We are T-minus zero to bedtime. I am so ready for this.
Then one of the rug-rats hollers from the T.V. room, “Daddy promised we could have a game of ‘Hide-and-Go-Seek.’ In the dark. He promised!”
He promised, did he? Was his head connected to the rest of his body when these shady deals were made? And when this ridiculous plan was hatched, where was I, pray tell? I have veto power when it comes to bedtime. Oh right. I was fulfilling my parenting duties and responsibilities and attending our fourth piano lesson of the week. Fourth lesson in the last three days. And before that, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
But a promise is a promise.
I am still wiping up crumbs under the table (why have I always been under the table in the last few stories I’ve written?) when the lights start going out all over the world. I bellow that I am not quite ready yet. I then try to manoeuvre myself out backwards without hitting my head on the under-boards of the table. Meanwhile, my husband is really in cahoots with me on this one as he has already begun counting. And, he has also stated up front that this will be the ONLY round of this fun-filled game for the evening. I repeat. ONLY.
We scurry off in all directions. The house is pitch black.
Husband finally gets to number twenty. And the seeking begins. It feels like twenty minutes have already passed. I have nearly dozed off. Actually, I am standing on a chair behind the door in what was formerly the dining room before we had kids and is now just a giant storage closet. The only indication that this room had a former life is the beautiful chandelier that Husband gave me one year for my birthday. It fits right in with the wallpaper the kids tore off the wall in strips. And all the colouring books.
Youngest daughter is standing beneath me. We are both hovering over top a pile of colouring books and play school workbooks. Every time she moves, it sounds like a little mouse is rustling. Myself, I am trying not to move as Husband has a habit of pouncing on his victims, and I don’t feel like having a heart attack this evening. He also likes to add sound effects to the whole experience. Just to add a little scary and crazy to the ambiance. Tonight, Darth Vader is making an appearance. We hiding ‘five’ can hear him coming. But what we don’t know just yet is that he is using his cell phone as a flash light.
I am starting to feel my old competitive edge return. Bedtime or not, fair is fair. There are shouts of outcry coming from all directions when round one ends in fifteen seconds flat. So I volunteer. I will represent the little guys and do this thing right. I begin counting. I am slower, more methodical. Sometimes I use this time to complete odd jobs in the rooms I happen to be standing in. Counting in the kitchen comes in very handy, particularly on nights when I haven’t finished the supper dishes. But as the lights are out, I cannot multi-task this evening. I make twenty in record time and start the hunt. I am no Darth Vader. I want my children alive once this game is over.
Unfortunately, I am too good at this. I misjudge how quickly Youngest wants to be found, and she is crying her head off before I have located the next in line. When I find the Second , she is outraged that her youngest sister might have tipped me off as to where she was hiding. She storms off in a tiff. I find Oldest Daughter after a few light switches are turned on. She is not impressed by all the ruckus and declares it was clearly, unfairly played. Meanwhile, the other two who have already been found are well on their way to bed, crying as they trudge their way through that familiar path to bed. But believe me when I say that it will be many more miles before sleep makes its final descent.
We never do find the Oldest. He comes upstairs after teeth-brushing begins, claiming to have found the best hiding spot ever and not feeling the least bit neglected that we are all upstairs carrying on with other more mundane matters. (Like applying toothpaste from just the right tube.) Which is encouraging to me because at least I now know that someone had fun tonight.
Hide and go seek: it’s all fun and games until somebody gets discovered.