Saturday, October 18, 2014

Independence

Despite our attempts at remaining germ-free, Benjamin has acquired a stomach bug. He was as happy as could be all morning while we were at the primary presentation practice. We went straight to Rachel's soccer game after the rehearsal. Benjamin and Miriam wanted to play at the playground for a while before heading over to watch the game so I sat with them and we discovered two things: first, that Miriam can cross the monkey bars all on her own, and second, that Benjamin has explosive diarrhea.

"Hey, Mommy!" he said cheerfully, as he waddled over to me from where he'd been playing—actively playing—with a steering wheel.

"Oh, no," I said, taking in his unusual gait. "Did you go potty?"

He nodded and hummed "Um-hmm!" in assent (that's his new thing).

Usually if he's going to go potty without telling me he'll slink off to a corner somewhere and covertly squat down—which gives me time to catch him before too much damage is done. This time he didn't even stop playing so it was obvious it was going to be bad. And it was.

"Miriam," I said. "I need you to get the van keys from Dad. I can't move Benjamin like this. I need you to find Dad and get the keys and bring them back to me all on your own."

"All on my own?" she gulped.


Andrew was down in the soccer fields, down three flights of stairs, across the parking lot, completely out of sight. We didn't even know for sure which field they were playing on (there's like three fields or something).

"You can do it," I assured her. "You know the way. Once you get down the stairs just look for the pink team and Daddy will be there."

Miriam nodded bravely and set off across the parking lot. She paused at the top of the stairs and looked at me with pleading eyes.

"Go on!" I urged her. "You can do it! You'll be fine."

She nodded bravely and disappeared from view. I turned to Benjamin.

"Dude," I said. "I could have done without this today..."

That would have been true no matter what day it happened because nasty diarrhea is something I can always do without.

I peeled off his socks and shoes and pants and then spent the next several minutes reminding him not to move. Soon Miriam came racing back to us, holding the van keys triumphantly in the air.

"I did it!" she squealed. "I found Dad all by myself! I have the keys!"

"Thank you!" I said—I obviously needed the diaper bag rather desperately so my gratitude was genuine. "I knew you could do it! You're such a big help!"

"What's the word for when you do something all by yourself?" she asked me as I cleaned Benjamin up. "Like, when you don't need help for something because you're a big girl and you can just do it on your own even if it's hard? Is it misfit? That's misfit, right? I'm a misfit!"

"Independent," I told her. "You're independent."

"Yes!" she said. "I'm independent!"

We haven't watched Rudolph in months but it's a movie we quote quite frequently and it's been on the girls' minds more than ever because Grandma sent us a box containing her ever-coveted Abominable Snowmonster of the North and Rudolph (she went through her Christmas things and let the local siblings pick through to see what they wanted—but we got the Abominable Snowmonster because when we lived at their house Miriam was terrified of it (when I pulled it out of the box I made a big growling noise and both Miriam and Benjamin ran away shrieking satisfactorily, though they've since made friends with it)).

As much as Andrew hates it, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. He took Benjamin and Miriam to Costco to pick up a pizza for dinner yesterday and they had all their Christmas stuff out already (probably not all their Christmas stuff...but definitely more than is necessary on October 17th). Benjamin saw a big Santa Claus and excitedly said, "Oh! See? Christmas guy!"

How in the world he knows the word "Christmas" when he wasn't even talking six months ago is completely beyond me. How he knows Santa is a Christmas guy also baffles me.

The only thing I can figure is that I picked up a Curious George Christmas book at Trading Tables a while ago (April) and it never made it up in the attic with the rest of the Christmas stuff and instead has been on the bookshelf (Andrew makes sure all Christmas books get put away in January—the scrooge). Benjamin's convinced me to read it to him a time or two and I'm sure he's had his sisters read it to him as well.

I just pulled the book out to check and although Santa Claus is mentioned, there's no picture of him...but maybe Benjamin just caught on to what Christmas stuff is and, like an astronaut being a "space guy," he figured that Santa must be a "Christmas guy."

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