I waited in the carpool line and watched as Caroline trotted toward me. Although the DC public school kid in me believes that elementary school uniforms are fascist; I have to admit that she looked adorable in her crisp white shirt, navy jumper and striped tights with the bunny faces on the knees. I studied her fatuously as she bounced along. Then she swung open the car door and I realized that something was wrong. Patrick articulated it for me.
"Caroline! Where's Edward?" he asked.
Caroline closed the door, tossed her backpack down and started to buckle her seat belt.
"I have no idea," she said. "He never showed up for the carpool line. Did you bring me a snack? Do we have karate or are we going straight home?"
"What do you mean he never showed up? Where he is?"
"I have no idea," she repeated, patiently. "Is that an apple?
Patrick and I stared at each other.
"I'll go find him! I'll go look for him! I'll go get him!" Patrick - who for the secret record is about a thousand times more alarmist about the twins than I am; he won't even let me play Frank Turner when they're in the car because some of his songs use Language - started to fumble with his seat belt.
"Ohhhhh," said Caroline from the back. "You knoooooooooow." She took a bite of apple. "Maaaaaaybe."
"I think he might have gone to chess."
I have signed both Caroline and Edward up for an after school chess program this Fall and although this was the first time I had utterly and completely forgotten about it, it is never very high up on my list of things to remember. Everything was fine. He had just gone to chess.
But sweet mary marjoram! I thought I was going to have an apoplexy. Edward! Missing! And Caroline calmly asking about our afternoon plans as if we were just going to leave. Without knowing where Edward was. I can't decide if it's funny or alarming.
To be fair I suspect that Caroline knew where Edward was but was just trying to get out of going to chess herself, as she has discovered that she dislikes it. She had complained in previous weeks that her chess partners are mean to her and I was willing to sympathize until Caroline went on to explain that she tries to expedite games by removing more than one piece from the board at a time.
"She cheats," Edward clarified.
To be more charitable I think she doesn't have the attention span for it and just wants the game to end. Edward, in contrast, loves chess. He has even developed a delightful habit: as he studies the board he reflexively strokes his chin and then draws his fingers down to a point a few inches below it. He has an imaginary chess beard. I think I am about to use the word adorable for the second time in less than 500 words... yes. I am. It's adorable.
Finally, and only vaguely tangentially, this morning I asked the twins if they might be interested in starting piano lessons.
They both said yes but...
"But not piano," Edward said. "I want to play the modern pipe organ."
"But not piano," Caroline said. "I want to learn the ukulele."
Then she turned to Edward and said, "O M G-O-S-H! Edward! You can learn the organ... "
["Modern pipe organ," Edward corrected]
"... and I can learn the ukulele and then we can start our own band!"
Toccata and Fugue in Tiny Bubbles Minor. I can't believe it hasn't been done before.