There I was, 6:45 am in the morning in our dining room staring at the dining room table. I found myself focusing on breathing quietly while surveying the damage from our 3 year old’s pencil-carving-into-the-dining-room-table project. My wife was stunned, barely able to process as she was in “5 hours of sleep – no coffee yet” mode.

As I stood there trying to channel my own “inner orange rhino”. I had a flashback to 8 years ago when we moved into our place and shopped around for weeks trying to find dining room furniture. Prices ranged from $300 to $5,000 for a dining room table. We were trying to conceive at the time, so we knew children would be in our lives. My wife said to me “we can’t have nice things now, we have to think about what children do to things, think about spilled milk, crayons, and general child-related incidents.”

We bought the $299 dining room table from Ikea.

This is what I was thinking about as I was eying the new charcoal gray design/décor added to the table and the guilty-as-sin child sat frozen, glued to the chair, pencil still in hand.

We disciplined, discussed and leveled consequences. He seemed to understand. And he seemed scared even without (too much) yelling.

As I turned towards the coffee pot, I let go a deep breath and said to my wife…

“you were right, we can’t have nice things.”

Before we had our second child (and before I discovered the Orange Rhino), I came downstairs to a different 3 year old standing in our living room with purple marker all over his hands AND ALL OVER THE LIVING ROOM RUG AND BAY WINDOW SEAT announcing “look mommy I drew roads!” as proud as can be.

I yelled. I really yelled.

“WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!?!”

His pride quickly went to shock, then confusion, then tears. How could I not be proud of him for the roads he drew all over the living room?!?

I was able to get the marker out of the rug (for the most part) but was at least happy that it was a Home Depot special, not a Persian rug.

And when our coffee table bit the dust a few years ago, we set our sights on the cheapest, yet sturdiest one we could find. It had to be able to hold at least 2 boys-pretending-to-be-superheroes but totally disposable when those boys hit 9 years old. Our friends who don’t have kids nicely ask when we are going to replace our coffee table (it’s a wee bit shabby) and I respond with “when the boys are in college.”

I know this probably sounds like I let my children run amok all over the house but I thought we’d been pretty good about limiting their access to anything disastrous. Living with 2 energetic boys has definitely taught us that just when you think you’ve covered everything, they will find a loophole and they will jump on it.

The dining room table story occurred in the middle of a pretty chaotic week this week. But I did find some solace when I stumbled upon THIS SITE and found that I’m definitely not alone.

Like these parent victims:

And then there’s this:

and this:

So, I am not alone. And now at least I can refocus my yelling into searching for a camera to share on a website dedicated to kids like mine.

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