I’m tired of being cooped inside by soggy cold dark weather but I suppose there’s no use in complaining: it’s January, and I live in Seattle. Get over it, self.

Still. Still! It’s madness around here sometimes. Madness, I tell you. (This is me clutching the front of your shirt, breathing little cuckoo puffs in your face.)

Dylan has entered some sort of thrilling new stage where he’s very energetic, very talkative, and very impulsive. In other words, he’s a giant pain in my ass. He’s become the sort of child I used to read stories about and chuckle indulgently: oh, come on now. No! No! I’m here to tell you these wicked children exist! I have one in my house right now, pounding the wall angrily because I’ve enforced Quiet Time, which used to be Nap Time, but is now I Don’t Give a Fuck What You Do In There As Long As I Get a Break from Your Little Face (PS: Love You!) Time.

The other day I emerged from the shower to find a series of long jagged tears in the fabric of our living room couch, stuffing poking out, each hole haphazardly covered in Scotch tape. After a flurry of denials from both children I eventually learned that Dylan had gotten his hands on a pair of adult scissors and performed the sofa appendectomies, while Riley had attempted to conceal the damage.

The next day, Dylan drew on his face with a Sharpie. The day after that, he drew on the wall.

Never mind the time I heard Riley announce he was going to the bathroom, then moments later his annoyed instruction: “Don’t touch it, Dylan.”

So we’ve got one kid who’s become impishly, adorably awful in that he cannot be trusted not to destroy entire sections of the house and wallow joyously in someone else’s private toilet affairs as soon as my back is turned, and then there’s Riley, who has returned to a stage I thought we had passed years ago, the stage of the Why, usually combined with a Hey Mom.

Hey Mom, what are you doing? Putting on my shoes. Why? Because I’m going to take out the garbage. Why? Because . . . it needs to go out. Why? Because that’s where the garbage goes? Why does garbage go? Because that’s . . . because it’s . . . because it goes in the can and then every Monday the truck comes and picks it up. Why? Because . . . because . . . uh, let’s talk about dumps.

Now, many times these spiraling conversations actually lead somewhere useful and I chalk it up to a Positive Homeschool Learning Experience of Some Kind (see also: Landfills, and Recycling!), but sometimes it reminds me exactly of that Louis CK routine:

Kid: Why?
Louis: Well, because some things are and some things are not.
Kid: Why?
Louis: Well, because things that are not can’t be.
Kid: Why?
Louis: Because then nothing wouldn’t be! You can’t have fucking nothing isn’t, everything is!
Kid: Why?
Louis: ‘Cause if nothing wasn’t, there’d be fucking all kinds of shit, like giant ants with top hats dancing around… there’s no room for all that shit!
Kid: Why?

Meanwhile Dylan does both the Why AND the Toddler Stutter AND his voice has a super high pitch AND he makes no sense half the time AND he’s obsessed with reenacting things so it’s like having a cross between Porky Pig and that Chris Colfer kid everyone loves from Glee asking me about stuff while they’re on PCP. “MOM? MOM? WHY DAT COW GOES CROSS THE RIVER ‘CAUSE HE DIN’T KNOW HOW TO SWIM LIKE DAT FERRY BOAT AND HE FELL LIKE DIS.” *demonstrates, dramatically, a falling cow* “RIGHT MOM? RIGHT?”

Riley: “Hey Mom? Why is it it 3 o’clock?”
Dylan: “I CAN RUN REAL FAR LIKE DIS, SEE?”
Riley: “Hey Mom? Why aren’t hamsters bigger than dogs?”
Dylan: “IT’S PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME DERE YOU GO DERE YOU GO—”
Riley: “Hey Mom? Why are you rubbing your head?”
Dylan: “—WID A BASEBALL BAT!”
Riley: “Hey, hey, hey MOMMM?”

Etc!

