Second new stage: Exper-ee-menting

This comes with a new voice as my “spicy” Liam gains a boatload of confidence. It’s in his actions and most definitely his voice. The boys and I often conduct supervised group experiments after school: watching white carnations turn the color of the food coloring water they are in; making carbonated water out of regular water; practicing “sink or float” on a big towel on the kitchen floor; mixing cement for stepping stones.

And now Liam is conducting his own “exper-ee-ments” which are private affairs that I happen on to. Some of the most memorable ones from the last week…

6:00 a.m. I’m in the living room, trying to finish one cup of coffee before the whole house wakes up. Liam is up and we’ve been through Stage One, as described in the previous post. The night before Liam had discovered a piece of gum, and as he chewed it like a cow, he calmly said, “I’m just trying it out, Mom.” Despite my coaching, as we stared at one another, he swallowed it. Back to 6:00 a.m. I hear paper in the kitchen. I’m not too concerned because that’s where we keep crayons, markers and paper. Then I think, “That’s….little paper.” Liam, sitting in the little mouse hole he loves to create, has found a pack of gum that I missed. I see one wrapper on the floor and start my gum spiel… then I find five more wrappers as he escapes from the hole. “Sorry, Mom,” he says, giving nonchalant a whole new meaning. I tell him if he does this again, I’ll have to take him to the hospital. Then both of us have visions of a nurse blowing bubbles, Liam getting to watch Nemo twice while coloring… There’s no shock value in the word “hospital.”

Will and Liam have a little coffee pot that “really” brews. Liam loves it. Again towel on the kitchen floor, soaking up the overflow, and as usual, Liam is drinking the water from the coffee pot after he brews. He seems happy, contented. I turn on some music and go into the dining room to fold clothes on the table. When I come back, Liam has vacated the brewing area, so I pick up the brewer and empty it. As I pour out the holding tank, the water is thick and brackish – disgusting! I panic, thinking I must not have emptied it the last time and it’s been setting for ages with water and now Liam has just ingested water that will result in Typhoid!! After all, if Scarlet fever is not out of the realm of possibility, then Typhoid is just as plausible. I decide to sniff it, somehow thinking an odor would confirm the chances of Typhoid. Oddly enough it smells like orange juice. I put on my Charlie Brown teacher voice and Liam comes back with, “Sorry, Mom. I was just exper-ee-menting.”

Toileting. Liam is completely toilet trained; some days it takes a lot of self-talk for me to accept this is truly a good thing. As a reminder, the following events have occurred in the last seven days:

Liam finds an old pull-up in a closet – old but clean. He strips all clothing and puts the pull-up on to pee. “I’m just exper-ee-menting, Mom!”

On a Nadir day, I peek into the bathroom to check on Liam who takes quite a while to poop on the potty. And there he is: pants around his ankles, toilet brush in hand, stirring. I’m beside myself. “Moooom, I’m making warm chocolate for you.” -- This is the second batch I’ve had in the last two weeks.

The frequency with which we wash our hands has sent Liam over the edge. His mechanism to deal with it, after going to the bathroom: an expereement to see how high he can get the bubbles in the bathroom sink. No overflow yet, but he has achieved the 6-inch mark.

From toileting events alone, my hair may be completely gray before it falls out.

Then there’s my philosopher Will, who has soaked up everything we’ve said in his presence over the course of his short six-year life, “Mom, he’s just experimenting. Isn’t that what life is all about?” My comeback was, “Life experiences are important too not JUST experimenting.” I have no idea what that means. (I don’t do well thinking on my feet… I like to have time to process. I hope Will and Liam don’t pick up on this until they are away at college; otherwise, I’ll be a sitting duck in heated teenage conversations.)

Hmmm… I just had a brain flash. Mythbusters. The boys, all three of them, love that show. I saw nearly a whole program for the first time last night, and there’s a lot of “how-can-we-make-it-bigger” attitude in there! Seeing it also clarifies Will and Liam’s frequent, and oh-so gleeful, “Busted!” – usually shouted after rolling a big Lego ball down the stairs and watching it shatter at the bottom.

OH MY GOSH! These expereements have NOTHING to do with my controlled science experiments. This is ALL about bigger and better, firing hard cheese out of cannons to see if they will pierce a sail. Bill, we need to talk before Liam sees that episode…. You are soooo busted!

(Did you see the First New Stage?  It's a doozi!)