One early morning last week I staggered downstairs to the kitchen to make some much needed coffee in the blessed quiet before my three children would be awake demanding Aquanauts on the TV and milk in their sippy cups. As I stood at the counter in the kitchen, bleary-eyed, enjoying the aroma of brewing coffee, I heard it . . . . the shuffley-scratchy sound of a mouse in the house. I froze. Suddenly I was very much awake, listening intently to that all-too-familiar shuffley-scratchy sound of a mouse in the house and trying to determine the exact location of the cursed critter.
You see, last spring and summer our entire neighborhood was overrun with mice. It was a frequent topic of sidewalk conversation among the neighbors. Nearly all of us resorted to a not-inexpensive service that not only got rid of the mice, but carefully sealed every nook and cranny around the ground level of the house so that no more mice would make our home their home. And ultimately it worked. The mice vanished and were not seen or heard from again.
So, as I stood in the kitchen that early morning last week waiting for my coffee to brew, I was not at all happy to hear once again the shuffley-scratchy sound of a mouse in the house.
Without moving, using my super-human, bionic-woman-like powers of hearing, I listened carefully so that I could pinpoint the exact location of the little varmint. The shuffley-scratchy sound of the mouse in the house was louder than I expected. And more animated too. Could there be two? What in the dickens were they doing? Dancing? And why were they out and about in the house in the morning. Our previous mouse guests and been active only at night.
Gradually, I turned from the counter and crept across the kitchen towards the breakfast room as quietly as, well, a mouse, so that I might catch a glimpse of the little intruder. And, there in the breakfast room, seated at the breakfast room table, tiny little fingers tapping away at the keyboard on my laptop, was Margot. She turned to me and grinned. “Good morning, Daddy! I was just checking your email. Can I have some toast?” Okay, she didn’t say that because she’s not talking yet, but it’s what she would have said if she could have said something.
Yes, Margot had toddled downstairs sometime earlier that morning, before I was up, and sat herself in front of my laptop to pass the time until she knew I would finally show up to make her some toast.
You see, in our house we don’t have mice anymore. What we have is free-range two-year-olds.
Margot was the first to climb out of her crib. Actually, first she climbed out of her pack-n-play in the country over Labor Day Weekend. Again and again one night. To the point where at different times during the night Ken and I were sleeping next to the pack-n-play to keep her in her bed. Then when we got back home to San Francisco she demonstrated her ability to clamber quite easily out of her crib. She got quite good at it quite fast. In fact, last weekend when she was supposed to be taking a nap she climbed out of her crib ten times. That’s not an exaggeration. I counted. I thought that if every time she climbed out of her crib I put her right back in, she would eventually give up and take her nap. She, on the other hand, thought in her little head, “If every time Daddy puts me back in my crib I climb right back out, he’ll eventually give up and I won’t have to take a nap.” She was right.
It was actually several days before I sat in the room and watched her climb out of her crib. She would swing her leg up over the end of the crib, pull herself over the side, tummy down, and then lower herself so that she could set first one foot and then the other foot on the cross piece at mattress level. Then she would simply hop off.
Not to be outdone for long, it was only a week before Flynn realized he was getting left behind. He quickly figured out the art of crib climbing and became a free-range two-year-old as well.
So, sadly, we bid adeiu to the period when we could put two of our three children to bed and count on them to stay put. And we say "hola" to the nightly battle of wills to get children to go to bed and stay in bed.
|Margot and Flynn, not in their beds but in Coco's bed instead.|