Monday, September 16, 2013

Disappearing Children

A few nights ago, our housekeeper babysat while Dave and I had a date.  It was a sorry excuse for a date, because it was actually Back to School Night at the girls' school.  But we went out to dinner afterwards, and we didn't put our kids to bed so it felt like a date.

We got home at 11:00pm.  Little Annika was still awake, but the other two had eventually gone to sleep.  This did not bode well for the nannying expertise of our housekeeper, but at least all of the girls were safe.  We put Annika to sleep and the housekeeper went to bed in our guest room.  Caracas is a dangerous enough city that babysitters generally spend the night rather than going home late.

We finally got little Annika down, and then went into the big girls' room to tuck in the sleeping children.  Lilly was in her bed and got a kiss, but Sophia's bed was empty.

Dave and I searched the entire house.  We looked under tables and inside forts.  We looked in closets and bathtubs.  The child was not anywhere.  We began to panic.  How could a 6 year old with a babysitter simply disappear?

Finally, we knocked on the guest room door.  Maxima?  Lo siento, Maxima.  Dónde está Sophia?  Where is Sophia?

Está aqui.  She is here.

Apparently she had gotten angry at Lilly while she was in bed, and stormed out of the room.  She decided to sleep in the guest room, having no idea that Maxima would join her there later.  Poor Maxima just assumed she would have to share a bed with a 6 year old all night, and gave no complaints!

So, the once disappearing girl was crazy enough.  But tonight we put Annika to bed without her lovey.  It seems to have been left in the garden, and we will surely find it in the morning.  But tonight, she has no binket, which made her feel very lonely.  The sweet girl cried a little, and then - ever resilient - she talked about how Jesus would keep her company and keep her safe.  Such a good girl!  We kissed her and left the room.

Two hours later, Dave and I came upstairs to go to bed.  Again, we went to tuck in the sleeping little girls.  But in Annika's room, we found no sleeping little girl.  I checked the stuffed animal box - no girl.  I checked the closet and under the bed - no girl.  We looked in the chair and the hidden corners of her sisters' room - no girls.  We checked behind and underneath the bean bag pillows in the den - no girl.  We began to panic.  How could a 3 year old with her parents in the house simply disappear?

I peeked up at Lilly once more.  She sleeps on the top bunk, spread out amongst piles of books and animals, with the covers always bunched up to the side.  And there, amongst the covers, smooshed against the wall, slept her little sister.  It seems that Annika remained scared and went into her sisters' room to seek solace.  Sophia was already asleep, but Lilly must have been awake and invited her up the ladder.

So sweet to have sisters willing to share their bed.

And here's to hoping that Annika kicks all night long, forcing Lilly to move into our bed in the night, allowing little Annika to sleep a little bit longer in the morning.

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