For reasons I’ll never understand, the song ‘Don’t sit under the apple tree, with anyone else but me’ popped into my head today. I don’t even know the song beyond that pitiful little phrase. And I don’t think I’ve ever hummed it or even liked it. But there it was, in my head.
After dropping the Gort off at Kindergarten, the Hen and the baby and I were hanging out in the living room. They’d made it abundantly clear that they would not be napping. So I changed the youngest’s diaper and left him sitting in the hallway with his older brother while I ducked into the office for a minute. The Hen came into the office mumbling something about ‘Percy’ (his name for the baby) so I went to investigate.
I found the baby sitting under the dining table.
It’s a mystery to me how he got there. He doesn’t crawl yet, unless he secretly crawls when no one is looking. I wondered if the Hen had pulled or pushed him under there. But the little guy would have cried. For sure. So there he was, hanging out under the table looking like he was having the time of his life. (Luckily I’d swept the floor.) I let the two of them play under there for a bit and then I started worrying someone would knock their head on a chair leg or the hard floor.
‘Okay, let’s go play on the carpet,’ I suggested. The Hen seemed confused by what I’d said. And my suspicion was confirmed when he pointed to some random object and said: ‘this is carpet?’. Apparently I don’t use the word ‘carpet’. Ever.
Being the extraordinary teacher that I am, I pointed to the carpet with my foot and rubbed it a few times before saying in a loud voice ‘this is carpet’. As though I was in the middle of an ESL lesson or something.
The word of the day is carpet. (And the mystery of the day is how did the baby get under the dining table?)
We picked the Gort up from school and he insisted we go to the Bottle Depot to hand in our refundable recyclables. He’d told me the day before that he wanted to save money for a Transformer. So I told him if he put the bottles in a trash bag and haul it to the garage, all by himself, I’d let him keep the refund. Typically, when you go to the Bottle Depot there are people hauling in bags and boxes filled with bottles and cans. As though they’d had a slew of parties over the weekend, or been saving their recycling for months.
I, typically, have one trash bag filled with four or five milk bottles, three or four orange juice cartons and perhaps a few small juice boxes.
The employees inevitably look at me perplexed: ‘is this it?’ Yes, that’s it.
Today’s refund was a whopping $2.85. But the Gort’s enthusiasm was undiminished by the paltry return. ‘I got five pieces!’ he yelled and headed off to the van, clutching the money in his fist. I don’t even know how much Transformers cost, but at this rate it will probably be a while before he has one.
The Hen fell asleep in the van on the way home. So I carried him inside and draped him on the couch. I remembered about the ‘apple tree’ song, so I got a blanket and put it under our tree. And I carried the sleeping cherub outside so I could take a picture of him.
‘Funny’ how kids will sleep through anything at certain times and wake up three or four times a night at others. He was out and nothing could wake him up. Not me taking a thousand pictures. Not his brothers crawling and climbing all over him.
He eventually woke up and we had a picnic outside under the apple tree. Because it was a beautiful day and we had nothing else to do. A picnic always sounds like so much fun. ‘Let’s have a picnic,’ the Gort will yell. And I’ll imagine these lovely scenarios in my head, of us sitting in a scenic spot, eating delicious food surrounded by all kinds of mirth and merriment.
But it takes forever to get food ready – even when it’s just tuna fish and crackers and tomatoes and smoothies – all while kids are yelling ‘we’re sooooo hungry’. And then you carry the tray outside and two seconds later the baby’s hands are covered in tuna fish and somebody accidentally spilled their smoothie. And you make a mental note that picnics really aren’t that fun and babies really do try to grab and touch absolutely everything.
After the ten-second-long picnic, the boys dug in the dirt and scribbled with sidewalk chalk. While the baby and I hung out under the apple tree.