Do you know how intricately made Thomas the Train wooden figures are? Have you ever taken the time to really ponder the workmanship that goes into one?
My daughter has been teething. I think. Her gums look creepy and she never sleeps or naps.
My son has been potty training. I think. He has mastered part of it but is still working on what comes after number one, if you catch my drift.
Every time I try to put the baby down for a much-needed nap, nature loudly and emergently calls Monster.
He has no problem lording over the potty, hands on his hips, seemingly proud of the stream that sometimes hits its target. But the other side of that coin? Well, I guess his highness is not yet comfortable with sitting on the throne.
And now his aversion has gone from inconvenient to disastrous.
It always happens while I’m trying to get the baby to sleep. For three days in a row, she starts to close her eyes only to have them fly open as Monster barges in and makes a terrifying announcement regarding his bathroom activities.
The first day, we easily resolved his little accident by simply throwing out the train-themed underwear.
The next day, his news involved an incident that was slightly messier and necessitated a good hand-scrubbing and lots of patience.
But on the third day …
Good things are supposed to happen on the third instance of something. Third time’s the charm. Jesus rose on the third day.
Our third day was neither charming nor miraculous.
“I tried to clean it up,” he said sheepishly as he led the fussy baby and a close-to-exploding me into the playroom.
I have seen first-hand what a tornado can do to a neighborhood. I have walked through homes that a flood destroyed. I have personally helped a family pick up the pieces after a fire.
But never in my life have I ever seen anything like what I walked into on that third day.
I am not trying to downplay what people endure when they experience a natural disaster. Those are truly terrible situations.
What I am doing is telling you that our once-shining example of a child’s playroom was now stained with the unparalleled effects of a 3-year-old’s attempt to cover up a toxic accident before his exhausted mother could get a cranky, teething baby to sleep and discover that her afternoon would now consist of close-mouthed scrubbing, sobbing and cursing.
I couldn’t even discipline the boy. He knew what he did was wrong. He knew he needed to clean up. While I was still in the nursery being unsuccessful, he had gone into the laundry room, retrieved cleaning wipes and proceeded to further blemish about 10 square feet of carpet.
I suppose he then felt that doing a little light cleaning on top of his cover-up would soften the blow, which is why the now-dirtied wipes had been used to “clean” the windowsills, walls, toys and tabletops.
So, back to my original question: Have you ever taken the time to appreciate the minute, detailed work that goes into those wildly expensive Thomas the Train figures?
Until that third day, I hadn’t.
As I stood over a sink of piping hot water and disinfectant, I realized just how many nooks and crannies there are. So many little crevices that just when you think you have identified them all, one triggers your sense of smell and you contemplate burning down the house instead of spending one more second doing what you are doing.
We could not save all the victims of that third day. A plastic lion, knock-off train and a few tracks found their new home in the garbage alongside the used wipes and empty bottles of peroxide.
My son will undoubtedly ask where his toys went. The kid can’t remember where he put his shoes, but he keeps a detailed toy inventory in his brain and knows when one goes missing.
So when he asks me where the purple caboose went or why he is two links short of a full train track, I will have the perfect response: