Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Confessions of a Little Blonde Chaos-maker, part 1

A while back my mom found the perfect T-shirt for Landen...the slogan reads "Every Great Idea I Have Gets Me Into Trouble!" There is no better statement to describe the many unbelievable moments we have endured upon discovering the results of some crazy idea of fun that Landen has concocted for himself! Having the mind of a 3 year old combined with the physical capabilities of a 10 year old makes for some pretty wild antics. We thought it might be entertaining to make a list of the "highlights" we remember from the last few years.

"Do you smell smoke?"
One night my mom was over and we had gone into my front office of my home so that Bethany and I could show her something on YouTube. I estimate we were preoccuppied with that for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. I had several candles lit all over the house, as I have done millions of times over many years. All the sudden Bethany said she smelled smoke...we jumped up, ran into the living room, and found Lanny perched on top of the kitchen bar, lighting paper towels on fire one at a time over a votive, watching them burn, then dropping them to the carpet below...where they continued to singe the carpet in a lovely circular pattern. I began basically hyperventilating over the fact that my floor was ruined...after a few minutes of that my mom told me I better grow some perspective and be thankful that the only real damage was to the floor and not my child. So after my own temper tantrum was over, we took a picture of the damage and sent the claim to our insurance, who helped us replace the floor with a beautiful laminate that we love. Needless to say, I don't burn candles anymore!!!

Recently we visited our good friends the Low's in Austin. They have a game room upstairs that Landen likes to hang out in and watch his movies or play his games. One afternoon most of the adults were talking downstairs- I was coming out of the upstairs bathroom and immediately smelled smoke. I yelled down to them about it, and Mark and his buddy Tom came running up the stairs. We opened the door to the game room and a thick haze of smoke filled the room....we all panicked and expected to find flames. Once we got our bearings as to what was going on, we discovered what had occurred. You see, they keep a handy microwave up there for a nice amenity to their movie room, complete with a supply of popcorn for your movie-watching convenience. Little man had decided to take it upon himself to cook his own snack. Yeah, he cooked it a little long! We promptly opened all the windows and comfiscated all the remaining popcorn.

fun with "wah-ter"
Landen loves water. If there is water around in any form, he will find a way to make fun with it. One example we discovered several months ago when we had a plumber out to investigate why our second bath's toilet was clogged beyond anything we could fix ourselves. The guy must have removed the broken remains of 20 toy cars that had met their demise by being flushed. When he pulled out the first couple of toys, I thought- OK, well we've found the problem....well, no...it just kept going and going for what seemed like forever- toy after toy after toy. He must have been doing it for years!!!

His fascination with water has now led his attention to our new front loading washing machine. You see, he's also majorly obsessed with watching things spin, so this washer provides lots of entertainment. When I first got it, he would come into the laundry room and squat down in front of it and watch through the glass to see the water filling it, then the spinning, etc. It was cute and all until I realized he had learned how to unlock the door and began adding dirty clothes to almost finished clean cycles. Or I would go to remove what I thought was a finished load and find that he had changed the cycle setting to something like "Silks" for a load of towels. Then one evening Mark and I were engrossed in conversation in the kitchen.....Mark said the words that in our house immediately ensue panic and divide-and-conquer action.... "Wait, where's Landen?!" After searching the house we found him in the laundry room, but this time it wasn't clothes he had added to the washer...no, HE had climbed into the empty washer- i am not kidding....i have a picture to prove it, but it's not appropriate to share because.....brace yourself......he was naked too!!! The first thing we saw as we rounded the corner to the laundry room was two skinny legs hanging out of the drum!! Now we have to keep the door locked to the laundry room, and if he happens to catch me in there putting a fresh load in, I have to shoo him out to keep him from getting involved!! You should see me in the laundry room now- I'm like all fast and furious and nervous about my own child stalking me to get to get his laundry fix. Good times.....