Yesterday around 4:30 I was pretty sure the top of my skull was going to simply detach itself from my head and float away, carried by shrieks and gobbles and midair thrown Legos, and I happened to look outside and it was light grey. Instead of pitch black, you see. O, there is hope.

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Courtney in FL
Courtney in FL
11 years ago

I was hiding out from my 3 yr. old when he heard me laughing at the post..my cover is now blown.

Melissa
11 years ago

Hehehehehahahahaha!

Here is my FB status from a few days ago:

Oh. Dear. God. While I was in the shower my son managed to climb over the baby gate, put 4 DVDs in the toaster, eat half a pound of jelly beans, “help” with the dishes (liquid soap in the dish washer followed by pushing of buttons), feed the cats cheerios, and make “coffee” (when I figure out what that is I’ll let you know). I was in the shower for 10 minutes.
January 14 at 1:42pm

then later that day…

Is this day never going to end? While I was putting groceries away he emptied an entire brand new bottle of shampoo in the tub along with half a bottle of red food coloring (both of which he’d pilfered from the grocery bag and made a B-line to the bathroom). When I went to see why he was so quiet, he was mixing it up in the tub, it was all over his hands and it looked like a big puddle of blood in the bath tub. I thought maybe I’d left a razor in the shower or something and we were going to have to go to the ER. Who wants to babysit this weekend? I’m sending him away!!!
January 14 at 9:57pm

Nichole
11 years ago

I’m so glad I don’t live in a world where hamsters are bigger than dogs.

Becky
11 years ago

I just emailed this link to my sister, because I’m pretty certain you and she have the same son. Hers is a little older, though. It’s a time-space continuum conundrum or something.

Aimee
11 years ago

Would an “It really DOES get better,” help at all? Good heavens I remember those days. The good news is that it wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like ages. Yes, my boys (now 10 & 7) are still loud and often can be annoying, but it’s about a million times better.

Kristin
11 years ago

Props to you for not committing some sort of jail worthy offense when you found HOLES in your sofa!!! I tell people that it’s a world of extremes with my two middle boys. We are either laughing our friggin’ heads off at them OR we want to duct tape them to their beds.

JennB
11 years ago

*falling off my chair laughing because it’s TRUE it’s so TRUE*

I love my children dearly, especially when they are hanging out with someone else or they’re asleep.

I feel bad for thinking this. People tell me that someday I’ll look back on this and laugh. I am laughing now! Because if I’m not laughing, I’m fucking SCREAMING!

melanie
melanie
11 years ago

It has to be something with the weather, I am in the mid-west and my 2 1/2 year old has suddenly morphed into a child I do not recognize, yesterday she fought her nap for 2 hours, last night another 2 hour fight despite the fact that she has been sleeping great for the past two years… I mean seriously WHAT THE HELL…. oh and just before the nap, she went to the restroom and attempted to pee standing up. I suppose I ought to give her plus points for lifting the toilet seat up, but considering none of the pee made it into said toilet (SHOCKING RIGHT) I opted to sigh and change her clothes and mop the floor. Oh and if the 5yr old gets another snow day off from school this week I may just LOSE MY MIND.

Bethany
Bethany
11 years ago

Oh, my dear, I feel exactly the same…and I only have ONE – a 3 year old. Also just a couple weeks away from giving birth to little brother or sister. Oh, the joy there is to come! ;)

I am not kidding when I tell you I had the EXACT same “whoo hoo! It’s only grey, not pitch black” thought at the same time yesterday. I can’t wait for spring. Also, when my daughter says, “I like it so much better when it’s hot out.” I can’t help but think, “Other than family, why exactly don’t we live somewhere warmer all year round??”

Deb
Deb
11 years ago

My daughter heard ONE knock-knock joke a year ago and now thinks that she can substitute any word she wants for Chicken and Road and get a hilarious result.

Example: Why did the mommy cross the mommy? To get to the other mommy! (dissolves in hysterical laughter) Mommy! Wasn’t that funny? Huh, mommy? Huh? Huh?

