Monday, December 1, 2008

Noelle: Creative Genius or Criminal Mastermind?

Happy December 1st everybody!

And it sure feels like winter around here-- feels more like Kansas City. As I am writing this, there are snowflakes falling in our yard. Granted, they're not sticking, but they are falling. Several schools even closed this morning due to accumulated snow on the ground in several areas (the higher elevations). I was really looking forward to the mild Tennessee winters, but it seems like Chattanooga is producing the cold weather to make us feel more at home in our new environment.

Okay. Noelle is a smart kid. I realize this is the statement of a typical proud first time parent. But remember, Eric and I can't take any credit, so I figure we get to say it more often than the quota allows. ;-) Anyhoo, I wanted to share a couple stories I think you will find amusing.

~A majority of our church services Noelle is in the nursery, but from time to time she stays with me in "big church" when she needs a little extra mommy-time. This past Sunday morning was one of those times. We were sitting on the back row, and Noelle was on my lap with a pen and the church bulletin. As Eric preached, she was contentedly "taking notes". I soon noticed, however, that she was marking on her paper with great concentration. I looked down to see a bulletin filled with tiny scribbles. She would make a mark, pause with the pen resting against her head, scan the type with her eyes, then scribble another mark.

I took a closer look. What I discovered was that Noelle was crossing out all the O's. That's right. Uppercase, lowercase, she found 'em. I thought I must be mistaken, so I grabbed the paper and double checked. But sure enough-- she had found just the O's.

I doubt I had nearly this level of concentration when I was her age. What's next? Word-finds, Sudoku, The New York Times crossword puzzle? All I could do was shake my head and grin widely.

~The other story occurred just this last Friday. We had family and friends over for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was the middle of the afternoon and people had gone their separate ways for a while to visit, chill, rest, make loud banging noises (that last one would be my husband and father working on some mannish project in the basement). Since Noelle was napping, I took the opportunity to rest for a little while before rejoining the family.

Well, the banging below our bedroom went on for some time, so I didn't really sleep. Nor did I hear anything else going on inside the house. And certainly not what was going on right across the hall in Noelle's room.

I got up to use to restroom or something - don't even remember now - and that's when I heard the voice of my daughter-who-should-be-sleeping. "Mommy!! Mommeeeeee!!" This did not sound like her typical "Mommy I want to get uuuuup!" voice. This had a bit more intensity. I decided to investigate.

When I opened the door to her room, I noticed right away that Noelle's bed was empty. A quick scan of the room revealed no toddler about. I immediately remembered that Eric had recently taught Noelle to climb in and out of her crib / toddler bed (UGH!). Maybe she was hiding under the bed? When I looked more closely, I observed a suspicious wet spot in the center of her mattress, but I also saw that the decorative pillow that usually sits on the rocking chair was now in her bed (it was wet, too - ick).

Noelle had definitely been out of bed, but where was she now?

Then I heard it again. That little voice calling for mommy. Oh no. My sweet angel was in her very off limits bathroom (used only when accompanied by an adult).

I opened the door with some dread and a burst of steam hit me in the face!

My face registered shock as I first observed Noelle standing butt naked on the bath mat, her pj top soaked with water and her head full of bubbly shampoo. Then I saw that the sink faucet was running and the shower was turned on almost full blast to the hot setting.

I stumbled around and stuttered, "Noelle Johnson! What on earth are you doing?!?"

I felt a mixture of relief that I had found my child, amazement at the brilliance of her escapade, frustration that she wasn't napping but had made a huge mess, and fear that she could have slipped, fallen and conked herself out, or severely scalded herself in the hot shower.

(Please note: Eric had cranked up the heat on our teeny water heater to better accommodate our Thanksgiving house guests - and had warned them of this fact. Noelle could have been seriously injured, but the Lord truly protected her when no one else was around.)

Her matter-of-fact answer to my question was, "Noelle want to take bath. Noelle hot in my diaper."

What? Oh. Okay.

"Where is your dirty diaper?"

"In the trash can."

Oh. Okay. Good place for it.

"Noelle Johnson!!! Do you realize you could have been hurt?!? Bumped your head, burned your skin on the hot water?!?"

I went on like this for some time, trying to make sure the message would stick in her head. My mom soon heard the commotion and came to check things out. So then Noelle's Grammy put her 2 cents in about the dangers of bathing without supervision. And of course I had to call to Eric to share the news of his daughter's latest adventure (and to also scold him again for teaching our daughter how to climb out of her crib)

After the hubbub died down, my blood pressure retreated to normal levels, and Noelle had a supervised bath, I started to chuckle a bit (when the kiddo wasn't looking, of course). What creativity!

Then I lifted the toilet seat. The stool was jammed mercilessly with toilet paper. A quick look confirmed that the roll was empty. I also noticed that water was splashed on the inside of every if little hands had been playing in the soggy paper... Eewww.

Good thing she was taking a bath.

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