My children can perform some pretty impressive feats. Is it magic? Do they have some sort of time machine they can use to stop time for me but allow them to keep going? This rule applies to pets too – because we all know that fur babies can perform this same magic.
I once said that it didn’t matter if I hid/threw away/locked up every writing utensil in the house. The Universe has a special wormhole that will open up and distribute a writing utensil if there is a toddler who wishes to get creative. If they want to draw, then they will indeed draw. For fun, and proof, I’ve attached some pictures to this blog of some of the messes my very own darlings have created. And the reason I say it’s magic? Because they find ways to get things that are out of reach and put away. They manage to make a colossal mess during the time it takes me to do any of the following things: Make a bottle, change a diaper, pee, preheat the oven, and much, much more. Now for some of these I did make the mistake of walking out of the (very loud) room to take an important phone call or do the dishes. Those were mistakes of epic proportions. Just when my children are sitting quietly and playing or watching T.V., I think to myself, “I have 5 minutes. I can load the dishwasher real quick and be back before they notice I’ve left.” WRONG.
The same thing goes for pets. And not unlike children, the older they are, the better it gets. But at first? Good gravy. Puppies will chew anything and EVERYTHING they can get their little, sharp, teeth on. And kitties will shred anything they can get their little, sharp, claws on.
So why do they do it? Do they hate us? Are we bad parents? Are we raising a bunch of ruthless hellions? Do they have zero regard for the fact that we’ve told them “NO!” when they do these types of things? Are they destined to be horrible people/animals forever? Luckily, No. To all of that. Children are destructive because they are doing their jobs. Their jobs are to explore, experiment, learn, grow and play. And sometimes, doing that makes an incredible mess. They don’t mean to irritate you. They aren’t trying to be horrible. They are simply developing. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t correct the behavior and guide them into understanding that some things should not be done and that there are times and places for messes to happen that are more appropriate. But don’t get angry at them, and don’t blame yourself. Know that – like everything else with them – this time is temporary and they will grow out of it. They will learn through your guidance that these things aren’t okay, but it will take time. And believe me, spreading a bag of flour around your kitchen and jumping in mud puddles are two very different things. To your child, each mess is it’s own experience, so don’t assume they understand the likeness between them.
And for pets, the advice is the same. Scratching and chewing are developmental. They’ll grow out of it with time – in the meantime, get them some great chew toys and a scratching post. And I suggest you put your favorite shoes in an impossible to reach place.
Top: (L to R) Max draws smiley faces on his knees. Max finds whiteout and draws alover himself, my desk and my mouse. The boys dump a box of cereal in the living room – teamwork!
Bottom: (L to R) The boys make syrup pools to eat and play in. Max dumps a box of rice cereal on the floor and makes “snow angels.” Max and Audrina make Max a tiger. Bennett rubs diaper cream all over his face.