A YEAR I’ve been suffering like this.

Gah. Dadgum kids.

cbrks12
cbrks12
11 years ago

So funny! :) Don’t worry, it will be funny for you soon.

Sarah
Sarah
11 years ago

I don’t know why I haven’t commented yet, because I literally love your posts and swear they are helping me cling to sanity. I laughed so hard at your story about your husband asking if it was OK to eat gum late at night that I almost peed in my pants, and today I just FEEL YOU with the I Don’t Give a Fuck What You Do In There As Long As I Get a Break from Your Little Face (PS: Love You!) Time. I love my toddler but dear Lord she is exhausting. Thanks for making me laugh!

Trina
Trina
11 years ago

Oh. My. God. I am dying with laughter because you just put into words exactly what my day is like when the older one is home from school.

I think it was nice of Riley to try to fix his brother’s couch surgury. My older one would’ve come running into the bathroom in a blind panic to tell on her brother. Almost certainly when I had shampoo in my hair too.

Amber
Amber
11 years ago

I just wanted to recommend a book I just started reading, Settling Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child. It’s been a really interesting read and is helping me out a lot with my own strong-willed kid. (i.e. the idea that strong-willed kids are “aggressive researchers,” meaning the require lots of data about what limits are before they will make a positive choice. And how I set pretty firm limits in terms of discipline but my actions in other areas with them show pretty soft limits, thereby encouraging my strong-willed kid to push back even more! Oh, parenting. I’m glad there are books about you.)

Anecdote: I came home for lunch today to see that the book was open to a different page than the one I was reading and realized my mother-in-law (she watches my girls while I’m at work) must have been pawing through it.

When I asked if she was reading it, she said, “Oh, it’s not that I think I NEED it, but I thought SOMETHING might be helpful in it. But the girls have been so great for me!”

And I punched her.

Erin
11 years ago

just think…if you had a girl it would be shriek-screaming, “mommy, you nice lady or mad? nice lady or mad? mommy? want hot kashi mommy? i hep you wish dishes, mommy? i hep you now.” no, dear lord no hep wish dishes. we had to replace flooring from dry rot last time you hepped me wish dishes. there, maybe i made u feel better. want some hot kashi?

Lindsey
11 years ago

Laughing out loud at your description of your boys. Also, yours is the best nomenclature of “quiet time” I’ve ever heard. We have the same “quiet time” around here on the weekends.
And just yesterday I noticed that the days were getting longer! And it made a perceptible difference in my mood. xox

Teralyne
11 years ago

OMG you hit the nail on the head big time with this one. I giggled , I laughed till I cried cause it is so the way it is. I love the way you write cause your so honest.

Jess
Jess
11 years ago

Oh.my.god. I can totally relate. I got out of the shower the other day to find my 3 year old daughter painting her face, nails and my good bedspread with hooker-red nail polish. “Momma! I so pretty! I got makeup on!” I still can’t figure out where she found my nail polish. She must have had it squirreled away for awhile, hatching up her evil plan.

H
H
11 years ago

Hilarious! For different reasons (snow, bitter cold and a large puppy), I was just wondering if there’s any way to build a time machine and travel to April.

tracy
11 years ago

See, instead of actually writing my blog, I can just point people to you because you’re writing my toddler-ville stories before I ever get a chance to. So now if I write my stories, people (all 3 of them) will be all, yeah nice try. We already saw this over on Sundry. And then I’ll be all, that Sundry bitch. Who does she think she is writing my stories for me?

Anyhoo. Yeah. The Why’s. Head exploding. I’m with you. Also? I had the exact same conversation with my 2 1/2ish year old this weekend about garbage. True story.

