It’s amazing really, how two kids with the same parents, living in the same house can be so different. Not just different in their personalities, but in what they do and how they do it. It’s almost as if the experience with the first kid has no bearing on the second, even down to the diaper change.
With Frank, changing the diaper and dressing him was a wrestling match. No matter if it was the first time we did it or the 101st, he always put up a fight. Anne Marie got used to the process so quickly, she now just sticks her leg in the air so I can put on her socks or pants.
And that’s where the oddity of their differences astounds me. The diaper change is just about the only event where Anne Marie is more calm than Frank.
For example, if we told Frank the stairs were no touch he wouldn’t go near them, almost to the point of not needing a gate. We tell Anne Marie that and she stays quiet. We now know that quietness is just her analyzing the situation. So after telling her repeatedly the stairs are no touch we get this:
That’s the first of two boxes she used to build a ladder to get over the gate.
Same thing with the can. We told Frank, no touch in the bathroom. No problem, we could leave the door open and not a square of toilet paper would be unraveled. Now Frank is potty trained and uses the bathroom all by himself. It glorious really. The freedom that brings is akin to going commando. If you don’t know what that means then you have never experienced true freedom.
Anyway, to wash his hands Frank needs a ladder to get to the sink. So we bought him a step stool. He moves it in place in front of the sink, washes and dries his hands, then moves it back against the wall next to the sink. He even remembers to shut the door so Anne Marie can’t get in. His skills in the can have really come a long way.
Mind you he has to shut the door because the no touch rule means nothing to our little terrorist. Hey NSA guys, that’s just a term of endearment, go back to sleep, nothing to see here.
Anne Marie has unwound her share of toilet paper rolls, emptied her share of bathroom trash cans, and unpacked her share of bathroom cabinets. But mostly she would try to get in the potty when Frank, or any of us, was in there. We call her our bathroom buddy.
Once in a while she would be successful busting in on Frank. He would whine and I would come get her, only to find her staring at him up on his ladder washing his hands. So I was not completely surprised when at the ripe age of 17 months, she disappeared into the living room to play with her brother, or so I thought. It got quiet, dangerously quiet.
I go on the search and find this:
For those not studying the minute details of the picture, that’s the hot water she has her hand in. Her abnormal pain tolerance will be a separate post all it’s own.
She had absolutely no reaction when I asked her what she was doing. She looked at me, no change of expression, and went right back to washing her hands. That all changed when I took her off the ladder. No doubt our neighbors could hear her protest.
Now when it gets quiet I listen for the water. If I hear water running it means Frank or I have left the bathroom door ajar. If she busts in when me or Tracy are in there, separately of course,we just reach up and flip on the cold water. She gets to play while business is completed and she will comply with the “get down” request, usually.
I have since learned if it’s quiet and I don’t hear water, Frank is in danger… from Anne Marie.
To this date the most amazing and frightening thing I have witnessed this kid do is attack her brother. It wasn’t the savageness of the attack that was frightening. Well a little bit. No, it was more that planning, timing, and the attention span required to execute it. It took a while for her to pull off. Mind you, Frank loves the fact she can walk and run because that means he can push her down, which he does early and often. She never retaliates.
Two days after Frank pushed Anne Marie into the coffee table and left her with a welt on her forehead the size of Texas, she made her move.
Frank’s routine involves him coming home from school and laying on the couch for about an hour watching TV. He has extremely long hair. Keep that in mind.
Two days removed from the “Coffee Table Incident” Frank is on the couch and Anne Marie disappears around the fridge. It’s quiet, really quiet. Like milliseconds before warhead detonation quiet. I find her but she pays me no mind so I follow her at what I’m only slightly confident is a safe distance. She passes through the dining room, through my office and when she starts down the hall back to the living room, she goes to a crawl. A very slow crawl.
She turns the corner into the living room, crawls under the glass end table by the couch, and perches under the arm of the couch. Watching all this it occurs to me Frank’s hair is really long because it’s hanging over the arm of the couch by a lot.
My next thought was, we need to get the boy a haircut. None of my thoughts were, she’s gonna attack him.
The only other thought I had was she might jump up to scare him and I was worried she might smash her mellon on the underside of the table. I was not even close.
She reached up, grabbed his hair with both hands and lifted her feet. That put all her weight on his hair. Have I mentioned she was only 18 months old when this happened. She almost dragged Frank over the side of the couch. Once he got over the pain and fear, he laughed a little, but he was scared man. Holy cow she caught him so off guard he was nervous the rest of the day.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My next thought was, Tracy will never believe this. She didn’t have to. Anne Marie did it again two days later with Tracy and I sitting in the living room. She took a shorter route this time but she was as successful.
Ha! We never even thought to warn Frank. Poor kid, we just watched in total amazement. Turns out she can be quiet as a mouse when she wants to be. And that’s ten kinds of bad for Frank.
We got him a haircut a few days later. As it turns out, a few days too late.