Home Alone

It has taken me a good week to get enough perspective on this event to be able to muse about it publicly.

With the winter weather well and truly set in for the duration (it was -11C last week and -7C today, with ice on the INSIDE of our feeble windows both mornings), we have permanently weather sealed our front door that opens directly onto the living room.  This means we are coming and going through the side door, using the internal door to the basement as our main access.  Last Wednesday was the first day we had a visitor who came and went in this alternative manner.  Ironically, it was Kathy from Parents As Teachers…

Unfortunately, as our guest left, she pushed the button in on the lower doorknob – something we never do.  And since it was freezing in the stairwell, I pulled the door behind me to stop Kazuo from following us as he was still getting over a cold.  But it was not until I heard the door click that I realised the unthinkable had happened – I had locked the baby in the apartment ALONE!  I suddenly realised our lack of foresight in not secreting a key away in the basement or outside somewhere.

Of course, it was a day when I had driven Akira to work, so I couldn’t just summon him quickly on his bike with magic spare keys… but thankfully our kind upstairs neighbour, Laura, was home.  She did an immediate mercy dash to the University to collect Akira’s keys.  I stayed in her apartment to look after her two year old while she was gone.

This was the longest 20mins of my life so far.  I was relieved that we had done most of the baby proofing of the apartment in recent weeks.  But there were still a few trouble spots. Doors were open for little fingers to get jammed, spices still within reach, computer cables were covered, but still accessible… So of course I sat upstairs (running up and down every 5mins at first when I could not hear him… then he moved into the living room) and listened to my little poppet crying whilst trying to entertain the two year old and not think of all the horrid things that could be happening.

I was so amazingly grateful to Laura for her swift trip – and so relieved to see her drive back up the street.  I was also still shaking when I managed to gain access to the house and find Kazuo in a teary mess in the doorway.  Poor little guy was exhausted and needed some long hugs and some long sleeps that day.  Incredibly, all he had done in my absence was go into our bedroom and pull all Akira’s underwear out of the drawer.  So he was intact, and hopefully not scarred for life.  Up until then, the longest he had ever been alone and awake was a few minutes when trying to settle to sleep.  So that time felt like an eternity to both of us I am sure.

Here he is guarding that same door in his new-found wall cruising mode.  I think he is much more inclined to make sure we don’t slip out now without taking him too – nipping down to turn on the dryer involves a whole new degree of speed and stealth.  The next day I made a trip to the locksmith and we have spare and secret keys galore – and I walked around with them in my pocket for days.  I really do hope this is my worst parenting memory…


Just having one of those days when I realise that I am not too good at contingencies.  It is all or nothing with me… and usually that has stood me in reasonably good stead.  But I realise that the stakes have changed.  And though I do subscribe to the idea that even life’s most painful/challenging/frightening events will eventually pass on by, albeit changing/shaping us in their wake, when one is in the midst of the pain/challenge/fear, it can be difficult to keep perspective.  Especially if it is something you didn’t see coming.  And let’s face it, for all the risk-averse, contingency planning behaviour we could engage in, the shocks of life that knock us for a six and then allow us to pick ourselves up, dust off and choose a new path… we never see them coming, do we?

Well… I have to confess that I am littering the blogosphere with my random ramblings more than most this month because I have subscribed to NaBloPoMo’s challenge to blog daily.  And I am not sure I like the person I am becoming as a result… perhaps it is not such a joyful challenge to me, the journal-as-it-comes-to-me kinda girl, who kept a diary since age 13, but never on a daily basis.  I find that I am reducing my daily life to a blog-like musing in my head as it unfolds…

But in the midst of the challenges that may face us in the immediate future, I am aware that we don’t have much in the way of contingencies, but we are not completely without options… and for that at least, I am amazingly grateful.


Some time ago I realised that many of my earlier blog posts were (a) a bit long and (b) a bit rambly… that I should really try and restrict myself to one topic per post.  Since then I have tried.  But some weekends are just too busy and give me too much to think about on a Monday… and I am not sure I am up for the daily blogging thing yet…

Apologies then to those of you who make their way through this ramble, and I will aim to be succint.  This weekend did make me go ‘Whew’ several times by the end of it all…

Early in the week, after having decided that the parsley was finally coming along and maybe we might eat some before the cold weather set in, I was astounded to discover a colony of Eastern Swallowtail caterpillars chewing their way through the now juicy plants!  So Akira dug up the plant that still had foliage and rescued the pretty caterpillars from the birds who flock to our feeder.  On Friday night we witnessed an ancient miracle as one of them split its skin and turned into a chrysalis.  We have one remaining caterpillar this morning and it should go the way of the others by bedtime.  They have been an incredible nature lesson and I am looking forward to posting pics of the beautiful butterflies in a couple of weeks.


Saturday we ventured out, post-nap to the annual Wash U Psych Dept BBQ.  It was a gorgeous day and there were scores of people at Deer Creek Park for the party.  The best part of this event for me was meeting up with several new families with babies as it opens up a world of social opportunities for us with Kazuo that we will really need in the coming months. I was so glad we went, and although Kaz didn’t really love the crowd, he did last the distance, which was quite a feat. Whew…

Our big drama this weekend happened on our return from home.  And just as well we returned when we did!  This old fridge had been occupying space in our garage (turns out it doesn’t belong to anyone who lives here) and about 20mins after we arrived home, it caught fire! Quick thinking from Akira (who knew where the fuse boxes were because we had been doing some investigation into our power bill… long and really silly other story) and some help from the neighbours whose dryer was going right next to the fire meant that the fire was out by the time the Fire Dept (who are just across our back fence) arrived with an ambulance, massive fire truck and two police cars.  WHEW!


On reflection we were lucky the whole fridge didn’t explode while the guys were in the basement with hoses and watering cans… and it was a very narrow escape.  The fireman put it down to lint from the dryer (harumph!) which made our poor neighbours feel a bit bad… but when we inspected it all later, it was plainly an example of the landlord needing to get rid of stuff that is left behind and do a wee bit more tidying up before new tenants come in… we were very fortunate – WHEW!

Clayton Art Fair

Sunday was another sunny, stunning  ‘Fall’ day.  It was the St Louis Art Fair in Clayton, 20mins walk from our new place.  We had our friends Nate and Denise round for lunch and as soon as naptime passed, we popped Kaz in the back pack and wandered up the hill to see some art.  Last year we only dropped into this big event, and had no real concept of the scale.  It was huge… and impressive.  There was nothing in our price range, but it was wonderful to see some of the incredible things people are doing.  Nate & Denise’s friend Joachim Knill was there with his beautiful still life, large format polaroids… and the most striking things I have seen in a while were the wax-based resin moulds in stainless steel (I think) that embedded little twigs and gumnuts and other wonderful, natural found objects.  Sadly, I didn’t catch who the artist was… but I was so taken by these organic little masterpieces, so much precision involved in their production.  We tested Kazuo’s gallery skills… the heat was not too helpful and he was not that taken with the whole activity if we stopped to look at things, but he had a nice little nap on the way home.  Whew.