In the past few weeks my barely-3-year-old dd has: dyed my living room carpet neon green (with dye that is meant to not come out and was not put within her reach), covered my entire office floor with sequins, painted her body with lipstick--twice, painted my closet door with lipstick, broken dh's glasses (which she KNOWS she was not supposed to have in the first place and had to climb to get them) and hidden them under her bed, been caught with a tube of toothpaste under her bed, hidden the remnants of still more of my makeup under her bed, painted herself twice with tempera paints, given herself a footbath in the kitchen sink, been caught playing in daddy's car several times (when she wasn't even supposed to be outside in the first place).... Oh, and she's gone potty in my mop bucket twice, in ds's garbage can once, and in an empty popcorn bowl once. Yesterday she put lotion on my piano keys, one dollop at a time, and then while I was going to get a tissue to clean it off, she swiped her hands up and down the keyboard, so now I have greasy keys and gunky lotion stuck all between the keys.
I have replaced tons of makeup that she's gotten into and ruined. Just today she got into my blush brush, which I just bought a week ago to replace the last one she ruined. She sticks it in my cream foundation and gets it all gunky, and then it can't be washed out. I've replaced lipsticks that she's poked her fingers in, eyeliner pencils that she's broken, you name it. I've cleaned up untold numbers of messes involving makeup, lotion, soap, shampoo, pens (writing on self and walls), water, craft supplies, etc.
I just don't know what to do. I'm pretty laidback, realizing that young kids like to explore, and that them getting into things is just part of the journey. But dd really does seem to be extra tactile. My ds was "busy", but nothing like this. I got roses for Mother's Day, and I found her taking the petals apart one by one, ripping the petals into tiny pieces, putting the pieces in the water in the vase, then sticking her hands in and just rubbing and twisting those pieces to death. If there's anything to touch or feel, she simply HAS to touch and feel it.
It's getting really old, and I've been thinking maybe I need to set more boundaries and be more clear about letting her know that this isn't acceptablew. Isn't a 3-year-old old enough to at least begin to mellow out with the messes? I do not want to punish, but I do wonder if she really hasn't ever been required to understand that this is a problem, y/k? I guess I'm trying to figure out that balance between letting her explore and not being ultra-uptight about messes, yet keeping my sanity and helping her understand that some things are not OK.
We are fairly well child-proofed, except with my makeup we don't have a latch on the drawer, and I know we need to get one (but installing those kinds of things seems to be beyond dh and me sometimes--we're not handy). She has started climbing, though, and that means that things she didn't used to be able to reach are now well within her reach.
Any natural (or gentle logical) consequences? How should I approach this?
Yesterday she got into my makeup--again--and covered herself in lipstick while I was mopping the kitchen floor. I had her come and sit on a chair where I could see her. I did give her some toys to play with on the chair, but told her that I needed to be able to have her near me, and since I had to get the floor mopped, she would need to sit there where I could watch her until I was done with the floor. So it was kind of a "time-in"; I tried to be humorous about it, though firm, but not punitive or angry. I am starting to get very frustrated in general, and she knows it, which I think is actually leading her to do some of this on purpose for attention.
P.S. This is not a new phase. She has always done these kinds of things. She is well-supervised, but she is sneaky and fast. Most of this stuff has occured in just a few minutes while I'm doing something else.