The Deputy Headmistress is fond of a certain rather florid writing style. She thinks it is fun to sound a pretentious, preachy, stuffy governess of the Victorian Age. The Headmistress loves to lose herself in yesteryear as a gentle and inexpensive vacation from real life. She wishes others to enjoy this escape with her, but not to despair and feel that they do not measure up the Deputy Headmistress. In real life, the scatty mother who is playing the Deputy Headmistress also does not measure up to the Deputy Headmistress.
We fear the Gentle REader does not believe us when we say the Deputy Headmistress is not floating through life in flowered gowns, white gloves, and a gentle cloud of violet perfume and gracious gentility. She is more often seen stumbling through life in her house slippers, cup of coffee in hand. That gentle cloud is probably because she didn’t have time to shower, and the gracious gentility looks perhaps more like utter distraction upon closer aquaintance.
Still desbelieving? In a departure from our usual style, we take you back to an event of yesteryear. Perhaps seven years ago, the Headmistress shared the story below with some friends. With some slight editing of errors, the Headmistress repeats it for your edification.
Lost, Stolen, or Strayed
(We return to channeling the Headmistress to tell the Gentle Reader in firm but friendly tones that we hope Gentle R. is familiar with the poetry of the esteeemed A. A. Milne, and so we assume this literary allusion needs no further explanation)
Lost: Portable phone
Found: In freezer
Stolen: one package of starbursts
Found: empty wrapper next to small pair of dirty footprints in bath tub behind
Strayed: Entire contents of my pantry shelves (boxed and canned goods to feed a
family of nine for over a week)
Found: Entire contents of pantry utilized to form abstract sculpture on
Broken: One towel rack
Why? It could not withstand the weight of a thirty pound gymnast, a defect shared also by my quilt rack and the wooden clothes rack.
Furthermore, approximately 412 books have migrated from their assigned
shelves to my bed, and I didn’t do it.
Moreover, the lovely sound of rain I thought I heard this afternoon was instead the
distinctly unlovely sound of the toilet rejecting an entire box of tissues.
In addition, I found my sweatshirt wrapped around a half eaten apple long past its prime in the back of the wardrobe, our 13 y.o.’s schedule has some illegible additions made with green crayon, and a missing dishtowel and hotpad were found in the oven (fortunately before we turned it on for lunch).
The Toddler left her fingerprints everywhere today, perhaps because she found an inkpad left out from rubber stamping. Those fingerprints were on herself, her clothes, and my leather chair. The Toddler also had to clean indelible marker off of her, her hands, her clothes, the window, the table, and the counter.
Today the 13 y.o. told the little culprit not to hit her, and the culprit glowered fiercely and said,
“I *need* to.”
As near as I can tell, *nothing* that is an acceptable toy to me is an
acceptable toy to The Toddler. It sounds like she’s spending lots of time alone, but she’s not. She’s simply fast.
Once upon a time my dh wouldn’t believe me when we told him how quick she was. Then we left him alone with her. She was standing at the livingroom window wailing as we drove away, so he though it would be safe to make a quick dash to the bathroom to do the necessary. He returned seconds later to find the 2 y.o. child standing on the kitchen counter pulling out a bottle of tylenol from the highest shelf in the cupboard. We didn’t even realize she knew it was there. We bought a fishing tackle box with a lock and key for the medicines.
But we can’t lock up everything in the house. At this point, the best solution I have is chains and a cellar for The Toddler.
Well, no, what we’re going to do is schedule one person to play with her each
half hour. That way, her sisters can do their school work unmolested and I can
assist them all as necessary and get my chores done.
Do not tell me to let her help. I’ve tried letting her help. She only wants to do the dangerous jobs, if it carries a risk of burning, cutting, dismembering or death, that’s the job she wants. If it’s safe for a toddler, that’s a job beneath her.
I’ve tried ‘filling her bucket first’ i.e. making sure I do special things with her first. We start our mornings with her snuggling with me in bed while I read her a book. Then I do a puzzle with her after breakfast, and other togetherness activities follow- but it doesn’t matter. As soon as I have to go do something else, she’s either demanding the personal attention of whoever is the busiest, most pre-occupied person in the house, or she’s wreaking havoc.
It’s a good thing she’s so perfectly adorable.
As Equuschick says, So. Yes.
We survived. We got a dog. We had a baby. We prayed a lot. The Toddler is now Nine. She has had two accidents requiring stitches (five each) and one accident requiring surgery. She is our sixth child. We tell people God made her our sixth child rather than our first because He knew it would take that many of us to keep her from killing herself every single day. She is full of vim and vigour and the joy of living. Fire sparks from her fingertips, lightening flashes from her eyes, and consumes my heart with love and gratitude to the marvelous God who trusted us with her. Of course, fear also overwhelms at time. What was HE Thinking? How can we be trusted with her?! She is irreplacable. We are not worthy. And we hope her children will be just like her. Anything less would be most unfair.