I had no sooner locked the door as their parents went out for the evening when I heard this wild clack-clack-clack and raucous laughter. There was Frog (age 3) pulling some sort of crazy wood toy - wait, is that a toy centipede? - running full speed from the living room down the hall towards the bedrooms. Every unexpected, big, surprise motion makes little sister Bird (age 1) laugh merrily, and with abandon. Which, of course, means the antecedent action must be repeated by big sister. This time, the action was wild, reckless running. Over and over. Yes, we were off! This would not be a lazy evening of reading books on the couch before bed, but something else indeed...
Frog raced the clacking centipede down the hall, with newly-walking Bird - who, seemingly overnight, has gone from crawling to running - chasing after her. Quickly, quickly, quickly raced big sister. After, after, after came little sister. Both children running, scooting, laughing, all the way from the living room past the dining room table down the hallway to the bedrooms, where all the doors were closed. A full immediate crashing stop ensued, followed by a bustling wrestling nestling heap and more raucous laughter. This might not end well, I thought, and immediately shifted into one of those strange experiences of time where I am in many places at once - totally present and right there in the room yet simultaneously lost in thought, past present future, future present past -
oh my, future -
These two girls are actually playing together. This is the first time I have seen this, I think. I just know they are going to be great friends, yes, always and forever.
oh my, present -
I am going to be right here next to them, keeping a close eye, even if I have to run alongside the two of them for every single step. I must help these bodies to stay safe, ensure that they give each other space. These are exactly the kind of silly antics that end with surprise hurt and I don't want that on my watch.
oh my, past -
Remember my own boys? Those evening frolics? Why is it that roughhousing dovetails with bedtime? All the more so during the winter, I think, when we don't get as much time outdoors, using our full body. We always called this the last storm before the calm...remember how quickly the emotions can switch from laughter to tears?
oh my, past past -
Remember when my younger brother cut his head on the cabinet at the end of the hall? He and I were running just like this! We were both so young...
This game of chase was not an activity I would have chosen for these two youngsters to play, but to 'squash' the idea would still leave me with lots of unused, unreleased, uncertain, whirling, swirling energy. How to get their minds on something else, quickly? I made the game-time decision to go along with the fun while doing my utmost to set safe parameters. In the end, no one got hurt - which felt amazing! How many times did my granddaughters and I run down the hallway, back and forth, with that silly wood centipede and Frog leading the charge? I don't know! There were so many funny squeals. Both girls showed good balance and control, recovering from stumbles without falling onto the floor. No one got squeezed in an unexpected 'pile on' of bodies, arms, legs. I got silly with them, running alongside with loud percussive 'bum bum bum' footsteps, making them both laugh.
I knew the game was winding down when Bird switched into a crawling position and hustled down the hallway in her old preferred way. Everyone was tired. All this exuberant exercise led to an easy bedtime routine...and, hopefully, sweet dreams by all.
I sure hope this chase game isn't something that becomes a regular thing, especially when I am the babysitter. I will admit though - we all had good fun together.
It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
Slice of Life.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community