Jason's away this week, off upstate in the middle of nowhere, doing work-related fly fishing. Which is a thing, I guess. Business fishing. A River Runs Through IT Consulting. I don't know. But it means the kids and I have had an extra heaping dose of togetherness this week.
And it's all been fine! Jason gave the boys a SERIOUS TALK about helping Mom around the house before he left, which I then supplemented with straight-up bribery. I WILL GIVE YOU MONEY FOR DOING THINGS THAT ARE NOT FIGHTING.
Also you can watch a movie every night, as long as Mom Has Not Had It and Does Not Need It To Be Bedtime Right This Second. I taught Noah how to vacuum and make macaroni & cheese, Ezra's watering the garden and putting silverware away, and Ike...
Well, Ike's been here! That's for sure.
Although last night, on the other hand...
I put everybody to bed after their movie — it was late so both Noah and Ezra were practically asleep by the time I closed the door, while Ike didn't even wait for me to leave before attempt Bed Escape #1 of the night.
I scooted him back into bed and went downstairs to find some girly indie love story movie to watch — THE TELEVISION IS MINE! IT'S GONNA BE ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE GIVING EACH OTHER KNOWING LONGING LOOKS THROUGH THEIR PAIN ALL UP IN THIS BITCH — and tried to ignore the repeated sounds of the door opening, the multiple drinks of water at the bathroom sink, the fetching of yet another super important book or Lego figure or God knows what.
"BACK TO BED, IKE," I probably hollered up once or twice, because I am super involved and effective like that.
Finally, all was silent. So I went up to check on everybody — my usual ritual of making sure no one's hanging off the edge of the bed or asleep in the laundry basket, plus collecting covers and pillows from the floor, removing excess books or Lego figures or God knows what from under their bodies.
Noah, check. Ezra, check. Ike...
Well, Ike was not there.
Okay. I guess he didn't return after one of those excursions after all. I peeked in his old room, then my room, then my office. The bathrooms, maybe? I checked my bed again, then their bed again. I went downstairs, then to the basement.
I did another lap around the house, calling for him this time, both irritated and vaguely alarmed. Who loses a kid in a townhouse? Who gets so into feeling sad about the loss of James Gandolfini and baffled by the reverse hotness aging process of Julia Louis-Dreyfus that she doesn't realize her child has wandered off, and apparently wandered off FOR SERIOUS, because I was now on my third frantic search of the house and there was still no sign of him. The front and back doors were still locked, so. Okay.
I was out of ideas, so I figured I'd go back upstairs and start over.
As I neared the top of the stairs, I suddenly noticed something...
Something I could just barely make out in the shadows...
(If life was a J-horror movie, this is when he would've woken up and looked at me with the light reflecting in his eyes, causing me to fall down the stairs and die. My death would be ruled an accident, until some unlucky investigator would come around asking too many questions, awaking the ancient curse of the demonic dustbunnies who live under the crib.)
He didn't wake up. I assume he went under there to retrieve his pencil and then decided he was actually kinda sleepy.
I understand — I had to lie down on the stairs for a few minutes there myself until my heart started up again. I hadn't even noticed it had stopped. DEAR GOD, CHILD.
(Cat-owners. You feel me. It's like when your cat goes missing and you run around looking for him and calling for him and shaking treat containers and trying to remember when you last opened the front door oh God do you think that's possible? Do you think he got outside? And then you find him just chilling on a pile of towels on the top shelf of the linen closet, all, "What?" Yeah. Like that.)