Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parenting a feral child


If you have been reading for a while you know that Maggie, age 3, is adorable and sweet and funny and cute. Her speech impediments only make her cuter. Mags is her own little person. She marches to the beat of a different drummer.

And sometimes, I wonder what that drummer is smoking.

Her antics are always messy, frequently annoying, and occasionally deadly. Lately, they are also a bit concerning. Because if future behavior can be predicted by preschool activities - please pray for us.

It all began on July 4, the day of her cousin Hattie's third birthday. I was home sick so Walker took the kids to the party. Maggie disappeared back into Hattie's room to play dress up.

Then, while Walker stood standing with some guys he only kinda knew, he heard a loud "TA DAAAAAAAAAA!!!" He turned around, and there was Maggie.

There was Maggie, stark naked.
There was Maggie, stark naked, save for a pink feather boa.
There was Maggie, stark naked, save for a pink feather boa, shouting "TA DAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!"

Walker stumbled and bumbled and swooped her away from the random onlookers and made her presentable again. Later when he relayed it to me, we laughed, you know, thinking it was a cute story, ah, that crazy Mags.

Till about two weeks later.

Two weeks later when I sat the kids down to fingerpaint at the kitchen table. Now I have learned that the Magster is not to be left to her own devices whilst fingerpainting. So why did I take my eyes off her for 45 seconds? Because I needed some ice tea, that's why. A mother needs fuel to function. When I turned back around, all exposed Maggie skin was covered in paint. Of course.

I scolded her appropriately and sent her into the guest bath to clean up. Then I proceeded to clean up the paint. That's when I heard the words I never really expected to hear regarding one of my girl-childs: "MOM! Maggie is PEEING in the SINK!!"

Indeed she was. She had crawled up on the counter and was straddling the sink, peeing into it through her panties, like a drunken frat boy.

At which point, a mother can only cry out, "Why? Maggie, Why??"

"Be-cau." Which is her answer to everything. Becau.
Then she laughed. Impishly.
And I prayed to Jesus.

I stripped her down, and told her to put some more panties on. Angrily, she obeyed. She put the panties on.



And left them there for at least an hour.


Couple weeks later. I sent Maggie upstairs one afternoon to nap, and soon afterward the doorbell rang. It was Fed Ex, delivering two large boxes. As the elderly African American man lugged them inside, he said, with a troubled look and a strong New Orleans accent, "Ma'am, your daughter ain't got no clothes on."

Blinking. "Pardon?"

"Your little girl is in the upstairs windah, and she ain't got no clothes on. Sho 'nuff, the whole street can see her."

"Oh. Thank you. Sure is hot out here. Can I get you a glass of ice water?"

He declined.

I shut the door and raced upstairs. Sho 'nuff. Maggie had gone to the potty and stripped naked as is her custom (are you noticing a pattern?), then climbed up on the window sill, from where she commenced to waving joyfully at the poor Fed Ex man.

"Why, are you in the window, Maggie? Why??"

"Becau!"

And she laughed.
Impishly.
And I prayed to Jesus.
As is our custom.

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