Archive for the ‘Brushes with Death’ Category

Two Hour Delay

Odd things happen in my household when there’s a two-hour school delay.  Like yesterday:

Mark (coming back in after playing in the snow):  “Ow!  Ow!  Oowwwww!”

Me:  “What’s wrong?”

Mark:  “I hurt my heel.”

Me:  “What did you do?”

Mark:  “I jumped off the climber.”

Me:  “Why did you jump off the climber?”

Mark:  “Because I wanted to see if jumping from so high up would hurt me.”

Me (trying to hold in the laughter):  “Pfft!”

Kate (scornfully):  “Scientists don’t experiment on THEMSELVES, doofus.  Don’t you remember Mythbusters?  I think we should build a crash-test dummy.”

Which is how they came to spend the next half-hour brainstorming HOW they could build a crash-test dummy (“Could we use turkey drumsticks for the bones?”) over muffins and hot chocolate.


A Triad of Sunday Silliness: Three

Once of the not-insignificant challenges of yesterday’s neighborhood festival and the older children’s participation therein was trying to get to the end of the day still in possession of the youngest.  Mark decided that with all the goings-on, it was obviously a free-for-all day.

For instance:

I’m helping Kate set up her table.  Mark joins us, watching for a bit, then casually remarks:  “I think I’ll go for a walk.”

Me:  “No you’re not.”

Mark:  “PAUL goes on walks by himself.”

Me:  “Paul is 13.  You are 4.  Sam does not go on walks by himself.  Kate does not go on walks by herself.  When you are 13, you can go on walks by yourself.”

He nodded, as if he had heard and understood.  But exactly how little impression I made can be gathered from the fact that he tried the same strategy 45 minutes later.

Oh, well, I didn’t want it anyway

Yesterday Mark successfully a) lopped another year off my rapidly-decreasing lifespan and, not coincidentally, b) discovered a security flaw in one of the best daycares in Pittsburgh.

So what happened was this:

When I came to pick him up, he said he needed to use the potty first and headed to the back of the room where the bathroom is.  Five minutes later, I realized he hadn’t come back.  Nor did I hear anything from the bathroom that sounded like either peeing or hand-washing.  Not that he washes his hands unless you’re standing over him with a bullwhip.

His jacket’s on the floor by the fire-escape door.


The door’s not locked, of course, and it’s not alarmed either (that’s the security flaw he found–and exploited.  Assuming he lives to adulthood, I hope he uses his powers for good).

The teacher’s aid went running out the door.  I doubled back into the classroom to make sure he hadn’t snuck back in.

The teacher’s aid found him in the parking lot, waiting beside our car.  Muttering to himself, most likely, about what was taking me so long.


So last night we head up to bed, looking in on the kids, as usual. In Mark’s bed, there’s three blankets, one pillow, one enormous stuffed horse, the entire Justice League (plastic, mini)–but no Mark.

If your kid goes on walkabout as much as Mark does, you go from calm to full-on panic in about a second.

Me:  Where’s Mark?

Brian (defensively–I’d been at a writer’s group mtg…for the first time…and he’d handled bedtime all on his own):  I put him to bed.

Me:  He’s not here now.  WHERE IS HE?

It was a frantic, but fortunately short, search.  Mark was in Kate’s bed.  She was there too, one sprawled at either end of her queen size bed.  And I remember, now, they’d been asking about having a ‘sweepover’ for weeks.  Apparently they finally just took matters in their own hands.

Ready for College

So Brian’s been taking Mark to daycare, which means Mark’s been riding the bus with his Dad.  This is pretty exciting for him.  It’s one of the goals for which he left the house on his multiple solo excursions.

Everyone remembers that, right?  The morning about a year ago when I was getting dressed and saw a little blue dot walking down the middle of the street…and then realized it was Mark in his jammies.  I go tearing outside, of course.


Mark (in an offended, pitying tone, because the answer was so obvious):  “I’m going to the bus stop.  I’m going to work with Dad.”

Me (not thinking clearly yet):  “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!  THE BUS STOP IS THAT WAY!”

So now Mark’s achieved this goal, and he’s ready for bigger things.  Like breakfast.  But not just any breakfast.  The breakfast of champions.  Or at least grown-ups.  Or at least undergrads.

Brian’s dropping him off early enough that Mark has breakfast at daycare.  This morning:

Mark’s teacher:  “What would like, Mark?  Cereal?  Toast?”

Mark:  “Do you have any cold pizza?”

Another Decade Off My Life

1:45 PM.  I come in from shoveling snow.

1:50 PM.  I start sending kids out to play in the snow.

1:55 PM.  Paul goes outside.

1:57 PM.  Sam goes outside.

2:00 PM.  Kate goes outside.

2:05 PM.  Mark goes outside.

2:15 PM.  I watch the kids playing, admiring the big boys’ ingenious repurposing of the giant shoveled-and-plowed snowbanks as forts. They’re digging tunnels.  They’re flinging snowballs.  It looks like a blast.  Oh, how cool.  What good parents we are, sending them out to play instead of letting them rot their brains in front of the computer.  Unlike yesterday.  And the day before that.

2:17 PM.  I realize that Mark is not among the snow-pelting crowd.

2:18 PM.  No answer when I holler for him.

2:19 PM.  Brian and I rush outside.

2:21 PM.  We enlist the other children to look for their brother.




2:27 PM.  Inescapable conclusion:  Mark is nowhere in the yard.

2:28 PM.  We check the back gate.  Too much snow.  No way he got out there.  Okay, we should focus our search on the front street.

2:29 PM.  Brian and I tear out the gate and start looking up and down the street.

2:30 PM.  Very nice man comes walking up with Mark, informs us he was four streets away.

2:31 PM.  At the kitchen table, feeding Mark hot chocolate.

Me:  “What on earth were you doing?”

Mark:  “Yooking for a good place to sled.  Den I was doying to tum back and tell you.”

Me:  “You’re not supposed to go outside the fence.”

Mark:  “I went for a walk.  A long walk.”  A pause.  “It was told.” Another pause.  “Tan I watch PBS?”

2:35-3:00 PM.  Sip tea.  Wonder if it’s true that nerves don’t regenerate.

Baby Houdini strikes again

So Mark, unexpectedly, shows up at our pew during the sermon on Sunday.

Turns out, he’d slipped out of the Sunday school classroom via the bathroom, made his way downstairs, found the sanctuary, came in one door, traversed the side aisles and the back before seeming to realize where he was and find his way to our customary spot.  Fortunately, the same good wits that showed him an escape route also advised the wisdom of not heading out into the 8 degree weather.

I’m strongly considering letting his hair grow long and braiding bells into it.

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