The Practical Joke: We've been playing this practical joke on Aiden, which started out as an accident, became a total riot and then blew up in our faces. A couple weeks ago I hopped on eBay and bought a Pongo (101 Dalmatians) toy for Aiden since he has been loving the movie. When it arived one day last week, I didn't open the package until after he had gone to bed. In a moment of inspiration, I decided to set Pongo on top of the DVD player to distract Aiden from pressing all the little buttons, as is his morning routine. Plus I thought it a great way to not spoil him too much by having the toy just 'appear'.
The next morning Aiden gets up and walks past the toy several times. (Oblivious. He is SO my child.) Mid-morning he asks for the "puppy movie" and, since I'm already mopping up his messes, in goes the movie. The opening credits were playing when he spied Pongo. His entire expression changed - his eyes bulged, his mouth fell open and I'm pretty sure he went a shade whiter than usual. For the next three *SILENT* minutes he carefully paced the floor in front of Pongo, examining him from all sides and putting his face slightly closer to it to see if it would move. But he wouldn't touch it! Finally he got up the nerve to gently pet the toy and, discovering it was plastic, shouted "PAWGO" and delightfully played with him the rest of the morning. About 30 minutes later I caught Aiden peering in the tiny speaker holes on the TV to see if there were any other characters in there. Then I realized Aiden thinks Pongo came out of the TV!
Being the terrible mother - who feeds fruit snacks before 10 am - that I am, I couldn't resist repeating the joke when his Nemo bath toys (also from eBay but for his birthday) arrived a couple days later. The next morning was a complete repeat when Aiden saw Nemo sitting on top of the DVD player, grinning at him. That day he began looking in the speaker holes of the TV once every couple of hours while I kept my hand clapped over my mouth to muffle my hysterical laughter! Since Brian had missed all the fun before, Dory came out to play that evening after he got home. It wasn't quite as exciting because Aiden was starting to expect that Disney Characters escape the television set every so often and wait for him on top of the DVD player.
Of course nothing ever works out as smoothly as I plan with Aiden. The day after Nemo and Dory appeared I heard this awful racket and found him trying to send his entire duplo train into the TV through the same "magic portal", which resulted in me fishing duplo pieces out of the X Box disk tray and from behind every crevice of the TV stand. He looked at me in cynical disbelief when I explained that things could neither come out of or go in to the TV. I admit I had set myself up for this.
And I just couldn't quit. When Aiden's birthday gift from my parents arrived with a new Disney Cars toy inside, I decided to save it for an 'emergency' when I would desperately need something to distract him (read: less than 24 hours later when I wouldn't let him flood the tomato plant with any more water from his watering can). Since it had been a day or two since a character came out of the TV, I ran for the toy and plopped the brand new Red the Fire Truck on top of the DVD player while he was throwing the contents of my tupperware cabinet in the garbage can. (He'd obviously found his own activity to replace tomato drowning.) I plopped Aiden directly in front of the new toy so I could retrieve the plasticware and put the cabinet back together. Aiden cautiously poked with one gentle finger at the fire truck and WHEEEW - WHEEEW - WHEEEW it's siren went off. He was TERRIFIED. In fact he utterly refused to touch the fire truck again and, to this day, still has not played with the gift from my parents. (Sorry mom & dad.) Red now guards the tupperware cabinet.
The Syrup Story: This morning I decided to clean out my office. Ten minutes into the ordeal and I realized I had way too much cut vinyl sitting around so I e-mailed neighbors to come and get it for free. I took one TWENTY SECOND phone call from a friend to let me know she was on her way, hung up the phone and heard Aiden, who had suddenly appeared beside me, exclaim "YUMMY!!!!" and squeeze a nearly-full syrup bottle so a stream shot volcano-style out the top while he tried to catch it in his mouth. I'm pretty sure I nearly fainted when a river of syrup splashed across our five month-old office floors and pooled in the bevels between each board. I stripped Aiden on the way to his crib, thanking the Lord he's too afraid of falling to climb out of it, and raced back to the office praying that syrup was too cohesive to slip between the tongue and groove planks. On the way back I noticed the drip-drip-SPLAT pattern of syrup that extended from the pantry, down the hall, covered the entry way and drenched the office, marking exactly where Aiden had been standing when he made another syrup geyser to drink from.
I had just thrown the last paper towel in the trash when my girlfriend arrived. (This stuff is always instantly funny to anyone not experiencing it but I was able to laugh, too!) The now half-empty syrup bottle went back in the pantry and I was extra careful that the door stayed closed all day and that Aiden had plenty of water to try and dilute the pure sugar he'd just drank.
Along comes 4:30 and Aiden's sugar rush is in full effect. He's running FULL SPEED from the back door to the front door, pushing his ride-on toy and smashing it into the doors at each end with every pass while screaming giddily at the top of his lungs. You can imagine the headache that is building. I was currently doing the dishes when I made Aiden stop and wipe down his little table to end the SQEEEEEEE *BANG* cycle of repetitive noise. I throw something in the trash and instruct him to throw his paper towel away when he's done with the table. I have my back turned but I'm mentally counting the seconds, knowing I'll need to close the door once I get the big pan I'm working on scrubbed and rinsed. It's then that I hear "YUMMY! PANCAKES!" and whirl around in horror to see Aiden sitting on his ride-on toy with the syrup bottle completely vertical and his head tiled back, chugging the stuff like Buddy the Elf.
My eyeballs are throbing by the time I strip him out of his second syrup-soaked outfit for the day and rinse his face, hands and chest free of sticky residue. I call Brian to tell him today is one of THOSE days where he kindly needs to come home as fast as possible, which is never fast enough but I can at least collect my thoughts knowing help is on the way. I cleaned up the mess and made dinner while Brian came home to find Aiden strapped in his high chair watching a disney movie over the only patch of un-sticky tile in the living room with his bare diapered body still reeking of maple syrup. And my friends wonder what I am busy doing all day long!