'Twas not long ago I surveyed the vacation time before us and declared it bounteously lengthy. Mine eyes blinked and forsooth it was all at once Sunday again.
How does that happen? One day you're looking at 4 days in front of you, and then all of a sudden you're looking back on those same four days, knowing they were fun but having a nagging feeling that somehow time travels faster when you are not on the clock for "the man."
Luckily, the vacation ended with a Leftovers Dinner at our house. We invited our friends to bring their leftovers, their kids, and their taste for beer, and it was total fun. The kids had a fantastic time. So fantastic that when I went downstairs to the playroom after Bambina was in bed I laughed hysterically for about 3 full minutes because it was TRASHED. Seriously trashed in that non-violent, non-rock star but completely-vaporized manner that only 12 kids can make happen. It was awesome. I love having kids in my house; I love the sound of kids having fun. After not even knowing Bambina's friends last year and not having met my friends' new babies till they were, like, two years old, I just don't get wiggy about kiddie mess. It's such a genuine pleasure to have friends and kids over that, as long as they stay out of my room and don't put a guitar through a TV or something, I'm all good. Same with kiddie drama. As long as no one is bleeding, I'm pretty sure they can sort it out for themselves without me getting all Kissinger on them.
The big drama of the night was a minor power outage on our street. Our house went dark for what felt like 5 full minutes (but was more like 40 seconds or so). And I mean DARK. The kids were all downstairs in the basement playroom when it happened, so there was a lot of commotion, mostly coming from my shrieking Bambina, who got mightily spooked by the whole thing. Luckily I am that person who reads those Worst Case Scenario books (yes, you will find one of those window cracker thingies in my car in case I go into a lake at full speed and have to get out of the vehicle against water pressure), so we had our emergency flashlight in the kitchen drawer. Good enough. NOT good enough, however, was finding out that all but one of my precious plug-in emergency lights completely failed. I have five throughout the house, designed to light up like flashlights if the power goes out. Only the one in our bathroom worked. So the poor kids in the basement were in pitch darkness--and I mean absolute total darkness. So I'm pissed at my failed anal-retentive emergency measures, but kind of glad I had this chance to find out before something really craptacular happened.
But poor Bambina. She was a wreck, only sort of recovering enough a little while later to let me put her down so I could go and pee. Much like the silver lining of finding out in advance of disaster that one particular brand of "emergency" lights are worth f*ck-all, this actually gave us one of those defining parent-child moments, where I think she finally internalized that I am always on her, always coming for her no matter what. She wanted to talk about "the dark darkness" for the rest of the night. Now, ahead of an event we don't let her perseverate on stuff because it just gets her wound up. But after an event, especially one as scary as this for her, we let her talk about it as much as she needs to because we've learned that that's how she processes it and puts it in whatever place she needs to put it to move forward. So we talked about the dark darkness for what felt like freakin' hours. But finally at the end of the night she got what I'd been saying all night: "My love, I know that was scary; but I want you to always remember that no matter what is happening or how scared you are, Mama is coming for you. Whatever is going on, it's okay to be scared. But just know that Mama is coming; Mama is always coming for you. Always. Always. Always." For effect I added, "There is nowhere on this planet that you could be that I would not find a way to get to you; nowhere. Mama is always coming to get you even if I have to crawl on my hands and knees to get there. "
Bingo. I could feel the weight lifting from her wee shoulders and the impishness descending:
"Would you crawl through spiders?" (She knows I fear and loathe spiders)
Hundreds of spiders, my love. Thousands of spiders.
[Cue two or three additional scenarios under which I would labor to get to my child, involving heavy rain, lots of mud, and superdark darkness); then came the preschooler masterpiece:
"Would you walk through poopies?"
Yes, my love, I'd walk through poopies.
And with that she said good night and went to sleep, afraid no more.
*Oh, but PS. I am so socially challenged that I keep saying really stupid things to my across-the-street neighbor. I feel like Basil Fawlty desperately trying to not talk about The War with his German guests; I can't stop saying moronic stuff in front of this woman no matter how hard I try. I'll spare you my other faux pas to share this evening's latest blunder: Her two boys are adorable, and Bambina really likes them. These are the kids we went trick-or-treating with, with whom she just went racing off down the street. I was trying to say as much to the mom, about how Bambina doesn't really enjoy the company of boys (and says so) but really enjoys the company of her sons. I can't even remember my exact, clearly-mixed up words, but essentially what I ended up saying was that the other boys are animals and her boys are nancies. Which was obviously NOT what I was trying to say at all, but it pretty much came out sounding that way. I know it came out that way because her response was, "Well! It's been so nice! Thanks for inviting us over!" Which is precisely what I'd say if someone just said something moronic and offensive to me. Seriously, this is the third time I've had diarrhea of the mouth with this woman, and I just have no idea what my problem is beyond the fact that I'm now in that Impotent Guy stage, where I think so hard about what might go wrong that I can't make the right thing happen. I'm not prepared at the moment to go and do the full-on, "I think I sound like an a**hole" mea culpa with her, since that would be all kinds of level-jumping weird. I'm just hoping that she'll consent to have another playdate and I can coach myself through it without inadvertently insulting 43 people in the process.