Greetings from Leavenworth, WA, for those of you keeping track of our whereabouts on your Rand McNally US Atlas and/or Google Map. It’s a quaint, German-themed touristy town about two-ish hours East of Seattle, nestled in a small valley in the Cascades. It’s gorgeous and warm (highs in the 90s-100s). We’re at another theater-based retreat, on the grounds of the lovely Icicle Creek Center for the Arts. Unfortunately, I have little or no babysitting help out here, so I am the de facto parent all day. And this week Gabe has made some spectacular developmental leaps—mostly in the psychological sphere.
And by “psychological sphere,” I mean he’s either been deliberately sabotaging my efforts to keep things somewhat clean/orderly or he’s really hitting his stride as a toddler. I think, based on the smirk and twinkle in his eyes and the cackling laugh, it’s the former and not the ladder. Also, I’m basing this on the fact that he’s now got some opinions and is being “difficult” at times, generally about what he wants to eat and when. The answer to this week’s question What does Gabe want to eat? is: berries. Of only the blue-, straw-, or rasp- varieties. And everything else might as well be poison or a toy. In any case, these two facts point to what I’m fairly sure is a growing craftiness of the practical joke variety—which I would normally wholeheartedly endorse. But it’s been a long week and it’s only Friday. How long of a week?
Here’s an incomplete list of Gabe’s exploits in the last 24-hours, complete with attempted silver linings:
- He placed a small, Gabe-sized dust broom in the toilet and then proceeded to sweep the bathroom floor. I discovered him dipping the broom back in the toilet, and when I yelped Gabe!, he squealed and took off for the door, but slipped on the wet floor, and bonked his head. Then I got to sooth a crying, toilet-water-dampened Gabe for a few minutes. Luckily, the toilet water was “clean.”
- I discovered a hotel washcloth and my travel French press coffee mug in the bathroom’s trashcan. And his crayons eventually found their way in there, too. Luckily, there wasn’t anything else in the trashcan.
- In an attempt to foster independence and give him some skill-building practice, I let him eat his lunch by himself on the floor. This was about the same time I was desperate to eat something, anything. After a minute I turned around; he had managed to push half his rice on to the floor, but did have several grains stuck around his mouth.
- After feeding him a second round of lunch due to a brief rice-related hunger-strike, I set him down on the floor to clear the table. In mere seconds he hurtled toward the bed and flung himself at it, staining the hotel’s quilt with not only strawberry-juice covered hands, but also a butternut squash-puree covered bib. Luckily the quilt is very colorful—though not with orange and reds so much.
- As I was doing dishes, he found a small toaster in a bottom drawer of the hotel kitchenette and dismantled the crumb tray. Luckily, he didn’t walk through it.
- Before dinner, he wanted a snack, so I set down with some Cheerios he had been working on earlier in the day. They had some peanut butter on them. He usually loves Cheerios and he loves peanut butter. How could he resist the combination? He would only eat them, right? I think he ate one Cheerio before standing up and tromping all over them. Then, when I tried to get him to stop so I could clean his feet, he keep veering away from me, trying to see what was plastered to his foot. Luckily, he has small feet and not many O’s were crushed, and the one’s that were, remained stuck to his feet or the floor—easy clean up.
- And then after dinner, when we were walking around outside enjoying the sunset, I decided to take a picture of the amazing rays of sunlight bursting from the around the cloud. As I framed the picture, I noticed a large fuzzy area on the left side of the screen. I looked at the lens and, sure enough, as sure as the sun rises in the East, there was—somehow—a smudge of peanut butter tucked into the corner of the lens. Luckily…nope. He got me on this one. Touché, Gabe. Touché.
Ah, the joys watching children develop!