classroom. Now, if we can only get him to actually pick-up while he's singing the clean-up song at home!...

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