How much trouble can an unattended two-and-a-half-year-old and a not-yet-crawling nine-month old get into in 45 seconds? Surely not much, I thought to myself. I dashed up the stairs, leaving my kiddos in the living room alone. I had 15 minutes before my husband got home and we had dinner reservations 10 minutes after that. Before he arrived I still needed to get my kids’ dinner on the table, put them in pajamas before the sitter got there, nurse my son, and make sure all bed-time accoutrements were in place. And I was determined to touch up my toenail polish.
I am in awe of the mothers who can keep their nails immaculately manicured. Seriously, how do they have time for it? That said, I rarely paint my toenails. When I do get around to it, I tend to let it come off the good ol’ fashioned way (i.e. letting it chip off or grow out.). I know, gross. But it’s one of those things I only notice when I’m getting ready to walk out the door. Of course, then it’s too late to do anything about it. But that day we were going on a date and spring had finally arrived on the Palouse. And it was my birthday, darn it, so I was going to have pretty toenails.
So there I was, foot up on the chair in my bedroom, dabbing on the red polish. 10 seconds ticked by. 20 seconds, and then,
“MAAAAMA!” from down stairs.
She’s fine. She’s fine. She just noticed I’m gone, that’s all. I hurried up, switching feet. Almost done. Almost…
“MAAAAMA! I’ve got the knife!”
KNIFE?!! What knife? She must have gotten into the ‘no box.’ “Evelyn, put the knife on the table,” I called down as I hurriedly twisted the lid back on the nail polish, last two toes still untouched.
Evie called back to me, “I’ll bring it to you, Mama!”
“No! Put it on the table, baby. Right now!” I listened and heard the quick pitter-patter of little toddler feet, a split second of silence, and,
“I gave it to brother!”
“WHAT?!” I yelled, dropping the nail polish. I jumped for the door and was down the stairs in about 1.3 seconds.
Evie stood in the middle of our grey rug smiling innocently at me. “I gave the knife to brother, Mama.” She pointed at her brother. James sat there, contentedly gnawing and drooling on a securely closed Swiss army knife. I laughed with relief and took away the knife. Then Evs and I had a chat about how knives and babies don’t mix. I never did get ‘round to those last two toes.