Look into my eyes, look into my eyes…

Charles Manson has crazy eyes. The eyes of a crazy man. I’ve looked into those eyes before. In fact more than once. Not actually Charles Manson’s eyes but Emma’s. She gets that glassy ‘charles manson’ gaze as she stands, hands clenched, having a pooh, which she denies she’s doing.

me – Emma are you poohing?

Emma – Nooooooooooooooooooo

me – Emma are you sure you’re not having a pooh?

Emma – Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I’m not poohing

me – Emma if you’re not poohing then what’s that smell?

Emma – It’s not everything! *glassy stare for a few minutes*

Emma – mommy I’ve made a pooh. Please can you take me to the toilet?

Toddlers are endearing and cute. Babies are cute and squishy. But have you ever taken the time to look deep into the eyes of a baby or toddler? Really really looked? There’s a twinkle in their eye, a glimmer of wisdom and a twinkle of hope. BUT there’s something else. There’s that little something which is unfathomable. You can’t tell if it’s a ‘knowing’ look or if they’re having a pooh. It’s hard to tell if it’s a “yup I got you good” look or if it’s a “please can I have some food look”. It’s the same all-knowing, all-crazy look of a madman / mad person / mad baby.

Imagine, if you dare, saying to your BFF, as you look at her ‘sweet’ toddler, that you could have sworn you saw a glint in her eye as she reached for the family pet’s tail. Not in a million years would you suggest that the handful of fur now in her hand was done on purpose. There’s not a chance that you’re going to suggest to your BFF that she looks around the aforementioned toddler’s room for other ‘trophy’ type finds.

Babies are all sugar and spice and toddlers are quite simply twice as nice BUT what if they did know what they were doing. What if, just say, that that poo in the doorway of your room was not actually an accident but rather a well thought out (bowel) movement of sabotage.

We claim that our toddlers are incredibly bright. Definitely the smartest little tot in their class at school, by far the wiser of ALL our friends’ children and in the running to fill Steve Jobs’ shoes, be the next president, build an eco-friendly mud hut on the moon YET when it really matters we claim that them  ‘pushing’ their food off the table at that exact moment you were on the floor picking up the fork (they just dropped) must have been an accident!

Is it coincidence that little Mary Lou’s attempt at art on the wall is always with your most expensive lipstick? Or that the cat gets doused with Chanel No.5 as opposed to Charlie nommer ses? Why must most toddlers just have to have a poo the moment you take off their diaper? Emma’s never poohed in the bath when it’s just her. Add an adult to the bath water and suddenly she drops a mega load in along with Sailor Sam’s bubbles. How come is it that as an adult a man cannot aim straight into the bowl, but at three months old little Tommy Tucker can pee straight into your eye from at least an arm’s length away?

I’ve seen babies redecorate their rooms with the contents of their nappy yet when asked to draw on a piece of paper they get stage fright. 

Why is it that when it’s just you and your offspring the language is clean, the game fun. The moment the pastor, the granny or nursery school teacher enters the room ‘F’ bombs fly, tantrums are thrown and all hell breaks loose?

Emma can’t throw a ball straight but she sure as heck can throw a shit-filled diaper with archery-accuracy. Hurling. It’s never a vomit-in-the-mouth-lets-pretend-it-didn’t-happen hurl. It’s ALWAYS a come-real-close-mama-see-the-sad-expression-on-my-face-come-a-little-closer-just-a-little-bit-closer projectile vomit.

I’ve heard moms wail that their little angels NEVER behave like THIS at home. Yes, that’s because there’s no one at home to witness it. What, dear mom, is the point of an award winning performance without an audience?

I have seen Emma eat vegetables at a friend’s house. Bring one anywhere near her at home and you’d swear she was a vampire and I were the wooden stake. Emma goes from smiley to sireny in 5 seconds flat when things aren’t going her way.”Clean up, clean up! Pack away, pack away” used to work to get Emma to tidy up after playtime. Now whenever that little ditty’s been done I can’t find my bank card, my car keys, my purse, my money or my bag. Even Ben has disappeared after one such sing-along.

Water is never just water. It’s something to be thrown on the dogs, at you, at people walking past the gate. So is food and sometimes Dagwood the dog. In the hands of a toddler an ordinary every day item is a weapon of mass destruction.

Emma has tossed my dermalogica daily micro-granules down the plug hole while my cheap bath grains sit untouched. My rather pricey shampoo is the ONLY thing she can wash ‘Blue Mermaid’s’ hair with because of course, Ben’s baby shampoo isn’t expensive enough. Emma never spills apple juice or water on my silk blend top; it’s only ever red grape juice or waterproof paint. At school Emma is a star sweeper. She literally sweeps people off their feet. At home too. But for some reason, at home, the leaves and dirt get swept INTO the house! Forgive her for she knows not what she does..I don’t think so!

When I need Emma to say ‘hello’ to granny on the other side of the phone, there is a deathly uncomfortable silence. But get the itemised billing at the end of the month and Emma’s talked up a phone bill of R2000 to an unknown ‘08600 your call is important to us’ number.

Toddlers are smart. Smarter than we know and they know that we don’t know just how smart they are. I’m not saying I’m raising a sociopath I’m just saying think Ted Baby, Baby and Clyde and Baby Son of Sam…

****disclaimer – this is a (maybe, slightly a little) funny  (or not) take on my experience of motherhood. I am not saying, claiming, admitting, implying or suggesting that my child / ren or any child / ren that I know of are potential psychopaths or sociopaths. This is a piece of a fiction based on a little bit of fact****


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