Today officially ushered in the start of a new season in my life: the season I’m affectionately referring to as “Growing Gray Hair.”

My youngest cannot leave anything un-inspected. He must examine, deconstruct, ascend, taste, or spread everything he encounters. He is stealthy and swift, taking full advantage of his easily-distracted mother.

Recently, and especially today, he has embarked on a series of particularly noteworthy adventures.

Emptying the pantry of every dry cereal box or container, opening the boxes, opening the bags inside the boxes, and eating and scattering the cereal inside across the floor. Then stomping and smooshing the strewn cereal into tiny crumbs.

Sniffing out every hidden or forgotten crayon, marker, and pencil and adorning the walls with art. No matter how many times I put away or throw away these items, he manages to find more.

Dusting the dining room table with a thick layer of salt and sugar.

Climbing onto the dining table to retrieve a peanut butter jar. I’m not sure if his sister unscrewed the lid in a covert action to obtain a third coating of peanut butter for her banana, or if Little Boy unscrewed it himself. But he painted himself, the table, the chair, the dog, and the ottoman with it before I discovered him. He attempted to cover me with innocent little “I’m so cute you can’t possibly be mad at me” hugs.

Said peanut butter painting spree required so much cleanup that I ran out of time to drop him and Little Girl off with a friend before I headed to a doctor’s appointment for myself. So he got to accompany us to the doctor’s office where he proceeded to rip “Danger: Biohazard — Do not touch” signs from red trash cans, freed tissue boxes of their contents, and let himself out of my exam room to wander the halls.

In a vitamin store, he immediately honed in on the children’s products and decided they belonged scattered across the floor instead of neatly displayed in rows on shelves. Then he discovered and entered the stock room where there were ladders, light bulbs, trash cans, and all sorts of dangerous items.

While helping Older Boy and Little Girl select valentines, Little Boy hid behind a candy display, found a stray Cadberry Chocolate Egg, removed the foil wrapper, and proceeded to chow down. I snatched the egg away, got as much of the wrapper as I could, told him a stern “No!” and started speeding up the other kids’ selection process. He, as soon as my back was turned, grabbed another candy, a Reeses peanut butter chocolate heart (I’m seeing a theme here), unwrapped it, and started eating again! This time, I might have uttered something exasperatedly as I grabbed the candy away. He let out a blood-curdling angry scream, so I grabbed his arm and marched him towards the front of the store, determined not to buy any more unplanned candy. Thankfully, the cashier at the check-out was very nice about the half-eaten candy she had to scan for me.

He has figured out how to work the drawer stop I installed in the bathroom so that he would stop dragging out all the children’s toothpaste tubes and sucking on the contents. My skinned knuckles installing the thing in such a tight space are for naught.

He’s so quick that I just don’t know how I’m going to keep up and keep him safe.