There are many, many great things about having my sisters here, not the least of which is having four extra hands to help with Henry. However, sometimes knowing that there are other mature, responsible, supervising helpers in my life, I get a little laxed about things like diaper changes and my knowledge of Henry's whereabouts, trusting that he's probably safe and squared away with either Kate or Halley. The manifestations of my heedless mothering are pitiable. Like a few evenings ago, we were all ready to leave on our evening walk and it suddenly occured to me that I hadn't changed Henry's diaper all day. I was pretty sure that someone else had, but just to be sure, I asked everyone as we were strolling away from the house, and was mortified to discover that we were all making the same errant assumption that someone else had done it, when in fact, no one had! Poor soggy, stinky, totally saturated little Henry had been sitting in the same soggy, stinky, totally saturated little diaper all. day. long. And the most heart warming/wrenching part of it all was that as I was changing him, he kept apologizing, "I'm sow-wy," in a barely audible little moan. No! No! No, Mr. Soggy Britches, there'll be none of that; I am sorry!
I am also sorry to relay this next example of my derelict mothering. Please don't report me to child services, I've got enough to sift through on my legal plate with the YouRanARedLight!Here'sASeventyFiveDollarFine! notice that came in the mail yesterday. Red light cameras bedanged! Anyhow, there were like 47 things going on at our house yesterday evening: Nate was just getting home from work, changing out of his dress clothes, he and Kate getting ready to run in the pouring, pouring rain, Halley was praddling around in her usual cheerful manner, Henry was making rotations from one person to the next and trying to sneak into the bags of b-day goodies which we were trying to keep secret until the celebration. I was making pizza for dinner (with homemade crust which means I was monitoring the progress of yeast, which is something that I enjoy about as much as I enjoy a papercut,) and was also trying to whip up a batch of birthday cup cakes for Mr. Wonderful, who is now officially 2 (and has a little gold button to prove it. It says,"I'm 2." And now that I think of it, I'm going to have him wear that out in public so I don't have to answer that oft-repeated "how old is he?" question to every store clerk, gas pump attendant, and librarian in Plano--I'll just direct their attention to the button. Thanks to Grandma Nan for sending it!) Getting back to the house of chaos, which, after Kate and Nate left for their run, suddenly became atypically quiet. Quiet means trouble when there's a toddler around. I asked Halley where Henry was and she said that she thought I had him. Moment of panic. Mental slideshow of anticipated messes I might find upon ascertaining Henry's whereabouts: unrolled toilet paper, a half eaten tube of chapstik, mascara smeared all over the bathroom walls, all of the pages torn out of my Bible, or maybe it would be as harmless as a mouthful of chewing gum--yes, let's hope for that, I thought, as we searched the premises. It took Halley and I several fretful minutes to locate him. We looked in every room and closet in the house before Halley suddenly caught a blurry glimpse of him through the front window. It was reassuring to know where he was, but his exit strategy remained enigmatic. Front door--locked. Back door--locked. Garage door--locked! How did he get out of the house, I puzzled? And then we saw this:
Suddenly Henry's escape route was very clear and we renamed him Houdini on the spot. Apparently amidst all of the chaos, he managed to slip away, completely unnoticed, push the screen out of his bedroom window, (which I had opened to try diffuse the wiffy chain-smoker's-motel-room stench that vaguely lingers in his quarters,) and headed straight for the pond-sized puddle at the end of our culdesac. By the time we found him, he was soaked from head to toe. Soaked--like he couldn't have been wetter if he'd been submerged in the bathtub, which caused me to wonder how long my child had been playing, completely unsupervised, in the middle of the street, in the pouring rain. This just seemed so unlike Henry. He's never been a really physical child, except for the fact that he has learned to climb up into his crib this week. But he still can't climb out of it. He doesn't usually climb up into precarious places. He's an awfully clumsy runner. He gets nervous about sitting up on the counter if he's not holding on to me. He doesn't take toys from other children aggressively. So climbing out of a bedroom window seemed wholly uncharacteristic of the child I've lived with for the past year and three hundred and sixty four days. Just then, a little voice came into my head that said, "Welcome to the twos!" and I realized that maybe I'll be living with a whole new Henry this year.