We spent last week in an empty house, sleeping on borrowed air mattresses. I say “we,” but my husband was away on business – the last such obligation for the old job – so it was me and the three kids in a house pretty much devoid of belongings, save a couple of sippy cups. To make matters more complicated, there was no school on Wednesday. Too much of a wimp to face an entire day alone with three kids in a completely empty house, I took all three to Day Out With Thomas. We had a blast. I looked around for the t-shirt that said “I survived Day Out With Thomas alone with three small kids,” but I couldn’t find one. Apparently, I’m the first to make it out alive.
Lilah felt it the most. She’s at that age when she is exploring things, but there were no Things to explore. Plus, Benjamin was alleviating his boredom by punching and sitting on her. I tried to give him time-outs, but where the hell was I supposed to sit him? In the middle of the living room floor? I tried the empty closet.
“Close the door,” he commanded as I turned to walk away.
“No. I am not going to shut you in the closet.”
“Why not?” he wanted to know.
“Because it’s dark and scary in the closet with the door closed.”
“Close the door,” he repeated. I stood outside the closet as he opened and shut the door from inside, turning the only possible method of discipline into a game. I guess at least he found something to entertain himself.
The airport hotel Friday night was only marginally better, mostly because J was there. We were awfully relieved to get to the airport on Saturday. We rushed through security and made a potty break. While J went to buy the water we’d need for the flight, I had the boys play a running game that we do before every flight to get the wiggles out. They did fine with running and touching a sign down the hall. Then I told them to run around a group of chairs three times. I forgot to give Benjamin the crucial instruction to look ahead of him while he ran. Which is how, on the second go-round, he ran straight into the corner of a public telephone.
Head wounds bleed a lot, as we have discovered on several previous occasions with this child. But we had 20 minutes before our flight. The flight we were taking to move a family of five across the country. If the child wasn’t vomiting and there were no bones sticking out, we were getting on the damned plane. We scored a Band-Aid from the woman at the gate and figured we’d deal with it when we landed.
Five hours later, he had definitely bled through the Band-Aid. My father-in-law bought us a new Band-Aid as we made our way towards baggage claim, while my mother-in-law emailed a plastic surgeon she knows. Two hours later, we were in the ER, getting Benjamin’s head sewn back together by a top-notch plastic surgeon.
So, here we are – bunking with relatives while our stuff travels across the country and waiting for Benjamin’s head to heal. The more things change, the more they stay the same.