Well, it’s Wednesday again. That means that Ruby has climbing after school. She has so enjoyed the climbing walls at the Renaissance Festival, and she has scaled every tree on our property, so we thought she would like to take a climbing course this year. And we were right. She loves it. Although I hope today goes slightly better than last week.
We got her to the class with no problems, Edward and I, with the two children biking and me jogging along behind them panting at them to wait for me at the next stop sign. The giant cliff building is only four blocks from our house, and the class goes for two hours, so after Ruby had dropped her snack and her coat into her cubby, the boy and I headed back home.
But the boy was tired.
“Okay, Edward, that’s enough Rescue Bots for one day. Time to go get Ruby!”
“But Daddy, I’m tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrred!”
“Too bad! Get moving! We don’t want to be late to get your sister!”
“Can’t I just stay here?”
Huh. Well there was a question. Could he just stay home? He was an exhausted four-year-old lump on the couch watching Netflix. He really wasn’t going anywhere. And if I rode my bike over to get Ruby, I would be gone for literally 5-6 minutes. If, however, I tried to drag him out the door and along with me, it would be an angry battle that would make us late and miserable. On the other hand, he is 4, and he is Edward. Sure he seemed lifeless at that moment in time, but that didn’t mean anything. I wanted an intact house to come home to.
Actually, I was less worried about him destroying something than I was about him suddenly being scared and coming out to find me, wandering the city streets alone in search of his missing family. I could see this happening. This has actually happened before. So I did a test. We agreed that I would leave, and he would stay on the couch. And then I went outside and waited for 5 minutes and came back in. He had not moved. Perfect. “Just forgot my helmet!” I called out. “Be right back!”
“Okay, Daddy, I’m staying on the couch!”
The courtyard was full of neighbors playing outside, so I mentioned to them that if, for any reason, they saw my son leaving the building, they were to detain him. Perfect. I hopped on my bike and rode furiously for almost 2 minutes, worrying the entire time. This was a terrible idea, wasn’t it? Something bad was going to happen, wasn’t it? There was going to be trouble, wasn’t there? I rushed into the building to grab Ruby, only to find out that they were running a few minutes late and Ruby was about to take her turn on the ropes course for the first time. Awesome.
I excused myself, ran out the door, hopped back on my bike, and went home. 110 seconds later I was at my door, out of breath, and running upstairs to my son on the couch.
“She’s not quite done yet. I just wanted to check on you. I’m going to go back and get her, okay?” I gasped.
“You stay on the couch, okay?”
Whoosh! I sped to climbing again. Ruby was on the ropes, and she was terrified. “Daddy! I can’t go forward! The ropes keep spinning me!”
“Yes! Yes you can!” I shouted in a very supportive manner. “Just keep going! You can do it! And hurry up!” She made it about half way out and then froze, unable to go either forward or backward now, with her teacher/coach asking me if I could coax her along somehow. “You are hooked to the ceiling!” I informed her loudly. “Even if you let go, you will not fall! Don’t be afraid! I will be right back!”
“Where are you going?”
“To check on your brother!”
Swish! I spun out the door and back onto my bike. Boy is on the couch. Heart is pounding. Out of shape body is slowly dying. Luckily, by this time, my wife was getting home from work.
“What are you doing? Where’s Ruby?”
“Stuck on the ceiling in some ropes. Edward’s on the couch. Be back in a minute love you bye!”
“I’m leaving for a meeting in a few minutes!” she called out after me. “Remember?”
“I’ll be right baaaaaaaaack!” I answered as I faded into the distance. Well, I don’t know how faded I was. It was only four blocks after all.
By the time I got back to climbing, Ruby had made it through two thirds of the course, and was ready to be coaxed along to the end. Her confidence was building, due to the fact that she had not yet plummeted to her death, so this last bit went a little more quickly. Success! And then I rushed her out the door, onto her bike, and back to the house to make sure that the boy was still on the couch. Which he was.
So we all had an adventure. Ruby conquered the high ropes course, I participated in a death-defying race against the clock, and Edward got to stay home by himself for 5 minutes for the first time. And the second time. And the third time. And while adventure is all well and good, I’m hoping that today might be a little calmer. Although, as Ruby told me this morning, she might get to do the ropes course again. And she can’t wait.