I left for California on Thursday, by the way, although it hardly seems worth mentioning, since I'm back already. I spent about 36 hours in San Diego; it rained for approximately 34 of them; I left my hotel room maybe three whole times. One of those times was to speak to a room of about 50 pregnant or breastfeeding moms about the current state of mommyblogging, during which I am sure I came across as some kind of dinosaur, smacking my gums together while talking about Teh Olde Days, back before ads or sponsored posts or Twitter or Instagram or Amazon drones or whatnot. IN MY DAY, WE DIDN'T EVEN CALL THEM BLOGS. WE WROTE IN OUR ONLINE JOURNALS. SOMETIMES WE POSTED WISH LISTS AND SENT EACH OTHER BOOKS. BOOKS THAT WERE MADE OF PAPER, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.
About 15 minutes before I was scheduled to speak, I got a text from Jason:
shit Noah had a half day
This was...not news to me. This was...not supposed to be news to Jason, either, as we'd had several discussions about the day's logistics before I left. I texted back.
There was no response, which was not exactly reassuring, especially once I finished the time zone math and realized that Noah's bus should have dropped him off over an hour earlier, i.e. not exactly jibing with Jason suddenly being surprised that oh look! There is another small human being at our house who I was not expecting.
Did you forget him? Where are you? Where is Noah?
I sensed I was being ignored, so I called him.
Ike had a cold all week — a cold that he was having a hard time shaking, and before I left I told Jason I was concerned that it was maybe looking a little infection-y. Maybe sinus or upper respiratory. Maybe keep an eye on that, and take him to the doctor before the weekend if he's running a fever.
(Also, Noah has a half day.)
Jason decided to take Ike to the doctor after all, and was in the waiting room when one of our neighbors called him. BECAUSE NOAH HAD A HALF DAY. A different neighbor called, by the way, than the neighbor who actually had custody of Noah, since that neighbor didn't know our phone number. And apparently Noah both 1) forgot our phone numbers, even though I swear we've worked on memorizing them with him, and 2) forgot that I put a card with both of our phone numbers in his backpack for just such an occasion. Probably because, just as Jason was sputtering at me in regards to the half day, well, yeah, I'd reminded him, but I didn't remind him enough.
So now, Jason was driving frantically back home, having abandoned the appointment (and thus Ike's possible last chance for antibiotics before the weekend), to collect our presumably terrified child and face the shame of the entire stay-at-home contingent (and the we-remembered-our-kids-have-a-half-day-so-we-made-proper-arrangements contingent) of the neighborhood.
Now, let me interject with some backstory: Not only had I discussed Noah's half day with Jason several times, including the time we each got a reminder about it on our respective phones' calendars, I had also arranged a babysitter for Friday afternoon to both pick up Ike from school AND be at the house when Noah got home so Jason could go to work. At some point, he decided to take the day off instead, and canceled the sitter. This was all fine and good but I feel like I need to mention it just so you know how ABSOLUTELY TOGETHER things were when I left. Things were TOGETHER as SHIT, when I left.
Also, some even deeper backstory: The last time I went away on a business trip by myself, Ike was all of two months old. That time, most of the texts from Jason were accompanied by photos of all four of them out at various places. No big deal, just out solo at the movies. Now we're at a restaurant. Here we are all not dying at the grocery store. Miss you! I don't think I'd ventured outside the house with all three of my children in tow at that point, and yet there was Jason, being all kinds of capable and competent and adventurous.
This time, though.
Noah got off the bus and walked home himself — no big deal, I'd instructed him to do that so the babysitter could stay inside with Ike. When he got to the house, it was locked. No big deal again, apparently, as he decided simply to climb over the back fence and let himself in the back door, which Jason had forgotten to lock.
(We have a gate, by the way. A perfectly functional gate. But I guess using the gate wasn't quite Home Alone-level hijinksy enough for Noah, so he took the Spiderman route.)
Once he realized there really wasn't anybody at home, he got a little nervous and decided to go next door. Those neighbors didn't have our mobile numbers, so they then went door to door until they found our OTHER neighbor, who did.
("Did you mention that your mom was in California?" I kept asking after the fact. "Does everybody know that I was in California and thus in no way responsible for any of this? BECAUSE I WAS IN CALIFORNIA.")
Long story short, Noah was fine. Very calm and collected, frankly (minus forgetting our phone numbers AND the phone number cheat sheet in his backpack), and he demonstrated some very good problem solving skills. Or cat burgling skills. Either/or.
The doctor let Jason reschedule Ike's appointment for slightly later that afternoon, during which it was discovered that Ike had no infection of any kind, it was just a basic cold, what are you even doing here, how many kids do you have, because this is like, a rookie-level overreaction, DAD. Mom's in California, you say? Mmm-hmm. I get it.
They all stayed in on Friday night and ordered pizza. I thought that was a wise choice. And yet on Saturday Jason, never one to stay rattled all that long, took them all out for lunch and got Ezra a haircut and Noah a set of Apology LEGO. I gotta give it to him, I probably would have kept right on staying home, lest I leave one of them behind in a tragic headcounting mistake, which I have done before because sometimes all preschoolers look kind of alike.
We had another snow day today (ARGLEFKARGLEBLAG) so I have yet to face any of the neighbors and overcompensate by mentioning the fact that I was in California!!! 500 million times. We're going to play in the snow and then work on phone number memorization a little harder, because clearly, child, this probably isn't the last time you're going to need to seek out a more competent set of grown-ups than your parents.
(P.S. It'll be awhile before Jason dares bring up the Fruit Sticker again, at least. Yay, I am winning!)