Exposed: the toddler battle plan

From the moment a child can stand on his own two feet, he begins reaching his little hands upward. This is the instinctive, human thing to do. In his simple way, the child is measuring.

He is measuring whether he can reach high enough to rip out his father’s heart.

He is not tall or wily enough to accomplish this goal in one stroke, so he satisfies himself with whittling down Daddy’s spirit by breaking all of his material possessions.

I have two categories of material possession that each of my boys has spent his late infancy and early toddlerhood trying to destroy.

The lesser of these is my CD collection. I spent decades carefully amassing this collection. They are all on my iPod now, but a CD is more concrete than a digital download and old people need to touch things to know they are real. A bookcase of my favorites still sits in the living room, near the seldom-used stereo.

It’s been the favorite hobby of every boy, at a certain age, to pull down the CDs, trod on the cases, and redistribute the inside media. My once pristine collection is a shambles. God help me if I want to play one of them ever again.

picking some music

“What’s this one? Days of Future Passed. That’s a classic.”


“Better throw it on the ‘Classics to be Smashed’ pile.”

Why don’t I stop being stupid and just move them?

The only other place I have for them is that “storage” part of the basement where obsolete items live with the spiders until everyone agrees they should be thrown away. For God’s sake, they are not an old vacuum!

Also, it has become a battle of wills. These children need to learn they cannot defeat me by attacking my cherished belongings. Nothing is sacred in this war.

Besides, history predicts that the last of them will outgrow this habit in a few months and I can reorganize the remaining rubble once and for all. Time is on my side, you little freaks!

The other thing they have all yearned to destroy are my glasses. Unlike the CDs, I use my glasses. I’ve had the same pair for 10 years. This is a testament to the strength of my will, and the fact that I don’t have vision coverage.

As we watch TV, like the peaceful family I always intended us to be, a little hand will flash before my eyes and snatch my glasses. If snatching glasses were a recognized superpower, our house would be the Hall of Justice. Thank goodness for flexible frames.

I don’t know why they want me to have poor vision, unless it is to make it easier to convince me when it’s time to go off by myself and die, leaving the pride in the charge of younger males.

I’ve gotten pretty good a seeing the world through finger prints, which is good because there’s really no other way for me to see it.

I still have two who do this, though the older one makes a show of cleaning the lenses for me. This is not kindness; it is cunning. But I see right through him like three layers of thumb prints.

Meanwhile, I await the teen years, for the heart-tearing-out to begin in earnest.