It’s happening, quickly, in little spurts and hiccups in between the happy playtimes and cries for hugs and usual, everyday following-me-around-the-house. And it all started with the sprinkles. I swear to you, I was upstairs for no longer than five, maybe seven, minutes when The Day of the Sprinkles happened. I was putting on mascara. Grabbing my watch. The kids had been playing in the dining/playroom, happy and peaceful and quiet. And as I listened upstairs, in that five-to-seven minute stretch, I still heard quiet, so I felt happy and peaceful.
Silly mommy. You never ever let quiet children go unchecked. WE ALL KNOW THIS.
And I came skipping down the stairs, happy in my ignorance, to see Quinlan rush to meet me at the bottom of the steps. And her face was blue. Her mouth, her cheeks. The palms of her hands were blue. Her fingernails. The soles of her feet were blue. Cornflower blue, to be exact. My child had transformed into a Smurf while I was brushing on some Maybelline Volume Express. Quinlan looked at me, and her expression was deadpan. She’d positioned herself in front of me–blocking me from peering around the corner. Apparently Smurfette was also an expert in stalling tactics. And then she threw her brother under the bus.
“Cian started it.”
And I know he did, because it is happening. So I closed my eyes, pushed my shoulders back, and felt my way into the kitchen. And when I opened them–because I had to open them, because silly mommy or not, I’m still a mommy and a mommy has to face whatever blue-colored hell awaits her. Now, what a blue-colored hell is to adults is a sparkling edible paradise to children aged four and younger–paradise, in the form of the sugar sprinkles I’d bought to decorate Saoirse’s birthday cupcakes a couple weeks earlier and never used. A vat of them, a tub, an honest-to-goodness cauldron of artificially blue sugar, that I’d tucked away into the back corner of a pantry shelf–a shelf that was perfectly eye-level now with the growing boy. Stupid, stupid move, silly mommy. And you know what I saw. Of course you do, because in your worst housekeeping nightmares you’ve seen this happen, but not of course in real life, because you’re probably smart enough to store the sugar on a higher flippin’ shelf. Sugar, everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Spread over the kitchen floor, trailing into the dining/playroom and up the stairs, into the little morning room that’s off of the kitchen, so much so that the rug we have there glinted in the sunlight like Edward Cullen’s chest. It covered every surface of the pantry that was toddler-height or lower, on the cans of black beans and containers of animal food, and in the party bucket we use to store extra bags. It was shoved into the crevices of the hardwood floor, little blue lines running through my kitchen like miserable, ant-attracting running lights on an airport runway. And there, in the middle of it all, crouched Cian, hands sweeping the floor, tongue licking his palms, hands back to to running along the floor again before returning to his mouth. He looked at me, said, “Mmmm,” then went back to licking the floor (because at that point, he was going straight for the source). Quinlan had managed to jump into the middle of it beside him, standing on the sugar, and she looked at her Brother Smurf and back at me and said it again: “Cian did it.” So, it’s happening. The twos are happening. And the twos are unfurling themselves with a fury I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen before. Running headlong into chairs, into cabinets, down hallways, into fireplace covers. Battle-ramming walls on his toy train. Running over toys, then dragging them along under his wheels, gleefully watching to see what damage is being caused. Purposefully yanking storage bins out of their cubbies and running over them, too, and if that doesn’t work well enough, throwing himself on top of them to see if that will cause better destruction. Hurling huge toy trucks onto his train table, just to make the noise. Slamming a toy hammer into his play work bench, shouting, “Hiiiii-YAH!” Stomping around the house in my shoes, choosing the ones that make the loudest, most satisfyingly massive thuds. He throws himself off of couches, onto the floor, off of toys, onto train tables. I caught him trying to climb the bookshelf the other day, because he knows that’s where the switch is to turn on the fireplace. Later, I found him paging through my copy of War and Remembrance. We keep that on an even higher level in the bookcase, so your guess is as good as mine, there. He ricochets off furniture, runs into open drawers, barrels down hallways. He trips over the dog, hollers, “owwwwww” and streaks around the corner just to tackle the dog again. The entire time he’s doing any of these things, he’s smiling. Grinning. He’s happy, he’s thrilled, he’s as content as he would be while scooping handfuls of Blue #1 into his gob. It’s happening. The twos are happening. And my sanity–let’s not even mention my house–may not survive.
Quinlan walked into my office the day after Easter, pursing her lips like she does…
Cian has a bit of a speech impediment–if you’ve just met…