I was much, much less cool two nights ago. The kids and I got home from an evening at the park (an evening during which Riley had eaten one too many oranges slices at once, gagged, and puked up a portion of his dinner) and climbed the stairs to the house. I unlocked the front door, dumped our stuff in the hallway, hung my keys in the pegboard (FORESHADOWING!), and grabbed two canvas bags to bring in our milk, which had been delivered that day. Maddie busied herself with taking the ice packs out of the milk box and helping me load the milk into the bags. Riley decided to play Hide, a favorite game that involves going inside, closing the front door, and yelling, "I hiding!" until someone comes to open the door and cause gales of laughter.
I heard Riley yell, "I hiding!" and thought nothing of it; Maddie and I finished packing up the milk and I picked up the bags to go find Riley and bring the milk inside.
The door was locked.
Riley had not only shut the door, but he had slid the deadbolt.
I totally freaked out. My phone was inside. My keys were inside. Riley was inside. Shit.
Luckily, my neighbor was home and he has a key, so it really should not have been a big deal. I rang and rang and rang his doorbell, but no one came down. In my addled state, it did not occur to me to, oh, bang on his front door with my fists. Instead, I started screaming, "Ray! RAY! RAAAAAAAY!" at the top of my lungs. Maddie joined in and yelled, "Ray!" too. I pleaded with Riley to flip the lock, but I don't think he could really hear me over his crying, nor do I think he really understood what I was asking. I kept screaming, and finally Ray appeared. "I need my house key as fast as you can get it," I barked. In a few seconds, he was back and Riley, Maddie, and I were reunited.
I doubt the whole incident even lasted five minutes, but it felt like forever. It was absolutely terrifying to be separated from Riley like that, unable to get to him and reassure him that everything would be OK. It was brief, but awful. Again, all's well that ends well, but this time, getting to the end was much more traumatic.
Last night, I took the twins out for dinner. We went to the local Mexican place, since they usually have mariachi on Thursday nights. The band had cancelled, but we still had a fun dinner. Maddie and Riley are quite well behaved in restaurants, and they love Mexican food, so it was all good. I don't often take them out to eat when I'm on my own, but this was a good reminder that I can do it and that it can be a lot of fun.
This restaurant provides crayons and paper for the kids to doodle while they wait for their food. Usually Maddie and Riley eschew the drawing in favor of cramming themselves full of chips. Last night, however, they decided to scribble.
When Maddie was done with her picture, she handed it to me. "Here you go, Mama," she said. "This for Daddy."
"Yes, for Daddy."
"OK, sweetie, we'll save it for Daddy. Maddie, where is Daddy?"
She looked at me like I was a total moron. "Daddy at home."
When her dinner came, she started eating, then she paused and carefully put some black beans and rice into a bowl intended for salsa. She clearly had a plan, and precisely scooped rice and parceled out beans, then stirred it all together. Once her work was done she announced, "This Daddy food!"
"Do you want to eat that, love?"
"No, that Daddy food."
"Do you think Daddy likes rice and beans?"
"Yes, that for Daddy."
"OK, well leave it there for Daddy."
She wouldn't let the server take it away when it came time to have the plates cleared.
This morning, Maddie pitched a fit about something that seemed really small to me; I don't even remember what it was. She was sobbing in her carseat. I asked her what I could do to help.
"See picture Daddy!" she wept.
I have in the car a picture of me and John, taken the summer of our first anniversary at the wedding of a friend. It's not a great picture of either of us. John was on medication that caused him to retain water and lose his hair. His face is puffy, his head shiny bald. I just look like I always did when John was sick: tired, drawn, stressed-out, the same way I look now. Of course, Maddie doesn't care. I handed her the picture and she pointed at John. "That Daddy! There Mama." She calmed right down.
She wouldn't let go of the picture. She took it to school with her.