Tuesday afternoon found all three children buckled in seat beats and the van headed toward downtown. Ry had a doctor’s appointment. It was after school, after lunch, and the complete witching hour. You hear me, yes? Ry’s hair looks like she’s been in a street fight, Gideon is wearing a fireman’s jacket that reads FIRE CHIEF in reflective lettering over his blue and yellow spiderman pants, and Abby is dressed like a dwarf eskimo complete with fur-lined hood. It’s approximately -42˚outside.
So it may come as a surprise to when I tell you that we arrived at at the office on time and in decent spirits. I had to thwart an undercover mission to open the fake but absolutely enormous presents under the square’s 30-foot Christmas tree, but even still- no tears. As we entered the building, the kids immediately begged to ride the elevator up.
And why not? I thought. We’re the last appointment of the day. There’s no one else here. What could go wrong? Sure enough: we, the most beautiful in all the land of East Grand Rapids, arrive on the second floor in style and without incident.
We check in and 3 seconds before it’s our turn Abby announces she’d like to go potty. One family field trip down the hall and we return with a commando 2-year old in pink velour. She had successfully navigated the potty but threw her nap time diaper in the trash without warning because, “Me no need dis! I’s a big girl!” Who am I to argue with a Half Pint that’s had only 2 accidents in 2 weeks of “training?” The big girl undies were in my purse in the waiting room, though, so naked buns was the only way to go.
Do you have a clear picture of what I’m dealing with here?
The appointment goes well. All the children make it through without breaking anything, and Abby organizes the office desk before we leave.
Y’all. This girl.
An hour after our initial arrival, we are certainly the last people in the building as the good doctor slips out the back door and we head to the elevator. We land on the first floor with a giggly bump and my children pour out of the silver doors. Abby has not gotten to push a button yet, though… she’s the littlest and other hands in our house are still much quicker. Not to worry, for on her way out of the shaft she nonchalantly hits the CALL/FIRE/PHONE button and leaves without looking back.
[I frantically hit the button again. Surely this will cancel it.]
[I can hear my children planning Phase 2 of the Christmas Tree Caper at the glass doors. We could just leave, I think. RUN. But no. Firetrucks will come and I’ll be on the evening news and Abby has no undies on. Ringing. There is a telephone ringing now through the elevator control panel.]
“Abby!” I yell in exasperation.
She is young and still comes when I call. Now Ry and Gideon debate the contents of the (fake) presents under the (enormous) Christmas tree while Abby and I stand in the elevator. I am holding my finger on the DOOR OPEN button.
“Surefire Security. Hello?” I hear.
Abby’s eyes get huge as she presses her face up to the button console.
“I’m so sorry! False alarm! We’re ok!” I gasp.
“Ma’am? Is there an emergency? Who am I speaking with?”
“DIS ABBY!” [dear little tiny baby jesus in the manger]
“No! I’m so sorry. No. There is no emergency. There IS a 2-year old, though.”
“Ma’am? Did your elevator arrive safely?”
“And you are able to exit?”
“DOORS OPEN!” Abby yells.
“Yes, ma’am. Everything is fine. Thank you.”
“No problem. I’ll cancel the call. Have a nice evening.”
“WHERE DAT LADY GO, MOM?“
Y’all. This child.
I take a deep breath, gather my eskimo, my fire chief superhero, and my street fighter, and we leave. We leave and treat ourselves (no meltdowns! no potty accidents! no news crews!) to cake pops from Starbucks. I need my hands to stop shaking before I can drive, and that is the truth of the matter.
Abby, of course, serenades the small bistro with a raging rendition of HAPPY BIRD DAY TO YOU and I assume our time of Divine protection is rapidly coming to a close. Thirty-seconds later, we are all safely buckled and headed North to the farm- away from doctors and elevator and witnesses.
Upon pulling into the driveway, Abby announces:
Me Abby. I’m TWO!
Y’all. This girl.