I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I'm probably not alone in thinking the toddler stage is one of the most frustrating times as a parent. Because these little people, while undoubtedly adorable, have some serious feelings — and they aren't afraid to show them. Between the tantrums, insisting on doing everything themselves, sticking toys and fingers where they shouldn't be, and taking forever to fully potty train, the year between age 2 and 3 can be rough. And this story about a toddler accidentally destroying $1,060 of his parents' savings is proof that, yup, these years are some of the most trying ones.
As People reported, Ben and Jackee Belnap of Holladay, Utah, recently made a horrifying discovery: Their 2-year-old son, Leo, put more than $1,000 through the shredder. Like, literally.
See, the Belnaps had received season tickets for the Utah Utes from Ben's parents, according to Metro, and they had been saving up to eventually pay them back. The couple kept the cash in an envelope at their home, which then inexplicably went MIA one day. After searching their house high and low for the missing envelope, Jackee was the one who finally made the grim discovery of the $1,060 in cash.
“I’m digging through the trash and she hollers and says, ‘I found it,’ ” Ben told NBC News. “She’s holding the shredder and she says, ‘I think the money is in here.’ We started laughing. We were just baffled that this could happen.”
“As devastated and as sick as we were, this was one of those moments where you just have to laugh,” Jackee told ABC 4 News, while also noting she did shed a few tears at first. "He helps me shred all of our bills or other things we obviously wanted shredded. So we normally unplug the shredder and turn it off, and I must have left it on."
According to People, the Belnaps have contacted the U.S. Department of Treasury — and it looks as if they'll ultimately be able to replace the shredded money. (Whew!) Still, you can bet little Leo won't ever live this mishap down.
“Most people they say oh, a kid drew crayon on the wall or something,” Ben told NBC News. “I’ve never heard of a kid shredding a grand.” Jackee added, “We have a lot of Leo moments. Most of them are just funny, and we laugh about them for days and big jokes, but this was one of those moments that wasn’t his greatest, but we love him.”
As a mom for three kids between the ages of 2 and 7 (and another one on the way,) I can say from my experience, the toddler stage is the absolute worst. Although none of my kids have managed to destroy a significant pile of cash (so far, fingers crossed), my son did manage to toss my phone in the toilet when he was 2. I immediately fished it out and placed it in a bowl of rice. But alas, that phone met an untimely death by toddler.
Honestly, on a good day, dealing with toddler tantrums and a relentless desire to "do it myself" — even though it adds roughly 1 million hours to any process and is poorly executed — is sooo frustrating. Add to that nonsense a kid who decides that the shredder is an ideal place to stick $1,000 in cash, and they don't call them the "terrible twos" for nothing.
Still, there is one silver lining to the Belnaps' cautionary tale: At least now, they can one-up pretty much any toddler horror story out there. Parenting win! (Or is it?)