Mr. Mischief has been hard at work today. For months he’s been trying his hardest to get the toilet scrub brush. I’ve chased him away from it countless times and finally hid it under the sink. Well, he got it.
“Mom!” Annabelle yelled to me. “He’s got the toilet brush!” I came out of the kitchen and sure enough, he was running down the hall brandishing the brush like a sword, completely delighted with his victory. I chased him and wrestled it out of his hands.
A few minutes later, I hear what every mother of a toddler longs for and is terrified of: silence. “What is he doing?” I say to myself as I start to look for him. When I hear the gentle sound of splashing, I start to run.
It’s Mr. Mischief alright, and this time he’s taken the portable potty apart, has managed to life the lid of the big potty, and is trying to stuff the smaller one into the bigger one with pretty good success.
Annabelle responds with her classic big sister response to his endless mischief: she slowly shakes her head. This is her response when we watch him spit his mouthfuls of food down his chest; when he shouts while standing on the wet wipe box in his co-sleeper, triumphant, like the first man on the moon; when he slips on the hardwood floors because he insists on wearing George’s socks around and no shoes.
Annabelle just shakes her head.
Minutes pass and I change his diaper. I decide to let him air out for a few minutes and next thing I know, he sits down on Annabelle’s pink satin princess chair and promptly pees. She’s had this chair for two years and kept it in pristine condition. A few months with Henry, and it’s smeared with chocolate and urine. I scrub the chair, and a few minutes later, he’s shaking chocolate milk all over my white chair. I then scrub that chair and we go to the store. I am feeling a bit stressed and frustrated. Annabelle refuses to go to preschool yet another day, and as we pass an old cemetery, all my stress lifts and I think of my favorite mantra, “Who cares?” Honestly, am I going to lie on my deathbed and wish I’d been more strict and forced Annabelle to go to preschool at three years old? I know I’m a pushover, but I just don’t see the point of forcing the matter. And really, we’ll have plenty of years of making her go to school when she doesn’t want to. Why start when she’s three?
When we return, Mr. Mischief sits down on our tiny tuft of New Orleans grass to eat his cookie. Upon rising, he starrts to run and falls on the bricks and scratches up his entire face. I feel so bad. If I could take all those scrapes away and put them on my own face I would.
A little later, we walk to State street to pass out cookies to sick friends. Henry pushes the stroller the whole way, over sidewalks and curbs, and before I can blink, he is splashing in the fountain in front of my girlfriend’s house. The next friend we visit, he climbs on her gate and tries to play with the chain. The dirtier and more dangerous the object, the more he is attracted to it. They seem to have the same reaction as Annabelle, they shake their heads. But they also laugh. And so do I, admittedly a bit maniacally, but nevertheless, we’re all laughing.
Ah, Mr. Mischief. So hard at work.