There are a lot of things you hear at the start of the Christmas season, especially with so many small children. There is always the standard excitement. Oohs and aahs when the lights were hung. Happy cries of anticipation.
And then there are the cries of Christmas disaster.
You know the kind. The sound of glass ornaments falling off the tree. The crash of a plate of freshly baked cookies. The unstringing of close to three miles of Christmas lights. All of which were caused by toddlers.
But we had not expected to hear was #8 shouting at the top of his lungs that #9 had been playing in the toilet.
Wife dashed across the house to the blue-bathroom. #8 looked up at her when she pushed in the door and said, “He dwinking the toy-wet water. Eeeew!”
#9 quickly drew his hand away from the toilet bowl rim and stepped away, as if the toilet had suddenly sprouted teeth. Turning his face up at his mother, eyes as round as snow-globes, he looked like he had just wandered into the lady’s dressing room.
Wife grabbed the little wet boy and whisked him across the house to a bathroom that had a tub. As she traveled, a small crowd of onlookers gathered behind her. She put #9 in the tub and ran the water, several children peered over her shoulder asking what happened.
Wife answered them and #6 piped up, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah, I saw him playing in the toilet.”
Have you ever experienced a mountain crash down upon you? When Wife rounded on #6, I’m sure he had that kind of a feeling.
“Why didn’t you stop him?” Wife demanded.
#6 stammered something out that was likely, “I don’t know,” though in fact, his mumbling was indecipherable.
If #6 could not stop #9 before he got into trouble, then he would clean up the mess after. “Get a towel out of the dirty laundry and clean up the blue-bathroom. And next time, remember, you stop him,” Wife said pointing a soapy finger at #9’s chest.
#6 nodded heartily before scampering down to the laundry room.
I am sure he had every intent to keep his little brothers out of trouble, like a silverback protecting his troop. A very honest and fervent intent too. He truly planned to be a better big brother. The same intent I have seen in other children. Unfortunately, like birds distracted by shiny marbles, it is the same intent so often followed by a child’s distractions and inattention.
In short, you can only trust a child as long as you can see them. And for that reason, Wife fenced off the Christmas tree.