For the past week Steve has been down at the farm, alternately annoying and amusing the wildlife. I think the squirrels resent his presence in their trees; the deer have just shrugged and flipped their fluffy white tails at him. Historically I have always been very pro-deer in the annual Chingachcook vs Nature struggles in which he engages but this year I actually am hoping he is successful in his endeavors. May the winds bless his bow and speed his arrows.
I had a weird epiphany while dining with Patrick in New Orleans. For no apparent reason - I was eating Patrick's salad while he plowed through the raw seafood trio I had ordered - I suddenly realized how stupid it is for me to be all holier-than-fowl about Steve's hunting when I have no qualms whatsoever about eating everything with a face. I am not (I emphasize. carefully) saying that it is stupid to be opposed to hunting for ethical reasons; I am merely observing that it is incredibly hypocritical of me to chide Steve over the deer that fed him and the children for an entire year (venison burgers, venison tacos, venison sausage... it is literally the only red meat the kids eat at home) when I have so recently consumed a Baconator.
Speaking of which, Caroline talked to Steve on the phone tonight and she ended the conversation by saying, "I hope you bring back lots of deer meat!" and then she added, "And bacon!"
No kidding. Also milk and paper towels and asparagus but only if it looks ok and a couple of those long-sleeved t-shirts I like from Target...
Where was I?
Oh right. Steve has been gone and Edward has moved into our bed. Originally this was Patrick's perogative but it's been quite some time since he has had any interest in bunking with me. In fact, the other day Patrick found himself leaning against me while we watched TV and when he realized where he was he sat bolt upright and said, "What am I doing?" with such obvious horror that I laughed as he scooched himself in the opposite direction. Patrick doesn't really like to be touched, it turns out, which explains why every attempt on my part to soothe him as an infant failed. If only I had realized that he prefers to be alone in a dark, silent room I would not have spent his babyhood wrapping him in my arms while the nightlight glowed and music played. We probably both would have gotten more sleep.
I digress again.
Edward and I were sleeping quite soundly at o'dark-thirty this morning when the sound of light, quick footsteps heralded Caroline's arrival. I was very, very sleepy and wary. There are times that Caroline wanders downstairs and falls back asleep again but for the most part she is up because she is UP. So she climbed into bed with us and wriggled and wriggled and asked for water and sighed and kicked at the blankets and kicked at Edward and kicked at me and sighed some more until I hissed at her to either settle down or go to her room.
About a minute elapsed before she whispered, "Mommy. I am sorry to disturb your sleep but can Edward and I go to the basement and play in the fort?"
Edward snored, loudly, and I whispered back, "NO. It is the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. DO NOT WAKE UP YOUR BROTHER. Go to sleep or go back to your room and, I dunno, read or something. But shhhhhhhh!"
She was quiet for another minute until I felt her start to crawl across the pillows. She must have lost her bearings in the dark because I then felt a gentle slapping on my cheek and felt her breath as she whispered in my ear, "Edward. Edward. Wake up."
"CAROLINE!" I moaned at the exact moment Edward sat bolt upright and said, "Yes?"
Eventually everyone fell back asleep in their respective places and everyone had a hell of a time waking up a few hours later. Edward was groggy and Caroline was both groggy and angry, accusing me of having meanly thrown her out of my room in the night. I reminded her of the fact that she had been trying to wake up her brother at the time and Edward burst out laughing.
"I know what she was trying to do! She was trying to trick me into sleep-walking to my own room so she can sleep in your bed," he chortled. "Not gonna happen!"
Caroline and I looked at each other. She bared her teeth. I scrubbed my face with my hands.
Remember when I was gone and Steve just put Edward and Caroline in the same bed and shut the door? He does it so much better than I do.