Oh, and don't think for a minute that the nice laminate floor in the living room is the end of that story. No, recently Landen decided he wanted to help Mark water the plants in the backyard. Problem is, Mark has a power attachment on the end of the water hose, and I guess Landen gained a sudden sense of power when he realized Dad had walked to the front of the house, and he could cause major fun and havoc by spraying Bethany in the backyard. After she went running he opened the back door that leads to our living room and began spraying full force onto the laminate floor. I was cooking in the kitchen and it took me a couple seconds to realize what was happening. You should have seen the look on Landen's face- total thrill of "i'm in charge now, suckers!" He looked like a mini-Terminator figure looming in the doorway with his weapon posed. After spraying me, too, I had to just push him out and close the door. After using about 15 towels to sop up the standing water on our new floor- it was all fine. And the turn knob to the hose was removed and hidden.

Landen also loves balloons. We have been in the habit for awhile of getting him one of those mylar helium filled ones shaped like various characters from the grocery store as a treat now and then. It's been sort of a sweet routine for my mom to get him one when she comes to visit. He will carry it around all day and night around the house, even insist on sleeping with it- he'll hold the string in his hand as he is falling asleep, and if I go to remove it from his hand he will wake up and give me a sleepy whisper "no, mine." Recently my mom brought him a cute monkey figure balloon and he loved it. He talked to it, carried it around the house, and took a bath with the darn thing and begged me to help him "wash his hair."(And yes, I did it. He was just too sweet with it for me to resist!) But after a few days of hangin' with the monkey he decided to let him "fwy away"...so he let him go in the backyard. He perched himself on the highest 9 foot position on his swing set and watched it fly till he couldn't see it anymore. The first time he did it he cried "my bah-woon fwy away" over and over....it was so sad! Lately he has been letting balloons go within a day or two because he loves watching them float off. Now his emotions are settled about it and he just says, "bah-woon fwy home".

One balloon met a different fate....This past Sunday I got into the shower. I noticed that the water was filling up around my feet. I took the drain cover off to discover the deflated remains of a different balloon stuffed down in there. Nice. Mark's next project is to glue the drain cover down.

"honey, have you seen the remote anywhere?"
A couple of years ago we caught Landen throwing a couple of objects over the back fence into the neighbor's yard behind us. He was standing on the trampoline and thought it would be fun to watch his toys taking flight I guess. We told him "no" sternly and to stop doing that. I climbed onto the trampoline to see where the stuff landed and got a view I did not expect. It was like a Landen-sized debris field- probably 30 various objects strewn across our neighbors' backyard.... cars, planes, cups, clothes- a wide variety of items that had been missing in action for a while- even one of our TV remotes whose whereabouts had been a lingering mystery! Bethany and I walked to the street behind us to knock on the neighbor's front door to sheepishly ask if she minded if we went through her back gate to collect the damage. The lady opened the door to just a crack to talk to us..I began explaining to her the reason for my visit....."Uhhh, yeah, we know" she said, obviously irritated, "Just go on back." I apologized profusely and began, "Sorry about that, you see my son has special needs and..." She interrupted me "Just go on back!" and slammed the door in our face. Yeah, thanks for the compassion sister. Lanny should have aimed for a window....hee hee....no...that would be very wrong..... =)

I wish I could say that was the only time he's done it. Let's just say, you know you live a unique life when a regular conversation in your house is "Have you seen the (fill in the blank)?" "I don't know- have you checked over the fence?"

"poop, sweat, and tears"
Probably about a year ago Landen began climbing to the top of his 9 foot swing set. The first time he did this I totally freaked out. Being deathly afraid of heights myself and unsure of his coordination skills in that situation, I was about to have a heart attack. Mark was at work and Bethany and I saw that Lanny had drug one of our patio chairs to the end of the swing set and climbed atop to the end of the beam- the end without the fort, so he had nothing else to hold onto and could have just free fallen. I panicked and climbed on top of the chair trying to reach him in a way to help him down without causing us to both come crashing down. It was deathly hot- we were sweating, miserable, he started crying...it was awful. Then I noticed that diarrhea poop was oozing out of his shorts! So, of course, in the drama of finagling both of our bodies off of that thing we were both covered in poop, sweat, and tears.

