But I can't because the kids have once again provided me with another opportunity to write about them.
And this is a little story that I'd like to remember when I'm 90. Or 35 even, as there is a very high chance I'll forget this in a years time since I can't even remember what I ate for breakfast this morning. Now, where was I?
So my sister and her 2 boys stayed longer than the weekend, as you do when none of your kids are at school yet and your time is still your own. We decided to drop Miss Fancy off at School and then take the 5 boys to IKEA. They could have fun at the IKEA playland, which they haven't been to before, and we could spend a leisurely hour making our way through the infuriating maze that is IKEA. Oh joy!
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But it was not to be. Kids have to be over 3 to enter playland AND also fully toilet trained. My boys were still in nappies. I know, it's a crime! They just turned 3 and I honestly hadn't put my mind to doing the toilet training thing yet. I must get on to it. Add it to the list. But for now, they'll have to come with us. Through the maze. I look at their cute little faces and they look calm. I think it will be fine. I am the eternal optimist. We say goodbye to the other 3 boys and off we go.
It didn't take long before the boys started to muck up. They thought the arrowed pathway through the store resembled a racetrack and so they started impersonating race cars complete with matching race car noises. They stopped frequently and tested out every couch, sofa, bed and armchair before starting up their engines and zooming off again. I stopped looking at items and focussed all my energy on keeping their disruption to a minimum.
We made it downstairs - we were almost through when my sister stops to pick up some bath mats. I agree the white ones were the way to go. I turn around and suddenly realise I can't hear or see the boys. I have a little panic. I know they can't get out of Ikea - Houdini couldn't get out of that place! But I still need to find them quickly because they act swiftly and who knows what mischief they can get up to in the store. I don't want to repeat the snow globe incident from a few months back. And we are close to the exit so if they do get past the checkouts and into the greater Mall area then who knows what would happen. I think back to the episodes of Without a Trace. Isn't the first 24 hours crucial? With twins, the first 30 seconds is crucial!! I have another wave of panic come over me. I start sprinting through the store towards the checkout area. I pass a staff member, "I can't find my boys! They were here just 20 seconds ago. They're little. 3. Blonde. There's a blue one and a red one!" The guy looked at me slightly puzzled but I didn't have time to explain. Then I hear over the loudspeaker "We have a Code 300 in Home Organisation". Great, a missing kid in the organisational area of the store. Yes, the irony was actually funny to me at the time too. I get to the checkouts, no sign of them so I head back through the market hall to where my sister was. Maybe they had gone the opposite direction. I see her and she looks relieved. And then I see them. They were sheepishly standing next to her. They were found under a rug in the home furnishing section. They were playing the sleeping game, they say. They can see the fear on my face quickly return to relief and they say one after the other, "sorry mum. sorry mum". Butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.
And then we hear over the loudspeaker, "Code 300 has been cancelled. I repeat, the Code 300 has been cancelled". My sister and I start cracking-up laughing.
We scooped the other kids up from Playland and head for the food court to have some lunch and debrief. We discuss other funny missing kid stories from our childhood. This was the first time I'd 'lost' a child. And so publicly! Blue Eyes disappeared briefly at Questacon in Canberra but in my defence it was the Piano Man who was in charge of wrangling the kids at the time, not me. And what's with the Code 300 anyway? Are there 299 other Codes?
Suddenly, a lady comes up to our table and asks me a question I'd never been asked before, "Hello, are you a family day carer?". I thought she was referring to the millions of kids seated at the table with us so I say, "no no, these are all mine and my sister's boys". To which she replied "It's just that they are the most well-behaved kids I've ever seen. It's very rare these days, particularly in a shopping centre. I've been watching. It's lovely to see. Just thought I'd let you know". I was so shocked I almost laughed. Should I tell her about our little misadventure in IKEA less than half an hour ago? No. I just said Thank you. Because it was true. I surveyed the table and in that moment the 5 boys were ALL seated like perfect little angels. Compliments from strangers are few and far between in my experience so I was going to savour it, even though I knew in 10 minutes time the boys would probably be hurling the pebbles from the pot plants into the water fountain. My sister and I cracked up laughing AGAIN!
And this is the way with parenting isn't it? A roller coaster of sorts. Sometimes the distance between a high and a low can be a day, a week or a month. Or, like in my case, it could be less than an hour.
This day will be memorable to me in 2 ways. It will go down as the day I lost the kids and a Code 300 was enacted. It will also be the day I received the nicest compliment from a total stranger.
I hope everyone is having a high parenting day today!