Donna
Donna
11 years ago

My daughter has locked herself out of the house 3 times this month, courtesy of having to drag the 3 year old out of the house to take the 15, 13, and 7 year olds to school. Once her husband took her the keys, once he met her, and once I brought her the key. It’s been crazy, 2 of those times were in one week. The little one had a death grip on her bike trying to take it with them, said bike finally wrestled out of her hand, dragged outside, and door shut, shit! Keys on table. Little maniac.
And then she sends me a picture of her today with a crochet hat with a big flower on it, and sigh, you just melt. Shoot me now.

tracy
11 years ago

And PS, I live in Alaska, where we get 3,000 days of rain a year, so your dear Seattle can suck it ;)

This past week has marked the noticible difference in daylight hours. As in, OHMYGOD I’M LATE FOR WORK BECAUSE I’VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO LEAVING THE HOUSE IN THE DARK AND IT’S LIGHT OUT EEEEEEEKKKK!!!

Veronica
Veronica
11 years ago

Here’s hoping for an early spring!

very bloggy beth
11 years ago

I’m doing all of this too, you pretty much wrote my life, except that I only have one little man. So, KUDOS girl, kudos. (But our dumb asses are TTC #2). We live in foggy San Francisco, and while it might be warmer and sans snow, that fog and 45 degrees keeps us inside anyway. THANK FUCKING GOD FOR PRESCHOOL. I don’t know how you home-schooling mamas do it.

Grateful Twin Mom
11 years ago

Hope indeed. And not a moment too soon, from the looks of it. After you get through winter there’s a whole spring and summer of outside activity, even in Pacific Northwest rain. Hope it comes sooner than later.

Quirkybook
Quirkybook
11 years ago

Delurking to say that this:

“After a flurry of denials from both children I eventually learned that Dylan had gotten his hands on a pair of adult scissors and performed the sofa appendectomies, while Riley had attempted to conceal the damage.”

is the sweetest story I have EVER SEEN of baby sibling love. Awwwwwww!

Emily
Emily
11 years ago

Apparently when my husband and his twin brother were in that “Why?” stage, my mother-in-law used to say, “To make you ask questions!” My personal favorite is, “You tell me.” Also, the couch story is wonderful for Riley trying to help! Good thing he didn’t think to flip the cushions…

Diana Ariza
Diana Ariza
11 years ago

oh! you always make me laugh :) thank you :)

nonsoccermom
11 years ago

BAHAHAHAHAHA! I needed that laugh today, thanks. And also, oh, do I ever know how you feel. I have one of those toddlers myself. I swear, it’s the universe’s cruelest joke: we get lulled into this false sense of security with the well-behaved older child and then BAM! COLD SHOWER!

Ness at Drovers Run
11 years ago

Oh I had a laugh at the “I don’t care what you do in there as long as I don’t see/hear you.” ha ha haha.

Kaire
Kaire
11 years ago

This post made a few more of my eggs shrivel up and die. Thank you for that! (shudder)

Kristin H
Kristin H
11 years ago

This made me laugh out loud and I am emailing it to my husband immediately; he is home today with the kids on a snow day. Some days, I thank god for work.

Erika
Erika
11 years ago

Riley is such a good big brother. Just wait until they are teenagers covering for each other. You and JB are going to have so much fun!

lisa
lisa
11 years ago

one word: xanax

charlene
charlene
11 years ago

I call this my winter tolerance has been reached. Move on to sunshine and warmth. We have had more snow in the midwest this year in the past. Guess what we are getting tonight and wait for it this weekend. Ohh, I’m just freaking thrilled. Also, traing for Portland to Coast on a treadmill just bites.

So, I feel your pain

Tee
Tee
11 years ago

I hope you took pictures of the scotch-taped sofa so Riley can someday say to Dylan ‘hey man, don’t ever say I never do anything for your ass’.

