Well, not exacly kleptomaniacs, I guess. But they do, all of a sudden, seem to have taken on a distinctly “what’s yours is mine” (and NOT the reverse) attitude when it comes to household objects and supplies.
Before I pillory them for crimes, however, I should confess that I was also prone to taking my parents’ stuff without asking when I was a kid, for use in various recipes / craft projects / experiments / etc. Once, for example, a friend and I picked my parents’ vegetable garden clean to make “soup,” in the form of a giant pot of water, filled from the hose out back, filled up with tomatoes, carrots, beans and other produce, and heated up on the stove. (Since we moved away from the house with the garden when I was a mere nine years old, this means that I was attempting unsupervised cooking at a fairly tender age.) And yes, the soup was terrible. (We couldn’t understand why….) And yes, my mom was pissed.
The girls have not committed quite so grievous an offense yet. But Elsa, in particular, is getting awfully bold about swiping the Scotch tape for her various projects — the rage of the moment is taping several pieces of paper together to make “maps” and “books” — as well as pens, post-it notes, and other supplies. We are, of course, happy to provide these things, in limited quanitities, if they ask. It’s the “limited” part that they’re not fans of. I’m thinking we should give them each with their own roll of tape, post-it note pad, etc. and let them use those, with the stipulation that they won’t get a new one for X weeks. And when they run out, well, that’s it. (They would run out in approximately 1.4 days.)
They’re also starting to help themselves to food. (You know, I’m writing ‘they’ but really, three out of four times, it’s Elsa.) I’ll be getting dinner ready, chopping vegetables or grating cheese or something, and if I turn away for a minute to do something else, I’ll turn back around to find a little hand reaching up to take a taste of whatever’s on the cutting board. Not a huge deal, usually. And sometimes they get what they deserve, ending up with a mouthful of onion or the unpleasant surprise of potato when they were expecting apple. The time Elsa ate garlic was fun, too. (Is it wrong that I take pleasure in my children’s food-tasting capers? But, really, the faces kids make when they end up with something ‘yucky’ in their mouths are truly priceless.)
And then there was the afternoon I came home from work to find the girls’ fingernails and toenails painted a very…maturely…dark hue. It seems the girls showed the babysitter where my nail polish was and requested manicures and pedicures. Really, though, the sitter is equally to blame here. Going through my makeup on the advice and direction of two three year olds? And then choosing Luscious Burgundy (or whatever….) for their nails, when something more along the lines of Cotton Candy Pink was available? And putting on TWO coats? For shame.
Anyway, we’re starting to be more emphatic about what the girls can and can’t help themselves to; what things they need to ask for, and what things they can take or do all by themselves. Still, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they borrow my $1,000 white suede ensemble while I’m out of town, wear it to a party, spill red wine all over it, then have to date Dr. McDreamy to pay me back. I just hope their careers are more successful than Amanda Peterson’s.
Sorry, where was I?
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