Toddlers are clumsy.
I am sympathetic to their struggle. Getting used to your rapidly expanding dimensions is awkward, and mastering your gait without looking like an alien’s impression of a human trying to walk is something you might struggle with well into adulthood.
So, every 10 goddamn minutes is beset with one of my kids suddenly toppling over nothing, arms and legs akimbo, all the way down, screaming bloody murder, the entire time, in super-slow-motion, until the inevitable face-plant. And I rarely see it coming, so all I can do is offer helpful pointers AFTER the fact like, “in the future, try not to do that” and “there’s a wall there” or “cartwheeling out of the bathtub is frowned upon.” My husband is comparatively clumsy, but instead of merely hurting himself, his brand of clumsy goes OUTWARD, like a fast and dramatic movie explosion, pulverizing everything within reach of the sonic boom. No, wait, that’s unfair to him. Maybe its more of an IMPLOSION, the way scientists describe a black-hole suddenly ripping through space and time, sucking anything not bolted down into its maw. Devoid of light. Consuming abstract concepts, like time itself. The sort of complete annihilation only gods are capable of. Or toddlers. And now I’ve forgotten what I was talking about.
One time, he was in the bathroom unrolling himself a few squares from the toilet paper roll, a routine gesture for the coordinated. He somehow managed to make the whole thing (toilet paper roll and the toilet paper roll holder thingy) come apart from itself in an awesome explosion, leaving fragments scattered about the bathroom floor. Fragments he did not bother to pick up. For, like, DAYS. I marked it on my calendar so I’d have extra ammo to pick a fight with him about it. After the third day of me stepping over the debris, I realized he could no longer SEE the destruction, which meant he had gotten used to it just lying on the floor. The wreckage had now just become part of the scenery for him. I resentfully put it back together for him. But more for myself. And not before I gave him a good TONGUE LASHING about how toilet paper goes on the toilet paper roll holder because that’s what it’s there for, it’s FUNCTIONAL and not just there for decoration, you don’t leave the roll on the windowsill when you have a capable toilet roll holder. Also, I stressed the importance of cleaning up after one’s self, especially when it’s the scene of a crime you’ve just committed.
“Why?” he said. “Leaving it on the windowsill is easier.”
“Getting it off the roller is just as easy,” I said. “And how did you even destroy the roller in the first place? You need less than an ounce of strength to unroll toilet paper. You are a BARBARIAN.”
There was another time when he managed to accidentally backward somersault off the edge of our bed, nearly kicking the TV over. I didn’t know it was possible to ACCIDENTALLY somersault, off of anything, ever. There was also the time he was opening a can of beans, and he had almost gotten the entire can open without incident. But LIKE MAGIC, he managed to spill half the canned beans onto the counter top, simultaneously slicing his nail bed on the edge of the can. This same incident also left permanent blood stains on our shower curtain after he ran into the bathroom for something to stop the bleeding. A shower curtain I chose for its bright and cheerful colors, now left looking like evidence from the scene of a gruesome murder, thanks to my husband.
Or the time he was innocently baking potato wedges in the oven when oil dripped onto the bottom and caught fire in our apartment. An alarming, decent-sized fire that filled the kitchen with smoke. He eventually put the fire out, but not before he somehow tore the blinds completely away from the kitchen window. His theory is that everything around him must be cheaply built, and I need to stop victim blaming.
Not to mention the numerous times I’ve asked him to bring me a glass of water, only for him to spill half the glass over everything on my nightstand. Okay, that only happened once, but it was riding on the back of him telling me he’d lost his wedding ring and it had been missing for DAYS. So, I was already in a foul mood when he spilled water all over my things.
Later, another set of window blinds fell under his sword. It happened as he was innocently trying to tiptoe his way around our bed so he wouldn’t wake our son during his nap. He’d almost made it around the bed, but he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to leave the room without making some colossal noise on his way out. Suddenly, he tripped over nothing, and almost fell through a window. Slamming a hand against the windowpane to catch himself, he cleanly sliced the blinds in half. For weeks afterwards, the blinds hung down both sides of the window like two permanently flaccid penises, and for WEEKS, because we were both too lazy to fix them. He was too lazy to take them down and replace them, and I was too lazy to nag him into taking them down and replacing them.
As of now, he is on his yearly hiking trip with his buddy, during which, they proceed on their annual death-march through the Appalachian mountains for weeks (or where ever the hell there are, I don’t even know where my husband is) possibly fighting off bloodthirsty Deliverance hillbillies (I’m racist) under the blazing June sun.
All I can do is sit and wait for his return, keeping my fingers crossed that he hasn’t accidentally cartwheeled himself off of a cliff. I’ll wait while simultaneously snatching my children by the back of their shirts so they don’t walk into the nearest wall, or moonwalk off the nearest flight of stairs.