"Patrick?" I stage-whispered as if the sound of cinematic explosions do not travel upstairs but my lightest utterance would wake up the twins.
Nothing. We re-started the movie. Rattle. Rattle.
Steve and I looked at each other and in the same instant said, "Oh no."
I bolted upstairs and - sure as eggs is eggs - there was Caroline's empty crib, Caroline's dumped out dresser drawers, Caroline's cleared bookshelves and Caroline herself standing on an upturned wastepaper basket trying to open the window.
"Oh hello Mommy," she said brightly "welcome in!"
So the good news is that the Little Keeper Sleeper is the only garment Caroline is incapable of removing. The bad news is that liberating her from her nice little sleep sack finally enabled her to move her legs more than six inches apart and after two nights of careful consideration she realized she can vault over the bars. Or straddle them. Or hang from her knees. Or dangle head-first while gripping the top rail before rotating her hands to drop, all Spiderman, onto the floor. All of which I have had the opportunity to watch her do.
It's not that we didn't expect her to leave the crib eventually; it's just that I wasn't prepared for her to do so at that exact second, six days before our big cross-country excursion. I'm not ready, damn it.
Oh oh oh! And! Meanwhile! Caroline is acting like she got hit on the head by a coconut. After three days of using the potty more or less without accident she woke up one day and yet again had no idea what I meant.
You want me to do... what? WHERE? You must be joking. And then off she wandered like a poorly fused highly volatile bomb. This is the same child that used the little potty bucket thing this week to scoop all of the water out of the big toilet; water she carefully carried to the laundry room where she poured it over a basketful of (once)clean clothes. My fault for believing her when she said she wanted privacy to pee on the big potty all by herself. Liar. Thank heavens for neatnik Edward who was no doubt a willing side-kick but who alerted me to the bathroom disaster by coming in to get washcloths out of the kitchen drawer before hurrying back to Caroline with a stack of them clutched in his chunky hands. Edward cannot abide a mesth.
Finally after weeks spent stripping she has started locating swim diapers (do you know how much a swim diaper costs per leg? a lot) and pulling them on, pair after pair. Yesterday she waddled by wearing four at once, together with her swim bottoms pulled across her arms like a backwards shrug.
If I had a List she would occupy the first six spaces.
She's cute but she's a lot of work.
My plan - by the way - is to keep her crib bound by any means necessary until after we return from Vermont. Then we'll really kid-proof her room and get her a big girl bed and blah blah etc.
Edward is what they used to call All Boy but would now be referred to as a Child Who Displays A Natural Affinity For Pursuits That Are Neither Inherently Masculine Nor Feminine Despite Societal Constructs To The Contrary.
Rock in one hand, baseball in the other and he's looking for bugs, most likely to squash them.
Steve and Patrick have spent a few weekends working on a playhouse spaceship. It still needs to be tackled with all of the half-empty cans of paint in the garage and the interior could use some work (Shelves, I suggested. An electrical panel, Patrick countered) but it is mostly finished.
Caroline is smitten with it and gave an Amelia Earhart press conference to mark her inaugural flight:
Hanging Off The Wing
Getting A Troubling Weather Report
Describing The Perils She Faces
Smiling For The Folks Back Home
To Infinity Or Maybe Borneo
This has nothing to do with anything but I have been following the rumors of an impending Important Engagement with interest. Like most Americans of a romantic bent I have a fondness for the British royal family and it's very hard not to admire Kate Middleton. She's a miracle of respectability, she is lovely, she dresses like a dream, she is a grownup and they have been dating for years and years. It is all so suitable and even though I wouldn't wish that kind of global scrutiny on anyone I suppose she knows what she's doing. But as I contemplate another royal wedding I keep thinking about the last one and I am shocked by how much perspective can change in such a short period of time.
I mean, isn't it weird that everyone thought it was so nice that a 19 year old was going to marry this jaded 30-something she barely knew? Or that a junior high school kid in Washington DC (along with the rest of the world) would be made aware of the fact that the royal physicians had (huge sigh of relief) certified the future princess as virgo intacta? Surely we are less... ridiculous than that now?
As I said we are getting ready to leave for our trip pretty soon and it is making me even more dithery than usual. I keep thinking of things to bring (battery charger. sun hats) and buy (ziploc bags. little red car III IV V) and get (almanac from library for Patrick. more recorded books - one of you asked why I could not bring both Percy and Artemis and I opened my mouth and closed it again; then I requested the beejums out of the two serieseseses via the library) and do (unload dishwasher before we leave. write notes for house sitter) while I am driving or in the shower and then I spend the rest of the day trying to remember what that ultra-important item was that flitted into my mind only to be promptly forgotten five seconds later.
Steve remarked to the cat that hyper-controlling people should probably not be allowed to travel and I beat him to death with my 45 page list of Things To Etc. So that was sad.
Two questions for you:
1. Snacks for the car that are not sticky, crumbly, oozy or too completely entirely constructed of crap. So far I have come up with: cheese.
2. I had this idea that I thought was pretty clever last summer when Steve and Patrick went on a little road trip without me. I wrote a short list of things for Patrick to try to find while they drove; a personalized I Spy meets the License Plate game. I decided to do it again and then I thought oh hey maybe we can make it more global if you guys give suggestions as well. I promise (hand to my heart) to put the finished list up on my blog before we leave and then you can play too as you car trip or just commute this summer. My original list was pretty basic (Find a: yellow truck, cow, dog in a car...) so anything like that or even things that you might see where you are (windmill, condor, whale, ferry, ski gondola) that we have no chance of seeing this time would be fine too. OK? OK.
Sorry this is scattered, I am writing with one hand and wringing the other as I try to remember what that THING was - that totally critical THING - for Edward for the road.