KKF
KKF
11 years ago

It’s settled! Next January you simply must come to Colorado for the annual stock show. See the draft horses, mutton bustin, goofy chickens, huge ol’ pigs, cows and cowboy hats galore… Get some fun hikes in, stay in a cozy hotel that someone else cleans up for you and enjoy some retina-searing blue skies while you’re at it. Sound good?
Sometimes it’s cold, sometimes it snows, sometimes it’s 60 degrees out, but it’s always a great time and there’s loads of sunshine no matter what the weather is.
http://www.nationalwestern.com/

Rachel
11 years ago

Awesome post! I can only image what it would be like being cooped up with TWO children. Some days I am convinced my 2.5 year old daughter is possessed. All I can do is shake my head and wring my hands over the toddler-inflicted destruction on little home. We could all desperately use some time in the warm sun and fresh air!

marta
marta
11 years ago

In the winter I rely on three wonderful letters: R. E. I. The Seattle megastore has that rocking treehouse play area upstairs. Bonus: a World Wrapps right next door so I can stuff my face with pot stickers and smoothies while watching my daughter run herself ragged up and down that treehouse. Extra bonus: tent displays downstairs for her to play in.
I’ve got a second on the way and it’s a boy. Very very nervous. Shrink wrapping the couch in anticipation.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

I laughed out loud through this entire piece. You are a skilled comedic writer. Ha! You nailed what life is like living with two small boys perfectly! Add lots of spontaneous, loud farting in the mix and you’ve described my life!

wealhtheow
11 years ago

You probably totes already do this, but just in case not–I ALWAYS keep something hidden in the closet–whether it’s a new toy or one I put away months ago. Right now it’s a tent. Sometimes it’s a cookie cutter. Or a new movie. Or even a baby toy. But on the days when I am going freaking bonkers from the child, I can pull it out and get a few minutes of peace.

Katherine
Katherine
11 years ago

I’m not sure I recognize that bright yellow stuff outside today, but I think, I THINK, it’s sunshine! Get out and enjoy it while you can.

Kim S.
Kim S.
11 years ago

You have just described my life, except I have 3-year-old twins (one who claimed the scratch on her knee was from “the piano guy”. We have neither piano nor guy) who are SO LOUD I THINK THEY MAY BE DEAF and an almost 9-year-old who is so totally sassy, duh [insert eyeroll here].

Calgon?

Redbecca
Redbecca
11 years ago

PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!
You gotta capture that little man singing that song! And also the couch surgery, for posterity if nothing else!
You know, I’ve always said Dylan is just like our boy only 6 months younger, but gotta say (so far, thankfully) we haven’t had an incident like that! Phew!

Lindsey
Lindsey
11 years ago

It’s practically sunny here today, though. That’s got to be hope, right? RIGHT?!

Erin@MommyontheSpot
11 years ago

Seems we have had the same changes in nap time here as well. *sigh*

Michal
Michal
11 years ago

I have the kids by myself on Saturday’s while my husband works. It is a struggle to get my 4 year old to take Quiet Time. And LOVED this part of your post…

enforced Quiet Time, which used to be Nap Time, but is now I Don’t Give a Fuck What You Do In There As Long As I Get a Break from Your Little Face (PS: Love You!) Time.

lisa
lisa
11 years ago

i have a stomach ache from laughing!

Kristine
Kristine
11 years ago

You just made me remember the time (I think I was 5) that I cut a hole in our couch cushion, admittedly a small side cushion, not the great big one, with a big pair of scissors to see what was inside of it. My mother, bless her heart, said: why didn’t you just UNZIP THE ZIPPER and demonstrated very calmly. Doh!

Ashley
Ashley
11 years ago

Oh MAN, I am RIGHT. THERE. WITH YOU. Except I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old, both girls. And the 3-year-old is just as cute/irritating as all HELL (with the “WHY”s, shut up with the “WHY”s, child!!!). Thanks for making me feel less bad about NEEDING TIME TO MISS YOU, sweet girls. Need you all to stop getting sick and need some time outdoors in the sun and Ohmygod my head is going to explode! (PS. Love you!)— hahaha, that was awesome.