We are back after a lovely and fun-filled Pesach trip to my CSIL, formerly known as my DSIL. (Formerly Domestic, now Canadian). The ages of the children in residence during our stay: 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and 1. Parent: child ratio of 1:2, which sounds like it should really be manageable, doesn't it? In fact it was: the "big kids," defined for these purposes as any child 4 and over, played so independently that much of the time we weren't sure where they were--upstairs or in the basement? The babies spent their time doing what one-year-olds do best: walking around in circles picking things up, chewing on them, and dropping them for something more interesting a few minutes later. As for Iyyar and the cousin a few months older than him... well. Some of the time they played beautifully. There were a couple of memorable afternoons of peaceful playing of Lego. But there was also cousinly war on a scale only seen at that exact age, an age where a particularly offensive wave of the hand can be cause for... well...
Scene: the van. We are all piled in on the way to the airport, to which we are being chauffered by Uncle Yaakov.
Me: Iyyar, did you have fun at Tanta Sara's house?
Me: Did you play with [cousin]?
Iyyar (less enthusiastically): Yeah.
Me: Is he your friend?
Me: Why not?
Iyyar: He bited me. He bited me with his teef. He bited me like DIS (giving graphic reenactment of teeth on fingers.
That aside, the kids had a fantastic time, which I may or may not recount more fulsomely later on if and as time permits. However, I won't postpone what was possibly the sweetest moment of the whole stay. To wit:
Tanta Sara's house has three floors. (This is not the sweet moment. This is exposition.) There is a basement, where we were sleeping, which has two bedrooms, laundry and a playroom; a main floor; and the upstairs, where the kids' bedrooms are. Iyyar is still not enthusiastic about stairs, but he was going up and down them a lot at Tanta Sara's because he didn't have much choice. He does seem to be doing better on them (and continuing to eat like crazy and sleep 13 hours a night--he's got to be growing). At some point last week I was in the basement with Iyyar when I noticed that he had a dirty diaper. I'd changed the last diaper in the main floor bedroom, and had left the diaper-changing equipment up there.
"Come on, Iyyar, let's go change your diaper." I started up the stairs, with Iyyar coming along behind, surprisingly cooperatively. Once in the bathroom I realized, oops--no wipes. Oh no, wait--I left them upstairs. So I started up the second flight of stairs, meaning to grab the wipes and meet Iyyar downstairs. I didn't expect him to follow me up, but he did. Which is why, as I started down the second flight of stairs, I heard, around the bend in the staircase, Iyyar, huffing and puffing his way toward me, hand over foot over hand, giving himself a little pep talk with each step:
"My Imma's up dere. My Imma's up dere." Pause. Heavy breathing, gathering of strength for the next step. Then again, "My Imma's up dere. My Imma's up dere!"
His Imma came down to meet him.