The aftermath of nature's most violent and destructive storms can be devastating for all persons involved; but what if all of the commotion is coming from an adorable, blue-eyed baby girl ripping through your house?
It's possible, let me tell you. Have you ever wondered how someone that stands less than two feet tall can create what looks like the aftermath of an F-5 tornado? My daughter is a prime example of this.
All young children need naps, and Emma is no different. She is like clockwork when it comes to her feeding and sleeping schedules. She gets up around 8:30 every morning - alerting her parents by babbling a few words in her crib - followed by an appetizing breakfast, fit for a champion.
After a few hours of play time, a few snacks here and there, she's pretty much tuckered out and ready for the dreaded N-A-P. The most important part of her day - and an essential part of mine - is her nap. It's an absolute must. She always fights the urge to fall asleep, but eventually that urge is overpowered and she drifts off into nap-land.
Now you are probably thinking, where does the whole natural disaster comparison come into play? Well, after the nap is when the "little tornado" takes off on her path of wanton destruction. (I guess when she's sleeping is like her "dormant" phase.)
When she rises from her slumber, she sleepily eyes the downstairs as if everything is duck soup. First, she methodically attacks the living room - ripping the pillows off the couch and looking for any dogs that might be hiding for cover under them. Once she is done there, she moves on to the coffee table and pulls all of the papers out of the center console.
Phase one of destruction: complete.
Next, she tackles the dining room. A stack of newspapers is no longer just a neat stack of newspapers. Instead, Emma's making like she's getting ready to train a large litter of puppies. Pennies aren't for the spare change jar anymore - oh, no! They're for taste-testing.
Did I mention she's a very sneaky tornado? Phase two of destruction: complete.
When the weather isn't cooperating, Emma uses the kitchen as her indoor wonderland. The pots and pans become her musical instruments; the dog's water bowl is used as a miniature indoor swimming pool; spatulas become drum sticks and the garbage can becomes a secret hiding place, where "nobody" can find her.
"Emma, where are you?"
My question is always met with a mischievous giggle. Apparently, tornadoes giggle, too. Phase three of destruction: complete.
Moving from room to room just like a tornado, the only difference is very few areas are untouched. The other day, as Emma was once again tearing the house to pieces, I paused to ask my mom, "Why?"
My mom calmly said to me, "Tara, she's just learning and discovering everything. That's what little kids do." She then kindly reminded me how when she was my age, she had three little ones under the age of 5.
At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that everything my little girl is doing doesn't cost anything to fix. It just takes time to pick up all the little things she either pulled out of the center console, drug off the couch, or out of a cabinet. Overall, she's just learning and will continue to learn for the rest of her life.
So, continue to "destroy" safely and learn in the process, little one, because every day I'm learning right with you.
Sentinel reporter Tara Maguire welcomes parenting advice and stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.