Eighth Wonder

I glanced up from my laptop to find my five-year-old son standing nearby, gripping a bottle of Elmer’s glue. He had removed the cap and was holding the container upside down, watching, fascinated, as the viscous white substance drooled into a ever-growing pool on the kitchen floor.

“What are you doing?!” I barked. “Put that down!”

He jumped, startled, and then hastily complied. After dropping the bottle–still uncapped, still upended–into the utility drawer from whence it had come, he slammed the drawer shut and took two steps backwards, thus positioning himself in the center of the pool. His socks began soaking up yet more glue, adding to the astonishing quantity already smeared on his shirt and hands.

“Nooo, arrgh!” I yelled, sprinting to the drawer. By the time I had jerked it open an entire corner had become an impromptu lagoon, swamping ballpoint pens, rubber bands, pads of Post-It notes, and unused gift cards. I grabbed a handful of paper towels and thrust them into the morass; a moment later, when I withdrew the wad, half of the contents of the drawer came with it.

Now thoroughly exasperated, I turned to find the kid, already writing a legendary harangue in my head. He was few feet away, nonchalantly drinking orange juice. Just as my eyes settled on him, the plastic cup suddenly slipped from his grasp. It hit the floor and spun as it rebounded, splashing juice everywhere.

Yes: he’d managed to drop the cup despite having hands coated in glue.

Occasionally parenthood offers moments of religious awe, when the anger and frustration melt away and are replaced by reverence, a profound appreciation for the primal forces of chaos so poorly contained within your progeny.

Children are a marvel, like the aurora borealis with scissors.

* * *

16 comments.

  1. Amen.

  2. I think most of the chaos came from you, dude.

  3. Had he also pooped in the fridge and/or eaten an entire wheel of cheese, your amazement w/ lack-of-anger would have been mandatory, of course.

  4. That’s amazing. I’ve never heard of a massive Elmer’s glue spill missing the carpet before.

  5. Hilarious and touching and true. Matthew, our kids are the same age, and I’ve been reading defectiveyeti since mine was a baby. I miss your regular posts on family life, so thanks for this!

  6. This. Is funny. I am literally laughing aloud and simultaneously cursing the universe for not arranging its affairs so I can get a more regular dose of dy (perhaps, for example, by setting you up with an insanely enriching job that makes no demands on your time whatsoever, leaving you plenty of time to fill your days thusly). Stupid universe!

  7. I miss these posts as well – the early ones were quite inspiring pre-parenthood, and even more meaningful to me now as a new Dad.

    I miss the “overheard on bus” type as well – you have a real gift for the observational humor!

  8. Had one of those moments this morning. I heard my wife telling our 3-year-old daughter “No! Dad! Get down here and see what your daughter has done!”

    I rushed downstairs, my “you’re in trouble now” face half-obscured by shaving cream, to find my daughter next to the toilet. It was filled to the brim with toilet paper, and she there next to it, happily opening a new roll to put on the dispenser (a favorite activity of hers recently).

    I couldn’t even be stern. You just have to laugh sometimes.

  9. [...] defective yeti — Eighth Wonder: I glanced up from my laptop to find my five-year-old son standing nearby, gripping a bottle of Elmer’s glue. He had removed the cap and was holding the container upside down, watching, fascinated, as the white viscous substance drooled into a ever-growing pool on the kitchen floor. [...]

  10. I almost fell over from laughing.

    Thank you. I’ve missed your unique brand of humor on the netarwebz.

  11. That story could’ve ended a lot differently. With law enforcement present.

    Glad it didn’t, if only for the sake of NaBloPoMo.

  12. Wow. You are apparently raising a hurricane.

  13. He was 3. I was at the grocery store. His dad decided to mow the back lawn (I know, wtf?). There was a trail of maple syrup leading from the kitchen, across the living room, ending on my computer keyboard. A keyboard that we were, at that time, almost too poor to replace.

    Ah, good times.

    He’s 19 now and only leaves frozen pizza crumbs on the kitchen counter.

  14. My daughter, when she was around 2, woke me up one morning to find that she had not only given herself an ever so lovely “haircut” (that I had to completely shave her head to fix) but she had also managed to carry chocolate syrup and an entire carton of eggs from the kitchen, through the living room, up the stairs, and into her bedroom to “bake a cake” in her toybox.

    She was so proud of her toybox cake, however, that it was almost impossible* to be angry with her.

    *Impossible until I found my very first brand new cell phone (that I waited years to buy because we could not afford it) amidst the goo.

    Yet, she missed dropping even a single drop on her way up to that toybox. Children are amazing. Great post!

  15. [...] Matthew Baldwin on parenting: Occasionally parenthood offers moments of religious awe, when the anger and frustration melt away and are replaced by reverence, a profound appreciation for the primal forces of chaos so poorly contained within your progeny. [...]

  16. Oh god, I am laughing so hard at this, as I sit here on my couch that’s been scribbled on with a Bic pen. My kid called 911 last year and told them the field was on fire at the Liberty Bowl. At which point I had to explain screen glare to him. And weep.

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