Monday, May 3, 2010

SOMETIMES, He's Right

I think I've mentioned before that Justin is more of a worrier than I am when it comes to the girls' safety. I do worry -- I just don't let it show very much, because if I let it out, it will become a terrifyingly fearsome monster. With the shakes. And a whimpering voice. And a leash on which two bored children are dangling.

So it should come as no surprise that he's often frustrated by my lack of concern. Something in particular that worries Justin more than it does me, is the ladder on the slide. Lauren has been climbing that ladder for at least a year, and now she's so good at it that I hardly ever feel like I need to help her. She goes slowly, as dictated by her short legs, so it's almost impossible for her to be reckless while climbing. But Justin demands that she be closely monitored -- one parental hand on her back -- so she won't fall 4 or 5 feet to the grass below. He swears that just the other day she would have fallen if he hadn't been there steadying her ascent. Meanwhile, I swear that he's a worry-wart, while I keep an eye on the ladder from afar, if need be.

On a recent picnic day, Lauren had abandoned her lunch while Mia and I -- still eating -- sat on the green-checkered blanket. With half a banana in hand, Lauren wandered to the slide and started climbing the ladder. Mia and I were focused on our lunch, trying to keep it from blowing away in the wind, and I'm guessing you can imagine what happened next: THUMP.

Lauren fell off the ladder.

From about the third step up, she tumbled to the ground, dropping her precious banana in the process. She was easily consoled, but a bit scratched up on her knee and elbow. More frustrating to her was the loss of her now grass-covered banana. She talked about the banana for the rest of our picnic time, running back to the scene of the crime to point and yell about its demise. We played on the slide and ladder several more times before heading inside for naps, and Lauren was perfectly fine.

I, however, was chagrined. There was no WAY I could tell Justin about this incident. Because even though Lauren was whole and unharmed, Justin had been RIGHT. I should have been beside her, ready to catch her if she slipped on the ladder, and I'd catch no end of I-told-you-so looks and haughty teasing if Justin had found out about the dreaded FALL.

We went the rest of the day without the ladder-fall ever being mentioned. In fact, I forgot all about it, and I'm sure the girls did too.

Until daddy got home, that is.

I played my they need one-on-one daddy-time card, sending them all outside to play while I caught up on laundry folding. Which is a sad way to get some silence and calm, but I take what I get, and I don't throw a fit. (Heh.) As I folded and stacked clean clothes, my family's voices drifted in the open window from the backyard. They were a dreamy background to my peaceful chore, and I smiled at their sweet laughter.

Lauren was trying to talk to Justin, but Mia's yelling was drowning out her little sister's voice. Eventually, Mia quieted down, and Lauren started talking again.

"Dada, yook, I fow down an' bweak my banana's too yucky. I just fow down an' a bonk a knee, I fow down. Yight. Hewe. Dada, yook! I fow down but...the banana's too yucky and I just fow down. See, Dada? I just cwy a yiddle bit, dough." Her speedy monologue was over, thank goodness, but better yet, I thought Justin hadn't understood it. Lauren's dialogue tends to run towards the indecipherable, especially when she's all fired up, speaking as quickly as she was this night. I sighed in relief as I imagined Justin was probably scratching his head, nodding and smiling in confusion.

Bless the toddler's fumbling words, I thought.

But then Mia piped up. And she speaks quite clearly.

"Yeah, Dad, come see. Lauren fell off the ladder, and her banana got smashed into the dirt. Right here, see? Mama and I were eating our picnic on the blanket, but Lauren ran away and fell off the ladder."

Well, crap.

I tiptoed away from the window where I'd crept closer during the giving of evidence, vowing to be studiously involved with my chores when Justin came back in the house. But nothing happened. He didn't storm in the house, ready to tease and gloat. He didn't ask the girls for more details. He just kept playing.

And I kept folding. Until I couldn't take it anymore. I ran out to the backyard under the pretense of wanting to play (pfft...I play all day), just so I could gauge his reaction. Maybe he really hadn't been paying much attention to the girls' chatter? Maybe he'd forgotten about my habitual lack of vigilance at the ladder? (Maybe I can make a few more rhymes so this paragraph will be even badder?)

"Hey, babe!" I chirped. "You guys having fun out here?"

"Yup," he nodded. "I'm having a great time." A wicked grin broke over his handsome face as he pushed the girls in the swings. His dark eyes glinted in the setting sun's light.

"Good...um...conversation?" I ventured, casually twirling a length of hair behind my ear. I still held out hope that he'd not understood or paid attention to the girls.

"Oh, yeah," he drawled. "They told me all about the accident this afternoon, and how you were sitting all the way over there when it happened."

"Uh...heh-heh...yeah...about that..." I started backing away, towards the house and safe refuge.

Justin shook his head and squinted at me. Then, before I could figure out his plan, he darted towards me. I squealed and tripped all over myself trying to evade him, but it was no use. Around the yard we chased -- the at-home mom versus the bicycle-racing, tennis-loving, soccer-seasoned athlete -- while our little girls sat dangling in their swings, screaming with laughter. I was nearly tickled to death each time he caught me, but I figured it was a just form of punishment.

Plus, it really did beat the silence and calm of folding laundry.

10 comments:

  1. There's nothing better than a non-gloating husband.

    I'm with you on this... of course she could fall. But kids fall. They need to fall. They learn to brush off their knees and get back up!

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  2. Haha! This reminds me of my husband and I. :) Doesn't it stink when your kids get old enough to speak clearly enough to tell on you?

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  3. Your story is hilarious! Here, it's the other way around: I am the worry-wart and think that Brent is a bit too lax. I can see such a similar situation unfolding around here! Thanks for sharing...I was laughing out loud at the "well, crap!"

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  4. Haha! That's very cute!

    I'm with you though...kids fall. It's just a part of childhood. No worries. :)

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  5. You guys are too cute! Loved this story. Made me giggle. :)

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  6. I just LOVE your stories! Sounds just like something that would've happened to me. Guess once those kids start talking there's no hiding anything ha ha. Matter of fact the other day we were driving and I don't even remember how the conversation started but it's a common joke Travis likes about my 'other boyfriend' and he said something along the lines of 'Does he live over here' or 'Were you at your boyfriend's house' and Savannah (not even knowing what we were talking about) chimed in with 'YES!' It was so funny and of course Travis milked it for all it was worth.
    *No, I do not have another boyfriend, I'm not sure why this is such a funny joke with us.

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  7. This is such a sweet, funny story! I've really been missing your blog!

    I'm glad Lauren wasn't hurt, of course...although losing your banana really CAN be dreadful. Trust me, I know!

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  8. Oh, that is too cute. I am the same way. Hubby hovers a bit too much.

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  9. This was such a cute story! And the part where Lauren is explaining what happened to Justin in her little-girl voice? Precious!

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  10. That story is so sweet. I love it. What a great thing for your kids to see. :)

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?