Most days I work from home and my eight-year-old daughter, Antonia, is at school. But, this week, she is off for Thanksgiving vacation and, as luck would have it, I had to go to one of my client’s offices for a brief meeting. I say brief, because maybe I was gone two hours, including driving time. Antonia stayed at home with my boyfriend’s daughter, Emma – a responsible, 13-year-old honors student. I had no doubt that they would be safe while I was gone.
I instructed them to be good, clean up after themselves, and “don’t burn down the house” – something I say each time I leave them home alone – just in case, and headed out the door.
After four attempts to FaceTime me in the middle of my meeting, all of which I declined (“Are you kidding me?” I said to my colleagues, both whom are also moms. “Antonia is trying to FaceTime me!” Since they both know my daughter, they were not surprised.), Antonia decided to get my attention by sending this video to my phone instead:
“She is special,” one colleague said to me, laughing. “I mean, really special.”
When I returned home, everything appeared normal. Emma had made Antonia another sandwich on “regular” bread since the last piece of gluten-free bread suffered a slow death in the microwave. Nobody died of starvation and remarkably, the kitchen looked pretty normal. I inspected the inside of the microwave expecting to see peanut butter splattered all over. Nothing.
“It must not have been that bad,” I told Antonia and Emma. “Or, you guys did a great job cleaning it up.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” Antonia said. “The bread was just stuck to the plate, but Emma scraped it off.”
“How long did you put it in the microwave?” I asked.
“Not long, Mom,” Antonia replied. “Only a minute.”
I went to the sink to inspect the plate in question expecting to see charcoaled bread varnished to our white plate after an entire minute under 1200 watts of power. Nothing. The plate had a few crumbs on it, but was otherwise absent from evidence. If Antonia hadn’t sent me a video, I would have never known there was a mishap.
“Ok,” I told them. “You obviously handled it well and cleaned up the mess, so no harm done. Next time you want a warm peanut butter sandwich,” I said to Antonia, “try toasting the bread first and then putting peanut butter on it. Goof.”
Later that same evening, when I was assessing the contents of the refrigerator to see what I could scrounge up for dinner, I saw something in my peripheral vision. On the wall to my left about knee-high was…peanut butter? I inspected more closely. Sure enough, there was a glob of peanut butter stuck to the wall alongside the fridge. I wiped it off, puzzled, and continued my search for dinner.
A few hours later as I was standing at the stove, something caught my eye above my head on the cabinet near the kitchen sink. I stood under it and looked up to see that it was also a glob of peanut butter. I summoned the girls to the kitchen.
“I have a question,” I said to them both as they assembled before me. “Why was there a glob of peanut butter over here,” I bent down to point to the spot on the wall by the fridge, “and another one over here?” I crossed the kitchen and reached above my head to the cabinet by the sink.
The girls laughed and looked around the kitchen. “What?!” Emma said, incredulously.
“Oh my gosh!” Antonia exclaimed. “Emma had to scrape the bread off the plate with a knife ‘cuz it was so stuck!”
“Yeah, and when I did,” Emma continued, “it kinda flew off the plate and hit the counter, but I don’t know how it got up there and down there!”
Me neither. And, I’m not sure I want to know.
Only five more days until the girls go back to school.