He continues to climb to the top of his swing set. It's a daily occurrence now, and he seems adept to it and so I have tried to chill out about it. It's a place of escape for him and he loves the view. He watches planes fly, the moon at night, and loves to watch the fan on top of my neighbor Marilyn's roof spin. Hey, cheap entertainment, that's for sure!

One lazy Sunday afternoon a few months ago I was watching a show in Bethany's room with her. Mark had gone outside in the front yard, and I thought Lanny was with him. Mark thought Lanny was with me. Bad combination. He had gone into the backyard and dragged one of our patio chairs to the fence, (it's a tall, bar-stool height chair), and climbed over the fence into my neighbor Marilyn's backyard. He apparently grabbed one of her patio chairs and dragged it about 75 feet from their deck to the opposite fence and hopped that one too! So next thing we know is- the doorbell rings and my neighbor from 2 houses down is standing there with my son. He said, "My kids started screaming that they saw a little boy in the bushes in the back of our yard." Nice. Time to start considering implanting a tracking device into his arm!

Well, I wish I could say this was the sum of Landen's antics. There's more. It will just have to be a separate chapter. Next I'll share some of the just plain weird things he tends to do on a regular basis, as well as some of our experience with him amid Hurricane Ike. That will be part 2 of the chaos-maker's confessions....coming soon!!!


  1. Jessica,

    I am filled with the glow of your transparency, astounded by the order you perceive within the chaos and uplifted by the hope that flows from your perception. You and your family are an amazing picture of God's grace and mercy in the midst of adversity.

    Now when I long for the thrill of mountaintop I will ponder the valley with which it coexists. That we can experience both at once had never occurred to me before reading your blog.

    I hope you dabble in musical composition and/or lyric writing as well leading worship - with your gift for communication, you seem destined for both. Be blessed! mattie

  2. What a wonderful post before mine. She really expresses the beauty of your life. And you do have the 2 trains of gratitude and trouble. You have incredible physical and spiritual beauty and even greater, love, in your life.

    Landon is a lot like the true story of the man who experimented with balloons tied to his lawn chair, liked it and tied 40 weather balloons to find out he could take his lawn chair up to 35,000 feet. Landon is really enjoying life. Life isn't boring or ordinary to him. Ferris Buller, the movie, Ferris uses unique ways to explore life. Who doesn't like the scene, Ferris knows how to get home through all the neighbor's backyards! The difference is we'd have to be plastered teenagers to explore new backyards and see different life.

    We all want our children to experience life with joy, to experience life with wonder. Landon does that on a daily basis. Sometimes with damage and with a bad scare. Landon, when he is outside looking up at the sky and the planes, the movement that attracts him so, has the wisdom knowing when balloons leave, they are really going home.

  3. GOOD JOB JESSICA! Your blog is raw, love filled, and funny!! Encouraging. Thank you for sharing! I laughed out loud quite a bit picturing him in your stories! I really appreciate and enjoyed being apart of your family so much so over this last year.

    Ill never forget the time I was getting dinner ready for the kids in the kitchen.. and had a bowl of guacamole on the counter by the sink. Well Lanny was on the bar stool talking to me and I was turned around for a few mins.. Imagine where this is going.. I turn around and GASP!! Lanny had his toes in the family size glass bowl of guacamole squishing his little toes in the green goob like he was pressing grapes and making wine!! He said some like "It's cold Tear-in" with his silly little grin all the way up to his eyes. I totally was like LANNY NOOOO!! But then I realized, hey man the guac is gone.. so whatever let him feel the goob. lol. When I tell that story to people...The concluding point is.. how creative is that really? I bet guac between the toes feels incredible!?! Whenever I get outside my box and try it one day.. Ill let you know!