Parenting: House Rules
I was a little concerned when my 6-year-old son asked me: "Dad, do we have any more dental floss?"
Not only does he not have that many teeth, but dental cleaning -- as well as cleaning his face, hands, butt, or legs -- is not a major concern of his.
"What do you need more dental floss for?"
"We're making a spider web in the living room."
The 6-year-old showed me to the living room where he and his 3-year-old brother had wrapped 2 rolls of dental floss (that's almost 90 yards of floss, if you're keeping score at home) around the sofa, the coffee table, 4 chairs, the television, the rug, the desk, and two lamps. Luckily the cats were outside.
Where had I been while all of this was going on? Mind you're own fucking business, don't tell me how to raise my kids.
"What's your spider web for, buddy?"
"We're going to catch Mom in it."
"Oh, she'll love that."
The main difference between living with toddler boys and living back in the college fraternity is that toddlers have reasons for their bizarre behavior. In college, when I came home to the house and found a small piece of construction equipment in our dining room that had been sprayed with the fire extinguisher, all I got for reasoning was, "We were pretty fuckin' drunk last night."
Had my toddlers had the strength to drag a small piece of construction equipment into our house and then spray the fire extinguisher, they'd probably have a more interesting logic. "We wanted to dig up the floor to make sure there were no werewolves living below us, and they don't like the color white, so we sprayed the whole room to scare them."
Take away copious drinking, replace it with stranger reasoning, and living with toddler boys is a lot like being back in college.
There's the poor hygiene, the lack of concern for clean rooms, the strange diets, and poor decision-making. I brought home some lemon juice in one of those lemon-shaped containers, and my 6-year-old was so excited by this new edition to our home that he grabbed it out of the fridge, drank enough to make himself throw up, then tried to spray the rest of it on the cat. And it wasn't even pledge week.
There's the near constant fighting. The Punching, kicking, and biting are all executed with the poor motor skills of a black-out drunk 21-year-old. It's like watching uncoordinated midgets act out Fight Club.
And Finally, there's the un-ending avalanche of insults and foul language.
"Bye dad," my 6-year-old may say to me when I leave the house for what I call "work."
"Bye-bye, Butt-head," my 3-year-old will chime in, and both of them will start laughing.
On my average day, I'll hear the words like "butt," "butt-head," "butt-crack," "poop," "poop-face," "weiner," "pee-on-your-face!" "floating-anus" (I have no idea where that came from), etc at least 622 times.
"This pizza tastes like butt-anus," is not something that would shock me to hear at dinner.
Behavior standards in our house-turned-frat have sunk so low that we really just try and keep them inside. Before a major public interaction, we have a brief refresher on which words -- from "butt-crack" to "floating-anus" -- they are not supposed to say, as well as some basic things to avoid like no throwing things, no pushing, no spitting, no licking, no peeing anywhere except the bathroom, or no pooping anywhere except the bathroom.
That last one was added when my 3-year-old invented a game called "poop on the lawn." Once you've wiped a toddler's ass outside and picked up their shit off your lawn, you're extra cautious about them taking that performance on a tour around town.
But like the crusty old college dean, we're always one step behind our frat-toddlers. After all, we may wake up to find every object in our living room connected by 90 yards of dental floss, it's hard to stay ahead of that kind of imagination for destruction.