Our oldest child was beyond curious. She licked ant traps that she found behind other people’s refrigerators during play dates, she drank lighter fluid that another friend left out in her yard, and she opened up the liquid tylenol in the diaper bag and tried to feed it to her brother.
She also filled up his mouth with coins when he was a baby.
“Why did you do that?” I asked her.
“I want a bank,” she said.
When she was 14 months old, my oldest was walking around the house but sometimes grabbed onto furniture to pull herself up. The master bedroom had thick carpet, and the TV stand on wheels was a bit precarious. One day she pulled herself up with the TV stand, which then fell over, along with the TV.
Not a scratch on her.
The TV stand was safer with the wheels removed. The TV survived, too, since the carpet was so thick.
The girl was into everything. One day, as I was sorting out my closet, she was busy at the bathroom counter. I didn’t realize what she was doing until I saw the red food color on her tongue. My husband had left out a packet of Sudafed, and she removed a pill and licked it (they look like tiny red-hot candies).
I wrangled the Sudafed away from her and found her a Tupperware drawer to play in while I made lunch.
Fast forward to the weekend. Her dad was taking a shower while toddler played in the bedroom. She was at the counter again. There was no Sudafed this time, but she found something better, a small white case that snapped open easily. She took out her dad’s contact lenses with her little fingers.
After my husband got out of the shower, he sat down on the toilet seat lid and dried off, then reached for his contacts. The case was empty.
“Susan!” he shouted, “who took my contact lenses?”
Wow. Why would a grown adult take the contact lenses? Or the dogs? It had to have been the toddler.
We searched and searched but couldn’t find the tiny tinted lenses. He was still not dressed, and when he turned his back to me, two tiny beige circles were stuck to his left cheek, and I don’t mean on his face.
I laughed and laughed while he felt around for his contacts.
Our daughter carried on with her curious ways for years. She loved manipulating things – graduating from pouring water out of the various Tupperware containers into other containers, or stirring up pots of snow while her dad was skiing and I was in the condo writing and supervising her. Then she got a play kitchen where she spent hours stirring up imaginary food and serving it to her stuffed animals. When she got too big for that, she asked to bake real cookies.
We had a big kitchen with a center island. I got out a large bowl, the flour, sugar, eggs, water, measuring spoons and cups. I helped her the first time, and after that, she wanted to do it by herself. I would show up in time to preheat the oven and then come back in ten to put the cookies into the oven and then again to take them out.
Today she is a molecular cell biologist doing her post doc work on the East coast.
She is still curious mixing things up in her science lab, exploring her surroundings, and studying what she has found (fly fungi).
I should have known.