A few weeks ago we were at Target and I told Nesko to buy a shelf to go over the key hooks by the front door to hold his wallet, comb, coins, receipts, knife, and other pocket stuff that tends to get scattered around OR clutter up the dining room table. He picked up a 3-pack of different sized shelves, figuring the other shelves could go someplace else. We got home, just the two of us, Niko at Baba’s and Djedo’s, and he put the shelf up. We decided to put the other two shelves up in Niko’s room, next to his bed. We put one right next to his bed to hold his night time cup of water, and the other slightly above to hold his dried gourd, little metal cars, books, or whatever else he wanted. We did some other things around the house and then got ready to visit some family members for their Slava. We swung by to pick up Niko and told him there was a surprise at home. He was upset with us, reminded us that we were going someplace else and NOT HOME, IT WAS NOT TIME TO GO HOME YET and we said yes yes yes but when we DO get home there’s a surprise!
We had a really good time at the Slava and as usual headed home much later than we should have. We hauled Niko into his bedroom to show him the shelves. Surprise, we said! He looked around. Aw hey, shelves! Neat! So… what’s the surprise? The shelves, we said. That’s the surprise. Surprise! Shelves!
This was not good enough.
He insisted that it was NOT a surprise and he’d SHOW US the surprise. He told us to follow him while he lead us to the surprise and he stomped into the living room. There was no fantastic train set or pile of pirate gold or mountain of pie or whatever the hell he was expecting and he just collapsed emotionally. Nesko wrangled him into bed, showed him how he could put his water on the little shelf and pointed out how his gourd was safe on the bigger shelf, etc.
By the next morning, Niko cheerfully informed us that Clover (one of his stuffed animals) really liked the shelves. When pressed, he admitted that he liked them also.
But there was a problem.
There’s always a problem, right?
The lower shelf was lose. It turned out there was something inside the wall (a small brick chimney? A vein of lead? WHO CAN SAY) that could not be drilled into, so the shelf could not be securely attached to the wall with screws and anchors. So Nesko busted out the command strips and velcroed the fucker to the wall.
He and I both had talks with Niko about not pulling on the shelves or climbing on the shelves, etc. Niko, at one point, was eager to tell me how tata had fixed the smaller shelf and ripped it off the wall with a flourish TADA! and I had another talk with him about Not Doing That.
And all was pretty quiet, you know? Putting his water on the little shelf became part of his bedtime routine. He put different treasures on the big shelf. All of his rocks and the gourd and his favorite sticks, or a bunch of books he was fond of, or a selection of his favorite cars, or one single wooden train engine. They were just shelves, a part of his life, a part of his bedroom.
And then I put him down for a nap today.
Internet, I was so ready for him to take a nap.
In between trying to Do All The Things (including laundry, cleaning the bathroom, washing dishes, making bread, making lasagna, cleaning the dining room, sorting through junk to donate/discard it, moving furniture, sorting paperwork, etc) I also had to clean crushed raspberries off of wooden tracks and the wheels/undercarriage of trains; move the (not hooked up) laser printer up high so nobody could shove toys into it; check the VCR for DVDs; rescue a piece of religious jewelry; refill his cup with water that was EXACTLY THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE; put away the finger paints; AND MORE. Niko’s usually good about playing calmly, absorbed in what he’s doing, checking on me from time to time but otherwise happy. NOT TODAY.
So I finally wrangle him into bed, get him settled, and leave. This takes over an hour. There is much fake crying.
About fifteen minutes later I hear a clatter, a thump, and what might be a small child whimpering. So of course I head quickly toward Niko’s room. It’s really quiet so at first I think it was the upstairs neighbors but then I think IT’S TOO QUIET so I peek into his room. Niko’s burried under the covers, lying perfectly still, the smell of baby powder thick in the air, the shelves ripped off the wall.
What the ever loving hell.
One of those shelves was attached to he wall with screws and anchors and he just ripped it right out. Everything that had been on the shelves was on the floor. Where did the baby powder come from? Why did he feel the need to dump it liberally all over the place? Why do I bother asking these questions?
I confiscated the shelves.
I’m ready for bed. Or a Tom Collins and a trashy movie.
One or the other.