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Friday 6 June 2014
They say silence is golden... until you have a toddler...
This quote was flying round Facebook this week, and I chuckled to myself... and so really, I should have been prepared, right?
As I weeded away in the garden, turned over the vegetable patch, moved the scarecrow and emptied the dishwasher, it should really have crossed my mind earlier that it was perhaps a bit strange that I had not heard a peep out of my two-year-old for nearly an hour.
Every day, when Heidi goes down for her nap, Ava goes for her "Mittagspause"... her lunch break. This involves staying in the spare room until her Groclock sun appears and playing with any combination of books, puzzles and games, and her beloved dollies, while listening to a story CD. In her own words to my sister, the day before;
"I like to read, and do a puzzle, and hop a little bit"
If only she had.
The thought first popped into my mind as I washed up the last of the dishes. Its awfully quiet up there. She's pretty good at staying in her room these days, but normally I can hear her chattering, or singing, or generally thumping around up there. But. Nothing.
I frowned as I wiped down the table, wondering if I should risk disturbing the calm to check nothing untoward was going on. Perhaps she's fallen asleep, I thought. And then a shout from above made me breath a sigh of relief:
"Mama... my CD is finished!"
I plodded up the stairs slowly, ready to restart the CD, and wondering if she'd noticed that the sun on her clock was due to come up any minute.
I pushed open the door and was blocked. She slid back and then I saw it.
Her sleeves and trouser legs were rolled up, and her arms, legs, hands and feet were dyed a marbled mixture of blue and pink paint. Splotches of paint dotted the carpet and a shelf from the bookcase, which was somehow lying on the floor, was plastered in the stuff.
"Don't move!" I whispered... "Don't you dare move!"
I glanced around the room, surveying the damage. Miraculously the walls remained unscathed. The bedcovers had not been touched. Her clothes, somehow, were clean. There was a smear of paint across a set of Horrible History books, but otherwise the damage seemed to be confined to the carpet, the bookcase, and... her.
I lifted her... holding her at arms length... and... with strict instructions not to touch a single thing... maneuvered her into the bathroom where she stood, and uncertain look across her face as she tried to figure out whether Mama was cross or calm, while I returned to the scene of the crime.
Ouch. The only pack of baby wipes currently in the house were shut in Heidi's room with her, fast asleep. I was not going to risk waking her in the midst of the chaos. And so, with no trusty baby wipes in hand, I grabbed a jay cloth and warm water and got to work.
To my relief, everything seemed to clean away.
I returned to the lady in the bath who was, by this point, looking very sheepish.
"I'm sorry Mama" she whispered.
I couldn't be too harsh. After all, it was me that had left the box "Make your own Baby Handprint Keepsake" on the bookshelf. Her willingness to call me because her CD had finished was evidence to me that she had pretty innocently thought nothing was amiss. The minute she saw my face, she knew otherwise.
We had a pretty stern chat about it afterwards.
And so actually, as Dave and I chuckled about it last night, I realised that somehow, miraculously, we seem to have got away with minimal damage.
But then again, if you look very closely, you can see a slight tinge of pink in the carpet.
A tangible reminder for me as my children grow up, that when you have a toddler in the house, silence is never golden...