Starved for Attention

I just remembered a story about Devin that is worth telling even though it happend probably a year and a half ago.

Devin was home with just me while I was busy working, so I wasn’t able to give him much attention (ok, I wasn’t able to give him any attention at all). He’s always been such a good kid I can usually just keep an open ear and tell what he’s doing.

On this particular day I was working away and listening for the little sounds of Devin playing with toys and making little boy noises with cars and stuff like that. Then it got really quiet, but I didn’t notice the silence until it was too late…

When I realized there was an odd silence I listened very intently to pick up on another sound – you know, just to confirm he was still alright. Well, I heard a little rustling from the bathroom. I thought to myself that he may have been going potty (seems like he was potty training at the time). Then I realized the rustling wasn’t the sound of him going potty. Something was going on with the shower curtain. Then another noise sounded like something squirting from a bottle.

I jumped up and ran from my desk just knowing that I would find an empty shampoo bottle and a puddle of shampoo in the bathtub – or maybe at worst the puddle would be on the floor. Was I in for a surprise. As I got close enough to actually see what Devin was doing I noticed him making a sudden whipping motion with his arm – and there was a bottle in his hand. Now I’m thinking how great it was going to be to clean up shampoo being slattered all over the bathroom. (all this went through my mind in the 2 seconds it took me to get to the bathroom)

So when I actually got to Devin I noticed that it wasn’t shampoo at all. It was bathroom cleaner – like soft scrub except it was really an equivalent product we occasionally order from this web site we’re affiliated with. He had gotten this bottle out of a box that had arrived via fedex and was still sitting on the floor in our dining room. He had taken the bottle to the bathroom, flipped the little lid, and squirted this bleach containing product all over everything in the bathroom. When the bottle wouldn’t squirt anymore he was smart enough to twist the lid off (3 yrs old) and sling the bottle to make the leftovers come out. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

As gently as I could with all the understanding in the world that he was only 3 – I said something and took the bottle from him and proceeded to wipe up some of the mess to assess the damage (you know – bleach on walls and shower curtain, rug, etc..). Little did I know there was a second bottle of this stuff in the fedex box, and while I was wiping Devin was gone to get the second bottle. I turned around and there he stood twisting off the cap to unload a second bottle – with me standing there! At this point I was less than gentle. My memory is blurry after that because I was so mad. I don’t remember spanking him (because I try not to do that while angry) or even punishing him at all. But I will never forget that moment of early mischievous from my son.

I blamed myself and took it as though he was starved for attention because I was so busy. From then on my open ear is a little more keen when I’m at home with one of the kids by myself, and I do everything I can to give them a little more attention.

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